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.

 

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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Destiny 2_20170926063109

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.

Xur Week Two: 9/22/17

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Since I did this last week I thought I would continue with it for at least another week because Xur brought something I had been wanting.  This time around since the weekly flashpoint is Titan, Xur is located on the section of the planet called “The Rig”.  To get here you will have to cross some areas of the map that have lots of mobs on them, but thankfully none of them seem to be willing to follow you into the actual room he is located in.  Previously in Destiny 1 Xur arrived Friday morning and left Saturday at Midnight PST.  This time around that does not seem to be the case because he was up on Nessus until the reset happened Tuesday morning.  I am not sure if this was intentional or some sort of a bug, but regardless I would suggest checking him out today or tomorrow just to make sure.

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This time around he has brought the Wardcliff Coil or for those of us that played Destiny 1 and followed the dataminers…  the Dubious Volley.  Honestly I think Dubious Volley is a much better name for what the weapon does, because it is essentially an anime missile launcher.  What I mean by this is if you have ever seen something along the lines of Robotech where a bay of missiles opens up and then they sorta fire in a bunch of different directions…  that is what this weapon does.  In use from what I understand it feels a lot like a Gjallarhorn that ONLY fires Wolfpack rounds…  but way more of them.  One of the problems I have heard is that as the mini missiles are tracking in… if a mob moves close to you…  it will in fact blow you up too.  This is one of those fabled weapons that we never got in the first game… so I am absolutely picking this up so I can play with it now.

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The Feedback Fence is an item from the first game…  that in truth no one actually used.  There were a few super edge case builds that you needed to run if you were going to optimize this…  which is a bit sad given that they look amazing.  Functionally to make it work you need to run around punching things…  and then letting something else punch you to explode it.  This makes it extremely unpredictable, and not that useful given that the cases you really want to unleash damage on a target…  are most likely cases where they don’t actually melee you.  The number of bosses that reliably melee you is pretty limited.  I would suggest only picking these up if you simply need the light level and using them as infusion fuel.

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Do you like Solar Grenades?  If so then these are probably the gloves for you.  I like grenades quite a bit but in general I am not a fan of the changes to the fire subclass for Warlocks, so as a result I am probably going to give these a pass.  This is the second week in a row that we have had a solar specific item on Xur for Warlocks which is a little disappointing.  I used last weeks chest piece only until I got a legendary chest that I could it into.  All of that said, this does not take away from the fact that this really is a good item.  It increases the duration of your solar grenades and causes solar melee hits to increase grenade energy regeneration.  If you want to be a mad bomber this is probably going to be down your alley.

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Once again I have not even started my Hunter yet so this is an image that I borrowed from the internet, and then overlayed the stat block.  When zooming in on a target this helmet will place a little red X over it.  When that target gets low health you begin dealing significantly more damage to the marked target.  The drawback here is that if you focus on any other targets for any length of time it will shift the X and  that may or may not be what you want to have happen.  Another edge case that is super useful is in the tracking of a mob that might be running from you…  like how some high value targets do these days.  I am personally not that interested in this helm, and plan on just sticking with the chest piece from last week that increases my Arc Strider stuff.  Folks are saying however that this is a really powerful pickup and I can see why because in theory it just gives you bonus damage on a target, which would be nice for boss burn phases once the boss gets within “execute range”.

 

290 Power and More Weapons

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Destiny 2_20170921063131

Last night I pushed through and hit another Milestone in Destiny 2, and that is hitting the 290 light barrier.  While our clan lead seemed to hit this practically over night… it has been a long slog for most of us.  I’ve talked about this before but the gearing process slows down greatly at 265 and then each additionally point of power seems to be a struggle to obtain.  This is going to be the phase of the game that loses most people because if you have never dealt with how rough Destiny 1 was to get light…  then this is going to seem like a chore.  For the most part I am enjoying the process because I like watching the numbers go up.  For frame of reference however…  the game was released on September 5th and sixteen days later I have logged roughly 57 hours of play according to Destiny Tracker.   Now for additional point of reference I spent just shy of 500 hours playing Destiny 1 on the PS4 and just shy of 50 hours on the Xbox One.  Basically all I am trying to say here is that 290 power level is a significant investment of time, but in theory you could probably also get there just by focusing on the few powerful gear rewarding objectives that you can do each week.  My process has involved a lot of doing random stuff hoping to get exotic engrams that then push me up every so slightly.

