Destiny players can now grow their characters past the previous cap of level 30, whether or not they buy The Dark Below or participate in Raids.
Destiny guide: how to reach level 32
Destiny has been updated to coincide with the launch of first expansion The Dark Below, and this is really good news for players who’ve been struggling to reach level 30.
Before the latest patch, the only way for players to reach level 30 was to tackle the Vault of Glass raid or participate in the most recent incarnation of the Iron Banner PvP event, gradually putting together an ensemble with enough Light stats to elevate them to the cap. No other gear could get you beyond level 29, as you can only wear one Exotic at a time.
There’s been a rumour floating around that level 33 will also now be attainable, but it’s based on data-mined information. No one has spotted level 33 gear yet.
Now, everyone has the chance to level up through level 31 without having to raid or be good at PvP, thanks to an inventory refresh at the Vanguard vendors. The gear they now offer can be upgraded to reach Light of 31. With four pieces of this new gear equipped – or three and a new or upgraded Exotic – you can reach 132 Light. This equates to level 31.
How to buy level 32 gear from vendors
Vanguard vendors still require Vanguard marks to purchase items. You can earn Vanguard marks in a variety of ways, including bounties, Patrol missions and daily or weekly challenges (check the mission rewards when selecting an activity from the navigator), but the most efficient way to earn them is through strike playlists. You can earn up to 100 per week, however you choose to do it.
You’ll also need to trade in Vanguard Commendations. These are new items introduced in the most recent update, and you earn one whenever you increase your Vanguard reputation level. Vanguard reputation is also earned through bounties, Patrol missions, daily and weekly challenges, and strike playlists.
Note: reputation gain is affected by XP boosts, so if you want to earn commendations quickly then getting the Nightfall under your belt will help out. It gives you increased XP gain till the next weekly reset.
How to upgrade your level 31 gear to maximum light
The new level 31 gear is upgraded the same way as regular legendaries. Level your armour up with XP or through mission completion rewards to unlock perks. You need Ascendent Shards as well as glimmer and regular destination materials (Spinmetal, Helium Coils et al) to unlock later perks.
We have a detailed guide on how to get Ascendent Shards and level up in Destiny. When you have unlocked all the perks on a piece of gear, it will provide its maximum possible Light.
Note that the weapons Eris rewards you with in The Dark Below content require different kinds of materials; she will sell these to you.
But what about level 32?
As with the Vault of Glass, the Crota’s End raid is the only place to get gear good enough to get you to level 32. You need 144 light for level 32, so get a crew together and get in there.
Raid gear (both weapons and armour) usually has perks that make performing the raid itself easier. You don’t really need to push to level 32 unless you want to raid, or are struggling with other activities like the Nightfall. To reflect this, Raid gear now has its own economy, separate from the rest of the game’s content. It has to be upgraded with Radiant materials, not the Ascendent stuff you’re used to, and these are only found in the raid. So if you want to upgrade your level 31 armour, you’re not wasting Ascendent materials you’d later want for raid gear.
This, along with the fact that Eris will trade Radiant materials so you don’t end with loads of one kind of material you can’t use, means you shouldn’t feel obliged to raid, as you did in vanilla Destiny. Nice one, Bungie; raids aren’t for everyone.