It’s 10 a.m. Michael "Flamesword" Chaves and his fireteam, comprised of Nestor "nKuch" Kuchar and Michael "Mag" Vanlith, arrive at Bungie. They’re about to be the first fireteam to complete the Red Bull Quest, an all-new quest line found in Destiny: The Taken King. They walk through the halls of Bungie lined with memorabilia from Destiny Year One and make their way to the Bungie theater, sitting down at the same stations you’ve seen in recent reveal streams from Bungie.
As a fireteam, they load into the Tower for the first time and head over to Amanda Holliday, the shipwright, to receive the quest. She tasks them with completing an Energy Spike mission, a new mission type in Patrol that requires a fireteam to quickly acquire light by traversing the world and reaching Overcharge 3. If they can reach 100 percent charge in the allotted time, they go into overcharge, which allows them to run it again with boosted charge rates. Completing this mission and reaching Overcharge 3 finishes the first stage of the quest.
Flamesword, nKuch and Mag head to Orbit and select to Patrol the Dreadnaught, an expansive Hive ship that was recently shown in a Bungie livestream, in search of an Energy Spike mission. They bring up the Ghost and quickly locate the timer icon signaling their destination. NKuch picks up the mission and they attempt to reach 100 percent on their first try. They don’t even come close to reaching 100 percent charge.
It's time to regroup. While they hunt for another Energy Spike mission on the Dreadnaught, they discuss strategy. The first time they ran it, they were just jumping from light to light with no real plan of action. This time around, they’re going to run loops to reach the most efficient course of movement to hit max charge. The second attempt goes much better, reaching 100 percent easily. Now in Overcharge, they continue their loops and communication is at an all-time high. They quickly surpass Overcharge 3 and make it all the way to Overcharge 5 before the mission ends.
They did it. Celebrations ring out, but that was only the beginning — and it won’t get easier from here.
Next they must take on one of the new strikes found in Destiny: The Taken King in record time. Only 18 minutes to complete S.A.B.E.R. on Earth at Level 40 and take out eight sniper shanks at the same time. “Eighteen minutes? We’ll have this done in seven minutes. Calling it now,” says nKuch. Big talk, especially with the increased difficulty of a Level 40, but away they go with an 18-minute timer counting down in the corner.
Deep within the depths of the Cosmodrome, they quickly realize that this isn’t any ordinary strike. NKuch attempts to activate a terminal, but nothing happens. “Wait … it turns red when we shoot it.” Without spoiling it, they get creative and find a way to blow up the core below, allowing them to advance. They look for a door, but there isn’t one. Instead, they’re crouch-walking through ducts and shooting plates on the floor to drop through to the next area.
“This is a big puzzle,” says Flamesword, as they drop through the floor into a tunnel and quickly realize they’re in a bad spot. It isn’t just a tunnel — it’s filled with flashes of electricity that will kill anyone they hit. A relic drops and Flamesword grabs it, knowing that he’ll have to get it to the other end of the tunnel if they want to have any chance of surviving the encroaching electric waves. They move through the tunnel, dodging the giant arcs like Frogger dodges cars, or at least trying to. The arcs catch Flamesword and Mag, requiring nKuch to make a heroic run right through the lightning’s path to save them. “This feels like a raid, to be honest, so intense,” says nKuch midrun. He makes it just in time, reviving the rest of his fireteam and allowing Flamesword to deposit the relic, disabling the deathly hallway.
Surrounded by exploding shanks, they continue into the next area. “This is the boss room, I can tell,” says nKuch. Just as he finishes the sentence, S.A.B.E.R. 2 enters the room. This giant boss shank is no joke, equipped with powerful weapons and a solar overshield. They start to teamshoot him, but quickly realize that they’re surrounded by dozens of enemies and must take out at least eight sniper shanks to complete this part of the quest. “I found his crit spot in the wings,” says Mag. They start to put in real damage on him, but just as they think they have him figured out, he transforms and his shield changes from solar to void. “His shields just changed. … Go heavy on him!” Flamesword yells as they unload everything they have into it. S.A.B.E.R. 2 isn’t done yet, though. He transforms one last time with his shields switching to Arc.
Without much time left, they’re forced to attack him straight on, moving from cover to cover and buying as much time as they can before they’re overwhelmed. With just 32 seconds left, they focus all their effort on putting as much damage on him with no regard for whether they go down. “JUST KILL. JUST KILL!” yells nKuch. S.A.B.E.R. 2 finally goes down, with mere seconds left on the clock. That’s just slightly longer than nKuch’s guess of 11 minutes remaining, but he isn’t complaining. “ You have to keep alternating your style, I like that a lot,” he says before the team returns to the Tower to collect their first reward: SR-0 Swiftriver.
Those who watched the Rift exhibition a few weeks back know that nKuch and Flamesword are no slouches when it comes to the Crucible. The second segment of the quest is their time to shine. After outfitting their characters for PvP, they’re ready to jump into Rift. To complete this section of the quest, they must each pick up the Spark in Rift, score by taking the Spark to the enemy Rift, and win three Rift matches. The second stage of the quest requires them to form a fireteam and jump into any Crucible mode together, win three matches, and complete a match where someone on the fireteam has the highest score in the game.
