Welcome Guardians to the world of Destiny! With a new game, especially one that’s going strong into its third year of content, it can be overwhelming trying to make sense of everything. That’s why for new players we’ve created this guide that will hopefully answer some of your questions and give you an understanding of the game.

Destiny 2 is first and foremost a first-person looter-shooter hybrid made by Bungie, the creators of Halo. There is both PvE and PvP, and mixes of both, all of which serve the purpose of activities that allow you to progress in the game by giving you loot (if you are new to games like this, keep these acronyms ingrained in your conscious – PvE is Player vs. Enemy, and PvP is Player vs. Player, aka the Crucible). 

Here are some terms, abbreviations, and phrases that are important to learn:

destiny 2 new player guide power level

Power/Light Level — This the main progressional part of Destiny — your power level (it was called ‘light’ level in Destiny 1, which is why you may still hear that, however it means the same thing). On your character, power level appears as it does in the image to the left. The max power prior to Shadowkeep was 750, however starting with Shadowkeep the max power level has lost its upper limit thanks to the Seasonal Artifact (more on that later). Most activities, excluding Crucible are affected by power level, and the higher you are, the less damage you will take/the more damage you will do in these activities. All 8 pieces of your equipped gear has a power level to it (helmet, arms, chest, legs, class item, kinetic, energy, and power weapon), and the average of these will be what your total power is.

Infusion — Infusion is what you use to increase a gear’s power level. It costs Enhancement Cores, Planetary Materials, and Glimmer to infuse a piece of gear, and depending on what the amounts of these will change. The basic idea of infusion is: you get a higher power level gear that does not benefit you otherwise, and you want a current piece of gear you have that you do use regularly, but it is a lower power level. Instead of scrapping the new, higher gear, you will infuse it into your old gear, so then you can use it at the higher power level. 

Enhancement Cores — These orange shards are used in most processes that involve enhancing your gear such as infusion and masterworking. They can be obtained from doing Gunsmith bounties, weapons that are at a masterwork level of 4 and above and armor that is at  masterwork level of 3 and above, The Spider and his daily bounties, and as rewards from certain vendors.

Planetary Materials — Planet specific items that can be found/harvested from the ground, chests, and/or the completion of certain activities.

Glimmer — The “money” of Destiny 2. Capped at 250,000.

LFGThis is short for ‘Looking For Group’, which is the term used when you are trying to find a group to do a certain activity to play with. How to LFG for Destiny 2 will be gone further into detail later. 

Y1/Y2/Y3 — These refer to Year 1, 2, and 3 of Destiny 2 respectively, which have all been very different from each other. Year 1 included the base game release in September 2017, Curse of Osiris in December 2017, and Warmind in May 2018; Year 2 began with Forsaken in September 2018, and then Destiny 2’s first annual pass: Black Armory (Season of the Forge) in December 2018, Joker’s Wild (Season of the Drifter) in March 2019, and Season of Opulence in June 2019. Year 3 begins with Shadowkeep on October 1st, 2019, and will continue until the fourth quarter of next year.

Seasons & Annual Pass — Destiny currently runs on a system of seasons, which are titled and begin a new 3-month period of content releases that are themed around the season. Shadowkeep begins Season 8 of the game, and Year 3 will encompass Seasons 8-11. The Annual Pass is what is purchased to have access to all the seasons in either Year 2 or Year 3 — in year 2, you could not buy individual season, however now you can for the year 3 seasons, which are called Season Passes

Legendary — Legendary items, or ‘Purples’ as they are often called (due to their background color) are the 2nd highest rarity of items. Similar rarity systems can be found in Fortnite, Borderlands, and The Division. Legendaries, besides exotics, are the only type of gear you will want to keep once you get past the campaigns since they come with better stats on average, random rolls, and unique perks not found on lower rarities. They can also the only tier able to go through a process called Masterworking.

Masterwork — Masterwork or MW, is the process of leveling up one particular stat of a weapon (range, stability, reload speed, handling, etc). There are 10 levels, and each level requires a certain amount of resources to get to the next one. Every level gives you +1 to that stat, and upon reaching level 10, you are given the ability to spawn orbs on multikills.

Exotic — The rarest type of item. These can either be obtained through lucky, random drops or a variety of special quests/missions that in the end will result in acquiring the exotic. Only one of these can be equipped at a time in the armor or weapon slot. They all have completely unique perks, and you will always want to have at least one equipped in almost every situation.

LW, SotP, CoS, Levi, EoW, SoS — Abbreviations for all the raids: Last Wish, Scourge of the Past, Crown of Sorrows, Leviathan, Eater of Worlds, and Spire of Stars, respectively.

‘Flawless’ Run — Many activities in Destiny reward you for doing ‘flawless’ runs, including all of the raids, dungeons, etc. This means that nobody in your fireteam dies even once. If you can successfully complete an activity without any member dying, that is a ‘flawless’ run.

