Xur Week Eight: 11/3/17

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Xur this week is located in the European Dead Zone near the Winding Cove drop zone.  He is located on top of a hill that has an actual path to get up there…  but I never can seem to find it…  so I end up hopping up the rocks.  In some ways this is a disappointing week and in other ways…  for Titans at least it is a potentially exciting one.  This represents the first week I have been able to do the entire screenshot thing on the PC as I now have Titan, Hunter and Warlock up to the appropriate levels to get the items at the 270 maximum level.  Lets get on with the items he brought for us.

Destiny 2

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This weapon is a little disappointing because it is one of the items you can get from the quest at the end of Io.  Additionally it seems to be an acquired taste.  Some folks absolutely love this thing… and others completely hate it.  It is essentially a pulse rifle that doesn’t fire like a pulse rifle, and in order to get the most out of it you sort of have to line your shots up like you were using a scout rifle.  That said it does seem to be considerably more reliable on the PC than it ever was on console.  If you can learn to use it you can shred things, but it takes a lot of getting used to.

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Mask of the Quiet One has become this defacto crucible relic of choice for a lot of Titans.  The perks do a few things…  one of which is actually important and the other not so much.  The lesser of the perks is that Void Ability kills grant health regeneration, which rewards a chunk of health back to your bar when you kill a target with any of your void abilities.  This is useful for Sentinel Titans but fails to trigger on shield slams making it a little fiddly.  The perk everyone cares about however is that when you are damaged you gain melee, grenade and class ability energy.  Again this is rewarded as just a chunk of your energy bar and why this is so insanely popular in the crucible is the fact that you are ALWAYS getting damaged.  Just the act of running around while trying to avoid taking damage… ends up seeing you take plenty of damage to make this item useful.  I picked it up because I do not already have a copy on PC side, and is well worth hanging on to just in case you find it useful.

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We’ve seen Nezarec’s Sin before from Xur and again it is a mid range item that to some extent gets out shined by several other Warlock exotics.  The perk Abyssal Extractors activates on void damage and causes you to gain a tiny sliver of energy back to grenade, melee and class ability.  This is interesting because the item says void damage and not void ability kills meaning you can proc it off of an energy or power weapon if you are carrying one of that type.  The biggest problem with the item is that the tick rate of this ability really is not that fast, and for me at least gets outshined by Eye of Another World which grants 10% increase to your recharge rates for doing nothing.  The only way Nezarec’s Sin would be useful is if you are really married to the voidwalker spec, and even then…  you are probably going to be better off just going with the Eye still.  It is worth getting the item for unlock purposes only.

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Do you love the Crucible?  Do you really like using Tripmine grenades?  If you answered yes to both then these might be the right exotics for you.  If not then they might still be worth just getting the unlock because they look awesome.  These are essentially a worse version of gauntlets of the same name from Destiny 1.  I say they are a worse version because the old ones used to give you an extra tripmine grenade charge, making it extremely useful for trapping up multiple spots in an area.  In Destiny 2 they lost the extra charge and instead gained additional duration which is nowhere near as sexy.  The other interesting benefit is that they now highlight targets damaged in your grenade blast, making it easier to see which players may or may not have been weakened and giving you the ability to track them through walls if you are going to chase them down.  This is a situationally good item for players who really like the crucible and really like trip mines…  if you are neither or these things then you can pretty comfortably pass them up.  They are still largely worth the unlock slot to me however.

Destiny 1

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In Destiny 1 this week Xur is located at the big gate near the speaker in the Tower.  Once again he is offering the formerly exclusive Jade Rabbit scout rifle giving a weird second chance for Xbox One users to get this up.  I am sincerely hoping that this is not going to be what he brings every week from now on since Destiny 1 has gone into maintenance mode.  Of the items available Twilight Garrison is especially interesting because it gives Titans the ability to do a midair dodge attack.

  • Legacy Special Weapon Engram – 31 Strange Coins
  • Twilight Garrison – Titan Chest – 13 Strange Coins
  • Don’t Touch Me – Hunter Arms – 13 Strange Coins
  • Alchemist’s Rainment – Warlock Chest – 13 Strange Coins
  • Jade Rabbit – Scout Rifle – 23 Strange Coins
  • Invective with Storm’s Reproach Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust
  • Zhalo Supercell with Shock Hazard Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust

Stopping Bathers

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I stayed up way the hell too late last night and I am going to pay for it today.  Funny how knowing this is going to happen, doesn’t actually prevent it from happening over and over again.  Yesterday was the day that the Leviathan raid opened for PC players and in a very impromptu manner we scraped together a raid out of six people who were 270 or better geared that happened to be around.  The group we went in with: Tamrielo, Thalen, Phorsaken, Lleandryn, Muspel and of course me.  So 1 Titan, 2 Hunters, and 3 Warlocks…  what is with our clan and the proclivity for the “caster” archetype?  We are odd ducks when it comes to raid content.  In this era of Fat Boss and MTQ Capture…  generally speaking we prefer to go in completely blind.  While I have seen random tidbits here and there about the Leviathan raid…  I had purposefully avoided any strategies in the thought that maybe just maybe Destiny 2 on PC might gain some traction and I could get folks interested in attempting the raid.  We fairly quickly sorted out the banner mechanic for the first area, and then proceeded with attempting to learn the Royal Baths encounter.  The biggest problem facing us last night was the fact we did not start until it was already very late for us East and Central players.  We did however work on a seeming answer to how to get through the encounter, and in theory it will just involve us properly executing on the plan…  something I was not capable of doing last night after about 11 pm.

