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The Road To Raid Ready
Some changes were made to the leveling system in Rise of Iron. The infusion system remains the same, as does the concept of gear dropping above your current light level, but leveling above 350 LL has been significantly slowed down when compared to the April Update.
Providing players were near max light level (335) at the end of The Taken King, they should have no problem completing the new story missions, strikes, and quests. This should get you close to an appropriate light level to begin playing the heroic strike playlist, which is a recommended 350 Light Level.
As reddit user /u/CobraCB points out in a guide on how to get to 365 LL without raiding, this is where things get a bit more complicated. Gear begins dropping much closer to your light level and the slowdown begins.
CobraCB’s guide is certainly worth reading in its entirety, but the best advice from it is to decrypt exotic and legendary engrams starting with the ones that correspond with your lowest light level gear. If your leg armor is holding you back, decrypt your leg armor engrams to bring your overall Light Level up and allow other pieces to decrypt higher.
Headed in the Right Direction
Rise of Iron brought us the Plaguelands, a huge new patrol area filled with treasures, enemies, landmarks waiting to be discovered.
This area might seem a bit overwhelming for the uninitiated. There are many paths, some of which take you to areas of the Cosmodrome you might be familiar with, while others take you on a descent into the SIVA infested underground.
Those hopping in for the first time and looking for a bit of direction should reference /u/azrael6947‘s map of the Plaguelands:
Bungie has made patrolling more rewarding than ever. While exploring the Plaguelands, players should not forget to participate in public events. The first patrol Public Event completed each day will reward players with 15 Legendary Marks and at least 1 legendary engram. You can do this on 3 characters for a total of 45 marks and 3 legendary engrams!
But, Public Events aren’t the only form of loot awaiting players in patrol. /u/Jetsetsamurai points out that players should hold onto extra splicer relays they find. It turns out, you can use them after completing the khvostov questline to re-enter the ketch for a chance at some loot. The chest on the ketch can reward legendary gear, and the boss that must be defeated to unlock the chest is eligible for a 3 of Coins use.
Clear Out the Clutter
Heroic Strikes and Wrath of the Machine can drop insane amounts of loot. Unfortunately, not all loot is created equally, and our inventory is often cluttered with green gear. While some of it may be aesthetically pleasing, this can result in high light level gear not getting sent to our Post Master if it is too full.
As /u/Peew971 explains, it’s possible to lose something as valuable as an exotic. Take the time to clear our your Post Master every few strikes, and make sure you take a breather before opening raid chests to clear your inventory of unnecessary luggage.
Archon’s Forge is a new challenge mode in the Plaguelands that is similar to Court of Oryx. Those looking to jump into the fight can check out a guide by /u/WhaleLordSlayer.
Like the matchmaking tip for Court of Oryx, players should take their time walking through the tunnel that leads to Archon’s Forge. While speeding through the narrow corridors on your sparrow is fun, walking slowly will allow more time for matchmaking to work its magic.
Also, you do not have to damage the boss as long as you were alive and participating in the event. This is important to note, because bosses often die very quickly to axe wielding guardians and heavy/super spam.
If you don’t have an offering, the mission Beauty in Delivery (the final Gjallarhorn mission) is a great place to farm SIVA Offerings. The multitudes of Fallen that rush at you are able to drop Offerings & Splicer Keys.
Smart Use of Skeleton Keys
Skeleton Keys are a new item designed to give players access to strike specific loot that was previously difficult to acquire. They are used to open chests at the end of strikes, and the gear from these chests will continue to drop above your light level.
These chests are a great way to acquire gear higher than the soft cap of 365 LL. However, Reddit user Aquilon97 points out that you can use the keys in a targeted fashion to boost the light level of specific gear.
If, for instance, your primary is holding back your light level, opening a chest after the Psion Flayers can drop a high light level Tread Upon Stars that you can infuse into your favorite weapon.
Players awaiting a quest for the Year 3 Thorn should also be aware that they will need to save a skeleton key to acquire it from the last quest step. If you have already burned through your keys, you can acquire additional keys by completing bounties on your alternate characters or beating strike bosses.
While the raid is certainly doable at 360 Light, some players might enjoy being a bit higher than that. Exotic farming is a great way to continue leveling after 365.
You can use the final mission in Rise of Iron as an efficient exotic engram farm. Make sure you use a 3 of Coins before each of the three bosses in Tomb of Iron for a chance at multiple exotics.
Rise of Iron comes with an achievement book that awards players gear, shaders, and emblems for levels of completion. Days of Iron, the gear awarded through the book, is able to be re-rolled for a better stat spread!
According to /u/MatCauthonIsMyHero, gear can be repeatedly acquired from the book with differing stat rolls. While the perks are fixed, you can get more preferred stats and class armor bonus’ by selecting in the book multiple times.
The previously mentioned record book has many achievements, some of which are less “grindy” than others. For instance, like /u/Sqeagy found out, you can complete the heroic missions by playing the same mission multiple times. So, you can run Download Complete (beatable in under 5 minutes) until you unlock the task in your book.
Other record book SGA’s include:
- Throwing Siva charges solo at the beginning of Wrath of the Machine
- Heroic Strikes will not count towards the Take a Strike achievement
- Placing top 3 in Rumble counts as a win for the Unstoppable achievement