SBMM  — This is short for Skill-Based Matchmaking. This means that according to your stats, you will be matched against players who have similar statistics in order to have balanced matches.

Seasonal Artifact  — A new utility which debuted in Shadowkeep. Every season, armor and weapon mods are made available to you by leveling up the artifact. Additionally, the artifact when leveled up increase your light level, and be leveled up infinitely. However, at the end of every season all progress made on the artifact is reset.

TWAB (This Week at Bungie) — Referred to by the community as a TWAB, Bungie’s weekly blog updates consist of upcoming information about changes to the game, new content, feedback, Q&A’s, and more. They come out every Thursday afternoon PST. This is also where they reveal ‘Movie of the Week’.

Important resources for Destiny

The following resources are either necessary or HIGHLY recommended that you use in order to both learn about and play Destiny most effectively.

Bungie — The official Bungie website. Keep track of the latest news updates, anything to do with your clan, check out the forums, LFG/group creation, purchase expansions, ask for help with troubleshooting, and much more.

Bungie Twitter — To keep up with any brand new updates from Bungie themselves regarding the game, including acknowledgement of technical problems, news updates, new trailers, videos, etc.

DIM (Destiny Item Manager) — The ability to transfer items from the postmaster, to the vault, or across characters is vital to playing, especially once you have more than one character. This is a tool that you will quickly get used to always having open. DIM also allows you to create and equip loadouts, check your collections, and more.

Ishtar Commander (also on app stores) — Similar to DIM, this allows you to transfer inventory items across characters, to and from your vault, and from the postmaster. This offers slightly less options, however it uses ingame UI, and also has a mobile app, so it may be more easily accessible when playing on PC.

Light.gg — A database that contains as weapons, perks, armor, and datamined information from every patch to the game. It has multiple tools which can help you find the armor set you want, or weapon that
has the perk combination you are chasing and vice-versa.

Braytech — Uses in-game UI for a beautiful look to keep track of all of your collections, triumphs, view lore, and everything else. Use this to view hidden triumphs as well, and see which ones you’re close to
completing, keep track of your weekly objectives, ranks, and more.

Destiny Tracker —  A PvP oriented resource which shows you your PvP/PvE stats, PvP Leaderboards, a database for weapons, quests, and armor, and a LFG for all platforms. 

Raid Report — A place where you are able to see all your raid attempts and statistics associated with it. You can also find other guardians attempts and leaderboards associated with every raid

Ishtar Collective — Your main stop for all things Destiny lore. Ishtar organizes it by category and has every lore entry, story, grimoire card, etc ever released from Destiny 1 to now, all organized beautifully.

Trusted YouTubers to Follow

Datto  — Guides, reviews, update discussion, and more.

Aztecross — PvP guides/analysis, update overviews, exotic reviews, discussions

Ehroar — In-depth PvE guides/analysis/reviews and speedruns

MyNameIsByf — High quality and in-depth lore analysis and retellings for nearly every story in the Destiny universe, including an entire, 90 minute full timeline.

CammyCakes —  PvP commentary and analysis of unorthodox PvP builds and synergies.

Fallout Plays — “The Shotgun Guy”, does extremely in-depth analysis of PvP related matters.

At its core, Destiny is an experience meant to be enjoyed with others. Every activity in the game bar the opening campaign missions and certain quests can be played with at least two other people, while some must be played with other people. And thus, the age old question ‘can someone plz help me’ is inevitably going to want to creep out of you, the new player, if you do not already have a group to play with. Here we will look at all the different resources for finding people to play with, including all about clans.

What is a Clan?

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From the Bungie Clan Site: Clans are groups of friends that you can join to enhance your online gaming experience. Band together under your clan banner and forge bonds fighting the darkness; all while earning some sweet loot. Join or start your own with friends to get in on the fun!

Clans, while optional, should be something that you are a part of, because no matter what kind of player you are, there will be a clan out there for you. Clans allow you to be apart of a community that will play together consistently, with the idea that you will always have group you know you can count on. Doing weekly clan activities also can earn you rewards. You can earn more rewards by leveling up your clan banner every season.

Below, we’ll look at the various ways you can find a clan.

Clan Search Resources

Destiny 2 Discord Server — This server allows clan advertisement in certain channels on our official Discord server. Here you can both advertise your own and search for a clan. If you want to advertise a clan, read the rules and follow the required steps.

Reddit: r/Fireteams — The r/fireteams subreddit has a weekly clan recruitment thread always pinned to the top of the sub, with plenty to search through.

Bungie Site — Bungie has a feature where you can look through ‘recommended clans’, or type in any clans that you know of by name. When you join a clan, this is where you will find the ‘home’ page of your clan, by hovering over the ‘Community’ tab and clicking on ‘my clan.


Finding Groups

There will be times when you cannot join up with your clan, or simply can’t find the right one to take on the world of Destiny, and have to search for a group. This can be a daunting task, so here we’ll lay out the best places to go about doing this, without causing issues where you shouldn’t.


