It's been a long road for Destiny players, full of exciting (and frustrating) moments as well as subtle (and not-so-subtle) game tweaks from Bungie. However, as the developer prepares for the release of Destiny: Year Two, kicked-off by the release of the next expansion "The Taken King" on September 15th, regular players have hit another lengthy content gap. The "House of Wolves" DLC added significant value to the full Destiny package, with new armor and weapons, missions, multiplayer modes, as well as the Prison of Elders arena battle, but it didn't take long for die-hard fans to level up their gear and acquire all of the DLC's armory additions.
Still, despite wearing through the new content, many Destiny-faithfuls still raid, strike, and compete in multiplayer battles each week (if not everyday). Why? Because they're still grinding for the game's most sought-after weapons and armor - many of which can only be acquired through random drops upon completion of Destiny's most challenging modes. However, one month ahead of "The Taken King" release, the grind will (temporarily) end for a significant chunk of Guardians - as Bungie's infamous exotic dealer, Xur, has arrived in the tower with the game's most sought-after (and arguably over-powered) weapon: Gjallarhorn.
For players who can't wait to get their hands on the iconic rocket launcher, and don't need any further explanation, this week Xur is at the Tower - in the back of the nightclub (when you first load into the Tower hear right, through the ship hanger, then downstairs into the nightclub). Regardless of Gjallarhorn's high-profile status, the rocket launcher's cost is still beholden to Xur's established pricing tiers - specifically, 17 strange coins for a special or heavy weapon.
Check out Xur's location (and full inventory) in the video below:
As with prior weeks, Xur will leave early Sunday morning (1 AM PDT and 3 AM EDT) and return Friday with a refreshed inventory - one that is highly unlikely to contain Gjallarhorn two weeks in a row.
Fortunately, as Destiny has expanded through "The Dark Below" and "House of Wolves" DLC, there are now more opportunities than ever to grind for strange coins (compiled in a recent Reddit thread) - to purchase a Gjallarhorn ahead of Xur's weekly departure.
Guardians in need of strange coins have several options - some award guaranteed strange coins, others only offer strange coins as a possible drop within the loot table (or decoded from an engram).
Complete the Weekly Heroic Strike on the highest difficulty available to your character.
Unfortunately, this week's strike, The Will of Crota, is exclusive to The Dark Below - meaning that players who have not purchased the DLC will either need to first drop real coins on the add-on or use other means to grind for strange coins.
Strange coin rewards do not stack - with only 9 coins (total) available per character each week. Players who can complete the Level 32 version of the strike will earn all 9 coins in one run.
- Level 32: 9 Strange Coins
- Level 30: 6 Strange Coins
- Level 26: 3 Strange Coins
In addition, if players are near the 17 necessary to purchase Gjallarhorn, there are a couple other opportunities to snag individual strange coins:
- Golden chests on Mars: One has a strange coin (Note: the reward is dependent on the amount of Mars chests the player has opened, not the location of the chest).
- Prison of Elders ("House of Wolves" DLC required): The Level 28 version grants strange coins from treasure room chests.
- Scourge of Winter Mission on Venus: Awards one strange coin on your first completion (though, most players will have already received this one).
All of the above rewards can be multiplied by the amount of characters that players have created (assuming they meet the story progression as well as level requirements). Destiny gamers with two high-level characters can easily secure their 17 strange coins with only two runs through the weekly heroic strike. That said, while gamers with only a single character might be tempted to create a new one, it's important to keep in mind that Destiny funnels freshly-created Guardians through about five-to-ten hours worth of story before opening-up most of the activities that will grant strange coins. The time can be shortened with Red Bull's "Focused Light" consumable codes - or friends willing to carry lower-level players through higher-level story difficulties but, if you're short on play time to grind for strange coins, creating a new character may not be the best short-term return on time invested.
As a result, should gamers only be running one character - or do not have access to DLC activities, there are other options; though, understandably, these are less predictable and will require significantly more grinding.
- Strike Playlist: While the strike playlist does not guarantee strange coins for completion, they do award (and in-mission drop) engrams - which could turn into strange coins at the Cryptarch.
- Wolfpack Ether Chests: Same ideas as the Strike Playlist, Wolfpack Ether Chests drop engrams - which could decode into strange coins.
Thanks to Destiny's random-number-generation (RNG) approach to loot drops, some Day One Guardians still do not have the game's most-coveted weapon. Xur sold the rocket launcher the second week of release (all the way back in September 2014) but, at the time, most players were short on strange coins and didn't realize that Gjallarhorn would become a must-have weapon. Since that time, players had speculated that Bungie removed the gun from Xur's loot table - to keep Destiny gamers grinding. Still, since Xur's inventory is regulated by the same RNG system as the larger game, there's no way of knowing if the gun has always been an option for the exotic dealer's inventory but, by sheer randomness, took 47 weeks to reappear.
Either way, Gjallarhorn is arguably the best gun in Destiny and, even if there are other weapons players will ultimately choose to equip in their exotic gun slot, the rocket launcher is an instrumental addition into any Guardian's arsenal - thanks to the perfect blend of high impact damage, target tracking, and Gjallarhorn's signature Wolfpack rounds (which cause additional damage after the initial blast detonates).
When the rocket launcher became an artificial barrier to high-level activities (as players without the gun were sidelined on "Looking for Group" websites like DestinyLFG.net and DestinyLFG.com), Bungie announced Wolfpack round damaged will be reduced as part of pre-"Taken King" weapon balancing - though, unlike legendary gear, Gjallarhorn (and all other exotic gear) will be upgradeable to the expansion's maximum damage level. The developer stopped short of committing to exactly how much they intend to reduce Wolfpack impact but given that Bungie is preparing a whole new set of weapons and armor for "The Taken King," juxtaposed with Gjallarhorn's iconic place within the game's mythology and external year one experience, it's likely the rocket launcher is set for a noticeable reduction in damage. Still, considering it was over-powered throughout most of Year One, Gjallarhorn should still be a powerful go-to weapon in Year Two - even after the nerf.
No doubt, many Destiny players will be excited to finally end their quest for Gjallarhorn, and see what all the fuss has been about, especially with new weapons inbound. Others will be disappointed to see the coveted rocket launcher thrown out to the masses - consequently making the trophy weapon slightly less special. Yet, since the gun isn't an over-powered option in Player vs. Player competitive modes, the more Gjallarhorns available in Player vs. Environment activities, the quicker die-hard gamers can burn through strike bosses and other enemies as they hunt other still-illusive loot and prepare for "The Taken King."
Unsurprisingly, the Internet is already filling up with "I earned my Gjallarhorn" threads but, considering how ruthless RNG has been to many longtime Destiny gamers, Xur selling the weapon is a day worthy of good vibes, celebration, and helping friends grind for those 17 strange coins. Those of us who received our first Gjallarhorn as a random drop in a raid, crucible, or strike, can smile about the added time we enjoyed with the mythic weapon in its current un-nerfed form - as well as the memory and excitement of our first Gjallarhorn drop: realizing the illusive rocket launcher had finally landed in our hands.
After all, "If there is beauty in destruction, why not also in its delivery?" - Feizel Crux