Destiny: The Dark Below Leveling and Strategy Guide

Destiny: The Dark Below Leveling and Strategy Guide

Unlock the Murmur fusion rifle and the Will of Crota level 24 strike.

There is no denying that Destiny has a huge upside when it comes to the fun factor, but the game can get a little bit repetitive while grinding for exotic weapons and armor. All of that changed last week -- at least for a little while -- when Bungie released the first major expansion, The Dark Below. Introducing new strikes, raids, quests, bounties and crucible maps, the debut DLC promises to keep Guardians entertained throughout the 2014 holiday season.

To help you make more efficient use of your in-game time, we've organized some of the more finicky activities in The Dark Below in a way that will help you avoid some of the hardships that we endured.

[1.0] Rise of Crota

The first order of business after installing the DLC and arriving at the Tower will be to have a quick meet and greet with Eris Morn, a former guardian who is the only surviving member of a six person fireteam that entered Hellmouth while hunting Crota. She can be found standing just outside of Tower North, and is usually surrounded by a hoard of players trying to complete her various quests and bounties, the first of which will help you to unlock the Murmur fusion rifle.

[1.1] The Fist of Crota

To earn the Murmur -- a handy piece of equipment for the more challenging DLC activities -- players will first want to accept a quest called The Fist of Crota, then head to orbit. Set a course for Earth, and more specifically, The Forgotten Shore. Looking at this area of your map should make finding the quest quite simple, which is a continuing trend since completing it is fairly straightforward as well. Just fight your way through the hoards of Fallen and Hive until you reach the Grattos, triggering the Sardon, Fist of Crota boss fight.

[1.2] Siege of the Warmind

With the first quest out of the way it will be time to return to Eris for the next one in line, Siege of the Warmind. It also takes place on Earth, this time near the Kings' Watch and only a short distance from your last battle.

The quest itself is once again fairly routine stuff at this point, but gamers will want to set one of their weapons to Arc damage, and another to Solar. The Arc damage can be used to neutralize the shields of the Knights you encounter early on, and the Solar will be essential in exposing the weaknesses of the Watcher of Crota. There are actually several iterations of this adversary near the end of the quest, but each one takes the same approach to kill.

[1.3] The Wakening

The final quest that Eris Morn provides you with is called The Wakening, and will see Guardians travel to the Moon, revisiting one of the early loot cave locations, the Temple of Crota. As you might expect, the final piece of the puzzle that leads to your fusion rifle reward is the most difficult of all, but players will be happy to know they can set all of their weapons to deal Solar damage for the duration. It's more of the same moving and shooting for the first half of the festivities, with the final battle being the only real challenge you're likely to face.

The Soul of Crota isn't any more difficult than a dozen other boss fights you've been in before, but things are made more sporty by the size of your foe, as well as the layout of the room. You see, the Soul of Crota is tall, and you're going to be stuck at ground level trying to shoot upwards, all the while trying to keep an onslaught of Thrall from overrunning your fireteam.

In order to put the whoop on this boss, have the most powerful member of your fireteam focus on the Soul of Crota, while the other members keep their attention on the lower level pests that aim to interrupt your assault. It's still not the easiest thing you'll ever do in Destiny, but it's a fairly sound strategy for even your average fireteam.

[1.4] Murmur Fusion Rifle

With the Soul of Crota down and the last of Eris' initial quests complete, head back to the Tower and claim the Murmur, a legendary fusion rifle that is capable of switching between both Arc and Solar damage, a feature that comes in handy during several tasks of The Dark Below DLC.

[2.0] The Extermination

Although we put them in their own section due to the reward you receive at the end, the three quests that you completed for Eris are mandatory if you want to unlock The Will of Crota, a level 24 strike that takes place in Old Russia on Earth. You also have to complete a four part bounty called The Extermination, which shouldn't be particularly difficult if you know where to find each of the tasks.

[2.1] Defeat 25 Hive Knights and Wizards

The first task of the bounty should be no problem if you set a course for the Ocean of Storms on the Moon. To be more specific, load up a level 12 strike called The Summoning Pits, a place where you'll find plenty of Knights and Wizards. In fact, you might get them all in one shot. If you're sharing the glory with one or more fireteam members, however, just repeat the strike a few times until you have killed all 25.

[2.2] Heart of Crota

The next task is rather simple, only requiring you to kill the Heart of Crota and all of the minions that spawn once its dead. For this, launch a patrol on Earth, then make your way to the Refinery, along the same path that you would travel to get to Sepiks Prime. You should see the Servant of the Heart praying to some sort of green glob or orb like thing. Put it out of its misery and move on.

[2.3] Hand of Crota

If you don't know how to find the Hand of Crota, you weren't around for the glorious week of the most epic loot cave that ever existed. Just in case you want to revisit that cave for sentimental reasons, feel free to slaughter the Hand of Crota along the way, who just so happens to be sitting in a dark corner of the Lunar Complex. To be more specific, walk through the complex until your character turns on their flashlight, then move up some stairs into a room that is pitch black. Kill all the enemies, then -- from the door you started at -- go to the back right corner. You'll find the Servant of the Hand on its knees.

