Destiny After Level 20 Guide
Destiny After Level 20 Guide by mykkenny
This is just based on my experiences, I am a Level 26 Warlock and I’ve put in around 80hrs since launch. I’ve done the weekly Strike and Nightfall on the hardest settings, and it’s been fun!
The first thing you’re going to want to do once you hit 20 is start picking up the daily bounties and do as many as you can. You need to get your reputations to at least level 2 to access armor and level 3 to access weapons, and bounties are possibly the best way to get your reputation up.
Next, you need to start running Strikes and Crucible games (Start with the daily ones on the left of your map screen when in orbit, they have bonuses to the amount of Marks you get!) to get your 100 weekly Vanguard and Crucible Marks. These let you buy guaranteed Legendaries (no RNG here!) for 65 Marks (boots, gloves, chest) or 120 Marks (Head). Weapons are 150 Marks. By capping both Vanguard and Crucible Marks you can buy two items this week, and two items next week. Hurrah in under 14 days you can have a full set of Legendary quality armor. Try to keep pushing the difficulty as far as you can. You can with care easily tackle content two levels above you and doing so gives better rewards. Hardened teams of pro’s can try for three levels above them.
Any rare items you get while running Strikes/Crucible that have more Light than the one that you are wearing, equip it regardless of the other stats. Ideally you’re hoping for full L20 rare gear initially, each slot starts as 13 Light and upgrades to 15, total of 60 Light will put you at level 24.
The stats at this point don’t really matter. Strength reduces the cooldown on your melee attack, Discipline reduces grenade cooldown and Intellect reduces your Super cooldown, so pick up pieces that cater to your playstyle but the most important thing right now is the Light bonus. More Light means more levels means you can partake in higher difficulty content which is a) more fun and b) more profitable because the rewards are greater (the difference between 50 strikes at L20 and 16 at L24) and my friends and I have noticed a marked increase in rare and legendary engram drop rates in the harder (level 28) content.
Be sensible about your upgrades. If you have a (Light) +15 Chest/Helmet/Boots, +10 Gloves then obviously the first Legendary to buy is the Gloves as you will gain the most Light.
Please note: Do NOT buy any cosmetic items for Marks, Motes of Light, Coins etc. You can buy class specific items (Cloaks, Armbands etc) that give reputation with other factions such as the Future War Cult, but doing this will limit you to being only able to buy ONE item from the ONE faction you are earning reputation with. The items these other factions sell are no better, they simply have different itemisation so that you can min/max your preferred playstyle (melee, grenades, or supers). The Marks/Motes are also far better spent on actual gear to improve your character.
All of your Strange Coins and Motes of Light should be saved for Xur, Agent of the Nine. He appears on Friday morning (the time depends on your timezone, google it) and vanishes around the same time as he appears on Sunday morning, and he sells one exotic item for each class for 13 Strange Coins, and one exotic engram for 23 Motes of Light which can end up being for any class but you can either bank it or break it down if it’s not for your class as high level upgrade materials are pretty valuable at this early stage of your game.
Once you’ve gotten 100 Marks for both factions, keep doing the bounties (even after Level 3 they’re a great way to earn XP and at each level from 3 onwards you earn a package of rare/legendary engrams) and start thinking about the weekly Strike and Nightfall missions. The Nightfall mission in particular which can be attempted from level 25 onwards is great, because it not only gives fantastic rewards for finishing the content and is fantastic fun, but it gives a buff until the end of the reset that increases your XP and Reputation gains! As always try to complete the content on the hardest difficulty you and your friends can manage.
To complete content above 24 you’re going to start needing specific weapon damage. Weapon damage only comes on Special and Heavy weapons, and falls into three categories: Arc, Solar and Void (blue buzz saw, yellow flame, purple swirl icons on weapons). Content above 24 often has modifiers, when in orbit after selecting your strike you can hover over these modifiers to see what they do, a common one right now is Arc Burn which means that all Arc damage from all sources does increased damage (roughly triple damage). This means that enemies with Arc damage are fairly lethal but SO ARE YOUR ARC WEAPONS! So any weapon who’s upgraded damage is over 200 and falls into one of the three damage types, save that weapon, replacing it only when you have a better one. Generally speaking I would only save weapons that you enjoy using, as trying to hold three different Shotguns, Sniper Rifles and Fusion Rifles means you’re full in that slot, and you only really need one Arc/Void/Solar weapon.
I haven’t seen any Solar Burn or Void Burn modifiers yet, maybe they don’t exist but you still need those weapons. Vex are susceptible to Void damage, Shanks with shields are susceptible to Solar damage (and I am sure there are more examples I have yet to figure out). Please note that these weaknesses apply to your grenades, melee and super attacks also, Arc grenades are hilariously lethal on Arc Burn Strikes, Void supers are devastation against Vex enemies – although for some reason only against ‘elite’ mobs with yellow HP bars…
Final note, there are a ton of guides for grinding engrams in the hope that you get lucky but I always play MMO’s with the mantra ‘Ask not what this game can do for you but what you can do for yourself’ so that’s what I have written up. Basically stop hoping to get lucky or get carried and start doing what you can to gear yourself because there is usually a ton you can be doing and at the end of the day doing so increases your chances of getting lucky in the long run, a snowball effect if you will. That being said once you have done everything that can be done today or during this weekly reset, go ahead and grind if you still need engrams. Personally I would rather play in the Crucible but I have spent a few hours chasing chests or farming on Venus.
Hope that there was something useful for people in this very long winded tale.
EDIT: BilboSwagginz has pointed out that shield color corresponds to the damage that best penetrates the shield: purple for Void, blue for Arc, yellow for Solar. Pro tip!
EDIT 2: Okay some information about Factions and gear Itemisation!
The two base factions are Vanguard and Crucible. You earn Vanguard rep through bounties, patrols, the daily mission, the weekly strike/nightfall, and possibly the upcoming raid. Crucible rep is earned through bounties and playing any game type in the Crucible.
An important thing to note is that you can only earn Marks with these two factions, 100 for each of the factions per week.
Now, there are three other factions, Dead Orbit (DO), Future War Cult (FWC) and New Monarchy (NM). You can use glimmer to buy and equip a class item to earn reputation with these factions, and ALL of your rep gains for both Vanguard and Crucible will instead become that particular factions gains. However you will still earn Vanguard and Crucible Marks as normal.
All three of these other factions use Crucible Marks only, you’ll see why in a moment.
What are the benefits of these other factions, you might ask. Well let me tell you.
For PvE the benefits are limited. I recommended above just equipping the highest Light gear you can and that is because you need level to participate in new content, and participation is more important than your grenade recharging a few seconds faster. Ultimately you can complete all the PvE content without the use of your melee, grenade or super attacks.
However for PvP getting your melee, super or grenade recharged a few seconds faster could literally be a game changer and so these factions represent an opportunity to earn gear that best suits your play style, essentially letting you min/max your gear for PvP.
So there you have it, the lowdown on factions and some insight into the usefulness of gear stats.