HoW Exotic Armor Review

Published on: May 19, 2015 @ 12:05

It’s official: the House of Wolves Exotics are finalized and in the database. We’ve seen some changes from the original data-mined set, but overall the forecast is similar.

Now that we’ve had some time to consider what we’re looking at, I’m sure you’re all wondering if your early favorites are still worth chasing.  Well never fear, we’re going to go over each piece of Exotic armor in detail and assess their worth for PvP and PvE alike.

We’ll have a video reviews of the fully upgraded armor as soon as possible!

347 vesta dynasty exotic review
Weapon reviews coming soon!

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Hunters

Celestial Nighthawkcelestial nighthawk exotic review

  • Ashes to Asset: Replenish Super energy when you kill an enemy with a grenade.
  • Inverse Shadow: Increased Super energy gained from killing minions of the Darkness.
  • Big Game: Golden Gun fires one shot, delivering 6x damage, while granting Keyhole for overpenetration.

The Nighthawk provides “Big Game,” which has your Golden Gun deliver 6 times the damage of a single Golden Gun shot, while limiting your Golden Gun magazine to only one bullet. It also adds Keyhole free of charge – neat! This is an undeniably creative new boon for the Gunslinger, but is instantly polarizing for both PvE and PvP. How does it work out, then?

PvE

As you may be using this in place of your Achlyophage Symbiote, we’ll consider the raw damage differential to be at 6:4 ratio. Yes, that’s right, you’ll do 50% more overall damage from the actual impact of the shot with Big Game.

However, this damage will be limited to a single target, removing what was arguably Golden Gun’s greatest niche in add-disposal. Instead, you have a ‘boss killer’ on your hands, able to bring an Ultra to within an inch of his life in a single, well placed shot. You’ll have to decide when a particularly deadly enemy is poised to cause a big problem, because you’d be better suited with Achylophage Symbiote when trash is nearby.

Multiple shots also possess the capacity to take better advantage of Combustion, whose mini explosions can quickly match the power of the Nighthawk. If you can line up your target with a couple others though, it’s GG indeed for the Nighthawk.

Its pure Intellect, Ashes to Asset, and Inverse Shadow are the best possible combination of stats and perks to get you Golden Gun as fast as possible. You can abandon Combustion for Deadeye or Gunfighter (recommended) for the fastest cooldown on GG imaginable.

PvP

Golden Gun is already a one-hit kill, so this helmet provides no utility outside of its pure Intellect and Ashes to Asset. You are better off without this helmet in PvP. Yes, you’ll get Golden Gun quickly, but your only chance at a multi-kill is to hope a few Guardians line themselves up.

Khepri’s StingKhepri's Sting exotic review

  • Primary Weapon Loader: Increased reload speed with Primary Weapons.
  • Invigoration: Reduces melee cooldown each time you pick up an Orb of Light.
  • Touch of Venom: Gain invisibility after crouching in place for a short time. Melee attacking an enemy from behind while invisible delivers 4x damage.

This new Exotic provides “Stalker” for either the Gunslinger or Bladedancer, while additionally granting an amped up version of Backstab (4x damage) for any melee from behind, plus a damage over time effect (not mentioned in the tooltip). It also gives you pure Strength and Invigoration.

PvE

Khepri’s “Touch of Venom” spreads the invisibility love to Gunslinger’s, and doesn’t require you to get hit to make use of it. It can probably be used in place of Stalker on a Bladedancer too, freeing up Hungering Blade or Encore. It may even stack with Shadowjack – though we have no way of knowing yet. Unfortunately, even 4x melee damage from behind is not enough for us to really recommend going full-melee on either Bladedancer or Gunslinger.

The fact is that you simply won’t be behind enemies frequently enough to be dropping them like flies with your melee. Consider it a slight boost that can start off an engagement with some early burst, and nothing more. The invisibility is going to make or break these Gauntlets, so if it’s not up your alley, the melee is probably not going to change your mind.

Pure Strength is great for giving your your special melee ability back, and that’s about it. It’s outclassed by Intellect/Discipline in almost every situation that doesn’t involve “Escape Artist” and we can only assume Touch of Venom procs on every melee hit, so there’s no need to have your special ability up constantly.

