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Here’s how to play Destiny harder co-op stuff when you’ve got no friends around

We’ve all been here before: It’s a new week for Destiny, but you’ve got no one around to play the raids, heroic strikes, and nightfalls with. You need to get the best gear to get any further in the game, but those are the three best options for earning top-quality loot. And none of them automatically group players up in a lobby.

What to do?  Destiny contains only the most basic tools for connecting with players you don’t know. You can inspect players in the same lobby as you and send them invites, but there’s no option that lets you, for example, hook up with two other people that also want to tackle the nightfall.

Related: Destiny – The Dark Below review

Thankfully, you’re not without options. Bungie’s made it possible for tech-savvy fans to build web resources that stream in all manner of game data, similar to the stat breakdowns you see on Bungie.net or the Destiny companion app. It’s a situation that’s led to a number of “looking for group” (LFG) websites that allow Guardians of all experience levels and console preferences to fill out their fireteams.

The whole thing can seem a little daunting if you’ve never done it before, so we thought we’d explain how it all works and what you should expect.

Before you begin

First, make sure you have a chat headset of some kind (preferably not chat via Kinect or PlayStation 4 Eye Camera). There’s no formal requirement that you have one, but most people expect to be able to communicate. If you don’t have one then make sure to specify it in your LFG listing. But know that you stand a better chance of being invited to someone’s game if you have one.

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Also, assuming you do have a mic, please remember to be respectful. Not everyone’s going to share your worldview. Not everyone’s going to be awesome at the game. Hell, you might not be great at the game. Do you want people sighing and saying nasty things when you mess up? (News flash: We all mess up.) Show them the same respect that you’d like to be treated with yourself.

Related: Destiny – Crota’s End raid guide

It seems like a very obvious thing, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to end up in a toxic chatroom. Never be afraid to just bail and find a better group.

Make sure as well that you’ve got the game loaded up and you’re ready to play. No need to make anyone wait after they send you an invite. If you’re the sort of Destiny player that has more than one character, make sure you’ve done all your weapon swapping at the Tower before you post your LFG listing.

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One final point: Whichever activity you’re posting to play, make sure you’re level-appropriate. Just because a level 24 is allowed to jump into Vault of Glass, that doesn’t mean a group of strangers want to take on the tougher challenge. And if you’re still hoping to find a group of good Samaritans to carry you through, at least be honest about your character level in the listing.

Looking for group

While there’s an assortment of LFG resources for Destiny available on the web, two in particular stand out from the rest: DestinyLFG.com and DestinyLFG.net. They’re very similar in terms of their layout and what they offer, so the one you use is a matter of personal preference. Note that there’s an involved story behind why these two, separate URLs exist, summed up very well here on Kotaku by frequent Digital Trends contributor Mike Rougeau.

Whichever one you use, the process is exceedingly straightforward. On DestinyLFG.com you click “List My Guardian” and fill out all of the requested info in the pop-up that appear. On DestinyLFG.net, you click “Add My Group” and, again, fill out the empty fields. With .net specifically, it’s a good idea to differentiate between LFG, which communicates that you’re looking for a group in need of one more, and LFM, which lets people know that you have a group already and you need one (or a few) more players to fill it out.

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What’s cool about both of these sites is how specific you can get with what you’re looking to play. The pulldown menu is populated by just about every activity in Destiny, including multiple options in each raid for normal/hard mode and individual checkpoints.

Related: Destiny – Vault of Glass raid guide

Communicate even more info in the “notes” section of a listing. It works a little like Twitter, with a character count limit that requires some amount of shorthand, most of which should be familiar to regular Destiny players. This is where you want to mention that you have a mic. If you’re running a raid, let people know if you have a checkpoint (“Have cp”) or not, and if you possess any special skills (i.e experience with the relic or sword).

Once your listing is posted, return your attention to the game and… chill. It usually doesn’t take too long to get an invite or two. Check whichever site you use to see how long the listing stays up and post another one if it disappears before you get an invite. If you’re consistently not getting invites, double-check the level requirements for whichever activity you’re targeting; it may be that you’re just not level-appropriate yet.

Destiny review

You’re not bound to using these two sites, of course. There are other options, such as an LFG resource at DestinyTracker and a Fireteams subreddit. You can find others listed at the Kotaku link above. There is one other resource worth mentioning, however.

The 100 takes the idea of LFG listings to the next level. Many people don’t know this, but Destiny features a very rough, largely unused clan system. The 100 uses that to connect you with 99 other like-minded players — based on how you answer a brief questionnaire — and then lumps everyone into a clan.

It requires you to use the Destiny companion app (or Bungie.net) to make plans since being in a clan doesn’t automatically add those people to your console’s friends list, but it’s only a few more steps than the LFG resources. The 100 also has the added benefit of giving setting players up with a group of regulars that they can interact with.

There you have it. No need to miss out on the raid anymore. Good luck with your loot drops!