7 Tower Thoughts: D2ArmorPicker saved the day

We chat accessibility options, leaks and bugs, and how D2ArmorPicker saved the day when it came to Grandmaster Nightfalls.


It’s Friday, Guardians, and that means another edition of 7 Tower Thoughts for you to dig into. If this is your first time reading, Sam Chandler and I are Shacknews’ in-house Destiny 2 experts. We, like you, play the game a lot, and when we aren’t playing we’re often consuming other Destiny 2 content, which is what you’re doing right now. This is our space to discuss seven points of interest from the previous week of Destiny 2. Sometimes these are about specific news stories, and other times just random tidbits that come to us. Let’s dig in.

The right tool for the job

Skyburners Oath in Destiny 2

Source: Shacknews

Bill: One thing that I adore about Destiny 2 is that there’s a tool for every job, and sometimes the tool is largely forgettable outside of that specific job. The best example for me is Skyburner’s Oath on the Proving Grounds Grandmaster Nightfall. Skyburner’s Oath has Slug Rifle Exotic Perk, which fires explosive slugs. When you fire from the hip it lobs them in there, applying Scorch to targets, and when you ADS the slugs travel faster and straighter. Oh, it also shoots through the shields of Cabal enemies, including the giant dome shield in the opening of the strike and the one in the boss room. Yup, you can destroy the battery from a safe distance with Skyburner’s Oath.

That’s a huge part of the gear collection loop for me, and I hope that other Guardians appreciate a useful tool, even if it’s only useful in certain situations. Not every Exotic has to be meta. It can just be good at what it does, excel in the right situations, and then take a back seat to the next tool in the next activity you load up.


Bill: Last week we heard from Bungie that someone who was invited to a summit to provide feedback on future content leaked what was shown behind closed doors, which would have broken the NDA (non-disclosure agreement). I’ve seen people weigh in and say that if Bungie was more open people wouldn’t leak things, which is nonsense. Leaking isn’t about what the developer does or doesn’t show, it’s about the personal motivations of the leaker, which are almost always about chasing clout.

A Fallen Ketch from Season of Plunder

Source: Bungie

Further to that thought, Bungie is likely to become more secretive about future content due to the fact they can’t trust people to live up to the terms they literally agreed to with their signature. The person that leaked this information effectively looked Bungie in the eye, said they were on the up and up, and then stabbed all those developers who make that thing we all love in the back. That person should feel immense shame, but so much more. Oh, so much more.

I’m not exactly someone who shrugs and moves on in the face of stupidity and indecency. I’m all about crushing stupidity at every opportunity. Given that Bungie has been slapping the hell out of the folks making cheat software for Destiny 2 for some time, I expect (and hope) they make the most painful example possible out of the person who leaked this information. I hope Bungie drags this person into court and seeks damages so great that it’ll take this person decades to dig themselves out.


Bill: Bungie announced recently that it would expand accessibility options in Destiny 2, focusing on color blind options. As a color blind gamer, that’s fantastic, but there are a few things I want to discuss.

First, color blind settings can be hit or miss for me. Yes, I want to be able to see colors clearly and identify what they are. At the same time, if those color blind settings drastically change the visual experience for me, or appear ugly, it’s sometimes not worth it. I will suffer through the pain of not knowing if a shield is Void or Arc simply because I’d rather not know than have to look at something that I deem ugly. This is most common with broad color blind settings that apply to the entire game.

The colorblind mode option in Destiny 2

Source: Shacknews

A good example with Destiny 2 is that the Colorblind Mode option applies to multiple parts of the game that are pain points for color blind gamers. It’s a broad brush, and it sometimes works, but it can also alter the core of what we see in ways that aren’t just helpful, but are also unappealing.

Color blind settings done right break each component out into its own setting. Bungie is doing this in Season of the Deep with Neutral Reticle Color and Targeted Reticle Color, but there is still an overall color blind setting that applies to many components. I’ve always left that off, simply because visually it makes the game unappealing for me. It just means that in PvP I have to point my mini map at the sky if I want to see the enemy coming. Or, I have to ask my fireteam whether that’s a Void or Arc shield.

The reticle changes are great, and there is no pushback from me here. Bungie is taking steps in the right direction, and seems committed to doing so pushing forward. But if anyone from the studio is reading this, I can give you a cheat sheet for some of the settings that would benefit from being broken out from the broader Colorblind Mode.

The mini map should be its own setting, separated from the broader Colorblind Mode, as should the color of engrams, and the color of enemy shields. For me, those are the biggest pain points as a color blind gamer. Oh, and while we’re at it, any time you’re asking me to choose a color, be it for a shader, creating a character, or a loadout, it has to be labeled. That’s basic stuff.

Heist Battlegrounds: Mars

Sam: Dear developer who designed the Seraph towers that laser you during the Heist Battlegrounds: Mars Grandmaster Nightfall. I have one question to ask you: What did I do to deserve this? I presume I have deeply offended you at some point throughout my life. Maybe I’ve scorned you or dissed your favorite sports team, or maybe you’re one of those rare people that - for no particular reason - just don’t like me.

First-person perspective of shooting the boss in Heist Battlegrounds Mars using Hung Jury

Source: Shacknews

That’s fine. I can stand someone not liking me. But why do you have to bully me like this? These Seraph towers destroy dreams and they almost cost me a run at completing my Conqueror Title.

What grinds my gears about this particular section isn’t that they laser you, it’s that they’re inconsistent. I don’t know if they’re still tied to frame rate, but it feels like they are. That timer counts down so quickly that it’s almost impossible to make it around the corner and down to the “safety” of the next section. I say “safety”, because it’s not really safe at all. I’ve got to sit behind cover while the timer cools down while beefed up Hive sprint at my face.

