Destiny 2’s New Grind For 400-Level Armour is No Joke

By Kirk Hamilton on at

Destiny 2’s Solstice of Heroes event debuted last week. Until it ends on 28 August, you can relive the glories of the past while earning powerful new armour… as long as you have a lot of time to spare.

The Solstice is the last of Destiny 2’s timed special events before the much-anticipated Forsaken expansion launches in early September. After heading to the Tower, veteran players will see confetti raining down from the sky, along with a collection of newly erected statues commemorating their valorous deeds during the main Red War campaign from last year. Each statue acts as the starting point for a different remixed story mission.

I hopped into the first one, which had me replay a chunk of the opening mission of Destiny 2 with re-arranged, more powerful enemies. It was pretty cool, and a nice throwback to the rotating daily Heroic missions from the first game that were cut from the sequel. I particularly enjoyed that the last stretch of the level was no longer just some weird platforming involving a turbine, but a big fight involving a turbine.

At the end of the mission, you get a set of green armour that looks like the stuff you were wearing in that first mission a year ago. I’ve recently switched over to my Titan, so I played through the mission on that character. The armour is pretty bad, just 200-level “scorched” green armour. But if I inspect it, I can see each piece has a trio of different challenges to complete.

For example, the boots ask me to beat another redux story mission, get some number of super kills in crucible, and defeat some number of minibosses. Turns out if I do that, the armour will become “rekindled,” which turns it blue and upgrades it to 340 power. Then I’ll have a new set of challenges for each piece, the completion of which will upgrade it to purple “resplendent” armour, which has a power level 400. That’s 20 above the current 380 unmodded cap, so, pretty good.

That’s five pieces of armour—head, arms, chest, boots, class item—with three challenges apiece for 15 challenges per rank. Two ranks to get to 400 means 30 challenges to complete for a single character, with an additional 15 if you want to climb the final rank and get Masterwork armour. At 45 challenges per character, getting Masterwork 400 armour on all three characters would require completing 135 challenges. [low whistle]

Several of the challenges involve picking up elemental orbs that drop while you’re wearing the armour, which means you’ll have to have this stuff equipped the whole time. Ryan Gilliam over at Polygon has broken down every rank, class, and piece of armour in their entirety, so let’s look through what I’ll have to do to get my Titan 400-level Masterwork armour.

  • Head: Spark Redux mission, 150 arc orbs, 10 kills in the Crucible, Chosen Redux mission, 200 solar super kills, complete the Nightfall, then complete the Prestige Nightfall within the stated point threshold for Masterwork.
  • Arms: Homecoming Redux mission, 90 solar orbs in strikes, one of Ikora’s meditations, Payback Redux mission, 160 solar energy weapon kills, three heroic strikes, then five more heroic strikes alongside at least one clanmate for the Masterwork.
  • Chest: Chosen Redux mission, 90 void orbs in the EDZ, complete 10 Heroic public events, 1AU Redux mission, 120 arc grenade kills, win five non-private Crucible matches, then beat the prestige Leviathan raid for Masterwork.
  • Legs: 1AU Redux mission, get 30 kills with your Super in the Crucible, defeat 50 mini-bosses, Spark Redux mission, 60 void melee kills, complete 10 adventures, then reach “legend” Valor rank in Crucible for Masterwork.
  • Class Item: Payback Redux mission, 150 void orbs, complete 10 patrols, Homecoming Redux mission, 80 arc power weapon kills, get 500 kills, then defeat 10 bosses for Masterwork.

Holy! Shit! That is a lot of stuff to do. Some of those, like completing strikes or collecting orbs, are probably doable in the course of regular play. But most of them would require a specific, structured approach where I’m trying to clear out as many challenges as possible. I bet I could bang the whole thing out in, what... six hours? Eight hours?

I can confidently say, right now, that there is no chance I’m doing that. I don’t have that kind of time, and each hour I put into chasing that armour would be dogged by the knowledge that when Forsaken comes out in just a few weeks, it’ll raise the power cap to the point that I’ll probably be getting random blue gear that’s above 400. It’s hard to get psyched up for what amounts to a short-lived head start.

Of course, the Solstice of Heroes isn’t really designed for people who play Destiny casually, or even semi-hardcore players like me. It’s for the people who still play every single day, who’ve gotten every Escalation Protocol gun and beaten every weekly challenge in all three prestige raids. It’s for the people who spent the first half of 2018 begging Bungie to add more long-term grind and out-of-reach rewards to the game. If those folks were underserved by Destiny 2 during its first eight months of existence, they sure are getting served now.

With both Solstice of Heroes and the recent (exciting!) Whisper of the Worm timed event, Bungie has done a pretty good job of adding tiers of grind to their activities. If you just want to get the Whisper, you have to beat the mission a single time. But if you want to unlock the gun’s powerful masterwork perks, you have to do a more difficult version of the mission three different times on three different weeks. Similarly, if you want to get 400 level legendary armour, you’ve got 30 challenges to complete to get there. But if you want to keep going for the Masterwork armour, you get another round of much more difficult challenges.

When Forsaken launches, it’ll be interesting to see how Bungie attempts to maintain that balancing act on a larger scale, given that one of Destiny 2’s defining attributes has long been its struggle to strike a balance between casual and hardcore players. The hardcore are certainly getting their druthers at the moment, and Solstice of Heroes should have them chasing rewards right up until Cayde finally bites the dust.