Xur Week Four: 10/6/17

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Happy Xursday!  Since this seems to be a fairly popular feature I will be doing a run down of what Xur has this week.  Since the Flashpoint is in the European Dead Zone he is found over in the winding cove area.  For characters who have yet to hit 20… you can get there by just going west out of town and winding along the coastline…  but in truth I would warn against doing this because his items degrade in power based on your level.  This time Xur is a little tricky given that the previous three weeks he has been in some sort of a sheltered area, and this time he is up on top of a cliff that you are going to have to do a bit of wall jumping to get to.  Another thing to watch out for… the area he is in is patrolled by a group of dregs on pikes.  Additionally there may or may not be a public event active at the drop zone in the winding cove area.  Essentially this is probably the most dangerous area Xur has been so far, just be careful if you AFK because Vandals could in fact hit me with their wire rifles from where he is located.

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First off he is offering the Vigilance Wing, a weapon I am extremely excited to see because I have yet to get one from an engram.  This is an odd Osiris themed weapon that you occasionally see in your “killed by” notes in the crucible and now that I see the perks I understand why.  The exotic perk for this weapon is Harsh Truths which does several things.  Firstly it fires a five round burst which is a bit unique because most pulse rifles fire three round bursts, and hakke weapons are the outlier with four round bursts.  A five round burst for reference means a single precision burst kills a second tier mob like a Vandal.  The second part of the perk is that when a nearby ally is killed you gain health regeneration and increased movement speed…  something that happens constantly in the crucible.  Seeing as I just literally got this weapon today I have yet to take it into the crucible so I am uncertain how much difference this makes.  I did however run around the EDZ and complete a public event to get a feel for it and my opinions are a bit mixed.  Statwise it is probably most similar to the Lincoln Green, with a very odd 530 rounds per minute rate of fire and surprisingly high 33 impact for that rpm.  Traditionally the high rate of fire weapons have an extremely poor range but this one has 68 and a medium range sight to go with it making it fairly decent in longer range engagements.  The other side of the coin though is the unique sun themed sight means it is extremely annoying for close range fights.  The last stand perk plays well with harsh truths in that it gives the weapon improved performance if you are the last member of a fire team.  It seems like it is well worth the legendary shards if for no reason other than to get the unlock and a good Kinetic pulse rifle is a bit of a rare item to find.

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The Insurmountable Skullfort is another of a list of items that has returned from Destiny 1.  Its bizarre because almost all of them were considered second tier items, which makes me wonder if the devs were simply unhappy with the amount of play time that they got and carried them over to potentially give them some new life.  Transfusion Matrix causes kills with arc melee abilities to trigger health regeneration and restore melee energy.  What this means in play is that there is a really interesting build you can do with a Striker Titan where you have near 100% up-time of the insanely powerful arc shoulder charge ability.  This is literally the only reason to use this exotic and is probably well worth the pick up so that you have it in case you ever want to try that build out.  Personally since I love my Auto Rifles… I am likely to almost always use the Actium War Rig because it benefits whatever spec I might be in at that time and doesn’t hamper me from switching freely.

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Nezarec’s Sin is another really limited use case item because its exotic perk does one thing.  Abyssal Extractors causes void damage kills to increase your ability energy recharge rate.  I feel like the primary use case for this item is going to be in the crucible and specifically in control or similar modes where you are wanting to stand your ground or camp out a location.  This is of course a useful for Void warlocks, but also is triggered by void weapon damage.  This means you could in theory build a specific layout with a void energy and a void heavy and be constantly dropping your healing puddle on the ground.  I ran this item for a bit of a time and the ability recharge rate increase is significant.  Overall however I tend to prefer Eye of Another World that highlights priority targets and has a flat increase to the recharge rate of melee, grenade and your ability.  The helm however is well worth a pick up in case you really need to be the one providing an on demand puddle.

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And we have our very first repeat item of Xur in Destiny 2.  Foetracer helm was offered in week two and my feelings are probably much the same.  The exotic perk is Relentless Tracker which causes any mob you scope in on to acquire an X target that you can see through obstacles.  Additionally marked targets like this take additional damage when they get to low health range.  This is a generally useful item and I am sure there are specific cases where it is extremely solid especially for low health target damage.  Personally I am a huge fan of Knucklehead Radar because I like having my radar up while I aim down sight regardless of the weapon I am using.  The Foetracer however is probably a much better damage option because at least it does something to increase your output.  I didn’t pick these up in week two, but I did this week largely to get a collection unlock.  Probably a solid item if you are needing a reasonable exotic to use.

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All in all I feel like this was a pretty solid week for Xur.  I’ve been wanting to play with the Vigilance Wing as it is an exotic that I had never seen from an engram, so I am super happy about him offering that.  The two weapons you can get from an engram that I am still missing is the Sweet Business Gatling gun auto rifle, and The Prospector grenade launcher.  As far as armor pieces go… there are still a sizeable number of unlocks on each character that I will hopefully see Xur offering in coming weeks.  I am mildly annoyed that on week four we are already getting duplicates, which reminds me all too much of the number of times we have seen weapons like the Hawkmoon or Last Word being sold.  What are your thoughts?  Are you impressed with what Xur has been offering or are they all old news to you by the time you can get your hand on them?  I am interested in your thoughts.  One last thing… I decided to start including Destiny 1 Xur in these posts because I feel sorta bad about that incarnation stuck in a game that people aren’t hyped about anymore.

