How to beat the Pleasure Garden
The Pleasure Garden is located through the ‘dog’ door in the Castellum. For some god forsaken reason, it’s a timed stealth section. At first it will seem fiddly and frustrating, but with a little memorization and some careful planning, it will soon become a breeze.
The garden contains eight flower buds, six prowling beasts, six pillars of light, five Cabal doors, four ‘royal pollen’, two ‘prism weapons’ and one safe room. Keep up in the back.
Four players walk along the garden floor as a group, sneaking around the beasts and using the royal pollen to collect ‘empowering spores’ from flowers which bloom from random buds. These spores dramatically increase damage dealt to the beasts.
Meanwhile, two players jump between the pillars of light dotting the garden, using their elevated position to alert the pollen-handling players to the beasts’ locations. These two players must also use the prism weapons to zap the flowers and release the spores, in addition to killing the Cabal ‘beast handlers’ which spawn from the doors along the walls whenever spores are collected.
Roughly two minutes after the encounter begins, the beasts will ‘become restless,’ signaling that you have around 30 seconds until the damage phase begins and your pollen disappears. If anyone is spotted by a beast, the damage phase will begin automatically. Once the damage phase begins, the beasts will begin to howl. You have roughly 30 seconds to damage the beasts before this howl kills you. You can avoid wiping in this way up to three times by hiding in the safe room (which must be entered through the ceiling entrance once the beasts have been alerted).
Your goal is to collect empowering spores so that you can deal enough damage to the beasts to kill them in a timely fashion. You must kill all six beasts to complete the encounter.
Collecting empowering spores
Split your team into two groups: four pollen handlers and two prism handlers. Prism handlers should also choose which side of the garden they will cover, which is where they’ll stay throughout the spore phase. Begin the encounter by killing all the enemies in the area and having the prism handlers grab their prisms.
Once the prism handlers have their prisms, the door to the ceiling safe room will open and royal pollen will become available below. Pollen handlers should grab their pollen immediately and await instructions from the prism handlers, who should have moved to their respective sides.
Flowers spawn randomly from the eight buds scattered around the garden. However, they always spawn in pairs, with one in the left side of the garden and one in the right. You must collect both before the next two will spawn. It falls to the prism handlers to find and relay flower locations, guide the pollen handlers to them, and release spores by zapping flowers once all four pollen handlers are near them. Note that in order to fire the prism weapon, the handler must be standing in one of the pools of light.
If done correctly, each flower will yield 12 spores. It’s possible to stack 60 or more in a single pollen phase, but your spore count will reset after each damage phase.
The beasts patrol in set patterns and their recent movements are marked by glowing pawprints, so the pollen players can also help determine safe paths. The pollen team should stay bunched tightly together and avoid sprinting or jumping as this will alert the beasts. When timing your sneaking, bear in mind that the beasts have a good cone of vision at the front, but are practically blind from the side and rear, enabling you to walk straight past them once they turn in the opposite direction.
Ultimately, this encounter comes down to prism holders spotting flowers, identifying the best routes to them, and pollen handlers following those routes as a group without getting caught by the beasts. The pollen team shouldn't be afraid to beeline (sorry) from flower to flower rather than retreat to the safe room each time, provided there's a safe path.
Killing the beasts
You have to kill all the beasts to complete the encounter, but there's a catch to killing any beasts early. Each beast death will drastically reduce the amount of time you have to collect pollen, which can make subsequent damage phases weaker overall. So the best plan is to weaken the beasts as much as possible on the first phase (at least under half health, ideally), and then kill all six on your second run. Accidentally killing one isn’t the end of the world, but if two or more go down prematurely, you’ll likely have a hard time collecting even 12 spores.
You’ll want to collect a minimum of 36 empowering spores each round, but 48 or higher is ideal. Use swords, shotguns and high-damage exotic weapons like the Merciless fusion rifle to damage the beasts. Pulse grenades and Voidwall grenades are also strong. In fact, with high stacks, Striker Titans can use two Pulse grenades to kill beasts outright.
It's vital to assign each player their own beast—the one they will focus exclusively during the damage phase. This eliminates confusion when the pollen team is spotted, because the entire team should know where to head to find their designated dog. Use the image above (thanks, markthemarky) to assign beasts, and make a note of which flower your dog will be howling at. (Each dog always returns to the same flower once alerted.)
You have 30 seconds to damage them, so spend 15 on damage and 15 on retreating to the safe room. If someone is having trouble damaging their dog, get yours low before moving to help them. Ignore the other enemies that spawn during the damage phase.
With enough pollen, prisms and patience, the beasts should go down in one or two rounds. Use the intermission in the safe room to let each other know whose beast requires the most finishing off. Once you’ve killed all six, collect your loot from the chest on top of the safety room and proceed to the next encounter.
Next: How to beat the Gauntlet.