Destiny Defender Titan PvE Comprehensive Guide by Eterya
I put quite a lot of thought into a comment on the subject a bit back, so now I’m making a full-blown guide about it.
This guide will comprehensively discuss perks, playstyles and equipment choices, and how any Titans among you can support the entire fireteam to the best of their ability. Massive Wall of Text inbound, brace yourself.
DISCLAIMER: This represents my experiences and opinions, and is not necessarily the “correct” or “definite” way to play. It’s what I do, and I’m quite successful with it.
Basics: This will outline the Defender class and their special abilities. If you know anything about Defenders, feel free to skip this bit.
- Defender is a supportive class, protecting and buffing their team and generating Orbs of Light. Playing solo they can be exceedingly tanky and survive hits that would kill any other class.
- Lift: The Titan’s jump ability. Identical to the Striker’s in all aspects. The jetpack can be used either to gain height straight up, or if activated while in the air and moving to keep floating a bit vertically. Less influenced by momentum than a Warlock’s Glide.
- Ward of Dawn: The Defender super and core aspect of the class. It creates a spherical force field approx. 4 meters (13(?) foot or so) in diameter (due to it being placed on the ground it usually will appear like a dome, but it is actually a full sphere) that completely prevents any projectiles (bullets, grenades and supers) from passing through it. Both Guardians and enemies can freely move through the barrier, and projectiles fired inside the Bubble have full effect until they hit the wall. The Bubble can grant various effects on allies (or enemies) inside it. Also note that the Super immediately triggers health regeneration for its user once deployed.
- Perks: Armor of Light: Grants strong damage resistance while inside the Bubble. Blessings of Light: Grants a protective shield when passing through the Bubble that lasts 10 seconds. Weapons of Light: Grants increased weapon (not melee, grenade, super or Sword/Relic) damage (base 25%) for 10 seconds.
- Disintegrate/Force Barrier: Disintegrate is the name of the melee, and on a kill it gives the Force Barrier buff, granting the user a protective overshield, that can further be modified by perks, as will be discussed below. Disintegrate is a bit peculiar, in that it deals little, if any, additional damage over the normal melee, but only triggers a cooldown on an actual kill.
- Perks: War Machine: While FB is active all weapons switch and reload rapidly. Gift of Light: While FB is active any melee kill (this includes the Sword if FB was active before picking it up) will generate one Orb of Light. Unbreakable: FB continually recharges for its duration.
The following discussion will expect the reader to know and understand the various perks and Titan exotics. If you don’t, check out the perks by following the build links and reading their descriptions, and the armor by clicking here. (Ignore the exotic marks in that list, they’re datamined and not yet in the game).
General support build An all purpose build I run most of the time. If played properly it can form the backbone of a successful fireteam. Build. Discussion on why to use these perks:
- Magnetic grenade. This is actually more personal preference. I’m good with sticky grenades and like the high single-target damage they have. I just dislike all AoE grenades, so no Spike grenade, though they do have a use for area denial and on slow/stationary targets. Suppressor grenades have a notable use in shutting down some annoying enemies’ abilities, but deal low damage. They are useful, but a bit situational. Really try out all three and use whichever you like best.
- Catapult. Again mostly personal preference. I feel there’s less difference between the jump perks than on other classes. Again try out all three and pick what feels best for you.
- Blessings of Light. If I had to pick one it would be this, but I really use all three, depending on the situation: Stuff likely to get inside your Bubble? -Armor. You’re likely to have a good shot at the enemy without too much return fire? -Weapons. Blessings is a middle ground, as it has both defensive and offensive use, giving a shield even outside the Bubble, that can be used either for actual protection, or to soak up return fire while nuking a target . Just a few hours back, someone made a post about this, and concluded that Blessings is likely to allow for more actual DpS, here.
- Gift of Light. Because who doesn’t like punching things and at the same time creating Orbs for your team? (As a side note, this makes the “create 50 Orbs” Eris bounty ridiculously easy. Just run around on patrol or something and punch all the things.) Unbreakable is good, but I feel the support GoL grants is more valuable to a team. War Machine is useful too, but to me feels a bit oxymoronic, first requiring a melee kill, then buffing your weapons. (I heard somewhere that it combines with Cascade for hilarious effects though). Really all of the options are good, but Gift of Light is the best.
