I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to talk about the new grind that I’m seeing in Destiny since House of Wolves launched last week. For new players, that grind is much, much easier now than it was at launch. I’m talking of course about that post-level 20 search for gear with high levels of Light. In the old days, thanks to poor drop rates, and a more limited selection of gear, that search was very much a grind. Now, it’s a bit simpler, but there’s still a grind to be had.
With both The Dark Below and House of Wolves, there are many more paths to high level gear, especially now that legendary items drop more frequently. However, at the core of the new grind is the new Prison of Elders, and Treasure Keys. Grinding the new Ether Chests that are part of the wanted bounty targets from Petra has both become the most effective way to try to get Treasure Keys – and by proxy, engrams. To me, the best place to grind them – after you’ve finished up the actual bounties – is Skywatch over in the Cosmodrome. The Wolf there is a Servitor, so shields aren’t an issue, which makes it a pretty easy finish. But the real benefit is that the chests only spawn in a couple places, which makes it easy to spot them quickly. After you find it, Skywatch is also the easiest place to take advantage of the multiple-looting exploit. It’s hard to say if the exploit will be patched – I’ve heard people say that because this takes place in public zones, killing the chest after one loot is a tricky proposition. Personally, I almost think that they intend to keep it, since Treasure Keys drop so infrequently. This little quirk is really why Skywatch is the best place – the zone borders are so close that you can transition back and forth really quickly. In most zones, I can almost always manage two lootings – sometimes three. With Skywatch, three is the low end – I’ve heard people manage to grab it five times depending on the spawn location.
While you’re out there grinding the chests, you’ll be getting tons of engrams – blue mainly, but probably a few purples too. Even without purples, you have a good chance to get legendary gear with the new decrypting algorithms. I don’t know the specifics, but it really does feel a lot more likely than it ever used to be. Then you take that new gear and dive into the Prison of Elders to try for even better gear. You’ll really be wanting to run the challenge level ones for the highest tier gear – the Fallen themed armor and weapons, through the armor and weapon cores. Ultimately that really means that for endgame players, we have a new option for the grind for gear – Nightfalls still have a ton of value; Heroics are good for materials; Vault of Glass and Crota’s End will probably always have value to play, thanks to their weapons; and now we have Prison of Elders.
If there’s one thing that Destiny really needed that House of Wolves delivered on, it was a reason to pull endgame players into Patrol mode other than the Vanguard bounties. With the new prowling wolves, as well as the new groups of static wolf spawns, Bungie has done that. Add in the better PvP rewards, and you can see why House of Wolves has made the grind easier, while also making it more varied and fun.