Bungie Fireteam Search— Bungie has an official way to find a fireteam, directly through their site. This can be organized by activity and platform, of course, and is plenty active.

DestinyLFG.net — Very active and easy to use, this site is another great source to try and find a player quick for anything, or to join a group in progress.

Discord: D2 PC LFG [PC LFG Only] — As one of the largest servers on the entire Discord platform with 160,000 members and rapidly growing, this server is one of the ultimate tools for PC players looking to do just about anything. Please read and follow all of their rules prior to use.

Reddit LFG Server — We also provide LFG on our server. Make sure to get your region/platform roles and then you will be able to access our message based LFG.

Reddit: r/Fireteams — Alongside finding clans, r/fireteams on reddit has the original purpose was finding fireteams to team up with on reddit, be sure to check frequently for teams or post one yourself. 

r/DestinySherpa — Another subreddit for finding a fireteam. This time, however, his subreddit specializes in sherpas, or a dedicated player that is willing to help one or multiple people at once get through more complicated tasks in the game, such as raids.

What is New Light?

In this section, we will go over what New Light is, what is free for all players, and what requires expansion/season pass purchases. 

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Beginning October 1st 2019, Destiny 2 will begin its very first permanent Free-to-Play system, called New Light. In the infographic below, we see everything that is available for ‘free’ in Destiny 2 starting in October.

The free to play system of New Light allows access to everything that doesn’t involve the purchase of either of the major expansions for Destiny (the year 2 expansion Forsaken, or the (new) year 3 expansion Shadowkeep), or anything that would be paid for that will be released in the future. Otherwise, all year 1 content (September 2017-September 2018) and year 2 Annual Pass content (apart from raid content and additional things such as exotics, which we’ll go into right now.

Exclusives to paid expansions (Forsaken & Shadowkeep) and upcoming seasonal passes generally will be:

  • Most new Exotic weapons
  • Campaigns
  • Full access to expansion planets (free roam is apart of New Light)
  • Raids (including including Scourge of the Past & Crown of Sorrow)
  • New Strikes
  • Dungeons/Season-specific content

What generally WILL be available to New Light Players will be:

  • New legendary vendor (Crucible, Vanguard, Gambit, Gunsmith) weapons (including the new ‘Relic Weapons)
  • Weekly/seasonal events (Iron Banner, Festival of the Lost, etc, including all new items that can be earned associated with those events)
  • All new/returning Crucible (PvP) content including maps, quests and modes
  • All year 1 content
  • All world drop (non quest) exotics

The Season Pass

Destiny, starting with Shadowkeep, is implementing a new type of Season Pass (that some have compared to the Battle Pass), that uses a seasonal ranking to reward you for simply playing the game. As you level up within a season, you will receive rewards that could be simply some amount of an item, or even an exotic. However, there are two paths of rewards depending on if you own the Season Pass for that respective season or not, as seen in the image below.

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Here is an example of the season pass for the Season that comes with Shadowkeep, Season of the Undying. Owning the Season Pass for Season of the Undying will allow you to get everything on the bottom and on the top path of the list above, while not owning the Season Pass would only give you rewards from the top path. Seasonal Ranks will reset every Season, and there will be a new line of rewards to earn upon leveling up.

Cross Save

This short section will cover what cross-save is and how it works. As New Light is, Cross Save is brand new to the world of Destiny, and has been a long time coming. Since August, Cross Save now allows one set of characters to be accessed across ANY platform at once.  

Most information that one would need for Cross Save is available already on the Bungie website at [this] link. At the bottom of the page is a full FAQ about how cross save works exactly, with many common concerns or confusions addressed. Regardless, we will summarize how cross save works and any limitations here briefly.

To put it the simplest way possible, Cross-Save allows one set of characters, for example, were created on PC, to be accessed on PS4, Xbox, and even Stadia as well. As Bungie puts it, the process of doing this is very simple.

There are several important points to note when activating Cross Save.

  • If you already have characters on another platform, these characters will not be overwritten. Disabling Cross Save will allow you to use these characters again
  • If you enable Cross Save, it takes 90 DAYS TO DISABLE IT. This is done, at least for now, for security reasons. Be careful to not Cross Save the wrong characters, or do it if you are not totally sure.
  • Purchased entitlements will not transfer. This means that if you have Forsaken, for example, purchased on Xbox and would like to Cross Save your Xbox characters to Steam, you will still have to purchase Forsaken on your Steam account. This goes for any content that needs to be purchased, which was covered in the previous section. 
    • If you do still want to use the characters without purchasing the entitlement on the platform that you cross save to, you will still have all your items and weapons that came from the non purchased content, but weapons/armor exclusive to paid content (raid weapons, for example) will simply not be possible to be equipped.