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As far as things to talk about this morning I don’t have much.  I thought instead I would share a few new weapon pickups that I am enjoying.  Each week I do the crucible milestone so that I can get the luminous engram associated with it.  During one of the many matches I had to play to get 100% completion to get my loot…  I managed to get this gun to drop.  As far as I know this is only available from the crucible itself or from turning in crucible tokens for faction with Lord Shaxx.  This gun is amazing in PVE and I imagine similarly amazing in PVP given its propensity for one-shot killing almost anything but yellow bars, and even then a single shot will usually strip their shield.  I was using it last night while running around on Io and straight up 2 shotting Vex Minotaurs…  one to drop the shield and one precision shot to kill them.  It did similar magic on Taken Centurions, except their shields seemed to take to shots to drop them.  If you get this gun, I highly suggest you play with it a bit before sharding it because I think you are going to like it.  I also love the name because its a play on two infamous guns from Destiny 1:  The Devil You Know and The Devil You Don’t.

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As the reward from completing the nightfall, I managed to pick up an Origin Story.  I have no clue what weapon I chose at that step in the quest chain…  but I know it was not this gun and whatever I did wound up as infusion fodder somewhere along the way.  At this point in my life I was deeply connected to Scathelocke and could see no other weapon taking that primary gun crush position for me.  However after hearing people talk about this gun, I decided to play with it a bit before using it as power level fuel.  I am certainly glad that I did because my god this gun is amazing.  It is a much slower rate of fire archetype as compared to the Scathelocke…  so if that is the Haakon’s Hatchet then this is closer to the Suros Regime or Genesis Chain.  This has quickly taken my primary slot and the only time I am not using it… is when I am rocking Better Devils.

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A weapon that I have loved for awhile but was not using a lot at the time of the last post is Uriel’s Gift.  I try really hard not to run double auto rifles because it limits the things that I can do, however there is a period of time when I did.  Now that I have started using Better Devils a lot more this is filling in as my secondary slot.  Similarly I am using this a lot in crucible because it just has an insane time to kill.  Out of the gate the gun has really good stability in spite of what looks like on paper a relatively low stat… or at least it has a very predictable recoil pattern.  This allows me to choose High Caliber Rounds to get the stagger effect against enemies.  This has been the game where I suddenly greatly favor Omolon weapons.  In Destiny 1 I always thought they looked cool, but never really liked the way they felt.  This time around I am digging both.  Functionally my two primary setups are Origin Story/Manannan or Better Devils/Uriel’s Gift and I swap back and forth between those as needed.

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This has been the version of Destiny where pulse rifles are just not that good.  I’ve tried a bunch of them and none of them really feel like they used to…  or have the ability to shred enemies like they used to either.  Of the pulses I have tried, I have largely standardized on using the Nergal because it feels the best and seems to perform the best out in the field.  I’ve actually used it a bit in crucible and it works well enough…  the problem is it is just outshined in every way by the Auto Rifle options I have now.  I have this feeling that we are going to see an Auto Rifle stability nerf which will clear the way for the pulse to shine a bit more.  Previously Pulse was the stable multi shot option… and Autorifle was all about learning how to ride a bucking bronco into battle.  If you are looking for a pulse however I highly suggest you check this one out.  I get it regularly from the gunsmith, and it seems to be on a pretty generic drop table.

 

 

Dark Math and Infusion

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Destiny 2_20170918214544

I finished the night last night at 287 power, putting me well within striking distance of at least 290 this week… and with some additional luck in getting some really good drops 300.  For the moment I have standardized on the gear set that I am wearing and I have been eating everything that gives me slightly higher light levels to pour into it.  This morning I thought I would talk a bit about the infusion game in Destiny 2 and my frustrations with it.  The longer I play Destiny 2 the more I think of it as a continuation of the previous game to the point of largely feeling like a big smooth reboot.  There is a lot of gnashing of teeth over this point but I have reached a sort of equilibrium in my attitude.  I realize there are going to be some people that cannot get past this fact and I am guessing they really were not that big of a fan of the original game in the first place.  There are certainly things that I am not the biggest fan of, but overall I am really enjoying my time spent wandering around…  and weirdly looking forward to starting over with the PC launch and doing all of the things that I wish I had done this time around.  For me at least the chronology of Destiny looks a little something like this.

