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Destiny 2 Lightfall prep guide: Bounties, patterns, materials, and more

Windows Central 1/29/2023 Brendan Lowry
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Destiny 2's latest expansion, Lightfall, is only a month away from arriving on Xbox, Windows PC, and other platforms. And once it begins, so too will the fight against The Witness, Emperor Calus, and his Shadow Legion on Neptune. Featuring a fresh campaign with a Legendary difficulty option, a brand new six-man endgame PvE raid, two optional dungeons, and four seasons worth of additional activities and content, the DLC will undoubtedly give players plenty of exciting and rewarding challenges to overcome.

In order to give yourself an edge in this new era of Destiny 2, it's strongly recommended to use the weeks we have before Lightfall's February 28 launch to prepare as much as you can. But what should you be doing to prep effectively? If you find yourself asking this question, don't worry — we're here to help. In this comprehensive prep guide, we'll go over everything you should do, collect, and farm for ahead of the expansion's arrival, as well as the best ways you can do so.

Grind for weapons and crafting patterns

Destiny 2 is a looter shooter at the end of the day, and that means getting your hands on some choice guns is more important than anything else. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of fantastic weapons available from The Witch Queen expansion, activities from its four seasons, dungeons like Duality, and even the world loot pool. 

Here, we've highlighted some of the best weapons and weapon crafting patterns in the game right now that you should try and get your hands on before Lightfall drops. We've also included information on the best perk "god rolls" for these weapons, as well as the methods you'll need to use to obtain them.

Weapons to get before Lightfall

These weapons aren't craftable, but are nevertheless excellent and will be very handy to have while playing through the Destiny 2: Lightfall DLC. Note that while weapons from dungeons and activity-specific drops will still be available after the expansion launches, world loot pool gear may be rotated out for new items. Therefore, try to get these weapons as soon as you can.

Best crafted weapons

These weapons from The Witch Queen era can be shaped using Destiny 2's weapon crafting system, allowing you to slot in the perks you want without having to deal with traditional random roll RNG. However, you can only craft these weapons after obtaining a number of "red border" Deepsight Resonance versions of them and killing enemies with or dismantling them. 

Red border versions of craftable weapons are pretty rare compared to normal drops, but starting on January 31, you'll be able to focus a red border seasonal weapon once a day via the Season 16-19 vendors in the H.E.L.M. The chest at the end of the Vow of the Disciple and King's Fall raids allow you to choose one red border weapon every week as well, provided you've earned 20 Spoils of Conquest to use by completing raid encounters. These raids also have puzzle mechanics (here's how Vow's and King's Fall's work) that reward your fireteam with an extra random red border drop after the final boss. Aside from these sources, you'll need to grind seasonal activities and complete individual raid encounters to have a chance at getting additional red borders.

While all of the craftable weapons we've listed below are fantastic, you should prioritize seasonal guns over raid ones. This is because seasonal weapons — and, by extension, their crafting patterns — are expected to become unavailable once Lightfall arrives. Raids, which stick around permanently, will keep their red borders on offer.

Level up crafted weapons

Once you've acquired the weapon patterns that you want, the next thing you should do is begin crafting those weapons and leveling them up. Doing so will allow you to shape them with the exact perks you want, and at high enough levels, you'll even be able to choose from Enhanced Perks that have enhanced functionality and provide your weapon with extra stats.

To level crafted weapons, you'll need to get kills with them and complete activities with them equipped. Leveling a weapon can take awhile, but we'll go over the two best ways to level them quickly below.

How to level up Destiny 2 weapons fast

Players have discovered several weapon leveling farms in Destiny 2, but there are two in particular that are both incredibly efficient and extremely easy to do: killing enemies at the Shuro Chi checkpoint in the Last Wish raid or the start of the Grasp of Avarice dungeon.

The first farm takes advantage of the fact that there are dozens upon dozens of clumped foes at the beginning of the Shuro Chi encounter, making it very easy to pick them all off before jumping off a nearby ledge and dying. This resets the encounter and allows you to kill the enemies again. This farm is particularly efficient when you're leveling special or heavy weapons, as you can place a Raid Banner before starting the encounter that gives you full ammo. Note that you can easily get the checkpoint for this encounter by going to, copying the ID of the automated bot holding it, and joining its fireteam with the /join command in the in-game text chat. Once you load in, start the encounter and wipe; this will give you the checkpoint.

