Raising your Power level in Destiny 2 can be a bit of a chore, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Yet it is one of the most important things you can do if you want to make it to the end game. This guide will be written with two types of players in mind.
First, the brand new player. You’ve never touched Destiny 2 or it’s predecessor, you’ve just decided to get into this game and want to get your level up as quickly as possible. At this stage in the game you shouldn’t be worrying about grinding your power level up, but I’ll get into that soon enough.
Second, the seasoned player. Whether you’re just getting back into the game after a brief or prolonged hiatus, or you are just leveling an alternate account to play on.
There is going to be two sections to this guide, section A for Free to Play players, and Section B for the players that own the seasonal content and the expansions. While Destiny 2 is a free to play game now, it truly isn’t a play to enjoy. The free to play experience is enough to give you a taste without giving you too much. Bungie is like a drug dealer trying to get you hooked. Without the expansion, you will also have limited resources in terms of loot sources. This means that the power grind will be slower if you are free to play.
Before I get into the guide, I am going to define some terms so that it is easier to understand.
Gear Score: This is your power level that is purely determined by the gear you have equipped. This level also influences the power level of the gear that drops for you.
Artifact Power: The Artifact is a useful tool provided for us each season. Not only does it have a wide variety of mods that make the game easier, but it also gives you bonus power on top of that. For an example, the average power bonus is +15 to +20.
Overall Power: This is your Gear Score + Artifact power. This does NOT dictate the power level of the drops you will receive. It does allow you to enter higher level activities without having super high gear.
Blue Cap: This is the power level where blue items and random legendary drops will stop dropping higher than your gear score. This cap is reached at 1270 power.
Powerful Cap: This is the point where powerful gear sources will stop dropping higher than your gear score. This cap is reached at 1320 power.
Pinnacle Cap: This is the point where gear will no longer drop higher, you have reached max gear score at this point. This cap is reached at 1330 power.
Zeroing Your Gear: When I use this term, I am referring to the act of ensuring that all of your weapons and armor are at the same power. For example, if everything you have is 1295 except for your Helmet which is stuck at 1290. Because of your helmet being low, your gear score will be 1294 which will affect your drops negatively. Luckily you can get blues/Purple drops to drop at your gear score, so running activities to get a blue would be the best way to ensure that your gear score jumps to 1295 and your powerful/pinnacle drops are higher.
From 1100 to 1270
Destiny 2 has become a very confusing mess where everyone starts the game at 1100 power rather than a base level 1. It used to be 1–50 XP based then power level after, but they scrapped that system.
As I stated earlier, if you are new to this game you really shouldn’t be stressing power during this phase of the game. Blues and Purples drop randomly while you play the game and every piece is guaranteed to be higher than what you have. So the most important thing for you to enjoy the campaigns that are available to you.
If you’re free to play, you will have access to the New Light campaign and the Forsaken campaign (the Forsaken campaign became free to play on the 7th of December when the 30th anniversary launched.)
If you have the expansions, you can run the New Light, Forsaken, Shadowkeep, and Beyond Light Campaigns. By the time you get through all of these campaigns you will more than likely be really close or already at 1270 power.
Once you complete the campaign, or if you intend on skipping the campaign for whatever reason, you want to run activities that give you the most blues/purples per hour. This means that you want to run activities that can be done quickly. Crucible matches can be good if you enjoy PvP, especially Mayhem or Momentum Control. Strikes are another solid source of blues if you can run them in a timely manner. Last, there is always the public event farm on the EDZ, since there is always one going on at any given point on the planet. I try to mix these up when I’m leveling a new account so that I don’t get bored while doing it.
From 1270 to 1320
Once you stop gaining power from random blue and purple drops, it’s time to look at activities that give you Powerful gear. Below is a list for all powerful drops, one for free to play and another for those with expansions.
