Leveling in Destiny 2 is a fairly complicated, often confusing process. While simply playing the game will allow you to steadily improve your character, after a certain point, upgrades are strictly limited to weekly rewards. Thus, it is necessary to complete certain tasks (and avoid completing certain tasks) in a very specific order if you want to make the most of your weekly ration of gear. This section of the guide describes how to level up your character in the most efficient way possible.

The Campaign

  1. Completing the Campaign is the first step for all new characters.
  2. Do not spend any faction tokens that you receive from completing missions.
  3. Do not complete any Milestones that reward “Powerful Gear.”
  4. Do not dismantle any gear that has a higher power level than what you currently own. You do not need to actually equip this gear, but destroying it will slow your progression. See the Dropped Items section, below, for more information.
  5. It is easy to confuse mission rewards with purchasable items when speaking with mission NPCs. You can mouse over items before claiming/buying them to make sure that they don’t cost Glimmer.
  6. At certain points in the Campaign, you may need to level up in order to progress. The most efficient way to do this is through Public Events.
    1. Heroic Mode can be activated during Public Events. These are more difficult versions of the events and reward double the XP and loot.
    2. Do not grind additional levels beyond what you need to progress through the campaign, since you will naturally max out later while farming events to  improve your equipment.
  7. After you complete the initial missions on a planet, you will unlock the Fast Travel points for that planet. You can instantly warp to any Fast Travel point by clicking and holding the Fast Travel icon on your map.
    1. Note that EDZ Fast Travel points do not unlock until the end of the campaign.
  8. Towards the end of the Campaign, you’ll be offered a choice of three Exotic Weapons. Sunshot is the best choice. Riskrunner is also decent, but Gravitron Lance performs poorly.
  9. You will eventually need to save a total of 1 exotic engram and 5 legendary engrams for the Drang mission. While this mission is a long ways off, it is generally better to save the first engrams that you get, since these spawn at a lower light level.
  10. After completing the Campaign, talk to all of the NPCs in the Tower.
    1. Amanda Holliday gives you a free Sparrow, which will make travel much easier.
    2. Commander Zavala will provide you with an exotic engram and give you enough experience to reach level 20.

Preparing to Grind

  1. Join a Clan. Clans provide additional weekly rewards and it’s worth being in one even if it’s just temporary.
    1. Make sure to get and equip the Clan Banner from Suraya Hawthorne in The Tower.
    2. Do not claim any other rewards from Hawthorne until you are Power 310, though.
  2. Do not use any of the Treasure Maps from Cayde-6.
  3. Do not complete any exotic weapon missions. These include Enemy of my EnemyExodus Black, and Enhance.
  4. The Glimmer cap is 99999. Try not to carry more than 35k at once. Spend any excess glimmer at the Gunsmith by buying random rare (Blue) mods. You will need a lot of these later in order to improve your gear.
  5. Check the Best Items section, below, before dismantling any legendary or exotic items.
  6. Save at least five rare or legendary Scout Rifles and place them in your Vault. These will be needed for a mission, later.
  7. You can open any Illuminated Engrams that you get. These are the Season 2 Eververse engrams that mostly contain cosmetic items.
    1. After level 20 you get one Illuminated Engram each time you fill your XP bar, including after level 25.
  8. If it is somewhere between 12 pm EST (GMT-5) on Friday and 12 pm on Tuesday, check to see what Xur is selling.
    1. Xur is a special vendor that appears once per week on a random planet and sells four exotic items for Legendary Shards. These items include one weapon and one armor piece for each class.

Reaching Power 310

  1. Complete Public Events until you have Base Power 305 items for every slot (not necessarily equipped).
    1. Note that Base Power is often different from your displayed power level.
    2. It is generally more efficient to stay on one planet rather than hop between them. I recommend EDZ, since it has a good selection of easily accessible events.
    3. Wearing a Ghost that detects Caches on your chosen planet is useful, since each Cache drops one faction token.
      1. Similarly, buying a Scouting Report from Cayde-6 is worthwhile if you will be staying on the same planet for several hours. Note that this is different from the Treasure Maps, which should be saved until later.
  2. If you are waiting on a Public Event that doesn’t begin for more than 90 seconds, I recommend running a Lost Sector. These are hidden areas that contain one boss, one loot chest, and can be completed quickly. They are marked on the map by the icon that looks like an arch with a dot, and are usually hidden in a cave or something similar.
  3. Once you reach Power 280, you can purchase legendary mods from the Gunsmith. It takes three of the same rare mod to purchase a legendary mod. At this point you can safely convert all of your rare mods into legendary mods.
    1. You can also dismantle unwanted legendary mods for mod components. These can be used to purchase other legendary mods.
    2. Placing legendary mods on your gear will make you stronger, but does not influence the power level of dropped items.
    3. Applying legendary mods to all of your Base Power 305 items will raise them to Power 310.

Curse of Osiris

  1. You should now complete the story missions for the first expansion, Curse of Osiris. The story begins on Mercury.
  2. After completing the mission, Beyond Infinity, Ikora will allow you to choose one of three weapons as a mission reward. The Auto Rifle, Positive Outlook, is the best choice, as it is one of the strongest Auto Rifles in the game.

