Just as we were getting a hang of Destiny’s latest six-person raid, Bungie releases a new hard mode to keep us on our toes. Enemies are tougher, bosses have a few new tricks, and… well, everything else is pretty much the same. Still, some tips are in order.
Launched this past friday, the “heroic” version of the King’s Fall raid suggests a light level of 310 and, in addition to a few new surprises, removes the ability to revive teammates who go down mid-fight.
I spent the last weekend working through the Hard Mode raid on all three of my characters, and while we didn’t defeat Oryx—much respect to any who did—I still figured I’d share and solicit some tips on the sections leading up to him.
Before you start:
Pick a Good Team: You’ll want to have players who have all beaten the raid on Normal Mode multiple times and are comfortable with the basic mechanics of each fight. Everyone should be around 305 light, minimum—it’s certainly doable if you’re lower, but get too low and you’ll have trouble mustering the DPS you need to bring down bosses quickly.
Gear: As usual, bring a good sniper rifle and a good LMG. Hopefully you have some solid raid guns at this point. Touch of Malice makes the final two encounters much more manageable.
Classes: Hunter Nightstalkers are prooobably the most important class to have along for Hard Mode, due to the fact that their tether can significantly increase the team’s DPS on bosses. Titan Defenders are a close second. Warlocks… well, sorry Warlocks, you’re not actually that useful in hard mode. A team of three Hunters and three Titans would do very well.
Attitude: Hard mode isn’t that hard, and if you’ve been raiding consistently since The Taken King came out, you should be fine. All the same, go in with the understanding that you’re gonna fail more than you might be used to. Relax and go with it, and be open to the idea that your problem could well be that your light is just too low.
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Though it could probably go without saying, spoilers for King’s Fall Hard Mode follow!
1. Opening the door.
This section is mostly unchanged. My main tip is, don’t get too cavalier about rushing in to dunk the relics; those Taken centurions in the middle hit a lot harder than they do on normal mode.
2. Tomb ship platforming.
It’s the same as before, with the sole change being that the checkpoint platform has been removed. If you fall near the end of a run, you’ll have to start over at the beginning. What a shitty change! It’s kind of a “fuck you” to anyone who complained to Bungie about this section, and it sure does make it even more frustrating for the one person in your group who always falls and makes everyone wait on them. If you’re that person… sorry.
3. The relay race.
Not much has changed here, either, though partway through you’ll start seeing some yellow-bar knights charging out toward the totems. Players discharging on the central plate should keep an eye on the warp door (after dealing with their wizard). If they see a knight coming through, they should drop everything and bring it down.
Other than that, the usual strategy applies. The best tip for this is that when the transfer is complete out on the totem, the person who’s about to head in should stay long enough to deal with the boomer knight that walks out onto the balcony overhead. A headshot from a 1000-Yard Stare or comparable sniper should still do the trick, even on hard mode. (The raid sniper needs two shots, which is a bummer.)
4. The Warpriest
Hello, and welcome to the new most difficult pre-Oryx fight! I’m betting this is the fight that stymied a lot of groups over the weekend. The increased difficulty isn’t obvious at first, but everything has been dialed up until you’re regularly at risk of losing one or two players.
Split into your regular groups of two. Make sure everyone’s on the same page regarding what to call each platform. My team calls the platforms one, two, and three—as you walk into the room and face the Warpriest’s stage, one is to your right, two is in the middle, and three is up top on the left. Here’s a map:
The biggest problem in the Hard Mode version of this fight is actually the Warpriest himself. He wasn’t a big deal on Normal Mode, but on Hard his gun will do crazy damage and can eviscerate an unaware player. That’s a big problem for the people who hang out in the middle at platform Two.
Fortunately, there’s a way to deal with it: your two central players should go all the way up to the front of the room, underneath the lip of the stage. The Warpriest won’t be able to shoot at them, and it’s easy to deal with the waves of thralls and knights as they enter the room.
The fight’s new Hard Mode mechanic is the fact that after each round of DPS, the Warpriest gains a new Taken ability. These abilities are tied to which obelisk you hid behind at the end of the preceding DPS round. We found that it was best to do our first DPS round from platform one, since afterward he’d get the easy-to-dodge Taken Captain blinding cloud. (Obelisk two gives him a Taken Hobgoblin homing rocket, which can wipe out an entire team on a DPS round. Obelisk three gives him those Taken Centurion homing orbs, which we never really had to deal with, since we always killed him before that if we made it that far.)
