Destiny 2 is one of the hardest games as a beginner or returning player to understand. The user interface and lack of tutorials and guidance can lead to frustration, boredom and a lot of questions. Where do I go? What do I do? What should I focus on? And most importantly, how do I get powerful quickly? If that’s you then this Destiny 2 Beginner Guide is for you!
The guide starts from the basics to advanced tips and follows with the final question, when can I start end-game content? We are going to take a look at mods, gear for each class and playstyle, as well as, where to obtain them. Additionally, I included the fastest and the best levelling tips in Destiny 2.
Acquiring Power & Power Caps
Firstly, before setting out on your super overpowered journey, you need to know: How to acquire more powerful gear and what power level means? Your power level is essentially your gear score. Gear score determines some of the content you can access, along with how much damage you deal and how much damage you take. The higher the level, the better your character will be.
Each season, there are different caps on power. The maximum power level will change by roughly 10 per season and a larger amount per expansion.
Power cap in season 18
Destiny 2 will see a new season in December of 2022 and a new expansion, Lightfall in February of 2023, I’ll be referencing the season 18 power level. The caps are, soft, hard and pinnacle.
Season 18 Power Caps
The soft cap currently is power level 1520 meaning, you can complete nearly any task, weekly milestones or activities and obtain better gear even at blue quality to reach this level quickly.
After that, the hard cap is 1570, which requires you to complete specific content to obtain what is called a powerful drop which has a random chance to be any of your weapon or armor slots thus increasing your power on that specific slot.
To reach 1580, you’ll need to complete pinnacle activities with your gear being a maximum of 1580.
What usually happens until you reach 1580 is, you’ll have one or more pieces of gear lagging behind, which keeps you at a lower light level until mother RNG blesses you with that missing helm, boot or power weapon.
At 1580, gear doesn’t go any higher, you’ve reached the cap. You can still earn pinnacle drops even at 1580. Pinnacle activities are still worth doing at the cap to bring up different weapons or gear sets, specifically exotic armor and weapons.
Destiny 2 artifact
However, you have another form of progression in your artifact. This artifact can increase power pushing your character beyond 1580 by earning experience points through bounties and seasonal challenges and this can go on indefinitely.
This artifact will also reset seasonally, requiring you to re-level every season. But don’t worry, if you miss a season, it’s not detrimental. Think of the artifact as not only important for your overall power level but quintessential for mods in harder content.
As you earn experience and gain more available points, you’ll get access to weapon mods that break shields for champions, overload, barrier and unstoppable. Without these mods equipped via your arms, champions will be very difficult or impossible to kill at higher-level content.
The picture above shows an overload champion, the icon represents its type of shield along with its name and my weapon is an overload shield breaking via the symbol on it, once I break the shield it stuns the champion which will be vulnerable without generating a shield or refilling their health for a limited time.
The Artifact is not only important for your power level but also important at the end game to take down the hardest and most annoying champions in the game. The end goal for PvE is to reach at least 1595 which is the minimum threshold for Grand Masters, the hardest and most lucrative content for 3-player PvE in the game. Trials of Osiris weekend PvP event, also factor in your power level, whereas crucible PvP matches do not.
So even PvP’ers want to reach a high power level. Power levelling your gear goes quickly nowadays in Destiny 2, I returned to the game and reached 1570 within a week, and 1595 within a month playing off and on a few hours a week.
Focus Your Ghost
Before you launch into any activity make sure to equip your Ghost with two of the following mods: BLINDING LIGHT which gives Increase XP gains by 12%. This will boost your XP gains, meaning your level with your artifact and season rank quickly.
If your ghost doesn’t have maximum energy, use materials to upgrade it to master work and or select the lower-quality mod that still increases XP gains. The next mod is going to be based on what class you play and what stats are a priority on your armor.
This mod will increase specific stats on armor drops, the stats you want is based on your class or playstyle. If you’re confused about stats, I will cover this later in greater detail. Focusing your ghost for specific stats will drastically speed up the process of optimizing your build and making you more powerful earlier. The stat I highly suggest early on to focus on is resilience due to the MASSIVE amount of damage reduction regardless of the class. Reaching 100 resilience will result in a 40% damage reduction making your game time much easier. However, going beyond 100 doesn’t give you any benefits so try to get right at 100.