[2.4] Eye of Crota

From the last task, continue through the building until you get to Skywatch. Feel free to pop by the loot cave as we suggested above, then climb on top of it and approach the nearby Terrestrial Complex. Move to the left of the door to find a hole in the ground, dropping down and passing through the building until you emerge near a railing. You should find the Servant of the Eyes hanging out. Kill it, then take a deep breath and slaughter all the foes that come to its defense.

When all four tasks are done and the Rise of Crota is complete, head back to Eris to claim your reward, which for us wasn't anything noteworthy whatsoever. You will have unlocked the Will of Crota strike, so there's that.

[3.0] The Will of Crota Strike

The Will of Crota is a level 24 strike that takes place on Earth, tucked away in Old Russia. Everything you've done throughout this guide has led to unlocking and preparing you for this strike, and it's advised that you bring a couple competent fireteam members to complete it. Here are a few tips to help you along once the elemental damage starts flying about.

The Murmur fusion rifle is a great choice for this strike, as players will need both Arc and Solar damage at different points. Arc damage is good for the first half, and Solar damage is great for lowering Omnigul's shields in the final battle.

Take note of the hallway that leads to the final chamber. Both of our friendly fireteam members went down several times, and we found this to be a great place to retreat while we waited for them to respawn. If it's too risky, don't be a hero and try to revive them.

Things get fairly intense near the end, so try to make sure you're scoring critical hits on both Omnigul, as well as her Major Wizard and Major Knight buddies. Non-critical hits will eventually get the job done, but we'd rather you worked smarter, not harder.

[4.0] The Undying Mind Strike

The Undying Mind is a PlayStation exclusive strike that was released with The Dark Below, but unlike the Will of Crota, there are no steps needed to unlock it. It should be noted that -- at least for us -- it is a level 20 strike, so most veteran players will find little trouble in completing this. Of course, we'll give you a few pointers just in case you're looking for that extra edge in combat.

Feel free to load up on Void damage for this entire strike. Unless we missed something, every enemy that you encounter -- who uses an elemental shield -- is vulnerable to this damage type. Set both your special and heavy weapons accordingly.

You'll find that a Titan who is rocking the Defender subclass with the Ward of Dawn Super Ability is very useful here. This ability will provide an indestructible shield that can buy you and your fireteam some time if things get rough.

Especially during the final battle, try to spread out in a U formation. The Undying Mind has three impenetrable shields, and having fireteam members attacking from three angles will mean that someone almost always has a clean shot at the target.

[5.0] Urn of Sacrifice Quest

The Urn of Sacrifice is another quest given by Eris Morn, requiring players to complete several tasks in order to receive the end reward. Depending on what class you are using, the following pieces of armor can be unlocked, all of which are legendary.

Hunter: Acolyte Rung

Titan: Knightbone Guard

Warlock: Thrallskin Brace

[5.1] Purchase the Urn of Sacrifice

The first task requires Guardians to locate Xûr, purchasing the Urn of Sacrifice for a single Strange Coin. In case you weren't aware, Xûr only shows up at the Tower on weekends, typically arriving late Thursday and leaving early Sunday morning. Sign us up for that gig.

[5.2] Gather Their Dust

The quest really begins with this step, tasking players to kill 25 Thrall using Solar damage from a fusion rifle. If you've been following along in our guide, you'll already have the Murmur, the perfect tool for the job. To complete the task, head out to The Dark Beyond mission located on the Moon. When you reach the point when Dinklage hollers We've woken the Hive, use your solar damage to kill 25 Thrall. When things have finally settled down, pick up all the Embers they dropped. If the total doesn't hit 25, complete the mission, then just repeat the process one more time. Whatever you do, don't die or your progress will be lost.

[5.3] Gather Their Fury

Refer back to the dark room that we mentioned in [2.3] Hand of Crota. Basically, head back to that location in the Lunar Complex, killing the Servant of the Hand one more time. This will cause the same enemies to attack, including the Cursed Thrall, of which you need to kill five using a melee attack, picking up the Seething Bile that they drop.

Back out to the stairs that you used to reach that room, killing everything but the Cursed Thrall with any weapon you desire. However, maybe avoid grenades or Super Abilities that have a large blast radius to ensure there is no collateral damage. When it's just the Cursed Thrall remaining, rush into the room and kill one with a melee attack, then retreat back outside to recover. Do this five times to complete the task, and just like the last time, avoid dying unless you want your progress to be reset.

[5.4] Gather Their Faith

Let us start this task by stating that the quest is completely worth the reward, but that doesn't make what you're about to do any less tedious. You're about to kill 100 Acolytes and Wizards using Void damage, and again, you cannot die unless you want to lose some -- not all -- progress.

There are multiple ways to do this, including one which has you returning to The Dark Beyond mission on the Moon. The problem with that approach is that we found there are just too many things that can go wrong, so we're going to give you a simple solution, although it might take an hour to complete.

