Destiny FAQ

Destiny FAQ by Lokitx

Item Basics

Items come in several tiers:

  • Basic (White) – generally stop being useful around levels 10-15.
  • Uncommon (Green) – after level 20 you will break these down for parts.
  • Rare (Blue) – useful until about level 24 (level 20+ blues have light).
  • Legendary (Purple) – necessary for advancement past early 20s.
  • Raid Legendaries (Purple) – these are closer to exotic items without exotic restrictions.
  • Exotics (Gold/Yellow) – Uniquely interesting pieces. Only allowed to have one exotic weapon and one exotic armor piece equipped at a time. (Hence the added value of raid legendaries which are often as good or better than exotics – especially weapons.)

Weapons max out at 300 attack. The closer to this number your weapon is the bigger advantage it gives you vs. your level and higher opponents. Max out the weapons you use frequently.

What are light levels?

After you hit level 20 your “level” goes up as you equip better gear. The Light stat on gear determines your light level.

Details on Light Levels

Level 29: Requires all legendary armor and one exotic armor (or raid pieces). Most of it will need to be fully upgraded.

Level 30: Requires all raid armor or three raid pieces and one exotic piece. All must be fully upgraded.

Optimizing once you hit level 30.

How do I get legendary armor to level up?

  1. Luck / RNG
  2. Crucible / Strikes: You will get blues and engrams that have light and will level you up. Eventually you will replace them with legendaries.
  3. Factions. It is recommend that you level to Vanguard Rank 2 since the only faction that lets you use your Vanguard Marks is the Vanguard Faction. You will definitely get a lot of Vanguard Marks. After you reach Vanguard Rank 2 you can switch to a secondary faction (Dead Orbit, New Monarchy, FWC, etc.) based on what you want.
  4. Exotics from Xur – try to get as many slots covered as you can so you can switch exotics around as you get legendary and raid pieces.
  5. Raids – Boots, Gloves, and Chest, come from normal mode raids. The Head piece only drops from Atheon in hard mode. All are random.


He appears in the Tower every Friday morning (details everywhere). He sells special items for Strange Coins (SC, for short, are gained from quests, randomness, engrams, and Weeklies.

He always sells:

  • One piece of armor for each class. (13 SC)
  • One weapon. (23 SC for a primary, 17 SC for a secondary or heavy)
  • One exotic engram. (23 Motes of Light) [Note that this can decode into an item for any class.]

He also sells sparrow upgrades and telemetries.

More details (from the Xur Megathread – search for it on Friday mornings):

Is Xûr at the Tower?

Time Zone Arrival Departure
PDT Friday, 1:00 AM Sunday, 1:00 AM
EDT Friday, 4:00 AM Sunday, 4:00 AM
GMT Friday, 9:00 AM Sunday, 9:00 AM
CET Friday, 10:00 AM Sunday, 10:00 AM
AETS Friday, 7:00 PM Sunday, 7:00 PM

History of Xur Sales

What are dailies and weeklies?

They are special (non matched) missions that give bonus rewards (XP, Engrams, Vanguard Rep and Marks, Strange Coins, etc.)

You can only complete them (to get rewards) once during their time period. Once a day for a dailies and once a week for weeklies.

Weeklies reset on Tuesday mornings at 2am Pacific Time. Dailes reset at 2am Pacific Time.

  • Daily: 2 Ascendant Material (Shards or Energy), engram, vanguard marks.
  • Weekly Heroic: Rewards 3/6/9 stange coins, faction rep, vanguard marks, and engrams.
  • Weekly Nightfall: Rewards one random thing 5-12 strange coins or ascendant material, legendary weapon, exotic weapon. Most Important: 25% bonus to XP and rep gains for the rest of the week

TIP: Do Nightfall first if you can so you get bonus rep and xp from everything else.

What level do I need to be to raid (VoG / Vault of Glass)?

Raid Guide: Vault of Glass / VOG

Normal Mode. Minimum Level 24. To go in with a pug group you should be at least level 26 and ideally level 27.

Hard Mode. Be level 29, ideally 30.

Why? Your damage is materially reduced if your level is below the level of the mobs (Normal mobs are 26. Hard mobs are 30.) Your damage reduction is also substantially reduced and you will die a lot if you are under level.

What is the difference between normal and hard mode raids?

