Monday, October 6, 2014

What I've Learned From Destiny, a beginners guide (or a guide for anyone who isn't totally amazing)

I won't begin to act, or pretend that I am the greatest person to ever play Destiny. But, I have managed to learn a considerable amount, and I have been lucky enough to couple that with my scouring of the Destiny subreddit, Bungie forums, Youtube videos, and playing with people who all bring that little extra knowledge that has made me a better player. I am going to impart that knowledge upon you, what follows is a guide from the moment you begin playing to the moment you hit level 30. You will also receive tips and tricks on the the Vault of Glass raid.

First thing I feel I should throw out there is you shouldn't play with the sole goal of getting to the Hard Cap, you won't have fun, and it just takes away from overall experience. You should be playing to enjoy what Destiny has to offer, not just to be the most badass Guardian in the Galaxy. This game is all about teamwork, from Strikes, to Weeklies, to the Raid and even PVP there is a strong emphasis on being part of a team, and not a lone wolf. If you don't work with your team your team fails.

When you start out gear will mean very little, you will move from piece to piece without much thought as to what it actually does. At about 15-16 gear will be begin to drop in a way that you will want to start actually looking at the stats it provides. When you pick up a new piece of gear you can press Y on Xbox or Triangle on Playstation to look at a more in depth  list of what that gear can do. If you currently have a piece equipped with an emphasis on Hand Cannons, but you don't use them, and the new piece of gear has an emphasis on Scout Rifles, which you do use then you may want to switch out what you are already wearing for the new one. You should regularly look into what the gear offers, and suit your gear to what your specific play style is.

Once you hit level 20 your gear takes on a whole new meaning, your gear will determine wether you can reach the Hard Cap of Level 30, or if you will be trapped at 29 forever. In order to increase your level past 20 you will need light, all rare/legendary/exotic gear has light once you hit 20. Rare has the least amount of light, while legendary will cap out 27 light when fully upgraded, and exotics cap out at 30 light. In order to reach Level 30 you will need a total of 120 light. Which means 4 pieces of gear that feature 30 light, you can only wear 1 exotic at any given time, so I'm sure you are wondering "well how the hell can I get to 30 if legendaries cap out at 27 light?" Raid Gear, all Raid Gear cap out at 30 light, and unlike Exotics you can have all 4 slots equipped with Raid Gear.

Raid Gear can only be obtained by doing the raid (Vault of Glass), you can not buy it, with the random loot you are not guaranteed any Raid Gear, you could finish the whole Raid on Hard and only receive Ascendant Materials. That is the luck of the draw, once you are of level to do the Raid YOU SHOULD CEASE TO UPGRADE ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF EXOTICS. You will need 3 things for the final upgrades of Legendary gear, Glimmer (which comes relatively easy), whatever base material goes with it (easily obtained on any of the 4 planets), and Ascendant Shards (Shards are fucking hard to come by). This is why you should forgo upgrading Armor that won't give you max light. You will need those shards, so spending them is a waste of your time.

Once you obtain a piece of Raid Gear your primary focus should be to upgrade the piece. You will have to the Raid multiple times before you have all 3 pieces of Raid Gear. I say 3, because you can buy an exotic from Xur on the weekends. BUT, be careful, there is one piece of Raid Gear for each class that can only be obtained in the Hard version of the raid. For Hunters and Warlocks you can obtain everything but a Helmet in the Normal version of the raid, for Titans everything but the Chest-piece can be obtained in Normal. So, really Titans should buy the Chest from Xur, and Hunters/Warlocks should invest in a Helmet.

Weapons should be whatever you find most comfortable for you, you shouldn't sacrifice your style of play because you found something with a higher attack, but is something you would never otherwise use. I dismantle every Hand Cannon I have ever gotten, I don't like them, they aren't for me and I won't use them. But, everyone is different, even if my first legendary had been a Hand Cannon I would have dismantled it. But weapons much like armor can offer bonuses towards things that are important to your class, which is why just like armor you should pay attention to what upgrades you can do for it. If you may lose a tiny bit of attack, but gain upgrades that will boost your abilities you should absolutely go for it.