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In Destiny 1 Xur is located in the Vanguard area of the Tower.  I am not going to go into a lot of detail on this, but the major items he has to offer…

  • Suros Regime Auto Rifle – 23 Strange Coins
  • ACD/0 Feedback Fence Titan Arms – 13 Strange Coins
  • Celestial Nighthawk Hunter Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • The Stag Warlock Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • Legacy Primary Weapon Engram – 31 Strange Coins
  • Monte Carlo Weapon Bundle with Superspy Ornament – 30 Strange Coins and 25 Silver Dust
  • Zhalo Supercell with Not A Toy Ornament – 30 Strange Coins and 25 Silver Dust

Leveling Addendum

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A few days ago I wrote a post entitled “How I Should Have Done It” where I attempted to lay out the way I plan on leveling with the release of the PC version.  Today I am going to talk a little bit about a brief addendum on how I should have been pushing my light levels all this time.  Yes I realize it is now called “power” but after three years of the original Destiny I just cannot bring myself to say that.  Functionally for me I have one class that I care about significantly more than the others… and that is Titan.  I am what you would call a Titan main, and some other players may or may not have similar inclinations.  After 270 the only real way you make forward momentum is through the weekly milestones and the Luminous Engrams that they drop.  I am running at least three milestones on each of my three characters, and as a result I am slowly ratcheting up the light levels of them all.  However I noticed a pattern…  I would start out on my Titan and then slowly work my way through my other two characters and the gains from each would help push up the next character.  What I should have done is started doing these every week in effectively reverse order of preference.  That way my Titan main gets the maximum benefit from the other two characters Luminous Engrams.  Instead what is happening currently is my last string character… usually my hunter… winds up reaping the bounty of potential light level increases because I wind up handing her all of my weapons that got upgraded while pushing the other two characters.

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The other thing that I wanted to talk a little bit about this morning is some more of that “Dark Math” that I spoke off some weeks ago.  This is one of the things that drives me insane with Destiny 2 is that the math doesn’t always work out like it should.  Part of the confusion is that the light level on your character sheet is a lie.  What I mean by this is that all of those legendary mods that you may or may not have in your gear are artificially inflating the total.  You can use a third party tool like Destiny Item Manager to see what your “base” power level is, but generally speaking it is 5 light lower than what is showing in your character sheet.  So right now on my character sheet I show 301 light, and in DIM it is telling me that my actual base level is 296.4.  When things get really confusing is that drops don’t work entirely like advertised.  In theory as I have seen it explained it should work something like this…

  • Blue/Purple Drops/Engrams/Faction Packages — These should drop -5 light levels from whatever your current base power level is.
  • Exotic Engrams — These should drop at base light level +5 so effectively somewhere around the same level as shown on character sheet.
  • Luminous Engrams/Powerful Rewards — these should drop base light level +10 or 5 over what is shown on your character sheet.

I’ve been told that the Exotic Quests that you can complete reward an item that is 18 levels over your base light, but I didn’t throw that in the bullet point list because I don’t with 100% accuracy that this is actually a thing.  The problem is that these are largely just guidelines…  and you are going to see +/- 1 level when actually getting gear to drop.  For example the above shown engram is decoding at 291 as it should…  296 base light minus 5  gives you 291.  However all last night I got handfuls of 290 items instead of 291, and each time I have been at a plateau it sort of fluctuates back and forth between the number it should be and just slightly lower than that number.  Its the fudge factor that I find maddening, because no matter how locked down you think you have the formulate there is always this chaotic nature to it.  Side note…  I am superstitious and feel that Tyra Karn gives me better loot if I go back to the farm and decode my engrams there.

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One of the big positives of the night is that I managed to get my first max light item.  The only problem is… it is kinda a crappy one.  I mean I am not a huge fan of the grenade launchers in Destiny 2, and while there are a few really good ones like Play of the Game…  most of them are awkward to actually get to perform.  Fighting Lion is one of those awkward to get to perform ones… and even worse it is by some quirk of exotics an energy slot weapon and not a heavy.  Sure it is cool to have the damage potential of a heavy weapon in your energy slot…  but I like energy weapons.  When I am not rocking either The Number or Uriel’s Gift I miss it horribly…  so I am largely holding onto this only because it is the highest available light item for that slot I have.  I have yet to do the Luminous engrams on my Warlock and I am hoping maybe just maybe I get another max light weapon while doing that.  I really need to get some nightfalls in this week because I could use the extra chance at decent gear that they offer.

Dead Orbit Won?

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The guardians have spoken I suppose and told us that they don’t care about cool weapons nor do they care about the best looking gear…  and instead they care about…  honestly I am not sure what?  Back in Destiny 1 folks went dead orbit because they had the coolest looking emblems, including one with a skull and crossed axes.  Additionally the logo for dead orbit itself is a weird simplified skull.  I guess this makes them the edgelord faction in spite of actually having a faction called Future War Cult.  The problem with FWC however is that their gear generally looks like a bowl of fruity pebbles, but at least in my case it has sort of begrudgingly grown on me over time.  I too was one of the Dead Orbit legion during Destiny 1 for a very long time, largely because I thought they had the coolest weapons…   Year 2 Hung Jury was fucking amazing.  However in Year 3…  FWC pulled ahead of them and had a ton of really awesome to use weapons.  Mix this with the fact that I had to swap to them to get my No Time to Explain weapon quest wrapped up, and I just sorta got used to looking like a Nascar driver.  Why I stayed however is because Lakshmi-2 is hands down the coolest faction leader in the tower.  Go Team Exo!

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To be fair… I pledged a different faction on each character so I would have access to whatever weapon happened to win.  I think that was the part of this whole equation that people forgot about…  we were ultimately competing for a weapon.  Thanks to Dead Orbit winning we got a weird weapon that does not stack up well against other offerings in the form of the Haunted Earth.  This weapon is effectively in the same fire rate group as the Song of Justice VI that I talked about on Monday, so it is an extremely slow firing and as a result heavy hitting scout rifle aka 150 rounds per minute and 67 impact.  It has considerably shorter range than the Song of Justice….  with 70 verses the Song’s 89.  Where this gun gets a little odd is in the alignment of its perks.  Firstly you have a set of sight options that are largely going to be personal preference…  I opted to go with the default IS 5 Circle, but you can also get a longer zoom red dot scope.  From there you have the choice of Tactical Mag or High Caliber rounds.  Generally speaking I would want the ability to stagger and go with High Caliber, but the scout already has what feels like a small magazine and dropping from 13 to 12 just feels lousy but potentially worth it.  The last perk is the real head scratcher in the form of Field Prep…  which increases the ammo reserves of a weapon and causes it to reload significantly faster while crouched.  If you can get used to using this… it is a fairly nice perk especially given how slow the reload of the weapon feels normally.

