I think it's a reasonable rule of thumb to say that forcing players into any gaming activity is a risky move. But when it comes to a sprawling live service game like Destiny 2, I can also understand the motivation: you want to make sure nobody misses the dope new stuff you've added. Which is what Bungie decided to do with Dares of Eternity, the six-person matchmade activity that arrived alongside the 30th Anniversary update on December 7.
Dares of Eternity is free-to-play—although in order to acquire all the related cosmetic loot you will need the DLC—and is probably the most fun take on a quasi-horde mode activity since the Menagerie. However, for new and returning players, there has been a substantial problem.
The power level of Dares of Eternity is set at 1150 in Normal mode. For anyone who's been playing regularly, this will be a non-issue. (My current power level, including the boost from the Artifact, is 1363). However, brand new guardian power starts at 1100—a full 50 levels under—meaning even trash mobs will hit like a space freighter, and those players will also do almost minimal outgoing damage.
That problem is compounded by the fact Dares of Eternity also includes 'Champion' enemies, which can only be stunned using matching weapon mods that new players will not yet have access to. The same goes for players who've taken a lengthy break but decided to pick the game up again. They find themselves spawned into an activity that's supposed to be fun, but getting endlessly one-shot. Not ideal.
The Reddit thread which first alerted the wider Destiny community to the issue described it as a “burning hell” for new players. Since then, veteran players keen to help out have been deliberately tanking their own levels (which is easy to do, you just put on low light gear from the Collection) in order to be matched with noobs.
Side note: I have no idea why Destiny matches players of the same power together for a funsies PvE mode, when it seems obvious that mixing experts with new blood makes more sense, but here we are.
Here's a Bungie community manager acknowledging the issue:
Players that are lower in power level need some help in the Dares of Eternity activity. How can you assist?Grab some low power gear from your Collections and hop in to matchmaking. You can swap back to your normal loadout after you’ve found a match. pic.twitter.com/pk9VMBCzhBJanuary 5, 2022
I did just this. I dropped my power down to 1133 and, sure enough, was matched with… five other very experienced people doing the exact same thing. Nonetheless, it's heartwarming to see players spring into action for what has been dubbed 'Operation New Light'. (New Lights are what Bungie calls freshly minted guardians.)
The studio says it's looking into how to fix the problem now that the development team is returning from vacation, and will also be giving out a commemorative emblem for both those who aided the rescue effort and were stuck in the activity.