Destiny Skeleton Keys Guide

destiny skeleton key guide

Less than a week ago Bungie introduced players to Destiny: Rise of Iron, the first major expansion for the shooter in a year. The DLC add-on brought with it a ton of new content, a new raid, and more new mechanics and concepts than players could ever imagine. One of those new concepts is the skeleton key, a new consumable that will help players acquire new loot and increase their light level. However, finding and using skeleton keys is not so easy.

What Are Skeleton Keys

In Year 2, Bungie introduced the concept of strike specific loot - unique armor and weapons that would have a random chance of dropping after beating the strike’s main boss. However, with the launch of Rise of Iron, Destiny has done away with the random drops and replaced them with a guaranteed drop in the form of a chest that appears after every main boss kill.

This chest can only be opened using a skeleton key, one of the new consumables introduced in Destiny: Rise of Iron. But getting a skeleton key is no easy feat, and some argue that getting strike specific loot has been made even more difficult to obtain than it was in Year 2.

How To Get Skeleton Keys

Getting the first skeleton key in Destiny: Rise of Iron is fairly simple. Players complete the main story missions and quests, and eventually they will be rewarded with one. However, picking up a second skeleton key (per character) is easier said than done.

Those looking to get more skeleton keys should look no further than the strikes themselves. Each strike boss has a chance to drop a skeleton key upon death, and the consumable will appear in the form of a small white engram (think SIVA Offering). The only problem is that the skeleton key drop rate is even harsher than the strike specific loot drop rate in Year 2. Players can complete upwards of 20 strike boss kills without ever seeing a skeleton key, and that is a problem.


Skeleton keys are worth farming, though, because the loot inside the chest can scale with the player’s level beyond the 365 soft cap for basic strike loot. Strike chests are one the best ways to increase your light level beyond 365 and they let the player choose what exact piece of armor or weapon they want to obtain.

Outside of that, there is no other known way to get skeleton keys, which means that players that want them should grind strikes. Thankfully grinding strikes also increases Vanguard and faction reputation, and drops engrams.

The Skeleton Key System Needs Work

With skeleton keys, Bungie has introduced a system that takes a lot of the guesswork out of obtaining strike specific loot. For example, if a player wants an Imago Loop, a hand cannon in the same archetype as the Fatebringer, they can open the chest in any Vex strike. Or if they just want a helmet, they can complete the new Malok strike, the Darkblade strike, the Fallen SABER strike, or the Echo Chamber strike.

But while RNG element of getting a drop is gone, it has been replaced with an RNG element on skeleton key drops, which is even worse. It will be interesting to see if Bungie has anything to say about skeleton keys and their drop rates during this week’s update.

Destiny: Rise of Iron is out now for PS4 and Xbox One.

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