Destiny 2: Warmind secrets guide

The campaign for Destiny 2’s Warmind DLC is (incredibly) short, but mostly sweet. As is the way with Bungie's lore, it begins with one Very Bad Thing threatening the fate of humanity, ands with the possible arrival of another. The good news, for those of you on PC still plugging away at the shared-world shooter despite its substantial teething problems, is that there's plenty of secrets to uncover and gear to grind for once the story has been dispatched. Might you even find the secret location of our Guardians’ long-lost vocal cords? Nope. But you will find some of the coolest loot in the game so far, including the Sleeper Simulant linear fusion rifle and Worldline Zero sword Exotics. 

There's more to come too, with Ana Bray's Exotic scout rifle the Polaris Rifle still to be discovered, and strong rumours that the brutal Black Spindle sniper rifle is set to return. We'll update this page as those arrive, but for now let's begin your Lonely Planet guide to Mars...

How to power level your Power level 

Warmind’s new maximum Power level is 380 (or 385 with gear mods), but Bungie has taken a number of steps to ensure that it will take longer to grind your way up to the cap. Nonetheless, the process will be familiar to most Guardians by now. Hear the words of Destiny wiseman Datto in the above video explaining the best gearing route; essentially, the approach is to farm tokens and engrams then complete a Weekly Milestone, and repeat until you're out of Milestones. The cycle just moves at a noticeably slower pace. Here's some more detail:

Infuse or equip normal gear drops and turn in vendor tokens until reaching around Power level 340. This is Warmind’s “soft cap”, the maximum Power level that blue Rare gear and vendor Engrams will reach. If you head off to Mars at roughly 330 Power, you stand a good chance of reaching close to 340 through story missions alone. You can easily make up the rest with Destiny 2’s typical activity gamut: normal Strikes, hit up Ikora on the Tower for some Meditations, purchase treasure maps from Cayde-6, or jet over to your planet of choice and participate in Public Events—Nessus is always a top pick for its lucrative glimmer extraction Heroic mode and frequency of event triggers. Avoid handing in any Milestones until you're at least 340, as you’ll need the Power bump they offer to kickstart the process again.

Once you hit 340 Power, start completing your Milestones. Aside from running the Leviathan Raid and its Lairs each week, you’re going to be at the mercy of Luminous Engram RNG from this point onwards. Once you reach 350, you’re at the optimal Power level for Heroic Strikes, but the Rare drops therein max out at 340, so technically aren't worth the effort. However, if you are running multiple characters, you should do all the levelling on your main first, then transfer your high level weapons over to the next toon for a substantial power bump. Obviously you'll need to bring that character up to level 30 to equip the weapons, but that can be done quickly via Public Events. Again, don't start turning milestones in until all your armor is at least 345 (with mods). Beyond that, there's the new Escalation Protocol activity on Mars as an alternative venue for grabbing higher-level loot, so head to its section down below for more info. Warning: it's hard.

How to get and complete the Sleeper Simulant quest line 

A beloved Exotic returning from the dark console-only days of the first Destiny, the Sleeper Simulant is a linear fusion rifle competing for both the top Power slot pick and the most unwieldy-looking Exotic this side of Khepri’s Horn. It kicks like a rocket launcher, shoots a devastating solar beam that would make a Hanzo main blush, and thanks to its Dornröschen perk, the party never stops thanks to the laser refracting and over-penetrating. You want this gun. Houndish tells you what you need to do in the above video, and here’s a breakdown of the key parts of this relatively simple procedure.

How to get the Worldline Zero Exotic sword 

As Destiny 2’s first Exotic sword, the Worldline Zero is an attractive choice for big knife aficionados appreciative of quickened mobility and the advantages of a third-person view. Its Tesseract perk provides a short forward teleport on a heavy swing, useful for cutting a swath through trash mobs and then blinking out before taking too much damage.

Nabbing the Worldline Zero is even more straightforward than the Sleeper Simulant, and Datto swoops to the rescue once more with a comprehensive video above. You’ll need to shoot 35 of the 45 Lost Memory fragments scattered around the Martian landscape, after which you’re handed the sword with disappointingly little fanfare. Datto’s walkthrough shows the location of each fragment, but it’s best to clear one section at a time in a clockwise pattern around the map. (A good start is the enclosed Mindlab: Rasputin area on the map’s northern edge.) Make sure to bring at least one weapon from each element type (or fish out your Hard Light if you have one)—some fragments need to be shot with their matching element—and either a scout or sniper rifle for distant fragments perched well out of reach.

Oh, and blasting all 45 fragments only earns you an Exotic Sparrow. Lame.