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The curse of Haunted Earth however is that it is functionally a slightly slower and harder hitting version of the already existing Call to Serve scout rifle, and when you compare the two it just ends up being the universally worse option.  Call to Serve is slightly faster firing in the 180 rounds per minute space, and as a result sacrifices a barely noticeable 5 impact to land at 62.  It does however sacrifice a lot of range taking it from the 70 of Haunted Earth down to 47.  It however picks up a ton of stability and handling at 46 and 60 respectively as well almost 30 more points of aim assistance.  All of this however is just icing because the reason why you choose Call to Serve over Haunted Earth are the perks.  Firstly you have a choice of two options to bump up the Magazine size, however in truth there is only one option here… so you want to take Appended Mag for 17 rounds which does nothing to slow down your reload speed unlike Extended Mag that only gives you one more bullet.  The best perk however is Triple tap which causes you to gain a 4th phantom round every time you land 3 precision shots in a row.  I talked about this perk a little bit in the review of the Dire Promise hand cannon.  Effectively if you can land streaks of precision damage you can fire 22 shots before needing to reload, which is great in situations where you are burning something down that is effectively a static target like bosses often are.  Basically there are no reasons why I would ever choose to use Haunted Earth over Call to Serve or even Song of Justice VI.  So gratz Dead Orbit…  you won and earned all of us another piece of vault clutter.  If you like the gun however then by all means use it… but I have a feeling you will be swapping it out the moment you get something better.

Faction Rally 1: DO Edition

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Once again by the time this post comes out it is going to likely be of zero use to anyone, because if I am understanding the Faction Rally correctly…  it would have just ended and we will be entering the phase where a winner will be chosen.  I am doing something super dangerous in that I am staging this content on the weekend to post Monday and Tuesday.  So by the time this actually goes live we should know which weapon we have available.  I took the route of choosing a different faction for each character, and this has also given me the opportunity to collect all twelve unique faction based drops that are available from packages.  Yesterday I wrote about New Monarchy, and last week about Future War Cult… so today is the time to talk about everyone’s favorite chromatically challenged faction…  Dead Orbit.  This faction will always have a special place in my heard due to the fact that the majority of my time playing Destiny… I was pledged to Arach Jalaal desperately hunting that cool emblem with the axes.  In Destiny 2…  I was swayed by just how damned good the weapon offering was in the Future War Cult camp.  That said there is at least one gem in this lineup, but your mileage may vary.

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Let me get this out of the way first.  I do not like sidearms…  they have always felt like crappier faster firing versions of hand cannons.  In Destiny 1 the only time I broke one out and used it…  was when I was working on a bounty that required me to get X number of kills with a specific damage type weapon that was not Arc.  Even then the only reason why I used a Sidearm was simply because of the extreme ammo reserves they tended to have.  With Destiny 2 they introduced a new class of Sidearm that burst fires…  which quickly caused me to start ignoring every single firing gun out there.  So needless to say the Eleventh Hour has a bunch of strikes against it out of the gate, but in truth it does have a few things going for it. This weapon is essentially a fast firing low impact weapon…  that has an insane upwards kick if you are firing it as fast as you can pull the trigger.  That said if you are slowing down and placing your shots a little more carefully this can two precision shot most minions and with a 17 shot magazine… you can pour through a bunch.  Where this starts to become useful is the fact that it has Rampage perk giving you a stacking damage buff each time you take down a target up to three.  I could see this being extremely good for clearing out thralls or something of the sort.  The problem I have though is that there are just dozens of energy slot weapons that I would rather use than this.  If you enjoy using it then by all means do so…  it just doesn’t really have a place in my world and I will likely shard it once I have finished writing this review.

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This is a fairly bizarre shotgun offering, and I am going to try and unpack why.  First off this is an extremely hard hitting, slow rate of fire weapon with abysmal range and reload speeds that are amplified by the poor handling stat.  What it does well is hit really hard…  a single time.  So if you think you can one-shot a target with this shotgun then it is probably going to do a great job of it.  Now if you combine the tactical mag perk… with the field prep perk the equation starts to change a bit and while crouched you can reload this weapon extremely fast.  Now initially I thought… maybe this works while sliding but after thirty minutes of trying to make this work it seems like you just straight up cannot reload while in the slide motion. So functionally in order to do this in the heat of battle I would probably slide behind some cover, reload quickly and then get back into the action.  Where the gun shines however is that it has a pretty deep well to draw from in that if you choose specific perks you can have 6 in the magazine and 12 in reserve.  For PVE this seems like a perfectly reasonable shotgun… but for PVP I think it is going to lose out every time to one of the full auto options.  The best part though is the look and the sound it makes when it fires a shell.

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I feel like Pulse Rifles are just in a really awkward place in Destiny 2.  They have always lived in this weird place between scout rifles and auto rifles… and in the current meta both are undeniably in better places than this weird hybrid.  Three Graves currently lives in the slowest rate of fire and highest impact flavor of pulse rifle, and it brings with it some really nice stability.  What it severely lacks however is handling and reload speed…  giving the gun a really sluggish feel as you shift between hip and ads modes.  The outlaw perk can help with the reload speed because it decreases reload time after a precision kill…  which is relatively easy to do given how much damage this thing puts out and how stable it is.  The thing that never really gets better though is the handling… so for me to feel comfortable with this weapon I would need to slot in some mods to improve that.  The biggest obstacle this weapon has is the fact that I have Innaugural Address the raid pulse…  that just feels better to use.