Weapons have no affect on your Light Level and as such you should absolutely upgrade them at will, especially Exotics and Legendaries. But you should actively use your Vault, which is located by the Cryptarch in the Tower, the main reason you should is so you can store multiple of the same style weapon with different damage modifiers. You should have 3 Sniper Rifles, 3 Fusion Rifles, 3 Machine Guns, and 3 Rocket Launchers. All should have 1 of the damage modifiers, so basically 1 Solar, 1 Void, and 1 Arc. When you start doing Weeklies you notice a skulls next them, these skulls are modifiers, they determine difficulty, usually they will also have a burn skull. Burn skulls impact the type of damage the enemies dole out, but also dictate what kind of damage modifiers will do increased damage against them. So if the Weekly Nightfall is Void Burn then you should have weapons equipped that do Void Damage. This will make things a lot easier on you, while the enemies might be doing additional damage, so are you.

Did you notice that I didn't include Shotguns? That is because Shotguns are pretty well useless in PVE (Patrols, Story, Strikes, Weeklies, and the Raid), Hunters/Warlocks aren't armored enough to be that close to the fray to make shotguns effective, Titans might be able to, but once you start getting into the harder stuff like Weeklies and Raids then they really become pretty useless. They are mainly for PVP, and so while you could have 3 shotguns, I would imagine most people find 1 and stick with it. Clearly Exotic weapons are the best for everything, alongside Raid weapons. I recently managed to pick up a Scout Rifle that had Solar damage from the Raid, this is seriously awesome because most primary weapons do not feature any damage modifiers in the form of elemental. If the Nightfall has Solar Burn I will absolutely clean up, I also have an Exotic Rocket Launcher and Legendary Fusion Rifle both with Solar, meaning that in any instance that I need Solar, I never have to worry about it.

Reputation is hugely important in Destiny, it determines everything, you will not be able to buy most things from vendors without enough Rep, and you won't be able to purchase anything from Faction vendors without Rep. So, you should actually take the time to inspect the gear that each Faction could sell you, if you really like the stats on the Gear for the New Monarchy, but you really like the Weapons from Future War Cult, it will require 2 separate sets of Rep. Unfortunately the Rep system is complicated, and if you want New Monarchy's gear, you will have to grind out Rep for them, while gaining nothing for anyone else.

That's right! When you want to earn Rep for a specific Faction you will have to buy a class item from them, then you will equip it, at that point you will no longer gain Rep for anyone but them until you remove the class item. Most Factions require you be at Level 2 rep to buy Armor, and Level 3 to buy Weapons, either way it's lame, but if you don't wish to grind engrams it is by far the fastest way to get Legendary items. Each have their own styles, and you would be wise to see which one best suits you prior to accepting any as your preferred Faction, as they will be all you are gaining Rep towards. On the other hand you could completely forgo Factions and just gain Rep with the Vanguard and Crucible.

In my honest opinion you are better off just getting Rep for the Vanguard and Crucible. If you gain Rep for a specific faction you will be restricted to 1 vendor, as opposed to gaining rep for Crucible and Vanguard where you will have access to every vendor outside of the 3 Faction vendors. This gives you way more options, and it's rather easy to gain rep. Vanguard Rep can be obtained through everything outside of the Story and Raid, this includes Patrols, which will net you 10 for every one you complete, or 25 Rep for every mission that have a specific Target that you have to kill. Crucible marks can be obtained through playing the crucible, 10 Rep for every loss, and 25 for every Win. If you are part of a faction you will gain rep with them for every single thing you do. If you win in the Crucible that is 25 Rep towards that faction, if you complete a patrol mission that is 10 Rep towards that faction. You could farm Rep, but really if you just play the game you will achieve the same damn thing, so you really don't need to farm, but if you are going to choose a specific faction you should start early, so by the time you hit 20 you will be able to buy what you want.

For every class in Destiny, there is a Sub-Class. My warlock for instance started out with the Sub-Class Void Walker, which had a focus on shaping Void Light into a weapon. Once you reach 15 this opens up a new Sub-Class, for me it opened up the Sub-Class of the Sunsinger, a class that is heavily focused on Solar. All subclasses are different and have perks and drawbacks, my Void Walker Sub-Class is capable of doing insane amounts of damage, but my survivability isn't all that great, but my Sunsinger Sub-Class once fully upgraded gives me the ability to not only Survive longer, but if I go down in PVP or a Respawn Restricted area I can Self-Revive, but I lose the crazy damage from my Void Walker.

Should you focus on one Sub-Class more than another? No, you should spend equal time upgrading both, once I maxed out Void Walker I immediately began working on Sunsinger, So, now that I have both fully upgraded I am able to switch at will depending on what I need. This versatility is really useful, the only time it becomes tricky is something like Nightfall, where maybe the modifier is Void Burn, but, with how hard Nightfall can be my Self-Revive is almost a necessity. During the Raid we needed a quick decision, and we had to turn over relic duties to someone who had never done it, just because he lacked a fully upgraded Sub-Class, you honestly should work on both if nothing more because you may find out that the one that was locked away from you, is actually a better fit for you.

