Destiny Year One Exotic Armor – The Hunter

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Rounding out our journey through all the different exotic items available in this first year of Destiny. We’ve talked about the weapons, and the armor choices for Titans and Warlocks. Today, we’re hitting the last player class – Hunters – and going over their exotic armor. Much like the Titan, Hunters have options for every armor slot, at least ever since The Dark Below.

Destiny Celestial Nighthawk

Like we have been all week, we’ll start with the helmets. Hunters have access to five helmets – although as we’ll see, they’re really only looking at three of them. In terms of class parity, Hunter choices are definitely skewed more towards Gunslingers. But one of the few Bladedancer exotics does exist as a helmet. But we’ll start with one of the worst exotics in the game – the ATS/8 Arachnid. It’s a Gunslinger pick – but only gives you a zoom for Golden Gun. In theory, that’s great – long-range Golden Gun shots could be super powerful in PvP, and helps keep you safe in PvE. Unfortunately for the helmet, Golden Gun is already incredibly accurate – with really no range issues at all. So it’s a total wasted perk – not to mention it’s a pretty damn ugly helmet. The other really low tier exotic helmet is the Knucklehead Radar. It’s a subclass neutral piece, which helps a bit, but the problem again is the exotic perk. It gives you Third Eye – keeping your radar active while ADS with any weapon – which honestly isn’t the worst perk out there. The problem is that it’s a perk that I think best benefits newer players, and as you get more used to the game, loses it effectiveness quickly. I also think it’s a much much more effective PvP perk. It’s not as bad looking as the Arachnid, but still definitely not a great looking helmet. We now can get into the actual contenders for usage here. First up, the best PvP Gunslinger helmet, the Achlyophage Symbiote. Sure it’s a pretty nasty looking beast, but it’s exotic perk is amazing. It gives you an extra shot for Golden Gun – that’s four insta-kill shots for PvP, and can sometimes be the damage you need to for a major or ultra in PvE. However, since House of Wolves launched, we got a better PvE choice for the Gunslingers – the Celestial Nighthawk. It’s a sleek looker – I love that gold faceplate peeking out from under a nice hood. But the real money here is the exotic perk – it takes all your Golden Gun shots, and puts them into one singular shot. It does 6x damage, and over penetrates targets – this means that Golden Gun can actually take down majors and ultras. Obviously it’s not a PvP helmet, but in PvE, it’s a monster. Finally, we get to the only Bladedancer specific helmet – Mask of the Third Man. This Sam Fisher looker makes your Bladedancer abilities use less super energy. That means you get more attacks out of it, which is great in either PvP or PvE. I think it’s a little bit stronger as a PvP choice, but if you’re looking for a Bladedancer specific armor, you’re already limited.

Destiny Khepris Sting

Moving on to the gauntlets, we’re only looking at three pieces here. We’ll start with another of the rare Bladedancer pieces, the Don’t Touch Me gauntlets. This is one of a couple exotics that I haven’t actually used, so I could be a little off with the usefulness on the class here. They’re one of the least unique looking exotics out there – but they do have a nice perk going on here. When you take melee damage, you turn invisible – a nice little PvE perk, not so much in PvP. Again, with House of Wolves, we got another great invisibility focused set of gauntlets – the Khepri’s Sting. This is actually a subclass neutral choice – the invisibility granted isn’t tied to a talent grid. This means Gunslingers can take advantage of it. These arms have a ton of talents associated with them. The Invisibility is the start, bonus melee damage when backstabbing – and a hidden effect that adds Damage over Time for melee attacks. That’s a lot of value for a pretty solid armor piece. Add in a fantastic design and you have a winner. The last piece of arm armor is the Young Ahamkara’s Spine – again a really awesome looking piece of armor based on the Ahamkara. Unfortunately, it’s a terrible exotic perk – your Tripmine grenades last longer. Tripmines are good – doing a ton of damage – but they tend to be really situational, even in PvP. I wouldn’t use my exotic slot on these.

When we’re looking at chest armor, Hunters kind of get the short end of the stick here. There’s only two options here, and really both are pretty limited in their usage. First up is the Crest of Alpha Lupi – again. It’s got the same name as the Titan chest piece – and it has the same use. It helps you revive your teammates faster, and you make more orbs. Nice to have for Nightfalls and 3v3 PvP, but not really necessary. It does look real nice – I like the wolf head that’s on this in a more prevalent spot than on the Titan’s. The other choice here is the other major Bladedancer pick – Lucky Raspberry. I think this one is a lot more useful than Mask of the Third Man – it affects your Arcbolt grenade, making it chain longer. To me, those are more useful than Arc Blade – especially in PvE. Arc Blade is great in PvP, but only great for add clearing and invisible reviving in PvE. Arcbolt grenades are good for add damage, PvP kills and can stun majors and ultras. It might be a little plain in its design, but it’s a really great choice for your Hunter exotic, and does actually pair well with shaders.

