It needn’t be a nightmare securing level 32 armour from The Dark Below. Here’s how to make your life much, much easier while securing hot loot.
Destiny: how to farm Crota's End for level 32 armour
Before we kick off, this isn’t a standard step-by-step player guide. Instead, it's a series of pointers that we’ve found deliver Radiant Shards, Radiant Materials and raid weapons with less fuss. This is stuff that should be obvious, but apparently isn't, leading to much teeth gnashing.
Be prepared (for all that is good and holy!)
A good team will always instruct ambitious newcomers, so be sure to bring your best, fully-upgraded gear to Crota’s End and understand how it all functions. And make sure you have enough ammo. Nobody will blame you for not having all CE armour from the outset, obviously, but maxed out exotic armour and/or weapons that boost firepower and running speed all help to your contribution. You will waste hours and hours carrying ill-equipped Guardians.
Bring a balanced team
Sure we’ve seen the all-Titan team attempt and various flavours of solo-running the Abyss, but a regular group of friends isn’t that specialist. Truthfully, owing to ‘cheese’ tactics, you don’t really need a full team until the very end, but a squad comprising at least one Warlock, Titan and Hunter helps to race through the first two sections, only becoming tougher at the Deathsinger Encounter.
Hunter > Titan > Warlock
Generally this is true. The Hunter class is far and away the most god-like throughout the entirety of Crota’s End. If you’ve a maxed out Bladedancer experienced in Blink Strike and invisibility effects you are a highly sought-after hero for this raid. Bladedancers solo the Pit Encounter (aka ‘lamps’) with ease, though the Titan isn’t far behind. Titans really come into their own during the Crota battle as valuable support characters. Warlocks struggle to solo The Pit and punish third stage Deathsinger but at least one Warlock with self-revive is crucial to speed past second stage, The Bridge.
Pit Encounter (loot drops twice, on normal and hard)
Calling all Bladedancing Hunters and Defender Titans! Both classes with the subclasses mentioned are capable of speeding an entire team to the end of this first area, literally leaving the rest standing in the pool of healing light at the bottom of the initial drop. Both can use the rock on the left-hand side of the second lamp to jump high onto the upper level, bypassing thrall and preventing others from spawning. Titans only need to launch a Ward of Light bubble to wait out the timer at the end. Hunters rely on invisibility effects to jog casually through the whole area - even on hard difficulty. As easy as we’ve made this sound, it does take some practice so be thankful to your Hunters and Titans for shaving a ton of time off your essential Crota’s End attempt for the week. Warlocks can at least have fun Nova Bombing the crap out of thrall in a legit run with as many willing participants as possible. Warlocks can force through solo attempts but life is too short.
Bridge Encounter (loot drops twice, on normal and hard)
Every team, on normal or hard difficulty, makes light work of the Bridge with a self-reviving Warlock in tow. Now, bear in mind that this is a cheese, as opposed to the Pit shenanigans above that are tactical. This may get patched out in the near or far future but in the meantime, the idea is to de-spawn enemies that populate the starting area of the map. There is a way to keep all character classes alive by scaling the rooftops of the buildings at the rear, but it’s rare for Guardians to manage this without a lot of instruction and time-consuming practice. So, Warlocks and their self-revive are key.
First, though, you need to get one guy across the other side of the gap to sit in front of beacon that’s just to the left of the bridge. If there are at least three of you, this can be achieved by having one guy on each of the totems, running in circles following the blue-grey line with a crowd of thrall in pursuit. The remaining Guardian(s) activate the pressure pad next to the bridge to start the routine, luring the Swordbearer within range of as much firepower as possible. Time this so that the bridge is fully formed not long after the Swordbearer is killed, dropping his shining weapon that grants passage across the chasm. With a third Guardian across the bridge and hiding, the remaining Guardians – at least one of whom must be a self-reviving Warlock – can hurl themselves into the abyss to, well, die.
The remaining part of this puzzle is for the Warlock(s) to snipe across the chasm at thrall, knights, and eventually two ogres. When they’re all dead you all get prizes (fingers-crossed, an Abyss Defiant).
It is possible for all character classes to trigger the event, step off the activation pad and steal the sword to swish across the divide. This can save time if you can manage it first time, but it’s only an essential tactic for teams of two or less. Upon success you can also solo the culling of thrall, knights and ogres from the hiding spot. More power to you if that’s how you roll.
Hallway to Crota’s Chamber (chest delivers once, only normal or hard)
Whether it’s Radiant Shards or Materials you’re after, they all count when you’re grinding away at level 32 armour and evolving your precious raid arsenal. Running this gauntlet of thrall and shriekers to reach a chest at the end is often desired by Guardians. It runs on a timer, which needs to be reset, so everyone on the team should sacrifice themselves once before starting the mad dash.
