‘Destiny 2’ power leveling guide: How to get raid-ready fast
Like Destinybefore it, Destiny 2is all about earning new loot and growing as powerful as you possibly can. But figuring out how to get your strength up quickly, especially followingDestiny 2’s first two expansions — Curse of Osiris and Warmind — can be a bit confusing. That’s why we’ve made thisDestiny 2power leveling guide, which breaks down everything you need to do to max out your power level. If you want to know when and how to get your characters up to the power level they need for raid readiness, use this guide to avoid wasting your time and achieve maximum “power” as quickly as possible.
Step one: Get to level 30
Destiny 2 started with a character level cap of 20, expanded to 25 with Curse of Osiris, and then again to 30 with Warmind. Your first goal on the road to reaching the endgame is to max out your character level. You do that by gaining experience points for killing guys and completing missions, so just keep at it until you reach level 30. For many players,completing the story campaign and the expansionstory missions will get you most, if not all the way there on their own, but along the way you’ll find some weapons and gear are too powerful for you to handle until you’ve put the work in.
Destiny 2 also measures your capabilities by your “power” rating. As with “light” in Destiny, your power level is the average value of all your gear, and functions as a measure of your overall strength both offensively and defensively. As you move through the story, you find each activity has a suggested power level when you select it in the Director. If your power is low, spend some time completing side objectives, such as public events and adventures, to get better gear.
Your power level will steadily increase throughout the game. New, more powerful weapons and armor regularly drop from enemies. Gear that’s common (white), uncommon (green) and rare (blue)will continue to have higher and higher power levels as you go. They top out at around 300 with Curse of Osiris installed, so once you hit that power level, you can regularly dismantle any green or blue drops you get. You no longer need them.
Grab your subclasses
The other thing you want to do as early as possible is unlock your alternate subclasses. After completing a public event, you may receive a strange object, which triggers a quest to earn your subclasses back. Once they appear, you’ll see them added to your Milestones.
To earn your subclasses, complete public events until the subclass milestone directs you back to Earth. In Earth’s director map, you’ll see a mission that will take you to the Dark Forest, where you will complete a short mission that unlocks your subclass and gives you a chance to play with it. From there, continue leveling up to earn more Ability Points so you can unlock all of your classes’ perks and capabilities.
Step two: The road to 380
Once you hit level 30, you’ll be free to use every weapon in the game. From here on out, your exclusive focus is on raising your power level.
Power is tied to the stats of your weapons and armor — your gear — so you achieve this by earning the best stuff you can. Each piece of gear you receive will have a power level attached, and your character’s overall power level is determined by the average of all your gear.
For most of Destiny 2, you’ll collect Rare (blue) and Legendary (purple) gear, dropped randomly from enemies, discovered in chests, doled out as rewards for completing activities or purchased from the game’s many vendors. That gear will routinely come in at your higher than your current power level, and you’ll be able to equip new gear to bring up your overall power level, until you hit the “soft power cap,” which in theWarmindexpansion is 340. At that point, there are fewer ways forward to increase your power level.
Until you reach 340, there are activities you’ll want to put off until later to maximize your rewards. Hold back on doing Milestone activities that say they dispatch “powerful” gear until you raise your power to 340. “Powerful” gear rewards are the only way to surpass the the 340 soft cap, but like other rewards, they’re keyed to your current level. That means if you start clearing powerful gear Milestones too early, your rewards will drop at lower levels than what you’d otherwise earn.
It’s worth pointing out that the original power cap in Destiny 2 is 305, and you can only surpass that power level if you purchase Curse of Osiris, which raises the cap to 335. With bothDestiny 2andCurse of Osiris, you can buy Warmind and get up to 385.While much of this advice applies to any player trying to raise their quickly in Destiny 2, it’s worth noting that much of the high-level content (and gear) will not be available in the base game.
Clear out everything
Any drop you get before you hit 340 will increase your overall Power level, so complete every mission and go for every reward you can. Go nuts. A quick way to advance is to clear out each of the planets, knocking out their adventure missions. Adventures often give you gear (as well as Ability points to boost your subclasses), and they’re a little more substantial than some of the other content, such as patrols.
Raise your rep
Everything you do on each planet earns you reputation tokens that correspond to those planets. Once you have a good amount, take those tokens to the quest giver on each planet — Devram in the EDZ, Failsafe on Nessus, Sloane on Titan, Asher on Io, and Brother Vance on Mercury. Every time you turn in enough tokens to fill up the reputation meter that appears when you talk to each quest giver, you’ll receive some new gear that will be more powerful than what you have.