Destiny Bones of Eao

Finally, we come to the leg armor for Hunters. Much like the other classes, Hunters didn’t have any exotics here in Vanilla Destiny. With Dark Below and House of Wolves they’ve gotten one piece from each DLC. Dark Below brought with it the Radiant Dance Machines – subclass neutral boots. They look really cool – there isn’t a ton of armor with a green color scheme, making them look even more unique. In terms of function though, it’s a little less exciting. They make you move faster. That’s it. Sure they pair well with MIDA Multi-tool for PvP play, but that’s about it. It’s definitely not a must have set-up for the vast majority of players or content. House of Wolves also brought a subclass neutral set of boots – the Bones of Eao. They are subclass neutral, but Gunslingers definitely benefit more from them, since they give you one extra jump. That means you can upgrade your Triple Jump to a Quad Jump. That’s a really cool messing around bonus, but for serious play, I don’t think it’s a must have. It can allow you to make some pretty crazy plays in PvP, but for longevity it’s not the best pick. Use them for a little bit to mess around and because they look cool, but that’s about it.

And that will wrap up a full week of looking at the exotic items that have been available to us in Year One in Destiny. We learned this week that some of these will be making the jump to The Taken King here in a couple weeks – we don’t know all of the exotics that are, but I think we probably know most of them, at least weapon-wise. There are still a couple weeks left in Year One to go out there and try to fill out your collections – even if you plan on sharding them, it’s worth grabbing them and holding on to them at least until the 2.0 Update.

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Destiny Year One Exotic Armor – The Warlock

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Today we’re going to continue looking at each exotic item that’s available for players in Destiny Year One. We’ve already looked at the weapons and armor pieces that Titans can find; today let’s look at the Warlock choices. While the Titan has a possible exotic for each armor slot, Warlocks are limited to three of the four. There are no exotic boots for Warlocks, at least as of Year One. Like we did with the Titan, we’ll look at the items both from a form standpoint, as well as function.

Destiny The Ram

With that said, let’s start at the top with the helmets. Much like the Titan, Warlocks have plenty of options here. While technically most of the helmets are class neutral, Voidwalkers definitely benefit from just about every helmet. We’ll start with the Apotheosis Veil – one that is actually subclass neutral. The big selling point here is that you regenerate your health whenever you activate your super ability. With good orb generation, that’s pretty constant health regeneration. It’s a cool design, nothing super flashy, and one of a few exotics that actually will change colors with the shaders. It’s unfortunately overshadowed by plenty other exotic choices. Next up is the Light Beyond Nemesis – we briefly mentioned this yesterday when talking about the Year Two update. This is the Keeper of the Pack item – AKA the quick revive choice. If you absolutely have to use this on a Warlock, go for it; but in general, I think role is better suited to the other classes. Where this piece shines is the design – it’s definitely one of the cooler helmets in the game. A solid choice, but not the best possible perhaps. Our first subclass specific helmet came in The Dark Below and Voidwalkers rejoiced. Obsidian Mind is perhaps the most powerful Voidwalker specific armor piece. In certain situations, it can net you almost constant Nova Bombs, through the exotic perk that reduces cooldown based on kills with it. Add in Obsidian Mind looks super sleek with a jet black design and it was destined to be a clear winner; and really still can be. The other Voidwalker specific is the Skull of Dire Ahamkara. It’s another super cool design – I’m a fan of the exotics based on the Ahamkara lore. From a perk standpoint, it’s not terrible – you become even harder to kill while Nova Bombing, and your Energy Drain melee abilities are increased. However, all these helmets have been overshadowed with the addition of this last choice: The Ram. Added in with House of Wolves, The Ram is the only item in the game that allows you to innately push a stat over the cap – in this case, it’s your armor stat. In PvP, that’s an insane benefit (and one that Sunsingers can push even farther) – it lets you survive things that no one else can – sticky grenades in particular. If you’re playing Voidwalker, you can get extra benefits with it adding in Life Steal for all your melee attacks. And it looks as badass as possible, resulting in an exotic that has risen right to the very top of the charts.