How Escalation Protocol works 

Destiny players have long wanted a proper horde mode, despite the fact the whole game is essentially a horde mode while you wait for Ghost to hack the umpteenth terminal, but regardless Warmind’s new Escalation Protocol event is is a tough new activity with a tasty themed set of Legendary armor and IKELOS weapons to chase. You’ll definitely need coordinated help to stand even a faint hope of seeing all seven waves (the current recommended Power level is a staggering 370), and these early DLC days are a good opportunity for some painful practice. (Yes, impatient clans have already fully cleared Protocols, and the fights look absolutely nuts.) 

Another Houndish video above presents a good overview, including a tip for finagling multiple fireteams and clanmates into the same instance. Some important aspects to note:

The orange-colored Rasputin lattice terminals situated around Mars aren’t free Javelins. They’re the triggers for a Protocol event, and enemies will start swarming the moment you activate one. (Ask me how I know.) However, you can spawn Javelins during the fights by dispelling the green corruption over square plates. You'll need to use a Rasputin Armory Code consumable each time you do this though.

You’ll need a Decrypted Cache Key to open a full Protocol run’s final loot chest. Completing Heroic Strikes, Nightfalls, Heroic Adventures, or the Leviathan Raid can drop Rasputin Key Fragments, of which you’ll need seven to haul to Ana Bray to turn into an Encrypted Cache Key. To decrypt it, you’ll have to endure all seven Protocol waves to bind your key to the culminating chest after defeating the final boss. As with the Leviathan Raid, this locks your character out of the Protocol loot table for the remainder of the week, so don’t bother grinding additional key fragments until next reset unless you're running multiple characters.

The IKELOS shotgun, SMG, and sniper rifle can drop from any wave 7 boss chest. All three guns sport rapid-fire properties (the shotgun is juicy full auto), so they’re worthy considerations for aggressive Crucible or short-distance playstyles. Their polygonal Deus Ex-style aesthetic doesn’t hurt for style, either.

Each piece of IKELOS armor drops from a five-week boss rotation. Week 1 is your class item (Mark, Cloak, or Bond), week 2 gives leg armor, week 3 is gauntlets, week 4 is a chest piece, and week 5 is a helmet. Again, if you know a coming week deals with an armor slot you’ve already taken care of, it’s may be better to skip and spend your time somewhere else.

How Exotic Catalysts work 

The anticipated extension of Destiny 2’s Masterwork system to the line of Exotic weaponry has rekindled the use of long-neglected armaments left rusting in the Vault. An Exotic’s Catalyst is unique to each individual gun, improving stats or adding a bonus perk along with the standard Super orb generation on multikills. Sleuthy Redditors have already datamined the properties of every Catalyst known so far, and most of them are worth the chase. A longer range and smoother stability on the Funshot? Yes, please.

Catalysts will no doubt change the prominence of some Exotics, but others won’t be as impactful in terms of performance on the PC—the Rat King’s aim-assist boosts, for example, matter little for mouse controls. Below is an ordered list of Catalysts and where they have the potential to drop from, and you’ll usually have to rack up a certain number of kills to actually activate the Catalyst once it’s slotted. You also don’t need to have the actual Exotic equipped for its associated Catalyst to appear—simply having owned it once will do. Lastly, some Catalysts aren’t in the game yet (they’re marked as “unknown” in the list), but their inclusion in the files means they will appear eventually, likely as part of a future patch.

Coldheart

Catalyst: +20 reload speed, +20 stability
Where to get it: Heroic Strike/Nightfall bosses

The Colony

Catalyst: +1 magazine size, Deeper Pockets perk (increased total ammo)
Where to get it: Crucible victories

Crimson

Catalyst: +20 range
Where to get it: any PvE kill

D.A.R.C.I.

Catalyst: +20 stability
Where to get it: any PvE kill

Fighting Lion

Catalyst: +30 reload speed, Chimera perk (temporary increased handling and precision damage to equipped Kinetic and Energy weapons after firing)
Where to get it: unknown

Graviton Lance

Catalyst: +20 range, Hidden Hand perk (+10 aim assist) 
Where to get it: unknown, but item management apps show a “pledge to the seekers of Exodus” description suggesting a Dead Orbit Faction Rally reward

Hard Light

Catalyst: +25 stability
Where to get it: unknown

The Huckleberry

Catalyst: Ambitious Assassin perk (overflows magazine from multikills per reload)
Where to get it: Heroic Adventures

