Now that the top Destiny 2 players have conquered the Last Wish raid and are beginning to reach the maximum power level of 600, Bungie’s latest patch to the game has added new opportunities to make the climb easier for the rest of the community. And this week offers an unprecedented opportunity for players to make an enormous amount of progress.
It will take some grinding, but this is your chance to make up for some lost ground. Here’s how to do it.
Festival of the Lost
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, Bungie brought back the Festival of the Lost Halloween event. This comes with new Halloween masks, Tower decorations and loot boxes. But the most important new feature of this event is the Haunted Forest.
The Haunted Forest is a mode that takes place in the procedurally generated Infinite Forest area. You are teamed with two other players — matchmaking is available for this activity — and are given 15 minutes to complete as many “branches” as possible.
Each branch is a randomly generated level, which your group has to traverse while killing a set number of enemies. You’re then teleported to an encounter with a boss monster. The process repeats once you beat the boss, though the enemies get tougher, and various debuffs stack on your party as you work your way through the time limit.
You get to finish the branch you’re working on when time runs out, and then you get teleported to a final room with a reward chest. The chest contains a Fragmented Soul, the event currency, for each branch you completed. It’s probably possible for a very well-coordinated group to get 10 branches, but my match-made groups averaged six or seven Souls per run.
You use the Souls to buy event goodies from Amanda Holliday in the Tower. The most important of these goodies is the Horror Story auto rifle. This gun is a Year-Two version of the popular year one Origin Story story, but it comes fully masterworked. It also, most importantly, drops at a power level of 600 for all players who own the Forsaken expansion.
Why is that such a big deal? “Powerful gear” drops in Destiny are based on the level of your current gear. The best drops, like gear from raids and rewards from Dreaming City activities, drop five points above your current power level.
However, if you’re currently at 560 power level and you get a 600-power gun, it will raise your total power by about five points, so your next powerful drop should be around 570. That’s twice as big a boost as you’d normally expect from a drop. The further behind you are, the more your power level will gain with this one piece of gear. It’s a tremendous opportunity.
The catch is that the Horror Story costs 120 Fragmented Souls. Remember, you’re likely only getting six or seven for each 20-minute run through the Forest.
You can also get souls from completing daily bounties, which require you to do activities like Strikes or Crucible matches while wearing a Halloween mask. You can complete a weekly bounty that awards 40 souls if you do 15 bounties in a week, which is a lot of progress toward the gun.
Horror Story and the Haunted Forest are available for three weeks, so if you want, you can take a chill approach and work toward the gun using bounties over a couple of weeks, and still get that big upgrade.
But you’ll want to get the gun as quickly as possible if you want to reap the maximum benefit.
Iron Banner also came back on Oct. 16, and will run through Oct. 22. This is the second Iron Banner since Forsaken launched, and this one has some new features. The weekly bounties are a little easier this time, and they award Powerful upgrades.
If you buy the Horror Story and then redeem a bunch of powerful rewards from Iron Banner bounties, you’ll get a very rapid, very large increase in power for all of your gear. But since Iron Banner only lasts one week, you don’t have time for weekly Festival bounties if you want to do this; you need to grind out your 120 souls, and then you’ll need to complete all the Iron Banner weekly bounties.
Those will require you to play at least 15 matches and get seven wins, along with 250 total kills, 50 precision kills and 20 super kills. You’re probably looking at five-to-six hours of Haunted Forest and then a similar amount of time in Iron Banner if you want to get all the goodies. And then you’ll still need to take care of your other milestones and weekly business in the Dreaming City.
If you’re a pretty casual Destiny 2 player — the kind of player who would most benefit from this catch-up opportunity — that’s a lot of Destiny for one week. But you can likely make a month’s worth of progress this weekend, if you’re prepared to play a lot.
Definitely get Horror Story before Halloween
It is optimal to get the power level increase from Horror Story as quickly as possible, but you can accrue a lot of benefit from having the gun influencing your drops regardless of when you get it.
The gun is available until Halloween, and playing Haunted Forest or doing bounties pretty casually should net you enough Souls to buy it. If you don’t want to grind, this should be your priority.
Having a 600-power primary weapon will make everything in Destiny 2 more accessible. If you’re still playing the game, and especially if you have a goal like completing the raid before the next expansion drops in December, you shouldn’t miss this opportunity.