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As far as the night as a whole…  there were many attempts made at the Nightfall.  This one is considerably worse than last week mostly because of the prism modifier and always seeming to be dead when I could be doing the maximum amount of damage to things.  For the first two attempts I was running a less than successful combination of dual auto rifles, and wound up swapping things up a bit to the Manannan Void Scout Rifle as my energy weapon and Merciless as my fire Power Weapon.  The challenge I kept having was in sections where I really could not get close to the targets and they were hanging back at a range where the autos were just not that effective.  We managed to get the kill and the items gained from the Nightfall and the first chest of the raid managed to push me up to 287 power level.  I am thinking that it might be time to start doing the various exotic quests so that I can push up weapons from infusing the items I am going to get.  I will absolutely funnel the MIDA Multi Tool into my Manannan and the Mini Tool into my Antiope-D.  So technically we have not actually cleared much in the raid, but we have a game plan and the intent to come back Friday night and give it another shot.  I at least hope that our gameplan is in fact the one that is going to work going forward, because we managed to get to a burn phase…  just got killed by the adds while trying to do this thing.  Hopefully we can smooth out the rough spots and get a win, and move forward in the Leviathan.  Side note…  please do not post strategies because I know the desire to say “you only need to do this” is going to be strong.  We legitimately prefer to figure this shit out on our own.  It is always a challenge to find a team willing to wipe for science.

Crucible Is A Mess

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I’ve had a series of nights that did not go exactly as plan, and last night was no difference.  I had a useless and impromptu 4pm meeting which lead me to get out of work significantly later then planned, and a series of errands that needed to be tacked on before I hit the house.  By the time I actually hit the computer I was already stepping into turtle mode and largely stayed there the rest of the night.  This did however give me the opportunity to work on the weekly milestones for both my Titan and Hunter.  As has been my plan for a bit, I chose to do them in reverse order of importance to me…  starting with the Hunter and finishing with the Titan and it seems to have had the desired effect.  As of yesterday I could hit 275 on the Titan and as of last nights shenanigans I managed to push the Hunter to 281 and the Titan subsequently to 283.  I still have Nightfalls to do on both of them and I am hoping tonight I will feel up to group interaction and attempt to get those knocked out as well.  From there it is a matter of getting the Warlock up and running and geared enough to start knocking the content out as well.  The sticking point right now is the fact that I am significantly worse in the crucible than I was on the console.

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Essentially whatever I had learned on the console seems to need unlearning…  and instead I am having to adapt to an entirely new set of circumstances.  I am improving, but every so slowly and one of the aspects that does not help is the horrific queuing mechanism present in Destiny 2.  Firstly there is still the problem of 4v4 being a worse mode than 6v6 for a bunch of reasons not the least of which is…  if you are not roaming with the pack you are dead.  In 6v6 there were lots of sub groups that would break off from the main group and roam the map in twos and threes…  but in 4v4 you tend to either encounter no one… or a murderball that is the entirety of the enemy team roaming around together.  This is only made worse by the fact that you are constantly being presented with teams of four players from the same clan.  In 6v6 queuing with one or two members of your clan was largely diluted by the fact that there were 3 or 4 other people on the team.  Queuing as a pair… means you now represent half of the team and it greatly skews the end results.  I feel like the grouping routing should in theory favor placing solo players with other solo players…  and full teams against other full teams.  However because of the constant complaining in Destiny 1 we have a system that favors connection speed over literally everything else and ends up throwing a monkey wrench in any semblance of proper queuing mechanics.

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I realize the intent was to have Quick Play be a casual queue and Competitive be a more serious one…  but that does not appear to be working.  Competitive modes would be fine for full team vs full team interactions, or for e-sports tournament settings.  However as a casual player they are miserable just because you are committing to an indefinite amount of time per match.  I know that when I enter the quick play queue I am agreeing to something in the range of 8-10 minutes of my time.  With competitive this is entirely variable based on how many matches you have to play to reach the objectives of the mode…  which are not even really clear in my head.  One mode seems to be that you have to win 6 out of 10 matches to move get on with your life, and the other seems to be a slightly lower number.  Regardless unless you are just straight up throwing each match you are stuck there for thirty minutes.  I’ve played competitive exactly 2 times per character to unlock the Call to Arms milestone and never looked back.  I am hoping with the advent of season 2…  we see some significant changes in the way the queue system works because right now the crucible is not fun at all and something I suffer through each week to get gear.  If you removed the powerful rewards… I would probably never play crucible again other than Iron Banner… and even then it is still a gear chase and not something I actually enjoy playing.  I have proven time and time again over the years that I am willing to suffer some serious bullshit for the minor prize of seeing a single number go up a few digits.

And Then There Were Two

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Last night did not quite work out entirely as intended.  My hope was to get home and do a flurry of activities quickly in order to get my hunter Nightfall ready.  This did not happen because I came home to a whole slew of other things that needed to be taken care of immediately.  Then when my wife got home she realized that she had not stopped by the store to get Halloween candy for her classes, and I threw proper clothing back on and ventured out into the cold once more so she could get on with her lesson planning and grading.  All of this mean’t that I did not even get a proper start to the evening until around 7:30 last night…  which also meant there was no way there were enough hours to accomplish all of the things that I wanted to be doing.  I bowed out of Nightfall shenanigans and instead focused on knocking out the milestones needed to unlock a second set of luminous engrams.  The most tedious of these was the crucible, because not only did I need to do enough to get the Call of Arms…  but I had yet to do the pvp required to even unlock it.  Note to self…  in the future do this as part of the leveling experience so you don’t have to burn through it when you finish 20 and complete the story.  I cannot fully express how much I loathe “competitive mode” crucible playlist and I am continuing my track record of playing it exactly two times on each character to unlock the milestone.