The history of Destiny 2

In this section, we will go over a short summary of the history of Destiny 2, from year 1 all the way to Shadowkeep, what year 1 and year 2 content was, along with what is considered ‘year 1’ and ‘year 2’ content in general, how to distinguish it, how to get it, and anything else. 

This section is particularly going to be of interest to New Light Players, as New Light gains full access to all year 1 content. So, what does this include exactly? In year 1 of Destiny 2 (September 6, 2017 to September 4, 2018), the game was very different mechanically. Weapon and armor systems were different, and as a whole the game was less deep customization wise, which led to several changes starting with year 2. 

Year 1

Weapons

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In general, you do not want to use Y1 weapons. During this time, all weapons had static rolls, meaning that every weapon had a set list of perks that it would ALWAYS drop with, so once you had one of a weapon, you’d never need another, unless you wanted to have one on each character, for example. Additionally, they do not have a mod slot for Y2 mods, which in and of itself makes these weapons worse than Y2/Y3 weapons. Most year 1 weapons can no longer be earned, however, at least through normal gameplay (you can get some by opening up some chests on certain planets), at least those that were vendor weapons (Crucible, Gunsmith, Vanguard). Some year 1 weapons are still obtainable in their original manner, such as the year 1 raid weapons (we’ll go into the year 1 raids below). 

As a general rule, there are almost no Y1 weapons that are worth going for (apart from exotics) due to the fact that there is a Y2 or Y3 weapon, with random rolls and a mod slot, that will be able to out class it. Some minor exceptions include some Y1 snipers, such as Alone as a God, the Leviathan Raid sniper, that may be used in Crucible as a personal preference (however, there are snipers that still technically outclass it; it simply turns out that the only reason to go for any Y1 weapons would be personal preference ‘weapon’ feel, not practicality. 

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Armor

The same goes for all Y1 armor. Y1 armor, with the new Armor 2.0 system of Shadowkeep, will now be two years removed from relevancy. The only reason to ever use any Y1 armor that you have would be for the purpose of fashion.

Raids 

 Note: If you aren’t sure what a raid is, or at least what they are in Destiny, please see the Game Modes section of this guide.

All raids in Y1 took place on the ship Leviathan. The original Leviathan raid was the very first raid released for Destiny 2, while the two raids following, Eater of Worlds (EoW) and Spire of Stars (SoS), were known as ‘raid lairs’, raids that were intended to be generally shorter than your average ‘full length’ raid. 

Leviathan (World’s First Completion Time: 5h 34m 49s)

Time to Teach & Complete: ~90-120 minutes

Time to Complete with Experience: ~30-45 minutes

The first raid released in Destiny 2. The raid consists of 4 main encounters, including the boss. This takes place on the main entrance into the Leviathan.

Eater of Worlds (World’s First Completion Time: 1h 37m 7s)

Time to Teach & Complete: ~60-90 minutes

Time to Complete with Experience: ~30 minutes

The second raid released in Destiny 2, and first raid lair. This raid is generally the shortest raid in the game, and looks at what lies in the depths of the Leviathan.

Spire of Stars (World’s First Completion Time: 6h 35m 46s)

Time to Teach & Complete: ~3+ hours

Time to Complete with Experience: 40-50 minutes

The final raid of Y1, and considered to be one of if not the hardest raids to learn in the game.  Spire of Stars explores assisting Calus with some final business on the Leviathan ship.

Nightfall Loot

Starting several months into Y1, all strikes in the game got specific loot for their nightfall variation. The following are all of the specific loot associated with each Y1 strike Nightfall.

The Inverted Spire: Trichromatica (Exotic Ghost Shell)

Pyramidion: Silicon Neuroma (Sniper Rifle)

Exodus Crash: Impact Velocity (Exotic Sparrow)

The Arms Dealer: Tilt Fuse (Exotic Sparrow)

Savathûn’s Song: Duty Bound (Kinetic Auto Rifle)

Tree of Probabilities: D.F.A. (Kinetic Hand Cannon)

A Garden World: Universal Wavefunction (Exotic Ship)

Will of the Thousands: Worm God Incarnation (Transmat Effect)

Stranger Terrain: BrayTech Osprey (Rocket Launcher)

Lake of Shadows: Militia’s Birthright (Kinetic Grenade Launcher)

The Insight Terminus: The Long Goodbye (Sniper Rifle)

Year 2

Weapons

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With Y2 brought back randomly rolled weapons. This means that all weapons (bar some, there are still some ‘fixed roll’ weapons, such as Pinnacle weapons, which we’ll talk about below) have different set of possible perks they can roll. Each time you get a new Better Devils, for example, it will drop with a completely different combination of sights, magazine perks, and additional perks. To see what each weapon can possibly have, use https://www.light.gg/

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Pinnacle Rewards

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The concept of pinnacle rewards technically started in season 3, with the Redrix’s Claymore quest (currently the Redrix Broadsword quest). However, the were truly expounded upon throughout year 2. In season 5-7 (season 4 only had 2), three pinnacle weapons were introduced into Crucible, Gambit, Vanguard respectively. These weapons each had a strong perk that was exclusive to that weapon, and were obtainable through a long quest meant to be done throughout the season, or over a long period of time. All Crucible pinnacle weapons require playing at least some Competitive Crucible.

