To some he’s a cryptic Agent of the Nine. To others he’s the Exotic Engram guy. My friends call him Pasta Face. Most know him as Xur, and after years of being obsolete he’s once again a weekly center of attention in the Destiny 2 universe. It feels good to have him back.
Xur’s wares have gone through many different evolutions between the 2014 release of the original Destiny and now, but for much of the past year and even beyond he’d become a bit of an after-thought for many players. The pool of Exotic Engrams he was famous for had grown so large, with so many alternative sources, that it was rare he was ever selling something 1) good and 2) most players didn’t already have.
That time in Destiny 1 where he sold the gleefully over-powered and much sought-after Gjallarhorn rocket launcher was a distant memory. More often Xur has felt like a used car salesman flipping familiar Exotics for on the promise of a two or three point increase in their overall stat roll.
That all changed when Destiny 2's current Season of the Lost launched in late August. Since then, Xur has been selling a set of Legendary weapons with curated rolls and relatively high-stat armor that’s no longer available to earn elsewhere in the game. It was a small tweak but a revelatory one. Not a Friday goes by now where I don’t check in with the alien from beyond the asteroid belt to see what’s on tap. Sometimes he’s offering decent rolls on guns I’ve never really chased, and other times he’s giving away absolute gold.
The most notable example of this was the weekend of September 17. Among the curios on offer was a Bottom Dollar hand cannon sporting both the Outlaw and Dragonfly perks. For the uninitiated, Outlaw makes your gun reload lightning fast after a few headshots, while Dragonfly makes said headshots cause enemies to explode and deal Solar damage to whatever else is around them.
Needless to say, it’s a very fun, very powerful combination on a gun that is a pain-in-the-ass to farm for (it only drops from Destiny 2's Gambit mode which some people don’t enjoy and everyone else hates). It wasn’t like winning the lottery but it was like getting a scratch off ticket and revealing one of those special symbols that automatically makes it a winner.
Not every week is as noteworthy, but the fact that it might be has everyone checking again. This is how you end up with one of the most unusual stories in recent Destiny 2 history: players taking Xur hostage. How did they do that exactly? Well it all started on the weekend before Halloween when players discovered that Xur was selling a True Prophecy hand cannon with Rangefinder and Timed Payload. The first perk makes the weapon viable at longer distances while the second makes rounds blow up in opponents faces and thus causes a lot of flinching. In other words its a PVP “god roll,” one of those combinations that’s hard to top and will win out against the majority of lesser matchups.
It was so good, in fact, that players decided they couldn’t let Xur leave with it, at least not right away. In years past Xur left on Sunday. Now he leaves right before Destiny 2's weekly reset on Tuesday. In late October players kidnapped him all the way until Thursday. They did this by simply standing next to him the whole time so the game couldn’t update. When someone needed to leave, someone else took their place. A whole Discord was thrown together to coordinate the shifts. Dozens danced, hugged, and bought the gun. One person even tried to Venmo the mastermind behind the entire thing for lunch. Only in Destiny, man.
Much digital ink has been spilt documenting Xur’s weekly exploits. Even after Bungie decided to start putting his weekly location in the game, the flood of “Where Is Xur?” posts persisted thanks to the death grip Google’s search algorithms have on the internet. Bungie later reversed course, perhaps recognizing that it was cooler when he came and went as he pleased. Now, at least, people have a reason to start seeking him out again. Long-live Pasta Face.