Something's Weird With Destiny's Exotic Loot Drops

Something's Weird With Destiny's Exotic Loot Drops

It was an interesting weekend for Destiny. Thanks to a new exploit, players got a closer-than-usual look at how the game's loot system works. What we've found is that there's something weird going on with exotic drops.

Here's a story: On Friday, Destiny's weekend vendor Xur turned up for his first appearance since The Taken King launched and year two of Destiny began. Xur was selling a few specific pieces of exotic-tier armour along with engrams that could turn into any of the game's exotic helmets.

I blew a bunch of Strange Coins on helmet engrams and excitedly went to decode them. Bungie reps had talked a big game about how the new loot system will now take into account gear you already have and give you stuff you don't have, and I was pumped to get some new stuff.

The first helmet I got was An Insurmountable Skullfort, the same helmet I'd gotten as a drop after finishing the Nightfall strike a day earlier. Hmm. Not a great start. I decoded another engram and got Mask of the Third Man, which I had last year but hadn't gotten in year two. Third engram: Another Insurmountable Skullfort. Jeez. Fourth engram… another Mask of the Third Man. What the heck? In the end, I got three new helmets out of about ten engrams; all the rest were duplicates.

Once I heard about the Three of Coins exploit — a trick that allows you to quickly farm exotic engrams from a low-level boss — I went to test it out. Purely for research purposes, you understand. Then, because I am a degenerate, I kept testing. And testing. And testing.

Many engrams later, I found that I was getting way more duplicates than should have been possible: Two Helm of Saint 14s, two or three The Last Words, three Invectives, three Telestos, a whopping four Light Beyond Nemesises, another couple Mask of the Third Mans. Something was off about this.

Something's Weird With Destiny's Exotic Loot Drops

Over the weekend, other players began sharing their own similar stories. A lengthy Reddit thread titled "Can we agree that exotic engrams are providing more duplicates than usual?" is filled with stories similar to mine, though the items in question vary. Players report decrypting seven, eight engrams and only getting two items with the rest being duplicates.

"I got 6 exotic primary engrams, 4 of them were the last word," writes one player, Metatron58. "I'd say something is wrong."

"Man I got 4 Invectives and 3 Crest of Alpha Lupis and I thought I had the worst luck in the world," writes another, ChildishGenius. "Semi-comforting to know other people are also getting screwed."

Destiny has long been governed by the random number generator, known as RNG, or, to more spiritual players, "RNGesus." The method by which Destiny decides who gets what item has been and will likely always be shrouded in some mystery. I and a lot of other players have long had the feeling that Destiny likes to give duplicate exotic items — almost every Destiny player has a story about how they went seven months without, say, a Hawkmoon, then got two in the same week.

Things were supposed to have changed with The Taken King (which, I should note, is extremely impressive so far. Our full review will be up by the end of the week.). Thanks to the exotic exploit and the current small pool of year-two exotics, last weekend gave us the best chance we've had to try to understand how the system works.

So, what's going on? Given what I saw in my own game and read of other players' accounts, it doesn't seem possible that the system is truly random and we all just have bad luck. It could be that the new loot system is bugged. It might be working as intended, with exotic drops weighted toward year-two versions of year-one items. It could also be that Destiny RNG is weighted toward giving players duplicate exotic items, maybe to keep people from filling up their collections too quickly. I've asked Bungie if they can shed some light on what's going on, but they haven't responded by press time.

It's hard to feel that salty about duplicate items, given that the Three of Coins exploit gave most of us at least a few things we would have had to wait weeks or months for otherwise. Then again, before anyone knew about the exploit, I blew a ton of strange coins on helmet engrams that gave me a bunch of useless duplicates. If this is a bug, it's a bummer of one. Hopefully Bungie gets us all an answer soon.


    I personally didn't get many repeat items (got Crest if Alpha Lupi twice), but then I didn't farm a lot with the Three of Coins exploit either. I suspect bungie limited the loot pool week one to limit the damage of any unforeseen issues like this one.

    Reading this just makes me confused and not want to play the game.
    I'm getting old, it just doesn't sound like fun.

      It's not a game, it's a poker machine.

        Pretty much this...not liking getting sent into year 2 having to rely on bungie's God awful rng again...which actually looks worse than before.

      If you play like me for only 3 or 4 hours a week this isn't a problem! I've only just finished the new story missions and have one set of exotic gloves!

      Well you could do like THIS guy and just play the game and ignore the farming and exploits. Already got some cool shiz and levelling seems to be going pretty good so far. I mean usually I don't have time to play every day, and usually sessions are like max 2 hours (maybe longer if I dedicate a night on a weekend but that eats into time for other things), so I guess I'm kinda casual in my game time? But yeah, I'm loving playing through the new game and not exactly worrying about some exploit working perfectly cause I don't have a MIGHTY NEED to have everything as quickly as possible :P

    One thing to note is that exotic armour has some fixed perks and some random ones. Even though you may get duplicates, one may have better perks or a better Int/Disc/Strength distribution. Pick the one you like and use the rest for infusion.