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Tons of players love The Old Fashioned, in fact it has shown up on a ton of the top X weapons in Destiny 2 lists.  I am not one of those players, and when I first saw Dire Promise in the drop list for Dead Orbit I was not extremely hopeful.  There are however a bunch of tweaks that have been made to this weapon that make it feel vastly different than the weapon that is so commonly sharded by me that I didn’t even have one available to directly compare against.  Functionally you are losing a little impact and range, and gaining a ton of stability and handing as well as a tiny bit of reload speed as well as 2 bullets in the magazine.  As far as perks… you are losing Kill Clip and gaining one of my favorites from Destiny 1…  Triple Tap which is shockingly hard to find on a D2 hand cannon.  If you feel like you can sacrifice a little stability… you can even push this gun into the 13 in the magazine club.  This means that if you can consistently hit precision shots…  you could in theory fire 17 78 impact shots without reloading… meaning that is a ton of damage in a very short period of time.  While I doubt this is going to dislodge either Better Devils or True Prophecy as my Hand Cannon of choice…  this is definitely going to be something I swap to situationally.

Now that you have seen all of the weapons available from the Faction Rally this go round… what are your thoughts?  Do you like me feel like Future War Cult had the strongest offerings or are you thinking I short changed one of the other factions?

Faction Rally 1: NM Edition

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Admittedly by the time I post this it will be of extremely limited benefit given that as far as I understand the Faction Rally should in theory reset on Tuesday.  For the unindoctrinated the Faction Rally is this event happening currently in Destiny 2 that involved choosing one of the three factions from Destiny 1 and representing them.  The goal of the event is to collect tokens while doing almost any activity in the game, and then turn these in 20 at a time to the faction leaders.  For my Titan I decided to rep Future War Cult, and I wrote a post last Thursday about the weapons that were available.  Each faction is offering four unique weapons from their packages and I thought it might be cool to attempt to get them all and do similar write-ups.  Now I had done this a week ago when the faction rally went live… it might be of some significant benefit.  Now however I am largely just doing for the fun of it, and it seems useful info in the long run.

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We are going to start off this New Monarchy edition with what was ultimately the hardest weapon for me to actually get to drop.  This weapon has gone through a name change since it first started dropping occasionally from Cayde-6 treasure caches to when the Rally proper began.  The Song of Justice VI  formerly the Sentencer IV is a nearly max range high impact scout rifle that trades these stats for really low stability and handling.  It is also relatively slow firing in the 150 rounds per minute class until the more popular and broader 200 rounds per minute class represented most noticeably by the MIDA Multi Tool.  It lives in a really weird place, but after spending some time using it while doing patrols and such I can see its charm.  It will probably never take the spot of my Manannan SR4 largely because I love explosive payload more than I can rightly express with words…  it does have a few of its own nice perks.  Armor Piercing rounds is extremely nice for destroying mob shields, which I have not seen on that many weapons so far.  Additionally it has auto loading holster which causes the weapon to reload itself while holstered, making this work extremely well in situations where you are not using this as your primary weapon.  I could see it working nicely on strikes when you are using an energy auto rifle as your primary weapon, and just swapping to this any time you need to snipe something at a distance.

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I am a huge proponent of the Auto Rifle and have loved them since the first moment I got one in my hands in Destiny 1.  In Year Three one of my favorite weapons was the Suros made Genesis Chain, which was a slow rate of fire high impact Auto Rifle…  that looked valuely like this weapon.  I got my hopes up and then they were quickly dashed when I saw what archetype this weapon fit into.  The 600 RPM bracket already has a few really good competitors in it and I think the problem is…  this gun just isn’t nearly as good as either of them.  The key problem is the lack of stability… this gun kicks weirdly and often times unpredictably making it significantly harder to control than Scathelocke or Ghost Primus that both live in this same archetype.  Now if you do not have access to either of those weapons… then sure this is a good option and once you get used to its quirks you can make it perform fairly well.  The biggest problem however is there just is no viable reason to use this over one of the other weapons I mentioned…  other than it just looks aesthetically cool.  However if that is really your thing… then grab a Martyrs Make and slap a New Monarchy Shader on it… because you are going to have a much more enjoyable experience.

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Up until now New Monarchy has been the tale of weapons that are just flat out outclassed by other options.  I think however we are going to finish strong starting with the Royal Dispensation II.  Sub-Machineguns for me at least are the new shotgun… when you absolutely need to wreck someone up close and personal much the same way as I used to do with my beloved Invective.  There are basically two competing categories the 600 rpm class and the 900 rpm class.  In the grand scheme of things I tend to prefer the slightly slower rate of fire because they are much more controllable and easier to keep trained on the precision damage markers.  That said this gun is shockingly stable for as fast as it is firing, and when combined with the Grave Robber perk…  gives you some really up close and personal power.  When I run a submac it is because I am getting up in peoples faces and the fact that if I get a melee kill it reloads part of my magazine… means I can stay there and be effective for longer.  The gotcha however… is with 900 rpm and 33 shots in the magazine…  this thing unloads extremely quickly.  This gun is effectively the Foggy Notion with slightly better handling speed and slightly worse reload speeds…  but that little tweak seems to make the gun feel so much better to use.  Well worth holding onto and playing with to see if you like it, because at the end of the day that is all that really matters.

