I’ve spent dozens of hours playing through Destiny 2: Lightfall’s new campaign (disappointing), waging war in its new city on Neptune called Neomuna (delightful), and comparing loot tables, stat lists, and perk options for all the new gear (mixed bag). Here’s some of what I’ve learned in my travels, including tips for getting the most out of Lightfall with the least heartache, and snagging a couple of cool new Exotics along the way.
It’s constantly raining Glimmer in Destiny 2 these days, which means you should really be spending at least 50,000 per session on extra bounties relevant to whatever activities you’re running. I usually fully stock up on as many Neomuna, Season of Defiance, and Gunsmith bounties as the game will allow and then just play a bunch. You’ll automatically start completing many of them and can then focus on the specific objectives for whatever’s left.
I said it with 2022’s The Witch Queen and I’ll say it again with Lightfall: try to play the main campaign on the harder difficulty. There are certainly a few pain points, but if you take your time, play it safe, and don’t rush, it’s totally doable. Playing it with friends is even better since, while the difficulty goes up a little more, you’ll also be able to revive each other and divide and conquer. Legendary difficulty adds an extra chest to each mission that will help you climb the power ladder faster, but it’s also just a much more interesting and satisfying way to experience the new levels and battle arenas.
Okay, Lightfall’s campaign on Legendary might not be super hard, but this final boss battle is still a pain in the ass. You can be brave and take it on alone, team up with friends to make it infinitely easier, OR cheese it entirely by hiding under some stairs. In classic Destiny fashion, the Calus fight has one very simple and very dumb trick for slowly but painlessly getting through it. Here’s a good video explaining it:
Calus’ second phase where he charges you with swords is a bit trickier, but it’s still possible to use Strand to grapple onto the top of the purple bubble surrounding the battlefield and shoot him from the outside. If that doesn’t work, just be sure to save your super and a ton of heavy ammo—preferably a fully stocked machine gun—and just grapple in a circle while firing. You’ll get there eventually.
If you’re a glutton for crafting, the new expansion is pretty light on new weapon patterns. However, there are five Neomuna weapons you get during the course of the campaign that are craftable, and each time Nimbus gives you one it will have a pattern you can extract. You need five patterns total, and completing the campaign with each character will get you three for each weapon. It’s a chore, but much faster than waiting for the red border weapons to drop in the wild. And hey, maybe the new Strand hand cannon Round Robin will become a beast later this year if and when Bungie ever buffs kinetic weapons in general, and hand cannons in particular.
Once you’re done with the campaign it’s time to farm the heck out of Neomuna. The patrol zone’s enemies are always capped above your current power, but you should now be able to survive more easily and actually finish the Lost Sectors, public events, and new Terminal Overload activity.
One of the goals is to get your rank with Nimbus to 30 so that they only give you Engrams with new Lightfall gear inside. Simply roam around picking up patrol missions and playing through whichever activities spawn around you. Bounties plus Terminal Overload clears will help you rank up in no time.
Strand is actually a lot of fun. You can make enemies levitate and grapple through the air, and it’s both very effective defensively and offensively. Still, I know I personally was itching to go back to my Void build after not too long. Old habits and such. A key mechanic in Lightfall incentivizes against that: the only way to earn new Strand abilities is to use it.
Killing enemies with Strand abilities on Neomuna will generate Strand fragments, a currency you can cash in to unlock each new Aspect and Fragment. Doing so won’t just expand your arsenal, it’ll also unlock the Exotic Strand sidearm quest.
Don’t forget to equip a ghost shell with Combo Wombo in the mod slot. It’ll point out chests and planetary material spawns to you. This will give you plenty of glimmer, but you also get 20 Neomuna reputation for each one you harvest. The best part of Lightfall is completing an entire rank up by simultaneously finishing multiple patrols, farming chests, and completing a Terminal Overload run.
Speaking of public events, make sure you’re getting the most out of them by upgrading them to Heroic. Neomuna has two public events, and unless your unfortunate enough to spawn into an empty instance, they’re pretty easy and straightforward:
- Vex public event - stand in the two circles that appear (a thin beam of light from the main node leads to them) until the progress bar for both is full.