You're definitely going to the Moon, but we suggest loading up a mission called the Chamber of Night. It's infested with Acolytes and Wizards, and killing all of them each time through should see you finishing this portion of the quest in about three to four passes. To make things even easier, we brought a friend who was on board with our plan, having them kill every other type of enemy so we could keep our focus on only those that dropped the Sullen Hearts we needed to collect. When you're done, return the Urn of Sacrifice to Eris at the Tower.

[5.5] Gather Their Suffering

You're headed back to Skywatch on Earth. To be even more precise, you will literally be standing on top of the loot cave for this next part. It might take a solid 30 minutes for the event to randomly kick off, so feel free to pop a squat, or bust out your best dance moves to pass the time. There are also plenty of Fallen and Hive foes to kill if dancing isn't your thing.

What you're waiting for is a public event that will see the arrival of Urzok, a no-joke foe who will almost certainly require more than one Guardian to take down. It's not that he himself is that hard, but the 400 or so goons that he brings are somewhat problematic. Make this fight easier by bringing Arc damage, and once again we'd like to mention that your Murmur is a decent choice if you don't have something better. When Urzok falls, get the heck out of there and return to Eris at the Tower.

[5.6] Ritual of Sacrifice

This is definitely a two person, if not three person mission. The good news, is that only the fireteam leader needs to have this quest unlocked. Your friends can still join you even if they haven't completed the previous steps. This was a level 26 quest for us, though, which means that it's actually more challenging than both of the strikes we completed with The Dark Below DLC. Here are a few ideas to help you survive.

Bring Solar damage for this one. During the final battle you'll be faced off against a hoard of Wizards, and they just love to throw their Solar shields in your face while you're trying to take them down.

You'll find several swords in the middle of the final room. Pick them up for one-hit kills on some of the adversaries that will attack you. If you lose the sword, just go pick up another one from the center area. We didn't notice a limit.

This probably goes without saying, but try to avoid stepping in the fire that's all over the ground during the final fight. Fire hurts, and this stuff is no exception. We found that utilizing our triple jump was extremely effective in keeping our feet cool.

[5.7] Eyes of the Forsaken

When the quest is complete, head back to the Tower to bounce around between Eris and Xûr a couple of times, finally claiming your reward from the former. As we mentioned earlier on, this will either come in the form of the Acolyte Rung, Knightbone Guard or Thrallskin Brace, depending on what class you completed the quest as. All three of them are legendary Gauntlets, and for us -- Hunters -- that meant the Acolyte Rung, rocking a maximum Light level of 33. Unless you're wearing some Exotic gear, this will most certainly help you level up your Guardian.

[6.0] The 4th Horseman

Since this weapon is not only a PlayStation exclusive, but also a an Exotic with no clear path to being unlocked, we figured it was better saved until near the end. In fact, we've only heard of a few people who have gotten their hands on it, one of which was in the first chest during the Crota's End raid. You can read [7.1] Loot Chest Trick for instructions on how to -- potentially -- score this four barreled shotgun.

Type: Shotgun

Slot: Special

Rarity: Exotic

Damage: 286/331

Elemental: Arc

Rate of Fire: 34

Magazine: 5

[7.0] Crota's End Raid

Crota's End is a level 30 raid that takes place in the Ocean of Storms region of the Moon. At this point in time it is likely the most difficult activity that can be tackled in Destiny, requiring up to six players to complete. It's broken down into several phases that require more than just your standard move and shoot strategy, which is why we'll be adding a full walkthrough of it to this existing guide as soon as we've had the opportunity to beat it ourselves. Stay tuned!

[7.1] Loot Chest Trick

After dropping into the giant hole at the beginning of the raid players will reach the darkness. Turn left from your starting location, moving to a wall and hugging it until you find an open door. Sometimes there is a chest in there and sometimes not. If there is, collect the loot and back out. If the chest isn't there, allow the Thrall to kill you and then restart the raid. Continue to do this until it shows up. The best part of this process -- besides the rewards -- is that you can do it alone, and likely even before you are a high enough level to be able to complete the raid.

[8.0] New Crucible Maps

The Dark Below DLC came with three new Crucible maps that players can compete in if they need to take a PvE break for a little PvP. In addition to the already existing maps, Bungie has added The Cauldron, Skyshock and Pantheon. In case you've taken a break from the player-vs-player grind, here are a few tips to help you get back into the swing of things.

Before you head out to prove you're the best Guardian in Destiny, stop by Xander 99-40, the bounty tracker at the Tower. He's located just above the entrance to the Hall of Guardians, and can provide you with bounties to help you gain both Crucible Marks and Reputation.

The radar in Destiny is setup in such a way that campers are never really safe. Not that we should have to explain why camping is bad, but in Destiny they are quickly sought out and destroyed, just the way it should be.

If you wander into the Control game mode, try saving your Super Ability and grenade until you're approaching an objective within your opponent's control. This will allow you to deliver maximum damage to -- hopefully -- multiple targets.

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