Discovering Pulse Rifles

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#1 Tue, 08/04/2015 - 11:33
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Discovering Pulse Rifles

Till recently, I've found that pulse rifles just never "fit" my play style, and as a result I've dismantled them as soon as I got them. I've even dismantled a bunch of Red Death pulse rifles. For me, they've always been hard to shoot and not as effective as other choices. All that changed last week.

Since playing more crucible, I've noticed that I get killed by the Red Death or The Messenger more often as time goes by. I also saw that the Time-to-Kill (time-to-die) for pulse rifles was faster than any other primary I encountered in the crucible. I found myself in the respawn screen faster than I thought possible. All this forced me to rethink pulse rifles, but I still didn't put it all together. I tried the Red Death a few times in the crucible, but thought I just wasn't good enough with it to make it effective. Then it all changed....

My son was playing a Dragon Strike about 10 days ago and received a legendary Hopscotch Pilgrim pulse rifle as a drop. He didn't know much about it, but saw that its impact value was much higher than Praedyth's Timepiece (VoG arc pulse rifle), so he hung onto it. He's a reader, and read that the Hopscotch is a great pulse rifle in the crucible. So he worked it up, and now it almost never leaves his primary slot. It is a great pulse rifle.

I got a Spare Change.25 pulse rifle during this past week's Iron Banner, and I saw 3-4 others drop for our team during the week. Since learning more about the Hopscotch Pilgrim, I began looking at the attributes for all the pulse rifles I run across. The stats for Spare Change looked pretty good, and I subsequently learned that the Spare Change is the crucible version -sort of - of the PvE Hopscotch.  

For those with a Halo background, Destiny's scout rifle is similar to Halo's DMR, and Halo's BR is similar to Destiny's pulse rifles - each having a 3-shot burst.

High values for impact and stability are what make a great crucible pulse rifle. I didn't know how important stability was - now I do. A high stability value allows you to keep all 3 shots on the head with each pull of the trigger, and a high impact number is needed to produce max damage. The Messenger (ToO drop), Hopscotch Pilgrim (Dragon Strike drop) and Spare Change.25 (crucible drop) are all high impact legendary pulse rifles that can be re-rolled for great stability. 

Each of these pulse rifles can produce a kill with just 2 trigger pulls (6 shots). If you do it right, the engagement is over in the blink of an eye. High stability allows you to keep all 6 bullets on target for two quick trigger pulls. Without a high stability value, the bullets tend to spread and the sights won't return to zero between trigger pulls - resulting in fewer critical hits. With a high level of stability, it's possible to get 6 critical hits and an instant kill with the three pulse rifles mentioned above. 

The Red Death has pretty awful stability, and there's no way to improve it. It is what it is... Plus, the Spare Change.25 produces a higher critical number per hit than the Red Death. In the crucible, the Spare Change produces criticals of 38. The Red Death produces 36s. So, with a much higher stability value and a slightly higher critical hit value, the Spare Change.25 is more effective in the crucible. I don't have The Messenger or a Hopscotch Pilgrim, so I can only compare them using their stats. 

I needed to re-roll my Spare Change 6-8 times to get a max stability version that has Rodeo, Braced Frame and Counterbalance all in one roll. These push the stability bar to about 85%. Both The Messenger and the Hopscotch have higher stability, but not by that much. Each of these have identical rates of fire and impact. The Spare Change has a slightly longer range value than the Messenger and noticeably more than the Hopscotch.  In the field, it's hard to see the range difference between the 3 mentioned. I do know that I can shoot the Spare Change all of the way across sniper alley on Pantheon (over B) and get critical hits on snipers. 

The Spare Change.25 has the smallest magazine of the bunch with just 18 rounds, when selecting max stability. In the crucible, an 18 round mag is plenty unless you're engaging a whole team. In the days I used it in Iron Banner, I didn't see a need for more ammo. I use gauntlets that increase reload speed with pulse rifles. 

Without really saying so, Bungie has nudged all of us toward pulse rifles. Unfortunately, this "nudging" usually involves downgrading the guns we like. Maybe it's a good thing because pulse rifles are so effective in the crucible. Having a legendary primary means I can now equip an exotic in the special or heavy slot. I used the Gjallarhorn for the first time a couple of days ago, and the new exotic Lord of Wolves shotgun is a room clearer for sure. A great legendary primary allows for more options.  