On any other difficulty, this is okay. On Grandmaster, it’s outrageous. One errant hit and you’ll die. To make matters worse, your Ghost isn’t on the ground where it ought to be, it’s right back at the beginning of the Seraph tower section. Your teammates now get to enjoy running the route backwards to revive you.

I think we lost about three to five revives during this section. Either the laser would tick down faster than a child does when counting for Hide and Seek or the Hive would crush us when trying to reposition. Back and forth we went, reviving one another, until we finally made it through.

The last room of this Strike might be the most notorious part, but I propose these Seraph towers deserve top billing.

D2ArmorPicker saved the day

Sam: Why did no one tell me how great D2ArmorPicker is? I mean, sure, you all told me it exists but no one really took me aside, sat me down and told me I wasn’t being my best self, that my full potential was still out there for me to grasp. I’ve now used D2ArmorPicker. I have stat splits that would make you weep. I’ve grasped my full potential with both hands and it feels great.

D2ArmorPicker showing stat splits, Exotic pieces, and more

Source: D2ArmorPicker

In fact, D2ArmorPicker downright saved the day. Before our successful clear of Heist Battlegrounds: Mars for this week’s GM, Bill and I had failed it previously. We stumbled on the way to the boss room a few times and then, finally, made it there only to be crushed in about two minutes. A plan was hatched: Bill would create the ultimate stealth build, inspired by the unfathomably talented Esoterickk.

Bill took me through D2ArmorPicker, explaining how it worked, and it was a coming to Jesus moment for yours truly. I had seen the light that Mijago was shining and I was all in. After nailing a permanent invisibility build for Bill, I started tinkering with my own setup.

Now, I’m no slouch, I roll with dual 100s in Resilience and Discipline on my Warlock, however I wanted to know if I could do better. Turns out, I could! Truthfully, it was marginally better than my current build but that’s what is important in Destiny 2. Every small step forward makes you slightly stronger.

I was even able to create several triple 100 builds using D2ArmorPicker. In saying that, these builds would quickly be reduced given the need to have other combat mods equipped. In the end, I wound up with a juicy Osmiomancy Gloves Stasis build capable of spewing out little turrets.

My build, coupled with Bill’s sneaky Hunter and our mate’s own stealth build, saw us walk away from this week’s Grandmaster victorious. It wasn’t a champagne victory. There was nothing elegant about it. I stood on a pillar while the others snuck around. I don’t care though. Because now I have one more incredible tool in my arsenal against my foes: D2ArmorPicker.

I’m going to solo Spire of the Watcher

Sam: It’s happening. I’m going to do it. I’m going to solo the Spire of the Watcher dungeon. I’m not going to doing it flawlessly, don’t be ridiculous. I just want to get it done for the Guardian Rank before the end of the season. If I happen to have a good time and I’m close to flawless, I might give it a red hot whirl. For now, though, it’s just about the clear.

The Akelous boss in the Spire of the Watcher dungeon

Source: Bungie

Truth be told, I’ve got some trepidation about soloing this latest dungeon. I haven’t soloed a dungeon since the Shattered Throne back when The Recluse was still dominating all the metas. Soloing dungeons or doing them flawless has never really appealed to me, as I didn’t vie for the Title or prestige of it. I save that ego stuff for Day One raids.

My primary concern with Spire of the Watcher is how tedious it will be. I’m comfortable with making the connections in the first and second sections. That’ll be fine provided I can handle the enemies. What’s troubling is the sheer amount of health Akelous and Persys have.

I don’t really want to get five rotations into Akelous and then mess up due to user error. It just seems gruelling. The same applies to the final boss. However, at least Persys doesn’t walk away from you like Akelous, which drives me absolutely nuts. Stay tuned to this space to hear when I'm going to stream my attempt.

There will be bugs

Sam: Destiny 2 seems to be having a bit of a tough one. The latest hotfix has apparently introduced a host of bugs and problems to the game. A comprehensive post on the DestinyTheGame subreddit by Illicit has highlighted a handful of things that the community has noticed is wrong.

A Broodweaver Warlock casts Needlestorm

Source: Bungie

Things like mods not spawning Orbs of Power, Guardian Games medals and their associated Triumphs unlocking, disconnecting from encounters, and problems with Resilience are just some of the issues listed.

Destiny has never been an easy game to develop. There were reports from back in the early days of the first game about how difficult it was to work with the engine and systems. With Bungie split between developing the next expansion, presumably spooling up whatever comes after the Light and Darkness saga, whatever Matter is, and the reported Marathon game, the wheels are starting to get a bit squeaky.

Is it a problem of Bungie spreading itself too thin? Some in the community are postulating that the A Team is off developing the next thing while the B Team is handling the current state of the game. Or perhaps these issues are just evidence of a game packed to the gills with deeply interconnected systems built upon a framework that is starting to show its age. Whatever the case, one thing we do know is that no matter how frustrating it is for us, there are developers at Bungie pulling their hair out looking for the solution and that, at some point, the fix will arrive.

And that’s 7 Tower Thoughts wrapped for the week. How have you managed tackling the Heist Battlegrounds: Mars Grandmaster? Hopefully you’ve cleared it and walked away with a decent Mindbender’s Ambition without encountering any of the aforementioned bugs. Let your voice be heard in the Chatty thread below!

The Destiny 2 Guys

Bill and Sam are the two Shacknews writers who handle the bulk of the Destiny 2 content. As a Hunter and Warlock main respectively, they can cover a great deal of ground with whatever is happening in Destiny 2 today. What they don't know they can find out thanks to their all-star lineup of Destiny 2 friends.

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