How to complete Destiny 2's Pain and Gain quest and earn the exotic Riskrunner SMG

(Image credit: Bungie)

Whether you're new to Destiny 2 or a veteran, one of the first quests you'll likely come across in Shadowkeep is Pain and Gain. This quest rewards you with the Riskrunner exotic SMG and the Riskrunner Catalyst, which makes the weapon even more powerful. Considering this quest chain doesn't require much effort, it's absolutely worth doing right away.

One thing to consider: The Riskrunner rewarded for this quest is a Powerful version, which means it comes with a significantly higher light level than what should normally drop for you. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, Powerful drops are sometimes best left for after you've reached the new soft-cap of light level 900. Once you get there, only Powerful loot will be an upgrade for you. If you really want to min-max your grinding, it might be worth waiting until you're 900 before grabbing Riskrunner to ensure that it's the most powerful version you can get. Or you can just grab it now because it's cool as hell.

Now, on to the guide.

Destiny 2 Pain and Gain and Riskrunner guide

Before you can take on Pain and Gain, you need to complete the first story mission for the Shadowkeep expansion. This is simple: Just go to the Moon and the mission will automatically begin.

Once you've completed it, you can head back to the Tower. Banshee-44, the Gunsmith, will have the Pain and Gain quest waiting for you. Completing this first step of the quest is ridiculously simple and requires doing daily activities that any veteran will blitz through with ease. If you're new, here's a more specific breakdown:

  • Complete a Lost Sector in the EDZ: This is easy. Head to Earth and look for the symbols that look like a doorway with a dot in them scattered throughout the map. Each one leads to a little mini-dungeon with a boss at the end. Kill the boss, loot the chest, and you're done.
  • Heroic Public Event completed: Public Events spawn periodically across every zone, but triggering their Heroic version requires fulfilling specific criteria. Veteran players often do this by default, but you can also look up the Heroic requirements for each event.
  • Nightfall Strike completed: These are more difficult versions of regular strikes that can be accessed from the Vanguard playlist in the Director menu. You'll need two friends, though, since they don't have matchmaking.

(Image credit: Bungie)

Once you've completed these three quest steps, the Pain and Gain quest is replaced by a new quest called Risk/Reward. Go into your inventory and track this new quest, which takes you to the EDZ on Earth. This quest can be launched directly from the EDZ map of Earth, and it takes you back to the Cosmodrome area that new Destiny 2 players fight through.

This part of the quest is very easy to follow. You'll make your way to a large battlefield where a spider tank periodically spawns and you are tasked with killing three Dusk Captains that also spawn sporadically.

Killing the three captains gives you a new quest marker that takes you into a secret area with a jumping puzzle. Everything here is clearly marked, so it's really hard to get lost. At the end of the jumping puzzle, the quest marker will direct you to pick up an object on a table that turns out to be the Riskrunner SMG.

After getting Riskrunner, a new passage will open up that leads to a tough boss. Use your fancy new exotic SMG to take him down (you don't have to, but why wouldn't you?) and you'll earn the Riskrunner Catalyst. This item is kind of like a quest in itself, and by completing its objectives you'll make your Riskrunner even more powerful.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.