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Lost touch with Destiny? Get caught up for today's April update

A comprehensive refresher on what's changed, and what's changing

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Nearly seven months have passed since the debut of Destiny 2.0 alongside Destiny: The Taken King. They arrived in mid-September and delivered a major boost to the game, but the three seasonal events that Bungie ran afterward — Festival of the Lost in late October, Sparrow Racing League in December and Crimson Days in February — failed to move the needle much, especially for people who aren't die-hard Crucible players.

Destiny isn't getting a proper sequel until sometime next year, and the next major expansion is coming this fall. But that leaves a huge gap that Bungie is filling today with the game's April update, which offers a big drop of new activities to do, gear to earn and Light to grind.

Bungie is hoping that the April update will be a good reason for lapsed Destiny players to return to the game. But a lot has changed in the world of Destiny since The Taken King, and even more is changing with today's patch. Here's a primer on the state of the game so you can get caught up.

Destiny: The Taken King - King’s Fall raid screenshot 1920 Image: Bungie

Light and raids

The Taken King revamped Destiny's Light system, uncoupling it from armor and making it a weighted average of all your currently equipped gear. Once the April update goes live, the Light cap will increase to 335 from 320.

The April update will make it so that rewards from King's Fall, The Taken King's raid, can drop at up to 320 Light on normal difficulty and up to 330 Light on hard mode. Bungie is working on a hotfix that is scheduled to be released soon; after that update, hard-mode King's Fall rewards can drop at up to 335 Light.

Speaking of King's Fall, you may have missed the challenge modes that Bungie introduced in December. They throw new wrinkles into one of the boss battles (rotating every week), and offer better loot — guaranteed max Light on hard mode — if you can finish the fight that way.

The two older raids — the Vault of Glass from vanilla Destiny and Crota's End from The Dark Below — remain at their original levels of rewards and enemy difficulty. In other words, there's still essentially no reason to play them unless you have to do so for a specific quest.

Destiny April update screenshots


Bungie brought The Will of Crota, otherwise known as the Omnigul strike, into the heroic strike playlist last fall. In the April update, the studio is revising another old strike, Winter's Run, with higher-difficulty Taken enemies (including a Taken version of the Archon Priest, the boss at the end of the strike). The April update also adds a new strike to Destiny called Blighted Chalice, whose boss is a Taken prince named Malok.

A bunch of gear in the April update will be available exclusively as strike rewards. Here's the full list, according to the sleuths on the Destiny subreddit. And as of the April update, the weekly nightfall strike has been beefed up to a recommended Light of 320.

The Prison of Elders

The Prison of Elders, which Bungie introduced in last May's House of Wolves expansion, will be relevant once again with Destiny's April update. Taken foes will now appear in the mode, in a level 41 fight that is designed for Guardians who are at 260 Light or higher. Enemies in the Prison of Elders will now drop engrams, and Variks will offer Prison of Elders-specific bounties.

The April update also brings in a mode within the Prison of Elders called Challenge of the Elders. This is a high-level exercise (level 42, recommended Light of 320) that's timed and scored, so fireteams will have to cooperate with each other to succeed. Assists, kills and precision kills are necessary to maximize your score, but you have to manage fodder enemies while doing enough damage to the boss to finish the battle in a reasonable time frame.

Everything in Challenge of the Elders is tracked on an Elders' Sigil, a scorecard that you must buy once a week — because the challenge will be different every week for four months, according to Bungie — from Variks. Oh, and you'll no longer need a Treasure Key to open the big chest at the end of a Prison of Elders run.

Destiny April update screenshots

Exotic and legendary gear

If you're looking to pick up exotic engrams, Three of Coins is your best bet. Sold by Xur, it's a consumable that increases the chances of a yellow engram dropping after you kill an ultra enemy (such as a strike boss) or complete a Crucible match. The effect stacks such that if an engram doesn't drop when you use it, your chance of scoring an exotic engram will be higher the next time you pop a Three of Coins.

The Taken King introduced a few daily missions that offered secret side objectives, each of which eventually led to a guaranteed exotic weapon. The Black Spindle sniper rifle is available only when "Lost to Light" is the daily story mission. The Sleeper Simulant, a fusion rifle that counts as a heavy weapon, can be obtained only through a series of quests that begins with the mission called "The First Firewall." That mission only pops up once a month, on the seventh day of each month (and only after you've found four weapon relics in the wild). And finally, the quest for the No Time to Explain sniper rifle can be triggered only when "Paradox" is the daily story mission.

Bungie is bringing forward some more Year One gear in the April update, both exotics and legendaries; by this point, most Year One exotics will have Year Two versions. The exotic weapons that are staying at their old levels are Gjallarhorn, Ice Breaker, Necrochasm, Pocket Infinity, Thorn and Vex Mythoclast. You can buy Year Two versions of existing exotics from kiosks in the Tower (and as of the April update, the Reef) for 150 Legendary Marks. The April update increases vault space to 108 items with new pages.

Destiny - Dreadfang screenshot 1920

Improved legendary weapons — with attack values up to 330 — include Shadow Price, Badger CCL, Lord High Fixer, Grim Citizen III, The Saterienne Rapier, The Devil You Know, The Swarm, Zombie Apocalypse WF47, LDR 5001, Y-09 Longbow Synthesis, Two to the Morgue and The Comedian. They'll drop from Vanguard and Crucible reputation packages. Using the revised Infusion system (as of the April update), lower-rated gear can be upgraded to the full value of the higher-level item that's being dismantled.

The April update features an exotic sniper rifle, Zen Meteor, that is exclusive to PlayStation platforms. The other pieces of exclusive content are a new Sparrow called Velumbra, and three sets of legendary armor (one for each class).

Emotes and more from the Eververse Trading Company

If you stopped playing Destiny before October 2015, you're probably really confused by GIFs of Guardians dancing. Well, Bungie added emotes to the game in mid-October, and players can purchase those dances through microtransactions at the Eververse Trading Company, which is run by Tess Everis. Many of the emotes take the form of pop-culture references, like "Enthusiastic Dance" (it's the dance that Carlton Banks did on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air).

The microtransactions are purchased with an in-game currency called Silver, and as of the April update, players will also be able to spend Silver on Sterling Treasure. That's a new mystery box that can also be earned as a guaranteed reward up to three times a week: one from the Postmaster, one from completing a level 41 Prison of Elders activity, and one from the weekly Crucible playlist.

Gear that is obtained from Sterling Treasure boxes won't give you Legendary Marks when you dismantle it; instead, you'll get Chroma, the material that can now be applied to weapons and armor to make it glow red, white, blue or yellow. You'll be able to change the color randomly by spending 100 Glimmer. Individual armor pieces can glow in their own colors, so you can mix and match, but weapons can only glow in one color.

Balance changes

As usual, there are plenty of balance changes in the April update. For a full rundown, you can check out the patch notes on Bungie's website. The studio detailed weapon tweaks in a separate post, and discussed revision to classes in the third livestream that the studio did before the April update.

Eyes up, Guardian

Now you're ready to jump back into Destiny. The April update is now live, so hop online with your friends to see the new changes and content for yourself as you travel the cosmos to beat back the Darkness.

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