Destiny 2 is coming. This, we have known for a while. But with the public console beta having now happened, everything is suddenly just that bit more real. So, with all eyes now on the very tangible, no-longer mythical sequel, and many long-term players having completed its end-game content several times over, the original Destiny is dead, right? Well yes and no.
There are still secrets. There are still advanced, experimental ways of playing. There’s still all the hidden narrative stuff, and the clandestine questlines, mysterious missions, and well-secreted treasures. And probably best of all, there are the many, many ways of having a great old time just dicking about with the ever-brilliant Destiny community. So, with just around a month left until Destiny 2 lands, it’s time for the ultimate Destiny bucket list. The 22 things you absolutely must do to tick off all the boxes, move forward without regret, and say goodbye to Destiny in the most completist way possible. No tears now. Be brave.
Become an expert in any least one area of lore
It might feel a bit late to start digging into the eternal question of “Just What The Hell Exactly Is Going On In Destiny?”, but honestly, it’s easier than you think, and well worth the small amount of effort required. Destiny’s community has worked really hard over the last three years to decipher every clue, hint, and reference hidden away in Destiny’s arcane, Dark Souls-style item descriptions and Grimoire cards, and there are now a ton of resources with which to dig in and discover the game’s incredibly rich narrative with minimal fuss.
The Destiny Reddit is always a good starting point for lore chat, but then there are YouTube channels like the excellent Myelin Games, that specialise in making sense of this stuff in a deep but accessible way. You don’t need to know everything. Just find one area that interests you - be that the genesis of the Hive, the workings of the Vex, the creation of the Exos, or anything else - go exploring, and you’ll rapidly find the results to be very, very rewarding indeed.
Team up with two friends and burn through a Strike with near-perpetual supers
There is nothing more giddily, hilariously empowering in Destiny than ripping through a Strike with two high-level, like-minded friends in tight co-operation. And it’s even better when you organise your super-use really, really well. The trick is to make sure that every super counts, and delivers a high enough number of high-value Light orbs to keep the rest of the team’s cooldown gauges fueled. It takes a bit of organisation at first, but once you get the rhythm down, you’ll be flattening Strikes while barely taking a scratch.
Tune up your builds for fast super regeneration, agree a set order of execution to ensure that no supers (and therefor orbs) are wasted through doubling up, work out any cross-team tricks you can to maximise orb generation - there are plenty of subclass abilities and bits of gear that you can synchronise to create far more than is healthy - and then go to town. Equip any class-specific, enemy debuffs you have - the Warlock Sunsinger’s Viking Funeral is a good bet - and the damage you’ll put out will be frankly ludicrous. Get it right, and your team will be launching a super every minute or so (maybe less), laying waste to everything, and the feeling of being a well-oiled machine of fizzing, neon carnage will be simply delightful.
Forget your usual class strategy, and play with all those weird guns you’ve been wasting
Seriously, just do it. What have you got to lose (apart from, ironically, all the loot you could do this with, once Destiny 2 drops)? The chances are you’ve spent the last three years of Destiny specialising. If you’ve had enough time, you might well have been running three characters, covering all three classes, but, particularly at higher levels, you’re likely to have found your favourite ways of playing, your preferred weapon types, and the subclass builds that seem to work best for you.
My advice in the last weeks before Destiny 2? Forget all of that. Go into your vault and dig out all the ‘cool but not for me’ guns you’ve hoarded. Seek out the silly gimmick gear. Buy any and every Exotic you don’t already have from Xur, work out stupid ways of using them, and just have fun. You’re powerful. You have all the toys. You’ve done all the endgame activities, and you have nothing more to prove. So just sandbox the hell out of everything you have to hand and simply experience all that Destiny has to offer before you move on.
Go exploring the Crucible maps in a non-violent, private lobby
If you’ve been working to complete the Age of Triumph record book, you might already have done this in order to track down all of the dead Crucible Ghosts. If not, it’s highly recommended. Just load up a private Crucible lobby, ideally populate it with a friend or two, and then explore your way through the maps, free from the pressure of actually dealing with a PvP match. Far from being pointless, it’s actually a really lovely way to appreciate environmental design that, despite knowing inside-out on a tactical level, you’ve probably never had time to appreciate as a place. Nothing like a last, reflective tour of the old stomping grounds to properly say goodbye.
Start a dance-party in a live Crucible game
A far sillier celebration of PvP, but no more violent, is this option. Load up with a full team of friends, jump into the Crucible match-making queue, and when you get into a match, refuse to fire a single shot. Dance instead. Group your entire team together, and just dance. If the other team shoots you down, fine. That doesn’t matter. You’re not here to win a petty battle of force, but to bring people together through the innate, shared language of rhythmic movement. The universal mother tongue of all living beings, which speaks only the dialect of love and togetherness. Whatever happens, keep dancing.
All being well, you’ll turn that merciless battleground into a peaceful haven of celebration and unity within a couple of team-wipes. And if the other team doesn’t join you, that’s their loss, but at least you’ll have gifted them an easy win along the way. Just move on to the next lobby and spread the joy elsewhere, touring the Crucible like a merry carnival of dancefloor pacifists.