Killing the infinitely-spawning enemies at the start of Grasp of Avarice, meanwhile, is perfect for leveling up primary weapons since they have infinite ammo. Also, the vast majority of the mobs here are of the low-health "red bar" variety, so they're easy to mow down.

Farm for high-stat armor

Another thing you should do to prepare is get high-stat armor if you don't have any already. Having armor with plenty of stats will improve your combat effectiveness significantly, and it will also make creating effective builds with Lightfall's new buildcrafting systems much easier.

Below, we'll go over all sources of high-stat armor in Destiny 2, as well as the best ways you can farm for it. Before we get into that, though, here's a quick overview of how armor stat totals and distribution works.

What is considered good high-stat armor?

When you get a piece of armor (class items exempt, as they don't drop with stats), its total number of stats will be anywhere between 48-68; armor pieces with at least 62 points or so are considered high-stat, though more is always better. These stat points are evenly split between two stat pools: Mobility, Resilience, and Recovery in the first pool, and Discipline, Intellect, and Strength in the second.

Since most builds benefit the most from having high numbers in two or three stats, it's ideal to shoot for "spiky" distributions, or armor rolls where most of each pool's stat points end up in one or two of the pool's three stats. More even distributions are less desirable, as it's generally more effective to specialize than to try and be a jack of all trades.

Note that you can manipulate armor drops by equipping an stat-specific Armorer mod on your Ghost. These mods force pieces of armor to drop with at least 10 points in the stat you've chosen, and also increase the chance that you'll get an even higher number of points in that stat. Masterworking armor pieces also adds two extra points to each stat, providing you with 12 extra points total. These extra points will add up if you masterwork all of your armor, so it's worth doing so.

High-stat armor sources

There are a wide variety of sources for high-stat armor in Destiny 2, most of which involve engaging with endgame PvE activities. Here's a full breakdown of each one, including notes about how often you can get drops.

The best high-stat armor farms

Due to how many sources of high-stat armor there are, it can be tough to know which ones are the best to farm. After doing some extensive testing, though, the community has settled on three specific sources: farming the Master Caiatl checkpoint of the Duality dungeon, farming the Zulmak checkpoint of the Pit of Heresy dungeon when it's the weekly featured dungeon, and focusing Umbral Engrams for armor pieces at the War Table at the H.E.L.M. location.

The best overall farm is Master Caiatl in the Master version of the Duality dungeon, as the encounter is relatively quick to do (watch this guide if you still need to learn it), the armor is always high-stat with spiky stat distributions, and the pieces are Artifice Armor, Master dungeon-exclusive drops that will allow you to add three additional stat points of your choosing per piece once Lightfall arrives.

If you're struggling to complete Master Caiatl, a good alternative is farming Zulmak, the final boss of the Pit of Heresy dungeon (here's how). While the armor won't be Artifice and you can only get unlimited armor drops from this boss when Pit of Heresy is the featured dungeon, it always drops with at least 16 points in two stats, making this encounter an excellent source of well-rolled armor.

Checkpoints for both of these encounters can often be found on, and you'll also often find players looking for people to farm them with in Destiny 2 LFG Discord servers. Note that to farm these encounters efficiently, you'll need to keep their checkpoints saved on an alternate character so you can repeatedly load into them without having to do the entire dungeon over again. Here's how to do that:

  • Get to Caiatl/Zulmak.
  • Have a second player leave and rejoin on an alternate character.
  • Start the encounter, then have everyone die to save the checkpoint.
  • Have the second player leave and rejoin with their main character.
  • Complete the encounter.
  • The second player loads the dungeon with their alt.
  • The first player joins the second player.
  • The second player swaps back to their main and joins the first player.
  • Complete the encounter.
  • Repeat with steps 6-9.

The easiest way to farm for high-stat armor is to focus Umbral Engrams at the War Table in the H.E.L.M. hub area. While all of the seasonal vendors from Destiny 2 Year 5 can give high-stat armor drops, the War Table's drops usually have the highest stat totals and the spikiest distributions. Make sure to pick up the Armor Decoding Clearance upgrade to unlock the ability to armor focus.

For each piece of armor you want, you'll need an Umbral Engram, 25 Legendary Shards, and 4 Risen Umbral Energy. The former two resources will be earned naturally as you play, but you'll need to complete Season 16 activities like PsiOps Battlegrounds to get more Risen Umbral Energy. You can also focus armor from Season 17, 18, or 19 vendors as well, though you'll need their respective Umbral Energy types to do so. These are earned in other seasonal activities like Nightmare Containment, Ketchcrash, and Heist Battlegrounds.