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From there it was grinding the Crucible and I still am not in a position where I function well in this mode on PC.  The dynamics all feel vastly different and I wound up hooking up a controller to see if the aim assist would help.  Turns out it did…  and apparently I just cannot track erratic PVP targets with the mouse as I could with the controller.  Either that or I simply need to rely on the crutch that is aim assistance.  Regardless I am super happy with the way Destiny 2 PC feels with a controller and how easy it is to swap back and forth between the two modes.  Effectively to start using the controller you just pick it up and hit a button on it, and then to switch back you just click a button on your mouse.  So often on the PC you need to choose one or the other and it has to be toggled back and forth via some nested menu structure.  Here you can so easily swap back and forth that it feels completely reasonable for me to simply choose to use controller with the crucible and mouse and keyboard for everything else.  I am also assuming that most of the vehicle sequences are going to work much better with a controller, so I might simply start picking them up and doing that as well.

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All of the last minute grind completely paid off because the extra set of luminous engrams allowed me to move my Titan’s power level ahead just a little bit.  More importantly than that… I no longer need to grind Nessus because Hawthorne awarded me a 282 Uriel’s Gift…  one of those weapons I had been desperately trying to get back.  This means I once again have my crucible setup of choice in the form of Antiope-D, Uriel’s Gift and Hawthorne’s Field-Forged Shot Gun.  There are still a bunch of weapons I am missing that I want to try and get, but unfortunately the two I am missing the most are both on the Crucible loot table.  Here is hoping the next round of luminous engrams sees me getting a Better Devils and a Play of the Game, so that I don’t have to grind out faction tokens to get them that way.  The nightfall this time is Arm’s Dealer again but with Prism… meaning that there will be a rotating buff and matching the damage type increases damage output…  and not matching it lowers it.  Additionally we have Killing Time as a modifier meaning every mob killed slowly adds time back to the timer.  It should be interesting and way more challenging than last weeks grenade fest.  In theory I will be trying to get the Nightfall on two characters from this point out, so hopefully folks really get into it.  So far they seem to be enjoying it quite a bit because while I was doing my grindy bits there were Nightfall groups attempting to get it for various folks.  This week also sets up a new goal…  getting the Warlock leveled and through all of this content so she can start adding to the luminous bonanza as well.

First Week on PC

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This is one of those mornings when I am not even sure where to start the post.  It is like I have all of these disconnected thoughts in my head and am having a very hard time wrangling them together into something that follows any manner of logical progression.  Destiny 2 released on the PC last Tuesday and since then I have played a significant amount of it, only really taking a single night off to go do something else.  According to WastedOnDestiny.com I’ve played 32 hours of the game since release…  which is officially more than I played Destiny 1 on the Xbox One.  On the PS4 I managed to make it to 267 in that very first week, and on PC I managed to break the 265 cap and push on to 271 which makes me happy.  I am nowhere near as lucky as my friend Raz was…  who is sitting at something crazy like 282.  There are ways to do this…  but they involve madness and way more grinding than I was able to get in this week or really wanted to do.  Additionally I started working on secondary characters and managed to push the Hunter to 18 while recording the podcast… and finished leveling it to 20 and making it through all but the final quest last night.  I also started up my Warlock and got her to level 8, which was mostly about getting my 5000 clan xp to help level Greysky Armada.  We managed to hit rank 3 which is extremely awesome and is largely made possible by the fact that myself and Wolfy started leveling the clan a bit on PS4 before the release of PC.

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On Friday night we decided to give the Nightfall a go, which in truth I was uncertain about given that I only actually completed the Nightfall once on the PS4 side… and even then it was a bit of a pain in the ass.  I also remembered us being significantly higher than the 250ish we were when we tried it.  Together Tamrielo, RustySpork and I managed to get the boss down with about 3 minutes left on the clock, which is not good enough for the rat king…  but makes me happy nonetheless.  Yesterday afternoon I gave it another attempt with Mor and Grace and once again finished…  but just barely with me taking down the boss via a couple of pulse grenades and auto rifle fire at about the 1 second left on the clock mark.  Mor was just barely at the 240ish requirement for zoning in, so I feel like in the future so long as we are bringing in 260s we should be fine for this.  This week also was a bit of an aberration in that it was extremely easy to cheese the objectives because of the modifier giving us insane grenade and melee regeneration.  Striker Titan with double grenades meant I could clean out a bunch of adds almost as fast as I could throw them.  They still hit insanely hard though and I just don’t have the recovery yet that I really should for doing harder content.  This largely comes from just wearing a bunch of scraps instead of something resembling a full set of gear.  I am really hoping in a few weeks I can get the full set of Titan Iron Banner gear again because it makes for a really excellent base for shenanigans.

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I would have finished the Hunter but instead I took a lengthy break Sunday afternoon and worked on doing the weekly milestones on the PS4 side of the pond.  I have to say after playing so much PC…  the console version just feels sluggish and odd.  Everything seems to move more slowly, which makes the crucible much easier…  but everything else feel really odd.  Not only was the visual fidelity much lower than even my laptop running at greatly downgraded settings…  but just the movement speed of my character felt slower.  I noticed this when doing some of the intro missions where you are limping through the city…  on the console there was a specific point I could make it to before my character was forced to pause for a moment.  On the PC I could make it considerably past that point before I was forcibly halted, so my running theory is that the PC version just has faster movement speeds.  Weirdness aside I did manage to get used to the controller again and finish up Clan XP, Call to Arms and Flashpoint milestones which were enough to finish pushing me to 305.  I feel much better hibernating the character now that it is sitting at the level cap rather than being just slightly under it.  I will probably keep logging in at least once a week to finish off these easy milestones however because I feel like I need to keep contributing some Clan XP to TQMB in addition to all the work I am doing PC side with GREY.  Eventually once I have gotten my PC characters to a more manageable state I am sure I will start doing those three main milestones on six characters…  3 on PC and 3 on PS4.  It takes me roughly an hour to do all of the things needed to earn those three luminous engrams, and after a point that becomes my routine of logging in a new character each night and getting their progress.

