Xenophage is an extremely good Exotic Heavy Machine Gun that deals solar damage.
I had been thinking about going after Xeno ever since I completed Shadowkeep on my Warlock, AKA a few months ago. Every build recommendation I see seems to use Xeno for Warmind Cells, or for Champion melting, or a large number of other things. It is, simply, a very, very good gun to have for high-tier to endgame activities. I finally completed the quest after numerous wipes in the Necropolis and the boss room, and picked up my Xeno from Eris.
Xeno has an extremely confusing quest, especially for solo players, so I’m putting down a below-average player’s recommendations.
HOW TO START THE QUEST
Xeno is actually not too difficult to start. You have to first finish the Shadowkeep campaign, which is something people usually do first-thing after getting Shadowkeep. YOU MUST HAVE THE SHADOWKEEP EXPANSION TO GET THE GUN.
To first get the quest, you must go down to the Enduring Abyss, which is accessed from Sorrow’s Harbor. Enter the Scarlet Keep like you would during the strike, then take a left from the entrance. That will lead you down to a cave. Keep wandering around that cave until you get to a cliff overlooking the Pyramid. Parts where a flashlight turns on are a sign of going the right way.
Alternatively, you could go through the portal that sometimes appears next to Eris Morn in the Sanctuary.
After you reach the balcony overlooking the Pyramid, you’ll see some broken, falling-down statues. These can be interacted with, and a prompt will appear to “Emerge from the Dark.”
There is a specific combination to this, but I completed it in about a minute by just winging it. According to Fanbyte, you should activate the statues in a counterclockwise order. You’ll know you’ve completed this if the statues are all lit with blue fire, a message appears in chat, and a chest appears. Opening the chest will reward you with a quest called The Journey. (You don’t know how sorely I was tempted to make the Fanbyte link a Rickroll.)
Step One: Anchor of Light
The Anchor of Light has numerous hiding places. Before starting the quest, you may have come across dull brown palates that don’t look very important, hiding around the Anchor. You may even have found a strange Hive altar that has a ball of fire encased in it, but you are unable to pick up the fire. This is actually part of the quest. Once you’ve gotten the Journey quest, you will be able to pick up the fire.
The palates are for the fire, and need to be activated in a specific order. However, I am too lazy and too bad at computers to put in the whole guide. Refer to literally any Xeno quest article for the exact locations. You will have sixty seconds between dunks into the palates. The minute resets when a palate has been lit. IF YOU DO NOT MAKE IT TO THE NEXT PALATE IN SIXTY SECONDS, ALL PALATES WILL RESET. Also, feel free to bring the Orb with you as you scope out each palate, as the first timer doesn’t start until you light the first palate.
*From here on out, the Altar Orb will be referred to as the “Light.” This is because the Light mechanic is used several times throughout the rest of the quest, and the official name is the Light.
Once the last palate has been lit, the sixty-second timer will disappear, and a rhombus-shaped quest marker will appear. Go toward the Hive spire it’s marking, and dunk that orb for the last time. You will recieve a new quest step.
Step Two: Hope you like Lost Sectors
Luna’s Lost Sectors are some of the hardest to conquer, what with the enemy density and the several different types of Shanks (Explosive, Tracer). However, the reward for completing all four is more than worth it. Each Lost Sector now has a group of nine symbols, with one on the top. These are puzzles that must be solved to progress, but they’re quite easy. The Sectors are the only difficult part of this step. The symbols usually appear in the shortcut exits from the LSs.
Each Lost Sector’s puzzle has a different solution. The solutions below only work on ones that haven’t been disturbed, i.e. shot already. If you want the puzzles to reset, you’ll have to leave the Lost Sector and redo it.
K1 Communion, Anchor of Light: Bottom Left, Bottom Right, Top Middle, Top Middle
K1 Logistics, Archer’s Line: Top Left, Bottom Left, Center, Middle Right
K1 Crew Quarters, Hellmouth: Top Right, Middle Left, Center, Bottom Middle, Bottom Right, Bottom Right, Bottom Middle, Bottom Middle
K1 Revelation, Sorrow’s Harbor: Middle Left, Center, Center, Middle Left, Middle Top, Middle Bottom, Center, Middle Right
Tip: if you want to reverse a single rune, like if you shot the wrong tile once, shoot that rune four times.