The idea is to sneak one Guardian into a room at the far end of the hallway, across a large hole. Hunters have the best chance of sprinting to the finish, though any class can do it. There are only two shriekers on normal mode, three on hard, and the rewards are the same. Guardians can’t progress beyond invisible barriers created by functioning shriekers, so it’s these that are the main target. Their death-triggered tracking missiles combined with scratching thrall and exploding cursed thrall do all they can to take you down, but a good run puts you in a position to leap across the hole and slip between the closing doors just in time. If, at the final shrieker, the doors are too far closed, do not proceed. Turn back, wipe (die/restart) and try again.
Deathsinger Encounter (loot drops once, only normal or hard, with chance of an exotic)
Try to ignore that fellow Guardians have conquered this alone. For most players ‘the witches’ can be a real pain, and destroying the Deathsinger depends on combined firepower and coordinated attack.
Let’s assume that you’re running with a fireteam comprising at least four because you’re leading up to the final stage, which is Crota himself. There are three witches to destroy and two shriekers, guarded by knights, acolytes and thrall. The first two witches are shot down from range, and the safety of the two towers positioned left and right as you exit the tunnel from the pit.
The safest way of luring out the witches from the main building is to have single Guardians run a quick lap of the rooms at the top of each flight of stairs, left and right. Even on hard mode the knights are easy to avoid while running at speed and with a bit of leaping around. The witches emerge in pursuit, sitting ducks for Guardians sniping from the towers opposite.
Next, you need volunteers to shoot down shriekers in the witches’ chambers left and right. This is tricky for a lot of players, and it’s better to thin the ranks of Hive before sneaking a cheeky rocket or several sniper shots at the targets from safety at the entrances. As soon as they’re down it’s essential to run to safety, most likely back to the towers, to avoid the tracking missiles.
Yes, experienced players can take down the witches and shriekers before exiting their rooms. But if this fails you’ve let the whole team down. It’s also possible to have one Guardian clamber above where the third and final witch, Deathsinger, awaits a fiery funeral to shoot down from above. This is a glitch that takes a while to figure out. As with the Bridge Encounter we’ve found that you cannot rely on this with most teams.
The final assault on Deathsinger is best launched from the left-hand door as you face the chambers, using every character class advantage that you can bring to bear in addition to a volley of target-tracking rockets or heavy machine-gun fire. Defender class Titans can boost defence and better yet use Helm of Saint-14 to blind Hive with Starless Night. Striker class Titans’ flashbang grenades serve a similar purpose though without the shield protection. Bladedancer Hunters can sneak into the Deathsinger’s chamber and hop onto a doorway to rain down rockets from close range, though risk being killed if there are too many enemies remaining. A Sunsinger Warlock’s Solar Grenades eat away at the Deathsinger while shielding the user. It’s pretty much an all or nothing effort with an eye on caution and only one Guardian needs to survive so long as the Deathsinger goes down.
It can be better to wait for the countdown that kicks in when the Deathsinger begins her Liturgy of Ruin because she remains frozen in one place. However if there are target-tracking missiles heading in from Gjallarhorn, Hunger of Crota or One Way Ticket the extra time you gain is much preferred.
All the best to whoever is left to clean up the Hive that remain, just remember to stay safe because nobody wants to go through all that for nothing! As soon as the loot drops you can wipe.
Crota (loot drops twice, on both normal and hard, with chance of an exotic)
Sword swinging duty aside, to kill Crota with a fireteam, as opposed to solo-effort tricks and flicks, really demands at least four level 30 Guardians with at least three damage level 331 target-tracking rocket launchers between you. There’s simply no point in attempting to kill Crota with anything less because he won’t take enough damage to kneel and accept his punishment. We cannot stress this enough, and you’ll certainly realise soon enough or in excess of an hour of failed efforts.
Also, please, bring plenty of Heavy Ammo synth, unless you have Icebreaker and the team doesn’t mind waiting each time for you to glitch for heavy ammo (empty all your primary down to the last clip, fire off every last round of heavy ammo, equip Icebreaker to shoot all enemies for purple joy).
The event begins with everyone standing next to the huge crystal in the centre of the room, but as soon as it does it’s necessary to find cover in the alcoves or above doors to avoid taking damage from enemies beyond the glass after it shatters. In the Presence of Crota health does not recover. In normal mode Guardians can be revived before taking on Crota but it’s a setback nonetheless. Kill everything here, stay alive or at least hang on to as much health as possible. The sword carrier can fetch a life-restoring chalice to heal any wounds if necessary, after he’s done with the first sword.
"To kill Crota with a fireteam really demands at least four level 30 Guardians with at least three damage level 331 target-tracking rocket launchers between you. There’s simply no point in attempting to kill Crota with anything less."
Assuming that you have at least a four-man fireteam, an important point to consider is that the mission timer starts precisely when one Guardian exits the crystal chambers to the outside area. Crota’s routine is triggered, during which he leaves his starting position on the dais to patrol the walkway every minute on the dot. The Swordbearer makes his grand entrance too.