Just about everything you do on a given planet will give you reputation tokens. Completing adventures and patrols earns you tokens, as do clearing challenges, finding supply caches (treasure chests randomly scattered around on planets), and clearing out “Lost Sectors” (hidden tunnels full of bad guys, with a special loot box that can only be opened if you kill the big enemy at the end with the yellow health bar). You can also look for “high-value targets” around various planets; these are special, tougher enemies with yellow health bars that sometimes appear wandering the wilderness. You can also complete public events to earn more rep, and you’ll find gear drops at the end of those as well.
A quick way to boost your level early when jumping intoCurse of Osiris orWarmind is to save up Tokens for any of the vendors you can. Up until you hit the expansion’s soft cap, you can purchase gear from vendors that’ll boost your power level. It’s a quick way to skip having to find better gear out in the world, and allow you to quickly get to your Milestones.
Dismantle old stuff
In more traditional role-playing games, you might sell your old equipment, but in Destiny 2, you simply dismantle it from your menu screen by holding a specific button (Square on PlayStation 4, for instance). You should scrap any old green or blue drops with power levels below your most powerful items. Rare and legendary drops, when dismantled, also yield “gunsmith materials,” which you can take to the Gunsmith at the Farm to increase your reputation with him. Just like turning in reputation tokens, if you give the gunsmith enough parts, you will fill a bar on the screen and eventually earn some new, more powerful gear.
Once you’ve unlocked the Strike playlist, you can access it to be matched into a fireteam of three Guardians to complete these lengthier missions. Each time you finish one, you’ll open a loot chest with some decent gear — mostly blues, but sometimes purples as well. You’ll also receive reputation tokens that you can give to Zavala in the Farm or Tower, which work the same way as reputation with any other faction leader, earning you even more gear.
Later, inCurse of Osiris andWarmind, you’ll be able to play Heroic Strikes, which give out even better rewards. Each week, you’ll have a Milestone to complete that requires you to complete three Heroic Strikes. These are some of the toughest missions in the game thanks to modifiers that can boost enemy damage or otherwise handicap you, though, so make sure you come prepared.
Spend time Meditating
Once you’ve finished the story campaign, you can visit Ikora in the Tower to access a weekly set of Meditations. These are story missions you can replay, with each mission doling out gear rewards on completion. Completing Meditations for Ikora earns yet more reputation tokens that you can give back to her. Turn in enough, and you get more gear.
Enter the Crucible
The competitive multiplayer arena known as the Crucible is another reliable place to get new gear. You might not get a gear drop in every match you play, but you’ll pull something down in the majority. Mostly, these will be blue gear pieces that will top out around 300, but there’s also a fair shot for you to pick up legendary purple gear as well. And as you finish Crucible matches, you earn reputation tokens, which you can give to Lord Shaxx in the Tower for more loot.
In just about every activity, you’ll be able to complete daily challenges (which replace “bounties” from the original Destiny). There are three daily challenges for each planet, as well as for strikes and the Crucible. Completing them earns you additional reputation tokens for those activities, giving you yet another handy way to keep grabbing gear and building up your power level.
Step three: Pushing your power level to the limit
Once your power level reaches 340, you hit the end-game gear grind. From here on out, you will be scouring the solar system for the best loot in the game to get yourself powerful enough to take on Destiny 2’s Raid,“Leviathan,” Curse of Osiris‘ Raid Lair, “Eater of Worlds,” Warmind’s Raid Lair “Spire of Stars” (which goes live May 11), and compete in its top-level competitive activities like the “Trials of the Nine” and the “Iron Banner” tournament. You have to shift gears to earn better stuff, though — regular blue and purple gear drops will stop being better than whatever you have, as will reputation rewards. You can still get quality gear from these, but they likely won’t help you increase your overall power.
If you have Curse of Osiris and Warmind, the highest possible power level is 380 (up from 335 when Curse of Osiris was the lone expansion). Getting that far should prove to be a hell of a challenge, but there are still a few ways to get there and prepare yourself for the raid and raid lairs.