After this, you’ll be heading out of Patrol Zones.
Step Three: Pretty Frickin’ Annoying if You Have a Bad Memory
This is where it gets a little harder to solo. You’ll be heading into the Shadowkeep dungeon, Pit of Heresy. I believe there are some prerequisites to entering the dungeon, but I’m not sure what they are.
Simply load into Pit of Heresy and go through the first encounter as normal. I had to search through half a dozen articles on the Xeno quest and on the full dungeon to figure out exactly what to do, so here are the basic instructions.
For my loadout, I used the Ikelos SMG for add-clearing Warmind cells, a Falling Guillotine with Relentless Strikes and Whirlwind Blade, and a Masterworked Izanagi’s Burden. Good alternatives include the Tranquility sniper, the Seventh Seraph VY-7, and, if you’re running Titan, the Crown-Splitter.
There are four major enemies in the first encounter, the Necropolis. There’s the Accursed Swordbearer and Major Knight, Wizard, and Shrieker. The Accursed Swordbearer is an Orange-bar knight that drops a relic when killed.
Each Broken Blade miniboss (Knight, Wizard, Shrieker) need to be killed with a different sword function.
The Knight ONLY takes damage from light attacks and the relic’s Super.
The Wizard ONLY takes damage from heavy attacks, which shoot projectiles.
The Shrieker ONLY takes damage when you block some of its own attacks by using the sword’s Block ability.
The relic’s inputs are the same as a normal sword.
Watch out for orange-bar Ogres. These hit damn hard, especially if you’re underleveled. Use your Honed-Edge x4 if you’re running Izzy’s to almost 1-hit these guys.
The MAIN thing to do for the adds, like the Swordbearers and the Ogres, is to KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. If you don’t want to run the Ikelos or Izanagi’s, go for a different sniper rifle, or maybe a scout. Dead Man’s Tale is a good scout to try.
The Knight is the easiest of the bunch, but can hit pretty hard if you’re not careful. Go for a light attack, light attack, block pattern for your sword strikes, and use your relic’s super whenever. The Knight cannot damage you when you’re blocking. It is accompanied by a group of Thrall, whereas the Wizard has two orange-bar wizards and the Shrieker has some Acolytes.
Usually, one of the minibosses likes to hide in a darkened room. Be cautious in here, especially if the dark boss is a Wizard. Take out the add Wizards first. The boss likes to hide as well, so again, caution is key.
When a boss has been killed, or when the first Swordbearer dies, chains will stretch across the ceiling. There will be symbols on these chains. You must follow the runes’ order to progress.
Once each boss has been killed, a pillar of greenish light will appear above a tower. Kill the adds, then go through the Tower’s door to reach the next room.
Step Four: Kind of Amusing, Kind of a Troll
If you’ve run the Pit of Heresy before, you’ll know about the Door room. If you step in almost any of the doors, a massive slab of rock will send you flying out of the doorway and into a wall, killing you. If you’ve run Pit before, you’ll also know about the troll exit, with the completely separate exit to the right. Do not, and I repeat, do NOT, go through this doorway immediately! One of the doorways is different than the others, and you’ll need it to get the next Quest step.
One doorway, in the top right of the room, will not punch you out. You can either find it through trial and error like I did, or you can be smart and look for the doorway without a rune over it. This one, when entered, has another glowing green rune on the floor that can be interacted with. If you pick it up, you’ll get the final quest step!
Step Five: Avoid the Invincible Eye-Laser-Shooting Death Lords and Light a Couple Torches
The final step takes place in the Pit section of the Pit of Heresy. There will be several absolutely MASSIVE Pariah Ogres. This is an extremely silly encounter where you cannot damage the Ogres, and you don’t want to.
If you take a left from where you first enter the Pit, you’ll see a greenish glow. This is coming from a huge ravine, with a thin ledge poking out from the side below the main path. If you drop down to the mini path and walk along it, you’ll come to a plate with runes on it. Interact with the plate to bring up three floating platforms. Beware: the Pariah Ogres CAN see you on this platform and WILL kill you if you’re not quick. On the third platform, your old friend the Light will be floating. Pick it up and go back to the ledge. In front of you will be a small cave. Continue into this cave, bearing to the right whenever possible. You will have to go out into the open at times, but keep going! The Pariahs do not have a very powerful Stomp attack, so if you have to go near them, stay by their legs. (It sounds like a troll, I know, but it’s not. I swear.)