Play that Crucible mode you never touch
Everyone has at least one Crucible blindspot. For me, for the longest time, sports-tinged Capture the Flag mode Rift was a major no-go. For others, it might the the objective-based tactics of Salvage, or the random, powered-up anarchy of Mayhem. But whichever mode you dodge, give it a go. There’s no objectively ‘bad’ mode in the Crucible (unless you’re trying to level up the Iron Banner through an ill-advised Mayhem playlist), they all just require different kinds of thought and a new perspectives on Destiny’s core PvP mechanics. Thus, while not every mode will gel with you straight away, a bit of time spent coming to understand what each one demands and offers will reap entirely new kinds of fun, not to mention a greater understanding of Destiny’s combat going into part two.
Go Sparrow surfing
An ascended glitch that became part of Destiny culture as standard, Sparrow surfing allows you to dance atop your trusty antigrav bike while riding it. To do so, simply hold down Square or X to get onto your Sparrow, then when the circular confirmation bar for the action is almost full, hit the d-pad to trigger the dance. If you time it right, you’ll appear on top your steed, jigging proudly away for all the world to see. You can pull this trick with any d-pad equipped gesture in the game, but bear in mind that only looping animations like a dance will keep you standing up. A point or wave, for example, will see you sit down as soon as the action has been completed. And they don’t look anywhere near as silly, so what’s the point?
Jump over the Hellmouth (or some other such huge chasm)
Another Sparrow trick, this time of the physics-bending variety. If you’re using a Sparrow with the Destabilize ability (which allows you to flip and roll during jumps), you can exploit the process in conjunction with directional dodges for infinite air. Learning the method takes a fair bit of practice and dexterity, but once you have it mastered you’ll be able to cover any huge gap in a single leap - clearing the first part of the Wretched Eye strike in seconds, for example - becoming a master of skies and breaker of boundaries wherever a Sparrow is available.
Make sure all of your alts are ready to make the transfer to Destiny 2
This is pretty simple, but it’s important. If you have any alternative Guardians who are below level 20 and / or haven't completed The Black Garden (vanilla Destiny’s final story mission), do both of those things. Completion of both tasks is the criteria for having characters automatically pulled over to your Destiny 2 account in September.
Start a conga line in the Tower
This used to happen all the time in the early days, and it’s about time we brought things full circle. You’ll need a couple of friends to get this one going, but if the Tower is suitably busy, you shouldn’t have much of a problem kicking it off. Just line up - crouched, ideally, at least at first, to make your formulation more conspicuous - then do a follow-the-leader trek around the front plateau. I almost guarantee it won’t be long before others join you. Destiny is like that. People just like doing silly things together. It’s great.
See the broken hangar through The Magic Wall
This is utterly pointless, but entirely compelling. In the garden above the Vanguard Hall (the place where Saladin used to host the Iron Banner before it moved to the temple), there’s a glitchable wall. If you go to the right-hand side as you walk in, and jump up on top of the awnings, you’ll find that if you press into the wall and jump, you’ll sometimes be able to see through it and into the area below. Initially appearing as a strange, abstract hellscape - all bleak, grey emptiness, stark, faceless geometry, and chaotically phasing slabs, shifting in and out of reality at will - a bit of attention will reveal that you actually know this place very well.
What you’re looking at is the basic, art-free structure of the hangar. This is the bare, basic skeleton of the room, before everything else is rendered on top of it. Those surreal, sometimes-there, sometimes-moving squares? They’re the landing platforms and lifts that just-landed Guardian ships use. Get a friend to observe what’s happening in the ‘real’ hangar as you watch its blocky insides. You’ll see that they sync up.
Jump off Felwinter Peak and surprise everyone below
This is the only reason to climb Felwinter Peak for a second time (after you’ve been up there to collect the dormant SIVA cluster), but it’s just about worth it. When you reach the top of the notoriously tricky platforming gauntlet, you’ll have a very good view of the Iron Temple, which will be a very, very long way down.
After basking in the majesty of the picturesque, Russian mountainside, there’s only one obvious way to complete your celebration of the mystical wonder of the natural world, and that’s to leap joyfully off the cliff edge and plummet like a stone lemming. There’s a decent chance you’ll survive, despite the altitude, so take a big jump and enjoy. Bonus points if you can surprise someone by landing right in front of them, and additional points if you manage to die while doing so and bounce your corpse right across the courtyard.
Pull out those Festival of the Lost masks and start pranking people in the Tower
If you’ve played through any of the Festival of the Lost Hallowe’en events, you likely still have a few of those paper masks knocking around in your vault (because it’s the nature of Destiny players to hoard everything). A handy use for them - which is extra-effective now that it’s not Hallowe’en, in the same way as saving a snowball in the freezer to surprise someone in summer - is to monkey around the Tower giving out goofy scares.
