How to get Ascendant Shards
Even before Bungie nerfed the ability to dismantle Queens Wrath Armour for Ascendant Shards, there were several methods for acquiring them legitimately. In this tutorial I'll show you the different ways to earn Ascendant Shards in Destiny and upgrade your Legendary Armour to reach Level 28.
As I covered in my previous tutorial for reaching Level 30, you need to upgrade each Purple Armour piece from its base stat of 18 to push it nearer to 28. The initial upgrades will require a combination of Glimmer, Weapon Parts and one of the planetary materials such as Spinmetal, Spirit Bloom, Helium Coils etc. You'll know that a particular upgrade will increase your Light Level because it's called "Defence Upgrade" and in all cases these upgrades require planetary material.
Finding planetary materials is easy enough thanks to chest runs and the abundance of spawn points on each of the planets. But that's the easy part and many players become suck on Level 27 simply because they've completed all of the material upgrades and are looking for Ascendant Shards which are always in short supply.
Ok, here's a list of different ways to get Ascendant Shards in Destiny:
1. Daily Heroic Mission
The Daily Heroic mission is a guaranteed way to earn Ascendant Materials. Note the use of Ascendant Materials and not Ascendant Shards here. That's because the reward is random, you'll either get Ascendant Shards (for upgrading armour) or Ascendant Energy (used for upgrading weapons). You never know which one you'll earn by completing the mission but you'll at least get one or the other.
As with the Weekly Strike, the Daily Heroic has different levels which are 22, 26 and 28. If you complete the Level 26 mission you'll earn 1 Ascendant Material, if you complete Level 28 you'll get 2 Ascendant Materials. The Level 22 mission doesn't give you anything.
Since you're looking to break through to Level 28, you're already on 27 so tackling the highest Level 28 mission SOLO is possible but it will test your skills.
2. Public Events
Public events run every 10 minutes on each of the planets; Earth, Moon, Mars and Venus. The first Public Event of the day will reward you with a message from the Postmaster, which is sometimes an Ascendant Shard and a small number of Vanguard Marks. It can also be a Strange Coin though if you're unlucky.
You can continue to replay Public Events for the chance to earn more Ascendant Shards, with the probability being roughly 10-15% per event. That's not too much of a problem though, because Public Events can be farmed nicely by watching the clock and moving from zone to zone to keep them rolling in.
3. Dismantling Legendary Armour
Dismantling Legendary Armour will reward you with 2 x Ascendant Shards.Note:
The Queens Wrath was the perfect way to earn a guaranteed Legendary Armour piece and then immediately break it down for Ascendant Shards. Now that Bungie have patched that exploit you can no longer dismantle Queen's Armour for shards.
The Tricky part is getting the Legendary Armour in the first place. This leaves you with the following options:
- Hoping for Purple Engram drops and a lucky dip from the Cryptarch
- Increasing Cryptarch Rank for Postmaster rewards
- Buying Crucible Armour
- Increasing Crucible Rank (+3) to earn an immediate Legendary item
- Buying Vanguard Armour
- Increasing Vanguard Rank (+3) to earn an immediate Legendary item
In each case, you can immediacy break down the purple item and get your two shards.
4. Weekly Nightfall
If you're a SOLO player then the weekly Nightfall is a very challenging experience, but is still possible for Level 27 players. The rewards from Nightfall are some of the best in the game, almost on par with Raids. The downside is that a Nightfall mission will take you at least an hour to master alone.
Rewards for completing the Weekly Nightfall can include multiple Ascendant Shards (+9 in some cases) along with Exotic weapons and Armour. You can then break these Exotics down for even more Ascendant Shards.
So if you're a good player, have some time and patience then cracking the Weekly Nightfall is one of the best routes to shards. It can only be done once a week but that's not a problem if you end up with a double Legendary upgrade as a result.
5. Dismantling Exotic Armour from Xur
This one's a last resort unless you've already got the particular Armour piece or the Armour is for another character class which you can't use. If either of those is true then you can safely break down the Exotic Armour for 3 x Ascendant Shards.
Finding Exotic Armour is even harder than finding Legendary Armour with one exception and that's when Xur comes along on a Friday. You can purchase an Exotic Engram for 23 Motes of Light which might reward you with an Armour piece.
Motes of Light seem to be easier to acquire once you reach the high 20's but because Xur only comes along once a week, this tactic is a bonus rather than a steady way to get shards.
The important point to take away from this tutorial is that earning Ascendant Shards is now a short and sweet process, it's no longer a grind. You'll need to play Destiny on a daily basis for a short duration rather than rack in a lot of hours at the weekend.