Published on: Apr 26, 2015 @ 22:55
The expansion is only weeks away, and we’re all scrambling to make sure we’ve got our ducks in a row to take advantage of the new content the second it drops.
If you’re overwhelmed and looking for a guide on how to prepare your character physically (and yourself mentally) for the fun chaos of a new DLC installment, you’ve come to the right place.
We’re going to take you through the essentials and offer some tips on how to approach House of Wolves when it launches May 19th.
With the introduction of the Ascend system last Wednesday, there are almost limitless combinations of ways to hit level 34 now. Ascending armor will most likely raise its stats as well. Check out this FAQ for more information about Etheric Light and Ascending.
No longer will you have to suffer the indignity of not being the maximum level just to look the way you want. With a little patience and luck, you can mix-and-match your way to 34 in style. Every Legendary piece of armor is suitable for Ascending, so it simply comes down to a matter of choice.
Of course, you’ll have to take your stats into consideration too. Try to balance them evenly, making sure not to dedicate much more than 271 points into an individual stat. Some overage is inevitable, but you’re going to want to avoid stat builds with single values in excess of 320.
To this end, be aware that all Legendary Armor is not created equally. Crota’s End Raid Gear, for example, has been shown to have higher potential stat values than other basic Legendary variants.
If you’re a min-maxer, and are concerned with wringing the most points out of your gear, it may be worthwhile to you to spend some time in The Dark Below’s raid, hoping for a lucky drop. Even if it takes you a while to get the piece you want, you’ll be amassing Radiant Shards and Energy – which are poised to become worthwhile trade-ins through the Speaker’s new currency transfer market.
If you’re not so concerned with minute differences in cooldown times, keep an eye out for gear that grants the stats and perks you want. Some standout perks include Inverse Shadow, Serpent’s Tail (and its Hunter and Titan equivalents), Quintessence Transfer, and Snap Discharge (Rain Blows for Titan, or Switchblade on Hunters).
Try to ensure that you don’t have duplicate perks so nothing is wasted. Perks like Fastball and Rain Blows do not stack, so try to have perk synergy in mind when choosing those lucky three Legendaries.
For example, Serpent’s Tail will lead to increased grenade uptime, and combining this with Quintessence Transfer will then lead to faster Super recharge. If you stack Intellect, you now have a pretty good build.
You’re also perfectly welcome to hold out for some of the new options available from House of Wolves. We’ve seen some strong new designs with a variety of rolls and perks, so who could blame you?
Money in the Bank
Destiny’s economy runs on a plethora of currencies, all of which are constantly demanding to be spent on a wide variety of curios and gear. There’s at least half a dozen that are going to be essential in getting to experience House of Wolves’ more appealing content quickly.
Remember that Commendations are no longer required to purchasing items. You will be able to use your old Commendations for reputation.
Motes of Light
They’re fairly rare in-game at the moment. Eris offers a weekly bounty called The Cleansing that grants this, but otherwise you’re limited to hoping for Engram luck.
What do you need Motes for? The Speaker’s Legendary class items, Iron Banner Reforge tolls, and Xûr’s way-too-tempting Engrams. On top of this, they will also be required for reforging new House of Wolves weapons, and maybe even be taxed as a Trials of Osiris buy-in.
Thankfully, they’re about to become a lot more abundant. The Speaker’s currency exchange preview showed that Ascendant and Radiant Shards can be traded in for Motes of Light at a 2:1 ratio.
If you’ve got an unholy amount of Ascendant or Radiant Shards from faithfully running the raids, exchange them for Motes of Light! Now we’ll have plenty to play around with, whether that means splurging on Exotic Engrams for Xûr’s first weekend in the hopes of landing a new Exotic, or reforging to our heart’s content.
Still, it pays to be frugal, as luck-of-the-draw ventures like reforging quickly exhaust supplies. “Just one more”, you say to yourself, as your near-perfect Timur’s Lash becomes near-worthless. We’ve all been there.
If you’re strapped for Motes of Light at the moment, and don’t have a multitude of raid materials, try to avoid spending them in the few weeks before House of Wolves.
They’re still the go-to for amassing Vendor gear, and thus every bit as valuable as they’ve always been. Try to keep at least 150 Marks on each character in the weeks leading up to the expansion, because there’s bound to be a day-one weapon or piece of armor that catches your eye, and the last thing you want is to be scrambling to afford it.
