Skip to main content

How to raise your Light level in Destiny: The Taken King

You've hit 40 and now your need to lift your Light level so you can smash the Heroics, Nightfall and Raid. Wonder no more. This is how it's done.


You've completed The Taken King's story missions, and now you want to level so you can complete Destiny's new high-level challenges, such as the Heroic Strikes and the Nightfall. This is how you do it.

Understanding Light Levels

First of all, you need to understand The Taken King's levelling systems and what your Light level actually is. The Heroic Daily, Heroic Strikes, Nightfall and Raid challenges all have suggested Light levels associated with them (240, 260, 280 and 290 respectively), and it's this level which essentially denotes how powerful your Guardian is.

Your level is the big grey number on the left of your character on the character screen. This is capped at 40 in the initial Taken King release. You Light level, the important stat, is the yellow number to the right. See the image below.


Your Light level is a stat based on the average Attack and Defense values of all your gear, including your Ghost and the new class item, the Artifact. To increase your Light level, you need to find gear with better Attack and Defense than the gear you already own. It's that simple.

Follow these steps and your Light level will rise.

Blue engrams seriously matter

This is super-important! Rare, blue gear in The Taken King often has a higher Attack or Defense than the Legendary, purple gear. Don't junk your blue gear until you've checked they don't have higher stats than the gear you currently have equipped. Also, don't decode all your engrams at once. The Cryptarch seems to give you gear with Attack and Defense stats corresponding to your current level, so decode one, equip it (assuming it has a higher Attack of Defense stat) and then decode another one. In this way you'll have a better chance of raising your Light level further for the same amount of engrams. The rule here is to do anything that'll give you rewards, such as completing Quests, running Strikes, dropping Runes in the Court of Oryx or simply patrolling the Dreadnaught and killing stuff. Collect the engrams, be mindful as you decode them and your Light level will rise.



Every faction - New Monarchy, Future War Cult, and so on - now has a material exchange you can use to boost reputation. See the image below.


This means you can now swap materials - namely Motes of Light, Weapon Parts, Armor Materials, Special Ammo Synthesis and Heavy Ammo Synthesis - for reputation with that faction. Every time you complete a reputation level, you'll receive a purple package from the vendor. This will usually contain a Legendary item with a high Attack or Defense stat. Equipping this item will boost your Light level.

The Suros auto-rifle below cam from hitting rank 3 reputation with New Monarchy. See it has 255 Attack? That means more Light.


Legendary Marks

You use Legendary Marks to buy gear from the Tower vendors. This gear has an Attack or Defense level of 280. Every item you equip will raise your Light level.

  • You need to be level 40 to start earning Legendary Marks.
  • You get 15 Legendary Marks for completing the Daily Heroic Story mission (level 41, recommended 240 Light level). Remember, this is now account-wide, so you can't farm 45 Legendary Marks with your three characters. You do it once, and that's it until the following day.
  • You get 15 Legendary Marks for hitting the Daily Crucible Match. Again, this is account-wide.
  • You get 10 Legendary Marks from the Weekly Heroic Strike. All three of your characters can benefit from this.
  • Some story missions reward you with Legendary Marks. Check in your Quest tracker to see which ones.
  • Dismantling year-two purple armour and weapons gives you Legendary Marks. You get three from an unlevelled item and 4-5 from a levelled item.

The Heroic Strike playlist

Once you're up to Light level 260 (or close), you should start playing the Heroic Strike playlist as soon as possible. You have a very good chance of getting purple drops from these levels, and the rewards increase the longer you stick with the playlist, so think carefully before you go to orbit!

Once you're powerful enough to hit the playlist, you're well on your way to the Nightfall and the Raid. Just keep playing it.


Infusing gear

You can also boost gear stats by using the new Infuse tool. If you want to keep a favourite weapon but get another weapon with better stats you don't really want to use, you can now boost the level of the lower weapon by Infusing the better weapon into it. You should do this in stages to benefit from the greatest possible increase. Watch the video below for a better explanation of how this works.


Watch on YouTube

Head back to our Taken King guide.

Read this next