Destiny Light Levels Guide

Destiny Light Levels Guide by Vespas

Team, I’ve spent the better part of my week playing TTK and have achieved a light rating on 292. It’s nothing special compared to many others, but it’s enough to handle most of the content that TTK has to throw at you, so I wanted to provide some short and sharp advice to people looking to maximise their progress through TTK.

First, understand how engrams work in TTK- this will change the way you play

Previously, Blue items were capped at certain (low) light levels. This changes with TTK- you can now get Blue drops up to 300 light level, making them (often) better than Purples you’ll find. I’m 292 light and I have more blue items than purple. The strength of a blue engram is determined at the moment of decryption, based on your currently equipped light level. The higher light level you currently are, the higher the light level of the blue engram you decrypt. For this reason, it’s best for you to decrypt engrams one at a time: decrypt it, go to your inventory, check it, if it’s an upgrade then equip it, go back to the Cryptarch and decrypt the next one. As you continue to do this over the course of 50-100 engrams, your light level will edge up and up towards 300.

Second, stick to one character (for now)

TKK is very different to HoW as it requires significantly more time to get your character to a point where they can only be advanced through weekly reset activities. For that reason, it’s best to put ALL of your effort into a single character from the get go. Doing so will significantly increase the speed at which you start getting 300 light level items. These items can then be passed over to your alts to significantly increase the speed at which they progress. Trying to bring all 3 up at the same time will make things take many, many times longer.

What is the fastest way for me to max out my light level?

Unquestionably, the fastest way for you to do this is by running lv 36 strikes. Your main aim to gain light level is to maximise the number of engrams you can decrypt, and the fastest way to get these is in Lv 36 strikes. At this point, it does not appear that Heroic strikes reward additional rewards over and above what you would get from the Lv 36 playlist, so it does not appear to be worth the extra effort (note: this is still unconfirmed). To max your light, just run Lv 36 strikes over and over. Note that you actually get a buff that increases your chance to get engrams the more times you consecutively run a strike playlist. So if you just stay in matchmaking after you finish a strike (don’t return to orbit) you get more chance at loot the next run. This (apparently) stacks, so you have more and more chance each run.

Edit: a few people are saying that Court of Oryx is a faster way to farm engrams. I’ve only done a bit of it, but there’s a good chance these people are correct, so long as there are people there regularly starting encounters.

Should I do all of the quests?

This really depends on you and what your goals are. I geared up through quests because I was keen to see the content. I’m certain this took longer than it would have had I spammed strikes, mainly due to the fact that a lot of the quests ask you to kill targets during Patrols, not unlike the House of Wolves public events. You’ll spend a lot of time waiting around etc while doing this, but you will get engrams along the way, so it’s not all bad. Quests do not provide you with decent loot (with rare exceptions) so don’t rely on quest rewards to gear up. They do however set you up for end-game quest lines for exotic items, so while this route may be slower in terms of getting your light level up, it’s faster as you work towards completing the meta-game.

In short, if you are chasing light level ASAP, spam strikes and don’t quest. If you are wanting to access exotic quest chains and don’t mind a slower path to higher light levels, do quests.

Get your sword ASAP and level it up as you play

Long story short, you can get nice heavy Sword weapon from a quest. Just google ‘Destiny sword quest’ and you’ll find a million guides. Do this ASAP. To complete it, you’ll need to farm some stuff on the Dreadnaught by opening chests. This is actually a lot quicker than you might think, and you can also complete patrols for kicks while doing it, so it’s worth knocking it over ASAP. Levelling it as your play is important, as you’ll see in my next point.

Edit: You can actually use Motes of Light as a consumable now. They reward XP, which allows you to level up important items faster.

Ascend your sword ASAP

IN TTK, you are able to increase the light level of your Purple items through a process called ‘infusion’. In short you take a STRONGER item than the one you want to infuse, and you then break it down to make your weaker item stronger. This is where a lot of your endgame currency (Legendary marks) will be going. My pro tip would be to ascend your Sword to 280 ASAP. After you have done this AND levelled the Sword up to its max perks, you’ll unlock the next step in the question chain, putting you on a path toward an Exotic Sword.

Do 5 heroic strikes to complete the quest chain, but wait until you are Light 270.

You’ll get a quest that asks you to complete 5 lv 36 strikes, and then another to complete 5 heroic strikes. After that, it asks you to do a Nightfall. It’s worth doing this because it rewards a 300 Light Shotgun. My tip here: don’t do the heroic strikes until you are 270 light. Doing it at 260 will match you with other 260 players, and the strike is extremely difficult at this point. You’ll often have someone leave, and due to the match-making system being sort of broken, they probably wont be replaced, meaning your run will fail. Hold off until 270 for this one.

Do the Nightfall at around 275+ Light

The Nightfall isn’t actually that hard, and you no longer return to orbit on wiping. Still, get to 275 light to be comfortable, and after that you shouldn’t have a problem in the world.

Getting legendary marks

Ok you’re going to hear a lot of people complaining that it’s hard to get these- this is not true. On my journey to 290 light, I’ve received about 250 of these. That’s been from one character, in one week. Granted quite a few of these came from quests that I cant complete gain, but a lot of them did not. The best way to earn these (besides questing) is to complete the daily crucible and daily heroic story. This will net you 30 of these each day. Note: you can only do these once PER ACCOUNT per day. So if you earn 30 of these from Crucible/Story on your Warlock, you can’t switch characters and earn another 30 of them on your Hunter/Titan.