- Cabal - kill the miniboss that appears towards the end of the public event but before completing the progress meter on the drill.
Patrol missions appear as little gray icons. A bunch of dots means you need to kill enemies. A triangle means you need to kill specific enemies and collect what falls out. An engram shape means you need to go somewhere and kill a mini-boss. Each has a heroic variant that will show the icon in light brown instead of gray, and these will guarantee you a piece of Neomuna Legendary gear, so prioritize these whenever you see them.
Every time you complete a Terminal Overload run, two chests will spawn near the final boss. One is free to open, the other requires an overload key. The first one can be opened three times total if you’re quick. Just grab it, immediately hop on your sparrow and rush to the next zone, and then backtrack as soon as the name of the near area appears on your screen. The chest will be full again, netting you some free Legendary engrams and extra Neomuna reputation.
Heavy grenade launchers were recently buffed, and Season of Defiance grenade launcher Regnant is an excellent one to have around. It has good stats and really good perks. Once you have it unlocked, you can farm it from the seasonal vendor OR you can simply pull it from your collections tab on the character screen. It will tell you the perks are one thing, but they are actually randomly rolled, meaning you can keep pulling Regnant until you get one with the god roll perks you want (it’s a glitch). Auto-Loading Holster and Explosive Light are what you’re looking for, but Envious Assassin and Destabilizing Rounds are also good.
Lightfall’s main campaign leaves a lot to be desired, especially on the story front. Its end-game content, however, is some of the best Destiny’s had in a while. There are three Exotic quests and they’re all pretty fun and net you great gear: Deterministic Chaos, Winterbite, and Final Warning. You’ll see the steps for each on your quest menu, except for Final Warning which requires unlocking every Strand ability first. (Farm those Strand fragments!) Season of Defiance also has a great new Exotic mission for the craftable Glaive Vexcalibur. Here’s a full rundown for that one.
You’ll notice on the Neomuna map that one of the patrol areas will be the weekly Vex Incrusion Zone. That means every public event tehre has the chance to spawn as a Supernumerary Blitz version which guarantees an Exotic loot drop upon completion. It doesn’t happen often, though some players believe it’s more likely to spawn ten minutes before or after the top of the hour.
Once it occurs, you have ten minutes to fry six giant Minotaurs with Vex trace rifles that drop from glowing enemies. It’s tough, especially if you’re under-powered and don’t have enough other players around. Try to go in with at least two other people and take the Minotaurs down one at a time.
Destiny 2 players are almost free of its dreaded power grind, but not quite yet. Lightfall expands the caps by a ton, and once you complete the main campaign you’ll find yourself chasing pinnacle drops from weekly challenges just like before. Ugh. Here are the caps:
- Starting power: 1,600
- Soft cap: 1,750
- Powerful cap: 1,800
- Pinnacle cap: 1,810
Finishing the campaign on Legendary should get you to 1,770. From there you can complete weekly challenges to get more powerful and pinnacle engrams. Vanguard strikes are a real slog right now. Crucible and Gambit are fast, but also require playing Crucible and Gambit. Look for the activities on the Destination tab with gold icons. Early on I would definitely prioritize the Defiant Battlegrounds seasonal activity which is both fun, easy, and provides multiple powerful engrams.
Fortunately, while the Lightfall power grind is still a pain, it won’t take long to get raid ready. Root of Nightmares has a recommended power level of 1,780. Completing the campaign on Legendary will get you nearly there, and a week of powerful drops and seasonal Artifact grinding will get you the rest of the way (roughly 5 million XP will get you plus 10 power).
Once you’re raid ready, you should…actually try the raid! Root of Nightmares was Destiny 2’s most cleared raid during its contest mode weekend since the game began, and its mechanics are a lot less esoteric than some past ones. Solid loadouts and good team communication will help you conquer the best part of Lightfall, and it’s easy enough to find groups, even for newcomers, using the Destiny app’s LFG tool. You can explore the raid without spoilers or learn the mechanics ahead of time from any number of decent guides online.
Update 3/21/23 11:43 a.m. ET: Added tips about Terminal Overload chests and the Supernumerary Blitz public event.