Destiny 2 how to get Exotic Ciphers and what you can use them for explained

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Wondering how to get Destiny 2 Exotic Ciphers? If there’s one downside to live service games, it’s that once limited time content from an event or sale is gone, there’s often no reliable way to get it again. This isn’t the case with Bungie’s space-faring FPS. Thanks to the presence of the Monument of Lost Light, players have the chance to purchase exotics they missed out on when eras or DLC expansions from the past were live. But there’s one special item you’ll need to get your hands on to purchase these powerful weapons – Exotic Ciphers.

Here, we’re going to explain how to get Destiny 2 Exotic Ciphers. If you need help collecting other rare materials, like Deepsight Harmonizer, Ascendant Shards, or help collecting rare weapons like Quicksilver Storm, Wicked Implement, and Ex Diris, we can help you out. This way you can ensure your stockpiles and arsenals are sufficiently prepared for the Final Shape release date.

How do you get Exotic Ciphers in Destiny 2?

You can acquire Destiny 2 Exotic Ciphers by completing the weekly Xenology quest from Xur. This is the one reliable method to get your hands on Exotic Ciphers. However, it’s not the only one. Season Passes also sometimes contain Exotic Ciphers, with the current Season of the Witch free pass offering an Exotic Cipher to players who complete level 55 of the track.

Other methods for obtaining the Ciphers have come and gone throughout the years. Players used to also get one for purchasing the Forsaken Pack DLC, for example. However Xenology has stuck around and is likely to remain the best method for getting them for some time to come.

Did you know?

Despite their rarity, players can only hold up to a total of 5 Exotic Ciphers in their inventory at any one time. Reaching this maximum capacity will prevent you from being able to complete the Xenology quest.

Destiny 2 how to get Exotic Ciphers explained: The Xenology quest overview menu.

Xûr’s Weekly Xenology quest explained

The Xenology quest is your easy ticket to earning an Exotic Cipher, and can be completed once a week.

First, you’ll need to find Xûr. He’s a special vendor in Destiny 2 who only appears between Fridays and Tuesdays, leaving at the weekly reset. Come Friday, you’ll find Xûr in one of three locations.

  1. Nessus
  2. The EDZ
  3. The Tower

After you track him down and speak with him, go to the second page of his inventory to pick up the quest called Xenology. This quest will always have the same steps. First, it’ll ask you to complete a total of 21 playlist activities of one of three ritual activities. Vanguard Ops, Crucible, and Gambit. All three will contribute equally, whether you’re grinding out games of Control or tackling the weekly Nightfall. After completing the required number of activities, players can return to Xûr to complete the quest and be rewarded with an Exotic Cipher.

Destiny 2 how to get Exotic Ciphers explained: Xur's inventory, highlighted on the Xenology quest.

What Are Exotic Ciphers in Destiny 2?

Exotic Ciphers are a rare currency type that was introduced back in Season of Arrivals. What makes them so sought after is the fact that they can be used to acquire exotics from previous years, seasons, and expansions in Destiny 2.

Destiny 2 how to get Exotic Ciphers explained: Exotic Ciphers in a player's inventory.

As soon as you get your hands on an Exotic Cipher, head over to the Monument to Lost Lights that’s located next to the vault terminals in the Tower. Here, you can turn in their Exotic Cipher (along with some other mandatory materials) in exchange for exotic weapons. This is a limited selection, keep in mind. Some exotics, like the Wish-Keeper bow, require you to complete their associated quests – in that weapons case, the Starcrossed exotic mission.

That covers how to get Destiny 2 Exotic Ciphers. With your new currency in hand, you’ll have a much easier time picking up weapons you may have missed out on, like Centrifuse and Ex Diris. If you want to pair your shiny new guns with some shiny new style though, why not take a look at what the weekly Eververse store has got in stock for you?

Destiny 2 Exotic Ciphers FAQ

Can you dismantle Exotic Ciphers?

Yes, you can dismantle an Exotic Cipher, though it’s difficult to do by accident due to the long dismantle time, and doesn’t serve much purpose.

Can I access the Monument to Lost Lights in Destiny 2 through DIM?

No, Destiny Item Manager doesn’t allow you to spend Exotic Ciphers and unlock new weapons at the Monument To Lost Lights. You’ll need to head to The Tower in-game for this.

About the Author

Finlay Cattanach

Fin is a Guides and Reviews writer for He's worked previously with Startmenu, The Loadout, and more. He plays everything from strategy and sandbox titles to FPS and souls-likes.

Destiny 2

  • Release Date: September 6, 2017
    • - 06 September 2017 (Xbox One, PlayStation 4)
    • - 24 October 2017 (PC)
    • - 31 December 2019 (Google Stadia)
  • Platform(s): Google Stadia, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Web, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
  • Genre(s): Action, Adventure, First Person, Massively Multiplayer, Shooter
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