Destiny 2 Haunted Forest: 11 Tips To Survive During Festival Of The Lost
Destiny 2’s big Halloween-themed event, the Festival of the Lost, is here to keep players busy this year. While there’s the usual crop of special Halloween-themed cosmetic items and masks players can get for their characters, this year also sees the return of the Haunted Forest, a special, spooky activity. It recasts the Infinite Forest from Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris expansion as a horror-themed spook-zone, where players try to take down as many enemies as they can, as fast as they can, to earn special Festival rewards. That includes new random rolls of previous Festival weapons, Horror Story and the BrayTech Werewolf.
You’ll first unlock access to the Haunted Forest as part of the Festival of the Lost quest line picked up from Eva Levante in the Tower. You'll also nab a helmet that can support Festival masks, earning you Festival candy as you complete activities throughout the solar system. The quest opens the forest for entry, which is accessible from the Tower map. It comes in two varieties: the first includes matchmaking with other players, and the second is locked, allowing players to venture in with their own fireteams or alone.
The Haunted Forest seems pretty straightforward at first, but it carries key differences from the Infinite Forest players are used to seeing. It’s dark and scary, which makes it difficult to navigate, and the Haunted Forest version contains special enemies that don’t show up regularly in the Infinite Forest. It also has different requirements for success than usual that can trip up new players, and you'll need to complete activities outside the forest to get all the rewards you can.
There's also a couple of special currencies you'll get from the Festival of the Lost and the Haunted Forest: candy and chocolate strange coins, which can be returned to Eva to buy more masks and other rewards. Like other activities, you’ll need to complete bounties and get as far as you can in the Haunted Forest to earn those currencies.
Here are 11 tips to help you overcome the terror and maximize your survivability in the Haunted Forest.
1. It’s Not About Speed, It’s About Speedy Kills
The Haunted Forest differs from the regular Infinite Forest in that your progression isn’t about distance covered, but about enemies killed. You’ll often see players sprinting through Strike missions that take place in the Infinite Forest, hoping to reach the far end of the area quickly in order to progress to the Strike’s boss. You have the opposite goal in the Haunted Forest--you want to kill as many enemies as you can, as fast as you can. Moving forward through each new area of the forest is just a means of finding new baddies to blast, but you don't "clear branches" until you've killed enough enemies--so try to balance pushing forward and clearing out enemies. Whatever gets you more targets faster is the better plan.
When you’re trying to gauge how far into the Haunted Forest you’ve delved, look for the “Branch” number on your screen. Along with the branch you’re currently on, you’ll find a percentage that shows how many enemies you need to kill to get to the Terror, or boss, of that branch. It seems you’re responsible for killing 50 enemies per branch to move on to the Terror.
2. Don't Bother Without Cipher Decoders
This year, the Festival of the Lost has a new mechanic: Cipher Decoders. These items open a host of optional chests that can show up at the end of your Haunted Forest run, determined by how many branches you clear. No matter what, you'll always get Candy and Chocolate Strange Coins as a reward for clearing the Haunted Forest, but Cipher Decoders offer you a bunch of chances for legendary gear, including random rolls on the guns that served as previous Festival quest rewards, Horror Story and BrayTech Werewolf.
You can earn Cipher Decoders by completing Strikes, Crucible matches, and Gambit matches while wearing a Festival of the Lost mask, and really, you shouldn't bother with the Haunted Forest unless you've banked up some decoders. It's pretty much a waste of a run to reach the end of the forest and not open up at least a few chests, and ideally, all five. That's because several major Festival Triumphs and rewards are tied to opening these caches. You can only earn the mummy-themed Ghost shell, sparrow, and jump ship by opening a whole bunch of caches--45 in total.
Note also that to start earning decoders from activity completions, you'll have to complete Eva Levante's opening quest at the start of the Festival. It's pretty simple, but don't waste your time doing Strikes, Crucible matches, or Gambit matches for the Festival until you're prompted to do so by the quest. After that, make sure to complete one Haunted Forest run and open your first decoder cache at the end in order to complete the quest. After that, you're clear to start stocking up on decoders to make the most out of every Haunted Forest run.
3. Know Which Modifiers Are Messing With You
The deeper into the Haunted Forest you get, the more difficult it becomes, specifically because of the modifiers applied to each new branch after the first. Knowing what modifiers you’re facing is key to staying alive, because you’ll need to change your fighting styles accordingly. You’ll see the Glass modifier on Branch 2, which makes you much easier to kill, but comes with faster recovery; Attrition on Branch 3, which means your health and shield won’t recharge on their own, but get restored by Light drops from enemies; Grounded on Branch 4, which greatly increases the damage you take while airborne; and Blackout on Branch 5, which disables your radar and makes enemy melee attacks much more deadly. From there, the Haunted Forest will start doubling up modifiers to make things even more ridiculous.