If you have the ‘Boo’ emote, a good idea is to crouch, hiding behind a crate wearing the Crota or Oryx mask, before surprising innocent passers-by. Another fun one is to put on the Cryptarch mask and step inside the Cryptarch (you can clip right through him), hiding in plain sight, before jumping out at the queuing Guardians. Yes, it’s dumb and pointless, but that is also precisely the point.
Open the locked door on the Dreadnaught and kill the Ultra Knight
Yep, there’s a secret mini-boss in the Dreadnought, if you play on Patrol. Head to the big room where you usually fight the tank in the Shield Brothers strike and take out all of the Cabal in there. Then you need to access two side-rooms containing computer terminals. Trigger both simultaneously (with a friend in tow), and you’ll open up the door to the Bridge. Head through here, killing all the Hive you meet along the way, and you’ll eventually run into the Ultra Knight. Drop him, and you’ll get the Silent Scream emblem and, because he’s an Ultra, a chance at an Exotic. Remember to take a Three of Coins with you.
Alternatively, you could go in solo and just jump in through the ceiling hole to the left of the Bridge door. But that’s not really in the spirit of things, is it?
Revisit the Loot Cave on Earth and witness some potentially paranormal activity
Remember the legendary Loot Cave? The enemy spawn point in Skywatch that accidentally served as an Engram generator in Year One? Well now it’s seemingly haunted. So much wanton killing will do that to a place.
If you head inside, you’ll find a burnt pile of enemy remains. Hit the interaction button on said charnel heap, and you’ll hear a voice exclaim that “A million deaths are not enough for [Tower Cryptarch] Master Rahool”. Quite. Death is, quite literally, his business. The grinding done for Year One Gjallarhorn alone is probably responsible for that number a hundred times over.
Finish the Exotic Khostov quest and cry a bit when Ghost reminisces
I won’t spoil the surprise by detailing the conversation, but trust me. It will break you. To trigger the optional mission required to experience this exchange, you’ll need to start a questline. Head back to the Divide, and through to the area where Ghost first woke you up at the very beginning of the vanilla game. From here, head through to the Fallen ketch at the back, kill everyone on it, and open the chest at the back of the room to find the Khvostov schematic. Take it back to Shiro in the Iron Temple, and you’re on your way. Just get hold of some tissues before you carry on.
Earn the Sleeper Simulant
Those silly, sometimes overlooked guns I mentioned earlier? In many ways, the Sleeper Simulant is their king. It’s a Heavy Fusion Rifle (ie. a Fusion the size of a car, built out of spare bits of Rasputin, and which - although hampered by the limited ammo inherent to all Heavy weapons - pretty much vapourises anything it hits). In order to get it, you’ll need to complete the ungodly long The Sleeper Stirs quest-line, but it is absolutely worth it. Everyone should know the joy of firing the Sleeper Simulant at least once. Though you’re better off doing it a bunch of times, just to be sure.
Solo a Nightfall
A lunatic badge of honour, soloing a Nightfall is a practice originally born out of the desperation of those without a Fireteam to play with, but which has now become a (slightly) more commonplace initiative since the downgrading of the Nightfall’s difficulty.
Given the randomised nature of the Strike and its mission criteria, there’s no blanket advice I can give you on this one, but as general guidelines, optimise the elemental damage and defence of your subclass, weapon-set and armour based on whatever kind of Burn damage modifier is switched on, activate any enemy debuffs your character is capable of of inflicting, and otherwise just grit your teeth.
Take in the view of Felwinter Peak from the other side after launching yourself into the sky
One of the silliest secrets in Rise of Iron, this is technically the way to get the SIVA cluster hidden on top of the tower on the bridge into the Iron Temple. You’ll need to use an Isenfyre Token - available upon completing the Wrath of the Machine raid - on the main Temple firepit, or be around when another Guardian has done so, but the main point is that magic fire launches you into the sky with the force of a trebuchet. And engaging in such behaviour is always a good idea. Once up there, you’re free to drop down to the other side and go exploring Felwinter Peak - which is fun from a nook-prodding traversal perspective, if not exactly profitable - and also unlock the doors to the Temple so that everyone else can play.
Kick the ball around in the Tower
Obvious, but it never, ever gets old. And besides, you want to get some practice in for when this becomes a formalised game in Destiny 2’s social space, the Farm.
Climb to the top of the tree near the Gunsmith in the Tower
Another social space right of passage, this one is only marginally less tricky than climbing Felwinter Peak, despite the drastically lower altitude. To get up there, you’ll need to jump up the bottom part of the tree, and then very carefully crouch-creep around the trunk, intermittently jumping to reach the branches. Bar picturesque photos of your Guardian sitting in a tree, there’s no tangible reward for getting up there, but the sense of achievement - and the relief that you now never have to do it again - is immense.
Ring the bells in the Iron Temple and sing the Iron Song
Those bells lining the upstairs path around the inside of the Iron Temple aren’t just there for decoration. You can ring them as well. And this time, there is actually a point. Ring them in the right order to play the Rise of Iron main theme (you’ll need a few Guardians with you in order to do it fast enough), and you’ll pop an Achievement or Trophy.
But really, the magic of creating musical art with your friends is the true prize here.