Holy Crap A Sword

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This wee the Faction Rally event has been going on in Destiny 2 and as I stated earlier in the week I was absolutely expecting Dead Orbit to win.  They had the worst weapon during the first Faction Rally and won regardless, and I just assumed that was going to be our fate in life from this point out.  However it feels like Bungie attempted really hard to stack the deck in favor of New Monarchy by offering up the only faction based sword weapon as the prize for repping the faction.  Basically in my opinion Future War Cult has the best weapons on average and New Monarchy has the coolest looking gear and shaders…  then Dead Orbit is the also ran faction of having both gear and weapons that look scavenged.  However Dead Orbit has black/grey/white shaders which at least in Destiny 1 tended to make everyone want to faction with them.  Hell I did it for awhile until I started on this whole Future War Cult kick.  Basically I had resigned myself that I would log into the game this morning and we would have a crappy grenade launcher waiting for us to purchase for far too much glimmer.  Instead I have a sword slung across my back and some pep in my step as a result.

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Last night we ventured forth into the Leviathan again, and as a bit of a favor to myself and Grace we used a brand new raid seed so that we could get in and at least get some tokens for the week.  Sunday night while I was downstairs playing WoW and watching Walking Dead a crew made their way into the Leviathan and made a repeat performance at dogs, and then put in some work on figuring out the Gauntlet event.  Last night we once again downed dogs, this time on our second attempt and were able to move on to work on the Gauntlet as well.  I like that all of the fights so far feel extremely repeatable, as in once we get the dance down we seem to be able to do it without much effort.  The most challenging part seems to be that the dogs themselves are erratic as hell and seem to behave oddly at times making it a little slow.  I fully expect that once we have the fights down solid we will be able to clear all of the Leviathan in an hour, which means we can do multiple trips in each week to get folks through it without a lot of effort.    I realize we are months behind in doing so… but I am looking forward to being able to beat Calus on our own terms and unlocking raid engrams for the rest of the clan.

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The bulk of last night was spent sorting out the mechanics to the Gauntlet and then attempting to refine what we had learned and turn it into something that was effectively repeatable.  The last few attempts were really close to winning and the ultimately challenge seems to be during the “everyone runs” phase of the fight, keeping those of us who have not been running the orbs up to that point alive long enough to get enough orbs through the gauntlet to actually win.  The last several rounds we were getting both runners through the tunnel each time, meaning in theory we needed fewer people to actually make it to the end of the fight successfully.   However the death timer is ultimately what got it as myself or someone else failed to make one of the jumps.  Functionally in my case this is going to be one of those “practice makes perfect” situations because I learn largely through doing.  The other thing that I need to do a little research on is how best to handle the waves of adds because I was doing the Axe platform and it felt like I was just straight up getting shredded by grenades all the time.  I did notice that my adds seems to stop coming out sooner than the other platforms so I am wondering if there is something to that.  The last few attempts Tam and Shiana that were doing the runs were floating to help out the other platforms clear adds and it went so much more smoothly.  I look forward to finishing this fight so we can get started on the Slug Emperor himself.

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Lastly I thought I would share this over on my main blog.  For those who are unaware we have another site tied to our AggroChat podcast that effectively rolls up and syndicates all of the content from all of the hosts.  What this means in practice is it is generally my daily posts, perforated by the occasional post by Grace and then our Sunday podcast releases.  For the past two years our banner has not at all represented the cast of the show and there has been a project to fix this getting the always amazing @Ammosart to do individual character shots.  Firstly we have Ashgar as a high tech bear, then myself as a Destiny Year 3 Iron Banner guardian, Grace as the octopus pirate queen, Kodra as Commander Keen, Tamrielo as a Red Mage, and finally Thalen as a sort of futuristic marksman.  Basically I had each member work with Ammo directly to do whatever representation they wanted to use going forward, and I think the set turned out great.  I finally got off my ass and pulled it together in a new site banner and will start using them on the title cards that I create each week for the podcast.

Package Farming

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Games like Destiny trigger the collector part of my brain in ways I will never fully understand.  Here is an example…  in Pokemon or Blizzard Pet Battles for that matter…  I don’t actually like the act of battling pets.  I do however love the aspect of collecting new critters and not so secretly wish there was a way to skirt all of the other aspects and just let me get shiny new pets.  I feel similarly about Destiny when there is a set of armor or weapons to collect, and right now I will be grinding the Faction Rally until I catch them all.  As it stands I still need the Shotgun from Dead Orbit, Sidearm from Future War Cult and both Scout Rifles from New Monarchy.  At this point I have done my weeklies on the Hunter and Warlock and ground out 20 or so loot packages on each, giving me only 10 more chances to get the items I actually need.  I have a similar number of chances for New Monarchy and have just started working on the Titan going through his weeklies.  The thirty packages cap thing is likely put there for people like me… that would have potentially ground their fingers to the bone trying to get that last weapon.  So at least on some level I am thankful that it exists…  but on a totally different level I am frustrated beyond belief that I might not actually get all of the things.