As you progress, you can change this out per class and or playstyle. In general, Titans want Resilience, Warlocks want Recovery and Hunters want Mobility. With this setup, your ghost will expedite your season rank which will increase your artifact and passively increase your power along with getting the correct stated mods for your build.
Now your ghost is setup for your class gear needs, you should have a basic understanding of the power caps, before we venture out, we want to make sure to check two vendors in the Tower for relevant mods: Banshee and Ada.
This is really the end game for Destiny 2, an RNG-dependent system that rotates daily with a chance of four random mods you can purchase to add to your collection permanently. Banshee handles weapons and Ada armor. Ada gives the most important mods that go in your fourth slot in each piece of armor. Typically, these mods are what radically increase your builds power and potential.
If you purchase an impactful mod but can’t use it, make sure your armor is the right subtype, arc, solar or void, you can change this with some currency though it can be expensive, and then you can increase the power of your armor, with a bit more currency and bang, slot the mods to increase your builds performance drastically.
Another thing to keep in mind with top players’ builds, is that most of them are entirely mod-dependent. Crazy fast grenade refresh, insane survivability, near limitless ammo, it’s mod driven and checking this daily even if you’re on break from the game will pay dividends when you return.
Free 1540 Gear Set
One of the most important and easy ways to increase power is a free full set of armor via the Gift of the Thunder Gods which is a limited-time offer for the Arc 3.0 revamp found in the helm.
This has been around for a few months now and it may go away in the future, but simply travel to the helm and access the chest. You’ll get two exotics, Thunderlord which is an incredible ad clear weapon and another class exotic along with all armor pieces for your class.
The armor comes at a 1540 power level along with 8 energy available and I maintained this gear set and upgraded it throughout my entire playthrough up until about 1570 power level. These armor and weapon are likely to go away in season 19 so quickly obtain these items!
Now we are setup and ready to go, what activities do we do and why? I’m glad you asked!
You’ll have a massive variety of options to obtain powerful and pinnacle drops regardless if you’re a free-to-player or have all the expansions. Both of these drops reset weekly on Tuesday at 1 PM EST and should be the priority of your play time while increasing your power level. Generally, the more expansions or content you own, the more options you have for powerful and pinnacle drop because each of these locations has a series of activities.
As shown in the picture above, when you open up the destinations tab, you’ll see a map icon that is a yellowish circle, this means you have remaining a powerful or pinnacles drop to complete. Once you drill down into each section it’ll have the same icon on the activate and what you need to do in order to complete it.
Also, make sure to look at the required or recommended power level. Along with the party, size recommended so you don’t end up it 3 to 6-player content without friends. This game has dramatically expanded the list of activities that you can do, so essentially now in D2, if you have the time, you can ramp up power very quickly.