Achieve some Milestones
The most reliable way to get gear above power 340 is to watch for and achieve Milestones. These are the various objectives Destiny 2 provides for you over the course of the game, and the late-game ones come with plenty of big rewards and reset once a week. Watch for Milestones that offer “powerful gear” as rewards (as opposed to “rare gear” or “legendary gear”). That usually denotes that completing the milestone will help you rise above the soft power cap — so you want to save those for when you have already received all the power you can out of regular drops.
Do some Quests
After completing the story campaign in Destiny 2 and in the expansions, you can return to each planet and speak to its quest giver to open a new multi-stage mission called a “quest.” Quests are like more involved Adventure activities, and when you complete all of them on a planet (usually three), you’ll get some quality rewards.
Almost every quest also drops a weird object at the end that you will find in your weapons inventory. Each of those items requires you to do more activities, but completing each set of objectives will earn you an exotic weapon. Legendary gear and exotics are the only types of gear that can get you up to 330 power, so unlocking these special guns and gear pieces is essential.
One specific quest-line that will earn your Guardian high-power gear is located on the Curse of Osiris planet, Mercury. Speak to Brother Vance after you’ve completed all other Adventures on the planet as well as a Heroic adventure, and he’ll give you a new mission: Find materials to unlock special “Lost Prophecy” tablets. These materials can be found on every planet through public events and strikes, and completing the first will unlock the next quest in the chain.
InWarmind, completing Ana Brey’s quests unlocks a new “Ikelos” hand cannon, and a series of new quest steps listed under “Pursuits” in your Inventory screen. Completing the steps can help you unlock a bunch of new, powerful special weapons.
Flashpoints, Heroic Public Events, Heroic Strikes, and Nightfalls
Each week, Destiny 2 resets its weekly “Flashpoint” and “Nightfall Strike” events, and provides you with a heap of “Milestones.” Flashpoints appear in your milestones, sending you to a specific planet to complete a certain number of public events. Nightfall strikes are some of Destiny 2’s hardest content: They remix the game’s standard strike dungeons, adding additional enemies and intense modifiers that amp up the difficulty. Both can earn you some top-level endgame gear, so they’re worth completing each week (and if you’re really ambitious, on each of your three characters).
Introduced in Curse of Osiris, the new “Heroic strikes” are also a reliable way to earn legendary gear. These strikes are more difficult than the standard version, but are not nearly as challenging as the Nightfall in any given week and can be completed using the matchmaking system. Finishing three in a week will unlock a new milestone, giving you one more way to earn a powerful new piece of armor or a weapon.
You can also trigger a tougher — but more rewarding — version of public events you run into in the game world by completing specific, unmarked sub-objectives. For instance, on the Glimmer Drill event, shooting a small Fallen machine that spawns near the drill can destroy the drill itself, leading to a version of the event in which players need to protect a pile of Glimmer from a tougher onslaught of enemies. Pay attention to other players to learn the various triggers to turn events Heroic, and you will increase your likelihood of better gear drops.
Mod it up
When you start earning Exotic gear, you’ll likely notice on the “Details” screen that most pieces will come bearing weapon or armor mods, usually of the “5 Damage” or “5 Defense” variety. This means that these pieces of gear have five Power points added to their stats. It’s an important distinction because when you’re looking at a 335 Exotic chest plate, for instance, the armor’s Power level is actually 330, with the extra five points coming from the mod.
Where that comes into play is in using Destiny 2’s Infusion system. “Infusing” gear means you take a weapon or armor piece of higher Power number and sacrifice, or “infuse” it, into a piece of gear with a lower number. The gear with the lower number takes the Power number from the higher number, which is extremely handy when you get a high-level piece of gear that you don’t need, and want to boost the stats of your favorite armor or weapon.
But gear with mods can be deceptivebecause it can be tempting to infuse that 305 Exotic weapon that you have doubles of into a different gun instead. If the weapon has a mod, it’s actually five points lower than it appears to be, and you’ll only get the infusion bonus of the base number. Put another way: If you try to use a 305 piece of gear with a mod to infuse something lower, you will actually only get the lower piece up to 300 power, and the mod that gave it the extra five points will be lost for good.
This also means that once you get gear up to a high level and you think you’re going to keep it forever (especially with Exotics), you can use Legendary-level mods you’ve found along the way to boost that gear up even more. In fact, most of your gear can accept mods, and you’ll rack up a ton of blue-level mods as you play the game. Once you use them, though, they’re gone. If you dismantle the piece of gear you modded, or want to add a new mod to that gear, the old mod is lost forever.
