The long-awaited Destiny 2 Xenophage Exotic is finally here, and compared to previous Shadowkeep Exotics, its quest is a doozy. It's got cryptic puzzles, new boss mechanics, and plenty of Hive runes. It's worth the effort, though. Like the Deathbringer Destiny 2 Exotic, Xenophage fires unique rounds which separate it from other heavy weapons and really give it an Exotic feel. It's well worth owning, and the quest itself is quite fun. So, here's everything you need to know to get the Destiny 2 Xenophage.
How to start the Xenophage quest
To start the quest for Xenophage, head to the area where you meet Eris when completing her Memory quests. You can access this area directly by landing at Sorrow's Harbor and heading north into the Scarlet Keep. Take the left path at the green crystal, then follow it until you see a small path on the right wall leading upward. When you reach the main room, you'll find four statues along the walls - two on each side. You need to activate these statues in such a way that all four are lit at once. Oriented to the entrance, the activation order is: front right, back left, back right, front left. Once all four statues are lit, a chest will spawn in the middle of the room. Loot it to claim The Journey, the first step in the Emergence Exotic quest.
Emerge from the dark
For the next step, you'll need to collect a special orb of flame and use it to light six lanterns in a specific order. This will all go down in the Anchor of Light portion of the Moon, so head east of the main southern landing zone. When you get to the Anchor of Light, hang a left toward the Fallen-infested site. The orb of flame is in the stout building in the front. Pick it up, then follow the path in the GIF above and light the lanterns in order. Once you light all six, you can dunk your orb in the small Hive spire near the site where you grabbed the orb.
Find the path fragments
For the next step, you'll need to complete all four Lost Sectors on the Moon and solve Hive rune puzzles at the end of each. The puzzles are located in the exit paths for the Lost Sectors, so you will need to clear out the Lost Sectors to access them.
These puzzles are 3x3 grids of runes. The goal is to make every rune in the grid show the same symbol as the one indicated above the grid. When you shoot a rune, it will change all of the symbols in its row and column, not unlike pieces in othello. Once you line up all the runes, a chest containing a path fragment will spawn.
To keep things simple, we've coded our solutions like a keypad. Here's what we mean by that:
With that out of the way, here's how to complete the puzzles for each Lost Sector. Just shoot the designated runes in the following order using the key above:
K1 Logistics: 1 - 7 - 6 - 5
K1 Revelation: 6 - 4 - 5 - 5 - 4 - 8 - 5 - 2
K1 Crew Quarters: 3 - 4 - 5 - 8 - 9 - 9 - 8 - 8
K1 Communion: 7 - 9 - 2 - 2
The Pit of Heresy - Part 1
The next three steps take place in the new Pit of Heresy dungeon. The first step comes in right after the first encounter with the three Hive runes and minibosses. When you come to the room filled with doors, look for one without a rune hanging over it. It's on the upper-left side. Use the pillars along the back to scale the wall, jump over to the door, enter it, and activate the rune inside. That's it for this step!
The Pit of Heresy - Part 2
The next step is in the room with the Hive Ogres before the Hive Totem encounter. When you first enter the room, note the left and right hallways. We're going to take the left hallway to collect the same type of orb that we used to light the lanterns earlier, and once we have it, we're going to take it to the right hallway to light more lanterns.
Take the left hallway and drop down to the ledge on the cliffside. Look for a small plate with some runes scrawled on it. Activate the plate to summon a string of platforms nearby. Grab an orb from the final platform and return to the rightmost hallway.
Hug the right wall, avoiding the Ogres as necessary, until you reach a locked red door with two lanterns next to it. Use your orb to light both lanterns, thus opening the door. Head inside and follow the linear path deeper to reach the final encounter.
The Pit of Heresy - Part 3
Boss time! Note that this is a 970 Power fight, so come prepared. This special Wizard boss combines all the quest mechanics we've used thus far. On top of managing enemies, you'll need to collect and deposit orbs of flame in specific locations in order to acquire buffs which let you damage the boss. Here's how it works.
Before the boss, you'll come to a room with four elemental orbs. There will be one in each corner, with each orb marked by a Hive rune. The Void orb has an A-looking rune, the Arc orb has a V-looking rune, the Solar orb has a W-looking rune, and the Kinetic orb has an I-looking rune. This information is essential to the boss fight because it indicates where you need to deposit orbs of flame based on the buff that you have.
Throughout the fight, you'll receive one of four buffs: Abyssal (Void), Thunderous (Arc), Fiery (Solar), or Neutral (Kinetic) Dread. When you have a Dread active, you'll need to collect an orb of flame from the center of the arena and deposit it in the corresponding corner of the room. Here's where to deposit orbs based on your Dread type (oriented to the arena's entrance):
Abyssal Dread: top level, back-left corner
Neutral Dread: top level, front-right corner
Thunderous Dread: bottom level, front left corner
Fiery Dread: bottom level, back right corner
When you deposit an orb in the correct spot, your Dread will turn into a Vengeance buff that lasts around 25 seconds. This buff allows you to damage the boss, but only using the damage type of your buff. So if you turn Abyssal Dread into Abyssal Vengeance, you'll be able to damage the boss using Void weapons and abilities. Keep this in mind when planning your loadout. Be sure to use different elements for your energy and heavy weapons, that way you can deal damage using multiple Vengeance types. For example, a good loadout might be: Izanagi's Burden for Neutral Vengeance, Recluse for Abyssal Vengeance, Wendigo GL3 for Thunderous Vengeance, and a Solar Super for Fiery Vengeance. You don't have to use all four elements, but the flexibility is nice.
Here's how that looks in practice.
To recap: check your Dread, collect an orb, deposit it in the correct location to gain Vengeance, then damage the boss with the right element. Repeat this process until the boss is dead. You'll receive a Hive bug which you must then bring to Eris on the Moon. Congratulations! Xenophage is yours. Go shoot some dudes with your freaking anti-materiel rifle.