Here’s the list of Powerful gear to obtain in Destiny 2:
- Altars of Reflection Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Nightmare Containment Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Crucible: Glory Playlist Match Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Dares of Eternity: Weekly Completions – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Fynch Reputation Obtained – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Nightfall Strike: Weekly Completions – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Wellspring: Weekly Completions – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Witch Queen Story: Weekly Completions – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Drifter Bounties Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Shaxx Bounties Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Zavala Bounties Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Banshee-44 Bounties Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Star Chart Bounties Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 1)
- Expedition: Deposit Treasure – Powerful Gear (Tier 2)
- Clan Rewards: Clan Bounties Completion – Powerful Gear (Tier 2)
- Ketchcrash: Weekly Completions – Powerful Gear (Tier 3)
The list of Pinnacles to obtain in Destiny 2:
- Clan Milestones (Nightfall, Gambit, Raid, Crucible) – Pinnacle Gear (+1)
- Crucible: Non-Glory Playlist Match Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+1)
- Gambit Playlist Match Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+1)
- Strikes Playlist: Daily Singe Strike Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+1)
- Witch Queen Story: High Score Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Nightfall Strike: High Score Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Preservation Mission Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Vox Obscura: Powerful Cabal Defeated – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Wellspring: Master Version Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Dares of Eternity: High Score Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Grandmaster Nightfall Strike Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Duality Dungeon Encounters – Pinnacle Gear (+ 2)
- King’s Fall Raid Encounters – Pinnacle Gear (+ 2)
- Weekly Raid Rotator Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Weekly Dungeon Rotator Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Trials of Osiris: Earn Points – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Trials of Osiris: Win Matches – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Iron Banner Challenge Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
- Ketchcrash: Master Version Completion – Pinnacle Gear (+2)
So which activities are best to do? I always prioritize doing the solo F2P activities first, this includes Vanguard 3-player instances based PvE, crucible which is PvP, I usually do Control, and Gambit, which is a mix of PvE and PvP. These don’t require any friends or party members and rely on a matchmaking system and don’t require wins, just participation. Even if you’re terrible at PvP, it’s worth doing just to get that pinnacle drop. Also, consider doing the raids if you have a group of friends, Vault of Glass and Kings Fall currently are great to do.
Per season there are specific raids and dungeons that drop pinnacles at every chest, as of making this video it is Kings Fall and Duality but it’s subject to change. Whatever these are, make it a priority weekly. Now moving on to Legacy items and how to get past exotics because this is an issue in the game.
The term Legacy basically means retired exotics that you can no longer collect via an in-game activity. Exotics are one the most powerful and unique one-pieces in the game. You can use one exotic weapon and one exotic armor piece at a time, prioritizing the right one in combination with mods is how you create a strong build. There are currently a couple of methods for obtaining these old exotics. One is the tower near your vault at the Exotic Archive. This method costs a hefty amount of glimmer and materials but you can get the past years’ exotic weapons and not miss out.
Another method is random via Xur, the vendor that appears on the weekend somewhere throughout the Destiny 2 universe. Once per week, you can purchase an exotic engram from Xur which will give you a never before claimed exotic which could include missing armor exotics.
Lost Sector for Exotics
Lost Sectors are found in the open world on various planets and are small caves or dungeons which contain mobs in a chest upon completion. There is one Lost Section per day that can scale in difficulty to legendary.
Completing the legendary daily Lost Sector solo has the chance to drop exotic armor.
In order to do this, you’ll need to:
- Complete the lost sector on normal first
- Obtain power level 1570 or higher
- Know which lost sector is active for the day.
Thankfully there’s a helpful website that I use to see which lost sector is active.
The date, place and reward, the armor slot rotates daily and you’ll have to prioritize getting specific exotics on that day. All my characters are lacking important helm exotics, so when that day arrives I’ll spend most of my game time working on solo lost sectors. Here’s a picture of a current active lost sector:
This will take a coordinated build loadout because you’ll need to break specific champion shields, which in this example are barrier and unstoppable. I mention how to do this at the beginning of the guide when I explained Acquiring Power & Power Caps.
Also, you’ll need to equip some type of weapon to break shields or a specific subclass to take advantage of the burn. I have solo builds on my website per class if you need a solid loadout to handle these types of encounters, but just know this, this is the end-game farm to fill in your exotic collections or get the correct stat item roll. Now you know the exotic farming method to get the best exotics and past ones, what about high-stat armor?
High Stat Armor
Assuming you got the basic set of armor from the Gift of the Gods chest, it’ll only get you so far. Your objective is to get higher stat armor, with what are called spikey stats. They are lumped into two categories: the first three numbers and the second three giving you the total. Ideally, you want a high total but also the correct stats based on your class needs.
The image above has great total stats but look at the distribution. It’s even, not spikey, so on my titan I don’t need any mobility yet I have 16. It’s deceptive because you’d think total equals great, but not so much.