PvP

Stalker has always been somewhat of a gimmick, especially when it requires surrendering Hungering Blade and usually means full invisibility as a build. You’ll be more or less able to have both with Khepri’s Sting, which could be somewhat viable. Throw in free Backstab and you’ll have a class other Guardians might actually fear come Trials of Osiris.

Essentially, you’ll either be rounding off your Bladedancer’s build with some extra toys, or adding invisibility into the Gunslinger’s already dangerous mix. Still, you’ll only be successful insofar as you’re proficient at positioning and ambushing – otherwise, you’d be better off with another Exotic.

Bones of Eaobones of eao exotic review

  • Heavy Weapon Ammo: Increases the amount of Heavy Weapon ammunition you can carry.
  • Not Bound By Law: Upgrades Double Jump with an additional jump.

Gunslingers already have Triple Jump, but could possibly benefit from the Bones of Eao by upgrading their very own Double Jump. They’re especially tricky to assess, as the usefulness of a third jump is almost entirely relegated into the realm of player preference.

PvE

How often do you need to jump again? Do you have some spots that you want to get to with a little less stress? Any cheese spots that have always been just out of reach? Or do you need the mobility for dodging and just generally feeling hard to fight? Honestly, unless you can answer with an emphatic “yes” to at least two of these, the Bones are probably just gonna remain a cool collectable.

Fortunately, they do have pure Discipline, which is wonderful news for Hunters. And, like most boots worth collecting, they’ve got good ol’ +Heavy Ammo on standby.

PvP

Blinkers beware, “Boners” (okay, no, we won’t call them that) are going to be a handful. The Gunslinger’s Triple Jump is already very tricky to anticipate in the Crucible, and this high-flying alternative will likely prove just as confounding to players who tire of having to jerk their reticle around to track the elusive Hunter.

Again, jumping is only as useful as the player who initiates it, so your mileage will most certainly vary. Unfortunately, you’ll be surrendering some undoubtedly powerful other Exotics just so you can jump a third time, so you’d better hope that said extra bound is going to change your game. Of course, you can always just bounce around like Tigger for fun. The Crucible can be that, too.

Titans

Eternal Warrioreternal warrior exotic review

  • Inverse Shadow: Increased Super energy gained from killing minions of the Darkness.
  • Infusion: Replenishes health each time you pick up an Orb of Light.
  • Resolute: Provides Unstoppable for Fist of Havoc.

Unchanged since it was first discovered, the Eternal Warrior delivers on what it promised. It offers the simple gift of Unstoppable, and if that’s not enough, you also get to wear the head of a statue – so, you know, there’s that!

PvE

You can go with Shoulder Charge or Juggernaut knowing you’ll be sponging plenty of damage when unleashing your Fist of Havoc. While the Helm of Inmost Light might be a more appealing option for its ability to provide two free Striker perks, the Eternal Warrior is arguably just as good; Headstrong is fairly worthless in tandem with Death From Above, so you’re basically comparing Unstoppable to Death From Above, in which case the choice is less abundantly clear. Do you want to have the maximum distance available to Fist of Havoc – or be a death defying bullet sponge while you’re dropping the hammer?

When you consider the excellent Intellect/Discipline split-stat profile, along with the PvE-favorite Inverse Shadow and niche lifesaver Infusion, the Eternal Warrior actually begins to eclipse the Helm of Inmost Light in outright PvE potency. Like the stalwart and impassive face of the statue you’ll be inhabiting, you will be indomitable and well-equipped for any situation, even if you lack the flash of a truly fun Exotic perk.

PvP

Both Shoulder Charge and Unstoppable are must-haves for PvP, and the Eternal Warrior won’t force you to pick between either. You can face a Felwinter’s Lie buckshot blast to the face and live with Unstoppable, and Shoulder Charge is a one-hit killer that  is a delight to land. Intellect/Discipline is the exact profile a Striker wants in both PvE and PvP, so you’re all good there.

Unfortunately, Inverse Shadow is actually useless, and Infusion is pretty close to it, so if you’re gonna go with the Warrior, it will have to be because you desperately want Shoulder Charge and Unstoppable. Other benefits include being able to stand still and having your opponents think you’re just a harmless statue – maybe.

ACD/O Feedback FenceACD Feedback Fence exotic review

  • Rain Blows: Increases melee attack speed.
  • Brawler’s Charge: Replenish Super energy when you kill an enemy with a melee.
  • Wrath Conductors: Taking damage from a melee attack deals damage in an area around you.

