Death Marks are a system used to denote that the player has been targeted for assassination by one of the game's three Assassins – Stalker, the Zanuka Hunter, and The Grustrag Three – or a Death Squad from one of the six major Syndicates players can side with, which gives them a chance to appear in missions that the player participates in. Although dangerous, defeating them gives players the chance of weapon blueprints, equipment, or cosmetics that in some cases can only drop from those attackers.
Death Marks are attained by successfully completing certain mission types or certain goal, and players can have death marks from multiple assassins active at once.
Generally, Death Marks provide a small chance of a given Assassin or Death Squad appearing during a mission. The assassin has a chance of appearing within the first 5 minutes of the mission. If that period of time passes without an encounter, the assassin can no longer spawn for the duration of the mission. However, the assassin can still spawn after the objective is complete.
Death Marks of the same type from multiple players will stack, increasing the chances of that particular assassin(s) appearing in a mission.
Assassin Death Marks
Assassin Death Marks are typically obtained by completing certain missions, and attract the attention of either the Stalker (be it his regular variant or his Shadow variant, depending on whether or not the player has completed The Second Dream), the Zanuka Hunter or The Grustrag Three. The Stalker's Death Mark is obtained by completing a successful Assassination mission on most bosses (with the exception of Captain Vor's encounter on Mercury or his Corrupted counterpart in high-level Void missions; players can get a Death Mark from Vor if they fight him on Ceres), whereas the Death Marks of the Zanuka Hunter or The Grustrag Three are obtained by completing 5 Invasion missions for the opposing faction (i.e. completing Invasion missions in favor of the Corpus will acquire a Death Mark from The Grustrag Three and vice versa).
Players typically receive a message in their inbox indicating that a Death Mark has been acquired, and from Update 15.0 (2014-10-24) onwards, players can see their active Assassin Death Marks in their profile. Players are typically required to defeat the Assassin in order to continue the mission (as they typically initiate a Lockdown upon spawning, trapping the player in the room they spawn in), and the Death Mark is only consumed if the player defeats the assassin or conversely, the assassin defeats the player.
Players can also manually summon an Assassin by using Beacons purchased from Baro Ki'Teer, which cost 125,000 and 200. This allows players to summon assassins regardless of faction type or Death Mark availability (though players will still consume a Death Mark if they use a Beacon when they have a Death Mark). Only one type of beacon can be used per mission. Despite their high prices, beacons are consumed upon use. As Baro Ki'Teer's stock changes with every appearance, he may not have Beacons for purchase in future visits.
Syndicate Death Marks
Syndicate Death Marks are acquired by gaining a negative reputation with the related Syndicate, and grant a chance to be attacked by Death Squads composed of Eximus units. The size of the Death Squad is determined by the level of reputation the player has with that Syndicate. Unlike Assassin Death Marks, Syndicate Death Marks cannot be viewed in the player's profile and can only be removed by improving their reputation to at least a neutral level. To balance this out, players are not required to defeat Death Squads in order to progress.
- Since the Stalker becomes the Shadow Stalker with the completion of The Second Dream, his form is determined by whether his target has completed the aforementioned Quest; the state of the quest of any other player in the attacked squad does not matter.
- Assassin Death Marks will not activate in Assassination Missions or Syndicate Alerts. This cannot be overcome with beacons.
- Syndicate Death Squads will be hostile to every player in a squad, even players who are in good terms with the Syndicate in question.
- Stalker's Death Mark will only be applied to the player that lands the killing blow on the boss, regardless of how much or how little damage said player has done to the boss.