The hot new weapon to get in Destiny is the Outbreak Prime.
Last year during the lead up to The Taken King’s release, one of the exotic weapons that got really hyped up was the Sleeper Simulant. What makes Sleeper Simulant one of the more unique weapons in the game, aside from its distinctive design, is that it’s the only fusion rifle to occupy a player’s heavy weapon slot. With the level of hype it was getting in the press, people expected the quest you’d need to go on to obtain the weapon to be fairly complex. It turned out to be pretty straight forward though, letting down a more passionate portion of the player base. The weapon’s reputation also suffered because of how situational it is, and The Taken King didn’t really have any relevant content that let you put it to good use. (Luckily, Sleeper Simulant’s time to shine has come in Rise of Iron where it is particularly useful against raid bosses.)
Outbreak Prime, in many ways, is the complete opposite. The weapon was never mentioned or acknowledged by Bungie prior to its unlock. The only clue anyone had about it its existence was a brief clip of it being used in a trailer leading up to the launch of Rise of Iron. People knew it existed, but they didn’t know anything else about it. All they knew is that they wanted it. This organic hype around something you knew barely anything about worked way better than manufactured hype in a Game Informer article that lays out exactly everything the weapon is capable of.
The weapon itself is also in a much more favorable spot than Sleeper Simulant ever was. Outbreak Prime is a primary weapon, and it’s specifically an archetype of pulse rifle that is very popular in the current PvE and PvP weapons metagame. This means that simply from its base stats, the weapon is viable for use in all game activities. The icing on the cake is its unique perk, which causes a swarm of SIVA nanites to spawn when an enemy is hit repeatedly by the weapon or killed with a headshot. These nanites attack other enemies within proximity, and cause extra damage to Fallen enemies, which are the primary type of enemy in the Rise of Iron expansion. And then, if that wasn’t enough, the weapon is obtained at 390 light level, which is five points higher than the current light level cap. In many ways, this is bound to be the go-to weapon for PvE content for the next year of Destiny, and it’s also pretty good for PvP (though its advantages are less pronounced there).
The journey to acquiring Outbreak Prime is proportionally convoluted.
The first clues on how to obtain the weapon originated from a Bungie ARG, which gave players one of 1024 random slices of an encrypted file in their profiles on Bungie.net. Players had to collaborate combine these 1024 slices together and decrypt the file to get a map of a room in the Wrath of the Machine raid, with certain pillars highlighted. Standing on these pillars caused two monitors in a previous room to turn on, indicating the column and row in binary for the next pillar a player would need to stand on. Complete this for the four pillars and you’ll open a giant cube in the middle of the room which contains an exotic chest and a monitor. Scattered throughout the raid are five monitors which all need to be activated to unlock a secret room after you’ve defeated the final boss. In the secret room is another chest, which has a chance of dropping an exotic and also contains the first step of the quest towards unlocking Outbreak Prime. Just the process of unlocking the first step of the Outbreak Prime quest is more convoluted and insane than the entire process of unlocking Sleeper Simulant.
I don’t intend for this to be a guide to unlocking Outbreak Prime as there are way better ones out there already, but here’s a list of other things you need to do to unlock the weapon:
- Complete a Nightfall strike
- Complete three public events in the new patrol area
- Play 3 heroic strikes or multiplayer games
- Get 50 Pulse Rifle kills
- Kill a ridiculous amount of enemies in the new patrol area
- Complete the Archon’s Forge “horde mode” three times
- Complete the Sepiks Perfected strike
- Complete the Wrath of the Machine raid
- Complete three math puzzles of increasing complexity with the collaboration of your fireteam
In comparison, here’s the list of things you needed to do to unlock Sleeper Simulant and its quest when it was originally released (prerequisites have been relaxed since then, making it even easier):
- Obtain 4 fusion rifle relics which drop randomly from enemies
- Complete a recycled variant of the Siege of the Warmind story mission that only appears on the 7th of every month and complete a puzzle with the item dropped from the boss
- Complete a recycled variant of the Cayde’s Stash story mission that requires you to speed run it in under 4 minutes
- Play The Archive story mission
- Dismantle a legendary heavy weapon
- Complete three warsat public events (one on Earth, one on the Moon, one on Mars)
The two hardest parts of that quest were waiting for the relics to drop and waiting for the 7th to come around. Funnily enough, both of those requirements were lifted a few months ago, so now getting Sleeper Simulant is trivial.
Yesterday, my clanmates and I got our Outbreak Primes. All of the steps can be completed comfortably within a week, and I would suggest spreading it out that long because the quest effectively makes you complete the raid twice on the same character, and doing so within the same week means you won’t get loot from the second play.
I’d like to focus on one step of the Outbreak Prime quest in particular, and that’s the math puzzles. The math puzzles themselves are not particularly difficult, but they can be time-consuming. Luckily, two of the puzzles have fixed solutions, so you can simply look them up on the Internet if you don’t want to bother, and the third is randomly generated, but someone has created a calculator to do the math for you. But my issue isn’t with the math puzzles themselves, but rather the way they were implemented.
Similarly to the IKELOS Fusion Core used for the Sleeper Simulant unlock quest, the SIVA Engine you complete these puzzles on is shoehorned into the item detail screen with some creative scripting work, and unfortunately, it can be rather buggy. The final step of the quest has you complete one final math puzzle with your teammates, and you must be very careful about hitting the final button simultaneously. If a person rushes and presses the final button before the button is enabled for their teammates, the button won’t enable for them, and they can’t get their fancy new weapon.
This happened to me and a teammate. There’s a workaround, but it isn’t very good. Once you’ve completed the 2nd and 3rd math puzzles, you can buy a SIVA Engine Replica from a vendor which allows you to either complete that puzzle another time to allow your teammates to continue the quest or help someone else complete the quest if their teammates bailed on them. Unfortunately, in that case, the person who is burdened with completing the puzzle a second time gets no benefit from doing it, so they aren’t incentivized to help anybody out. All of this could have been avoided if the synchronized completion status of the SIVA Engine didn’t get reset after a fireteam member turns it in, but instead we’re left with this wonky and confusing system that leaves people infuriated.
Overall, I liked this quest because it feels like the weapon was worth the trouble we went through to got it, and really that seems to be the pattern for all exotic quests in Rise of Iron. Swords and Touch of Malice in The Taken King both had extensive fetch quests to prolong the process of unlocking them, and while both were very powerful weapons, they were so situational that I didn’t really see the point in getting them when I could beat the content they were tailored for using my regular arsenal. Most of the exotics in The Taken King had quests similar in scope to Sleeper Simulant, but they were also just kind of average weapons, so I didn’t bother with most of them. In Rise of Iron, there is a more manageable number of exotics to pursue (five) and each of the quests feels like it is of appropriate complexity for the weapon you’re unlocking.
Wrath of the Machine’s heroic mode is going to be unlocked at 5pm Eastern on Tuesday, so I figure this is as good a way to close out the normal mode Wrath of the Machine chapter as there’s gonna be.