4. Stick With Your Team
An essential part of surviving the Haunted Forest is staying together, especially in the later levels. Efficiently taking down bad guys is how you advance through the forest, and while it might feel like splitting up is the better way to go about that, it mostly just makes it easy to get overwhelmed. Do your best not to get too far ahead of your team; you’re better off supporting each other if you want to get to the really hard branches of the Haunted Forest. And there's another major reason not to leave your teammates....
5. Don’t Resurrect Yourself If You Can Avoid It
Here's the real reason you'll want to stay with your team: you need them to revive you. As you work through a branch of the Haunted Forest, you’ll open more and more areas with enemies in them and physically move deeper into the forest. If you die and resurrect yourself, rather than be revived by a teammate, though, you’ll be transported all the way back to the beginning of the area and be forced to cross every branch you've unlocked to where your team is. That can eat up a ton of critical time, so avoid resurrecting yourself unless you absolutely have to, or if you’re early in a branch. Otherwise, you’ll probably cost your team the ability to get to one of the later branches for all the time wasted.
6. You’re Free to Resurrect in the Terror Arena
Every time you hit 100% on a branch, you’ll be transported to a special room where you’ll face a Terror boss, as well as a handful of its minions. This room is always the same no matter what branch you’re on, and once you’re here, you’re free to resurrect yourself without fear of getting sent back to the beginning of a branch. The Terror room is also the same for every branch, meaning ammo dropped in previous Terror fights will likely still be around in later ones if you need it. Remember that the timer is still running when you fight the Terror, so try to focus on the boss and take it down as fast as you can; you get nothing for clearing out the little guys harassing you while you fight.
7. Keep Your Masks Upgraded
You get additional rewards if you wear your Festival of the Lost masks in the solar system. Those masks have other benefits, apart from being hilarious: the helmet they fit on can carry special mods that only apply in the Haunted Forest. You can apply one of three mods to the helmet and switch them out as necessary thanks to the Armor 2.0 system. Each of the mods gives you benefits for different styles of play, so use the one that fits your style, and don't be afraid to tune the rest of your loadout to support your Forest-specific perks.
8. Beware The Invincible Terror!
Stalking the Haunted Forest like a slasher movie villain is an invincible Terror, a towering Hive Knight much like those that show up in the Dreaming City’s Ascendant Challenges. Like Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, though, this one can’t be killed. It’ll just hunt you through the forest, trying to wreck you and your teammates, which is particularly problematic when you’re working through branches with Glass and Blackout modifiers. If you see the Terror, avoid it at all costs, because you can’t do anything against it. Try to keep a lookout for it, too, because it likes to hide motionless in the dark until your team gets close, and it can ravage players in just one or two hits on later branches.
9. Watch Your Step To Stay Alive
This one might go without saying, but it’s easy to rush around the Haunted Forest, trying to beat the timer, and forget that it’s full of easily missed edges and drop-offs that can kill you. It’s especially easy to overlook those drops because the Haunted Forest is largely very dark and spooky. In an activity where death can be a major pain, either because it requires a teammate to help you or because it can cost you a ton of valuable time, it’s best to avoid your usual paths through the Haunted Forest that require big jumps or daredevil approaches. In fact, sticking to the clear path through the forest is often a better way to get to enemies more reliably, and to stay close to your team so they can revive you when you do die. Avoid the unnecessary risks of tempting fate over the Haunted Forest’s pits.
10. Don’t Panic When the Timer Runs Out, But Play Smarter
Eventually, the 15-minute timer on your Haunted Forest run will expire, with a message that the forest will be collapsing on you. That makes it tempting to rush, but when the timer runs out, you should do the opposite: slow down, take your time, and play smarter. The Haunted Forest lets you stay and complete whatever branch you’re currently working on to reach the Terror at the end, provided your whole team isn’t killed. Without the timer, you have no reason to rush and every reason to stay alive, so it’s best to change tactics, especially on higher branches where you can get taken out in one shot by the Hive Knight Nightmare, or even enemies like snipers. Note also that you’ll have much longer timers on your self-resurrection ability once the Haunted Forest timer expires--a full 30 seconds.
10. The Invincible Nightmare’s Pit is Scary, But It Won’t Cost You Anything
This is a spoiler for the best part of the Haunted Forest, so if you want to be surprised, quit reading. If not, know that once the timer has expired and you’ve died, you’ll be zapped to a place where you can claim a chest and collect all the Fractured Souls you’ve earned for fighting through the forest. Bungie has one more trick up its sleeve, though: a hidden pit beneath the bridge you have to cross to reach the chests, which traps you with the monstrous Hive Knight terror. It’s a funny joke, but don’t worry too much if you’re panicked that this horror movie twist just cost you your winnings. Dying should take you out of the pit, and if you can’t open the main chest, you’ll find them at the Postmaster. There’s also a secret exit from the pit hidden toward the ceiling on one of the side walls that will let you avoid becoming another slasher victim.
With the new Cipher Decoder system, though, you'll want to be more careful with the pit--either get yourself killed or escape as quickly as you can, because any decoder chests you don't open at the end of a run are lost. Be careful!