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I am absolutely loving playing the game on PC because it fits my play style considerably better.  With the console it forced me to be in the room I have my PS4 set up in, but with PC  I can either be playing it on my gaming desktop or downstairs on my laptop.  The laptop doesn’t run it perfectly and I am having to throttle it down to 720 p and a few other considerations…  but it runs well enough for me to be able to do almost anything I might need to do.  For something like a Nightfall where there is a timer on the line I wouldn’t want to push it…  but It is more than fine for some strikes or crucible.  My activity of choice however is still doing public events and random token farming through chests and patrols.  My goal for tonight is to attempt to push the hunter through the various things needed to unlock her three easy luminous engrams, and then to maybe get her through the Nightfall.  From there my goal by next weeks reset is to have my Warlock finished off so I can start triple dipping on the powerful rewards front.  While it has been a pure joy starting over on the PC…  I do still want to arrive back at where I left off…  and hopefully in a much faster time frame than the seven weeks it took to get me there on console.  I am booned by the fact that the game seems to have traction among the AggroChat crew and with that means that there is likely going to be raiding before too much longer.  I am assuming the raid will open up tomorrow much like it did on the console side, and then I am assuming next week we will have faction rally once more.  Destiny 2 on PC is pretty much everything I had hoped it would be.

Xur Week Seven: 10/27/17

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This week Xur is located on Io in the Giant’s Scar area.  He is off to the left side of that area inside of a cave.  If you turn around and face away from Xur you should also find one of the region chests if you have not actually looted it.  This week is important because it is the first time Xur is available for PC players, and I have in fact double checked that the inventory on console and pc is exactly the same.  I however took my screenshots console side because I am still in the process of leveling all the things on PC and only have the Titan to 20… and even then I am not all of the way through the main story quest.  I noticed that the exotics were showing as level 19 and 254 instead of the 270 I was expecting, so wondering if finishing the game is a trigger for that shift to level 20 items.  I throw this out there just for folks to be careful when you spend your oh so precious legendary shards this week on the PC side of things.  Xur will be available until the weekly reset instead of disappearing sometime during the night on Saturday, so you have plenty of time to grind out more shards or get through the story.

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This week for the weapon we have D.A.R.C.I. or as I have referred to this every time I have decrypted it from an engram…   infusion fuel.  What makes this weapon interesting is that while aiming you can view the health and other information about your target through your scope with the Personal Assistant perk.  This blends with the target acquired perk that causes you to have better target acquisition and precision damage while the Personal Assistant perk is in action.  My general problem with the weapon however is that I just don’t like medium impact snipers.  This weapon has 55 impact and the snipers I tend to use personally are in the 70-90 range.  Now is the point where I start speaking out of my depth, but I always feel like this medium impact variety has to be targeted at the crucible right?  It has really high stability and handling which should in theory make scoping in on your target extremely snappy.  I just have zero interest in using a sniper rifle in PVP, and if I am going to use one in PVE I want it to pack a bigger punch.  PC players it will probably still be worth a pick up for the power level bump if nothing else.

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As far as armor goes this is a really phenomenal week and includes sort of a greatest hits collection of universally useful items.  Actium War Rig is one of the options that you can get on Titan, and if you are an auto rifle fan like me… it is probably going to be what you end up using.  The Auto-Loading Link perk causes ammo to loaded into your magazine when you stop firing the weapon at a tick rate of roughly one second.  What this means is if you are burst firing your weapon you can greatly extend the amount of time you can put off reloading giving you way more time to mop up enemies.  This works extremely well with weapons that have the rampage perk because you can keep rolling between targets without having to take the time to wait for reload, just allowing the weapon to tick once between bursts of fire.  Definitely going to pick this up for the power level and to have a more current version of this item rather than the level 105 item the game gives you.

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Warlocks have a similarly universally good item in the form of the Eye of Another World helmet.  Similarly this is an item you can pick up on Titan and the cerebral uplink perk causes you to highlight priority targets but also improves the regeneration speed of grenade, melee and rift abilities.  Its rare that an item just makes everything universally work better, but that is in fact the mission of this helm.  Once again I highly suggest picking this up for the power level if nothing else, but for anyone who chose poorly on Titan…  then here is a nice second chance to get that item.

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I’ve talked about this item before and I am not really sure what else I can add.  Knucklehead Radar is one of my favorite pieces of gear from Destiny 1 and I am super happy that it returned to Destiny 2.  The upgraded sensor pack causes radar tracking to be active while you aim down sights on every weapon.  This is just universally useful and is a crutch that I am not willing to give up while playing my hunter.  I used the hell out of the Memory of Gheleon artifact in Destiny 1 year 3…  and similarly I love this item.  Again if nothing else this is a good level boost for those PC players who are just now getting started.  I hope to be able to gather enough legendary shards before Xur leaves on Tuesday to purchase each of these items and have them ready for when I start leveling the Hunter and Warlock.

Xur Destiny 1

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As has been the case the last few weeks, I am also doing the information about Xur in Destiny 1 lest we not all abandon the players who are still enjoying that game.  You can find Xur in the tower next to Lord Shaxx.  This week he brought something interesting…  the Jade Rabbit which was previously an exclusive for the PS4 players.  I had heard that the embargo had been lifted on selling the PS4 exclusive items, but I am guessing this is hard proof.  Here is a quick rundown of what he has brought for us this week.