The biggest difference (besides the obvious that hard mode is harder) is that in hard mode you cannot be resurrected when you die. (In normal mode you have a 30 second resurrection timer.)

How much can I raid?

You will only get rewards from the raid once a week per difficulty.

The raid resets on Tuesday mornings and you can do it again.

  • Normal: You will get the normal raid rewards for each boss.
  • Normal then hard: You will get normal raid rewards and then hard raid rewards for each boss.
  • Hard: You will get two rolls on each boss for hard mode loot. The second roll is your reward for normal (but it comes from the hard mode loot table.)
  • Hard than normal: You will get the rewards for Hard and then nothing from normal.

Most chests only reward you the first time you open them. One of the Gorgon chests will give rewards in normal and hard.

Which bosses drop loot in the raid?

  • Oracles
  • Templar
  • Gatekeeper
  • Atheon

There are three chests (and a normal chest) that drop loot after the Templar. Two are before and one is in the Gorgon’s Maze.

Should I level up non-raid gear?

Note that the last column of legendary and exotic upgrades costs ascendent material (shards for armor, energy for weapons). Generally conserve shards to upgrade exotic and raid armor. You should never upgrade past exactly 29 (light 109) except by upgrading raid armor pieces – doing so is a waste of ascendant shards.

Upgrading pieces to prior to spending ascendant material is always advised as it is relatively easy to gather the planetary resources (spinmetal, helium, etc.) needed for these upgrades whereas ascendant materials are more difficult to acquire.

Yes, if you want to raid or do Iron Banner PVP. If you want to do the hardmode raid you should level up to 29. Upgrade to level 27 for normal raids.

No, if you are primarily doing PVP. Defense rating is normalized in PVP.

Upgrade order:

  • Focus on getting an exotic helm since raid helm is only available in hard mode.
  • Upgrade exotic first.
  • Upgrade other pieces next. Order is less important, but there are no exotic boots so you will only replace standard legendary boots with raid boots.

What about weapons?

You should always max the weapons you use to 300, especially for raids. If you are level 29 in hard mode and do not have maxed weapons you are going to make your group mad.

The exception is PVP – you do not need the final Damage Upgrades except for Iron Banner since they are normalized. You might want to get the weapon perks/abilities if you find them useful.

How do I get ascendant materials?

  • Public Events:
    • You get a reward the first time you complete a public event every day. It can be ascendant material, a mote of light, or a strange coin. It also includes 5,000 xp.
    • Find public events here:
  • Daily Mission – gets you two of either shards or energy.
  • Nightfall – sometimes gives ascendant material rewards.
  • Disassembling legendary gear (armor=shards, weapons=energy). Upgrading a weapon (without spending materials) increases the amount of energy you get.
  • Raiding

Where can I find people to raid with?


  • Adds Additional mobs (monsters) that appear during a fight.
  • Aggro When a mob/boss focuses on you. Or on someone else (“they have aggro.”)
  • Cheesing Creative use of mechanics to beat an encounter. Such as using grenades to push the Templar off his platform.
  • Disassemble Break down an item for components (weapon parts, armor parts – vary by class, ascendant materials).
  • Drop A reward from defeating something or opening a chest.
  • Loot table The list of loot dropped by a specific mob or boss.
  • Mobs Monsters, bad guys, what not.
  • Rep Reputation – levels up your faction rank (Vanguard, Crucible, Cryptarch, Dead Orbit, etc.)
  • RNG Random Number Generator is the mystical system for awarding loot. It is supposedly random.
  • RNGesus The mythical and mysterious figure who oversees loot. Many guardians offer prayers to him/her/it. Sometimes they are rewards, sometimes not. It appears random.
  • Trash Mobs that you must kill before/during boss fights, but don’t serve a special purpose.


  • Spinmetal is found on Earth.
  • Helium is found on the Moon.
  • Sprit Bloom is found on Venus.
  • Relic Iron is found on Mars.

They can be harvested and found in chests on the appropriate planets.


  • Raid items are always the same. Except that armor can have different stats and resource (spinmetal, helium, etc.) requirements.
  • Exotics are always the same except resource requirements.
  • Legendaries from vendors are always the same. However, you can get a legendary with the same name but different abilities, stats, and resource requirements. Always look at them before you disassemble it to make sure it doesn’t have an amazing ability (like accelerated coils on fusion rifle).
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