Crucible 

Redrix Broadsword – High impact pulse rifle with a special perk that allows it to shoot twice as fast. It was originally introduced in Season 3 as Redrix Claymore. This is the currently longest pinnacle quest in the game.

Luna’s Howl – Introduced at the same time as Redrix, it is a 150 currently RPM hand cannon that has a special perk that allows it to require only 2 headshots and a bodyshot to kill.

Not Forgotten – The only weapon that requires Legend rank, it is an ‘upgraded’ version of Luna’s Howl which keeps the same perks but has higher stats.

The Recluse – An SMG with a perk that gives it a huge increase in damage upon any weapon kill (switch to weapon after you kill with a different weapon to proc). 

Mountaintop – A special grenade launcher that fires in a straight line at a high velocity.

Revoker – A kinetic sniper that regains ammo on missed shots. It requires 3500 Glory in total to unlock and losses do not count against your progress. 

Vanguard

Loaded Question  – A high impact fusion rifle, considered to be one of the best ad-clearing weapons because of the massive explosion created through its unique perk through its unique perk, that requires fusion rifle/arc kills.

Oxygen SR3 – A scout rifle that requires Strike/Nightfall completions, precision kills, and orbs of lights created,. It creates a bigger Dragonfly explosions based on the amount of precision hits inflicted.

Wendigo GL3 – One of the highest DPS (damage per second, used for measuring the maximum amount of damage a weapon can do to a boss) weapons in the game, a 150 RPM grenade launcher that does more damage after picking up orbs of light. 

Gambit

21% Delirium  – A light machine gun that builds up damage with more kills.

Breakneck  – An auto rifle that increases rate of fire AND damage as it gets more kills, requires auto rifle kills in Gambit.

Hush – A solar bow that increases the rate of fire drastically with hip-fire crit shot. Another one of the longer pinnacle quests, but generally worth it, Hush is considered to be the best legendary bow in the game.

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New Subclass Paths/Supers

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With the launch of Forsaken, there were 9 new subclass trees introduced. These are only available with the purchase of Forsaken. For every existing subclass, there was one new path, the ‘middle’ path, that included the new super (or changed super), and also subclass new way to play the subclass, many of which are very good, and even meta defining, such as mid tree Dawnblade with Well of Radiance.

Raids

There were three raids that released in Y2, as in Y1. One two weeks after the launch of Forsaken, one in Season 5, then one in Season 7. All three were on different locations, and the idea of ‘raid lairs’ was ditched completely.

Last Wish (World’s First Completion Time: 18h 49m 1s)

Time to Teach & Complete: ~2-3 hours

Time to Complete with Experience: ~40-60 minutes

The longest raid in Destiny history, Last Wish has 6 unique encounters, 4 bosses, and took nearly a full day for the first team to beat back at the beginning of Forsaken. With Last Wish, Bungie began its trend of adding one exotic weapon that has a random chance of dropping once you complete the raid, in One Thousand Wishes, the exotic heavy fusion rifle. 

Scourge of the Past (World’s First Completion Time: 1h 47m 41s)

Time to Teach & Complete: ~1 hour

Time to Complete with Experience: ~20-40 minutes

Although Bungie ditched the raid lair idea, Scourge of the Past could certainly fit that, being about the length of year 1’s Eater of Worlds, except set in the Lost City that is seen whenever you go to the tower. The RNG weapon associated with Scourge is Anarchy, the exotic grenade launcher. 

Crown of Sorrow  (World’s First Completion Time: 4h 40m 19s)

Time to Teach & Complete: ~90 minutes

Time to Complete with Experience: ~40-50 minutes

This raid takes the player back to Leviathan for the first time since Spire of Stars. The unique weapon associated with CoS is Tarrabah, an exotic SMG.

Nightfall Loot

The Corrupted: Horror’s Least (Pulse Rifle)

The Hollowed Lair: Mindbender’s Ambition (Shotgun)

Warden of Nothing: Warden’s Law (Hand Cannon)

Annual Pass Content

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The Annual Pass was the replacement for the smaller expansions of year 1 (Curse of Osiris and Warmind). Instead of a full campaign and a new planet, Annual Pass content brought in new activities to the games, along with new exotics and gera as would be expected, but generally less than what an expansion would bring in. The questlines for the Annual Pass content led to the following three activities: The Black Armory Forges, Gambit Prime, and The Menagerie, all of which we will go into detail about in the Game Modes/Activities section. Annual Pass content is free to all New Light players, and is considered separate from Forsaken.

