At the beginning of Destiny 2, your light is stolen from you and everything you know as a Guardian is gone. But that just means it’s time to start the grind all over again and begin leveling up towards maximum power.
Destiny 2’s leveling system has been changed and bettered from the original Destiny’s version. And, thankfully, it’s much easier to comprehend now.
To put it simply, there’s two ways of leveling up in Destiny 2—your XP level and your Power level. Your XP level is important when you begin your journey, and your Power level gains more and more importance as you play the game.
Reach level 20
Your XP level works just the way it sounds, as you reach your maximum level of 20 by gaining experience points. Everything you do in-game earns you XP, like killing enemies or completing objectives.
Simply playing through the game’s storyline and finishing the campaign, doing side quests, Adventures, and Lost Sectors will most likely put you at or near the end of your 20 levels.
Once you get there, the fun really begins.
As you play through the game’s story, you will earn gear with more and more Power. Your armor has a Defense level, and your weapons have an Attack level. The average level of all of your armor and weapons is your Power level.
Now that you’ve hit level 20, you’re able to equip the highest level gear that Destiny 2 has to offer. From here on out, your job is to gather engrams and loot to reach higher Power levels. You can earn engrams through reputation at vendors, buy their gear, or just get them to randomly drop from enemies.
Engrams will also be rewards from completing various activities that can be found in the “Milestones” tab of your world map. Here you will be tasked with things like winning Crucible matches, completing Strikes or Public Events, and doing various challenges. You can hold up to 10 engrams at one time, and you can see what level of gear they will reward by inspecting them in your inventory.
Decrypting these engrams will gradually reward you with higher Attack weapons and Defense armor, and before you know it, your light level will be climbing.
This is one of the most important aspects of leveling your Power: if a Milestone has a listed reward of “Powerful Gear,” save that for later. You want wait until you’re about 265 Power to start doing Milestones that reward Powerful Gear, as these will help you reach into the 270’s and 280’s. After that, you’re gonna need to get lucky with Exotic items and Raid gear.
Milestones refresh every single week (Bungie’s weekly reset happen on Tuesday mornings), and the Weekly Nightfall Strike will be a major one. These Strikes have added difficulty modifiers and are played at a higher Power level than a lot of other end-game activities, as well as being timed. The challenge should be worth it, though, as you will gain Powerful gear for completing them.
Destiny 2’s most important currency for leveling up is Legendary Shards, which can be gained by breaking down Legendary and Exotic gear, or completing various end-game activities. Destiny’s shady merchant known as Xur, who shows up only on weekends, will take Legendary Shards for Exotic gear.
Legendary Shards are also used for infusing higher level gear into lower level gear that you might like more, which means the lower level item will gain the higher level’s Power. You can only infuse a weapon or armor if it’s from the same archetype or class. For example, Scout Rifles can only be infused into other Scout Rifles, and a Warlock helmet can only be infused into a Warlock helmet.
Basically, leveling your Power in Destiny 2 is way easier than Light leveling in the original Destiny. It’s way more straightforward, and you will level up by simply playing the game. The only thing that might change is the order in which you want to play things like Milestones every week.