- "The unique datastatic structure of relic crystals inspired Doctor Willa Bray to develop the first engram matter-encryption techniques during the Golden Age."
- — Ghost
Engrams are a unique, "pure" state of matter, the form solid matter takes when physically encrypted. First successfully generated by Willa Bray, Clovis Bray proceeded to head the field of engram research and application.
One of the most significant applications of engrams is for computing. By the end of the 21st century, computer engineers had reached the physical limits of transistor-based computing, unable to overcome quantum incoherence at the nanoscopic level. This halted research for some time. However, engram encryption allowed quantum incoherence to be bypassed: transistors encoded into engrams could store exponentially more information in a smaller space. The discovery of engrammic computation, one of Clovis Bray's last developments before the Collapse, led to a vast leap in human processing power.
Encoded Engrams are sold by the Cryptarch, and are coded with the patterns of known items, such as a particular section of armor or class of weaponry. Once purchased by the player, the engram is converted into a random example of that item by the Cryptarch. While decoding an engram will generate a random item, it's still possible to know the type of item that will be discovered. Each Engram will indicate whether the item is armor, a primary weapon, a special weapon, a heavy weapon, or an item shaped like the Engram. The quality of the item is also identified, as Engrams use the same color coding as weapons and armor: White for Basic, green for Uncommon, blue for Rare, purple for Legendary, gold for Exotic.
Encrypted engrams are defined in-game as having "unusual properties". These must also be taken to the Tower where the Cryptarch will convert them if (in certain cases) only after he has attained the necessary Rank. The Cryptarch is also known to have these rarer Engrams for sale from time to time, which are more common if his skill is higher.
Engrams are also found as loot, and appear as colored crystals on the ground (white for Encoded, green for Encrypted, blue for Decoherent, purple for Legendary, yellow for Exotic). Enemies may drop them randomly, or they may be picked up from boss encounters or inside chests. Any engrams that the player hasn't picked up may show up in the Postmaster's office.
Engrams have a chance of being decoded into an item that is higher or the same quality as the Engram itself. That item will almost always correspond to the type of Engram it comes from; the exception to this is that sometimes a Rare Engram will decode into a Mote of Light or Strange Coin instead. Also, certain items will never be decoded from an engram and can only be acquired a certain way; this applies to any item acquired through a Raid, Exotic Bounty, the Iron Banner, Trials of Osiris, or as a reward for a Story mission.
There are nine Weapon Engrams, seven Armor Engrams, and three Class Engrams. Each is marked with a weapon or armor piece symbol to indicate what type of gear it is (Shotgun, Auto rifle, Machine gun, etcetera).
|Engram Type||Color||Item Quality||Cryptarch Rep||Availability|
|Encoded||White||Common||+5||Random drops until level 15, purchase from Cryptarch.|
|Encrypted||Green||Uncommon||+10||Random drops, purchase from Cryptarch; automatically decoded after level 15. As of the January 2017 update, Uncommon Engrams automatically decrypt into either Weapon Parts or Armor Materials if the player is above a level where they would otherwise be useful.|
|Decoherent||Blue||Rare||+75||Random drops after Level 15, Story mission rewards, faction rank-up rewards; use to drop Glass Shards.|
|Legendary||Purple||Legendary||+150||Random drops after Level 15, purchase from Cryptarch, faction rank-up rewards; can acquire Ascendant Energy or Ascendant Shards.|
|Sublime||Purple||Legendary||+150||Random drops on PlayStation only; contain PlayStation-exclusive Armor pieces.|
|Exotic||Yellow||Exotic||+300||Purchase from Xûr, Agent of the Nine for nineteen Strange Coins each to acquire Year 2 Exotic Armor.|
|Legacy||Yellow||Exotic||+300||Purchase from Xûr, Agent of the Nine for 31 Strange Coins each to acquire Year 1 Exotic Weapons.|
|Deceptive||Green||Exotic||+300||A green-painted Exotic Engram given as a gift by Master Rahool during the Veteran's Tour Quest for players who qualified for the Founder's Fortune Pack; contains a random Year 1 Exotic Weapon.|
|Iron||Purple||Legendary||N/A||Purchase from Lord Saladin to acquire Year One or Year Two Iron Banner Armor.|
|Dusty||Purple||Legendary||N/A||Purchase from Lord Saladin for five Silver Dust to acquire a Year Three Iron Banner Armor piece.|
|Engram Type||Color||Item Quality||Availability|
|Encoded||White||Common||Random drops until about level 10, automatically decrypted.|
|Encrypted||Green||Uncommon||Random drops after level 5 until about level 15, automatically decrypted.|
|Decoherent||Blue||Rare||Random drops after level 10 (automatically decrypted) and mission rewards (requires decryption).|
|Legendary||Purple||Legendary||Random drops (Rare) after level 20. Automatically decrypted upon collection, but encrypted at postmaster.|
|Exotic||Yellow||Exotic||Random drops (Very Rare) after level 20. Requires decryption.|