  • Legacy Helmet Engram – 29 Strange Coins
  • An Insurmountable Skullfort – Titan Helm – 13 Strange Coins
  • Crest of Alpha Lupi – Hunter Chest – 13 Strange Coins
  • Claws of Ahamkara – Warlock Arms – 13 Strange Coins
  • Jade Rabbit – Scout Rifle – 23 Strange Coins
  • Hawkmoon and Moonglow Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust
  • Tresspasser and Crucible Assassin Ornament – 30 Strange Coins 25 Silver Dust

Twenty Again

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I do not have a whole hell of a lot to talk about this morning so the post is going to be brief.  Last night I went to the simulcast of Rifftrax Live Night of the Living Dead because there was no way I was going to miss that.  Predictably it was pretty great and had also been a really long time since I had seen the original black and white film.  There is a group of us from work that do this was a semi regular thing and its always a lot of fun.  This however meant that I was giving up play time on “night two” of the PC release to spend time doing stuff in the real world.  By the time I got home I was pretty out of it, but I did manage to limp across the finish line to level 20.  This morning I spent a few of the tokens I had banked up and managed to get to 211 power level.  That means tonight is all about actually finishing the main story because I dropped off before the transition to the planet Io.  I have a bunch of goals… not the least of which is to finish the story so I can unlock the “end game” and all of the group activities.  The other goal is to gather up enough purple stuff so that I can have the legendary shards ready and waiting for Xur to arrive tomorrow.  The theory is to buy the 270 weapon and armor to give myself a boost so that when I start decoding the higher tier engrams that my light level is greatly inflated.  Other than that…  not a whole lot to talk about this morning so going ahead and cutting this post off.

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A Smooth Landing

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Yesterday was of course the launch of the PC version of Destiny 2.  After years of rough launches I did not attempt to take the day off because I have been bit hard by that in the past.  However it appears like everything went relatively smoothly and starting about noon I saw friends poking their heads into the game for the first time.  Sure there were some issues, namely that the Clan roster seemed to be non-functional for all but a few people…  but I remember us going through that at the PS4 launch as well so maybe that is one of the more fragile systems.  There is a reported rash of bannings but I am uncertain how big of a deal this really is given that the internet tends to “memeify” everything to raise the sodium levels.  To the best of my knowledge no one that I know got bit by whatever bug is occurring.  It has been blamed on discord or obs or any other manner of software…  but I know folks who streamed all day long yesterday and most everyone I know is running discord…  so I sincerely doubt it is one of those.  After years of seeing players cry foul… only to be busted by devs for doing some nefarious shit I am taking this with a giant truck load of salt.

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I did not make it anywhere near as far as I had hoped to make it last night.  I got a bit of a late start and then had to walk away from screen for a bit to go retrieve sustenance and consume it.  At this point I am up to the start of Io in the quest chain and dinged level 14 just before logging for the night.  I had visions of hitting level 20 and then potentially wrapping up the extremely long tail end of the story tonight after coming back from Rifftrax.  That is just not a thing that is going to happen, however I should be on pace to at least get to 20 on Thursday night.  I have to admit a lot of my evening was spent getting used to the keyboard and mouse controls.  I didn’t want to simply plug a controller into my PC and continue on like I had been on the PS4.  I wanted to get adjusted to playing the PC version, and it took way longer than I had hoped to begin remapping my reflexes.  I was super pumped when I noticed that apparently it kept my keybindings from beta so I did not have to try and remap everything.  It has been weird learning how to do things like the shield throw with a keyboard and mouse, when previously it was just so instinctive.

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Everything comes out so much crisper and clearer on the PC that I noticed something I had apparently never noticed before on the console.  I had no clue that Sloan had a bunch of Warhammer 40k purity seals on her left shoulder pad.  At first I thought maybe this was an addition to the PC, but after checking the PS4 they are in fact there.  The lower fidelity of the PS4 experience just made them not stand out nearly as well as they do on PC because the lighting is massively better.  The game really feels like it was meant to be played on a PC and there are moments where you just have to stop and enjoy the vistas now that you can see clearly off in the distance.  I sat and watched the ocean and the lightning storms for a few minutes while standing around idly on Titan and they were breathtaking.  All in all I think it was a pretty damned smooth launch and the PC version is living up to all of my hopes.  I am going to still take awhile to rewire my impulses because right now I feel way more sluggish with keyboard and mouse than with the controller.  However I guess it is to be expected considering I played heavily for over three years in this world using thumb sticks.

Weapons I Will Miss

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I cannot fully explain just how damned hard it is going to be to make it through today.  What I mean by that is I did not take the day off for the launch of Destiny 2 on PC, and I know that it will be launching halfway through the day and I will start wishing I was home and able to be playing.  While I have played the hell out of Destiny 2 on the PS4, the PC beta just felt better to me than the console interface.  Destiny 1 was the game that essentially taught me how to play shooters on a console, and in spite of how much progress I have made in my ability to get the controller to do what I want it to do…  it still feels like a foreign territory.  When I sat down to play the PC beta, it was like coming home…  everything that had been slightly off with Destiny was set right just by being able to use a keyboard and mouse.  I realize that after the hundreds of hours that I have poured into the console version there is going to be an adjustment period, but also one I am more than willing to deal with.  When trying to decide what to blog this morning I thought about what I would actually miss in the transition.  It wasn’t the sets of gear from Iron Banner or the Faction Rally that I farmed up, or the fact that I had three almost power capped characters.  Ultimately the part I am going to miss the most is my arsenal of favorite weapons.  As a result this morning I thought I would talk a little about each of them.

Kinetic Weapons

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In order for me to love a Hand Cannon it needs a handful of attributes, the primary being an extremely high impact rating and the secondary being a decent magazine size.  With extended mag I am able to take the magazine to 13 rounds, and the 84 out of 100 impact definitely fits the bill as well.  The fact that the weapon has another of my favorite perks…  explosive payload which causes an AOE damage burst on impact is just icing on the cake.  The last few nights I have been farming tokens on Io and running around with this weapon equipped and having a blast shredding mobs.  This comes from the crucible so I am absolutely hoping I get an early lucky drop.  While there are a bunch of other hand cannons that are vying for my attention… Better Devils keeps winding up my favorite.

