The Dreaming City is a gorgeous, vibrant world that will act as your endgame hub in Destiny 2: Forsaken. Its colorful sky, spacious caves, and palatial interiors give the impression it was a sort of utopian homeland at some point. But that’s not what it is now.
As you spend time exploring the Dreaming City, you’ll quickly discover it has a literal darker side: The Ascendant Realm. This otherworldly plane of existence is host to the gods the Hive hold allegiance to, as well as Scorn Baron Hiraks, the Mindbender. This world is oppressively dark – the easiest way to navigate it is to follow a string of bright lights that will guide you through the few isolated pieces of terra firma around you. Your adventures in The Ascendant Realm will be among the most challenging in Forsaken, but the rewards will prove worth the trek.
But before you can test yourself in The Ascendant Realm, you must gain the ability to enter it. As you defeat enemies, complete Public Events in the Dreaming City, or test yourself in the Blind Well, enemies will occasionally drop a new kind of consumable item. This item is your key to entering the Ascendant Realm. When you use this item, you’ll be able to see many of the secrets that link the Dreaming City and the Ascendant Realm. You’ll only this ability for a limited time, however, so make sure you have a group and your wits about you before you start hunting.
The first secret observant players will notice are platforms randomly floating around the Dreaming City. These platforms are only visible (and solid) to those who’ve consumed the new item. They will appear in specific spots in the Dreaming City, but their exact locations will vary from week to week. And when you find one platform, you’ll usually find a few more. They’re also perilously thin (think of a stone tablet turned on its side), which means following the trail of platforms to reap the reward at the end will require some light platforming skills.
But the reward at the end of these short platforming challenges will help you progress in the Dreaming City. These platforms can lead to one of several chests, each containing a random assortment of tokens used to access the Blind Well, legendary gear, and possibly more. Gear you gain from these chests won’t be the strongest in the game, but it should work as a stop-gap that will help you out during your early days in The Dreaming City. Bounties you pick up from Petra Venj (the Dreaming City’s faction vendor) will often take you locations where these platforms might emerge; in fact, the first platform we found was right behind her.
Bounties may also hint at another secret these platforms can lead to: Portals to the Ascendant Realm. Only one of these portals will be open per week, so you’ll have to think critically about the hints you’re given to find them in time. Some of these portals are obscurely hidden, while others may jump out at you immediately. And while jumping up the platforms necessary to enter these portals may prove difficult, that’s just the start of your journey.
Inside these portals are Ascendant Challenges – short, self-contained dungeons that will test your puzzle-solving skills as much as your aim. While they’re not as intricate as anything you might find in a raid, these challenges won’t hold your hand, which means it’s up to you to figure them out.
You’re also treading on some thin ice. If you die while inside an Ascendant Challenge, you’re kicked back out to the Dreaming City, which means having to platform your way back up to the entrance. And since the new consumable item is time-limited and caps out at five in your inventory, you’re running on a generous but limited timer.
The actual puzzle of each challenge can vary; most require a mix of combat prowess, platforming skills, and critical thinking. One of the challenges we played had us climbing to the top of an area using a series of tiny, floating islands infected by Darkness Blast traps which threatened to push us off into oblivion. Another required we figure out how to kill a particular boss the right way, and yet another involved more platforming, this time with a focus on remembering when giant, teleporting behemoths will appear so you’re not knocked into the ether by them (remember the platform section of the King’s Fall raid? That’s not too far off).
And while you can complete Ascendant Challenges on your own, you’ll probably want to bring a fireteam with you, as the enemies inside will prove challenging; if you try to tackle these right after finishing the campaign, you’ll likely be underleveled for them. You might also want the extra brain power; these challenges aren’t lengthy, but your first time through, you’ll need to be observant about how to complete then before running out of elixirs. We were able to finish one in about 10 minutes, but harder challenges may take longer.
Your reward? A piece of powerful loot, which will provide you with a lategame power bump outside of the weekly milestones (most of which will shift to a four-day cycle when Forsaken launches). This, along with the several hidden chests, should give both casual and dedicated players new goals to chase every week – ones off the beaten path and which should make the Dreaming City a location worth exploring.
For more on Destiny 2: Forsaken, like a look at a public event in the Dreaming City, or a closer look at the new repeatable Blind Well activity, make sure to click on the banner below to see all of our Forsaken coverage, and come back throughout the month for more features.