If you’ve gone the right way, you’ll see some Hive architecture instead of just cave. This building is red, so if you come upon a large grey fort-like place in a cave, you’re not in the right place. A Pariah Ogre will usually be lurking around the right place, but you can duck into a cave right by this building. Once the Ogre is gone, go back out to the in-the-open entrance. Use your orb to light the torches and unlock the secret boss.
Step Six: Possibly the Most Annoying Boss since Exodus Crash
The secret boss of the Xenophage quest is annoying, but it is manageable. Loadout is key, though.
You can use sunset weapons like the Mountaintop in this dungeon without sacrificing anything. I had kept mine in a place of honor in my vault and it went out with a bang with this dungeon.
Kinetic: Mountaintop, Izanagi’s Burden (on PC because controller flinch is horrible), Witherhoard just for the hell of it
Energy: Ikelos SMG, your best Void precision weapon (I used Palindrome), Salvager’s Salvo, Snipers if you’re on PC
Power: Falling Guillotine, Thunderlord, Code Duello, Lament, Deathbringer if you’ve got the catalyst, Anarchy 100% if you have it
I don’t have Anarchy so I used Thunderlord for Arc. You’ll want to have a weapon in your Energy and Power slots of every energy type except Stasis. Ikelos SMG works for Warmind Cells.
Mods: Protective Light, High-Energy Fire, Wrath of Rasputin, Rage of the Warmind, any other Warmind or CWL mods you have for damage resistance.
Chaos Reach/Geomags or Well/Lunafactions for Warlock. Well allows for healing and overshield, while Lunas allow for increased reload speed. Chaos allows for massive burst damage on boss.
Bubble/Helm of Saint-14 or Thundercrash/Cuirass of the Falling Star for Titan. Bubble for healing/overshield and Thundercrash for even higher burst DPS
Revenant, Tether, or Bottom Tree Goldy/Celestial Nighthawk for Hunters. Revenant and Tether for add control and Celestial for burst DPS.
This boss has specific damage phases, and you can only use certain elemental weapons based on these damage phases. There are four buffs you can get.
Each buff allows you to do a specific type of damage. Fiery=Solar, Thunderous=Arc, Abyssal=Void, Neutral=Kinetic. Immediately after entering the room where a bunch of Thrall seem to be praying, you’ll get one of these buffs.
The thrall room has a small altar in each corner. These altars have a different energy charge in them, with a rune above. This is EXTREMELY relevant.
In the center of the room, where the boss usually resides, is a Light. Picking this up allows you to light your other old friends, the Palates. Each palate has a rune above it, and these runes match the ones in the thrall room. Let’s take Neutral Dread as an example. The Neutral Dread altar in the Thrall room has a specific rune above it. You would go into the main boss room and look for the palate with the same rune above it. You would dunk the orb into this palate and the buff on the left hand side of your screen would suddenly have a timer for 30 seconds. This is your allotted damage phase.
For Neutral Dread, I would use my Kinetic weapon, and ONLY my Kinetic weapon, to damage the boss. Mountaintop works wonders here, especially with the seasonal Breach and Clear mod. Then, after my thirty seconds is up, I’d get a new Dread buff. You may have to switch weapons frequently to deal with the damage phases, but that shouldn’t be an issue. The adds spawn infinitely, so if you have the time, you can dedicate an entire life to grabbing ammo for your next life. Also, if you don’t have a Void weapon or ability during Abyssal Dread, you can simply wait out the timer. YOU MUST LIGHT THE PALATE IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO WAIT OUT THE DREAD. Once the timer runs out, even if you didn’t damage the boss, you’ll be assigned a new Dread.
Unload a Chaos Reach unto the boss whenever possible. Wells work well when using a Sword for DPS. Breach and Clear only procs when the Dread is of the matching type of the Grenade Launcher using it. Those are the best tips I have. It may simply take you a whole lot of luck.
Step Seven: The Hardest Quest Step In Any Video Game, Ever
Go talk to Eris and pick up your new Xenophage. I mean, damn, interacting with an easily-accessible non-hostile NPC. Talk about difficult!
Congrats, Guardian! You got your hands on the Xenophage! I know this was a bit of a long one, but I really hope this helps anyone thinking of soloing Xeno’s quest.