|EDZ||Purple||Legendary||Turn in EDZ Tokens, Dusklight Shards, and Dusklight Crystals to Devrim Kay.|
|Arcology||Purple||Legendary||Turn in Arcology Tokens, Alkane Dust, and Alkane Spores to Sloane.|
|Nessus||Purple||Legendary||Turn in Nessus Tokens, Microphasic Datalattices, and Quantized Datalattices to Failsafe.|
|Io||Purple||Legendary||Turn in Io Tokens, Phaseglass Needles, and Phaseglass Spires to Asher Mir.|
|Lighthouse||Purple||Legendary||Turn in Mercury Tokens, Simulation Seeds, and Simulation Buds to Brother Vance.|
|Cradle||Purple||Legendary||Turn in Mars Tokens, Seraphite, and Harmonic Seraphite to Ana Bray.|
|Crucible||Purple||Legendary||Complete Crucible matches and challenges to earn Crucible Tokens for Lord Shaxx.|
|Gunsmith||Purple||Legendary||Turn in Gunsmith Materials and Weapon Telemetry to Arcite 99-40 or Banshee-44.|
|Vanguard Research||Purple||Legendary||Complete Meditations (Story mission replays) to earn Vanguard Research Tokens for Ikora Rey. No longer available.|
|Vanguard Tactician||Purple||Legendary||Complete Strikes and challenges to earn Vanguard Tactician Tokens for Commander Zavala.|
|Imperial||Purple||Legendary||Complete the Leviathan Raid and its challenges to earn Emperor Calus Tokens for Benedict 99-40.|
|Trials||Purple||Legendary||Complete Trials of the Nine matches to earn Trials of the Nine Tokens for The Emissary.|
|Iron||Purple||Legendary||Complete Iron Banner matches to earn Iron Banner Tokens for Lord Saladin.|
|Dead Orbit||Purple||Legendary||Align with Dead Orbit during Faction Rallies to earn Dead Orbit Tokens for Arach Jalaal.|
|FWC||Purple||Legendary||Align with Future War Cult during Faction Rallies to earn FWC Tokens for Lakshmi-2.|
|New Monarchy||Purple||Legendary||Align with New Monarchy during Faction Rallies to earn New Monarchy Tokens for Executor Hideo.|
|Luminous||Purple||Legendary or Exotic||Complete weekly milestones: Flashpoint, Call to Arms, Nightfall, Prestige Nightfall, and Clan XP Contribution. Only be available during Curse of Osiris, now retired.|
|Bright||White||Rare, Legendary or Exotic||Received upon leveling up after reaching the level 20 cap, or purchased from Tess Everis. Requires decryption at Eververse. Season 1 only.|
|Illuminated||White||Rare, Legendary or Exotic||Received upon leveling up after reaching the level 25 cap, or purchased from Tess Everis. Requires decryption at Eververse. Season 2 only.|
|Prototype||White||Rare, Legendary or Exotic||Received upon leveling up after reaching the level 30 cap, or purchased from Tess Everis. Requires decryption at Eververse. Season 3 only.|
|Steadfast||White||Rare, Legendary or Exotic||Received upon leveling up after reaching the level 50 cap, or purchased from Tess Everis. Requires decryption at Eververse. Season 4 only.|
|Etched||Black||Rare, Legendary, or Exotic||Received upon leveling up after reaching the level 50 cap, or purchased from Tess Everis. Requires decryption at Eververse. Season 5 only.|
|Notorious||Green||Rare, Legendary, or Exotic||Received upon leveling up after reaching the level 50 cap, or purchased from Tess Everis. Requires decryption at Eververse. Season 6 only.|
|Ephemeral||Purple||Rare, Legendary or Exotic||Can be purchased from Eververse or obtained upon leveling up past the level cap during the 2018 Festival of the Lost. Requires decryption at Eververse.|
|Fated (Isochronal)||Yellow||Exotic||Guarantees one pre-Forsaken Exotic item that has not been previously obtained. Account-based purchase once per week from Xûr, Agent of the Nine for 97 Legendary Shards. If all pre-Forsaken Exotics have been claimed, gives one random pre-Forsaken Exotic instead.|
|Golden Age||Yellow||Exotic||Gives the Sturm Hand Cannon, and must be brought to Tyra Karn at The Farm for decryption.|
|Rasputin's Gift||Black||Legendary||Gives the IKELOS HC v1.0.1. Can only be obtained once through the Mars world quest after completing the Warmind campaign, and must be brought into Rasputin's chamber for decryption.|
|Prime Engram||Purple-Yellow||Legendary||Drops randomly from Elite, Major, and Ultra enemies, or Crucible matches. Always drops gear higher than your current power level. Looks like a standard Legendary Engram, but with added glow & particle effects.|
|Black Armory Engram||Dark Purple||Legendary||Dropped from a completed Black Armory Forge Ignition. Somewhat elongated and modified compared to regular Engrams. Distinctive blue-white hex-spiral effects.|
List of appearances
- Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: The Taken King Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Item Description, In Good Temper
- Destiny the Game: Game Master July 2014 Destiny Cover Issue & PlayStation UK Magazine June 2014 Destiny Hands-on: Breakdown
- DattoDoesDestiny: Destiny Alpha Gameplay! Exploring: The Tower
- Bungie (2015-5-19), Destiny: House of Wolves, PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Master Ives, Cryptarch
- Bungie (2017/9/8), Destiny 2: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Hastilude
- Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: The Taken King Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Fabian Strategy
- Bungie (2014/6/12), Destiny: Alpha PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard.
- The Guardian: how the makers of Halo plan to change the future of shooters
- Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard.