What is contest mode in Destiny 2?

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Image via Bungie

There are a handful of terms regular Destiny 2 players are familiar with, and contest mode is one of them. It’s a specific game mode that occurs in rare instances throughout Destiny 2. Developers Bungie may use this term in its tweets, or veteran Destiny 2 players may reference it on social media or in Discord conversations. Here’s everything you need to know about contest mode and why it’s important in Destiny 2.

How contest mode works and what it means in Destiny 2

Contest mode is a restricted game mode in Destiny 2 that appears in a new raid when it launches in the game. The game mode typically lasts for 24 hours, capping the Power Level of every Guardian who enters this game mode to be a set amount for a raid. Even if your character is above that Power Level, when you enter the raid, the power level will go up as high. This is done so that on the first day of a raid in Destiny 2, everyone is on the same playing field, preventing teams that have been longer and harder than others from having a distinct advantage.

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There may also be some restrictions to what type of gear you can use in a raid while Contest Mode is in effect. Bungie typically outlines these rules ahead of a raid, giving groups time to figure out the best loadout and combinations available to them, preparing for encounters they might have to contend with in a brand new raid.

For the Lightfall Raid, the contest mode timer has been extended. Rather than having a 24-hour window, Bungie has determined that it plans for the contest mode to go an additional 24 hours, giving everyone in the game a chance to earn the exclusive emblem that comes with completing a raid in contest mode. These raids typically launch on a Friday afternoon, potentially preventing players who work day jobs from obtaining this emblem or forcing them to spend long hours into the night working on getting it.

Any player who wants to participate outside of contest mode will need to wait until the day after a raid launches in Destiny 2 or when Bungie has shared that contest mode is no longer in effect.