Destiny Guide: How to Get the Elder Cipher & New House of Wolves Exotics

By | 1 year ago 

For every Destiny player there is a different driving factor behind spending just one more hour in Bungie’s latest game. For some, it’s the unwillingness to let a showdown with Crota beat them, while for others it’s the quest for 9 consecutive wins in Trials of Osiris. Even so, few of those obsessions can top the eternal quest for exotics.

As the top tier weapon and armor category in Destiny, exotics are the most rare pieces of loot in the entire game. Granted, some are fairly easy to obtain, especially from the exotic weapon and armor vendor Xur, but others require a fair bit of luck and a lot of perseverance.

New House of Wolves Exotics

With the launch of the House of Wolves DLC expansion, Destiny has added a handful of new exotics to the mix, including a small supply of exotic weapons. However, acquiring some of these exotic weapons isn’t as simple as a random drop. Rather, players will not only have to survive one of Destiny’s most challenging experiences, but even after that they will have to put in some legwork.

Included among the Destiny House of Wolves exotic selection are three, Fallen-themed Special Weapons: the Dreg’s Promise, the Queensbreakers’ Bow, and the Lord of Wolves. Each weapon has its own unique upgrades and fairly unique design, but unlocking them isn’t necessarily easy.

Step 1: Acquire an Elder Cipher

The first thing players will need is an Elder Cipher, a unique exotic bounty that only drops during the level 34 and level 35 Prison of Elders Arenas. In both Arenas, players will only have a shot at the Elder Cipher if they beat the final boss. For Level 35 the boss will always be Skolas (read our guide for tips on beating Skolas), and this week the level 34 Prison of Elders boss is Qodron.

Destiny Elder Cipher

Like any of the Destiny exotics, the Elder Cipher has a small chance of dropping after the boss fight. If it does, then the player has completed step one.

Destiny Forever Eater Guide Qodron

Step 2: Choose an Exotic Weapon & Start Bounty

Step two is to take the Elder Cipher to Variks, the Prison of Elders vendor in The Reef social space. Presenting Variks with the Elder Cipher will give players the option to choose from the three exotic special weapons – either the Queensbreaker’s Bow fusion rifle, the Dreg’s Promise sidearm, or the Lord of Wolves shotgun. The choice may prove tough depending on a player’s play style, but the weapon’s pros and cons are as follows.

Dreg’s Promise

Destiny Dregs Promise Exotic

  • Reserve Ammo: This weapon always has ammo on respawn.
  • Soft Ballistics: Less recoil. Penalty to Impact.
    • CQB Ballistics: Greatly reduced recoil. Significant penalty to range.
    • Aggressive Ballistics: More predictable recoil. Enhanced Impact. Shorter range and more recoil.
  • Grave Robber: Melee kills while this weapon is equipped have a chance to refill the magazine.
  • Snapshot: Aiming this weapon is incredibly fast.
    • Field Scout: Maximum Ammo capacity.
    • Perfect Balance: This weapon has extremely low recoil.
  • Shock Rounds: High ricochet shock rounds with enhanced target acquisition.

Queensbreakers’ Bow

Destiny Queensbreakers Bow Exotic

  • Marksman Sights: Long-range sights with slower charge time, greater damage, and ammo and charge displays.
  • Combat Sights: Low-zoom sights with faster charge time and ability energy display.
  • Hip Fire: This weapon has bonus accuracy while firing from the hip.
  • Single Point Sling: Switch weapons faster. Move quicker while aiming.
  • Flared Magwell: Reload this weapon even faster.
  • Send It: Increases Range and Accuracy.
  • Hidden Hand: This weapon gains better target acquisition.

Lord of Wolves

Destiny Lord of Wolves Exotic

  • Smart Drift Control: Predictable and controllable recoil. Penalty to range.
    • Soft Ballistics: Less recoil. Penalty to impact.
    • Linear Compensator: More predictable recoil. Slight boosts to range and impact. More recoil.
  • Hip Fire: This weapon has bonus accuracy while firing from the hip.
  • Speed Reload: Reload this weapon quickly.
    • Extended Mag: A larger magazine.
    • Perfect Balance: This weapon has extremely low recoil.
  • Devil’s Touch: Kills with this weapon rally nearby allies with +3 recovery. Lasts 30 seconds.

Most will be drawn to the Queensbreakers’ Bow because the idea of a hybrid fusion rifle and sniper sounds so cool, but all are seemingly viable choices. The good news, though, is that players don’t have to commit to the weapon just yet; there are still a few more steps in the exotic bounty, and after that they can lock in the exotic weapon choice again to be sure.

Step 3: Kill Prison of Elders Bosses

Those next steps are fairly straightforward if a bit time consuming. Once the player has the bounty active they will need to complete another Prison of Elders arena, on any level, and open the treasure chest with the treasure key. That’s obviously easier said than done considering the scarcity of treasure keys, but it’s part of the process. Upon opening the chest, the player should unlock the final step of the exotic bounty.

Now it’s time to grind some Prison of Elders bosses. To “unlock” the Elder Cipher, players will need to kill Prison of Elders bosses at any level for a total of 1,000 points. At level 28 the bosses are worth 75 points, at level 32 they are worth 250, at level 34 they are worth 350, and Skolas is worth a whopping 450 points. Also, any bosses the player encounters before the final round, like the Pilot Servitor on round 5 of the level 35 arena, count as an additional 75 points.

Now, while players can beat these bosses legit (i.e. complete the Prison of Elders arenas X number of times), it’s also possible to grind the 1,000 points with minimal effort. However, the player will need to make sure their whole fireteam is on-board for the grinding or else it won’t work.

Destiny Variks Prison of Elders Vendor

Essentially what players want to do is make their way to the final boss in any Arena – level 32 for example – kill the boss and then wipe. Because the player got the kill but did not survive the encounter, they will earn points on their Elder Cipher but not get credit for completing the Prison of Elders arena. So, the boss fight starts anew and the player can kill him/her and earn more points.

After earning the 1,000 points one way or another, players will then need to return the bounty to Variks. Here they will have to make the final choice as to what exotic weapon they want, so choose wisely. Destiny’s RNG can be a cruel one; so don’t count on getting another Elder Cipher any time soon.

Once the selection is made that’s it; the Elder Cipher will be turned in for a shiny new exotic, one that can only be obtained through Prison of Elders Levels 34 and 35.

Farming the Elder Cipher?

While there’s no official word on the matter, there is a strong belief in the Destiny community that players can farm the Elder Cipher. Like grinding the 1,000 points, what players need to do is continuously kill the final boss, but wipe before the Prison of Elders arena completes. Apparently, this gives players another shot at the drop, although that’s not how boss-kill drops have worked in the past. Again, there’s no proof of this working, only verbal claims on the Destiny subreddit. Still, since Qodron is an easy kill with 3 Gjallarhorns on Level 34, it might be worth a few tries…

Have you got an Elder Cipher yet in Destiny? What House of Wolves DLC exotic did you choose?