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Tue, 08/04/2015 - 13:46
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Pulse rifles have been good since the last round of weapons tuning. 

Hopscotch is probably best-in-slot, but it's hard to get since it rarely drops from Dragon strikes or PoE 28 (same loot table as dragon strikes). The Hopscotch is better due to better base stability (thus you don't have to use as many perks) and the larger mag. I've been grinding for a Hopscotch, but have been unlucky.

The Spare Change is good and I need to re-roll mine to try out some different perks, but it's a suitable weapon until I can get a Hopscotch.

All that being said though, I still end up going back to Red Death. The "red death" perk of healing and reload speed is a life saver, especially against all of those pesky Thorn users. The perk will effectively cancel out the Thorn's poison DoT and it has a slightly higher rate-of-fire. Now range and stability is much lower compared to the other pulse rifles that were mentioned, but most crucible maps are small enough that range isn't that big of an issue. The stability is just something you'll get used to if you use it enough and it, too, is a 2 burst kill if you land your crits.

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 13:46
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I've been on a break, but here is my .02 cents as an avid pulse rifle user (this is pre all expansions, but it should not matter much for crucible):

 

To this day the best two pulse rifles I have found are blues. The Strangers Rifle and the Suros JPS 55. They are at the higher end of the ROF and stability indexes. Bad Juju was buffed to be good also. I've never had Red Death drop sadly. I know it sounds crazy, but The Strangers Rifle is just about perfect, IMHO.

 

For purples: Strange Suspect is good for pvp. Bad Seed Down, not so much.. The Conduit is really good, but its clip size sucks. There are slower firing Pulse Rifles, but I have never got used to those.

 

Id love for people to suggest good ones from the expansions so I have something to look for.

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 11:07
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If I had a choice, I'd want the Hopscotch. The Messenger only drops in the Trials of Osiris at the Lighthouse, and I don't see myself getting there. The Spare Change.25 is pretty good though. It doesn't have the extra perks, but it kills just as fast and as well as the others. After avoiding pulse rifles for so long, I'm amazed by the Spare Change in the crucible. 

I doubt I'll be grinding for the Hop though since all year one legendary guns will be frozen in time next month. From that point on, it'll be whatever the new equivalent gun is. 

A little dated now, but the following spreadsheet illustrates how all of the Destiny guns stack up against each other.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1L7FV9l4hXo2tHD3XlFUp854XvJIwTKFI...

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 13:28
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Thank you! So its only worth upgrading exotics now? I guess for crucible it doesn't matter since damage is normalized, but Not worth upgrading pve purples at all I guess?

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 13:56
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Been getting taken down a lot more recently by people wielding Red Death in crucible. I've tried my Red Death and Bad Juju in crucible but find I get better results with The Last Word and Thorn.

But in PVE, when I'm running my warlock - Bad Juju + Obsidian Mind + Nova Bomb + mobs of adds = Killing Machine

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 14:49
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Was in a crucible game a couple of weeks ago where one on the opposing team was just a 4. I was a 34. He kicked ass with a green pulse rifle. 

So, I agree, the legendaries that are good now in the crucible could remain so if the nerf doesn't wreck them.

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 14:55 (Reply to #7)
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I cant find the spoiler tag here, so I will just post a link.

I Dont Have Time to Explain, but there is discussion of a new TTK exotic weapon here that is relevant to this discussion - and extremely exciting to me personally.  Dont follow if you dont want to be spoiled about weapons (and one Pulse Rifle in particular).

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER about TTK weapons below:

http://www.accelerated-ideas.com/news/destiny-the-taken-king--all-new-ex...

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 12:04 (Reply to #8)
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Thom293 wrote:

I cant find the spoiler tag here, so I will just post a link.

I Dont Have Time to Explain, but there is discussion of a new TTK exotic weapon here that is relevant to this discussion - and extremely exciting to me personally.  Dont follow if you dont want to be spoiled about weapons (and one Pulse Rifle in particular).

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER about TTK weapons below:

http://www.accelerated-ideas.com/news/destiny-the-taken-king--all-new-ex...

