Published on: Sep 1, 2015 @ 16:37
The Taken King is just around the corner! Destiny is collectively holding its breath for the massive expansion, and players who have exhausted what the current game has to offer are looking for ways to get themselves better prepared for The Taken King (see, it’s in italics now).
We’re here to give you the ultimate guide in prepping yourself to be able to take advantage of everything you can on Day 1 of the expansion.
We want to preface this article by stressing heavily that everything we list here is optional. We’ve collected a plethora of tips, tricks, and grinding strategies that will load you up with bonuses that will be useful immediately, but the game itself has no such timetable. To this end, you should only focus on whatever is enjoyable or worthwhile for how you play.
Are You Experienced?
As level is no longer tethered to your gear, the only thing that counts for that big number above your head is experience. This experience can be gained by all of the usual routes: bounties, quests, public events, daily bonuses, and more. You’ll be able to easily and steadily amass enough XP for level 40 by finishing the Taken King story missions and quests, but if you’d like to be ahead of the pack, keep reading.
Consider that you have 10 bounty slots available at a given time. Bounties from the Vanguard, Crucible, and Eris Morn can grant up to 5000XP, depending on the challenge. There’s a special assassination mission from Petra Venj that grants 5500XP called Skoriks: Archon-Slayer that even grants 5500XP. If that doesn’t satisfy, if you managed to hold on to an Iron Wrath bounty, you’ll get a whopping 10,000XP from turning that in. Assuming you min/max here across all three characters, this is a potential 166,500XP on the table. On Day 1, that XP can go directly to your subclass, character level, and any new gear.
Then, throw public event packages into the mix. Completing a Gold tier public event grants a once-a-day package to the Postmaster that bestows 2500XP when you eventually pick it up. The Postmaster can store up to 20 packages for each character. Of course, TTK is only two weeks away, so if you started now, there’d be no way you could hit 20 packages on each character. We don’t think that pre-farming these is particularly important.
The final source of XP won’t be relevant for all our Guardians, but may provide a helpful leg up if you’ve fulfilled the requirements. Focused Light, the unique consumable available from Red Bull, will not offer you XP by itself, but will boost your XP gains for a set period of time. This period of time is 30 minutes, and the XP gains are increased by a non-negligible 50%! While you’re likely going to want to spread your experience around, if you were to conceivably turn in everything we’ve listed above with a Focused Light on each character active, you would gain a staggering 474,750XP. You could do ten 5k bounties every day for a week and not even hit that number!
As you can see, there are different tiers of “dedication” to the idea of stockpiling experience. Most of you would probably not find it too troublesome to store a few extra bounties here and there for a little free XP on Day 1. Probably fewer of you would be interested in scouring the same old planets for Public Events. And Focused Light? Unless you’re dozing off constantly, the amount of Red Bull you’d have to consume (or at least buy) to have a sizable collection of Focused Light is probably prohibitively expensive, and may just end up putting you in the hospital. Still, the options are there, and your limit is only the time you’re willing to dedicate.
In what’s becoming somewhat of a tradition, we’ll be waving goodbye to a few currencies in the newest expansion, and saying hello to a few more. Tired of having two types of Marks to keep track of? Well, with Legendary Marks, the system has been simplified to its logical limit. The Tower vendors will now charge the same currency for all of the wares too, so players who don’t care to spend their time in either PvP or PvE will have access to that gear regardless. The Legendary gear available from the Tower has been shown to have a Light level of 280, so getting Legendary Marks to purchase them is going to be a top priority.
Only Year 2 Legendaries will dismantle into Legendary Marks. Year 1 Legendaries shard into whatever they shard into right now.
— Luke Smith (@thislukesmith) August 19, 2015
You’d think that the intuitive way to jump-start your collection would be to max out your Vanguard and Crucible Marks. While this is helpful, these Marks will not outright convert in any way to Legendary ones, so don’t be surprised when you’re a little low to start. Instead, Crucible and Vanguard Marks will become reputation via Commendations. You’ll still want to bank them, as Faction packages have been re-tooled to offer more consistently quality rewards.
As for your Engrams and current packages? Well, there’s no need to hang on to them if you’re hoping for new gear from them. Previous releases have shown us that any RNG-based package or engram you carry into the next expansion will not decode into new gear, so if you’ve been hoarding Legendary Engrams, don’t bother. Instead, simply open them now, as they can be dismantled for the far more useful Motes of Light. Plus, we don’t know if the current stock of rewards for Faction packages will cary forward, so this might be your last chance at that Fermi Solution!
Speaking of Engrams…
Part 2: Xur will also sell a Legacy Engram that decodes into Year 1 Exotics. Collectors gotta collect.
— Mark Noseworthy (@knowsworthy) September 2, 2015
Motes of Light
Speaking of Motes of Light, the common Destiny currency will not lose relevancy when TTK arrives. We’ve been informed by Luke Smith that they will be yet another way of adding some early XP, so having a healthy amount in reserve definitely doesn’t hurt. Xûr will also presumably still take them in exchange for Exotic Engrams. While reforging doesn’t seem to be carrying forward for Y2 Legendaries, Motes of Light are never a bad thing to have on hand.
Motes of Light: In TTK/2.0, Motes of Light can be used (with Square or X) to level up your weapons.
— Luke Smith (@thislukesmith) August 20, 2015
If you’re looking to collect more of these, the best way is to simply play the game. Every time you “level” you’ll receive a Mote of Light for your trouble. Blue Engrams drop them with some frequency, so Dragon Strikes can end up being an excellent source. Finally, remember that Eris Morn has a weekly quest, “Cleansing Light” that rewards 3 Motes of Light upon completion. TTK will reward about 5 Motes & Strange Coins for ranking up a Faction too!