Power Level

As we mentioned earlier in the terminology section of this guide, the main point of progression in Destiny is your power level. Your power level is indicated by the gold number on the upper right side of your character screen. Power level is the combined average power of 8 pieces of your gear that you have equipped: helmet, arms, chest, legs, class item, and each of your three weapons.

Currently, there are two different ways to increase your power in Destiny 2. The main way is completing powerful gear activities. These are indicated by a gold star icon on the Director, or through certain types of bounties that will reward powerful gear. Prime engrams, random world drops, also will reward powerful gear. Powerful gear quests reset weekly, minus some which are daily, such as completing daily Crucible matches, a few times a week. In general, there are dozens of different ways to get powerful gear. Completing weekly Crucible matches, strikes, and Gambit are simple, surefire ways of getting powerful gear, but there are multiple other ways.

The second way to increase your power is through your seasonal rank, which we will talk about below. Your seasonal rank increases as you play throughout a certain season through your Seasonal Artifact. The more you level up, the more power boosts you will receive. 

In general your Power level is what lets you access higher level activities. Starting in Shadowkeep, the floor power level is 750. As you progress, you will be able to access higher power level activities. If you are 100 power below the power level of an enemy, you will do no damage. Above that, you will do damage, but you will do significantly less and receive significantly more than if you were a closer power level to the enemy.

The soft cap is 900. This means that once you get to 900, items that drop will stop increasing in power, and the only way to increase your power past this point is through powerful gear.

The powerful cap is 950. This means that no powerful gear will drop past 950. 

The pinnacle cap is 960. This is the highest power level possible through this season, and is only obtainable through the final Seasonal Artifact power boost.

  • Story Missions — Main campaign missions. Visible on planet maps and in the list of milestones on the left side of the director. 
  • Adventures — Side quests that appear after progressing the campaign on each planet. Orange quest marker. Normal adventures take place in the open world and can be done once, but heroic adventures are instanced and can be replayed infinitely on the flashpoint planet and once per day on Mercury and Mars. 
  • Public Events — Open world events that happen on every planet at certain locations and times. These events range from completing an activity to defeating a boss within a time limit.
  • Patrols — Short repeatable mini-missions in the open world started from beacons in the ground. 
  • Bounties — Appear in the pursuits tab. Short daily or weekly objectives purchased from an NPC. After purchase, you have a set amount of time to complete them before they expire, but once completed you can wait to turn them in (exception: holiday event bounties will disappear when the event ends!). 
  • Quests — Also appear in the pursuits tab. Similar to bounties, but do not expire (exception: holiday event quests will disappear after the holiday event, but if the item is one of a kind, it will remain as a possible drop in the game). 
  • Strikes — 3-person matchmade missions that take place on each of the planets. 
  • Nightfalls — Non-matchmade Heroic versions of strikes.
  • Quests  — One-time special missions that either progress a storyline/campaign or weapon.
  • Crucible  — The PvP arena of Destiny, has multiple ‘Quickplay’ playlists and a Competitive mode
  • Gambit — A gamemode in which you and your 3 teammates summon a primeval the fastest by killing enemies and depositing motes in a bank. Each tier of progress opens a portal to the enemy side, where one player can hinder the enemy team by killing them. Standard gambit is free, gambit prime, one round with some slightly different mechanics, is part of the Forsaken Annual Pass. Power level does not affect PvE, but it does affect PvP. 
  • Raids — 6-person non-matchmade activities. Select portions are possible with less than the intended number of players, but only if you really know what you are doing. Each raid has loot unique to it which drops from every encounter/chest. These drops occur only on the first completion per character and reset every week.
  • Escalation Protocol — A massive public event on Mars with 7 levels. After beating all 7 levels, the boss will have a chance to drop a special weapon, which rotates depending on the week. These are year 1 weapons, however still decent/worth going for, to an extent. After completing the 7th level, it will go back to the 6th, so you can continually redo the final two levels in hopes of the weapon dropping. The more you complete the 7th level, the higher the chance of a weapon dropping.
  • Black Armory Forges — Apart of the Black Armory questline from Season 5 and free to New Light players, these Forges allow you to craft specific weapons after completing a quest from Ada-1, the Black Armory NPC located in the Annex of the tower. Nearly every one of the Black Armory forge weapons are some of the best weapons in their archetypes. The forges also have 3 different exotics associated with them as random drops (Le Monarque, Jotunn, and Izanagi’s Burden, the only one that is a quest)
  • The Menagerie — Apart of the Season of Opulence questline, The Menagerie is a six player matchmade activity, with the Heroic version being a six player non-matchmade activity. After completing the involving the Chalice of Opulence that you receive from Werner 99-40 on the Barge ship on nessus, you will be able to access the Menagerie. By slotting runes that you get from general gameplay activities into your Chalice, you can craft specific weapons (similar to how you can choose weapons in the Black Armory forges). You can refer to [this] chart to see all the combinations of runes and what weapons they get. The third slot is used to determine masterworks. 