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I feel like Origin Story is likely the best kinetic auto rifle in the game, though I am sure I would hear some logical arguments on that point.  Ultimately why I love it is that it feels rock solid and stable in the slightly slower/harder hitting 450 rpm category.  It has fairly good range and can take down targets at a distance so long as you are firing controlled bursts.  The rampage perk is amazing especially if you are dealing with waves of enemies, and you can even leverage this extra damage if you are fast enough to get in additional burn time on bosses.  The good thing about this weapon is that it will probably be the easiest to get because you get the choice of it and two other weapons from finishing a strike milestone after you hit level 20.  As a result I take comfort that I won’t be going without this one for too terribly long.

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Among the most fickle weapon choices in my line up is Antiope-D…  one of the weapons the Gunsmith offers but is on a significantly rarer drop table.  I’ve turned in over a hundred gunsmith packages and I’ve only gotten one of these in total among all of my characters.  What makes this weapon so special is that while a submachine gun it lives in the slower 600 rpm bracket and as a result has significantly better stability and recoil pattern than its cousins.  The end product means if feels like firing a Destiny 1 Hakke auto rifle like the Zarinaea-D, which was among my favorite weapons in year one.  This is part of my base crucible loadout and does a great job of shutting down enemy players when they get too close for comfort, but also has enough range that you can chase them a little with it.  I am hoping the luck is with me and I am able to find this fairly early on.  If not there are some reasonable replacements…  but nothing will ever tarnish the memory of this weapon.

Energy Weapons

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Uriel’s Gift is a beast and there is really no other way to describe it.  This is the other half of my stock crucible loadout and the weapon that does most of the work as far as getting kills from range.  Much like Origin Story it lives in the more stable 450 rpm bracket for auto rifles and features quite possibly the single best perk right now in the game…  high-caliber rounds.  For those unfamiliar this causes your target to flinch making it much harder for them to keep the targeting reticle trained on you.  Now this works for NPCs and causes them to sort of stun lock while you are fighting them… but for enemy players it is extremely frustrating because it makes it insanely hard to actually fight back.  Additionally the weapon has Tap the Trigger which gives you extra stability and aim assist when you first engage a target.  I fully expect this weapon to be nerfed in the near future, but for the time being I am loving using it.  This one can come from Nessus, Gunsmith or an Engram because I have seen it drop from all three, so I am hoping that ups my chances of actually getting one quickly.

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Generally speaking I am not a big fan of Scout Rifles and will talk at length about this fact if anyone gives me half a chance.  There is an entire cult of the MIDA Multi Tool that I just do not understand because the weapon feels horrible to me.  The irony is… my favorite scout rifle the Manannan SR4 is in that exact same archetype bracket.  I am not exactly sure what it is about this weapon… the look, the feel, the sound and visual effects…  but whatever the case I like using it.  It does not hurt that it also has explosive payload that I talked a bit about earlier.  Lately I have been pairing this with my Better Devils in grinding planetary content because the combo gives me nice reliable ranged kill options and up close and personal stopping power.  This is primarily a gunsmith package drop as far as I am aware and I am hoping I get it pretty early.  Truth be told I will likely infuse my MIDA into it when I finish that quest.

Power Weapons

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While I have flirted with other shotgun options, much like its name… this is the most reliable and battle ready.  I’ve gotten it from a few sources but it still remains my go to shotgun for melting bosses that I can actually get up close and personal with.  Thanks to Destiny 1 spoiling me… a shotgun has to have the full auto perk in order for me to really care about it.  This actually seems to be pretty damned rare as far as weapons go in Destiny 2.  While I have found a few options with it, this gun seems to be the most reasonable to use and capable of dishing out the sort of damage I am wanting.  Hawthorne is one of my favorite characters, so it is only fitting that her signature gun goes down on this list as well.

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I’ve talked about this weapon at length the few times I have mentioned it in this blog.  There are those who call this the Destiny 2 Gjallarhorn and it is maybe not that incorrect of a statement.  The amount of sustained damage this thing can pump out is significant, especially when you combine it with a rapid reload ability like the titan rally shield or hunter dodge.  The exotic perk Conserve Momentum causes non-lethal hits with the weapon to lower your charge time.  This is significant and after a few shots it feels like an almost instant fire fusion rifle.  I regularly use this to single-handedly melt the cabal gunships during public events to push it to heroic in a single round.  It will oneshot most yellow bars and help you shred anything else.  Its biggest negative is the relatively small magazine size at 8 and the sluggish reload speed… which is ultimately why you want to pair this with some sort of a speed reload mechanic.  Regardless if you get your hands on this weapon I highly suggest checking it out.  It was the very first exotic I got in Destiny 2 on PS4 so hoping I find it again quickly on the PC side.

So these are my favorite weapons so far and the ones I use in the most regular rotation.  What are some of your favorites that I missed?  Drop me a line in the comments and let me know what weapon you are looking forward to getting again.

 

Ready For Launch

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With the launch of Destiny 2 on PC tomorrow I mulled around at great length over this extended weekend on how to best commemorate the moment in blog form.  Over the course of the last seven weeks since the launch of Destiny 2on the PS4 my blog has been filled with a bunch of information about the game in general.  For the most part I have tried very hard to stay the hell away from story spoilers, but inevitably some of them will have made their way through that mental filter.  As a result I thought today I would sit down and write out some general tips about the game, links to tools that I use, and the sources of information I consume.