I'm a little gunshy (no pun intended) about gun grinding in Destiny, in general. Once one of them becomes a favorite, especially if it's hard to get or makes the game easier, the nerf bunnies will surely ruin it. At the present time, I don't see myself doing any new exotic weapon bounties. Basic philosophy as of now... .it drops into my lap doing the stuff I enjoy or I don't get it (subject to change).

However, I will be paying attention to whatever pulse rifles become available. I'll want another high impact/stability version for the crucible. 

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 06:24
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I'm not a pulse rifle fan, but possibly I don't know how to use them. I think I treat them pretty much like a scout rifle, which I suppose can't be right. What's the right way? Aim for the upper chest such that the recoil makes you headshot them with the third shot of the burst? Or maybe my pulse rifles are just bad, and there are better ones that have low enough recoil to give you three headshots?

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 11:29 (Reply to #10)
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hemihuman wrote:

I'm not a pulse rifle fan, but possibly I don't know how to use them. I think I treat them pretty much like a scout rifle, which I suppose can't be right. What's the right way? Aim for the upper chest such that the recoil makes you headshot them with the third shot of the burst? Or maybe my pulse rifles are just bad, and there are better ones that have low enough recoil to give you three headshots?

I'm still learning about pulse rifles, but I would have to say that someone good with scouts would be good with pulse rifles. Pulse rifles are worth learning because they have a much faster time-to-kill than scouts. You need to pattern whatever pulse rifle you have (shoot a wall at some distance) to learn what the spread is, in what direction the spread goes, and if the scope returns to zero between trigger pulls. 

Why are pulse rifles better in the crucible? The solar scout Vision of Confluence at 365 will produce 525 criticals per bullet (MIDA is similar) on Omnigul in the Fist of Crota mission. The pulse rifle Spare Change.25 produces 289 criticals per bullet on the same target. The difference here is that the Spare Change.25 shoots 3 rounds per trigger pull, producing a total of 867 critical. Two trigger pulls on VoC won't kill an opponent in the crucible, but two trigger pulls using Spare Change will with 6 critical hits.

With max stability, the Spare Change.25 will produce a 3-round vertical spread, at an average distance, that goes from chin to forehead of an opponent in the crucible. I try to always begin at the chin. A pulse rifle with worse stability will produce more vertical and even horizontal spread with each trigger pull, and the scope might not return to zero - slowing the next shot. That's why stability is so important. I urge everyone to shoot a wall with their favorite pulse rifle to learn the spread. This is where the Red Death falls down. 

The Red Death is a high impact pulse rifle. Have a look at the impact value to know what that looks like. You want a legendary pulse rifle having same impact value. The Messenger, Hopscotch Pilgrim and Spare Change.25 all have the same high impact. There may be others, I don't know..

There are lots of low impact pulse rifles out there. None of them work in the crucible. It's all about DPS.

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 16:38 (Reply to #11)
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I learned a lot from this post, thanks Minotaur! I don't have a leveled pulse rifle to play with, but I have Bad Juju and Hopscotch Pilgrim in my vault. Which should I play around with? Bad Juju should have a year 2 upgrade path, even though I guess Hopscotch is better now. So...Bad Juju?

Fri, 08/07/2015 - 12:07 (Reply to #12)
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hemihuman wrote:

I learned a lot from this post, thanks Minotaur! I don't have a leveled pulse rifle to play with, but I have Bad Juju and Hopscotch Pilgrim in my vault. Which should I play around with? Bad Juju should have a year 2 upgrade path, even though I guess Hopscotch is better now. So...Bad Juju?

The Hopscotch is a better crucible pulse rifle right now. I've shot Bad Juju at Omnigul to learn what sort of critical hit numbers it generates. Its critical hit numbers are below Red Death, Hopscotch and the other pulse rifles mentioned in this thread. My Bjj is an orphan without a good fit for the activities I do. I suspect the Hop will remain viable in traditional crucible even after the big changes hit, due to leveling of weapons in the crucible. 

The Hopscotch can be rolled to produce superb stability yet allow for other other nice attributes, like "Head Seeker". The Spare Change I have can be rolled to give really good stability, but no other nice attributes.... That's OK, cuz stability is the most important attribute. So, learn what the re-roll options are available for the Hop, then spend motes to get the best roll. 