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The truth is however that the shotgun from Dead Orbit is horrible at least compared to Hawthorne’s…  and there has never been a case post Destiny 1 that I have ever said to myself that I want to use a sidearm.  In Destiny 1 I kept an assortment in the vault with various elements just so I could easily complete those kill X targets with X damage type bounties.  There are a few burst and full auto sidearms that are interesting…  but I have yet to see a reason why I would ever choose them over a more versatile weapon in that slot.  So that mostly just leaves me with the two Scout Rifles from New Monarchy that are weapons I would actually use.  It’s bizarre how the precision of the PC version of Destiny 2 has completely flipped me around from not liking Scout Rifles at all, to running with them pretty often.  I am super interested in Good Counsel IX shown above because of the hip fire perk…  given that hip firing weapons is actually a completely reasonable way to play on the PC version.  Stat wise it looks very similar to the Frontier Justice scout I got this week and one that I already know that I like…  so I am going to ultimately be extremely bummed if I wind up not getting it during this faction rally.

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Song of Justice VI is a weapon that I have on the console version of Destiny 2 and like it fairly well but it always felt like it was at least under performing slightly.  I am primarily interested in getting this weapon to see how different it feels with the precision of the mouse and keyboard.  I cannot mention enough that the weapons feel vastly different between the console and PC platforms, and there are so many that I did not like at all on console that I know really enjoy using on PC.  It is ultimately my hope that this is going to be the case with Song of Justice.  Hakke weapons in general so far have worked better on PC so I am hoping this continues to that pattern.  In other positive news… today is my Friday so I should be able to poke around in the game tomorrow during the day.  I might even get so bold as to stream a little.  I’m going through a deluge of changes right now and my natural instinct when that happens is to go into super turtle mode.  Piddling around Destiny solo mode has been something I have been doing for the last three years so it is definitely comfort gaming.  That said I really do need to get the Nightfall done and hopefully make some attempts on the raid.  I am going to try really hard to make myself available to shenanigans tonight, but no promises.  In other other news…  I popped into Diablo 3 last night and cleared my mail box in prep for the season start that begins soon.  They have roped me back in with more cosmetic rewards… that of course trigger that collector instinct in me.

Guiding Star

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This morning I wanted to take a moment to talk about a few weapons.  Right now the Faction Rally is going on and this time around the various faction merchants seem to have a much deeper stock of items.  It appears like they are offering the original four weapons in addition to more more that include the weapon that was the faction reward last time.  In theory this is probably a bit of a catch up mechanic since they stated that the weapons would be changing with the move to Season 2 starting around the December 5th time frame.  As a result this may be your only chance to get some of these items because I am not sure if the entire loot table is changing, or if there might be a chance that some of the weapons will show up later.  Whatever the case I have taken this notion to heart and have begun grinding to get everything I cared about.  The chief concern this time was the Guiding Star which is a Scathelocke look alike that Dead Orbit is offering.  It took me twenty one packages before I saw one of these, and in the process of getting it managed to get at least one of every other item.  This gun is extremely interesting because it is functionally an extremely high rate of fire variant of the Scathelocke that manages to still keep high-caliber rounds.  I have a feeling this is going to be brutal in the Crucible, but have not given it much of a test because I am still fixated on getting faction packages.  It does however do a phenomenal job of melting mobs out in the world.

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Next up is the Heart of Time pulse rifle that I was ultimately hoping we would get last Faction Rally.  I was extremely happy when I saw this among the list of possible drops this time so I could at least see how well I liked it.  On a base level this appears to be a reskinned Agenda-5 with a handful of tweaks here or there.  The great weakness of the weapon seems to be its horrible range statistic, but if you are using this gun you are using it for the dragonfly perk.  It feels fun enough, but it also feels outshined by a whole slew of pulse rifles that seem to kill things faster.  I have no clue what this feels like on the console because it has a ton of aim assistance, so in theory the experience might be completely different.  On the PC I am way more likely to use one of the slightly slower RPM weapons that packs a bigger punch.  Oddly enough I have gotten to where I like the Eystein-D…  which is a complete trash weapon on console that I shard the second I get, but have found works insanely well with the better mouse and keyboard controls.

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The last weapon I wanted to talk about this morning is Frontier Justice, which honestly is not part of the faction rally at all.  One of the things about grinding packages is that it means you are going to get a lot of duplicate weapons.  As a result I wind up with tons of gunsmith materials, and considering there are still a few super rare weapons that I am after I keep turning them in with the side benefit of getting mods.  One of those extremely rare weapons is the Frontier Justice scout rifle, which I never actually managed to get on the console and honestly have only seen a few times in the wild.  This is an extremely high impact, high range, and slow rate of fire weapon and I have to say I am liking it.  It packs an insane punch and given the slow rate of fire is extremely stable to use.  There is a weapon on I believe this same archetype available from New Monarchy and now that I have gotten most everything I want from both Future War Cult and Dead Orbit I plan on starting that grind proper tonight.  Faction Rally for me at least is all about the weapons and I’ve been super happy to get a bunch of my favorite weapons from the first faction rally on PC side.  Faction Rally and the return of Iron Banner will ultimately take away any minor pangs of remorse about losing some of my favorite weapons, because in theory I will be able to get them again.  The PC has become my platform of choice and now I am getting back all of those trinkets that I missed switching from console.

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.

 

Third Week Summary

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

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