The Classes of Destiny 2

One of the most important decisions that you are going to make from the moment you fire up the game is what class best fits your play style.  Ultimately you are probably going to roll one character of each class because your vault is shared between all of your characters.  However you are still going to likely end up with one you consider your main.  For me I have been maining Titan since the moment I set eyes on the class and nothing so far has caused me to stray too far off the path.  However I have friends who feel equally passionate about the Warlock or Hunter.  Essentially each class has a core fantasy that it is based around and I am going to take a few minutes to talk about each and their specializations.

destiny_2_titan_parade_emblemThe Titan

The core class fantasy is the “Space Tank” for lack of a better term for it.  This is a beefy class that benefits from increased resilience.  Among the guardians these are the front line defenders and have a storied history surrounding the defence of the last city on earth and the Tower.  It has specializations based on each of the three core elements in the game.

  • Sentinel “Void Captain America” – this class wields void energy and can form it in a shield that they can then use to attack enemies.  This can be thrown as a ranged attack, used as an enhanced melee swing or consumed to generate a protective bubble.
  • Sunbreaker “Super Hammer Bros” – this class wields fire energy and uses it to hurl flaming hammers at their opponents.  There are various tweaks that can be chosen like one that causes the hammers to leave flaming puddles on the ground.
  • Striker “Hulk Smash” – this class wields arc energy and uses it to slam down at the ground causing a giant area of effect attack knocking enemies back and dealing damage to them.  Additionally there are tweaks that let the class crash into opponents when running at high speed and general a much smaller but equally effective version of the slam.

destiny_2_warlock_parade_emblemThe Warlock

The core class fantasy is the “Space Wizard” and you are going to wield magic energy and sling it at your opponents.  The core stat for the Warlock is recovery causing them to bounce back from damage quicker, and they also serve an interesting role as a sort of field medic by being able to drop a shield regeneration puddle on the ground.  Once again they have specializations based on each of the three elements.

  • Dawnblade “Flaming Angel” – this specialization sees the Warlock equip a flaming sword and sprout wings of fire allowing them to hover in the air for short periods of time hurling down fireballs with each swing of their sword.
  • Voidwalker “Void Nuke” – this specialization involves channeling the void into a giant ball of energy that they hurl at their opponents.  Additionally they have the ability to devour energy with their melee hits that they can then use to regenerate their shield.
  • Stormcaller “Emperor Palpatine” – this specialization channels the arc energy into bolts of lightning that fly forth from their hands as they float in the air.  There are some tweaks that allow them to teleport while in this state leaving puddles of electricity on the ground.

destiny_2_hunter_parade_emblemThe Hunter

The core class fantasy here is something along the lines of a “Space Ranger” they combine aspects of rogue, gunslinger and the traditional gambler archetype into one class.  The core class attribute is mobility which will allow them to have a slightly higher base movement speed, and similarly they can dodge out of harm’s way.  They have potentially the widest variety as far as their specializations go.

  • Gunslinger “Three Shot Wonder” – This fire sub class allows them to fire “golden gun” which are three shots that effectively one shot any player and take off a sizeable amount of damage from bosses.  Additionally the class gets the interesting perk of being able to use a ranged melee attack in the form of throwing knives.
  • Arcstrider “Pole Dancer” – This class has the most interesting weapon in the form of a staff made of arc energy that it then uses in a combo system to cause extremely high damage melee attacks.  If you can master the class you will be able to leap across the battlefield and do some really impressive things.
  • Nightstalker “Void Archer” – This specialization literally allows you to materialize a bow out of void energy and fire it at your opponents.  When fired at something other than a player it leaves a ball of void energy on the ground that tethers and blinds targets nearby causing them to take extra damage.

General Tips and Thoughts

  • Get Your Unlocks Out of the Way – There is going to come a point in the main story quest where a number of the NPCs start giving you side quests.  Each one of these is something you are going to want to do because they will ultimately unlock the endgame activities. Especially if you are not level 20 yet these are a good boost of XP when they finally unlock.
  • Trash Your Early Exotics – You will get a few exotics through the main story quest but they will be locked to a specific power level and you will out level them.  You could in theory infuse these up, but remember that you can always rebuy your exotics at 205 power level from the collections tab in your vault for only 10 legendary shards.  I found it easier just to pick them up again once I hit level 20 than to keep infusing them.
  • Save 5 Blue Scout Rifles – Once you hit 20 there will be a planetary quest chain that will require you to dismantle 5 blue or better scout rifles.  When you hit this point you are going to be in a mad dash to get them to drop unless you simply start banking them while you level.
  • Adventures Give Unlock Points – generally speaking while you are leveling the various planetary adventures give you unlock points for your subclasses just like leveling up.  Make sure you check each one and I highly suggest hitting up the ones that have a skill point waiting for you.
  • Do Public Events and Lost Sectors – You will be handed one specialization for your class, but in order for you to get the other two you have to unlock them through drops.  These come from doing stuff on planets like Lost Sectors and Public Events.  If you happen upon an event I highly suggest doing them so you can finish unlocking these specializations.
  • Learn How To Convert Public Events to Heroic – One of the interesting things about public events in Destiny 2 is that they all have some trigger that allows you to push them into a Heroic version where the rewards are significantly greater.  I highly suggest you check out the guide I wrote some time ago on how to convert each of them.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to convert an event when some player is actively working against you without likely meaning to.
  • Hold Off on Powerful Rewards – There will be milestones that state they reward “powerful rewards” that ultimately give you what is called a Luminous Engram.  You want to hold off on using these for as long a possible because they are going to be your single best way to get power level increases once you have hit the 270 soft cap.  Once you have finished a milestone you can hold onto the reward without turning it in and at the end of the week when reset happens they will be automatically mailed to you.
  • Multiple Classes Multiple Rewards – Ultimately if you want to maximize your luminous engrams you are going to probably end up rolling one of each class because they will all get their own set of milestones to turn in.  While armor does not swap between classes, you can swap your weapons via the vault or some of the tools I will share with you below.  This will allow you to keep bumping up your power level by doing multiple sets of turn ins, each time swapping your best gear onto the next character.
  • Keep Returning to Tess Everis – As you level your character Tess Everis the Eververse vendor will keep giving you free packages.  When you reach the level cap of 20, each time you fill an experience bar you will get a “Bright Engram” aka one of the same loot boxes that are sold with the cash currency.  You gain a rested buff that will allow you to get three of these easily each week by doing stuff in game.  As a result the cash shop option really is not needed or that appealing.
  • Save Legendaries You Like – unlike the exotics mentioned above… there is no way to reclaim a lost legendary other than to hope it drops again.  The infusion system allows for you to take a weapon that you loved while leveling and bump it up to current levels.  More importantly start looking out for gear with legendary mods on them, because they will help you bump your power levels up more than normal gear.  Ultimately gear is going to be personal preference, test everything and keep the things you love.
  • Join A Clan – This one I almost forgot but joining a clan is going to unlock a bunch of things eventually.  However up front joining before you have leveled is going to help you in two ways.  Firstly your leveling experience is going to count towards clan experience and help level the clan.  Secondly you will gain more than the 5000 xp needed to unlock the first clan luminous engram, which is going to be your easiest powerful gear reward each week.  Additionally once the clan has leveled it is going to unlock a bunch of perks on the clan banner item Hawthorne is going to hand you.

