Vanguard activities are based around Strikes. These are 3-player PvE activities, where the fireteam will progress through a mission, fighting enemies and completing objectives. The strike will culminate in a boss fight, where defeating the boss will complete the mission and spawn a chest to distribute rewards.
Commander Zavala is the Vanguard vendor, and can be found in the Tower Courtyard. As players complete Vanguard activities, they will gain reputation with Zavala, earning rewards as they increase in rank. At the start of a new Season, these rewards will change, and players' ranks will be automatically reset to 1.
- See also: Strikes
Vanguard Ops Playlist
Vanguard Ops is a matchmade playlist containing every strike that is currently available in the game, as well as the Battlegrounds missions. Strikes are chosen at random. Players do not need to own the expansion associated with a strike in order to play it in the playlist. The recommended Power Level for Vanguard Ops is the current Power floor, making the activity accessible to all players.
Nightfall strikes are higher-difficulty versions of strikes that offer greater rewards. Each week, a specific strike will be featured as the Nightfall strike. A weapon will also be featured as an exclusive reward that will drop from Nightfall completions. The rotation of strikes and weapons changes for each Season. If a Nightfall strike is tied to a particular expansion (e.g. The Scarlet Keep with the Shadowkeep expansion), then the player will be required to own that expansion in order to play the Nightfall.
A fifth Nightfall difficulty level, Grandmaster, is separate from the main Nightfall activity. It usually becomes available later in the Season, as it has a high recommended Power Level. If all fireteam members die in a Restricted Zone during a Grandmaster Nightfall, they will be sent to orbit, receiving no rewards.
Grandmaster uses the same strike and weapon rotation as the normal Nightfall. However, Grandmaster Nightfalls can drop the Adept version of the weekly Nightfall weapon.
- See also: Vanguard Engram
Vanguard weapons and armor that are currently in rotation can be obtained as drops when completing Vanguard activities. Vanguard Engrams can also be earned as drops from Vanguard activities, or by gaining ranks with Commander Zavala. When decrypted at Zavala, they can drop items from the current Vanguard loot pool. After acquiring an item in Collections, additional copies can be purchased through Focused Decoding at Commander Zavala. Older Vanguard weapons and armor sets that are out of the current loot pool can be focused using Vanguard Engrams through Zavala's Legacy Gear menu.
As of the Season of the Witch, completing Vanguard activities can randomly drop pieces of the Biosphere Explorer Titan armor set, the Hinterland Hunter armor set, and the Ossuary Warlock armor set. These armor items can also be obtained as drops from Crucible and Gambit matches.
In Nightfall activities, each week will feature a different weapon, with the weapon pool and rotation changing each Season. Higher difficulties will give a greater chance for the weapon to drop. Completing Nightfalls with a Platinum rating, killing all Champions that spawn before the end of the mission, will give the greatest chance at receiving a reward. Completing a Grandmaster Nightfall with a Platinum rating will guarantee an Adept Nightfall weapon to drop.
The seasonal Nightfall weapon pool can be viewed in Commander Zavala's Focused Decoding sub-menu. The Adept Nightfall weapon that is available for focusing will be the same weapon that currently drops from the weekly Nightfall. Adept Nightfall weapons require Adept Nightfall Ciphers to focus them, which can be obtained from Grandmaster Nightfalls.
- Main page: Commander Zavala
During each Season, players can increase their rank with Commander Zavala by completing Vanguard activities. Completing activities will also increase the player's Vanguard activity streak, granting increased reputation rewards with each match, up to a maximum streak of 5. The player's current streak can be seen by hovering over the reputation icon on the Vanguard screen in the Director. Completing Crucible, Gambit, or Dares of Eternity activities will reduce the player's Vanguard streak while adding to those activities' streaks. Players can only have a total of 5 streak progress across all four activity types, rebalancing depending on the activities completed.
Rewards can be obtained when certain ranks are reached. Each rank will reward a Vanguard Engram, which can drop items from the newest Vanguard armor set, as well as older Vanguard playlist weapons. Vanguard Engrams can also be focused into previously-obtained weapons and armor from the current loot pool, as well as older weapons and armor sets. Other rank rewards vary depending on the Season.
Rank can be reset to 1 after rank 16 is completed. Each rank reset will allow weapons obtained from Vanguard activity completions and Vanguard Engrams to drop with additional Traits in the third and fourth perk columns, up to 4 resets. Rank will be automatically reset to 1 at the beginning of the next season, and any unclaimed rewards will be lost.
- During the Season of the Chosen, the Battlegrounds seasonal activity playlist was included in the Vanguard screen in the Director. Individual missions could be launched from their respective destinations' maps. With the release of The Witch Queen, most of the Year 4 seasonal content was removed from the game. However, the Battlegrounds missions were added to the Vanguard Ops playlist. The option to launch specific missions was removed.
- Fixed an issue where the rank reputation booster modifier icon would not display on activity launch screens.
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