Crucible Marks will be particularly in-demand, as they can not only be spent on a weapon from the Crucible Quartermaster, but are also fair game for each of the three faction vendors. With the House of Wolves “Reforge Ready” arsenal, the choice is even more difficult. Do you buy the great stock-rolled Dead Orbit weapon? Or do you buy your dream New Monarchy LMG with poor perks so you can get to Reforging immediately?
With three characters, you could theoretically amass a total of 600 of each Mark prior to launch. This means six new Legendaries in Week 1 and, with some absurd grinding, another potential 600 of each in the Week 2. We don’t expect anyone to play the amount it would take to do this, but if you’re determined to have a collection of HoW gear before your friends, the option is out there.
We’re not sure in what new ways these are going to factor in. Presumably, Xûr will still be hungry for your Strange Coins, so it’ll be good to have a healthy supply on hand for the new Exotics.
We know that Exotic Gear is going to require Exotic Shards to Ascend, so Xûr’s stock of Exotic Shards, available for Strange Coins, is going to be in high demand in the first few weeks. He sells each of these for 7 Strange Coins, so try to plan for how many Exotics you’re going to need to Ascend.
Keep in mind that you may want to prioritize Exotic armor first, since it’s arguably more advantageous to reach a higher Light level than have 365 Attack.
Recall that you can earn an “easy” 27 Strange Coins by simply completing the Weekly Heroic on Level 30 across all three characters. You’ll also wind up with a good amount of Rare Engrams too, several of which may turn into Strange Coins if you’re lucky.
You know what they say about Glimmer: “it makes the world go ’round.” Be sure to have this at or near the maximum of 25,000. There are very few things in Destiny that don’t require some amount of Glimmer in purchasing.
We’ve already seen some hefty price tags on collectibles like the Reef Ship, and the “service charges” that the Speaker has attached to some of his more attractive exchanges will pile up quick.
To extend past the 25,000 cap, save consumables like House Banners in your Vault.
The Speaker is also willing to give you some Glimmer for your excess mats though, so you can always buy more when you visit him then. We caution against this; Glimmer is an unlimited resource, and you may have seller’s remorse for the materials you won’t be able to use again after you make the trade.
Class materials and Weapon Parts are going to be in demand as well. If you’re low on these, try running Vanguard Strikes or burning extra Glimmer to get weapon Engrams. You can dismantle the resulting Uncommon or Rare Engram for some easy Weapon Parts.
Tip: invest a little experience in these for the chance to get a few extra Weapon Parts when dismantling. Don’t actually spend any materials; simply turn in a few bounties while having them equipped, and reap the rewards upon dismantling them. This also works for armor, and even Exotics, as sometimes you’ll get 2 Exotic Shards instead of 1.
Going Above and Beyond
If you’re particularly keen on micromanaging and want to leap to the head of the pack on Day One, there are a few strategies you can employ to give yourself a potential leg up straight off.
Some careful management of Reputation levels could yield some great rewards. The idea is to get your reputation for as many factions as close to a “Rank Up” package as possible. Then, when the new items are added to the package rewards with HoW, push your reputation to the next level, and unwrap your gifts en masse. You could luck out with a new Legendary Weapon, a rare shader, or even a Faction ship.
This requires some attentive planning though. You need to be sure you’re constantly aware of what Class item you have equipped, and to which Faction the reputation you amass is being directed. Take advantage of the in-game reputation checker to see where you stand.
Don’t start edging too early, as activities like Nightfalls and Weeklies provide huge chunks that quickly can get you close to a level. If you screw up, don’t sweat it! Reputation is an ever-abundant resource, and you can fix your mistake in just a couple of days.
Keep in mind, Faction Packages are only rewarded at Rank 3 and beyond. If you haven’t yet hit that, now is the time to suck it up and grind it out. For those who don’t play Crucible, you’re most likely to be short a couple of ranks there. If you can stomach PvP without stressing, take some time to complete the daily bounties; they’ve never been easier than they have with the most recent patch.
If you’re absolutely out of weapons and armor that need experience, and have edged out your reputations perfectly, try to fill out your bounty inventory with completed 5000 XP options.
