Crota's End is Destiny's second Raid, exclusive to the Dark Below expansion, and represents the toughest challenge of anything in the game to date. That's doubly true on hard mode, where only the most organised fireteam with maxed out characters and the rarest exotic weaponry can hope to prevail.
Make sure everyone in your group is level 30 or greater for the standard raid (you can hit 31 by saving up Vanguard Marks and purchasing gear from the Tower) or else you will find it incredibly difficult. Don't even hover over the hard mode option unless you've all made it to level 32.
Crota's End was originally vulnerable to a range of exploits that allowed daring players to shortcut its most difficult encounters, but a succession of patches has removed that possibility. If you want to claim the unique weapons, armour, shaders, ships and other rewards that lie within, then you will need to study this guide and bring your A game. (It is still possible to solo the first Raid chest, however, so we will show you how to do that, although the rewards are useless unless you've unlocked Crota's End armour or weapons.)
It's possible to start the raid with only a small group - or even solo - but overall it is designed for a team of six players. There is no official matchmaking, so you will need to gather a group of friends or friends-of-friends in order to begin. Oh, and the more people in your group who have the Gjallarhorn exotic rocket launcher, the better. Trust us - it will make all the difference.
Destiny: Crota's End guide
On this page:
Destiny: Crota's End - Abyss lamp maze, Ogre, Weight of Darkness, solo chest
How to solo the first loot chest, fight your way past the endless waves of Thrall enemies, cope with the crushing Weight of Darkness debuff, and get to the end of the lamp maze where you claim your first serious Crota's End Raid rewards.
Destiny: Crota's End - Annihilator Totem, Swordbearer, Gatekeeper, tactics, bridge
How to build the bridge, deal with the Annihilator Totems, and handle the Swordbearer and his counterpart the Gatekeeper before smashing a couple of Ogres to activate the next checkpoint and claim more sweet rewards.
Destiny: Crota's End - The Thrallway, Shriekers, second raid chest
How to make it through this deceptively difficult curved corridor, and past a pair of overpowered Shriekers who control forcefields that bar your path, evading hordes of Thrall, and hopefully claiming the second Raid chest which lies beyond.
Destiny: Crota's End - Ir Yut, strategy, Liturgy of Ruin, Wizard, Knights, Deathsinger
You can't take on Crota until you've defeated Ir Yut, a vicious Wizard whose Liturgy of Ruin song will wipe out your entire fireteam if you don't fight your way to her chamber, then take her out before she can finish it.
Destiny: Crota's End - Crota, Chalice of Light, Oversoul, summon, tactics
How to handle this complicated battle in which you won't even be able to heal up unless you're holding a special item called the Chalice of Light. Taking out Crota demands that you defeat a Swordbearer and use his weapon to smash the boss - providing you can lower his shields first, that is.
Destiny: Crota's End - loot table, Eris Morn, weapons, armour, Radiant Shards, Radiant Energy
A full rundown of all the goodies you can obtain at different points in Crota's End on both normal and hard difficulty levels.
Crota's End can be amazingly challenging, even for highly experienced Guardians. For some reason though, Bungie still doesn't mind if you solo the first chest, despite a series of updates that disable exploits elsewhere in the Raid. Beyond that, though, you will need a proper fireteam to beat the Abyss lamp maze.
How to solo the first Crota's End Raid chest
Load up the Crota's End Raid,run down the hill, and you'll discover you're on the opposite side of the Hellmouth to all the areas you visit on Moon missions. Stand on the circular plate in front of you and various runes will start to light up. Once the plate is fully activated, a bridge will appear ahead of you taking you halfway across the Hellmouth's inky expanse. Head to the end of it and jump through the hole to begin your descent.
When you land, turn round until you see the path that heads off towards a distant white pillar. That's the first lamp of the maze. Along the left-hand side of this section of the maze are a series of doors. The first Raid chest is randomly located behind one of them.
Dealing with Weight of Darkness
Before we go for it, though, you should know that a debuff called Weight of Darkness will start stacking from x1 to x10 whenever you move between lamps in this area, removing your double-jump capability and slowing you down. And because the weight of enemy numbers in the Abyss is so heavy - and Weight of Darkness stacks so quickly - it's generally only practical to claim the chest if it happens to be in the first room.
