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This crazy, secret gun is the key to Bungie’s vision for Destiny’s future

If you’re familiar with Destiny, you can take one look at the above image and know: That’s a pretty crappy gun. But unless you really nerd out on the game, you might not realize that this gun also hews very closely to the vision that Bungie has for its grand, massively multiplayer space adventure. It isn’t the fodder for crafting materials that it appears to be; really, it’s a hint of Destiny‘s future.

Husk of the Pit was added to the game as part of the recently released downloadable content expansion, The Dark Below. It’s a crummy auto rifle that any character at level 10 or higher can use. The only immediate mystery to it, as you can see in the image, is an upgrade called “Cannibalism,” which has a very vague description:

The Husk exudes a sense of sinister satisfaction when used to expire it’s [sic] former allies.

It’s a Hive weapon, and the upgrade text suggests that you need to kill Hive using the Husk to earn progress toward unlocking Cannibalism. Once you kill enough Hive to fill the upgrade meter and then apply an Embalming Orb (purchasable from the new DLC vendor Eris Morn after you’ve earned enough reputation with her), Husk of the Pit turns into this…

Eidolon Ally

Nifty, right? An evolving gun. But we’re not done yet. Your new legendary auto rifle has yet another funky final upgrade: “Burgeoning Hunger.” What the heck is that? Much like Cannibalism, the flavor text that normally defines how the upgrade works is much more mysterious for Eidolon’s final upgrade.

What power drives this appetite that grows after each meal?

It turns out that there’s yet another gun evolution to pursue here. It’s not easy. No one’s done it yet. In truth, no one is going to do it until January 2015, at the very earliest. Why’s that, you ask? Well, Husk of the Pit’s final form, evolved from Eidolon Ally, is tied to a rare crafting material that only drops during the new Crota’s End raid on hard mode. And Crota’s hard mode doesn’t unlock until next year.

Related: Destiny: The Dark Below DLC review

You don’t have to wait that long to find out what it turns into, though. The dedicated fan community has already sleuthed it out. If you manage to reach Eidolon Ally’s final upgrade slot and obtain the rare Crux of Crota drop from the hard raid, this is what happens:

Nechrochasm

Now that is some awesome Destiny firepower. An auto rifle that does arc damage as an Exotic primary. The only primary weapons in Destiny at the moment that do elemental damage (arc/solar/void) are raid drops. So is this one, sort of. But what a process.

First you’ve got to find the Husk of the Pit by killing a whole bunch of rare Hive and praying one of them drops it. Then you use your new find to kill a lot more Hive, buy an Embalming Orb from Eris, and apply the upgrade to get a new, much more powerful gun that also needs to be maxed out. Finally, you’ve got to take down Crota. On hard mode. Which — if the Vault of Glass raid’s hard mode is any indication — basically requires you to be at level 32 (or have very kind and patient friends to drag you through). Even then, there’s no guarantee that a single runthrough of the raid nabs you the rare Crux of Crota crafting material.

It’s more than just a challenge; it’s a journey. Similar in some ways to Destiny‘s handful of difficult-to-obtain Exotic bounties, all of which are multi-stage processes that, once completed, unlock a very powerful gun. But with Husk of the Pit, the loot defines the journey. It’s with you as you mow down low-level hive in the name of Cannibalism. It remains with you when you fight to top off Eidolon Ally. And it’s no doubt a prize you’ll want to fully upgrade if you do manage to go all the way to Nechrochasm.

Destiny - Crota's End

Shortly before Destiny launched on September 9, 2014, Bungie released one of its regular Weekly Updates, laying out upcoming plans for the game and answering a few fan questions. You might remember this particular post. A lot of people talked about it. Bungie confirmed that players wouldn’t be able to trade gear with other players, and explained why. There was a line from the explanation that really stuck with me when I read it:

You should be able to tell a badass story for every sweet jewel in your arsenal.

To me, Husk of the Pit feels like the first true realization of the vision suggested by that statement. The reality of a loot-focused game like this is you’ve got a community of players all screaming for powerful gear. It’s not a realm Bungie had ever played in prior to Destiny, and at launch I thought the game’s arsenal felt a little lacking. Where were the weapons that would breed stories? Sure, Doctor Nope is a badass auto rifle, but getting it involves either grinding out 150 Vanguard Marks (and getting your Vanguard rep up to rank 3) or lucking out big-time with an item drop.

With Husk of the Pit, the loot defines the journey.

That’s nothing special. Sure, it’s great when you finally get the thing, but what’s really memorable or even fun about spamming Strikes and Public Events and other activities, over and over again for a minimum of two weeks (thanks, 100 Marks-per-week limit!), until you’ve saved up enough to buy yourself a legendary? What’s memorable about the momentary surprise of seeing a purple legendary pop up in your inventory? Not much.

That’s why Husk of the Pit is so refreshing. At last, we have some loot that, by design, has a story attached to it. And unlike the Exotic bounties, you go on an actual journey with that piece of gear in your hands. You watch it change. Grow. Evolve. You’re making it do those things. You’re wading into a mob of Hive at level 30 with a grossly underpowered gun, just to mow down the forces of evil that it needs to feed on. Then you’re off to power up the fancy, new toy that it becomes in Eidolon Ally, all the while gaining strength and learning the Crota’s End raid as you prepare to tackle it on hard mode.

Destiny - Crota's End 2

It’s a beautiful piece of design, essentially forcing players to engage with one of the most elaborate elements in Destiny — the raid — if they want to get the kickass Nechrochasm. And it makes sense as a component of The Dark Below DLC.

The core game in Destiny might not require any add-ons if you’re a casual fan, but serious players crave the new raid and the new rewards that come with fresh additions to the game. They’re the ones that want to take the journey. And the process of evolving Husk of the Pit supports their desire. There’s an insanely steep climb to make here, but it ends with some of the sweetest loot imaginable and, almost better than that, war stories from your march to Nechrochasm.

Much like every player character that populates Destiny, Husk of the Pit starts out weak, rough, and unformed; it’s the journey that shapes it into a force to be reckoned with. That’s a “sweet jewel” to be proud of. It’s well-earned. And it’s the sort of investment that reinforces Bungie’s long-term vision more than anything else I’ve seen so far.