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Up until this gun entered my life I carried around a pretty heavy crush on Hawthorne’s Field-Forged Shotgun…  because Destiny 1 spoiled me on insisting that if I was using a shotgun that it had to have full auto.  I was honestly shocked that I had not encountered anything else in game that seemed to have it…  and then I saw this weapon.  One of the big problems with the Hawthorne shotgun is the rate of fire…  not that it is too slow but it is way the hell too fast.  I cannot count the number of times I have fired shots into the void because I couldn’t pick my finger up off the trigger fast enough to stop from firing one round too many.  The Unification VII fixes this with its 55 rounds per minute rate of fire as compared to the frankly too fast 90 on Hawthorne.  Additionally we gain a significantly higher impact per shot and slight range increase…  at the loss of some reload speed and one round in the magazine.  What cannot be properly accounted for however is just how badass this weapon looks and how good it feels.  The weapon has High Caliber rounds, which causes it to stagger mobs which is always going to be useful.

I am curious how you feel about the New Monarchy offering this time around?  It has been leaked that each faction has a significantly deeper pool of available weapons than these four, so it is going to be interesting to see what arrives each time this event runs.

 

Xur Week Three: 9/29/17

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Since this is becoming a regular thing I am doing…  Happy Xursday!  This time around he is located on Io given that it is the flashpoint planet this week.  You can find him in the Giant’s Scar area of the planet in a cave off the lefthand side of the path coming from the fast travel location.  Once again the mobs seem not to be willing to follow you into that cave so you can duck inside to relative safety.  This is going to be the week where we see if Xur really does stick around until the reset, or if that was just a bug since we have had a patch since last week.  There was no specific mention of Xur but as is always the case with MMOs…  patches often times have a bunch of unannounced changes.  Lets get into the item rundown.

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Starting off we have the weapon Riskrunner, and for those who played the beta this was the exotic that Warlocks got from Lord Shaxx during the homecoming mission.  It is a really unique feeling weapon given that it fires what looks like an eruption of lightning.  As far as overall usefulness…  it is extremely situational.  The special ability Arc Conductor causes you to deal more damage and gain increased arc resistance…  upon taking any arc damage.  While in this overcharged state, getting kills with the weapon add additional time to the buff.  Without this buff the weapon is largely just another legendary tier sub-machine gun and is quite honestly outclassed by weapons like the MIDA Mini-Tool.  However if you can somehow be regularly taking arc damage…  then you can churn through encounters with this gun and it becomes a formidable beast.  Now if you just like the player fantasy of firing a lightning gun… then screw all of this and use it because it just looks badass.

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Last weekend I leveled my hunter at least in part to be able to take proper Xursday shots rather than swiping them off the interwebs.  As a result I am leading off with the Hunter item this week, the Mechaneer’s Tricksleeves.  These are mobility/resistance arms that have the perk Spring-Loaded Mounting which increases the ready time and reload speed of sidearms.  These are one of the choices you can make during the main story quest, and I thought they were really limited in their utility.  You have to love sidearms an awful lot to spend your exotic slot on an item that improves that one weapon.  That said… there are a fair number of really good sidearms in the game like Last Hope that seems to tear people up in the crucible.  I personally do not like sidearms at all… but I did pick these up this week simply for the unlock.  There is just not a lot more I can say about these… if you love sidearms or you also want the unlock… go for it.

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The Titan armor is one that I have gotten several times from exotics… and keep infusing away to increase my power level.  That is not due to the fact that it is not a good piece of armor but instead just to play the increasing your level game.  For whatever reason I am just not feeling the Sunbreaker Titan as much as I was in Destiny 1, that said… if you do this is an amazing item.  Functionally the perk is giving us back “Simmering Flames” from Destiny 1.  Sunfire Furnace causes all of your solar abilities to recharge faster while you are sitting on a fully charged super, which in truth I seem to do more often than not because I am looking for the idea time to unleash it.  That means more solar grenades and more solar melee abilities which are really the bread and butter of play for me personally.  I went ahead and picked this back up because while I had this unlocked it was at 205 light…  and I had shards to burn.  I might play with it a bit and determine if it is useful enough to start playing more Sunbreaker.

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Do you “Gotta Go Fast” and “Faster Faster Fa Fa Fa Fa Faster”?  These are a weird item that I have used quite a bit largely because they were the highest light boots I had on my Warlock for a good long while.  The perk Strange Protractor causes your sprint to move a heck of a lot faster…  like it is noticeably faster.  While sprinting it also causes your energy weapons to be automatically reloaded.  This again is one of those situationally good items.  I found it really useful in the crucible since I tend to mostly use Uriel’s Gift… and it also meant sprint cancelling a reload caused me to get the full reload.  If you greatly favor energy weapons or just want to go really fast… then these might be the boots for you.  Personally my exotic armor slot goes to Eye of Another World which highlights priority targets and increases the regeneration speed of my melee, grenades and class ability.  If these sound like great boots for you however pick them up, or at least get them so you have them unlocked in your collections.

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What are your thoughts?  Did Xur bring something you really wanted or did I completely miss the special utility of a given item when I talk about them?  I’d love to hear your feedback about this weeks offerings and in truth if anyone is actually finding this a useful thing for me to do on Friday mornings.

Faction Rally 1: FWC Edition

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Last night I went to bed at 7:30 pm…  and wound up sleeping the entire night other than a brief bit of time at 3 am when I had to struggle a bit to get back to sleep.  This is almost supernatural for me because traditionally I struggle to get six hours of contiguous sleep…  let alone ten hours.  The difference here is that myself and my wife have apparently been coming down with something.  I’ve felt like crap for a few days now, and last night I found out that my wife has all of the same symptoms.  In theory we have some sort of a bug that has been floating around, but regardless when she said that she could go to bed at 7:30…  I put away my Destiny 2 and decided to join her.  It was probably a good call since sleep tends to heal, or at least makes it seem like your body is sorting out the defense properly while you aren’t diverting system resources to other activities.  Right now in Destiny 2 an event called the Faction Rally is taking place where you can earn favor with the classic factions from the first game…  Dead Orbit, Future War Cult and New Monarchy.  My allegiance went to the house that had more weapons that I wanted from the loot packages… and quite frankly Future War Cult has the best weapons.  This morning I thought I would have a little show and tell…  since I have collected all four weapons available.

