Destiny 2 Cipher Decoders: How to get, farm and use Festival of the Lost’s cipher decoders?

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Updated on Friday, October 9: Bungie has responded to complaints about the drop rate on cipher decoders, the keys necessary to open loot chests at the end of each Haunted Forest run. It’s mostly good news.

“We’ve further adjusted drop rates for cipher decoders so that two drop per activity completion when applicable. We’ll continue to monitor feedback over the weekend,” the developer said in a Twitter post on Friday. “Please note: ciphers do not drop from the following: enemy kills, Gambit, forges, and non-playlist strikes.”


The original story follows.

If you’re running the Haunted Forest — Destiny 2’s version of trick-or-treating, you might say — you’ve probably noticed that the chests at the end of each run require “cipher decoders” to unlock and claim the maximum amount of loot.

Last night, I got all the quests and bounties I could from Eva Levante and the Spider (the Fallen fellow at the Tangled Shore), got a couple decoders from doing a strike, and then ran the Haunted Forest twice.

On the second run, my fireteam and I realized we no longer had any decoders, so there wasn’t much loot waiting for us at the end of that one.


Find cipher decoders for the Haunted Forest

Maybe Bungie will adjust things a little, but this looks to be kind of a silly grind at the moment.

“I have literally done three Crucible matches, seven moon patrols, three strikes, a couple heroic events, and three Gambit matches, and haven’t gotten one cipher decoder,” one forum user posted.

“I’ve only gotten the first one in the quest.”


I seem to recall having at least two decoders on my first Haunted Forest run, so I probably got lucky and had one drop during that first strike we did.

Forbes contributor Paul Tassi, who plays Destiny pretty religiously, thinks the fastest way to farm decoders for the time being is to grind patrols near Eris’s landing platform on the moon. He’s got a whole system narrowed down, which you might look into if you’re looking to be as efficient as possible.

Basically, you do the “kill any enemy” patrol and the “find Toland” patrol in each of the locations on the moon, go to orbit, then rinse and repeat.

According to the Bungie devs themselves, you should be getting cipher decoders from any of your usual activities throughout the system — Crucible, strikes, patrols, and so on.


For PvP players, this might just mean doing your usual Crucible grind and hitting the Haunted Forest once you’ve got five or 10 or 15 decoders saved up. (Tassi says you can hold up to 25 cipher decoders in total at a given time.)

If you like strikes, run strikes. If you want to get back to the Haunted Forest as fast as possible, well, grind out those patrols on the moon.

Gambit Prime’s also a quick-and-dirty PvE activity you can play with a couple friends. The matches go pretty quickly, they only last for one round, and it’s a good use of your time if you’re looking to make the Festival grind fun, rather than merely a chore.