How to prepare for Destiny 2: The Witch Queen

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
(Image credit: Bungie)

We're less than a week away from Destiny 2: The Witch Queen's launch. Arriving on Tuesday, February 22, Destiny 2's next expansion will take players to Hive god Savathûn's Throne World, to face off against her Lucent Brood. But as Bungie gives, it also takes away, and that means many of Beyond Light's seasonal activities are being taken away—along with the Tangled Shore and the Forsaken campaign.

With that in mind, there are a handful of things you should do to prepare for The Witch Queen. Here's a run down of the most important steps for getting ready, from guns you need to get, to the materials you want to stockpile.

Make sure to grab the best seasonal guns 

When the Witch Queen launches, all of the current year's seasons will be shuffled off to the Destiny Content Vault—which is a nice way of saying they'll be removed from the game. And while that doesn't necessarily mean their respective weapons will become unavailable, it's highly likely that there will be no easy way to farm good rolls.

Given that, make sure to spend any Umbral Engrams you collect this week on chasing good perks for the best weapons of the season. You can do this through the Prismatic Recaster in the Helm. Just head to the Season of the Lost submenu where you'll find a selection of focus options for previous seasonal weaponry.

Here's a few that you should look out for, sorted by where you can focus them.

Tools of the Hunt:

Deafening Whisper is a wave frame grenade launcher that does Void damage, which means it could be pretty tasty given next season's Void 3.0-focused artifact mods. For perks, keep an eye out for Ambitious Assassin and Rampage. Auto-Loading Holster if you can't stand reloading breach grenade launchers.

Tools of the Chosen:

SMGs are getting anti-Overload mods next season, which makes Extraordinary Rendition a solid loadout choice. It can roll with Subsistence and One for All, which would be my go-to choice for higher-end content. But the fourth perk slot also contains Rampage and Multikill Clip if you prefer.

Threaded Needle has been a beast this season—held back only by the absolute dominance of Exotic heavies like Sleeper Simulant and One Thousand Voices. And while linear fusion rifles won't be as good next season—goodbye, sweet Particle Deconstruction—a Frenzy or Vorpal Threaded Needle is still going to hit hard. With the buff to Exotic primaries, there'll be more reason than ever to run a Legendary in your heavy slot.

(Image credit: Bungie)

Tools of the Splicer:

If you spend all of your remaining Umbral Engrams trying to get a god roll Ignition Code, I wouldn't blame you. A breach grenade launcher with the blinding grenades perk remains one of the best sources of crowd control in the game, and I'm planning to let mine carry me through the new Legendary campaign. You're best off with perks like Ambitious Assassin, Slideshot or Field Prep in the third column, and Vorpal in the fourth column. But really, if it's got blinding grenades, it's worth hanging on to.

Splicer also gave us Chroma Rush, the kinetic auto that—while probably not the best choice for high-level nightfalls—absolutely shreds enemies in pretty much everything else. Auto rifles are also getting an Overload mod next season, so it won't hurt to have a good roll. Keep an eye out for either Subsistence/Rampage or Feeding Frenzy/Kill Clip.

Wayfinder's Concussion:

Honestly, I don't love any of Season of the Lost's guns, but PvP players could do worse than snagging a Fractethyst shotgun. Perk wise, you'll want the standard shotty combo of Quickdraw and Opening Shot.

Outside of the specific seasonal weapons, there are a few other guns to hunt down. Scout rifles are going to be the play in Grandmaster Nightfalls next season, thanks to them getting the anti-Barrier Champion treatment. And while the Night Watch you can earn from doing the New Light quest is already great, for the best choice you'll want to jump into this week's Grandmaster Nightfall. Bungie have gifted us Lake of Shadows this week, the easiest of the bunch, and running it has a chance to nab you an Adept Hung Jury scout rifle or Hothead rocket launcher. (It's one of only two rocket launchers currently in the game that can roll the Explosive Light perk. Great with either Field Prep or Tracking.)

If you really want to get into the weeds, head to Destiny Recipe's pre-season checklist, which rounds up some of the best types of each weapon to arm yourself with for the new expansion. 

(Image credit: Bungie)

Just one more roll of Dead Man's Tale 

Between the 40% buff against red bar enemies and the fact scout rifles are getting anti-barrier mods next season, Dead Man's Tale is going to be a beast of a weapon for PvE content. The only thing better is a Dead Man's Tale with Vorpal Weapon, which—on primary weapons—gives a 20% damage increase to bosses.

Unfortunately, DMT isn't farmable. You can only earn one per week by completing the Presage mission. Nevertheless, if you've yet to earn the Vorpal roll, you've got one more shot. Also make sure you've unlocked the catalyst by completing the Master difficulty version of Presage—it gives a substantial upgrade to the hip-fire.

And hey, while you're at it: Harbinger will give you another shot at a quality Hawkmoon roll, too. This feels like less of a priority—this is already a game with a lot of 140 hand cannons—but it's a solid choice nonetheless.

From next season onwards, Xur will begin bringing a randomly rolled Hawkmoon and a DMT as part of his weekly wares, but they will be expensive. 

(Image credit: Bungie)

Turn in those weapon parts 

If you're like me and have over 22,000 weapon parts, now is the week to turn them in. Next season, Banshee is getting a vendor overhaul, switching over to the same rank system used by Zavala, Drifter, et al. That means he'll no longer be accepting parts, and as a result they'll be deleted from the game.