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I won’t lie.. this is the primary reason why I chose Future War Cult.  I absolutely love the Uriel’s Gift energy auto rifle, and this is effectively its higher stability cousin.  You gain that additional stability at the cost of the having high-caliber rounds all of the time.  For PVP purposes this is probably not a great tradeoff, but you do at least have high-impact reserves which is the d2 equivalent of glass half full.  I do however love the fact that this gun has ricochet rounds, which makes fire fights in closed spaces a little more deadly.  I will likely stick with Uriel, but I do still love this gun and will be breaking it out every now and then.

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Another gun I was super pumped about was this scout rifle, which is a cousin to my favorite scout in the game…  Manannan SR4.  Once again it is a situational choice because you are giving up explosive rounds which are insanely good for fights with lightweight swarms of mobs like thralls.  What you are gaining in its place however is Rampage which gives you a stacking damage boost for each kill that you make with the gun and stacks to three.  If you are in a situation where there are phases where several minion type mobs come out at once…  you can easily oneshot them with precision shots with this weapon and then use your rampage stacks on the boss.  I’ve been playing with this on the captain packs on the rig, and taking down several dregs before just shredding the captain and it works nicely.  Again however this is all situational… the two guns are very similar and you might need to carry around both depending on which you actually need.

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This is effectively a high damage lower stability version of the Better Devils hand cannon that I already loved.  What makes this gun special however is the Timed Payload perk, that causes an explosion a second after hitting the target that knocks it back or at least flinches it and does additional damage.  You will find yourself doing silly things like hitting dregs in the body just to watch the following explosion kill them as their corpse gets thrown a bit.  While the gun is lower stability than Better Devils… I really didn’t find much difference between the two and keeping them on target while pouring a lot of precision rounds into a boss.  In truth there is rarely an occasion where I would not choose this over Better Devils…  largely because if someone is hiding behind a corner these rounds will end up causing at least a little splash damage on the target if you shoot the wall.  The only real weak point is the 11 shot magazine, as opposed to the 13 of Better Devils.

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This one I have not really used because I never liked Sniper Rifles much in Destiny 1… and I like them even less when it means I have to give up using a weapon I do like in Destiny 2.  Overall the gun is a little low impact for my tastes, but I remember Omolon snipers being really stable and fun to use in Destiny 1 so I imagine this will also be the same.  This is essentially a version of The Mornin’ Comes but you are sacrificing Outlaw and Ricochet Rounds for Field Prep and Steady Rounds.  In truth its a toss up…  because if you are in a situation where you can crouch while firing this weapon you are going to have significantly faster reload time and deeper ammo reserves.  Steady rounds is just going to tamp down the recoil a bit and make it easier to hold on target…  so for a camper this is going to be the better weapon.  I am not one of those people so it is likely going to collect dust in my vault.

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Lastly I wanted to show this off.  The raid apparently had a repeat performance and cleared the Leviathan in one night this time, so huge gratz to the TQMB raid team!  As a result I had an engram waiting for me this morning on Hawthorne and wound up getting the weapon I really wanted to play with.  I have heard great things about the raid auto rifle, now I just need to find something to infuse into it.  Essentially the Raid and Trials engrams provide a weapon that is either 10 power or 15 power…  and in this case I lucked out and got one with a legendary mod already slotted into it making life easier when it comes to infusing.  I am sure at some point in the near future I will talk about my results with this weapon, but just taking a look at it initially it reminds me a bit of the overall stats of my Year 2 Haakon’s Hatchet.

How I Should Have Done It

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This is a post I had planned on making for awhile, and now that we are a little less than a month away from the PC launch…  I figure the timing works fairly well.  At this point I have leveled and geared three characters through Destiny 2 on the PS4 and during that time I have sorted out some of the things that work and some of the things that don’t.  My first trip through any game is a meandery mess as I let myself get distracted by every little bauble that comes across my path.  Quite honestly…  this is fine because I enjoy the hell out of that first trip.  If you also like to sometimes revel in being inefficient…  then by all means please ignore anything I am about to write.  However more than anything this is my game plan for how I intend on leveling during the PC release and how I intend to claw my way back to the relative positive I currently am on the PS4.  This is going to be a much different experience for me than someone starting out in Destiny 2 for the first time.  Not only did I have the experience of playing over 500 hours of the first game… I also now have this bundle of experience playing on the PS4 which I have sorta used like a beta test environment.  When I pulled up my Warlock and Hunter I tested out some of these methods, and have reached a point where I think I am good with a clear path going forward.

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The natural path through the game is to follow the main story quest and then add in as much side content as you can along the way.  My first trip through the game I did all of this and dinged 20 well before finishing the main story arc.  My friends however focused on only the main story and wound up beating the game around level 15 leading them to do a bunch of grinding to open up the end game.  Firstly you have to understand that grinds are more or less fun for me… and Destiny 2 has a grind that is better than any I have seen in a long time in the form of the Heroic Public Events.  Public Events spawn at regular intervals and as you open a planet up you are going to notice that at least one is up at pretty much all times.  Titan the second planet you reach seems to have the best public event grind available, largely because Titan as a whole is very small surface area wise…  but has a bunch of added complexity in the form of overlapping Z axis areas.  There are three public event areas that spawn in the planet…  One in Sirens Watch and two in the sections known as The Rig.  These are either going to be Fallen Weapons Exchange… aka Fallen Walkers or Witches’ Ritual.  Both of these are extremely easy to convert from a normal Public Event to a Heroic, and I highly suggest you check out the guide I posted some days back on how to convert each event.  In addition to public events there are five or six high value target spawns that appear in this relatively small area as well as countless chests and harvestables making Titan an amazingly compact farming destination.

