Thorn is out for annual pass owners as of today. The quest is not very complicated, but may take you a while depending on your PvP prowess. Before we start, note that it doesn’t matter if you pick the Drifter or the Vanguard from the Allegiance quest, they are different things. Let’s start at the beginning. The first thing you need to do is go into the Salt Mine on the EDZ, it’s in Trostland and there’s no way that’s a coincidence. When you get the elevator that you had to activate in the mission, you should see a Fallen transmat teleporter… thing. Take that and go up the hill. You’ll eventually see a blue barrier blocking your path, when you do, jump up on the ledge in front of you and take the hidden path to the camp.
You should have a prompt to pick something up in the ashes, if you don’t, just hold your action button anyway and you should pick up the first part of the quest, in which you’ll go back to the Gunsmith. The Gunsmith will start the chain of objectives you need to do in order to progress. The first step is to collect 50 Hadronic Essence (remember Destiny 1?), via 1 of 3 ways. The first is to do Io bounties, the second is to kill Warlocks in PvP, the third is to run Nightfalls. The Io bounties give you 5 essence per, Warlock kills give you 3 essence per, and Nightfalls give you 15 essence per completion. So, you only need to run 3 Nightfalls and do one bounty to be done with this part. You don’t need any modifiers on the Nightfall or any particular score, you just need to run it, so make it as easy as you want.
You can get this step one in 1-2 Crucible matches if you are really good and have some luck with matching against Warlocks. The next two steps are very similar, 50 Plasteel Plating and 50 Sapphire Wire. To earn Plasteel Plating, you need to either do bounties on Titan, which give 5, kill Titans in the crucible, which give 3 per or do Blind Well completions, which give 10 for a heroic completion. Blind Well is gonna take a little while to do, I did this one in the Crucible, but if you don’t like Crucible, then Blind Well is your best bet.
For the 50 Sapphire Wire, Mars bounties will give you 5 wire per, Hunter kills in the Crucible will give 3 and 1 wave completion of Escalation Protocol will give you 5. So, you could just run an Escalation Protocol and 3 bounties and be done, or test your luck in the Crucible. Note that if you do bounties on Mars, if you get bounties that require elemental kills, you need ABILITY kills, not weapon kills. After that is probably the part that will upset you. Much like in Destiny 1, Thorn in Destiny 2 requires you to get 500 points in the Crucible in order to continue. The game will show it as a percentage, not points. You can use void weapons, hand cannons or void hand cannons to progress. In terms of the points, you get 1 point for a hand cannon kill, 1 point for a void super, ability or generally anything void, 2 points for a hand cannon headshot kill, 2 points for a void hand cannon kill, and 3 points for a void hand cannon headshot kill.
These values are increased in the competitive playlist and in Iron Banner. Again, this will show as a percentage in game, why they didn’t make it points, I don’t know. You do not lose progress for dying and going on precision kill streaks with a void hand cannon will give you bonus points. I’m not sure how many, but there’s no reason to not get them. The biggest piece of advice I could give for this is to simply focus on staying alive and trying to get streaks if you are using a void hand cannon. If you’re on console, the Ikelos hand cannon seems to work pretty well, on PC, you’ll probably end up using the Kindled Orchid from Black Armory if you want to try to speed things up, or a well rolled Thin Line.
Otherwise, Ace of Spades on PC is still really good, along with Inaugural Address, or Telesto. You won’t get as many points, but if you don’t have a well rolled void hand cannon like I did not, then maybe Ace is the play with a void shotgun like Retold Tale or something. If you are very low ranked in competitive, you might want to try your luck there as the point values are increased, but competitive can be a gamble depending on what maps and modes you get. This portion took me about 3-5 hours to complete with a terribly rolled Kindled Orchid, your results may vary. After this comes a run of Savathun’s Song with modifiers, but first, you’ll hit up the farm and visit Tyra Karn. The level of this strike is 660, I would recommend at least 640+ at a minimum. The modifiers are Blackout, Iron and Harsh Elements, which boosts all elemental damage that YOU take, but not damage that you deal, it’s basically triple singe for the enemy. The strike is essentially the same as you know it, but you also need to kill Knights during the strike that will spawn in.
The ones during the strike will be pretty obvious, but there are two towards the end of the Savathun fight that you may miss if you kill the boss too quickly. Once the boss is around 1/3rd health, go slow to ensure that the knights spawn in so that you don’t need to do it again. Once the boss dies, you’ll be rewarded with Thorn. All in all, this took me about 6-7 hours going at a mostly casual pace. Thorn is a little different compared to Destiny 1. You still deal damage over time with shots, but whenever you get a kill, you’ll spawn an orb. Collecting this orb will replenish 4 bullets directly into your gun and boost the damage over time component of the weapon pretty grealy. You can collect multiple orbs to increase the timer of the buff on yourself, but it does not increase the damage. Without the buff, Thorn can kill in 3 headshots or 2 headshot and a body. With the buff however, Thorn can 2 tap with 2 headshots at optimal range because of the increased damage over time, it makes the damage over time “critical” damage.
I only played with Thorn a little bit, but it felt pretty similar to the Destiny 1 experience, shocking, I know. In PvE, it felt like it was doing pretty well compared to D1, the Soul Devourer buff really helps it out, but its per shot damage can one shot a lot of low tier enemies. As for which is better, Ace of Spades or Thorn, I think Ace will likely still end up being a little bit better overall because it’s just so strong already, but Thorn is pretty close by. I think for a lot of people, it’ll end up being personal preference, but Ace is probably a bit better overall. Thanks for watching and good luck..