Destiny 2’s newest expansion dropped its first major secret on Tuesday. Following the game’s weekly rest, players discovered clues in the European Dead Zone leading to a new exotic quest. I finished it earlier today, and can confirm it’s a certified banger.
Spoiler warning: As with all new Destiny 2 secrets, this mission is best experienced fresh. Simply go to the “Gulch” in the EDZ and start puttering around and you’ll eventually find your first clue. But if you don’t care about spoilers and want help with the mission, please proceed.
Shortly after the first weekly reset since Lightfall launched, players discovered a new mission, news of which quickly spread on Twitter and the the Destiny subreddit. It’s called //NODE.OVRD.AVALON// and revolves around diving into an unstable Vex network to investigate the source of a strange message: Avalon. Remember Asher Mir, everyone’s favorite grumbling Warlock from IO? As previously teased at the end of Season of the Splicer, he’s still alive and needs our help.
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The new exotic mission is essentially a Season of the Splicer Expunge mission crossed with the old Pyramidion strike from back when Destiny 2 first launched. You’ll platform through a Vex network, fight a ton of harpies and minotaurs, solve some light puzzles, and eventually take down a weird corrupted version of Brakion, the boss from the original Pyramidion strike.
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Succeed and you’ll receive the craftable glaive Vexcalibur, which gives allies void overshields and makes cool noises. I’m still feeling my way around just how good the new exotic is, but the secret mission to get it is excellent, especially when played as a three-player fireteam. Here’s how to do that.
Go to the Gulch in the EDZ and collect the six Vex cubes
This part is straightforward. Once you land head to the little island across the way where the Cabal are stationed to find the first cube. From there you’ll have 30 seconds to find each subsequent one until you’ve grabbed all six and decoded the coordinates. Once complete, a passage will open up on your map here:
Go inside and follow the path until the end, where you’ll find the Blue Harpy and unlock the quest node on the map, to begin on at any time.
The mission says the recommended Power is 1800, but it will make everyone who plays it at least 1790, so you don’t need to grind before attempting it.
Just know that you’re in for a tough time if you try to go in solo. Whatever loadout you choose, you’ll want a lot of crowd-control and close-quarters-clearing weapons like a shotgun, fusion rifle, or grenade launcher. Most of the Vex enemy shields are void.
How to enter Vex keys
After starting the mission you’ll encounter a very brief labyrinth-y area that you’ll eventually find your way out of to reach the first main encounter. This is where you’ll learn the central mechanic of the mission, which revolves around finding patterns of shapes and destroying the Vex shapes that appear in the corresponding order.
The Vex nodes will always spawn a pyramid, diamond, or cube, and a smaller series of red nodes in the environment nearby will tell you the order to destroy them in. If you’re playing alone you’ll have to do all the work, but if you’re in a group it’s best if one person finds the pattern and enters the code while the other two players kill enemies. There are three rooms of this followed by a wave of enemies before you head into the second phase of the mission.
Watch out for the Deletion Protocol
After a short platforming section you’ll reach another arena full of Vex enemies. This time certain ones will drop purple motes you can collect and deposit in the central Vex node. Doing so will release the force field and let you hide below the floor while the Vex network wipes everything above.
You’ll have to do this a bunch of times, but it’s not too bad. At one point you’ll fight a Hydra mini-boss. With three players it went down pretty easily.
Follow Asher Mir’s cries until you get to the boss
After the Deletion Protocol section you’ll have to do some more platforming. The only real challenge here is taking it slow and keeping an eye out for the ledges that will carry you deeper into the network. Eventually you’ll reach the final combat arena where you’ll meet the boss, the giant hobgoblin Brakion responsible for Asher Mir’s Vex assimilation..
It starts out just like the Pyramidion encounter, but this time around each damage phase will be punctuated by having to enter more Vex codes. While the boss sits up on his platform encased in a protective barrier, you’ll have to find the symbol patterns in the wells on the right or left of the arena and then enter them in the central Vex node.
If you’re alone, good luck. But if you’re part of a group, I again recommend one person be in charge of entering the codes while the others clear the room. A ton of Vex spawn in the fight and things can get out of control very quickly. Once the fight is over it’s time to head back to the HELM and collect your prize.
Use Vexcalibur to kill more Vex
After grabbing Vexcalibur, you can unlock its pattern and start farming the rest of the exotic quest. To unlock additional crafting options you’ll need to use the glaive to kill a ton of Vex. Fortunately, the new patrol zone Neomuna is perfect for this. If you haven’t been farming the Terminal Overload activity there, now’s the perfect time.
That’s currently where I’m at. I’ve never been a fan of glaives, but I’m already in love with the look and feel of Vexcalibur (and the name). We’ll see in the days and weeks ahead if it finds a place in players’ arsenals or is just a nice memento from an old friend. Hopefully this means we’re going to find out more about Asher Mir very soon. In the meantime, //NODE.OVRD.AVALON// is already a great addition to a Destiny 2 expansion that’s steadily growing on me.