Set aboard a vast, world-eating spaceship, the Leviathan is the setting for Destiny 2's first raid and the pinnacle of the PvE end-game. It's the reason you grind power levels and log in every week. It's the six-person, hours-long, tough-as-nails activity with loot to match, and it's fun as hell. If you're playing Destiny 2, you should be raiding.
The original Destiny pioneered the idea that MMO-style raid encounters could work in a first-person shooter. Over the course of three years, Bungie refined a blend of synchronized swimming-style team coordination and intense gunplay to create unique experiences like the Vault of Glass and King's Fall. And, with Destiny 2, that exhilarating—and frustrating—formula comes to the birthplace of raiding: the PC.
With that in mind, we've put together a comprehensive guide to beating each encounter, maximising DPS, and avoiding common mistakes. We'll also go over the structure of the the Leviathan and how to get the most loot. If you're stuck on a specific part, just follow the links below. But if you're totally new to the Leviathan and want to know All The Things, buckle up.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
You're going to need to do a few things before even starting The Leviathan. Finish Destiny 2's storyline and hit level 20, obviously, and while you're at it, max out all your subclasses. You never know what skills or grenades you'll want on hand in the raid.
More importantly, get your power level as high as possible. You need to be at least level 260 to enter the raid, but you want to be 280 or higher to avoid having a rough time. Finally, grab five (patient) friends with a few hours to spare—clanmates, ideally, so you can reap those sweet extra engrams. Speaking of which, let's go over how raid loot is distributed.
Loot drops and clan rewards
The Leviathan spits out loot in a few ways. The best sources are the four main encounters: the Royal Pools, the Pleasure Garden, the Gauntlet, and final boss Emperor Calus. The chests that spawn at the end of these fights can (note: no guarantees) yield raid weapons and armor. Each encounter also drops specific items, as detailed in the image above (thanks, Destiny Tracker. Note: the raid hand cannon and sniper rifle may also be obtained from Calus' chest, but rarely).
That's not all. The Castellum, the in-between encounter that you complete between each main encounter, has chests of its own. These can yield legendary engrams which decrypt into high-power rewards, but may also just contain 500 glimmer. So don't freak out if yours is empty. That's raiding!
Provided you're in a clan, which you totally should be as there are tons of benefits and no downside, you'll also get a weekly raid completion bonus. Once a fireteam containing at least three clan members clears the raid, everyone in the clan will be able to claim an imperial engram from Hawthorne, the clan advisor located in the left half of the Tower social space. This engram will always yield a piece of raid gear, but there's a catch: it will drop at 10 power, meaning you have to infuse it up to be able to use it.
On top of that, there are several bonus chests hidden in the bowels of The Leviathan ship itself, which you can learn more about here. Finally, every chest and encounter in the raid can also yield Emperor Calus Tokens, which leads us to the all-important token section of this guide.
Emperor Calus Tokens
If you've played Destiny 2 enough to unlock the raid, you've definitely come across a few tokens as rewards for completing activities, which can then be traded for engrams. The same is true of the Leviathan.
You'll collect a fair few Emperor Calus Tokens every time you run the raid—usually 30 to 40 from a full run. While not as flashy as gear drops, these tokens are useful. Every 20 tokens collected will net you one raid package from Benedict 99-40, the robot vendor located directly under Hawthorne in the tower. These packages are guaranteed to decrypt into raid gear, so be sure to cash your tokens in after each run. It's worth noting that as with other tokens, all your characters share the same pool, which may help if you're chasing a particular piece of armor.
Incidentally, there's another kind of raid token to worry about, which won't earn you loot directly, but will help your team to successfully finish encounters. I'm talking about revive tokens, a new item introduced in Destiny 2.
Back in Destiny 1, there were normal and hard mode raids. You couldn't be revived at all in hard mode, so a single death often meant starting over. But on normal mode you could die over and over again without penalty. Not so in Destiny 2. Even on normal mode, revives are limited.
It works like this. At the start of an encounter, all six players have one revive token each. You can use your token to revive a single fallen teammate. Once spent, you can't revive anyone else until you complete the encounter or wipe and restart it.
You'll obviously want everyone alive to divide up the work, but you also need everyone alive to avoid a wipe. That's because when someone goes down, a 30-second 'shared fate' timer starts ticking. If the fallen player isn't revived before it hits zero, everyone dies. Most of the raid encounters involve splitting into groups of two or three, with different groups unable to help the others, so you can see how rationing tokens can get tense.
With practice and good communication, both of which are key to becoming an accomplished raider, you'll get used to designating which player should use their token after a death in order to ensure the remainder are spaced out among the group.
On the subject of dying, it's worth stating now that when you're new to raiding you should bias your loadout towards the perks and gear most likely to keep you alive. Warlocks should generally run Healing Rifts, Crest of Alpha Lupi is great on Titans for it's healing pulse, Hunters can spec Nightstalker for invisibility, and recovery is probably the best stat to pile your armor points in. If your health gets low during an engagement, it's usually better to back off and let your teammates know rather than die trying to be a hero, as this can cause a chain reaction of deaths as people try to revive you under fire. If in doubt: hide.
Next page: How to beat the Castellum.