Our approach was to clear enemies as normal untill the sequence started. One of our players (usually me) in the middle under the stage would call out the order, which, incidentally, always started with platform three. Whichever person wound up with the aura, we’d all convene on platform one. Our Titan would drop a bubble with blessing of light behind us, which everyone would grab to help us stay alive. We’d then tether and DPS the shit out of the Warpriest. If we did everything right, we were able to carve off around 50% of his health in a single go.
For the second round, we’d go to platform two and try to finish him off. If we didn’t beat him on the second round of DPS, we’d just re-convene in the middle on the third round and finish him off.
One last funky tip for this room that I picked up over the weekend: If you do wind up choosing to go to platform three (the high one) for a DPS round, don’t have everyone make the climb up to the platform. Instead, you can congregate under the platform and still be safe in the shadow of the Obelisk. Go check it out before you start the fight; you can see the shadow.
Okay! You beat the Warpriest. If you’re like me, you got a 310 harrowed rocket launcher, aka the worst roll you can possibly get on a harrowed gun. Whoo-hoo! RNG is awesome. Let’s keep going.
5. Golgoroth’s Labrynth
Unchanged. We don’t even care about moldering shards anymore, so my group actually wound up skipping the chest.
Here’s some good news: You can still use the one-gaze strategy on Golgoroth. I was convinced it wouldn’t work in Hard Mode, and it’s a relief that it does.
So! Split into the usual left-side/right-side teams. Clear out the first round of enemies. Have your gaze-grabber (preferably a hunter with shadestep) go and prepare to grab Golgoroth’s gaze, while a few other players get ready to knock down an orb. We have our grabber go over on the left side of the room, and we knock down the left-middle orb for DPS. Do whatever makes you happy, though.
As your hunter grabs the gaze (and shadesteps away from Golgoroth’s orbs to break their lock-on), the rest of your team will be in the pit doing DPS to the boss. (Black Spindle is tremendous for this—time to infuse that sucker up past 300 if you haven’t already.)
At the end of the round, someone who was standing in the pool of light will be hit with a new debuff called Unstable Light. That person have to get clear of everyone else before their timer reaches zero, otherwise the debuff’s explosion will kill anyone near them. You don’t actually be that far away from everyone—just keep an eye out and call out if it’s you, go run off into the corner for the detonation, then get back in cover. Bonus points if you do what my team does and say, “I gotta go fart” before going off to do your business.
Congrats! You beat Golgoroth and got some decent armor that you’ll probably just infuse into something else. Onward to...
7. The Death-Plunger Jumping Puzzle
No change here. Be sure to take off your old Bones of Eao before opening the chest, Hunters.
8. The Daughters of Oryx
This fight’s not too bad. The big change is that there’s no downtime between rounds, so you’ll have to communicate well and move quickly. We were still able to bring the daughters down in two rounds, but if you don’t have many Touch of Malices in your group, it’s fine to go three rounds.
After taking out the first Daughter, we had one of our hunters designated as the person who would throw a tether into the space between the pedestals where the new enemies spawn in at the start of the second round. That tether makes it much easier to deal with those enemies, which frees people up to get to their platformas and take out the snipers that appear above them. The snipers appear much faster than you may be expecting, so keep an eye on the timer. Nail your marks and this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
9. Oryx Himself
We... didn’t beat Oryx on any of my Hard Mode attempts over the weekend. Related to that, my first tip is probably: Don’t worry too much about beating Oryx this week. Sure, if you want to spend a few hours banging your head up against the fight, you can do that… or you could just play through the first parts for a couple weeks, get your character’s light more comfortably in the 310-315 range, and take Oryx down once everything is a little more settled and comfortable.
The gist: Your three platform-standers simply get on their platforms, do a bit of damage to their ogres, but mostly just stay alive. Two floaters sit up on the Daughter’s pedestals and help get all four ogres down to about a third of their health. The runner grabs the brand, and everyone kills the central knight. Everyone convenes on a Daughter platform to DPS and stun Oryx, then everyone brings down their ogre and quickly detonates their light before the new hard-mode knights have a chance to do anything.
The strategy is tricky, but it bypasses those troublesome new knights, so I’d imagine it’s easier than killing the ogres immediately like we would on Normal Mode. You can watch a team pull it off here:
(I love how at the end, the dude gets a 313 chest piece... and that’s it.)
If you have any other pointers, I hope you’ll share below. Good luck out there, and remember—if you’re stuck and it’s bumming you out, you can always come back and try again next week.
To contact the author of this post, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.