Sat, 08/08/2015 - 08:41 (Reply to #13)
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Ok, I will keep Hopscotch around for crucible. Very pleased that Xur is selling TLW, as I was missing a quality crucible handgun badly. Gotta get that thing leveled up posthaste.

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 13:16
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The Messenger drops from Mercury only if you have one with burn.  You can get some without burn that still have the lethality from the top three care packages in Trials.

 

Hell, I've got a no burn one sitting in my Postmaster that I got from the 6 or 8 win care package.

Sun, 08/09/2015 - 11:46
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Hopscotch dropped for me in a lvl 28 PoE yesterday. I re-forged it to have Rodeo, Hidden Hand and Armor Piercing/Smallbore, stopped there before I ran out of weapon parts. It's going into rotation for a while to see how it performs when it's fully ranked up, but so far I like it a lot. Haven't used it in crucible yet though.

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 11:05 (Reply to #16)
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BLAMnation wrote:

Hopscotch dropped for me in a lvl 28 PoE yesterday. I re-forged it to have Rodeo, Hidden Hand and Armor Piercing/Smallbore, stopped there before I ran out of weapon parts. It's going into rotation for a while to see how it performs when it's fully ranked up, but so far I like it a lot. Haven't used it in crucible yet though.

I don't know what the base stability is for the HP, but I do know that stability is king for any pulse rifle. It's possible to get a roll with the HP that produces almost 100% stability, which puts all three rounds into a very tiny cluster at range with each trigger pull.

Stability for a hand cannon, scout rifle, sniper rifle or rocket launcher is much less important because they don't shoot more than one round per trigger pull. For them, just pace your shots, and they all go into the target. With a pulse rifle though, the three quick rounds will spread, making some of them miss the critical area (head) entirely if there's a lack of stability. Stability and bullet spread determine effective range.

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 12:24 (Reply to #17)
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Minotaur wrote:

 

BLAMnation wrote:

 

Hopscotch dropped for me in a lvl 28 PoE yesterday. I re-forged it to have Rodeo, Hidden Hand and Armor Piercing/Smallbore, stopped there before I ran out of weapon parts. It's going into rotation for a while to see how it performs when it's fully ranked up, but so far I like it a lot. Haven't used it in crucible yet though.

 

 

I don't know what the base stability is for the HP, but I do know that stability is king for any pulse rifle. It's possible to get a roll with the HP that produces almost 100% stability, which puts all three rounds into a very tiny cluster at range with each trigger pull.

Stability for a hand cannon, scout rifle, sniper rifle or rocket launcher is much less important because they don't shoot more than one round per trigger pull. For them, just pace your shots, and they all go into the target. With a pulse rifle though, the three quick rounds will spread, making some of them miss the critical area (head) entirely if there's a lack of stability. Stability and bullet spread determine effective range.

Yup. I was shooting for the 100% stability perk,and I may try reforging it again after I get some more playtime with it. I tried it in crucible last night instead of Thorn/TLW and it performed pretty well.

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 08:55
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I have the numbers at home but hopscotch has about 20ish points more stability but 20 ish less range than spare change. I rerolled my spare change a bunch and feel a great combo the wrecks in crucible. Like many been trying to get a hopscotch pilgrim 50 strikes or so w no luck so far to compare in game v my rerolled spare change. But yes I too now love pulse rifles after avoiding like an std until the bad juju buff!
Wed, 08/12/2015 - 11:40
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To compare the base Hopscotch Pilgrim, The Messenger, and Spare Change.25, click this link to see all of the visible and hidden values:

http://db.destinytracker.com/compare/3478790848,2472321204,3478790850

I didn't know about some of these numbers till just a couple of days ago. Hidden values? Who would have guessed? Each weapon has an "aim assist" value? Cool. Still not clear on what "Recoil Direction" means though. I couldn't get a good definition on the web. 

I've been using the Spare Change a lot in the crucible. I'm getting better with it. It's lethal when I do my part (not as often as I'd like). With a scout rifle, you always aim for the center of the head. With Spare Change, you aim for the neck. It's hard to break old habits. 

