The Destiny community has spent the past six-years-and-change farming. Players are always looking for the best way to get the most new stuff with the least amount of effort. If there's so much as a crack in one of Bungie's loot systems, players will hit it with every conceivable exploit from every possible angle until they can wrench it open and persuade the loot to rain.
It all started in the Cosmodrome in 2014. The first Destiny players, having just been hurled into an all-new sci-fi universe crafted by the developers of one of the finest shooters of all time, decided to sit in front of a now-hallowed cave and kill Hive for hours to carpet the ground with blue and purple engrams. This mentality carried over into Destiny 2, and we've seen countless farms since, from out-of-bounds raid chests to Black Armory Forge loops to Menagerie duplication. And what splendid farms those were. But the greatest farm in all of Destiny has only just been discovered, and for the first time in the history of the series, Bungie just handed it to us on a silver platter.
Last week, from September 15 through September 22, Bungie doubled the Ordeal Nightfall strike rewards in Destiny 2. Not only that, it locked the Nightfall to the Lake of Shadows, the shortest strike in the game. After years of understandably reigning in economy-breaking farms, Bungie has slowly grown to embrace and encourage the community's insatiable thirst for loot. Earlier this season, it removed the weekly loot limiters for Destiny 2's old raids, giving players a chance to wring them dry before they – along with other content, including entire destinations – are vaulted from the game this fall ahead of Destiny 2: Beyond Light. Infinite raid armor is certainly nice, but it doesn't have a patch on this Nightfall farm.
Nightfall strikes are the most reliable source of three essential goodies: Enhancement Prisms, Ascendant Shards, and Exotics. You need Prisms and Shards to increase your armor's mod energy and max its stats, and a well-rolled Exotic can transform a build, so all three are vital when min-maxing your loadout. Nightfalls are already decent for all three at Master or Grandmaster difficulty, but bad luck or a difficult strike can put a damper on the farm. So what happens if the loot is doubled and the strike is as easy as possible?
Make it rain
To put this into perspective, I've probably spent somewhere between 10 and 15 Ascendant Shards since they were introduced in Shadowkeep. I'm not a religious Nightfall grinder, and I've always been reticent to fully masterwork armor, so I've never really amassed a huge stockpile of the things. But last week alone, I got over 40 Ascendant Shards and some 200 Enhancement Prisms. I had to spend some Shards and Prisms on upgrades, and then run the Nightfall on multiple characters, because I'd reached the inventory limits for these drops. And that's just me. I put in a few dozen hours, but I know for a fact that other players played this thing all day, every day and earned upwards of 100 Shards.
It's hard to explain just how special this farm was. Imagine if Halley's Comet came by, and every time you looked at it, $100 fell from the sky. Every single person I ran the Strike with, especially my farming partner Tim Clark of PC Gamer, couldn't help but exclaim that the loot was "almost too good". It's incomparable. Riches beyond the dreams of avarice. A pile of loot that a dragon would covet. Bungie rented a ball pit for a week, filled it with Ascendant Shards, and gleefully told us to go nuts. And some players certainly did.
MFW the @DestinyTheGame Nightfall Farm finally, mercifully, finishes. #LakeOfShadows4lyf pic.twitter.com/X2f7edOzpdSeptember 22, 2020
I won't lie, replaying the same Strike dozens of times for hours and hours and hours did get a bit stale. But the loot was too good to pass up, and there's a certain satisfaction to perfecting your methods. Efficiency is part of the fun of farming, after all. When my fireteam first started, we were just kind of rushing in guns blazing and inevitably getting slapped by 1080 champion-grade enemies. But over time, we learned how to handle specific situations, shaving off a few seconds here and there. Maybe we could use invisibility to sneak by this part. A super would really speed this fight up. Somebody should use a weapon with this element to pop shields. By the end of the week we were tackling each engagement like a squad from one of those impossibly choreographed Ubisoft E3 demos, right down to the simultaneous kills.
Master the grind
For me, the greatest breakthrough came from a tree. See, I was always the Divinity guy in our strike group. I'd use Divinity, the raid Exotic from Shadowkeep's Garden of Salvation, to stun and weaken champions so that my teammates could delete them. There's just one problem: Divinity doesn't have the best range, so I have to get within about pulse rifle distance, and I can't do anything else while I'm firing the thing. This proved especially troublesome when I'd go up to stun the first Overload champion in the strike. Without fail, a Vex hobgoblin to the left would pick me off while I stunned the champion. It wasn't a huge issue, but dying on cue annoyed me to no end.
After at least 10 deaths, I noticed that that damned assassin hobgoblin would always spawn near a cluster of trees. Armed with this knowledge, I started to approach the champion oriented to those trees so that I could use them as cover while firing Divinity. And it worked; I stopped dying at that part. Well, at least when the two unstoppable champions to the right didn't march right up to paper the walls with my entire ass. Anyway, my point is that while it was repetitive, redoing the same strike over and over became surprisingly fun once we adopted a speedrun mentality. We got our average time under 10 minutes, and our record was just over eight minutes. Nevermind the quality of the loot; I can't remember a farm that was this fun and challenging, either.
Of course, the real thrill is staring at the piles of materials in my inventory and postmaster and pondering all the things I'll do with them. All the armor I'll max when Beyond Light arrives this November. All the builds I'll make with my new, well-rolled Exotics. I don't think we'll ever see a farm quite this good again, certainly not for a while, but there's little doubt that Bungie is officially on-board with loot events like this. I can't wait for the next one, and I can't wait to see what cracks players wrench open in the meantime.