Let me start out by saying that I’m a pretty big fan of Bungie’s Destiny. I’ve played upwards of 300 hours across many characters, and in general I consider it to be the perfect marriage of the shooter and MMORPG genres. That being said, the game’s biggest weakness is its reliance on a stable Internet connection in order to actually enjoy a trouble-free play session. As you’ll see shortly, that shortcoming made the hardest fight in the game a bit of a joke.
This whole thing started about two weeks ago when I was testing a new Windows program that claims to be able to turn your computer into a virtual router. Despite having super fast Internet coming into my home, I’ve always had trouble with my router dropping offline or not allowing new devices to connect, so I decided to give it a whirl using an old Wi-Fi dongle I had lying around.
In regards to the dongle, I seem to have lost the USB extender cord that you’re supposed to use in order to keep the Wi-Fi signal from encountering too much interference, so I resorted to plugging it directly into a rear USB port on my PC.
All of these factors—on top of my already spotty Internet connectivity—led the “virtual router” to perform well below its potential, and my speed tests showed I was getting a very small fraction of my normal speeds.
That’s when I decided to play Destiny on it. Already familiar with the “Baboon” and other all-too-frequent disconnection error codes, I didn’t have high hopes. As you might guess, I found myself dealing with a computer disconnection and “kick to orbit” scenario about once every 10 minutes or so. At one point in my testing, I saw packet loss in the upper 30 percent range, so I wasn’t shocked.
This horrible connectivity, for once, wasn’t the fault of Destiny’s net code, so I wasn’t terribly upset. The game even popped up a warning that I had never seen before, telling me that my NAT settings were going to cause me further trouble, though that was hardly a surprise. Bungie, after all, insists that you use a wired connection if you’re trying to play Destiny at all, and I was using one of the poorest wireless connections I had ever encountered.
I played around with this horrible setup for a little while—a Mars strike that lasted about 45 seconds and some Cosmodrome patrolling before being kicked—before venturing into Crota’s End, the new DLC-exclusive raid mission that normally takes a group of six players and multiple tries if you’re not skilled. I had already completed the majority of the raid for the week and was left with just the boss, Crota, left to kill.
I ran around the game world a bit to see if I’d encounter yet another kick, but it didn’t come. Growing bored, I ran toward the center of the first room, which is the cue for the game to begin the final battle with Crota. Nothing happened. I ran out of the room and toward the far side of the arena to jump off the game world and kill my character, and I was several seconds out of the spawn room—which is supposed to trap you inside for a bit at the beginning of the battle—when the boss began to spawn, leaving me outside to do whatever I wanted while he completed his little resurrection animations.
I was free.
I died shortly thereafter, but I couldn’t stop experimenting with what was capable now that my connection had led everything in the game to happen three or four seconds after it normally should. Eventually I discovered that the rear wall of Crota’s platform—a wall that is supposed to assemble and be in place before you ever have a chance to engage Crota whatsoever—actually disappears and then reappears for a moment, leaving the boss vulnerable to falling off the back ledge.
Bungie also made the curious decision to let players walk on the rocky outcropping behind this wall, rather than making it an instant death zone. After several hours—seriously, I couldn’t stop playing with this—and several disconnects, I made my way to these rocks as soon as the fight began and waited for Crota to spot me. Once the wall disappeared, I jumped from one side of the rocks to the other, right in front of Crota, who charged me in an attempt to melee me into oblivion. Instead, he walked right off the platform and instantly crumbled.
I had killed the boss without firing a shot, and I couldn’t believe it.
Assuming it was a fluke—I mean seriously, how could this possibly work simply because I was using a laggy Internet connection?—I tried the next week, and it happened even quicker. It was at that point that I knew I wanted to tell everyone—but needed to be absolutely sure it was a repeatable bug and not just happenstance. This morning I booted up Destiny, rolled with a fireteam through Crota’s End, and when we got to the boss, I politely departed, switched to my atrocious virtual router, and it took exactly one try.
Why does that wall disappear? Why are we allowed to walk all over the backdrop of the stage? Why doesn’t Crota just stop at the edge of cliff? Bungie, Destiny is a great game, and I’ve enjoyed many, many hours of it, but it’s probably about time to squash these obnoxious glitches that can be duplicated with nothing more than a stone age Internet connection and a little patience.
Photo via Bungie