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 13:13 (Reply to #20)
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Recoil direction is definitely a Thing. Bad Seed Down has a very pronounced angular climb. I think Strange Suspect and The Conduit too. Bad Juju and the Suros JPS 55 and SR seem to be straight up. I still haven't found anything better than the blue Suros JPS 55 for pvp. It has near max stability with one perk, and I just love the sound.  EDIT:  Well - the compare tool isnt exactly right because the JPS 55 has a 77 fire rate, but now I see why I love it.  It has the highest aim assist of them all! Good for a no aiming pvp noob like me.  Couple it with Secret Round and a stability perk, and its a beast.   Its may not be for many though, because it is low impact high ROF.

 

http://db.destinytracker.com/compare/1405547125,3478790848,88964023,2617...

I had Red Death drop from a random purple engram last night. I tend to prefer the higher ROF versions, but I will Rank it up and give it a try.

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 13:52
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Red death stability is an issue for me. You can't reroll exotics so stuck w it. That's why spare change and hopscotch are so attractive. Minotaur that comparison makes me want to get sweaty deal with try hards sniping and thorning in trials to get myself a messenger!
Wed, 08/12/2015 - 16:02
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I've taken out quite a few snipers with Read Death. It' feels like its range is greater than the specs. Could be the Unflinching perk that adds to the effectiveness I feel when using it. I always thought it fired too slow for Crucible/Iron Banner but its my main Primary weapon now.

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 07:14
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The Red Death certainly has a learning curve - just like all the other slower rate-of-fire, high impact pulse rifles - but it's really good if you can learn to use it properly. 

 

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 15:06
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Did a Dragon strike last evening with a couple randoms, hoping for a Hopscotch.... One of them got one..... Can't complain too much. The Spare Change I have now does a pretty good job when I do my part. 

Not to complicate the issue, but the link I posted earlier for the Destiny weapon spreadsheet also shows that there are low, mid and high impact scout rifles that produce different results in the crucible. A selection of the original legendary scouts are high impact versions, like the Badger. They kill in the crucible with one fewer headshots than either the Vision of Confluence or MIDA. Sniper and auto rifles also have different impact values. 

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 14:07
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Heard some rumor that this Xur character is selling some sort of rocket launcher people have been talking about. Its name is really hard to spell, but it begins with a G, I think.

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 20:15
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Think I will pick up a couple.

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 10:44
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I somehow managed to get a Hopscotch last Friday after doing several Dragon strikes. Yay! Rolled it several times to get the same combination of perks that my son has on his Hop - the main one being Headseeker. Body shots followed quickly by head shots produce criticals of 41s for a very short time, up from the normal 38s. Probably doesn't make much difference overall, because the boost is small and so short lived. 

Odd, but even though I got the exact same perk list as my son's Hop, mine has a different combo of scope sights. So apparently, the roll can produce random stuff, not just different fixed sets of perks. 

Incidentally, there are other legendary high-impact pulse rifles that have been available - Super Pox, Fair and Square, and Three Little Words. 

There are also a couple of blue rare pulse rifles that have the same impact value as the Hopscotch - Evergreen 11.1 and Echo 33. Sorta funny but I got an Echo 33 the same day as I got the Hopscotch. 

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 06:18
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Congrats on the Hopscotch, Minotaur! Mine (and my Bad Juju) have been languishing while I leveled my Last Word. TLW now fully leveled except for damage boosts on end, so I guess it's as good as it can get for crucible. Though I suppose we'll have one more Iron Banner before TTK drops? Do we know anything for sure about that?

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 07:33
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I've had zero luck getting a Hopscotch. I'm so tired of running strikes, especially with randoms that go afk or purposely try to sabotage the mission. 

In fact, I've only seen 2 drop, so it's proving rather annoying.

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 12:36
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If I'm not otherwise engaged, hit me up for some Dragon Strikes. Since I found out about the Hopscotch, I've seen two drop. Mine and one a few days earlier. With a good running/aggressive team, it doesn't take long to do them. Run/ride by everything you can run/ride by. Don't spare the heavy on everything else.

Be sure to keep the blue Echo 33 pulse rifle if it drops on the strikes - keep it for the crucible. It's got some great perks - some of the important ones are better than those offered by the Hopscotch (better base stability, aim assistance and recoil direction). The Echo 33 has the same impact value and rate of fire as the Hop too. I got one on the same day as the Hopscotch, and like a dummy I deleted it before I really looked at it. 

 

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