Destiny Claws of Ahamkara

When we move to gauntlets, we get a little more subclass balance. There’s one neutral choice, and one for each subclass. That neutral choice would be the Claws of Ahamkara – the second Ahamkara based piece for Warlocks. Like the helmet, they have a pretty great design – simple, looking like it’s based around feathers almost. In terms of use they also may require you to look twice. I said repeatedly with the Titan that melee is a bad idea in end-game play; that’s not quite the case as a Warlock. The extra range they have helps keep them safe, and with Flame Shield on Sunsingers, you actually can get away with it. The Claws will give you a second charge on your melee ability – a solid overall choice in PvE or PvP. If it fits your playstyle, this is actually a really good choice. Voidwalkers just got access with the House of Wolves to their gauntlets – the Nothing Manacles. They look very similar to the Sunsinger choice – the Sunbreakers, just in purple. Both also impact a specific grenade in that subclass – Scatter for Voidwalkers, Solar for Sunsingers. The Nothing Manacles I think are the better choice here – they add tracking to the Scatter Grenade projectiles, in addition to giving you a second Scatter Grenade. The Sunbreakers merely extend your Solar Grenade duration – you really can only take advantage with this in specific builds and while Radianced.

Destiny Voidfang Vestments

With the chest armor, the subclass balance shifts the other way. Three of the four armor choices here are Sunsinger based – and that fourth choice really can actually benefit the Sunsinger just as much. We’ll start with The Heart of the Praxic Fire – one of the cooler looking chest pieces, even without applying shaders. However, the exotic perk, which further reduces cooldowns while using Radiance, actually doesn’t have a huge impact. Datto has a video going through the details, but basically even with a max discipline build, you’re probably only going to get one more grenade out. Not that huge of a boost. Next up, the final House of Wolves piece for Warlocks – the Purifier Robes. I love the design of these things – the bird looking emblem right at the breastplate really looks great, and really pops with Thunderdevil on. Unfortunately, their use is really quite limited. You can only get the disorient effect when you self-revive using Radiance. That means you have to die first. Add in a pretty small radius of effect, and even in PvP they pale compared with other choices. For example, the Dark Below chest piece, the Starfire Protocol. It provides you with a nice, simple bonus – a second Fusion Grenade. Sure you have to use a specific grenade, but in general, the Fusion Grenade is awesome across the board, especially in PvP. They look good on top of that, pairing well with a number of shaders. Finally, we come to one of the older armor pieces – the Voidfang Vestments. These were all over the place back in the early days, and really, I think they hold up even now. Yes, they’re technically for Voidwalkers – giving your Axion Bolt grenade an extra seeker – but they have a second bonus associated with them. Anytime you spawn, you have grenade energy; which is applied regardless of subclass. Continually spawning with Firebolt grenades as a Sunsinger is a really great tactic – especially in Skirmish/Elimination. I love the design on these things too – they change with shaders, just have a super ornate look, and it’s just all around a great armor choice.

Warlocks are in a really great spot here with exotic armor. There are a lot of really good choices from a gameplay standpoint, for both subclasses. Sure, there are some that are better than others, but there’s probably a perfect choice for just about any playstyle. I think this is something to keep an eye on as we move into Year Two – we know that a couple of these are moving forward with us, but how they’ll measure up to the new choices remains to be seen.

Destiny Year One Exotic Armor – The Titan

Yesterday we talked about the Exotic rarity weapons in the first year of Destiny, as we get closer to the launch of The Taken King and the start of Year Two. Today I want to continue the Exotic tour, with a post each day this week on the Exotic armor options for each class. There are plenty of different Exotic tier lists out there, that have gone through each armor piece in a bit more detail – my thought here more to offer an overall look at each classes’ options. We’ll talk both form and function with the armor, something I touched on yesterday with the weapons. We’ll start with the best class: The Titan.

Destiny Helm of Inmost Light

Let’s start at the top – the helmets. There are a pretty good number of options here for Titans to go collect, three that benefit the Striker subclass, the other two help the Defender. Strikers, despite have more options here, I think they don’t really have any one that is particularly amazing. I’m a huge fan of the Helm of Inmost Light – from a design standpoint, it’s one of the coolest pieces of armor out there. The light bursting out through the helmet just looks super badass. From a function standpoint, it’s one of the better options – mainly for PvP. Providing two boosts to Fist of Havoc is great – and opens up some nice build options. But it’s a strength stat helmet, and melee on the Titan is terrible as it stands now. An Insurmountable Skullfort, despite a cool name and cool design suffers from that very fact. It’s boost applies to the Striker’s melee attack – Stormfist – giving you Transfusion from the skill tree. Unfortunately, melee is super dangerous in end-game PvE content, and in PvP, the Titan punch is very much on the bottom level of melee attacks. The last Striker helmet – Eternal Warrior – is new, added in with House of Wolves. It adds a boost to the Fist of Havoc, giving you Unstoppable, keeping you alive while pounding the ground. In PvE it’s got some use – swarmed by Thralls, this could keep you alive through the super. In PvP, it’s definitely more useful, and could work since you can take Unstoppable and Shoulder Charge. On the design front though, Eternal Warrior is up there with Helm of Inmost Light – it’s such a cool looking armor piece. For Defenders, you’ve got two choices, but really from a gameplay standpoint, only one. The Glasshouse, introduced in Dark Below isn’t a terrible choice, giving you Illuminated, making your Blessing and Weapons of Light buffs last longer. It’s got a cool design, but when you compare it with the other Defender helmet, it just doesn’t quite measure up. That final helmet – The Helm of Saint-14 – is probably one of two pieces of Exotic armor any Titan needs to get. It’s exotic perk blinds any enemy that wanders into your Ward of Dawn. In PvE it’s super useful for crowd control. In PvP it can actually make Ward of Dawn somewhat offensive in nature. With a good stat roll, this armor can really make your Titan much more important to have on hand. Plus it looks pretty damn cool, giving you that awesome mohawk.

