Destiny 2 is an ever-changing and ever-evolving game. Along with exciting new content updates, developer Bungie was also inducted into the PlayStation first-party family this year. Because of this, Destiny has been thrust into the spotlight more so than previous expansion releases.
With more eyes than ever on the shared-world space shooter, some may want to dive in for the first time or return to see what has changed in the past few years. As this new expansion launches, new and returning players will join the fray. Some players may feel overwhelmed with what to focus on post-Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, so this guide will help streamline your leveling and grinding process.
**All pictures are taken in Destiny 2: Beyond Light and its last season, The Season of the Lost. The Season of the Risen will launch with Destiny 2: The Witch Queen.**
In the next section, I will be going into more detail on the differences between Power levels, Seasonal levels, and activities. For those who are interested in a more streamlined guide:
- Buy Destiny 2: The Witch Queen ($39.99) or Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Deluxe Edition ($79.99)
- Deluxe comes with the yearly season pass. You can purchase each season individually as well.
- Complete the Witch Queen campaign, along with any activity you enjoy inside of Destiny. All-new armor and weapons will get players to 1500.
- Story missions will be marked with the logo of the Witch Queen expansion.
- If you purchased the season pass, there will also be markers for Season of the Risen with their own logo. The season will also have new story missions launching almost every week.
- After completing The Witch Queen campaign, jump into the seasonal story and activity.
- Once you reach the soft cap at 1500 (obtained by any drops), focus on Powerful rewards from seasonal activities, Prime Engrams, leveling up in Crucible, Vanguard, and Gambit, and running any past content available to you.
- Once at the Power level cap (1550), shift focus to Pinnacle Rewards from new dungeons, the new Raid, and weekly three crucible, strike, and/or Gambit matches.
These five steps will help you quickly get to the Power level cap to ensure you have access to all end game content. When hovering over a weekly activity, you will see what reward it will offer. Pinnacle rewards should be saved for when you’re close or above Powerful cap. It’s also worth noting that there are Powerful and Powerful tier 1, 2, and 3 rewards shown on the directory. The (tier) signifies how many levels above soft cap these rewards will drop.
Reintroductions To Leveling
What are Seasonal and Power Levels?
Depending on when you last played Destiny, you know the level system was always something that took some getting used to. Like in many MMOs and RPGs, your Guardian had a level to signify how strong they were and what content they could access. A
long with that, there was also a Power Level (formally known as Light Level in original Destiny) that did roughly the same thing but was more focused on how strong you were versus other Guardians. However, this is no longer how Destiny’s levels work.
This system has been streamlined since the launch of Beyond Light last year. Guardians no longer have a base level but rather a level for the season. Your level is reduced back to zero at the beginning of each new season. Levels are there to show how much you have played during a season.
These levels help seasoned Guardians gauge how new/experienced a guardian is in the seasonal activity, which also changes each season. However, this is not necessarily a good way to see a Guardian’s experience with the game as a whole.
Your seasonal level will increase through experience and, like most live games, will unlock rewards on a season pass. A free and paid version of the seasonal pass can be obtained seasonally or with a yearly season pass. These rewards will grant you emotes, gear, weapons, and materials. However, the real prize from purchasing a season is the Seasonal Artifact.
This item, which levels from experience, will grant you Artifact unlocks and increase your Power level. The Power level is the most accurate way to know a player’s strength and will be the gate that locks certain activities out for being too difficult.
Seasonal Artifacts are Bungie’s way of giving players avenues to end game content, even if they don’t grind every activity. A lot of content in Destiny is locked behind Power Level caps. Nightfalls, Grandmaster Nightfalls, Raids, Dungeons, and seasonal Exotic Quests will have a recommended Power level attached to them that players will have to reach so they don’t get crushed by everything in the activity.
This is where the Seasonal Artifact helps. Many players don’t have the time, or means, to invest hours upon hours into Destiny to grind up levels. Therefore, the Artifact of each season will endlessly add one Power level each time it increases in level. This means that even if a player doesn’t hit the Power cap of the season with gear, they can still access end game content with the Power boost the Artifact brings.
As shown in the picture above, the Artifact also has mods you can unlock that last through the season. Some of those mods previously include Focusing Lens or Disrupting Blade, one of six mods used to take down Champion opponents. In the highlighted red box in the picture, you will notice two diamonds.
The inner diamond signifies how close you are to leveling to get a Mod point, while the outer diamond shows how close you are to the next Power level. This alternative way of leveling, along with the standard gear grind, makes getting to the end game a much quicker journey.
No Need to Grind Power Level…at First
For returning players, the chances are high that Destiny has changed a great deal since the last time you have played. Bungie doesn’t want to punish friends of new or returning players by forcing one group to play low-level activities before getting to the new and exciting content.
With that said, all players who are currently too low for the start of a new expansion will get automatically boosted to the new base Power recommend starting The Witch Queen campaign.
For these players that are too low in Power, you will receive rare gear and weapons to make sure you can jump straight in. From this point, I recommend players progress through the campaign normally. This allows you to get introduced to Destiny at the lowest stress level and enjoy the story being presented. Once complete, you can progress into the seasonal story and activity.
After completing all the missions, you should be close to the soft cap at 1500. If you’re still off the mark, running any activity will continually drop new pieces of gear that are higher Power levels until you reach 1500. Once you achieve this, your next step will be running activities that reward Powerful engrams.
These activities will include Crucible and Gambit matches, along with Strikes and any past activity (old raids and dungeons). All gear from these activities will drop tier 1 Powerful rewards. By completing these activities, you will reach the new Power level cap of 1540. From here, the real power grind starts.
Once a week, the destinations map will populate with new weekly challenges. These challenges will reward Pinnacle rewards to get players gear Power to the true Power cap of 1550. Activities like completing three Gambit, Crucible, and Vanguard challenges will give one Pinnacle reward. The new dungeons, exotic quests, and new Raid will reward players with the highest Powered gear.
This is where most Destiny players are racing to get. Once at 1550, many Guardians will focus on hunting specific weapons rolls or armor with stats that correspond well with their play style. No matter what you choose to do, there is always something for Guardians to hunt.
Destiny 2 is massive, and that demands a great deal of time. However, with recent updates and changes, Bungie has managed to make it so that no matter when you choose to jump back in, it’s never too late or difficult to get up to speed.
This guide is less about how to level and more about what I feel you should invest time into and when to shift gears. The Witch Queen, like any expansion, is a perfect place for new and returning Guardians to jump back in. Keep your eyes out for our review of Destiny 2: The Witch Queen.