Join a Clan
Once you get to a high enough power level, you’ll receive a milestone suggesting you create or join a clan, which will reward you with powerful gear. Even after you get that first drop, though, being in a clan has reliable rewards in most activities, too. Each week, you can get extra rewards out of the crucible, strikes, the Nightfall and other activities when you play them with your clanmates. It’s an incentive to make some friends in Destiny 2and can make the gear grind quicker and more fun to work through.
Compete in the Iron Banner and Trials of the Nine, and ready a Raid team
In Destiny, the best gear always came from the hardest activities, and you can expect Destiny 2 to function the same way. Top-level gear reliably drops in the Iron Banner Crucible tournament (where, unlike the regular Crucible, you keep your power level, so your grinding efforts are rewarded) and in the Trials of the Nine, so you’ll want to get good at the player-versus-player portion of the game.
Outside of Trials, the top gear in Destiny was always located in its various raids, both in their regular and “hard mode” forms. If you really want to push your characters up past 300 Power in Destiny 2, start getting your six-guardian fireteams ready to gear up and conquer Leviathan.
Use Fireteam Medallions to amp up your drops
At the Eververse shop, you can buy fireteam medallions, which are consumable items that give you increased loot drops for four hours across a number of activities. They’re especially useful when you play with friends, as everyone on your fireteam gets the benefit as well. Fireteam medallions increase the frequency of drops, which can help you get high-quality ones a little quicker. You’ll need bright dust to buy things from Eververse, which you can get by paying real moneyor breaking down the cosmetic items you get out of bright engrams, such as ships and sparrows.
Run the raid
Once you’ve broken the 300 power threshold, you will be ready to head to the Leviathan raid. Along with milestones, it’s one of the few places to keep grinding your power level up toward the power level cap. The raid requires a team of six players and includes four different major encounters. After each one, you open a treasure chest that will drop Reputation Tokens that you can turn in to a specific, new vendor in the Tower. With enough tokens, you can reliably get raid-specific gear from the vendor, just like with any of the other reputation characters in the game.
Gear you get from turning in raid reputation tokens will get you raid gear, but as with other reputation vendors, you’ll receive it below your level if you’re at 300 or higher. But as you’re working your way through the raid itself, there is a chance those chests will also drop higher-level gear as well. So it’s worth it to run the raid each raid after each weekly reset if you’re really interested in grinding your level up.
You’ll get even more good stuff from the Raid Lairs unlocked inCurse of Osiris andWarmind, so be sure to explore those as well.
Make some alternate characters
After you hit the 340 threshold inDestiny 2, reliable advancement can be tough to come by. Each weekly reset only provides a handful Milestones for players to complete, and those are the only places you’re guaranteed to get gear that will consistently increase your character’s power level. There’s a potential workaround, though: Start a new character to get more Milestones.
You can have a total of three characters inDestiny 2 — a Titan, a Warlock,and a Hunter — and using two or all three of them gives you the chance to sort of leapfrog your characters by sharing equipment between them. That can help you get all of their power levels to about the same place, which will mean that instead of doing five milestones per week, you can do 10 or even 15, and pool your characters’ resources together.
It works like this: First, start an alternate character and complete the story campaign to unlock all content for that character. Once you get to level 20 in the base game, 25 in Curse of Osiris, and 30 inWarmind, you can use weapons with any power level in the game. So next, transfer your best weapons from your main character over to your alternate (you can do that quickly and easily with the Destinysmartphone app). You can’t share armor, but youcan use the same guns — and that should automatically give your alt character a huge power boost.
From there, just level your character like normal, holding off on completing Milestones while knocking out things like adventures and patrols. With high-level weapons, you’ll get much higher random equipment drops, and the items you get for turning in reputation tokens will drop higher as well. That should make it fairly easy to equalize your alt character’s other equipment with your high-quality guns. Having that high-level equipment will also make your grind toward the power cap a little quicker.
Once you get your alt character pretty close to where your main character is, power-wise, you can start knocking out your alt character’s milestones for guaranteed high-level gear drops. Armor will have to stay on your alt since it’s not interchangeable between classes, but any weapons you get along the way that are above your power level will also give a boost to your main character. Sharing weapons back and forth, you can increase your ability to level your characters up each week.
Updated with new activities and stats to reflect new progression in Destiny 2: Warmind.