Destiny's new challenge for the week of July 21
Tuesday means only one thing if you're a Destiny fan: Reset day.
It's that wonderful time when Bungie's rotating selection of high-reward activities are rebooted (along with any raid progress made in the previous week), giving everyone a fresh chance at scoring some of the game's sweetest and rarest loot.
Are you new to Destiny? Don't know what any of this means? Good news. There's a Destiny wiki that's packed with information. Click for details on what Strikes are, and how Nightfall differs from Weekly Heroic challenges.
The House of Wolves add-on also adds a new weekly wrinkle, in the form of Prison of Elders. The multi-round gauntlets are built for endgame play, with the specific enemy types and modifiers changing from week to week.
Here's a rundown of what's happening this week:
Nightfall (The Will of Crota)
- Epic - This is a standard Nightfall modifier. It just means there are more enemies to fight, and a greater number of Majors (the yellow health bar dudes) on the field.
- Nightfall - Another standard Nightfall modifier. This one boots the entire Fireteam back to orbit if everyone is downed inside one of the revive-only respawn Darkness Zones.
- Arc Burn - All Arc damage is increased.
- Solar Burn - All Solar damage is increased.
- Void Burn - All Void damage is increased.
Taste the rainbow, folks. After Destiny's first Burn-less Nightfall in ages last week, elemental modifiers are back now with a vengeance. Arc, Solar and Void weapons all get a big boost, which means you're downright deadly, but so are your foes. The Will of Crota Strike, only available to those that own The Dark Below add-on, requires a lot of care and patience when there's a rainbow burn. Push too quickly and something's bound to chew you apart. For each major engagement, hang back and let the bad stuff come to you.
Weekly Heroic (Winter's Run)
- Heroic - Standard Weekly Heroic modifier. More enemies show up than you would see on a standard Strike, and they're more aggressive.
- Void Burn - All Void damage is increased.
Easy Weekly Heroic. Winter's Run is relatively quick under normal circumstances, and with the exception of the handful of Vex Minotaurs and Hydras you face, there's very little that hits you with Void damage. Go forth and get some easy Strange Coins for this week. Bring along some kind of Arc secondary for dealing with Captain shields. And if everyone on your fireteam has The Truth rocket launcher, use it to melt the Archon Priest boss before the reinforcements even get serious.
Prison of Elders
If you've got House of Wolves then you can also participate in the weekly Prison of Elders activities. These endgame challenges send players through a multi-round gauntlet in which each round has its own enemy type and Nightfall/Weekly-style modifier(s).
The lineup of enemies, modifiers and, in some cases, bosses for the level 32, 34 and 35 activities changes every week. You can find some general tips for surviving Prison of Elders right here. Read on for a breakdown of enemies and modifiers for each round this week.
Level 32: Cult of the Worm
- Round 1 (Vex): Airborne (Guardians deal more damage when in the air)
- Round 2 (Hive): Grounded (Guardians take more damage when in the air)
- Round 3 (Vex): Void Burn (All Void damage is increased)
- Round 4 (Hive): Angry (Enemies can't be staggered)
- Round 5 (Gulrot, the Unclean boss): Exposure (Guardian shields are increased, but recharge very slowly)
Maybe we don't need to kill Gulrot. Has anyone tried just handing him a bottle of Tums?
This Hive boss is a giant Ogre with a unique quirk: every so often he gets an upset tummy, causing him to vomit and coat the room with bile. It's not as gross as it sounds visually, but it does have a functional impact on your play: for the handful of seconds the room is gunked up, all Guardians are effectively prevented from moving.
This is very manageable if you know how to handle it. Just watch for the flavor text in the bottom-left corner of the screen signaling that Gulrot is ready to hurl. At that point, you have a few seconds to scramble behind cover. As long as you're outside the line of fire of the big guys — Wizards, Knights, Ogres and Gulrot himself — you can deal with any of the smaller stuff that rushes in. Rinse, repeat until the sickly big boss is dead.
Level 34: Broken Legion
- Round 1 (Cabal): Juggler (No ammo drops for your equipped weapon)
- Round 2 (Hive): Lightswitch (Enemy melee damage increased)
- Round 3 (Fallen): Catapult (Grenade recharge rate increased)
- Round 4 (Hive): Brawler (Guardian melee damage increased)
- Round 5 (Valus Trau'ug boss): Juggler (No ammo drops for your equipped weapon)
Valus Trau'ug is a menacing Cabal giant with a very special elemental shield. The shield is always a randomly selected element, so every time it recharges you've got to think about which weapons you're going to use to bring it down the next time. The shield also operates under its own rules; once it's down, you've got 10 to 15 seconds to pour the damage on before the shield automatically recalibrates and pops back on.
There are two methods for taking down Valus. The slower, more methodical approach involves ignoring the boss until you completely clear out all of his reinforcements to the point that they stop spawning. Then everyone brings the shield down and maximizes damage. Once the shield recalibrates, new reinforcements spawn and you repeat the process until Valus is dead.
The quicker (and more dangerous) approach involves keeping the pressure on Valus regardless of the reinforcement count. If you hang in the left corner of the room, it's good to have at least one person with a shotgun to clear out any Cabal that venture into your safe zone. It's not significantly tougher, but the strategy is also best when your whole fireteam is at level 34.
Level 35: Skolas' Revenge (all modifier descriptions listed here)
- Round 1 (Hive): Exposure and Brawler
- Round 2 (Vex): Grounded and Airborne
- Round 3 (Cabal): Catapult and Arc Burn
- Round 4 (Fallen): Specialist and Juggler
- Round 5 (Fallen): Trickle and Small Arms
- Round 6 (Skolas boss): Small Arms and Lightswitch
Skolas is a Fallen boss and the constant big bad for all level 35 Prison of Elders runs. He's a tricky one. You can't even damage him until you take out one of his two special Servitor defenders (they keep respawning), and even then you have only a small window (20 seconds) in which to dish out damage. That's the first half of the fight; once Skolas is at half health, the Servitor issue goes away.
They're replaced by Skolas' "Devouring Essence" attack, which puts one randomly chosen player on a 30-second countdown to death.The countdown can be reset by passing Devouring Essence to another player, but there's a 35-second delay before the player that gives it up can grab it again. This means that all three fireteam members need to participate in a deadly game of hot potato.
The second half of the fight also features two rounds of mines that need to be dismantled. It's tricky to juggle dismantling alongside the Devouring Essence hand-offs; frequent, clear communication is vital. Designate someone (preferably a Bladedancer Hunter with invisibility) to grab the more distant mines. You should pretty much ignore Skolas until you can get those taken care of.
Bungie, why do you hate us so much? The Small Arms and Lightswitch modifier combo means one thing: skip Skolas until next week. Small Arms powers up the strength of your primary weapons, but it simultaneously reduces the effectiveness of secondary/heavy weapons. Not a great situation when you're dealing with a bullet sponge boss like Skolas. And Lightswitch is just mean, given how many Stealth Vandals and other melee-capable enemies spawn throughout this long and grueling fight.