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So my goal come Destiny 2 PC release is to push my way through the European Dead Zone as fast as I can, and then get to Titan.  After a mission or two the planet opens up completely and instead of following the main story…  I am going to farm my little heart out on Titan until I hit level 20.  Now I just did this method on my Hunter that I leveled on Saturday, and through level 10 I was managing to get a full level off of each Heroic Public Event.  From 10 to 20 it took roughly two events per level, but considering you are able to hop back and forth between the events easily this went fast as well.  During the bits of downtime I hunted chests and high value targets…  basically anything that I thought might give me some blue gear drops, glimmer or experience.  Now the reason why I grind to 20 on Titan is that it is extremely fast, but also pushes me into endgame power levels as quick as possible.  I noticed while playing the main story content, that these missions seem to drop a significant number of pieces of gear…  considerably more than just wandering around the open world.  Ultimately the name of the game is trying to get to 260 power as soon as humanly possible from blue drops.  Putting my leveling in on Titan lets me start doing this as I work my way through the rest of the story quest.  The other benefit of this process is that it gives you a nice stack of faction tokens that you can cash in once you actually hit 260…  in order to boost you to 265.

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From there we start to enter the dark territory of the slow endgame grind.  The primary means of jumping over this is going to be utilizing the “powerful gear” quests that are available once a week and give you luminous engrams.  The other primary means of defeating this curve are to find pieces of gear that have legendary mods installed in them.  Hoard these like they are the most precious thing in the universe, because until you get to 280 power your only means of getting them is going to be pure dumb luck from either a random legendary gear drop… or from turning in weapon parts to get packages from Banshee.  Once you have a full set of items with legendary mods… you can begin to start infusing your way to the next goal which is 270.  It is my intent not to turn in any luminous engrams until I have reached 270 on my first character.  This is likely going to mean a bunch of grinding to get items with legendary mods in them, but ultimately I am trying to get as high of power as I can in that first week… and there are limited number of luminous engrams that I can get per character.  You can get one for each of the following activities…

  • Crucible Call to Arms – This has taken between 8 and 10 Crucible matches on average for me.
  • Clan XP – Get 5000 xp… if you follow this method the first one will be a gimme since all of the story missions will count towards this.
  • Flashpoint – Do 3 Heroic Events on the weekly planet…  or 6 regular events or a combination of them.
  • Nightfall – This is not always the easiest of engrams but if you have a group capable worth doing.
  • Raid – This again requires a full team of six players, and is just a bonus to the actual reward which is raid loot.

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The other part of my plan…  is to push up my Hunter and Warlock as quickly as possible… potentially before I even start decoding Luminous Engrams on the Titan.  I would love to be able to keep all three classes at roughly the same gear level so that I functionally get three times the engrams each week.  With the PS4/Xbox One launch there were a bunch of players doing a thing where they created three of exactly the same class so that every piece of gear could transfer to the new character and keep pushing the total power levels higher.  That trick has been officially broken by Bungie because their intent is for us to play individual classes instead of duplicates.  However in my experience after running Titan, Warlock and Hunter together is that the luminous engrams seem to benefit all three.  Sure the armor pieces won’t transfer over, but the weapons absolutely will…  which will allow you to start getting higher gear to drop…  which will allow you to start slowly infusing up the gear you already had on that character.  In truth, once I hit 265ish on the Titan I plan on starting the Warlock and pushing it to 20 as soon as possible then handing over the weapons I have been using on the Titan to help push up the new characters power level faster.  Once again when I get the Warlock to 265…  I plan on doing the same to the Hunter and then and only then once I have a trio of characters…  do I intend to start decoding those luminous engrams.  The piece of knowledge that we have learned since the launch of the PS4 is that you can let those engrams sit on the vendors up to the point of the reset…. and then instead of losing them the game just automatically decodes them for you.  Basically you are at no risk of running into issues by letting them sit there, and waste potential power levels if you decode them too early.

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Ultimately my goal is to exit that first week of Destiny 2 on the PC with a Titan, Warlock and Hunter completely leveled and farm up three sets of luminous engrams.  This might be insane and it might be a hell of a lot of work…  but considering how fast the Warlock and Hunter went…  that initial character seems to be the challenge.  The other benefit I have going into the PC release is that I already know which weapons I like and need to hold onto… and which ones I can shard because I just don’t enjoy whatever it is that weapon is doing.  Similarly I know which pieces of gear I should probably go after on each class, and what talent trees I favor to unlock first.  I carry into this new release a bunch of ancestral knowledge that is going to hopefully make the transition path smoother.  Now everything I said today…  I ultimately suggest you ignore on your first time through the game.  I had this amazing voyage of discovery when I first set forth into the new areas of Destiny 2, and I don’t want to rob anyone else of that experience.  That said…  I have had that moment and I just want to push up characters so I can be ready for everything that the PC release is going to offer.  I’ve had my moment of wandering around in awe of everything… and am ready to buckle down and push like mad to get where I want to be.  My goal is to break the 280 light barrier in that first week, which is going to depend on a lot of luck.  Considering four weeks into the game I am just in the mid 290s…  it is probably going to be a challenge to get there again but one I am ready for.

 

 

 

 

Third Week Summary

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Today is reset day in Destiny 2 and brings a close to the third week of gameplay.  At this point my maximum power on the Titan is 291 and I am really hoping to get some good luck in week four with the luminous engrams.  At this point that is realistically the only way I move the needle forward other than the occasional extremely lucky exotic engram or loot from nightfalls.  This week in particular seems like it is going to be interesting for the Nightfall because there is no way to extend the timer.  The really interesting thing happening in the tower however is the faction rally, where the three faction leaders return and ask you to pledge your loyalty.  The rally itself involves collecting faction tokens for your respective faction in the hopes that at the end of the rally your side has gotten the most.  Most of my clan has chosen to go Dead Orbit… and in truth I think they are likely going to win because at least in Destiny 1 you saw a lot more of those faction emblems than literally anything else.  I personally have been a huge fan of the Future War Cult starting with the No Time to Explain quest line, and in Destiny 2 it is the only faction that has weapons I am extremely interested in.  As a result I went FWC on my Titan main,  New Monarchy on the Warlock and Dead Orbit on the Hunter.  Of the weapons available however…  the only one I have any interest in is the FWC Pulse Rifle with the new version of firefly.

