The Prison of Elders is the newest endgame challenge within Destiny as part of the latest expansion, House of Wolves. Whatever your opinions are about the inclusion of an arena instead of a raid in House of Wolves, one thing is for sure: The Prison of Elders activity is intense. Even some of the most seasoned veterans will be tested to their limits once they step inside the Prison of Elders.
In order to help the many guardians our there in the world, we’ve put together a few tips that will help get you through this seemingly impossible challenge in order to collect some of the absolute best gear in Destiny House of Wolves. Although much of the Prison of Elders activity is randomly generated, there are some aspects that hold true no matter what that will prove useful as you go up against the most brutal criminals in the solar system.
Prepare Your Guardian
Not all guardians are created equal, that is a fact that needs to be accepted when going into the Prison of Elders. No, that’s not to say that one particular class is better than another. It’s more that specific subclasses, and equipment load-outs available to each class are better suited to the pressure that will be put on each member of their fireteam. In order to figure out that sweet spot, you’ll need to figure out what you’re more comfortable with first.
Warlocks have great recovery and survivability, Titans are great in close combat and defending their buddies, and nobody gets around as quickly and effortlessly as a Hunter. But, whichever you choose must be able to work well in a team dynamic. Choosing skills that are not only beneficial to yourself, but can be used to support your teammates is imperative. Three Sunsinger warlocks may seem like a good idea at first, but playing as a Defender Titan will allow for some last second barriers during tricky encounters. Also, Hunters can take advantage of speed and their cloaking ability to get to objectives quickly and safely. Some of the objectives will require you to move quick and if you’re too slow it doesn’t matter if you can revive or throw up a bubble.
When choosing gear, add some variety to your load-out, as well as bringing along some secondaries you can swap to for some of the potential challenges. Modifiers in between rounds will keep you on your toes and can force you to change your strategy and/or rely on particular weapon types. For example, a round may increase the damage you take while in the air, forcing you to jump carefully.
Make sure you have a weapons for each type of element across all three weapon types. Because of the randomness of the Prison of Elders, you might need void one round, but arc the next.
Coordinate With Your Fireteam
The Prison of Elders is played with two other individuals. If you’re going into the Level 28 variation of this activity you have the option of matchmaking. If you do go in with matchmaking, then you can skip over this tip since it’s often times difficult to communicate with your random partners. Not everyone brings a mic, or sometimes people are just shy. However, if you’re going in with friends, or happen to meet some kind strangers at the Reef/Tower, take time to coordinate your strategies and load-outs. When you’re doing the more difficult variations, you’ll definitely want to be able to communicate.
In order to cover all bases, it’s a very good idea to have as many different weapon types on the battlefield at all times. What this does is reduce the need to cover someone as they swap out artillery, and trust us, you’ll be doing quite a bit of weapon swapping in Prison of Elders. With that, deciding what to bring before even heading into the Prison of Elders is the best course of action. While you’re at it, decide on who goes in what direction before hand to avoid any and all confusion in the heat of combat. Some of the arena areas are pretty large (particularly the Fallen’s arena) so make sure to know who goes left, who goes right, and who holds down the center. You don’t want to have your entire team be on the left side of a map and then only have ~30 seconds to rush over to the right side while under fire from difficult enemies in all different directions.
These are small things, but they end up making a big difference, especially when a person gets downed during a heavy firefight in the Prison of Elders. Game plans separate the legends from the guardians.
The Prison of Elders is broken up into four areas that represent the different alien races players faced within Destiny. Each area is unique and is set up in a way that allows the enemies to leverage their strengths in all encounters. A good thing to do when starting a new level is to run around. With the exception of boss levels, every stage starts with waves of enemies and no critical objectives. Since these waves aren’t timed, get a lay of the land.
Learn the ins and outs of each arena. Find out the spawn points, locate the best cover, figure out how best to approach the extra objectives that get tossed in during the second and third waves. The arena is not only your battleground, but it can be your shield as well, so become acquainted with it. Areas like the Vex arena pictured above have tight passageways that larger enemies can’t get through, so why not use that to your advantage.
Just keep in mind that the arena is as much a part of the fight as the Fallen slinging grenades at you, and you’ll get along just fine.
Learn the Objectives
The Prison of Elders is more than just a combat arena. Just like with the raids, House of Wolves seeks to test each players teamwork by throwing critical objectives into the middle of the waves in order to see just how easily guardians can adapt. Failure to complete an objective at any time leads to an immediate death forcing players to repeat the round. Completing these tasks is as simple as understanding where to be when the situation arises.
So far we’ve seen three different objectives that require players to quickly do a simple action. Use these tips for each one and you’ll complete them with ease:
Destroy the Bomb
This one is pretty simple. Three bombs will appear one by one somewhere in the arena. They are always clear to see, so just locate it and shoot it. For some reason the Scorch Cannon doesn’t always seem to work when trying to destroy these, so make sure to use one of your own weapons, preferably something with a decent range, and stability, so you don’t have to waste time running right next to it.
Diffuse the Bomb
When this particular objective is announced have everyone in your fireteam immediately split up. One person goes left, one person goes right, and one stays center (something you should have established earlier). Bombs will once again appear one by one in clear sight, only this time you must stand directly under them for a few seconds. Having a guardian standing in each section pretty much guarantees that someone can make it to the bomb before the timer expires.
Eliminate the Targets
This one is relatively simple provided that you have a game plan in place. Have one or two members of the team pre-designated to immediately switch to their heavy weapons once this objective is announced. The targets will spawn close together, so some well placed heavy artillery will wipe them off of the arena quickly, and cleanly (sort of).
Last, but most certainly not least, is communication. Nothing is worse than not knowing what’s going on, especially when bullets are whizzing by, and explosions are going off all around the guardians. One thing that can really help you get through a tough situation inside the Prison of Elders is keeping everyone aware at all times. This requires some type of communication.
Informing one another of enemy movements, objective locations, or of some handy dandy orbs will keep everyone smiling, and most importantly, breathing. Stay calm and clear, especially when playing with those you don’t know. Cover each other’s back, and make sure everything runs smoothly. There is nothing more disappointing then being one Gjallhorn rocket away from victory only to find out that your team member forgot to warn everyone about the rocket-wielding Cabal Centurian coming from behind. Don’t be that teammate, make sure to always speak up.
With these few tips, you’ll be able to descend into the Prison of Elders and increase your legend with ease. Just remember to plan ahead and be patient. There is no obstacle that your guardian can’t overcome with a little bit of teamwork.
So how was your first foray in to the Prison of Elders? Did you dominate with ease, or did the denizens of the worst prison in the universe put up a tough fight? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. As always, safe travels guardian.