Beyond Power 310

  1. From here on out, every time that you get an item that is a significant upgrade to your power level, you have the option of using faction tokens to gain minor upgrades for your other slots.
    1. Faction tokens will provide you with legendary engrams that are five levels below your base power level.
    2. These engrams can contain weapons or armor, except for Gunsmith engrams, which only contain weapons. You can either equip them, or infuse them into your current items.
    3. Doing this will slightly speed up your progression. However, constantly changing planets to turn in faction tokens can be disruptive and tedious, so feel free to skip this step. You really won’t lose that much.
    4. Locate and open Region Chests if you need to get more faction tokens. These are marked on your map by the icon that looks like a Ghost. Each chest yields three tokens. Note that Region Chests are account-wide and do not reset.
  2. In the Leviathan raid, Emperor Calus currently drops one item that is guaranteed to be Base Power 330. It is optimal to get this item first on all three characters, though it may be difficult to do this, so feel free to skip this step.
  3. Purchase and use the Cayde-6 Treasure Maps. Note that these can only be purchased once per account. Thus, if you use them on one character, they will be unavailable on other characters until the weekly reset.
  4. Claim any remaining rewards from Ikora Rey at The Tower.
  5. Complete the Milestone that requires you to clear two Strikes. Choose Nameless Midnight as the reward.
  6. Begin the Enemy of My Enemy mission on Titan. This is the mission for the exotic Sidearm, Rat King. Start working on it, but do not complete the last step. There are four steps, each of which require you to be in a fireteam with someone that has either the Rat King weapon or the mission item.
    1. Complete three Patrols.
    2. Complete two Public Events.
    3. Complete two Crucible Matches.
    4. Complete the Nightfall strike with at least five minutes remaining.
    5. Do not complete the last step until later, as it instantly rewards the weapon.
  7. Begin the Exodus Black mission on Nessus. This is the mission for the legendary Sidearm, Drang, and the exotic Hand Cannon, Sturm. It requires you to:
    1. Run several missions. They are soloable, but are faster with a Fireteam.
    2. Decrypt 5 legendary engrams and 1 exotic engram.
    3. Kill 10 Fallen on Nessus using Drang.
    4. Defeat 10 Fallen enemies with Drang “without reloading.”
      1. This step is poorly worded and really means to kill at least 2 Fallen before reloading, then repeat this 10 times.
    5. Defeat 10 “Powerful” Fallen with Drang
      1. Anything with an orange or yellow health bar counts towards this. The easiest way to do this is by starting the Exodus Siege Adventure on Nessus. A stealthed scout spawns a few seconds into the mission, which fulfills this requirement. You can kill it, abandon the mission, and then repeat this 10 times.
    6. Kill the Kendriks-7 servitor in the Exodus Crash Strike. Note that you do not need to finish the entire strike — only kill the servitor.
    7. Do not turn in the mission until later.
  8. Begin the Enhance mission in the EDZ. This is the mission for the infamous exotic Scout Rifle, MIDA Multi-Tool. It requires you to:
    1. Run several missions. They are soloable, but are faster with a Fireteam.
    2. Defeat 50 enemies with precision hits while using a Scout Rifle.
    3. Defeat 25 enemies “without reloading” while using a Scout Rifle.
      1. Again, this step is poorly worded. What it really means is to kill at least 3 enemies with a Scout Rifle without reloading, then repeat this 25 times.
    4. Dismantle 5 rare or legendary Scout Rifles.
    5. Kill 50 enemies with a SMG.
      1. Note that while this step mentions “airborne” kills, you do not actually need to be airborne, and killing any 50 enemies with an SMG will fulfill the requirement.
  9. Complete your weekly Flashpoint, Clan XP, and Crucible milestones. These each reward “Powerful Gear,” which will drop at a higher power level than your base power level.
  10. Complete the weekly milestone for three Heroic Strikes and claim the reward.
  11. Complete the Nightfall strike for the week and claim the reward.
  12. Complete the Trials of the Nine milestone for the week, if you think you are ready. This is the most challenging PvP mode, and it requires a full premade fireteam. This may be very difficult until you are experienced at PvP.
  13. Complete the raid for the week, if you’re up for a challenge.
    1. As mentioned earlier, Emperor Calus currently drops one item that is guaranteed to be Base Power 330. Thus, it is optimal to defeat him first if you are able to find someone with the checkpoint.
    2. Also use any keys that you acquired during the raid to open the corresponding chests in The Underbelly.
  14. Claim any available clan rewards from Hawthorne. These reward “Powerful Gear,” and require you to complete certain activities while at least half of your fireteam consists of clan members.
    1. There is one weekly reward for Nightfall, Crucible, Raid, and Trials of the Nine (a total of four rewards).
  15. Complete the Enemy of My Enemy and Exodus Black missions. Claim the rewards.
  16. Complete the Enhance mission. Claim the rewards.
  17. This is as far as you can go on one character the first week. If you followed this guide correctly, your first character should now be somewhere near Power 320.

Additional Characters

  1. You can now begin a second or third character if you want to increase your light level even further.
    1. To do this, simply create a new character and follow this guide again from the beginning.
    2. Note that you must make a character of a different class in order to receive Powerful Gear rewards from milestones.
    3. Once your new character is a high enough level to use them, you can transfer weapons from your starting character.
    4. It is possible to get 5-10 power levels higher on a second character due to the boost that you get from these weapons.
  2. Continue to complete milestones, raids, and clan objectives every week to increase your power level.
    1. Weekly milestones reset on Tuesday at 12 pm EST (GMT-5).
  3. Once you reach 330 base power level (or 335 modded) for all of your slots, you can cycle planetary faction vendors to get 330 base power gear. This is useful if you are looking for a certain legendary item that you don’t have yet, or if you need infusion fodder.
    1. To do this, turn in tokens but do not claim the item. Mouse over the reward, and see if the legendary engram is Power 330. If it is, then you can claim it. If not, leave it there and check another vendor.
      1. Planetary vendors update their stock on the hour and every half hour.
  4. The power cap is currently set at 335 and it is impossible to go any higher. The next expansion is expected to be released sometime in 2018.


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