The Crucible

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Found in the Director’s menu, the Crucible is the PvP portion of Destiny where all the loot you have acquired from various activities can be used against other Guardians. You can also gain more loot by depositing tokens acquired from completing matches in the Crucible at Lord Shaxx in the Tower or doing pinnacle quests. There are many modes to choose from in the Crucible, and there is a weekly 6v6 playlist which introduces a different mode every week, and the all-new Crucible Labs 4v4 playlist which is where all-new experimental modes can be played.

Control

This mode has its own dedicated 6v6 playlist designed for new players. The more points you have captured, the more points you earn per kill. The first team to 150 wins the match

Classic Mix

This is your standard 6v6 PvP playlist which features the modes Control, Clash, and Supremacy. This playlist is mostly connection-based but does have some light SSBM. Therefore it’s recommended to play this mode after you’ve gotten the basics of PvP down.

Crucible Labs

This 4v4 playlist which has a non-linear rotation will be used by Bungie to introduce new ideas and gather player feedback to see if it is worth making a permanent mode, either in one of the playlists or it’s own mode. 

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Iron Banner

A special 6v6 playlist which appears every 3-4 weeks. When it arrives, a new vendor is available in the tower whose name is Lord Saladin. From there, you can do bounties and quests related to this mode which awards weapons, armor, and tokens specific to this mode. You also get tokens from completing matches similar to Crucible, and have a chance of items specific to the mode dropping upon match completion. This playlist features a modified version of control, of which when all 3 points are captured, opponents are locked out from capturing any zones for 15 seconds. It also features SSBM and light level advantage, meaning that opponents who are a lower light level than you take more damage while you will take less.

Valor

The ranking system used in the Crucible. Points are gained regardless of winning or losing, however winning gives you more points. Multiple wins begins a streak which rewards you more points. The amount you gain on a streak caps out at 5 consecutive wins. Reaching Valor subranks rewards legendary crucible items, while reaching a rank rewards the player with a powerful drop. Reaching the final rank Legend rewards the player with 7 enhancement cores. Valor can be reset once you reach Legend rank.

Survival (Competitive)

Prior to Shadowkeep, Competitive was one playlist which encompassed multiple modes in a 4v4 format, Clash, Control, Survival, and Countdown. Competitive has now been split between two playlists, removed all the modes but Survival, and is now 3v3. The difference between the two playlists is that one is a solo-queue only playlist, while the other is available to both solo players and fireteams. This mode uses Glory rather than Valor, which functions similar to most ranked games, winning increases your glory while losses decreases it. Certain quests and rewards can only be gained from these playlists.

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Gambit

Found in the director’s menu right next to Crucible, Gambit is a 4v4 mode that fuses the PvP and PvE aspects of Destiny 2. The main objective of the game mode is still fill the bank in the middle of the map faster than the opposition in order to spawn a Taken boss called a Primeval.  Once the boss has been spawned, you must destroy it in order to win. You will notice that in the Gambit director there are actual 3 modes, Gambit, Gambit Prime, and Reckoning. Gambit and Gambit Prime are the activities which feature the Gambit mode, while Reckoning is a PvE mini game which has ties to Gambit Prime. The vendor for Gambit is the Drifter, who can be found in the Annex of the Tower.

This is the mode which was expounded upon earlier. To fill up the bank, you must collect Motes of Light to fill up the bank and spawn the Primeval, then destroy it. It is a BO3, with the tiebreaker being a sudden death which immediately begins at the Primeval phase. You can have up to 15 motes max, and starting at 5, each multiple of it deposited spawns a certain type of blocker. The 3 blockers are Taken Goblin, Captain, and Knight, with each tier having more health then the previous one. Additionally, every 25 moted deposited opens up a portal which can be used to invade the enemy team and impede their progress by stealing their motes and/or killing them. Heavy ammo spawns every 1 minute and 30 seconds near the bank, which can be used when invading. If a team is significantly behind the enemy, a High Value Target is spawned which drops around 25 motes when defeated. Unlike the Crucible, there is a heavy emphasis on teamwork and it is recommended to play this activity with a fireteam.

Gambit Prime

This is considered the competitive version of Gambit and features some changes that diversify it from the original. The first change that is immediately apparent is that it is only a single round rather than being a BO3. The second immediately apparent change is that you must deposit 100 motes, rather than 75 in order to spawn the primeval. That also means that you can invade 1 additional time compared to regular Gambit. However the biggest changes in this mode is the Gambit Prime armor and the new primeval mechanics. Gambit Prime armor is specialized armor that grants an additional perk that corresponds to one of the 4 different roles in Gambit per piece equipped. The 4 roles are Collector, Sentry, Reaper, and Invader. Collectors have perks that aid in grabbing motes from the ground and have access to a special 15 mote blocker. Sentries have perks that aid in destroying blockers, and spotting and destroying invaders. Reapers have perks that assist their allies in clearing enemies. Invaders have perks that assist in damaging the enemy during their invasions. The armor can be acquired by doing Reckoning. Lastly, in Gambit Prime, the Primeval spawns with an invulnerable barrier that can only be removed by destroying 3 Taken Witches. After that, the player must stand in a Well of Light, otherwise their damage output is gimped.