Completing both stages with ease, Flamesword and team return to the tower for their next reward: the Joyride Ghost.
They might have struggled earlier, but it wasn’t going to get any easier from there. To unlock the final reward at the end of the quest, they’ll need to impress Amanda Holliday one last time. To do so, they’ll have to complete two last steps. First, they’ll need to complete a modified version of “The Sunless Cell” Strike at Level 40, destroying six shriekers and taking out a specific Hallowed Thrall, the Unstable Core. After doing this, they’ll be put back on the timer with 18 minutes to complete the Shield Brothers Strike at Level 40.
Eager to receive their reward, they begin The Sunless Cell. Deep within the Dreadnaught, they find themselves surrounded by Wizards and Shadow Thrall, which teleport and replicate to increase their numbers. The Dreadnaught is still unfamiliar territory for them, so traversing large caverns while fighting off high-level Strike enemies is no easy task. After clearing out one massive area of enemies, they move on through the Dreadnaught and immediately encounter the Shriekers mentioned in the quest. They begin firing at the wall of Shriekers, but realize that they aren’t doing much damage as a single Guardian. Calls begin to ring out. “Far right. Shoot far right!” yells Flamesword. They focus their fire and take out the first Shrieker before clearing out the entire room. First part of the mission: complete. Now they just need to find this Hallowed Thrall and complete the Strike.
They drop through a hole in the floor, similar to the beginning of Crota’s End and quickly realize that they can’t see much. Shrouded in darkness, the Strike boss appears and he’s not messing around. Mag quickly gets downed in one hit. Flamesword comes to his rescue, only to realize that the boss is no longer there, but is teleporting around the room.
“I thought the first time doing Crota’s End was terrifying, but at least there was some light there,” says Mag, attempting to locate the boss. After they cross him, the team begins to pile up some damage on him, only for him to teleport behind them. The Hallowed Thrall appears among the hordes of enemies and they focus fire on him to make sure the quest is completed. He is quickly downed and they focus fire on the boss, taking him out through constant communication of his location. They survived, but there’s still one step left to finish the quest.
They ready up the Shield Brothers Strike, as seen in a recent Bungie livestream, and the timer starts. This time around, nKuch and the rest of the fireteam were watching the clock like hawks, realizing that these weren’t quick seven minute strikes, but that they’d need every second if they wanted to complete it in time.
Waves of Cabal rush toward them, but they quickly dispatch of them using the new weapons found in The Taken King. Through coordinated supers and quick team revives, they find themselves at the Tank boss with plenty of time left on the clock. They’re quickly overrun and start to go down, with only nKuch up to revive them and keep the team alive. Time is starting to wind down. He revives them and they focus fire on the tank’s thrusters. By the time they get through the tank, there’s just nine minutes left. Half their time, gone.
They approach the Shield Brothers, confident and ready to fight. As is tradition, Mag is taken out almost immediately again. They laugh and revive him before focusing fire on the first brother. Having watched Bungie’s stream, they have their strategy down pretty well, but a Level 40 strike is no joke. They get the first brother down to half health, forcing him to retreat. The second brother emerges and makes quick work of Flamesword and nKuch. Mag rallies hard and brings the team back in action. They force the second brother to retreat, but with just 4:30 left on the clock.
Both brothers attack. “Focus on the small one,” says nKuch. “Draw him towards you, Flame, and I’ll put in the snipes.”
“Melee him and I’ll super,” replies Flamesword. The first brother goes down and they start focusing their efforts on the second brother. Time is almost up. “We have time. We can do this,” he says as they fire on him with less than two minutes left. With just 1:30 left, they finally defeat him and complete the strike.
Even as some of the top players in the world, they found themselves coming right down to the wire in the timed quest. “The time-based element is like a whole new world,” says Flamesword. “It makes you use your head, you can’t just brute-force the strikes.” nKuch agreed, “That’s going to be challenging for some people. They’ll definitely have to do it more than once. That’s pretty cool.”
They return to Amanda Holliday to complete their quest and receive their final reward: a consumable item that upgrades the SR-0 Swiftriver to the SR-1 Swiftriver, an even-faster version of the sparrow received at the beginning of the quest.
With their newly upgraded SR-1 Swiftriver Sparrow in tow, they head to Mars to test it out on some of the planet’s rolling hills. Almost immediately, nKuch boosts off the top of a mountain, flips so many times that he loses control, and explodes upon impact with the ground.
Testing the speed, they set up a race. “3 … 2 … 1 … GO,” Flamesword counts down as he and Mag take off. “It’s so fast, and you can do tricks. That’s cool. It’s way quicker than the Tumbler,” says nKuch.
With that, they ride off into the proverbial sunset and their time with the Red Bull Quest is over.
Starting Sept. 15 with the release of The Taken King, you can get your hands on the Red Bull Quest. Redeem a code under specially-marked Destiny Edition Red Bull cans at RedBullQuest.com to unlock the quest in-game.
Get to work on those Sparrow tricks, Guardians. The Taken King and Red Bull Quest are coming.
For more Destiny coverage, follow @RedBullESPORTS on Twitter.
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