- Titan Codices II and IV. All the armor one can get. Plus a bit of Agility, because otherwise I feel slow as molasses. If you value Recovery more, feel free to use TC I and/or V instead.
- Bastion. Because the longer duration on the Bubble is a pretty significant increase. Relentless only buffs yourself, but we’re a support class right now. Gift of the Void is very useful too, but for a general support build I feel the extended duration is more valuable.
- Illuminated. Again we’re support, so we our buffs as strong as possible. If you’re running Armor of Light feel free to switch that one out. Untouchable is useful, but simply outclassed. Also I don’t know exactly how much it reduces the cd time by. Iron Harvest is useful too, esp when combined with some particular weapons/armor (Thunderlord/Ruin Wings), but for a general support build still loses out imo.
Playstyle on this one is being mid range, killing stuff with weapons and grenades, and when it comes up, strategically placing the Ward of Dawn to support the team. Make sure to communicate if possible and call out the buff and where you are (and not just “here”, but either with your gamertag or postion “in the corner” “right side”, etc.). As for the ideal placement of a Bubble, that’s somewhat hard to explain and much more of an experience value. Just do place where you feel it would be the most useful, and look where other Titans place it. Note that it will block enemy fire, but also your team’s attacks. Generally if you place the Bubble for the active buff, place it next to a wall/corner close to your team so they can dip in and out to refresh as needed. If you place it for primary protection, put it in front or at a chokepoint, but be sure you won’t want to shoot at what’s behind there for the next few seconds. EDIT: Also be sure to not place it in front/around your teammates if there’s any chance they may fire rockets in the next few seconds before realizing there’s a Bubble, or they’ll explode themselves.
Armor: Most of the available neutral or Defender-specific exotics (see the bottom for a full armor discussion) are good, but the ranking of usefulness goes like this: Saint-14 > Glasshouse > Ruin Wings > Armamentarium > Alpha Lupi > No Backup Plans. Obviously the “best” choice depends on the given situation and what you have available. EDIT: In particular, the Glasshouse is better with Weapons than with Blessings of Light, because WoL will always last the full duration. On a side note, Xur is selling the Helmet of Saint-14 for another 12 or so hours, GO BUY IT!
Weapons: No big deal one way or another for this. Use whatever you like and work best with that is appropriate for mid and closer ranges.
Orb-machine build A support build that aims to create as many Orbs of Light as possible for the team to allow for more supers (and healing off Infusion). Build. I will only be discussing changes from the build outlined above:
- Gift of the Void Orbs at any cost. If an enemy attacks your Bubble, 3 extra Orbs will be generated.
- Iron Harvest Again, all the Orbs. I don’t know the exact proc chance for this, but it feels high enough to be useful, even if it adds some more RNG.
Playstyle is pretty similar to the above build. Use your super as often as possible and try to place it into enemies’ line of fire. Use Heavy weapons often, an HMG is better suited because of the more measured damage, to get the most out of your ammo. Contrary to normal procedure, use heavy to mob up weak/trash targets. If you have the chance, charge a group of trash/weakened enemies and melee them all to death for more Orbs.
Armor: The best exotics for this are the Crest of Alpha Lupi for, guess what, more Orbs off your super, and the Ruin Wings to improve Iron Harvest, with the latter the better choice.
Weapons: Whatever you like, but use a high-Impact MG(Thunderlord, Jolder’s Hammer, Against All Odds, Deviant Gravity-A) and use it like a super-powered Scout Rifle (and almost like a primary)(i.e.use it to headshot trash mobs all the time), esp when wearing the Ruin Wings.
Force Barrier melee build Obviously this one is particularly punchy. A bit less of a support and more of a One-Man-Tank, also greatly suited for solo play. Build. Again I’ll only highlight the changes to the first build:
- Armor of Light. It’s a melee build, so you’ll have less allies to buff, and more enemies to kill you around. AoL can be quite the life-saver there.
- Unbreakable. You’ll be having Force Barrier up as much as possible, so it’d be nice if it survives for the full duration. If you want to use Shotguns over melee, feel free to go with War Machine. Gift of Light is useful, bit this time around the goal is to buff yourself more than support.