The Jade Rabbit

Catalyst: +30 stability
Where to get it: Crucible victories

Legend of Acrius

Catalyst: +40 reload speed, +4 magazine size, Deeper Pockets perk (increased total ammo)
Where to get it: unknown

Merciless

Catalyst: +40 range, +40 stability
Where to get it: Heroic Strike/Nightfall bosses

MIDA Multi-Tool

Catalyst: Outlaw perk (greatly reduced reload time on precision kills)
Where to get it: unknown, but item management apps show a “victory most glorious” description suggesting a Trials of the Nine/Competitive Crucible victory requirement

Polaris Lance

Catalyst: Dragonfly perk (precision kills create an elemental damage explosion)
Where to get it: unknown

Prometheus Lens

Catalyst: +20 stability, +20 handling
Where to get it: Heroic Strike/Nightfall bosses

The Prospector

Catalyst: +40 blast radius, Deeper Pockets perk (increased total ammo) 
Where to get it: unknown

Rat King

Catalyst: Infestation perk (+20 aim assist, +20 recoil direction, health refreshed on Vermin perk invisibility)
Where to get it: unknown

Riskrunner

Catalyst: +30 range
Where to get it: Heroic Strike/Nightfall bosses

Skyburner’s Oath

Catalyst: +30 range
Where to get it: Leviathan Raid completion

Sleeper Simulant

Catalyst: Accelerated Coils perk (greatly speeds up charging time)
Where to get it: unknown

Sturm

Catalyst: +20 range, +40 handling 
Where to get it: unknown

Sunshot

Catalyst: +30 range, +20 stability 
Where to get it: unknown, but item management apps show a “pledge to the followers of war” description suggesting a Future War Cult Faction Rally reward

SUROS Regime

Catalyst: +50 recoil direction, SUROS Ascendance perk (increased chance for health on kill)
Where to get it: unknown

Sweet Business

Catalyst: Serious Business perk (greatly reduced view flinch when fully spun up)
Where to get it: unknown, but item management apps show a “pledge to the defenders of Earth” description suggesting a New Monarchy Faction Rally reward

Telesto

Catalyst: +6 magazine size, Deeper Pockets perk (increased total ammo) 
Where to get it: unknown

Tractor Cannon

Catalyst: +7 magazine size, Deeper Pockets perk (increased total ammo)
Where to get it: any PvE kill

Vigilance Wing

Catalyst: Full Auto Trigger System perk (hold down trigger for full auto)
Where to get it: Crucible victories

Wardcliff Coil

Catalyst: Pinpoint Guidance Module perk (improved homing projectiles)
Where to get it: Heroic Strike/Nightfall bosses

Worldline Zero

Catalyst: Another Dimension perk (shortened Tesseract activation)
Where to get it: any PvE kill

How to get Redrix’s Claymore 

Warmind is less than a week old, but the DLC has already delivered at least one new god gun: Redrix’s Claymore. Boasting the heavenly double perk combo of Desperado and Outlaw—in a nutshell, it’ll fire and reload faster with no damage dropoff—this pulse rifle is the clearest signal from Bungie of a move to instill more accomplishment-driven loot by gating it behind the Crucible’s new Competitive mode ranking system. Tim yearns for it, but if you want to go for it, be prepared for a lengthy and frustrating grind.

See, you need to achieve a certain Glory rank in Competitive Crucible matches to be gifted the Claymore. Glory represents the structured half of the PvP ranks, with Valor branding the ranks earned in the more relaxed Quickplay queue. Shaxx offers unique rewards for climbing both Glory and Valor ladders, but if you seek the Claymore, you should focus on Competitive.

You only need to reach the third of five Glory ranks to earn the big prize, and the decisive factor in determining your grind time is how long you can keep up a win streak. Each win nets you 20 rank points with a stacking five-win streak bonus sequentially adding 5 additional points to a maximum of 40. Losses subtract 10 points, and a loss streak continuously staples 5 additional points to a maximum of 30. Ascending ranks follows a roughly exponential sequence; achieving rank 1 starts at 200 points, rank 2 requires 850, and rank 3 sits right around 2,200 points.  

If the prospect of queuing against crack clan premades isn’t chilling enough, this Reddit post trots out some cold math calculating the steep climb ahead of you. The basic gist is you’re looking at around a whopping 440 matches to collect enough points for the Claymore. It’s a choppy estimate caveated by the Crucible’s matchmaking pool, the skill level of your team, and how long you can hold onto a streak—you need an absolutely ridiculous 1,100 played matches if you can’t hold onto one—but it’s a sturdy enough start in determining your dedication to own a piece of gear not many other players will possess. And of course, some tryhard already has one.