Take this image and see the total is much lower, BUT it’s spikey. This chest Armor piece has huge resilience and strength, perfect for a PvP titan melee build. And now let’s look at a juggernaut of a roll for armor my Reverie Dawn Plate:
I have both an armor mod in to increase stats and masterwork boosting the overall stats to 105 which sounds insane but possible. Now imagine using 5 pieces like this and just how powerful your build would be? There’s an easy way to get some decent high-stat armor without doing the hardest dungeons or raids and that’s through: Crown of Sorrow Nightmare Containment, Seasonal Events like Ketchcrash, Psi Ops and Seasonal activities playlist.
As you can see in the picture above, I did a lot of season 18 activities to earn currency then went to the star chart vendor at the helm, and saved my umbral engrams not using them but keeping them in my inventory. With umbral, seasonal currency and legendary shards, I was able to get some random ketch crash armor. However, this armor is random, so sometimes it’s trash, sometimes it’s a treasure, but it can produce super high stats with spikey stats. It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Work on obtaining powerful drops, power levelling and currency which can be redeemed later for possibly god-tier armor.
The Witch Queen expansion brought about weapon crafting an entirely new system. You must own the Witch Queen expansion so this may not be applicable to everyone but still worth explaining. The TLDR on the system is this, any purple weapon you find has the chance of being a “red bar”
If you highlight the weapon, it’ll show you if it can be extracted. The weapons that can be extracted mean, after a certain amount of repeats you can craft the weapon. Once you craft the weapon you level it by equipping and killing enemies. This allows you to re-craft the weapons with god roll traits and perks. The trick to doing this is yes RNG but if you can do the current raid once a week you’re guaranteed a red border, currently that’s King Fall in Season 18 and Season 19 will be a Deep Stone Crypt.
The crafted weapon – Taipan-4FR
I got incredibly lucky on my return to Destiny 2 and shortly after got all the red boards needed for the Taipan-4FR. Consider this the god mode weapon in PvE for boss fights with Arrowhead break, advanced battery, triple tap enhanced trait, firing line enhanced trait, and vestige stinger you’ll be doing well over 90k critical hits in raids fully buffed. This weapon meta isn’t going away any time soon and truly makes PvE much easier especially if you have a group of players running it, you can MELT boss fights. Red bars and crafting weapons apply to all sorts of content like solo, PvP and so forth and consider this system one of the main draws for buying the Witch Queen.
When Can I raid?
That depends on the type of raid which are all 6 players and do not currently have a match-making system. The older ones can be done at power levels 1350, 1520, and the latest 1550 power level.
I started raiding at 1550 and had a lot of trouble with mechanics and also taking a ton of damage. Around 1570 is where I felt I wasn’t dying constantly and could contribute to the team in Kings Fall. Everyone is going to be different, but that’s what I’d recommend for the latest raid is right around the 1570 power level.
You’ll also need a good loadout which we have on my website for end-game builds.
Three weapons I highly recommend for anyone to work towards acquiring:
- Arbalest – is probably my favourite overall weapon in the game. It has good range, hard-hitting and takes down barrier champions passively. It doesn’t do as much damage as the Taipan-4FR but has a great range for any content.
- Taipan-4FR– we already talked about this weapon. It is specific to PvE but incredible if you can get the red bars and craft a god roll.
- Thunderlord – which should be obtained by the gift of the Thunder Gods for Free. Consider this a meta ad clear weapon, weak on boss fights but good for everything else.
- Then use your favourite pulse rifle like the BxR-55 Battler or trash clear weapon like Funnelweb or Out of Bounds and you got yourself a good build.
You’ll need to carry in your inventory, gear for each situation, shield and damage type. Firstly, something for arc, solar and void shields. Something for a range like a pulse, scout or sniper. Something for ad clear, rocket launcher, machine gun or grenade launcher. Lastly, the weapon for boss fights like Taipan-4FR or Gjallarhorn. And you should and will be needing to swap in weapons and even mods throughout encounters, boss fights and even PvP maps.
And there you have it, probably about 100 tips for beginner and returning players. I hope the Destiny 2 Beginner guide will help you and you’ll enjoy the game as much as I do. Also, consider watching me live at twitch.tv/deltiasgaming, and checking out the website for more guides (click), Destiny 2 Beginner Builds (click) and End-game PvE Builds (click).
Thanks for reading!