Reckoning

While this mode is in the Gambit director, the only relation this mode has with the others is that Gambit Prime armor is acquired from here. In this 4v4 PvE mode, you must past a certain amount of trials depending on which tier that you are on until you face the final boss. Defeating it grants a chance of acquiring Reckoning specific weapons and random piece of Gambit Prime armor. However to attain a Gambit Prime armor piece, you must create a Mote by utilizing the Synthesizer acquired from the Gambit Prime questline, which can be started by talking to the Drifter in the tower after completing New Light. The tiers in the Reckoning director signify not only difficult, but weapons and armor attainable. The higher the tier, the more powerful the armor is able to be attained, as long you also you have your upgraded your synthesizer appropriately. Synthesizer upgrades can be bought from the Drifter in the tower, and caps out at Powerful (T3) Mote Synthesizer. Certain weapons also only drop at the third tier of Reckoning, therefore it is recommended to the third tier once unlocked for the most powerful rewards.

There are three things that define what a weapon is. Its slot, its element, and the ammo that it takes. It is crucial to understand the difference between these. Primary and special weapons can only be in the kinetic and energy slots, but power weapons are ALWAYS in the heavy slot.

Weapon Slots

Kinetic — First weapon slot (no element)

Energy —  Second weapon slot

Power — Third weapon slot

Ammo

Primary — Your ad-clear weapons. Usually have a much lower DPS then special weapons. There ammo drops plentifully and can be equipped in both the kinetic and energy slot.

Special —  These weapons deal higher DPS then primaries and as a result carry less ammo and have a more limited drop rate. They are denoted by a green ammo icon in the top right corner and can be equipped in both the kinetic and energy slot just like primaries. Certain weapon archetypes are limited to this and Power.

Heavy — These weapons deal the highest DPS in the game and are typically reserved for bosses or large groups of enemies. They have an extremely limited drop rate* and have even lower ammo on average compared to specials. Features weapon archetypes exclusive to it and is only for the Power slot.

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Elements

In Destiny, weapons in the energy or heavy category belong to one of the three elements, solar, arc, or void. The difference between each of the elements is small in terms of effects. Matching the weapon element with an enemy shield causes an explosion that deals a large amount of damage to the enemy. However, energy weapons deal 10% less damage compared to their kinetic counterparts, so generally for non-shielded enemies, kinetic weapons are superior except for certain cases involving exotics, pinnacles, or weapon exclusive damage perks (Last Man Standing – One Two Punch, Recluse, Tarrabah, etc).

Mods

All Y2 and Y3 Weapons and Armor have an additional slot prior to their shader where a mod can be equipped. Mods provide an incremental advantage during gameplay, less than perks do. Both armor and weapon mods can be bought from Banshee-44 in the tower on a daily rotation, and be found doing certain activities. Once a weapon mod has been added to your inventory, you are able to use it on as many weapons as you want, as there is no limit to its usage.

Some examples of mods include:

Radar Tuner: Decreases the time it takes for radar to come back after aiming down sights.

Target Adjuster: Increase target acquisition (aim assist/stickiness) when aiming down sights

Backup Mag: Increases the size of the magazine slightly

Boss Spec: Increases damage done to boss enemies

There are a wide variety of perks that will help in both PvP and PvE. Some are ‘required’ to full optimize a certain weapon (boss spec to increase DPS to its fullest potential on boss damage weapons), while others are purely about playstyle and personal preference. Try out different mods and see what you like on different weapons.

Perks

As explained earlier, due to Destiny’s random roll system, guns can drop with a different assortment of perks. Perks on a weapon can make or break a gun with mediocre, and sometimes even good stats. Below is an example of some perks to look out for.

Kill Clip: Increases your damage by 30% upon reloading

Rampage: Increases your damage by 10% upon a kill, maxes out at Rampage x3

Outlaw: Dramatically increases reload speed upon a headshot kill

Feeding Frenzy: Provides  a similar boost to reload speed like Outlaw except without the headshot requirement

Rangefinder: Damage falloff decreases increases when aiming down sights.

Archetypes*

Primary — Auto Rifle, Pulse Rifle, Sidearm, Hand Cannon, Bow, Scout Rifle,
and SMG

Special — Shotgun, Sniper Rifle, Trace Rife, and Tube Grenade Launchers

Heavy — Machine Gun, Rocket Launcher, Grenade Launcher, Linear Fusion Rifle, and Sword

* Exotic weapons can break archetypes (ex: Fighting Lion, or Eriana’s Vow)

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