The second example of a damage-proc’d Exotic Ability, the Wrath Conductors dish out Arc AoE damage following any melee damage taken by the Guardian wearing them.

PvE

They’re going to be the offensive equivalent of the Don’t Touch Me gauntlets the Hunter currently enjoys.

Nightfalls with Lightswitch, level 34+ PoE with Lightswitch are going to be no-nos for these gauntlets. However, we could easily see the fun in taking them into the Abyss in Crota’s End to teach those thralls a lesson. It will be interesting to see if they also reliably stagger melee-range foes, as this could be an underrated buff to survivability.

Besides the Wrath Conductors, the Gauntlets run a split-stat profile of Intellect and Strength, which is not too shabby for Strikers, and quite good for Defenders. What’s more is they offer a bonus brand new perk in Brawler’s Charge, which acts like a permanent Amplify by offering extra Super Energy for every melee kill! And you’ll be doing that quickly with Rain Blows, to boot.

PvP

How often do you find yourself getting punched, knifed, or…scorched? Well, that’s how often you’ll be making use of the Wrath Conductors. We’ve no doubt it’s going to be an excellent way to discourage your foes from throwing errant punches, allowing you to usually trade melee kills, if not kill the unlucky Guardian who took you on in fisticuffs outright.

However, outside of punching, punching, and more punching, the Feedback Fence should be sidelined. Every perk is geared toward either hitting someone else or getting hit by them, even though the Intellect/Strength will work for any build.

Peregrine GreavesPeregrine Greaves

  • Heavy Weapon Ammo: Increases the amount of Heavy Weapon ammunition you can carry.
  • Peregrine Strike: Shoulder Charge deals bonus damage when activated in the air.

You get bonus damage if you hit a Shoulder Charge in mid-air. That’s it. Alright, so…

PvE

Are you offering flying knees to anything that moves? Even if you are, there’s no way these can be worth trading off Ruin Wings, the Armamentarium, or even either of the two Exotics above. If the bonus damage was some unholy factor like 10x, they might be worth a gimmicky build.

As it stands, they shoehorn you into using Shoulder Charge in order to deal more damage to one target at most every 4-to-5 seconds. And you can’t shoot your gun while leading with your knee.

Thankfully, you’re at least left with pure Intellect if your knee tires of constant, deadening impacts. You’re going to want to be letting your frustration out early and often with Fist of Havoc, and Intellect is just the stat to help you do it.

PvP

Even less worthwhile. Shoulder Charge is already a one-hit kill. Barring any significant changes to its deadliness in PvP, the only possible reason to use the Peregrine Greaves in the Crucible is for their pure Intellect and requisite Heavy Ammo buff. Still, a lot could change in an upcoming patch, but just be aware that they look like one of the worst Exotics to ever hit Destiny.

Warlocks

The Ramthe ram helm exotic review

  • Infusion: Replenishes health each time you pick up an Orb of Light.
  • Scholar’s Draw: Replenish Super energy when you kill an enemy with a melee.
  • Strength of the Ram: Increased armor. All Voidwalker melees trigger Life Steal on hit.

“PRAISE ME”

Yes.. master…  Strength of the Ram allows any Guardian to trigger Life Steal on hit – for a theoretical unlimited amount of health return on melee investment. There is a gating mechanism that limits how frequently you can proc this perk though.

PvE

This is where the Strength of the Ram may yet earn its name. Much like the Feedback Fence, if the conditions are right (i.e. not Lightswitch), you’ll be able to make use of the powerful Life Steal every time you smack an unlucky enemy in the face. It also causes Warlocks to face a choice: do you want an overshield that could dissipate at any moment, or the versatility to consistently replenish your health in a high risk/high reward scenario. The choice will not be easy.

Like the Feedback Fence, The Ram offers an Intellect/Strength stat spread, which is perfectly fine for Voidwalkers everywhere. The added Strength, while not necessarily ideal, could mean even more Life Steal, or Soul Rip to earn some extra Super Energy.

Another similarity The Ram shares with the Feedback Fence is in offering the Warlock equivalent perk of Brawler’s Charge, Scholar’s Draw, which is going to give you extra Super Energy for your melee kills. This synergizes superbly with extra health on hit, creating a Soul Rip/Life Steal one-two combo that will lead to fast Supers and long life. The Ram is excellently designed.