Powerful Tools

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Destiny Item Manager is the single most powerful tool that I use with the game because it does a few things that you just can’t do without third party intervention.  Say you are going on a strike but your forgot your favorite weapon in the vault.  Using the game interface this would require a trip back to a social space to retrieve it and then having to requeue for the activity.  Destiny Item Manager allows you to swap gear in and out of your vault and between your characters while in game… even in the middle of an activity.  Additionally it has some really interesting tools that allow you to filter and compare stats on gear as well as a really badass duplicate item finger to help clear that vault clutter.  If you so choose you can create weapon loadouts and swap them in and out of your character with the click of your mouse.  It is also remarkably mobile friendly so I highly suggest checking it out.

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Destiny Sets is a relatively new tool that I just started using.  Functionally it shows you every single piece of gear in the game and where it comes from.  More than that it also keeps track of the items you have and the items you still need.  When you are running three characters this becomes extremely useful especially if you get an item… and are short on inventory space and cannot remember if you needed it or not.  This gives you a quick at a glance rundown allowing you to get back in the action quicker.  This was super helpful during both Iron Banner and Faction rally in trying to track what I had and what I was missing on each character.

destinytracker

Destiny Tracker is the defacto tracking and statistics site.  It harvests information from the bungie api and keeps track on all sorts of stats.  This is heavily used by PVP players and even has a tool that lets you track what is going on in the current game.  Until recently this was how I was sorting out how much time I had spent playing this or that activity.  However a current bug is causing the API to return the incorrect amounts of time, and this has affected both this site and Wasted on Destiny.

Informational Sites

  • Bungie.net – the official website for Destiny and all Bungie games.  This is especially useful for the This Week At Bungie column that usually appears on Thursdays.
  • DestinyTheGame Reddit – if you are on a low sodium diet then I would probably suggest staying away from this site or the next site.  However the official/unofficial reddit is still a decent source of information.
  • Destiny Official Forums – this can have gems especially if you are having a very specific problem with the game.  However for the most part it is a good deal of angry players lashing out at whoever they can.  I highly suggest you maybe limit your time here.

One of the problems with the Destiny community is that there really isn’t much of a blog presence.  I guess in truth this is only really a problem if this is your preferred method of informational intake.  I am honestly likely the closest thing we have to a dedicated blog… and I am not dedicated to ONLY Destiny.  Instead you find yourself venturing onto YouTube to get your drip of information and analysis.  I preface this section largely because you will need to shift your thinking and effectively treat these sources as though they were blogs.

Helpful YouTube Channels

  • Arekkz Gaming – While he plays a significant number of other games his Destiny 2 videos are some of the best on YouTube.  They are will scripted, informationally dense and are extremely timely.  This is probably your best condensed source of the news without a lot of extraneous commentary.
  • Unknown Player – This is still an excellent source of news but since he is primarily a PVP player it is going to more of a focus on the crucible and trials meta than a lot of other sources.  Still definitely someone I listen to on a reasonable rotation.
  • Mesa Sean – As a fellow “old man gamer” I love this guy because I relate to him on several levels.  He makes an effort to be a positive voice for the community and shrugs off a lot of the salt when it is floating around.
  • Patrick Casey – aka Holtzman – Patrick used to do a good deal of the videos for planet destiny, namely the deep dive technical videos and when he left that channel…  it was clear that he was the real force behind that information.  Now his channel is packed full of the most technical and in the weeds information but sometimes you want to deep dive into the performance of a specific weapon.
  • My Name is Byf – While still a great source of news, the reason why I go to Byf is for the lore behind the game.  Before the console launch he did this amazing two hour long video explaining the majority of the lore behind the original Destiny game and I highly suggest you check it out if you have the time.
  • Myelin Games – This is a very lore centric channel and does some amazing deep dives and speculative journeys that piece together what we know and theorize about what we don’t.  If you get hooked on Destiny and want to know more about the universe, then by all means check this channel out.

I feel like I have just dumped a ton of information on you.  It will take some time to synthesize or even decide if you want to synthesize it.  The Destiny universe is a rich one with so many different rabbit trails running off in interesting directions.  Similarly the Destiny community is extremely awesome in building tools or sharing information.  If you find yourself having issues in your PC launch journeys feel free to drop me a line and I will try and answer whatever questions that might arise.  Either that or join the Beyond the Light discord community that I have created for the PC launch.  I have so much love for this game and I am ready to share it with all of the new people just getting to play it for the first time now that it is on PC.  If you are curious how I actually plan on leveling myself after already experiencing the game multiple times…  I also wrote up a post about that.