Watch the moment the puzzle tormenting Destiny 2 players was beaten

Update 3: To the relief of everyone involved, the final Niobe Labs puzzle has now been cracked. You can watch the exact moment last night when Gladd's team finally input the correct sequence of shots on stream to open the doors to the Bergusia forge. (Which, for those of you who've been following the community's struggle since Tuesday, has actually already been opened by Bungie in order to prevent players from remaining locked out of subsequent content). 

Needless to say the language gets a little NSFW, but nothing as spicy his rant earlier in the day, complaining about poor design in the final levels of the puzzle. The only thing which would have improved the string of swearing is if he'd ended on "The aristocrats!"


This image from Raid Secrets gives a sense of the complexity of the answer to level seven, which—as with all the Niobe Labs solutions—had to be entered against a timer to prevent a team wipe. 

Earlier in the day, in response to growing frustration from the dwindling band of players and code crackers who were still banging their heads against Niobe Labs, Bungie issued a clue to help steer the community back on track. It read:

With weapons imbued
Through sights unseen
Craft truth from the Hand
Return the dials to the crest
Stay true to the map
To prove thy knowledge of the family three

It was a clear as moon rock to me, but more than enough information for the denizens of the Destiny Raid Secrets subreddit to figure out the correct sequence, which in the end involved swapping between weapons to shoot certain symbols blind. 

You can watch the whole final run and aftermath here. For their efforts, the successful team (and anyone can now go in and repeat the process to earn the rewards), received a cool-looking emblem and a slightly underwhelming ghost. But really, just beating the damn thing will be reward enough.

On Twitter, Gladd was quick to thank those on Raid Secrets who've been doing the brainwork since this whole process began.

I imagine nobody is more relieved than whoever designed the puzzle at Bungie. It's interesting to note that some players had suggested solutions very close to the one which ended up being correct, but nonetheless I think most would agree that the clues given for levels six and seven were too opaque, leading to brute force attempts that soon became unfun. 

Nonetheless, for all the criticism of how Niobe Labs has been handled, it's been a fascinating experiment to watch, becoming close to mesmeric towards the end as players on very little sleep stubbornly ploughed through the first six waves only to fail after entering increasingly unlikely solutions. I imagine the gallows humour was much the same at Bletchley Park during WW2, though there was probably slightly less "LET'S GOOOOOOOOOOO!" at the end.

Hopefully next time Bungie puts a secret like this in the game, there will be a little more internal play testing first. Particularly as the blame for any mess ups can no longer be passed to Activision.

Update 2: The community failed to solve the puzzle by the deadline, and so Bungie has opened the doors to all. Not everyone is happy about it, based on the replies to the tweet, but the puzzle remains available for those determined to take on the challenge, and anyone who manages to solve it will earn a unique Ghost and emblem to signify their accomplishment. 

Update: After more than 27 hours of the Destiny 2 community trying and failing to beat the Niobe Labs puzzle, Bungie has announced that the Bergusia Forge activity, which was previously gated behind completion of the puzzle, will now open at 2pm PST / 5pm EST, even if nobody solves Niobe Labs. Here's the developer's explanation why:

"While coming together as a community to solve puzzles can be fun, setting this puzzle up as a gate between you and new content that you want to play has not been an ideal experience. As such, we will be decoupling the puzzle from the final offering of the Black Armory. All Annual Pass owners will be able to experience the Bergusia Forge when the puzzle is solved or when the deadline expires - whichever happens first."

Given the mounting level of unrest from players who wanted to sample the new Forge, but have been left twiddling their thumbs while some of the community's hardest core players tried and failed to unlock it, the decision is understandable. Particularly given that some streamers have been banging their heads at the problem since launch, and are starting to look dangerously tired. Nonetheless, the fact it's likely going to end this way feels like a bit of a bummer, something Bungie also acknowledged. 

"We realize that many of you have been working hard to solve the puzzle of the Niobe Labs," said the statement. "Whatever the outcome, it will remain open for Annual Pass owners who still want to test their problem solving skills. There is a Ghost and an Emblem to earn as evidence that you completed the challenge. We love trying new things with Destiny, but we’re also flexible enough to pivot when you point out room for improvement. We’ll continue to monitor the conversation about this event and learn from your feedback as we create future content releases."

You can find the original story under the tweet embedded below. At time of writing, the grinder madmen who've been trying to crack the code are still going, despite the fact they should really be taking a well-earned rest. I'll be diving into the new Forge when it opens to see if all the pain has been worth it. Spoiler: it's going to be more balls. 

Original story: If your idea of high quality ASMR content is listening to young men who haven't slept in more than a day slowly lose their minds while muttering "lotus, missive, butterfly" as they shoot strange symbols, you should head for the Destiny 2 Twitch directory right now. There you'll find a dwindling band of heroic/deranged streamers who've been trying to beat the game's new Niobe Labs activity. 

Billed as a "community event" by Bungie, Niobe Labs is a mixture of esoteric puzzles interspersed with endgame difficulty gunplay. So far, players have reached wave seven, with the optimistic consensus being that this one might be the last given Bungie's fondness for that number. Currently there are more than 20,000 people watching Gladd's attempts to beat Niobe, all of whom have a vested interested in his success, because once someone does overcome Niobe a new forge activity will be opened up for all players. 

It's also expected that the next stage of the 'mystery box' quest will be triggered, which it's assumed will ultimately lead to one of the two exotic weapons that are part of the current Black Armory expansion but haven't been found yet.

It's fair to say that from what I've seen, Reaction to Niobe Labs has been mixed so far. I think many people logged on at yesterday's weekly reset expecting the new forge to be unlocked relatively fast. Given the complexity of the puzzles—level six had people stumped for about 12 hours—and the fact you have to repeat all the earlier waves on every attempt, some have complained that this "community event" is only really open to those with the time and dedication to bang their heads against it, leading to some amount of frustration. Not least because the clue for level six was particularly vague, and sent a lot of teams off down an Arthurian rabbithole. 

Whilst I somewhat understand the annoyance that, by its nature, this isn't an event for everyone, I also think it's an interesting experiment. One of the chief criticisms of vanilla Destiny 2 was that it was too basic—pandering to casual players at the expense of creating mystery and challenge. I also think this is Bungie trying out different kinds of content, and in this case leaning into the same spectator sport aspect that accompanies the race for 'world's first' when each new raid drops.

Personally, I've enjoyed watching the best players in the game putting in marathon sessions trying to beat this thing, finding plenty of gallows humour in listening to them slowly go mad. Also, I'm optimistic that, once activated, the remainder of the mystery box quest will provide plenty for us lesser mortals to do. Nonetheless, there are some obvious lessons for Bungie to learn here if it doesn't want its playerbase to feel excluded. Not least of which is: include checkpoints.

I'll update this page once Niobe finally falls. In the meantime, check out all the steps that have been solved so far in the r/raidsecrets megathread, where brainiacs have been helping to theorycraft solutions. I've also embedded Gladd's stream below. I think you'll agree his beard adds a perfect Scott of the Antarctic's final days vibe to proceedings.

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.