One of Destiny's main high-level activities will be six-player raids. Bungie revealed in a new interview that these challenging adventures won't have automatic matchmaking.
Instead, you're going to have to create a party with five friends. The reason that Bungie opted not to include matchmaking is that raids are too difficult to be tackled with a collection of random strangers. They require coordination and perseverence.
“The activity is going to take you and your group of five buddies into a place that you’ve never been,” Bungie's Luke Smith told IGN. "A place that you will return to frequently. And [it will] demand of you things you’ve never even really been asked to do in a shooter before."
Raids in MMORPG's like World of Warcraft or WildStar are time-consuming activities. Clearing a raid in those games can take several nights, with players dying over and over while they fine-tune their strategies and execution. Then there's the time spend outside of raids, the hours spent getting better gear to make the learning process even smoother. From the sound of things, Destiny's raids will be following that same model.
"One of the things we certainly haven't talked about is that [raids aren’t] an activity that we expect you to get through the first time through."
Destiny raids' focal point will be the boss fights. Smith said that these big bads will be different than the bosses you encounter in the 3-person co-op Strikes. They'll feature abilities that you haven't seen before, which means you're learning how to fight them on the fly.
I understand why Bungie would think matchmaking is a bad idea for these raids. Learning a raid is a prolonged effort and much easier when you're working with a static group of friends. What makes a night of dying over and over in a raid tolerable is the feeling of progress, however slight. "We got him down to 20% health that time." "We got through phase 2 without anyone dying!"
That progress is essentially erased if you're matched up with a new set of players that never set foot in the raid before. You might personally know how to fight the boss but your new companions don't. Meanwhile, the opposite scenario - finding a group of seasoned pros that know the raid backwards and forwards already - isn't much better. You might beat the raid easily but you're not going to have the satisfaction earned through slowly learning it with a group of friends.
The problem, though, is that matchmaking is convenient. A lot of gamers don't have a group of friends willing to tackle raids for hours at a time. That means a sizable group of Destiny players are going to be unable to experience a major activity in the game.
World of Warcraft offers an interesting solution to this problem. The game has matchmaking for raids, but these raids have a lower difficulty level. The gentler difficulty makes it much more feasible for a group of strangers to complete these encounters. This may not be as gratifying as beating the normal version of a raid with friends but this matchmaking feature nonetheless makes raids accessible to a group of players otherwise unable to play them.
I hope that Destiny implements a similar feature in time. Until that happens, though, players will have to do their own recruitment.