Think Destiny 2 is a little too easy? Good news: The quest for the Rat King sidearm is just the kind of extreme challenge you might be looking for.
Destiny 2 players will occasionally receive multi-step quests that, if they can finish them, will each reward you with an exotic weapon. In the first Destiny, the quest for the hand cannon Thorn was the most notoriously difficult one.
Not coincidentally, it was also the most rewarding.
After The Taken King expansion launched in 2015, the challenge to obtain the Black Spindle sniper rifle dethroned Thorn as the new toughest, most rewarding quest in the game. Now, there's a new contender.
Over the weekend I completed all three of Destiny 2's currently completable exotic quests. I've got the Rat King, the MIDA Multi-Tool scout rifle, and the hand cannon Sturm. The Rat King was easily the toughest to finish, and the most rewarding.
It starts with a quest on Titan, one of the blue missions that open up after you finish the story campaign. It's called "Enemy of My Enemy," and it's not too hard. At the end, you'll get something called "Rat King's Crew" in one of your kinetic weapon slots.
It's got a riddle attached, and if you want to solve it on your own, be my guest. If you don't want to know how to do the quest, stop reading!
Here's the solution for anyone who doesn't want to work it out. You need to complete these steps, in order, with at least one other person who has the quest:
- Do three patrol missions
- Do two public events
- Do two Crucible matches together
- Complete the Nightfall with at least 5:00 left on the clock
If you already did the Nightfall strike, you probably read through that list thinking "Fine… no problem… easy… what." If the first three steps are a piece of cake, the last step is a piece of rebar through the sternum.
Destiny 2 changes the formula for the Nightfall strike by introducing a timed element. Each enemy you kill adds some time back to the clock, but if the clock hits zero, you have to start all over.
On this week's Nightfall, "The Arms Dealer," you have to make your way through a bunch of wide-open arenas, dunk some energy cores, blow up some tanks, and defeat a major arsehole boss named Bracus Zahn, all while managing a rotating elemental "burn" modifier that forces your team to take turns as the party's primary damage-dealer.
Once you know what you're doing, it's not that hard to finish before the timer runs out. But finishing with 5:00 left is another thing entirely.
On Saturday two Destiny friends and I teamed up to get the final Rat King step done. We'd all done the Nightfall multiple times and were getting pretty comfortable with the strike, but even so, we had no idea what we were signing up for.
It took us hours to work out a way to do it. If you want to see what immense triumph and relief looks like, watch this clip of us finally taking Bracus down:
YESSSSS WE FUCKING DID IT pic.twitter.com/mdtdbiy8dQ
— Kirk Hamilton (@kirkhamilton) September 10, 2017
In the end, it wasn't a wild strategy or some secret shortcut that got us to the end on time — it was simple memorization, careful play, and a little luck. If you're trying one more time tonight before the reset, here are the best tips I can offer:
The only shortcut you can take is when you reach the open area when you call your sparrows. Ride under the bridge and jump up the other side, and you can just bypass that entire fight.
Go under here:
And then climb up the platforms on the other side so that you can go straight into the next area:
Other than that, don't take shortcuts. Kill every enemy in every room as quickly as possible, and it should keep your timer above 10:00 for the majority of the strike.
The most important thing is to melt the boss's health at the very start of the final showdown. Save your supers for him, and when your element is up, hit him with everything you've got.
You should be able to get him down to at least half health, which will cause him to bypass his first shielded phase after jumping up to his tower. That gives you a crucial second opportunity to kill him when he lands.
After we finished I saw a slightly different strategy on Reddit, where all three players saved same-element supers (Arc, in this case) for the boss and triple-teamed him the minute the arc burn went into effect.
I'm not sure that would have worked for our team, since our supers were also very important for getting us to the room in the first place, but it sounds like a solid strategy if you can make it work for you.
If you can finally bring the boss down, you'll be rewarded with an extremely weird gun. The Rat King doesn't look like much at first glance. It's a decent sidearm, but I don't much care for sidearms in general and certainly wouldn't roll with one in my kinetic slot.
It gives you a few seconds of invisibility if you reload after a kill, which is funny and potentially useful.
Its most interesting attribute, however, is that it gets a buff when you're near other players who are also using it. The buff isn't much with just two of you, but with three, the fire rate jumps noticeably.
The buff stacks six times, which suggests it will be useful in the raid, but at the moment there's no way to team up with a full team of six to test how high the buff goes. Maybe it's not actually that much better, but maybe it goes full-auto and spits explosive bullets. We'll find out later this week.
As much as I've enjoyed Destiny 2's story and post-story missions, part of me has missed the teamwork and focus that the first game's toughest co-op challenges demanded.
It was nice to feel that again, and it will be interesting to see whether next week's Nightfall makes it easier or harder to get the quest done. Part of me hopes it's easier, so that the people who didn't manage it this week will have an easier time of it.
Part of me hopes it's harder, since hey, man, it was hard for me.