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 Quick Hitters – AKA I’ve Been Reading Too Much Reddit

DestinyJust like the title says, I’ve been digging around the Destiny subreddit again, and it really doesn’t take too long for me to find a post that gets my blood pressure up. Generally it’s a lot of posts about the current weapon meta and how Bungie isn’t doing their job because they have the audacity to be making a major expansion due out in two months. I’ve spent plenty of time writing about the current weapon meta in various ways, and while I do agree more frequent communication and updates would be a good thing; I do understand that they’re super busy right now. So today I want to address two other posts I saw this week, instead of beating a dead horse about updates that are four months overdue.

WEAPON PARTS ARE ALREADY GRINDABLE
This is the first one that really got me a little hot earlier this week. Essentially it was asking for the ability to buy weapon parts with planetary materials. Here’s the real issue – the reason that weapon parts have shot up in value is because of reforging. As a result, people have been re-rolling weapons to try to get a perfect set of perks, primarily on those weapons that are top tier in the current meta. For example, the new Party Crasher +1, introduced in House of Wolves, is already a sort of Felwinter’s lite. The problem is that it’s a reforgable weapon – which means you can dump all your glimmer and weapon parts to get a perfect roll. Making them purchasable would just exacerbate the current issues in the meta. And here’s the crazy part – they’re already grindable! All you need is a little patience and hop in the strike playlists. You’ll be rolling in engrams, which can be dismantled into parts. The community already seems to love bitching about balance issues in the game, especially in PvP. Making weapon parts purchasable – with any currency (since they’re all easily grinded) – would just make every unbalanced situation that much more so.

Shadow Price Destiny

TRADING – A TALKING POINT SINCE DAY ONE
I saw another post this week calling, yet again, for trading to be a part of Destiny. This has been something that has come up within the community basically since the beta. Since Destiny draws some inspiration from Borderlands as well as Diablo – and both those games have trading systems in place – it wasn’t a particularly hard stretch to want to see it here. Here’s the issue though – those games have way more variety in their loot. Borderlands has such a tremendous amount of variables for the individual weapons that can change their behaviors, making it difficult for truly overpowered weapons to appear. Thus, trading doesn’t potentially break the PvE experience. Destiny doesn’t have that luxury. The variety really isn’t at that same level – really we’re talking about perks, and even then, an even smaller subset of weapons and armor. No one is out there grinding out hours for blue (rare) weapons – with the exception of The Stranger’s Rifle, which is given after finishing the story missions. Instead everyone is looking for a very small select group of weapons – most of which are end-game legendaries, or the exotics. Trading those weapons not only stands to break the PvE AND PvP metas, but could also evolve to serious exploits. Let me explain. Any game that has that potential can also have the potential for a certain group that is willing to get those weapons, and then sell them off to the highest bidder. Even if that system isn’t in-game, with how easy the web is now, auction sites would pop up instantly. How long do we really think it would take for a site auctioning off Gjallarhorns to pop up? Trading could end up killing the game outright – any sense of balance would be gone in an instant.

At the end of the day, these posts I don’t think actually represent the feelings of the whole community. Sure we’ve all been frustrated when we’re hundreds of hours in, with no sight of Gjallarhorn. The same is true when you get a top-tier weapon, with a terrible roll. You want to make it competitive, because that’s the only way to be in the current meta. I get it. But there are definitely more important issues in the game that need to be addressed. Reputation packages draw from way to wide a loot pool – especially when there are items with no real bearing on gameplay (shaders/ships) that have a lower drop rate than any other item. Getting my Revenant shader was more exciting than just about any new weapon I’ve gotten in months. That’s an issue – the actual gear should be worth more than cosmetic items. We have a couple months until The Taken King, but I don’t think we’ll see any actual update to the game until September. Hopefully though in those weeks, we’ll get a few more glimpses into the mindset of Bungie moving forward. This first year has been a great first year, but it is time to start looking critically at the game and its future.