Material Farming/Chest Farming
Material/Chest Farming is beneficial in a lot of ways. One, you can never have too many mats, two mats can be traded in for Rep, three you can possibly find something awesome. I get a lot of questions from random people I play with about Chest farming, or how I manage to find so many mats just randomly. Answer I'm always looking, and when I'm not looking, I still kind of am lol. The key really is to find a spot where you can go in a circle, this circle should contain certain things. Caves/Rooms, regular material spawns in the enviroment, enemies on a regular respawn rate, and finally a chance for Public Events.

While Chests do have a random chance to spawn just out in the open, the more Caves/Buildings that are around the better chance of finding Chests there are. You want to scour the entire area that you have decided in, I have found Chests in really weird places, everything from behind a building to on a ledge, and sandwiched in between walls. You will guaranteed get Glimmer and at least 1 Mat per chest. But, every now and again you will find a double chest, these are random and you may find 1 right off the bat, and then never find another for the entire run, or you could find 1 then find another right after it. These double Chests will grant you usually around 9-10 mats, a couple Greens/Blue Engrams (and in a very very rare case Purple), and Ammo Synthesis.

Finally it's always good to have your circle coincide with places where Public Events happen, while you are gaining steady glimmer and Mats, and with respawning enemies maybe even some engrams, Public Events can grant you Ascendant Shards/Energy. Considering how useful these become late in the game, it will really maximize your farming if you can gain all of these in a run you are doing it right. You can find areas that are perfect for these on all the planets, I haven't found one on Venus that really grants as much as the other planets, but about the best place on Venus is Ishtar Commons, great chance for Engram drops, regular Spirit Bloom, and the occasional chest. The Moon for me was the entire area around the building that kind of looks like the space needle in Seattle (Odd comparison I know, but when you see it you know you're there), Mars has a wonderful place that has served me quite well, from spawn follow the road to the right, you will come to an area where Vex spawn to the left and Cabal spawn to the right. There are probably 8-10 rooms in this area that spawn chests, I have gotten Purple Engrams, there are regular Public Events, and more Relic Iron than you will know what to do with. The Cosmodrome on Earth's number 1 place is probably the Rocket Yard, 2 spots for Public Events, tons of Chests, Spinmetal coming out of your ass, and the new Loot Cave.

Everything in Destiny comes down to XP, well except for getting from level 20-30, even though Light is what makes you level, XP is the only way to level your gear/weapons/Sub-Class. You will gain XP for everything, and it really isn't that hard to come by, but if this isn't your first Guardian you probably don't want to spend all of your time trying to bust your ass to level. So, the question is how can you gain XP fast. The answer Bounties, and adding the Heroic modifier to anything you do.

The first few missions in the game aren't too bad if you add the Heroic modifier (which can be done by selecting the mission, then selecting the green part that says Level whatever Normal, and just select the next one down that says Hard), but as you progress the missions get a lot harder, so it helps to have a higher level character with you to keep you from dying every 5 minutes. Once bounties become available, you should pick up as many as you can. Bounties are great for XP, and Rep, so you should take them and complete them regularly. The more you complete at one time the faster everything you have equipped will level. You could technically upgrade a new weapon a lot faster, by simply completing a bunch of bounties with your normal weapon equipped, and just switch to the new weapon prior to turning the bounties in, and boom instant levels.

You should be doing Strikes, lots of Strikes, once you hit level 23 you should only be doing the Vanguard Tiger playlist (level 24 Strikes). There are plenty of Bounties geared towards killing X amount of Majors/Ultras (which regularly show up in higher level strikes), or kill X boss in X Strike, and they grant more XP and more Rep than most other Bounties. When playing Weeklies you should go as high level as you can, if you have a couple friends who are high level you could even get away with doing them on max level, this will grant you more XP and usually more valuable rewards. YOU HAVE TO PLAY PVP! I know that PVP is a downside for a lot of people but the bounties are easy, and the Rep/XP/Gear/Weapon/Mat gain is worth it. Matches don't tend to take very long, and you don't even have to do well to get great items out of it, so quit complaining and just play it.