It's tempting to just let this happen, but don't: for one, you might just snag a god rolled weapon from the world pool. For another, there's a chance some of the weapons you receive and subsequently dismantle will grant enhancement cores, which are one of the materials needed for weapon crafting next year.

One quick time-saving tip: when you're turning in weapon parts to Banshee, keep an eye on the guns he sells. If any become greyed out, that means that slot of your inventory has filled. Just pop into your character menu and delete any trash guns you've been given before you hand in any more parts. This will ensure your drops don't get sent to the postmaster, forcing you to run back and forth across the tower to manage the hundreds of guns you'll be given.

Once you've finished with weapon parts, you should also deal with your stack of Etheric Spirals. The Tangled Shore is going, and so too is the Tangled Shore's material of choice. Check in with Spider each daily reset to see if he's trading Spirals for glimmer. When he does, sell them all off.

(Image credit: Bungie)

Hoard some bounties

If you want a quick headstart on XP gains next season, it's worth grabbing and completing some choice bounties this week. Crucially, you don't want to actually turn them in. Instead, hold onto them until you pick up next season's artifact.

Seasonal artifacts offer a couple of benefits: first, they unlock that season's mods, which at the low end give you ways to counter Champion enemies, and at the high end offer some absurd buildcrafting utility. They also give you an account-wide bonus to your Power level, which is handy for more quickly reaching endgame content. By turning in your saved bounties after you've secured the artifact, you'll earn a nice, quick boost to its unlocks and bonuses.

But which bounties to actually save? You should avoid any seasonal bounties collected from the helm, as they'll be deleted when their respective activities are removed on Tuesday, with The Witch Queen's launch. The same is true of Spider's bounties: the Tangled Shore is leaving the game, and so too are his services. Banshee's gunsmith bounties are also likely getting reworked as part of his vendor update, so avoid those too.

For the most XP, focus on weekly bounties from the following sources:

  • Moon
  • Lectern of Enhancement
  • Europa
  • Cosmodrome
  • Hawthorne
  • Starhorse
  • Iron Banner

The Iron Banner bounties have the possible additional benefit of maybe giving out new Iron Banner weapons from the new season, before it actually launches.

If you want to go further still, grab some dailies too. Just avoid the Dreaming City bounties because their XP rewards are dire. Also: be careful hoarding activity bounties for Crucible, Gambit or Strikes. If you turn in eight, you'll complete the weekly challenge and get a Powerful reward—something you should hold off on triggering until you're past the soft cap.

For an easy visual guide to what bounties to target, check out Destiny Recipes' pre-season checklist. Hit the 'Show Bounties' option for an expanded look at what's available for each of your characters.

(Image credit: Bungie)

Bank some materials

When The Witch Queen launches, everyone is going to enter at Power level 1350—forced to begin the gear grind all over again. That means, if you're currently at max level right now, you're going to have to put in the work before you can reenter the top end content like Master Nightfalls.

That means it's worth putting in some time to fill your inventory full of top-end materials now, as it could be a few weeks before you're back at the pinnacle cap next season.

Luckily, this week's Nightfall is also the easiest: Lake of Shadows. If you're not yet full of Ascendant Shards, make sure to do a few runs to fill your inventory. This will give you a great headstart if you get some great rolls on next season's exotic or legendary armour sets. Fill up on Upgrade Modules and Enhancement Prism's too. Just be careful if you end up going over the inventory limit. It's fine to hold some of each material in your postmaster, but it does bring an element of danger: if the postmaster fills up, the oldest items will be lost, no matter how valuable they are.

You should also fill up on Paraversal Hauls, which you can buy from Starhorse for the Strange Coins you earn from activities. Chances are they'll at least increase your power until you hit the soft cap, and beyond that may be useful for levelling out your power levels before earning new Powerful engrams. Plus they have a rare chance of dropping exotics.

Finally, if you really want to go deep, get farming some Spoils of Conquest. These are the raid currency used, in this year's raids at least, to get new rolls on guns and armour you've already unlocked. Chances are the system will return for next expansion's raid, meaning a stack of Spoils will let you get an extra chance at some better perks on one of the new guns. You can earn spoils from completing raid encounters, but if you just want the full grind, you should find a group doing Spoils farming on Templar in Vault of Glass. It's a pretty easy one-phase making it a quick source of extra raid cash.

(Image credit: Bungie)

Get your gear right 

If you've followed all that, you're nearly ready for The Witch Queen. There are just a few more things to take care of before you quit out the night before launch.

Step 1: Make sure you remove all seasonal artifact mods from your gear. A bug last year caused some of them to get stuck in mod slots, unable to be unequipped until a hotfix was deployed. And while lightning probably won't strike twice, there's no need to take the chance given that they'll be removed from the game regardless.

Step 2: Get your best guns out of your vault and onto your characters. Destiny Item Manager—also known as the most essential tool in the game's history—can sometimes buckle under the additional pressure of a new launch. That means you won't necessarily have an easy way to transfer items from your Vault.

Step 3: Equip your best looking armour. Destiny loves to pull you straight into a new mission when an expansion launches. And so take the time to make sure you're looking sharp for that opening cutscene.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.