You’ll be able to dedicate this banked experience to whatever new items you grab when House of Wolves arrives, and get an early bump towards earning those new perks.
If you’re wondering, “Should I open my Dark Below packages now, or wait until the HoW drops?” – then keep reading.
First of all, it’s worth noting that your current packages, or any package/Engram that you have before HoW is released, will not reward House of Wolves items. Ranking a faction up after House of Wolves is released will reward you with a House of Wolves item though.
However, that doesn’t mean you should necessarily use them now. If you hold on to your packages until after the HoW is released, you’ll be able to gain a ton of extra reputation. Add your Commendations into the mix, and that will help to get you close to another reputation rank that much quicker.
So what’s the benefit of using them now? Well besides the obvious loot, you can use them to “edge” your factions.
We do recommend that you hold on to the package you get for completing a public event once a day. These reward a moderate amount of XP and are easy to save up at the Postmaster. They can easily be used as another huge source of early experience for your new House of wolves gear.
Above all, cut yourself some slack. House of Wolves, and Destiny at large, is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. It’s very easy to get caught up in the mentality of needing to do everything perfectly as early as possible. Hitting the max level, upgrading all of your weapons, collecting new gear and finishing new challenges – these are all things that shouldn’t just be a finish line, they should be a journey.
Why be in a hurry to exhaust this new content? It’s often the most hardcore players who complain first when they’re out of things to do. It’s all well and good to have everything in order when the DLC becomes available, but it’s another thing entirely to do so aggressively and with impatience.
Think about it like this: the Prison of Elders is going to be a challenge for a tight-knit group of Guardians willing to tackle some of the hardest content that the House of Wolves has to offer. If you go recklessly in expecting to clean up and land all of the Legendary gear without a problem, you’re going to be frustrated, and completely miss out on the experience of actually playing the game.
Don’t go in with expectations. Think back to the first time you and your fireteam stepped tentatively into the vast expanse of the Vault of Glass, or delved into the depths of Crota’s End . The allure of these experiences was not in the promise of success, but the chance of failure.
If you go to bed having fallen short of conquering the Fallen, all this means is that you get another chance to beat it the next day. How much sweeter the victory will taste when you’ve struggled for it. The gear you wear with pride in the coming months will be a testament to the willingness you displayed in confronting something you couldn’t fully prepare for.
The Bottom Line
- Pick your gear.
- Balance your stats.
- Find the perks you want.
- Keep diligently collecting Motes of Light. “The Cleansing” bounty can help.
- Be careful not to waste MoL. The Speaker and Xur might be tempting, but you’ll be glad you saved them.
- Motes of Light can be exchanged for by trading Ascendant and Radiant materials.
- Get at least 150 of each on all of your characters prior to the HoW release.
- Scope out the vendors’ stocks beforehand. Think carefully and consider that HoW weapons will be “reforge ready”
- Run your Weeklies at level 30 on all three characters. That’s 27 Strange Coins right there.
- Hold off on buying from Xûr’s TDB stock until HoW. But stock up on Exotic Shards to ascend your current Exotics.
- Grind weapon parts by collecting engrams and dismantling the guns they grant. Invest more experience for more Weapon Parts.
- Cap your Glimmer.
- To extend past the 25,000 cap, save consumables like House Banners in your Vault.
- Edge your reputation close to a rank up package, then finish the level after HoW drops.
- Get to Rank 3 or close to it so you’ll be guaranteed a package.
- Collect completed 5k bounties for easy XP on Day 1.
Ultimately, how you play Destiny is your choice and your choice alone. We’re not here to say there’s a wrong way to play the House of Wolves. You may choose to heed some, all, or even none of our advice in this article.
In the end, we all aim to have fun. In the excitement and hubbub of launch, it may be impossible to fully separate yourself from the hype and just soak in the experience, but this is what it means to be prepared. We’ve all learned a lot from The Dark Below, and it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. The House of Wolves has a lot in store for our Guardians, but invariably it will be the Guardians who come out on top.
We’ll get our weapons, armor, and trophies, and one day be idling at 34 waiting for Comet teasers to crop up. You won’t be able to reclaim the opportunity to experience House of Wolves for the first time, so how you approach it now is all the more important.
Eyes up, Guardians. We’ve got a lot to look forward to.