PvP

It’s not quite as useful here, but still holds its own. You should theoretically be able to win most melee duels by simply regenerating health every time you make contact. Scholar’s Draw will only proc on kill, but may prove to stack with Soul Rip, for giant chunks of Super Energy at opportune moments.

Nothing Manacles

  • Energy Projection: Increases grenade throw distance.
  • Innervation: Reduces grenade cooldown each time you pick up an Orb of Light.
  • Scatter Charge: Enables tracking for Scatter Grenades. Hold an extra Scatter Grenade charge.

WOLFPACK ROUNDS FOR SCATTER GRENADES. Okay, so there’s the hype out of the way.

PvE

Really the only thing holding Scatter Grenades back has been the inaccuracy of the dispersal of their mini-grenades, but now you have a barrage of lethal purple frags ready to kill anything they touch. With Bloom, each could create a flowering void explosion that catches more unwary enemies in its ensuing blast radius. They could easily replace Axion Bolt as the go-to grenade for those Voidwalkers lucky enough to wield the Nothing Manacles, and having two at the start of any instance would just be icing on the cake.

Energy Projection allows pinpoint precision in placing these pesky projectiles, and Innervation is a situationally useful way of regenerating Grenade Energy quickly in an orb-heavy fireteam. Intellect/Discipline split-stat is possibly the best any Voidwalker could ask for, granting that all-important Super regeneration buff while still giving you some Discipline toward earning your now scary-good Scatter Grenades back that much faster. The only downside is that they force you into using Scatter Grenades, and are thus build-restrictive.

PvP

If Scatter Grenades indeed turn out to be super Axion Bolts, the Nothing Manacles will be something to  be very wary of. Grenades are a constant threat in the Crucible, and the Voidwalker has most often had to rely on Axion Bolt for cleanup, or Vortex Grenades for spotty area denial in Control. Scatter Charge will make Scatter Grenades a bit of a jack of all-trades, and you should be maxing your Discipline to embrace your build if you choose to wear them. If you don’t find yourself using Grenades almost every time they’re available, the Nothing Manacles may not be the right Exotic for you.

Purifier RobesPurifier Robes exotic review

  • Serpent’s Mouth: Causing damage with a grenade reduces your melee cooldown.
  • Serpent’s Tail: Causing damage with a melee reduces your grenade cooldown.
  • Burn Brighter: Activating Radiance from death disorients nearby enemies.

The Purifier Robes are the Sunsinger Exotic to have, especially in that they’re the only Sunsinger-specific Exotic that is coming with House of Wolves. They’re going to be the very first Exotic example of a split-stat piece of Chest Armor, which is very exciting for the potentially sky-high roll quality.

PvE

Unfortunately, the Purifier Robes are not wholly suited to PvE with Burn Brighter. It’s very rare that a Sunsinger is in immediate danger of being insta-killed upon being reborn from the dead, and the ability to temporarily stun foes (we predict it will be similar to the Starless Night effect) will be only marginally useful in most situations, and perhaps only uniquely suited to a very select few.

What’s more is that it forces your Sunsinger to run Fireborn, and requires dying in order to use. Yes, you could tactically allow yourself to be downed in the midst of a horde of enemies, but this is only really useful one or two times before your team starts wondering why you aren’t just staying alive and popping skulls from a safe distance.

Thankfully, they at least boast a Strength/Discipline split-stat combination that helps you keep your Flame Shield and Grenades closer to high-% CDR. Serpent’s Tail and Serpent’s Mouth are both stellar PvE perks that have excellent Synergy for melee and grenade-happy Sunsingers.

PvP

This is where you’ll really Burn Brighter. The Purifier Robes are going to be a very tactical choice in any PvP arena, causing mayhem and confusion as you pop back up in glorious golden light to rain fiery death upon those who thought to spoil your fun. We can practically see the ToO Purifier Robes montage videos, in which a gloating fireteam is quickly brought back down to earth by an enterprising Sunsinger, both blinding and finishing them off simultaneously.

Your Favorite?

There’s a whole lot to be excited about, even with a dud like Peregrine Greaves in the mix. Are there any Exotics here that catch your eye, or was there a perk that looked particularly appealing? As always, we want to hear your thoughts, so sound off in the comments!

Joel
I'm aWrySharK, your resident Exotic guru and lover of all things min/max. At PlanetDestiny, my perfectionism is no longer simply a matter of form over function.