Destiny Ruin Wings

For gauntlets, Titans have three choices to pick from. One for each subclass, and one that’s neutral. The Strikers have the ACD/0 Feedback Fence, which was added with House of Wolves. It gives you some area of effect damage when you take melee damage. In PvE it’s not as strong as I thought it would be. In PvP, it can get you a kill or two here and there, but I wouldn’t build a set-up around it. These do look pretty badass, taking material off of the Warsats we’ve been defending in Public Events since Day One. Defenders have the No Backup Plans, which suffer from a similar problem to the Skullfort helmet – they boost the melee ability. Longer lasting Force Barrier is nice, since you don’t need to get a kill for it to activate; but again, melee in end-game is super dangerous, and in PvP you’re giving up range to the other classes. The look cool, especially if you have a shader like the Jester Apogee to get purple all over, but form along won’t make me use them over Saint-14. Finally, the subclass neutral choice would be the Ruin Wings. It’s great for PvE, giving you tons more heavy ammo drops, with more ammo in each drop. Now that Gjallarhorn was sold, and everyone will be using more heavy, these things are creeping up my usage list for sure. Add in that they look super badass, and pair well with a number of shaders/other armor pieces, and you’ve got a form and function armor piece.

Destiny Armamentarium

Chest pieces are where the Titans’ choices start to dip a bit. We’ve only got two choices, and they’ve been with us since launch. Neither is specific to a subclass, which makes them super flexible. The first, The Armamentarium, is one of the better all around picks for a Titan to go with. Double grenades are awesome – for both PvP and PvE – and this also gives you extra special and heavy ammo. Sure it looks a little less Sci-Fi than other Destiny items, but it fits with the actual function of the armor. I have been rolling with this pretty much exclusively since I got one with a good roll. The other choice, The Crest of Alpha Lupi, is the teamplay choice for a Titan. In end-game, if you aren’t running Defender, that probably means Arc Burn is on; and it also tends to mean you’re probably making life harder than it has to be. Defender is definitely the better end-game choice, and with Alpha Lupi you can complete the support class build. Saint-14 might be the more useful choice in certain situations (Crota’s End, Prison of Elders, early in Omnigul), but Alpha Lupi lets you get revives while sprinting which is tremendously useful boost. It looks good with the bright crest on the chest, and pairs with a bunch of shaders too. Again, I just got a better stat roll on my Lupi, and I always have mine on hand for Nightfalls/Raids/PoE runs.

Destiny Stand Asides

Finally, we come to the leg armor slot. Again, we only get two choices, but that’s better than Warlocks here. They were both added with the DLCs, so we’ve had progress as the game has evolved. First up, The Dark Below gave us the Mk. 44 Stand Asides. These jet black leg pieces look super slick, especially when paired with my Revenant shader. Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of their use. Having three extra seconds of Shoulder Charge is a pretty lame exotic perk. I’ve said it plenty here, but again, melee is super dangerous in end-game content. So in PvE it’s definitely not worth it, while in PvP it’s technically more useful, since Shoulder Charge is a one-hit kill; but there are absolutely better choices. The other choice, the Peregrine Greaves, are brand new, added with House of Wolves. These also impact the Shoulder Charge, in this case cranking up the damage up three-fold, but only when fired in midair. With the right mission modifiers, this is actually worth using. It can take out Fallen Walkers in one shot, and even bosses can be felled quickly. They have a pretty cool design too, looking sleek, and pairing well with Bittersteel or Chatterwhite. Are they worth using – sort of; am I going to take them over other exotics – hell no.

So there you have it – all the Year One Titan Exotic armor choices. We’ve got a whole bunch of options, spread over each armor slot. Of course, in practice, we really only have a few viable choices for end-game gear and PvP play. There are clear choices that are stronger than others. Saint-14, Armamentarium, Alpha Lupi and Ruin Wings are pretty much where you’re looking – anything else is pretty much just for messing around with, or needing to hit Level 34.