Your appointed sword carrier should be the only person calling the plays from this point forwards, similar to an American Football quarterback or team captain. You exit on his/her say-so, fire rockets at Crota on his/her say-so, and that’s pretty much all you need to know on any Crota run.
The first crucial hurdle is to bring down the Swordbearer asap, and for this the widely adopted routine is to have the firing squad – which may include the sword carrier – line up on the ledge outside the window. As soon as the Swordbearer steps from the doorway beneath Crota send in rockets and, if you have good line of sight, sniper shots, to stop him in his tracks. If it takes beyond 15 seconds to kill the Swordbearer it’s already too long and you’re limiting time available to strike Crota. Assuming all is well, Swordbearer goes down, drops the sword and your sword carrier is up!
Though it helps to snipe at the knights that target the sword carrier from the towers, it’s often the case that things run smoothly without this distraction from the main order of business: aiming down sights of your target-tracking rocket launcher to fire when the sword carrier gives the order. And at this juncture we should take a look at what’s going on with the sword carrier him/herself.
Sword carrier, simply know this: your biggest challenge after Crota is the route you choose to and from the point at his feet. You ought to have every confidence in your subclass agility, knowing the speed, height and trajectory of each jump. You’re most likely heading up from the left or right of the platform, where rocks are helpfully positioned from which to pounce (exceptionally skilled players might choose the pillar below-centre of Crota). At the very least you’re aiming to get three strong hits (R2, RT) on Crota while he is kneeling after taking damage from the incoming rockets. You’ll do this twice per sword, which on normal mode is enough to finish him off using the second sword.
After striking Crota three times, pushing toward him and squeezing R2/RT, immediately turn back to sprint over the ledge and onto the rocks. The curvature of the pillars on each side conveniently drops you into a good hiding position simply by running at them. During your exit Crota is standing back up, and in three seconds his shield fully regenerates. At that moment the firing squad sends the second wave of rockets, dropping Crota to his knees once more. It is better if the sword carrier counts this down and gives the order, although experienced fireteams know the timing just fine.
Back to the firing squad, then: While the sword carrier is delivering the second wave of blows it’s usually the case that everyone else heads back inside the crystal chamber. On normal mode if anyone requires healing from the chalice, the sword carrier can jog back to hand it over. Whatever the case, Crota has moved from his podium to stand close by the left but usually the right-hand side doors as you face outwards. He’s there for roughly that minute that we mentioned earlier.
As soon as he starts heading back to his starting position, this is your cue to repeat the process outlined above; in brief: everyone out onto the ledge outside the window, as much firepower as possible on the Swordbearer to take him down, ideally a confident sword carrier on the ground to gun him down and hurl grenades from close range; sword carrier grabs the sword, tells everyone to be ready; fireteam aims at Crota, firing on sword carrier’s orders that coincide with a spectacular leap onto Crota’s dais to land at least three good hits with R2/RT. Sword carrier hops to cover and counts down three seconds. The last round of rockets is fired. Sword carrier goes in for the kill. Crota is down. You get No Land Beyond again instead of Thunderlord, but there’s always a next time.
As for hard mode Crota, let’s break this down as directly as possible. You need at least a 5-man fireteam comprising at least four level 32s. Everyone should bring level 331 target-tracking rockets. There is no chalice to restore life, and death is permanent. The Red Death exotic pulse rifle and/or life-restoring armour are very useful. To this end, do not kill knights at the beginning, but weaken them to finish off with supers that generate Orbs of Light. Also, please do not die.
Everyone is out on the ledge this time because there’s a Gatekeeper patrolling below. You ideally need two Titans: one to place Blessings of Light on the walkway to the left or right, depending on which side the sword carrier chooses to approach Crota – this attracts the fire from the knights and Crota himself. Do this straight after the Swordbearer goes down to keep the bubble active for the duration of the sword. A second Titan can place a Blessings of Light at the doorway to shield Guardians from knight fire on the way back inside.
It is very likely that you’ll need a third sword to finish Crota on hard mode, as it’s 18 hits in total. This means that two ogres arrive after the second sword, one of which is in a room at the far right-hand corner of the map below the tower. All guardians head to this room, jump to safety above a door and rocket the bejesus out of the ogre as soon as he enters the room. From this now empty room, kill the remaining ogre outside while avoiding damage at all costs. Run back to the chamber, hugging the left-hand wall, ready for the final assault.
The final sword on hard mode has its own cruel twist. The sword carrier should have timed this so that the penultimate three strikes cause Crota to enrage, leaving only two or three more to finish the job. During this time thrall enter the crystal chamber behind the firing squad on the ledge, scratching through the glass. Everyone up there needs to be right on the edge, away from the glass, to avoid an embarrassing demise right at the finish line.
And that, my friends, is really that. The Oversoul? Well, when it comes to shooting the Oversoul you’re already in serious trouble, let’s be honest. Shoot at this glaring light in the sky that appears upon a Guardian’s death if you must, but only a true hero can save you now. It has been known…