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Feature Article

Destiny 2 Solstice Of Heroes: Armor Upgrades, EAZ Tips

Your guide to upgrading Solstice armor, collecting and using elemental orbs, and more.

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Solstice of Heroes 2019 is live in Destiny 2, marking the final big event to take place before the (now delayed) Shadowkeep expansion arrives in October. This year's event again centers around obtaining and upgrading a series of Solstice armor for Titans, Hunters, and Warlocks (with extensive grinding along the way), and also involves partaking in a brand-new mode called the European Aerial Zone.

We're still digging into everything the event has to offer following the release of the new update, but based on our experience so far, we have some tips on how to quickly upgrade your armor, how to get the most out of your EAZ runs, and how elemental orbs and buffs work. This event has brought with it two new Moments of Triumph, and you'll now have a bit of extra time to earn those. Moments of Triumph has been extended into September, as the new DLC expansion Shadowkeep has been delayed until October.

Understanding The EAZ

As the name suggests, the European Aerial Zone features a lot in common with the European Dead Zone, at least in terms of visuals. The "aerial" part of the name comes in when you look at how the area is laid out--this is the most vertically oriented area in Destiny. The area has small groups of floating islands surrounding the outside, but the landmass is primarily composed of familiar EDZ elements. However, the ruined cityscape has you going through buildings and ascending to rooftops quite frequently. It's a much different way of navigating the world than we're accustomed to, and you'll want to do what you can to familiarize yourself with the general layout. It's easy to get lost and generally waste time, and speed is the name of the game.

A run through the EAZ consists of a few rounds:

  • Kill as many minibosses you can within the time limit
  • Kill the boss
  • Unlock the chests within the time limit
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You'll want to focus on the miniboss targets throughout the first section; it's easy to get distracted by small skirmishes that don't matter. Having your team of three split up and take out as many minibosses as possible seemingly dictates the number of chests that open once you kill the boss. The boss fights are relatively straightforward encounters (although there is some potential wrinkle where a Prismatic Taken spawns during this stage, though we're not entirely sure what effect killing it has).

Once you've slain the boss, a chest will appear nearby. Once you open that, a countdown will begin before a series of chests spawn around the map--the total number is dictated by how many minibosses you were able to kill. Just before they appear, you'll briefly see their locations on your HUD--make sure to look around and make note of the general direction of each one. Once the chests actually spawn, you'll have to get close to them in order to see them pop up on your HUD again. As with the minibosses, spreading out to cover more ground is your best bet, because you only have a limited time to open as many chests as possible. Any player who opens the chest earns the rewards for everyone in the group, so you don't need to worry about hitting up each one yourself.

Solstice Packages And Key Fragments

You should earn a Solstice Package from each EAZ run, along with a series of Solstice Key Fragments. The packages seem to consist of a variety of random gear and items, including planetary materials and armor. You'll need 15 key fragments in order to open a package. While you can earn key fragments from the EAZ, there are other ways to earn them, including completing patrols, public events, and Solstice bounties.

One thing to be aware of if you jumped into the event early: the Solstice Key Fragment Magnets that were being sold by Eververse are now gone. These were intended to increase the number of Solstice Key Fragments that would drop for you, but they were not working as intended. As such, Bungie has pulled them from sale and will provide more information in the future, presumably including what it plans to do for those who purchased the magnets.

Upgrading Solstice Armor

Early in your adventures in Solstice of Heroes, Eva Levante at the Tower will grant you a set of green-tier armor (dubbed the Drained version). Each one has a series of objectives attached to it (seen by hovering over it in your inventory), and you'll need to complete all of these in order to upgrade the set to the next level of rarity.

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These objectives run the gamut--some are tied to running through the EAZ and opening the aforementioned chests, while others ask you to generate elemental orbs (more on those below), complete public events on a specific planet, kill opposing players, or open those Solstice Packages. The specific objectives vary by class.

The key thing to be aware of with these is that you need to have the armor equipped in order to register progress. If you're eager to do this as quickly as possible, pay attention to the objectives that overlap. You may need to complete Crucible or Gambit matches while also needing to collect Void orbs in those modes, so you'll want to ensure you're equipped correctly to make that happen. But if you're not working on the objectives for a particular piece, or you've already completed it, you can swap out that piece in favor of something else.

How Elemental Orbs And Empowerment Buffs Work

One of the core parts of Solstice of Heroes is the element of the day, and the accompanying elemental orbs that can be generated. Throughout the event, a specific element will be chosen each day--Arc, Void, or Solar--and as you earn elemental kills (meaning final blows with an elemental weapon or ability), corresponding orbs will be dropped on the ground. Pick up 30 orbs the match the element of the day, and you'll receive a temporary buff, Empowerment, that grants you a different effect. Here's how Bungie describes each of them:

Solar Elemental Buff

  • Equip your Solar subclass and weapons to generate Solar orbs. Then, collect them to wield their Solar elemental power. While empowered, Guardians emit a burning wave of energy that damages anything around them.

Void Elemental Buff

  • Equip your Void subclass and weapons to generate Void orbs. Then, collect them to wield their Void elemental power. Crouch while empowered to become invisible and gain Truesight plus enhanced ability regeneration.

Arc Elemental Buff

  • Equip your Arc subclass and weapons to generate Arc orbs. Then, collect them to wield their Arc elemental power. While empowered, Guardians move with enhanced speed and deal greater melee and Sword damage.
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Once your Empowerment buff activates, your stack of orbs--designated in the bottom left of the screen by "Elemental Charge" followed by the number you've collected--will be consumed. However, you can begin picking up orbs while Empowerment is active.

As noted above, these orbs are also tied to the Solstice armor objectives. You can luckily create whatever type of orb you need for these objectives regardless of the daily element, but if you're looking to collect orbs, you'll need to be fast. Unlike Orbs of Light, these elemental orbs disappear fairly quickly.

Also bear in mind that all of this is true across the game. While the elemental buffs aren't available in Gambit Prime or Competitive playlists, they are present everywhere else. As such, you don't have to rely on the EAZ to generate the orbs you need for armor objectives. In fact, based on what we've seen so far, your best bet for rapidly acquiring orbs might be Heroic public events, particularly those in confined spaces.

Solstice has only gotten underway, and we'll report back with more information as we further learn how everything works. This is all now live for all Destiny 2 players, as is a slate of event-specific items that can be bought from the Eververse store.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Chris Pereira

Chris Pereira is GameSpot's engagement editor. He likes Twin Peaks, The X-Files (before it was bad), and serial commas.
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