Destiny players can level up right through the highest ranks just by playing the game for fun, but if you don’t have time to wait on the Cryptarch’s fickle decryptions, we have you covered.
Destiny: the complete levelling guide
Destiny has multiple levelling systems and it can be a major headache for newcomers even to understand them, let alone power their way through.
Our advice to beginners is just to enjoy the game, doing what takes your fancy, until you hit challenges that are too tough for you or have done everything but tackle the Raid. At that point, you’ll need to think about how to step it up to the next level.
This guide will serve as a basic introduction to the shooter MMO’s multiple levelling systems, sources of gear, and even how to farm for loot.
XP: What is it good for?
The first and most basic of Destiny’s levelling systems is based on experience. You earn XP through various means – we’ll talk about that a little later – and it is used for multiple purposes.
The first use for XP is to level up your character. Characters can grow from level one to twenty, but this number doesn’t actually mean a heck of a lot: some content is gated by level, and so is a lot of gear, but that’s about it. Once you hit level 20 XP no longer contributes to your character level growth, but is instead used to earn Motes of Light, a rare currency.
The second use for XP is to level up your subclass. Since you only have one subclass available at first, you may not even realise that your subclass grows independently of your character level – but it does. Switch over to the alternative subclass after level 15 and you’ll find you no longer necessarily get a new unlock on your subclass skill tree with each level. Once you hit the level 20 cap, you can continue to earn XP on your subclass; you won’t be anywhere near finished the first one, let alone both, by the time you max out your character.
The third use for XP is to level up your gear. Guns and armour can both be upgraded with perks, which must be unlocked via XP (or as rewards for completing various tasks). Initial upgrades cost Glimmer, but later ones require various materials as well, some of which are very rare indeed.
XP: How do I get it?
XP is earned in various ways. The most obvious and accessible one is by killing things – either the forces of the Darkness in PvE, or other Guardians in the Crucible.
XP is also earned for completing Story Missions, Strikes and Patrol Missions.
In the Crucible, you earn XP for completing objectives, not just getting kills, and for earning various medals. Some of these, like the Medic medal for reviving two teammates in rapid succession, are available in all modes.
In all play modes, you can earn XP (as well as lots of other goodies; see later sections for more details) by completing bounties. Bounties are available from the Tower once you hit level four, and are available in Crucible flavour as well as for everywhere else.
So that’s how you get XP, and if you play through all the content available you should find you hit the level 20 cap pretty easily. If you really want to speed things up, though, we have a few tips on how to level up fast.
As discussed above, there are plenty of reasons to earn XP beyond reaching level 20, so whether you’re hoping to grab another Mote of Light, unlock a weapon upgrade or complete a subclass tree, there are a couple of ways you can maximise your earnings.
The first is to bump the difficulty up; you’ll earn more XP taking on tougher challenges.
The second is to be smart in how you combine bounties. You may be able to grab three or maybe even more, even as you’re completing story missions.
Finally, by meeting certain targets – killing so many thousand enemies in an area, for example – you can unlock XP bonuses. Check the Destiny companion app to see which bonuses you’re approaching, and unlock them.
Next: beyond level 20.