Prime Engrams will drop periodically while playing the game. They will drop at a power relative to your gear score, +3 to +6, and they stay at the power they are dropped. This means that you need to turn them in as soon as possible. If you take a trip to the Tower and you have a powerful drop to redeem and a prime engram, turn the prime engram in first. This will give you a chance to raise the power of the powerful drop.
Free To Play Powerful Sources
Dares of Eternity: Complete 3 Dares of Eternity on any difficluty
Vangaurd: Complete 8 bounties from Commander Zavala, Complete Nightfall strikes, higher difficulties grant more progress
Crucible: Complete 8 bounties from Lord Shaxx, Win 7 rounds in the Glory: Survival or Freelance Glory: Survival Playlist (Every sub-rank up in the glory playlist is a powerful drop, so if you are capable of getting to 5500 it is a great way to get powerful gear
Gambit: Complete 8 bounties from The Drifter
Dawning: Complete 8 Dawning bounties (Only available during the Dawning event)
Europa: Complete 8 bounties from Variks, Get Stasis kills on any planet that isn’t Europa, Complete 2 Empire Hunts as part of an Empire Hunt Quest
Europa Raid: Deep Stone Crypt offers 4 Powerful drops, raids are activities designed to be cleared by a team of 6
Astral Alignment: Clear 3 Astral Alignments
H.E.L.M: Complete 3 Override missions, Complete 8 Wayfinder Compass bounties
Tangled Shore: Defeat 5 Wrathborn enemies
When leveling, you want to start by getting one or two higher tier drops, preferably pinnacles. Then you want to get powerful drops until your other gear catches up. If you notice one or two of your pieces lacking, you need to zero your gear. Using three characters is going to be your best bet, get all of your powerfuls and pinnacles done on your first character, you move to your second character, and finish with your third all while moving your weapons between characters. Fun Fact, you don’t have to have your highest gear equipped when you get loot. The game knows your highest potential power.
From 1320 to 1330
This powerful grind is the least interesting, most boring, and the least important grind by far. At this point you can only get higher gear through pinnacle sources. It’s pretty straightforward, just run all the pinnacle sources on each character every week. The pinnacle sources are listed below.
Free To Play Pinnacle Sources
Dares of Eternity: Complete Dares of Eternity with a score of 250,000 or higher (+?)
Vangaurd: Complete a Nightfall with a score of 100,000, complete 3 strikes in the strike playlist (+1)
Crucible: Complete 3 matches in Crucible Valor playlists (+1)
Gambit: Complete 3 matches of Gambit (+1)
Vault of Glass: Raid that gives you 5 different (+2) pinnacle drops, raids are activities designed to be cleared by a team of 6
Clan: Earn 5000 Clan XP, you have to be a member of a clan to have access to this bounty
Trials of Osiris: Win 7 matches in the Trials of Osiris (+?)
Flawless Trials Card: You get a pinnacle drop for going flawless in the Trials of Osiris, this can be pretty painful if you’re new or on a new account since it is power based. Wait to do this until you actually need Pinnacle drops.
Europa: Complete the weekly Exo Simulation, Complete an Empire Hunt on Master difficulty, don’t try to solo if you just need loot
Harbinger: Complete Harbinger exotic quest, unlocks the Hawkmoon exotic Hand Cannon, don’t try to solo if you just need loot
Presage: Complete the Presage exotic quest, unlocks the Dead Man’s Tale exotic Scout Rifle, don’t try to solo if you just need loot
Grasp of Avarice: Complete the Grasp of Avarice Dungeon, don’t try to solo if you just need loot
Shattered Realm: Defeat 4 Champions in the Shattered Realm activity. Two spawn per normal clear, so you need to do two for this drop
Something to keep in mind when leveling your character is that each powerful and pinnacle source can only be done once per week per character.
The last bit of advice I want to give to returning players is that playing solo is not a great experience, you don’t get too far trying to be a lone wolf. Try to branch out and find people to play with. As corny as it sounds, friend game is the true end game in Destiny 2.