How to progress a Destiny character past level 20

By Brenna Hillier
1 August 2014 02:44 GMT

Destiny characters stop growing at level 20 – unless you’re dedicated enough to track down Motes of Light.


Destiny is all about fighting the Darkness, the ancient enemy of the Fallen which brings the Fallen, Hive, Vex and Cabal in its wake. So it makes sense that Light is also an important concept in the game. According to information gleaned from staring avidly at a high level character, we’ve discovered that gathering Light is how you progress beyond level 20, the first game’s XP cap.

In the video below, an IGN exclusive, Bungie sandbox designer Sage Merrill shows off his level 29 Titan. If you pause at just the right time, you’ll see an information popup over the Striker subclass icon.

According to this popup, to increase your level above 20 you need to find and equip “armour which contains Light”. It also notes that after level 20, XP is converted into progress towards earning a Mote of Light.

Merill’s character’s equipment grants his a stat of 118 Light, which is distinct from his Mote of Light tally (Motes of Light are also a currency; if you explored the beta thoroughly, you may remember the Speaker had really delicious items on offer in exchange for Motes of Light).

It’s not clear what all this means, but my theory is that the higher your Light stat, the faster XP is converted into levels above 20, and also Motes of Light. Maybe each Mote of Light grants you one level above 20? Interesting.

Watch on YouTube

The video has more to offer the rabid Destiny fan (*raises hand*). For one thing, Merrill’s character looks great – his armour looks hugely chunky, as a Titan’s should, and his class armour – the hip cloth – is much more prominent than lower-level equivalents. He also has two blue lights shining from the top of his helmet, and a terrific rare emblem. These are all things I want, Bungie.

But more importantly, we get an idea of how high level players will approach character builds. We didn’t get to see anything but the Striker subclass, unfortunately, so there’s no new information on abilities you couldn’t gather from exploring the upgrade menu. But you do get to see these abilities in action, which is sweet. That jumping shoulder charge move is terrific; a running knee to the face.

Merrill’s build is focused on using the Titan’s melee power as often as possible, using it to charge the super. As such, Merrill has focused on building intellect (reduces super cooldown) and strength (reduces melee cooldown).

You also get a look at legendary (purple) gear, which has two stat boosts and two unique upgrade perks in addition a Light bonus. Merill also has two exotic items equipped – this seems to be the highest tier of gear, and possibly unique items.

It seems exotic gear grants three unique upgrade perks in addition to two stat boost and a Light bonus. Some of the perks are just brilliant – one unlocked a class power, meaning you could use the point on something else on your subclass screen to have two going at once.

The exotic weapon, a pulse rifle called Red Daeth, was particularly sweet. It has a red skull and crossbones sight (want) and a particularly cool perk: body shots increase precision damage. If you’ve used a pulse rifle you’ll know they tend to recoil upwards, so if you aim for the chest and hit the trigger, firing a three shot burst, you’ll likely trail upwards and hit the head… Yes, you see where I’m going with this.

It looks like exotic and legendary items may be very expensive to upgrade as Merrill hadn’t unlocked every upgrade he had unlocked – perhaps because they weren’t necessary for his build, making the outlay a waste of resources.

Destiny comes out on PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in September and I will not be caught unprepared.

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