Nightfall Strikes/Modifiers
Currently Nightfall is one of the Hardest parts of the game, they are unlocked at level 25 but shouldn't be attempted prior to 26-27. You do not want to try the Weekly Nightfall by yourself, if you are lucky you may make it through the Weekly Heroic, but definitely not the Nightfall. It is beneficial to do the Nightfall however as you have a better loot chance, and you gain bonus XP for the week. Nightfall is hard because it is set to Level 28, and has more modifiers than any other mission in the game.

You have probably heard me say the word Modifier a lot during this, and now I will address them. Modifiers work similar to Skulls in Halo. They add more difficulty by taking things away, or adding and element that wasn't there before. Heroic is the most common, and just means more enemies and they are more aggressive. Nightfall (hence the name) means You will face a relentless army that has never known defeat. If all players die, you will be returned to orbit. Angry will cause enemies to not flinch even after massive damage. Anger Issues causes enemies to display heightened aggression. Lightswitch causes enemies to deal more Melee damage. Mythic increases enemy shields, makes them more aggressive in greater numbers. Juggler makes it so that no ammo drops for your currently equipped weapon, causing you to need to switch between weapons regularly. Arc/Solar/Void Burn which means damage from any source of this kind is greatly increasd.

You should regularly check to see what modifiers the Nightfall is incorporating. There tends to be a regular use of Nightfall, Heroic, Lightswitch, Juggler, and Arc/Solar/Void Burn. What this means is you want to stay back, it's not wise to get close to enemies in Nightfall, if Lightswitch is active they will one hit kill you with their melee, which leaves your teammates vulnerable. The idea behind Nightfall is to take it slow and find ways around being too aggressive. Stay back, use weapons that match the Burn modifier, and keep a close eye on your health and how your team is fairing.

PVP Tips
PVP is hit and miss, but to me it feels awesome, and is incredibly fun and satisfying. I hear a lot of people say they hate PVP, but I have a feeling it's because they can't combat the things they dislike about it.

1. This isn't Halo, it may be made by the Developer of Halo, but, it's not Halo. Halo had a balance for players you could use an Assault Rifle, and still be taken out by a guy using a burst weapon (Battle Rifle) or a more precise single shot weapon (DMR). Whatever you were comfortable with you could use, Destiny has balancing issues, so this doesn't work. My first few rounds in the Crucible I quickly found out that my style of play in Halo (DMR) was not going to work in Destiny. The Scout Rifle is a bad choice in PVP, the Plasma Rifle isn't much better, for the most part it is all about the Auto Rifle, the sooner you accept this the better off you will be.
2. Expect to be killed by Fusion Rifles/Shotguns a lot. I said Destiny has balancing issues, and here is case and point. The Fusion Rifle and Shotgun fall under Special Weapons, Special Weapons much like Heavy Weapons should have their ammo put on a timer, instead they are available from the beginning and regularly replenish on a regular basis. Meaning that someone who chooses to run around with a shotgun can do so without ever switching back to their primary. This is going to happen, don't get frustrated.
3. Don't waste your super! Supers are hard to come by in PVP, especially if your not that great at it. While people who do well can achieve 3-4 supers per match, most might see 2, so deploying it for 1 enemy is just a waste. If you are going to maximize your super it should be when there are several people in one area, especially in control points.
4. Don't get frustrated, no matter how bullshit PVP can feel getting frustrated is going to make you do worse. You are not required to get a ton of kills, a number of people will tell you that your Win/Loss ratio is far more important than your Kill/Death Ratio. This means if you aren't the best at getting kills you should stick with modes like Control, and instead of trying to get kills just focus on capping points. This goes farther towards helping your team and getting the Objectively Correct medal at the end always feels pretty good. Once you learn peoples tactics, you can exploit them and overall the more relaxed you are the better you will do.

Raid Tips
The Vault of Glass Raid is the pinnacle of what you can do in Destiny at this current time. What makes the VoG hard is that it requires you to have 5 other people in your Fireteam without matchmaking. There are plenty of walkthroughs out there and if you are new to this whole thing these are simply tips, not a walkthrough.