Complete Exotic quests and missions

The two new Exotic quests and missions added to Destiny 2 in The Witch Queen era, Vox Obscura and Operation: Seraph's Shield, are going away when Lightfall launches. Therefore, we strongly recommend completing these missions before they're retired so you can earn their respective Exotic weapons and catalysts. If you don't, you'll likely have to purchase them from the Monument to Lost Lights kiosk with Exotic Ciphers.

Vox Obscura and Dead Messenger

Vox Obscura is the first Exotic mission from Destiny 2 Year 5, and can be accessed once you've progressed through seven steps of the Season 16 Operation Elbrius story quest. Caiatl will contact you at the War Table and ask you to deal with a Psion insurrection on Mars that's persuading her forces to defect and join their cause. From there, you'll be able to access the Vox Obscura mission from the Savathûn's Throne World screen in the Director menu. Note that the mission is more difficult than most and parts of it are timed, so we recommend squadding up with friends or players from LFG to complete it.

Once you beat the mission, you'll be given the Dead Messenger, an Exotic energy Grenade Launcher. This is a special wave-frame launcher that sends out a cone of three waves instead of one when it makes contact with the ground, and you can also change its element between Void, Solar, and Arc by holding down the reload button.

The Exotic catalyst for Dead Messenger adds the Turnabout perk to the weapon, making it to give you an overshield whenever you break an enemy's shield with it. To unlock it, you'll need to complete Vox Obscura again, but on Master difficulty.

Operation: Seraph's Shield and Revision Zero

The second Exotic mission from Year 5 is Operation: Seraph's Shield, in which Rasputin tasks players with infiltrating a large Braytech facility in orbit above Earth. This mission can be accessed through the H.E.L.M. once you've progressed through Season 19's More Than a Weapon story quest. Compared to Vox Obscura, Operation: Seraph's Shield is less about combat and is more puzzle-focused. We recommend giving it a try on your own without outside help, though this guide is an excellent resource if you get stuck.

Once you finish the mission, you'll get Revision Zero, a craftable Exotic kinetic Pulse Rifle that gives you the option between a two-burst and four-burst firing mode. The weapon's Exotic perk, Hunter's Trace, also builds up "Targeting Data" as you score precision kills, which can then be used to fire high-damage explosive rounds by holding the reload button. Notably, Revision Zero's bullets also have intrinsic anti-Barrier Champion properties. 

Getting Revision Zero's Exotic catalysts requires you to complete the Should You Choose to Accept It questline, which automatically begins once you've talked to Rasputin after finishing Operation: Seraph's Shield and have continued to progress the More Than a Weapon quest. Its steps are fairly simple, as you just have to travel to specified locations (Europa, the Moon, the EDZ, and the Cosmodrome), kill some enemies, and find a cache at the end of a specified Lost Sector. Then, you have to complete Operation: Seraph's Shield on Legendary difficulty while interacting with dead Exo bodies found throughout the mission (here's where to find them). Once you do so, you'll be awarded with the catalysts. 

We've highlighted what each catalyst does below. Note that you can swap between them at any time to customize the weapon.

  • Frenzy Refit: adds Feeding Frenzy to Revision Zero, causing rapid kills to improve reload speed. Also unlocks the barrel column for crafting.
  • Pressurized Refit: adds Under Pressure to Revision Zero, improving its stability and accuracy as the number of rounds in the magazine decreases. Also unlocks a trait column for crafting.
  • Outlaw Refit: adds Outlaw to Revision Zero, improving its reload speed when you score precision kills. Also unlocks a stock column for crafting.
  • Four-Timer Refit: adds Fourth Time’s The Charm to Revision Zero, returning two rounds to the magazine every time you manage to land four critical hits in a row.

Stock up on resources and crafting materials

Each new expansion inevitably brings plenty of new gear and powerful Exotic weapons and armor, and that means you'll need the necessary materials to craft, upgrade, and masterwork it. On top of that, you'll also need a good amount of the game's currencies so you can easily purchase any important items the DLC's new vendors might be selling (or so you can buy Eververse cosmetics whenever they're being sold for something other than Silver, Destiny 2's premium microtransaction currency).

If you're running low on these resources, you should get as many of them as possible before Lightfall's arrival. In the table below, we've listed out every important Destiny 2 currency, consumable, and material. Additionally, it also includes information about what each resource is used for and how you can obtain it.