  • Year One – Destiny Launch/Dark Below/House of Wolves
  • Year Two – The Taken King
  • Year Three – Rise of Iron
  • Year Four – Destiny 2 Launch

Now back to the original topic I wanted to discuss…  Infusion.  During Year One it was not really a thing even though there was a limited form of it available in the ability to “power up” weapons with ascendant shards…  which was less a version of infusion and more a version of delayed gratification making you level your weapon further after getting it.  Side note… they are doing something like this system with an exotic shotgun that you get from the raid but that is a discussion for another day.  During Year Two they introduced the infusion system but made the calculations behind it extremely frustrating.  The closer you got to the level cap the less light you were able to squeak out from each infusion.  I remember keeping a vault full of random gear to step new items that I got up… without losing a bunch of potential light in the process.  For those who didn’t live under the system… say you had a 300 light level exotic item.. and you wanted to infuse a 335 item into it…  the resulting item would be 324.  If the first item was a legendary item…  you would end up with 328 making this weird penalty on using exotics.  During the tail end of Year Two and all of Year Three this changed and you started to get the complete face value of every infusion, meaning in that same scenario… of a 300 exotic and a 335 infusion fodder… you would end up with a 335 exotic gaining full credit for the item you were pouring into it.  The previous infusion system was pretty straight forward in that any primary could infuse into any other primary…  with the same being true for armor pieces.  Meaning I could throw my trash at my alts and help funnel their light level up.

Now we scan forward to Year Four and a bunch of things have changed that make the system as a whole way less beneficial to the players.  Year Three was pretty much the pinnacle of the system as far as I was concerned, it felt good and didn’t cause needless strife to the players.  In Destiny 2 however… they made a bunch of tweaks that seem like nonsense.  Firstly they removed the element of simplicity, meaning it was no longer slot based infusions and instead depended upon the specific item type.  This means if you need to bump up your auto rifle… you are going to need another auto rifle.  Similarly it means that if you want to pour additional power into your hunter arms…  you are going to need another pair of hunter arms.  To further confuse things they added a system of mods into the game, and at face value these seem like awesome things.  It lets you take one piece of gear and tailor it to your exact needs without having to wait for the ideal item roll to drop.  Where this complicates things however is when it comes to legendary mods, because not only do they add perks to an item…  they also had 5 power levels.  This means that if you have a 200 item without a legendary mod and a 225 item with a legendary mod…  feeding the 225 item into the 200 item will result in a new power level of 220 because the mod gets consumed in the process.  The first time this happened to me I was confused as hell and extremely angry because it felt like they had taken a step back to the lossy days of item infusion.

Where things get even weirder is the fact that in the past there were hard item level caps that you could not breach.  For example right now in Destiny 2… blues stop giving you upgrades initially a 260 and purples at 265.  That however is a somewhat fungible barrier, because as your power level trickles up…  so does the level at which items start dropping.  I am not entirely certain why things drop at the level they start dropping… but for example last night the maximum power I could hit was 287 but the blues I kept seeing were 277.  The lowest power item I have equipped is a 282 helm…  so I do not think it is based on that given that there was a period of time where I kept getting items that I could infuse into my lower armor pieces to keep pulling my total up a bit.  There is some manner of dark math happening behind the scenes and I think that is what is making this process feel less certain and because of that less “good” than the previous system.  We reached peak infusion during year three and all of these tweaks just feel like they were screwing with a solved problem.  I am hoping at some point we revert back to just having slot based infusion rather than item type based.  The whole item levels and drops thing however I am not even sure how to straighten that out because it seems super wibbly wobbly.  All of this said however…  Bungie has tweaked things significant given time and I have a feeling that they will also tweak this product to roll back some of the weird parts.  It is just a little frustrating at this point however to be entering what is legitimately year four of the game, and it feels like they forgot some of the lessons they learned during the first three years.  I mean maybe this is the influence of Blizzard, since they seem to love fixing systems that were not broken by ripping up the pavement and installing brand new and improved pavement that requires a completely different car to drive on it.  Whatever the case I am still loving the game and have been spending almost every non-work waking moment playing it…  but there are just frustrations that build up as with any new experience.  I thought I had gushed for awhile… and its probably time for me to start unpacking some of my baggage as well.