    So they went with a pissweak streaky random number generator. Not surprising really, common mistake game devs make.

    Got a lot of exotics from Xur's helm engram - only one I'm missing from Year Two is the Empyrean Bellicose, but I'm missing a few updated year ones. I think I pulled about five Light Beyond Nemeses, three Knucklehead Radars, a couple of Skyburners Annexes, three Skullforts... On the other hand, the eight engrams I got from 3oC farming got me eight different exotics.

    I brought 2x helmet engrams from Xur, had 1x exotic decrypt from a legendary and did the exploit for 4 more exotics, all decrypted into something I didn’t have, but 2 were duplicates. (Crest of Alpha Lupi x 2 (hunter version), Graviton Forfeit, Sealed Ahamkara Grips, Jade Rabbit Scout Rifle, Ruin Wings & the stag)

    Last edited 22/09/15 2:06 pm

      Incredibly jealous about that Jade Rabbit decrypt.

        Great gun, was using the Boolean Gemini but the Jade Rabbit is a much better gun so I've pretty much stuck with that as my primary since it dropped. for me

        Waiting for Arms Day to roll around as I'm 10xp from hitting rank 3 with gunsmith and want to get my hands on the Ace of Spades.

          Another gun I'm incredibly jealous is locked to Hunters...My main is a Titan (master race)...I haven't even touched my Warlock or Hunter since TTK release. Ace of Spades may change that.

    The exotics from Xur & blueprint vendors are 280 light, all the ones I got from the farming exploit were 290 light but i've read that once your over 300 light all the exotics that decode from engrams are 310 light. Really don't like that exotics are multiple light levels, yes you can infuse them but... exotics should be max light Q.Q

    Would it be accurate to assume that some exotics have a lower chance of dropping then others. Kinda like in other MMO's? Hence the reason people are getting duplicates.
    Wouldnt it be funny if it was only effecting the people using the exploit also.

      Yes, but also no. Bungie have said that you should have a higher chance of getting exotics that you don't have yet, so it shouldn't be happening like this... not this bad at least

      Can't speak for others, but I bought a tonne of 3oC precisely because I got sick of decrypting Xur's helm engrams into Light Beyond Nemeses.

    Just getting back into the game. I have the base game with the 2 expansions but no Taken King (yet). This stuff still confuses me. I enjoy just playing the game and picking up whatever I get. I remember enjoying the loot cave (I have no idea why) but farming exotics (which Im yet to get any of, because Noob?) seems like a tedious process. Hopefully as I play strikes and raids, they'll start appearing once I rank up.

    Who would have thought it! lol

    Glad I didn't decrpyt my engrams now. I read that the higher your light level, the higher the gear you get out of the engrams is. So I'm saving all my exotic engrams until I'm at least 300 light, which I should be hopefully in the next day or two :)

      For the record all exotics drop at 290. You can infuse them further if you have higher level items. Current known max is 310.

        So I should start extracting them once i get to 290? As they won't get any higher then that (without infusing them that is)?
        That is a helpful tip thankyou :)

          No they are fixed at 290 and doesn't matter when you decrypt, Legendaries etc will take into account what light you are

            Ahhhhh that makes sense now! Sweet, I have a heap of engrams to go through then lol

              They are not fixed at 290 at all, if your above 300 light they all have a *chance* of decrypting at 310 light, not guaranteed though. Under 300 light they are pretty much guaranteed to be 290 though.

                Thankyou, that is kind of what I thought originally lol may as well hold out, i'm almost at 300 light anways :) TY!

    I got a decent range of different items but also a fair few duplicates.

    Nobody has mentioned if they tried decrypting with different characters. That might alter the table.

      It always used to. The chances of getting a Hunter helm on a Titan were pretty slim, although I did get a few way back when.

    I think most the new ones are behind the quest reward only wall

    Vault of glass I would go through a raid with no drops while my fire team all got something, it took ages before i started getting drop. Now with the taken raid i also got no drops while everyone else got something....does bungie hate me?

      Yes, yes they do...

      Same for me, I think some of the rng seeds get borked, the whole system is fucked

    I find this incredibly amusing. Destiny players complaining about duplicate about first world problems...especially after heaps of people exploited the crap out of the Three of Coins.

    But it certainly does make me question why everyone on my friends list is getting duplicates. Even the ones that are getting them by using the Three of Coins legit. Then there's last nights friend and I went for about 6 strikes using a three of coins every strike (apart from one we forgot to pop)...he only got one exotic and I scored three (two in a single drop) and two legendaries. When he did crack the exotic he landed the Empyrean Bellicose...which he was wearing! I cashed in for a Helm of Saint 14, Impossible Machines and one of the new titan gauntlet exotics that grants explosive pyre (can't remember the name). RNGesus favors me after TTK...but for how long? And why does it seem to rob it's best serving players. It would be nice to include gameplay hours to lean towards a more valuable decrypt/drop.

    Today was a sad day today. I was helping my friend do the touch of malice quest (one of them) I have exotic drop its an uncryted boots. I was using my three of coins for that. So I was exited and went to decode it it went missing. Even missing in my inventory. I don't know why.

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