- Relentless. Again, Force Barrier should be as strong as possible.
- Titan Codex VI. As a melee build you’re gonna want some more speed, so some Armor is sacrificed for Agility.
- Untouchable. We’re using Armor, so Illuminated has no effect, and utilizing Heavy kinda defeats the point of running a melee build. Esp as the Orbs are generated on you, so they may be out of the team’s reach until the fight is over anyway.
The playstyle is melee and Shotgun heavy. Run in, punch the first thing you see to get Force Barrier up, then continue punching/shotgunning all the stuff. When FB drops, if you’re able to, continue, otherwise fall back a bit, or use your super if you have it.
Armor: Saint-14 makes your Bubble incredibly potent, you’re gonna be nigh untouchable in it (do keep in mind that an enemy’s melee attack/animation will finish even if they enter a blinding Bubble with it. This means one attack may still hit you, and on Lightswitch or against a full group may well kill you). Alternately the No Backup Plans shine on this build. They do stack with Relentless, so with a high enough STR, you can be protected 90% of the time. Ruin Wings and Armamentarium are solid choices as well; Glasshouse and Alpha Lupi not so much in this case.
Weapons: Everything suited for close quarters. Shotguns, fast-charging Fusion Rifles, and a primary you work well with up close. I personally like the following weapons: Swordbreaker and Murmur (good stats, Grenadier perk), Red Death (it got a buff recently, and for healing), MIDA (3rd Eye, good at hipfiring, improved stagger potential, movement boost and offers a great long-range option), Fang of Ir Yut (legendary, 3rd Eye, good for long range as well). Plus preferably an HMG over Rockets, because dying to your own splash damage is dumb (and totally not what happened to me numerous times before.)
About the Titan exotics: Exactly what it sounds like. A short discussion on all currently available exotic armors.
- An Insurmountable Skullfort: Striker-specific. The Infusion perk is good for HM Crota, and Impact Induction is decent, but that’s about it.
- Crest of Alpha Lupi: Special ammo is great. The signature perk increases the revive speed, and creates more Orbs from your super (only super though, no other sources like Gift of Light, etc). It’s okay for a support class, but there’s better.
- Helm of Inmost Light: Striker-specific. The other two perks only benefit melee, so the only time this one’s Not-completely-useless is on a melee build. But even there it’s fa outclassed by most everything else.
- Helm of Saint-14: Here’s the better I mentioned above. Most of you will have heard of this one by now (If you read close to the time of posting, Xur is still selling it, BUY IT!). The blinding effect leaves any mob entering your bubble entirely helpless (some massive bosses and the like may be immune). It’s considered the best, and with good reason. The only time to use the Glasshouse over this one is when you put up the Bubble exclusively for the buffs and far away from any dangerous enemies.
- Mk.44 Stand Asides: Heavy Ammo is on any raid boots, and Defenders have no Shoulder Charge, forget these for now. Actually they still kind of suck on a Striker, so forget them forever really.
- No Backup Plans. Special weapon loader is good. These are not bad, it’s just that they’re outclassed by several other armors. Except on a melee build, where they are massively useful, as their effect stacks with the Relentless perk.
- Ruin Wings: These are great. Because who doesn’t love more heavy? And again, special weapon loader is neat. They truly shine on a build running Iron Harvest and an HMG as outlined above.
- The Armamentarium: Loses out slightly because of Heavy ammo being found on all raid boots. The second grenade is still useful, but it’s kinda outclassed by the Defender-specifics.
- The Glasshouse: A very nice helmet for buffing people, the duration increase is 50%, or from 10 seconds to 15. A good replacement if you don’t have Saint-14 (as of this posting, Xur is selling that for 12 more hours. GO GET IT!). And as mentioned above, in a specific scenario actually better.
That was a load of words. This about sums up just about everything you need to know for playing a Defender in PvE. Anyone who read all the way to the end deserves a cookie.
Do you guys know of anything I missed, forgot, or have wrong? If so, comment and I’ll change it accordingly. Of course feel free to comment with any other opinions questions, or whatever too xD
Thanks for reading, and see you on the battlefield, fellow Guardians.Other Destiny Articles
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