To see whether it is, take the only left turn on the path towards the first lamp. You can tell if the chest is in the first room because a glowing jewel will appear above the door, signalling its presence. If there's no jewel, you can just get killed by the nearest Thrall and then try again. Sooner or later, RNGesus will put the chest in that room for you.
With that said, if you're playing as a Hunter and you respec so that you become invisible for a period after crouching, or if you have other gear that makes you briefly invisible, you may be able to sneak past some of the Thralls and check the subsequent rooms along the left-hand side.
Once you get to the chest, you should find yourself the proud owner of a couple of Radiant Shards or Radiant Energy. These are similar to other ascendant materials, except they only work on armour and weaponry unlocked in Crota's End.
How to complete the Abyss lamp maze
The lamp maze can be intimidating to begin with, but once you get into a good rhythm you should be fine. After activating the bridge and descending into the maze, wait for your shields to recover, revive anyone who died, and then prepare to move as a group.
The maze takes you past 15 lamps on the way towards a plate just like the one you stood on up top. Once you reach that plate, you need to defend it against successive waves of enemies until another bridge forms, then sprint across it and into the light to reach the next section of the raid.
The challenge comes in several forms. First, whenever you step out of the light provided by the lamps, a Weight of Darkness debuff begins stacking, removing your double jump and slowing you gradually to a crawl. Second, waves of Thralls will assail you wherever you go, and there is no way to stem their numbers. Third, there are big dark holes located throughout the maze, ready to kill you if you stumble into them or an enemy pushes you. Fourth, the lamps explode if you stand next to them for too long.
The trick to successful navigation is to make sure you move as a group. Nominate someone to be your leader, then follow carefully in their footsteps. Equip shotguns, heavy machine guns and any weapons you have that explode enemies on death - if anyone in your party has Fatebringer, for instance, encourage them to use it. Don't forget your grenades and Supers either, although be careful not to blow yourself up.
There is no hard and fast rule for how to negotiate the lamps, but in our experience it's a good idea to keep moving whenever possible to prevent the group becoming strung out, then pause every second or third lamp to allow Weight of Darkness to go down a bit. The leader should call out the direction of the next lamp, shout whenever there's a hole in your path, and tell you when to wait and when to move. You can tell when a lamp is about to explode because it gradually goes from white to orange to red - by the time it's red, you're dead.
In general, enemies just keep on coming and you should do your best to kill anything that moves, while paying particular attention to Cursed Thralls - prioritise them and call them out wherever possible. It's also worth remembering you will encounter Knights after the eighth and around the 13th lamp. It's a very good idea to take them out before you move on.
It will take a few attempts to get the hang of the routine, and you will probably lose a few people down holes and to Thrall ambushes along the way. Before too long though, you should be able to make it to the end of the maze and reach the bridge plate. Standing on it activates the final encounter in this section.
How to deal with the Ogre
You can use the terrain to your advantage here. Look around and you should see that several of the rocks in your vicinity are climbable if you have decent agility. This will keep you out of reach of Thralls, Cursed Thralls and hopefully any Knights. That just leaves an Ogre to deal with, a monster who spawns some way away from the plate area, facing the bridge, and who will blast you with his face laser if you don't get a bead on him quickly - particularly if you are standing on a rock and thus cannot move very far.
If you are camping on rocks, equip powerful sniper rifles and go for headshots. (You all bought Ice Breaker when Xur was selling it, right?) Rockets are all well and good, but be aware that the Ogre moves around the back of rocks occasionally, so be careful not to send a tracking round uselessly into the terrain.
After a brief period defending the plate, the bridge beyond it should form and a message will appear saying "The path forward is clear". This is your cue to race over the bridge and into the light. Weight of Darkness is lifted now, so you can double-jump if you wish, but above all sprint and don't look back. The Thralls will chase you but they won't catch you as long as you run at full pelt. You will know you've made it far enough into the light when the right-hand side of your screen fills up with reward notifications.