1. Do the Raid with people you regularly play with and have good communication with. Destiny's social aspect is a double-edged sword, and it is no more evident than the Raid, requiring people to find 5 other people ready to work on their timeframe is hard for most people, but the lack of any real ingame chat makes it even harder. The first group made it through in 11 hours, some who have done it repeatedly managed it in as quick as 35-40 minutes. My first successful attempt took 5 1/2 hours, the next successful attempt took 3 hours. So clearly you are going to be in the Raid for a considerable amount of time. Which means that the other 5 players you will be playing with will be with you for however long it takes to get through it. If you are doing the Raid with complete strangers chances are you won't have fun, and it will take longer due to a lack of communication. There are a multitude of resources for finding players, but you shouldn't jump right in to the Raid with random people you meet through whatever source, you should do Strikes, Weeklies, Patrols with them to get to know them, and figure out if they have a chance of being a toxic member of your party. Once you find a solid group stick with them and watch the time it takes to get through the Raid melt off with each successful go at it.
2. Don't expect awesome rewards. The Raid giveth and the Raid jippeth, sometimes you will get weapons, or maybe a piece of gear, but chances are you will go the whole raid getting nothing more than Shards and Energies, and maybe a shader. If you are doing it for nothing more than Raid Gear, you are probably going to have a miserable time. Especially if someone else in the group is cleaning up, accept what you get, and be humble about what your Raid Team gets.
3. Communicate, do this times infinity. In order for everyone to be on the same page people need to communicate what they are seeing, and when they are in trouble. Develop a language that everyone in your group understands, that way if you see an Oracle in say back left, shouting it out will let everyone around you know, "hey, we need to get rid of that!" There is no such thing as too much communication.
4. Make sure that everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, and that they are doing it. There are plenty of sections that require perfect coordination by everyone involved. If someone isn't doing their job, you are officially fucked. But, you also need to be flexible, especially when it comes to something like the Atheon fight, if someone is say expected to be teleported and carry the Relic, but it's not working out there needs to be someone else ready and able to do it in their place.
5. Toxic behavior helps no one. Our first attempt at the raid was destined for failure, due to many factors. We had 4 people ready to get shit done, one person who was unable to connect to party chat due to "NAT problems", and someone who was completely trashed. One of the 4 lost his power, which caused us to scramble to find 1 more person, once that one person was found, he and my very drunk friend had a battle of egos, which resulted in the dude without the mic to not know what the hell was going on, one of the guys in our party to side with the guy who came in late to blindside my drunk friend. We dissolved, and we didn't finish. Then I managed to get a group of guys together whom I had played with before and boom we finished it, did it with the same guys the following week finished it even quicker. The Raid requires you to check your ego at the door, everybody makes mistakes, and everyone needs to be encouraging, the better experience you give everyone the better chances you have of making it through.
6. You should have an Auto Rifle (most enemies), Fusion Rifle (tend to do high damage on Oracles), Sniper Rifle (Atheon/Templar), Machine Gun (Atheon/Templar), and Rocket Launcher (Atheon/Templar). You should also have Ammo Synthesis (atleast 5 of each type), because you would be surprised how little ammo can drop when you need it.

This final portion is basically just our method, which was found by someone else in our team (and therefore I don't know the original source for the method) and it has worked quite well, but I did find an interesting method on reddit, which I now can't find for some reason that seems promising. Atheon really isn't all that bad, and his health goes down rather quickly once you start laying into him. He is incredibly susceptible to Grenades and Rocket Launchers. So what we do is when the guys who were telported come back out everyone get to the middle platform between the two portals. Our Defender Titan throws up his bubble with Weapons of Light (which increases weapon damage) we all stand in the bubble the relic carrier holds down his cleanse infront that bubble which means Atheon can not hit you, but you can still fire out, at that point we unleash rockets and grenades upon him until there is about 5 seconds left on Time's vengeance and then we all get back to where we belong. We rinse and repeat and it takes about 4-5 times of doing this for him to go down. Now the reddit suggestion was you have 2 Sunsinger Warlocks stay out of the teleport, once the three people in the back get teleported both Sunginers (you need Fire Praxis) use their supers and just unload grenades upon Atheon as he will be standing perfectly still, according to that method he could be down in about 3 teleports.

I will be adding to this in time, currently I am writing this because I am laying on a couch with a 101 degree fever and it seemed like a good way to pass the time. If you would like to play with me, or if you need help farming chests, doing strikes, weeklies, or maybe you would like to do the raid you can add me on Xbox One my tag is combicoilag, hopefully I will pick this up for PS3 and if I do I will let you know. If you have any tips, or things you think I should add let me know down in the comments, you can follow me on Twitter @combicoilag or Subscribe to my Yotube channel my username is combicoilag. Thanks for reading, and remember that all in all you should have fun playing Destiny, and these tips are nothing more than a simple guide to how to maximize your time in Destiny, and make the endgame slightly easier on yourself. So Guardian get out there, and as always protect Dinklebot!