Clean out your Vault

If you're a veteran Destiny 2 player, cleaning out your Vault is also something you should consider doing. While we'd all like to keep every piece of quality gear we've ever earned in an ideal world, there are only 600 gear slots available in our Vaults, and most players will need a good chunk of that space available for Lightfall-era loot. Plus, dismantling old guns and armor you haven't used for a long time will net you some refunded Legendary Shards and other upgrade materials.

You don't have to get rid of everything — you should absolutely keep an older piece of gear if you still enjoy using it or it holds sentimental value — but if you haven't touched a piece of gear for several months or years, it's probably time to let it go.

When cleaning your Vault, we recommend using helpful third-party tools like Destiny Item Manager (DIM) and D2 Armor Picker to keep track of your gear. The former allows you to view every item in your Vault at once and mark them with tags such as Favorite, Keep, or Junk, which makes the cleaning process smoother and less disorganized. The latter, meanwhile, is ideal for determining which armor pieces you should use for your preferred stats and which ones you should dismantle.

If you're unsure if a weapon is worth keeping or not, a good place to ask is the r/sharditkeepit subreddit. Its members frequently discuss their pieces of gear, aiming to decide if they should be kept or "sharded."

Prep and hoard bounties

The very last thing you should do to get ready for the Lightfall expansion is bounty prep. This process involves buying and completing dozens of bounties from many of Destiny 2's vendors, and then turning them in after the new DLC releases. This allows you to get a big head start on the Season Pass and Seasonal Artifact XP grind, which provides players with a temporary Power Level boost and several unlockable perks that will make the best Destiny 2 builds even stronger as they progress through it. Note that you can hoard bounties on all three of your Guardians, which is a very powerful strategy since Season Pass and Seasonal Artifact progress is shared across characters.

Something important to note is that you shouldn't turn your bounties in until you get the Season 20 Seasonal Artifact. If you turn them in before then, the XP may not count towards the Artifact. Also, make sure you're using the Blinding Light Ghost mod and are loaded in a physical space with a fireteam when you turn your bounties in. This will amplify your XP gains considerably, making the most out of your bounty prep efforts.

While bounty prep is useful, it's also tedious, and choosing not to do it won't really put you at a disadvantage. Leveling up the Seasonal Artifact is something that happens naturally at a fairly speedy pace as long as you're playing regularly; therefore, you should only prep if you're a hardcore player with nothing else to do until Lightfall's launch.

Which bounties give the most XP?

When choosing bounties to hoard, it's crucial that you opt for the ones that give the most XP. These are Destiny 2's 26 weekly bounties, which provide significantly more XP than any other bounty type. These are split up between various locations and vendors, all of which we've listed in the table below:

Since many of these bounties are on rotation, you'll need to come back after each weekly reset (Tuesdays at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET) to continue picking them up as they become available. You'll only need to visit Variks on Europa one extra time to get all of his weekly bounties, though you'll have to return to Petra Venj and Hawthorne multiple times in the month leading up to Lightfall.

Once you've done as many weekly bounties as possible, move onto daily bounties. These simple and easy challenges are available from almost every single vendor in the game, including activity vendors, seasonal vendors, and planetary vendors. Make sure you regularly visit these vendors daily to pick up their new bounties and complete as many as you can.

The only types of bounty you should avoid focusing on are repeatable bounties, as they give much less XP and cost a significant amount of Glimmer. Your bounty inventory will be full before you ever run out of daily ones to do, so there's no reason to prep any repeatable bounties.

You're ready, Guardian

And that's a wrap on our Lightfall prep guide! As long as you follow these guidelines and make the most of the time we have left before the expansion arrives, you'll be well-prepared for Destiny 2 Year 6 and the content it's bringing to the table. With an arsenal of crafted weapons, several pieces of high-stat armor, plenty of resources to spare, and more, nobody — not even Emperor Calus and his ruthless Shadow Legion — will be able to stand in your way.

Destiny 2: Lightfall is almost here, and it looks like it's going to be one of the best Destiny 2 expansions yet between the gorgeous neon-soaked city of Neomuna, Emperor Calus' fearsome Shadow Legion, the new Strand subclass, a new raid, plenty of new gear, and more. Lightfall preorders are available now if you'd like to reserve your copy of the DLC ahead of its launch on February 28, 2023.

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