So, let’s say you get some classy weapons from TTK on Day 1, and you poured in your XP to max the out early. What else are we missing? That’s right, Planetary Materials! Spinmetal, Helium Filaments, Spirit Bloom, and Relic Iron are all still going to be required for upgrade nodes on your new toys. For this reason, we recommend saving up as much as you can, barring Vault constraints. They’ll still be on sale at the Vanguard Quartermaster though.
— Cozmo (@Cozmo23) August 21, 2015
To address a few other materials, Weapon Parts and Class Materials can be grinded by acquiring Engrams, common quality weapons from the Gunsmith, or simply farming any PvE content. If you’ve got a favorite Glimmer farming method, you can drop all 25k at Brother Vance on whatever weapon he’s selling that week, dismantling it again and again as you go. TheHM05 states that you can get up to 130 Weapon Parts on average by doing this – of course, you’ll need the wins first! This can also be repeated for the more easily acquired Trials armor.
Repping your Rep
We’ve talked about this in our preparation guide for the House of Wolves, but it remains relevant here. You might be familiar with a strategy in which you “edge” your reputation with various factions so that it sits right below the Rank Up level. This is done to ensure that the earliest XP investments in a Faction can reward a package almost immediately. In this way, you’ll have a chance at some of the newest gear, just for turning in a couple of the bounties we mentioned above! While you now can only pledge to one Faction at a time, you’ll also be earning Crucible and Vanguard rep, so you can conceivably rank up 9 times on Day 1, if you’ve done this work on all three characters.
In TTK: Faction Allegiance: Earn Faction rep and Vanguard/Crucible rep in parallel. Pledge a Faction. Wear whatever class piece you want.
— Luke Smith (@thislukesmith) August 19, 2015
If you don’t want to stop there, you can take it a step further by seeking out materials that the Vendors will be accepting in exchange for positive reputation. These are: 5 Motes of Light, 25 Weapon Parts/Armor Parts, 4 Special Ammo Synths, or 1 Heavy Synth. We assume that each of these will grant identical rep gains, but we have no way of confirming this right now.
By far the most cost-efficient one of these is Heavy Synths. You can buy 5 from Xûr for the low-low-cost of just one Strange Coin. Many of us have hundreds of these sitting around, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that you could have 500 Heavy Synths available for trade-in and still have plenty of Coins jangling in your pocket for when Xûr comes to town.
Don’t Sweat The Gear
While we’ve gone out of our way to prognosticate about what weapons will be viable in PvE and PvP in the past, it’s pretty cut-and-dried here. Your Y1 PvE Legendaries are unfortunately going to be frozen forever at their current Attack values. The upside of this is that you don’t have to agonize over buying anything time-sensitive that will be absolutely necessary for The Taken King. The reality is that you’ll probably be moving on to new weapons anyway, so for us to pick out PvE weapons at this juncture would be rather pointless.
Similarly, PvP is pretty much an easy choice, too. Taking into account the balances slotted for 2.0, anything that you’ve been seeing success with in normal Crucible gametypes will be just as useful come TTK. The obvious arena exceptions are Iron Banner and the Trials of Osiris, where your Attack and Light Level are all going to be crucial to maintaining top-tier damage against your foes.
Hang on to that Hopscotch Pilgrim, in any case, as there will likely be challenges and bounties for the standard modes of Rift, Mayhem, and Zone Control, in which you’ll be able to take in your trusty, tried-and-true weapons and wreak predictable havoc.
We don’t know when every Y1 Exotic is going to be seeing the Light of a Y2 Upgrade, but we’ve seen info steadily leak out that is encouraging us there are more than a few of our current Exotics that will be viable on Day 1 of The Taken King.
TTK/2.0: Many (not all!) pieces of Exotic Armor will accept color from Shaders. Helm of St. 14 w/Revenant looks sweet. St.14 returns for Y2
— Luke Smith (@thislukesmith) September 1, 2015
You should do your best to have each of the following Exotics, as well as an equal amount of Exotic Shards if you plan to upgrade them as soon as possible:
- SUROS Regime
- Bad Juju
- Monte Carlo
- Last Word
- Red Death
- The 4th Horseman
- Light Beyond Nemesis
- Obsidian Mind
- Voidfang Vestments
- No Backup Plans
- Helm of Saint 14
These have been 100% confirmed, but are not all of the updated Y1 Exotics, just the ones we know about.
There’s No Right Way
Above all, cut yourself some slack. Destiny is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Many players are eager to unlock as many new things as possible, as quickly as they can; these individuals take pride in being the first to relay new information to the community, and revel in the massive influx of variety and hype. You’ll find them in the Tower on Day 1 with two level 40 characters and a slew of Legendaries to make Shaxx himself jealous.
Then, there are those who simply want to play through TTK one step at a time. These people are excited that King’s Fall won’t be open right away, and the prospect of working so hard just to burn through the good stuff seems silly to them. They see certain players exhausting a new Expansion in record time, and then smile to themselves as that same person then takes to the forums to complain about a lack of things to do. While they might be missing the boat on being the first to get to finish line, they enjoy the journey for what it is.
This guide is just a list, and a list is only as useful as what you take from it. We hope you can pick out the things that seem doable, and ignore anything you find excessive. As always, our goal is to simply provide thorough and accurate information, and we want The Taken King to be immersive, but not overwhelming.
If you enjoyed this analysis, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!