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The real important happenings of the week is that I leveled my Hunter to 20 and wrapped up the main story last night.  Then after doing that I managed to unlock flashpoints and knock that out as well as the clan xp luminous engram.  That means for the week as a whole I finished up a grand total of eight luminous engrams, pushing my total power up slightly across the board.  I am amused at just how fast you can pull up a second or third character.  Functionally what I have done is latched onto a single item from Xur and then all of my higher level weapons from my main.  This has allowed me to get to the 260 or so power level point extremely quickly, and then keep pushing it up by carefully infusion gear.  Similarly this time around I had legendary mods to rely on which is something I didn’t quite have when I was doing this for the warlock.  Granted I don’t have them for every slot, which is why for example I still have some blue boots on the hunter above.  However I feel like I am in a really good place to be going into the faction rally.  Before sitting down to write this post I knocked out a single heroic event on Io and got 8 faction tokens, so I am wondering if we are just going to be flooded with new loot from the faction vendors.  I am perfectly okay with this is that is the case, and I plan on doing a bunch of heroic events tonight to get some of those sweet sweet future war cult weapons.  I am specifically after the omolon auto rifle, because it looks like it might be the same class as my beloved Uriel’s Gift.

Destiny Roegadame

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I had this post that I was contemplating making this morning, but I’ve decided that maybe today is not the right day.  I woke up with a headache that sort of feels like my brain case is trying to split in two…  so it maybe isn’t the best time to be getting into subjects that require a delicate touch.  So instead this morning you are going to get to see some of what I did this weekend over in Destiny 2.  Firstly you get a shot of my current Warlock outfit…  I am in the one in gold and black with the crazy horns.  Now it was announced last week that they nerfed the luminous engrams for multiple characters of the same class.  I am beginning to think that maybe they also nerfed said rewards for ANY characters.  I spent a good deal of time on the Warlock completing the few “easy” engrams…  namely the Weekly Flashpoint (Titan), Clan Experience Reward and Call to Arms Milestone.  The last two line up neatly because you get a predictable 500 xp per crucible match, which helps to chew away at that 5000 xp needed to get the Clan reward.  I held all of the engrams until I had completed all three and then equipped my strongest power gear and turned them in one at a time so I could in theory adjust as needed.  Now when I do this on my Titan I usually see a significant jump in power…  and when I turned in on the Warlock they all for the most part dropped at the same light level as me or maybe one higher.  Ultimately I am not sure if doing multiple luminous engrams per week is really worth it…  but if I can get my Hunter through the main story in time I might try at least one of hers to see if I get the same results.

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That brings me to the fact that I started my hunter this weekend, and wound up deleting my Destiny 1 character and re-rolling as a Female Awoken.  Some interesting things to note…  that even though I deleted my character I got specific story hits as though I was a legacy character.  I am guessing those flags are set at an account level and not a character by character level, so I still got referenced based on my past deeds even though I ultimately deleted my previous hunter.  My Titan being Exo is really the important part of the equation, and the fact that my other two characters were Exos…  was largely due to the fact that there are no beards in Destiny.  Since Hunter is such a nimble and graceful class, I always thought in the back of my head that I probably should have rolled a female character… and in part I am just correcting that original error.  As far as rolling Awoken…  this is the closest I can get in Destiny to having a Roegadame…  which is always the correct choice if you have it.

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This is ultimately a test run for how I am likely going to level when the PC release happens.  I quested my way through the European Dead Zone to unlock Titan, and did the first quest there which unlocks the planet as a whole.  From there I ran public events until I reached 20, which for the first 10 levels took a single event per ding… and afterwards took roughly 2 per.  So if I functionally get to titan around level 5 that means within 25 public events I should be sitting at the level cap.  The reasoning behind this is that you get an awful lot of random gear drops while doing the story content.  Now the specific rewards like Exotics have power limits and will not float up as your level increases…  but all of these random drops absolutely will.  There is a significant part of the leveling process that is going to involve grinding something until you hit 260 light… the cap that you can get to with blue items.  From there you will need a stockpile of faction rewards to get to 265…  and in this case I had a fat stack of Titan tokens to turn in when I got there artificially by equipping the chest I had purchase from Xur and all of my Titan’s weapons.  I started the Hunter around 11 am yesterday afternoon and wound up dinging 20 around 5 pm…  with time between to do laundry and cook and random tasks like that.  Now I just need to finish out the main story, which in theory I should be able to do tonight.

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When I logged my character in earlier to take a few screenshots I noticed that my Clan has defeated the Raid.  When this happens everyone in the clan gets a specific engram that is a level 10-15 version of one of the raid weapons.  I just so happened to have a base 290 pulse rifle sitting in my bank that I sacrificed for science…  and infused to bring the weapon up to usable levels.  All in all I like this pulse rifle quite a bit, and while it is going to take some getting used to the action and the sounds it seems to be really solid.  The important thing however is that I am super proud of my clan for defeating the angry penis head…  which if you have seen Emperor Calus…  it is a fairly apt description that I sadly cannot claim as my own.  I am not sure which team specifically got the kill, but awesome work because I know it took a lot of people over the course of two weeks to really nail this all down and get the fight across the finish line.  Now the rest of us casuals have some shiny baubles as a result.  I think tonight I will be working on the Hunter main story so that I can at least test the flashpoint engram to see what sort of levels I get it to decode at.