Don’t blow your Legendary marks on Purple items

If you have the patience, I STRONGLY recommend to resist the urge to spend Legendary marks armour upgrades. If you follow the steps I have provided above, you’ll actually get better drops from engrams than you would from vendors. I would save up your Legendary marks for Year 2 exotics (if you have them in your collection). They cost 150 each and are super worth it. If you HAVE to buy a purple item because you cant resist, I recommend the Ghost as Ghost upgrades are actually quite rare from what I’ve seen (could be RNG) and the Vanguard one has some excellent perks.

Ascend your exotics

When you buy an exotic from Xur or the Kiosks, they will be 280 Light. The max light level in the game currently is 310. Your aim is to get these items to their max light level ASAP. I recommend purchasing these items and then using your BLUE items to ascend them. You should be able to get them to 295 Light pretty comfortably using the approach I have described in this post

Ascend your Class item if you get a good one

I like Auto rifles and I don’t play Crucible. My class item increases the speed at which Auto Rifles level, and increases my Vanguard rep gains. For this reason, I’ve jacked it up to 297 light. It suits me perfectly, so I didn’t hesitate in upgrading it since I had other Blue class items that I didn’t want.

Do Gunsmith stuff

It’s really easy to do gunsmith testing as you play, and it nets you rep that you can use to purchase purple guns. It’s worth it. Google a guide if you don’t know about the gunsmith

Do Court of Oryx for fun, loot and quest progress

Court of Oryx is an outdoor area in Dreadnaught Patrol that lets you ‘summon’ public events. Its good fun, and it rewards you with engrams, rep etc. If you have completed a number of quests chains, you’ll eventually get a quest that asks you to complete Court of Oryx events. Some of these can be pretty tricky depending on the level, so don’t expect a cake-walk.

And that’s really it guardians. I’ll try to update these tips as I continue to learn more about the game or if anyone happens to have any wisdom/insight that they share in below. Thanks and good luck.

More Tips by knightjc

Huge wall of text, but I have some more tips that have helped me get to light level 302.

Some of this info is not completely correct if you really want to maximize your light level. For instance, if you always use your higher level blues to infuse your purples, you will level up slower than if you actually equip and use the blues. This is because each ascension gets you about 80% of the way to the light level of the higher item. The exception to this is the two items are within 5 light of each other, then the lower gear will go all the way up to the higher gear’s level.

Second, if you have runes or are willing to buy them from Eris, Court of Oryx is a much quicker way to acquire engrams than strikes. Each event is less that 4 minutes, and if it is your rune you will get 1-3 engrams guaranteed. This works especially well if you can get a full fireteam and/or find others doing it, as you can find engrams and runes to use even if you weren’t the person to start the event.

Third, the hardest things to find are artifacts and ghost shells. I would recommend buying the Vanguard shell at first (perks are glimmer from hive, and point out wormspore or get wormspore from engrams. If you put on the wormspore from engrams and farm court of oryx, you will quickly have hundreds of wormspore as each engram can give up to 5 materials). The vendor shell is 280, farming the court got me two level 284 ghosts and a 293. Artifacts also hold a lot of people back, but if you complete the Eris quest (Run tier 1 court of oryx 6 times, tier 3 court 3 times and tier 3 once) you are rewarded with a level 300 artifact.

Fourth, if you bought a bunch of three of coins from Xur and have been farming exotic engrams you should know that they will decrypt to level 290, unless you are over 300 light. Once you hit 300, engrams can decrypt to level 310 (not always though, about 3/4 of mine are 310 now, the rest still decrypt to 290) So if you are a low light level and need the gear, decrypt early, but as you near three hundred, I would save the engrams until you hit that magic three hundo. (Edit: just remembered something else. Exotic armor will always have its exotic perk, but the other perks are random, so before you delete a “duplicate” check to see which has a better perk roll as well as stat roll)

Fifth, if you want to try to improve your light level but you are also a crucible fan, you should put on all of your highest light level gear right before the match ends. The reason for this is the post game rewards are based on your light level at the end of game, so if you are only using your 150 light gear from vanilla, you will get very low light gear as rewards. When I had my level 300 gear on, one match gave me a 295 autorifle as a reward. It can be hard to remember to switch at the end of the game and sometimes you have to decide if the win or the chance at gear is more important.

Another tip: when you are high enough level to raid, use the guns (and armor I guess) you feel most comfortable with/are best for the encounter, even if it drops your overall light level a few points (more than 5 points though and you’re probably better off using the other gear). However, in this raid, gear drops directly from the bosses or from chests which appear after beating the encounter. When you walk over these engrams you will instantly decrypt them, so make sure to put on all of your highest light gear before picking them up. The reason for this is not all raid gear is created equal in the King’s Fall raid: I got a 309 fusion rifle but a lower light member of my fireteam only rolled a 303 fusion rifle. The higher level you are when you pick up the loot, the more likely you are to get a better roll.

Also, when you have a piece of armor at or very near the max (295+) I would start sending all engrams from that slot to your other characters. That makes the leveling go SO much faster for them! You can make huge increases this way, and since guns and ghost shells can be transferred between characters, you can really get ready for raid and nightfall very quickly, further increasing your chance for high light drops and boosting you even higher. (Side note, always decrypt guns on your highest character, so you you have the best chance of getting a high level gun).

I would also highly recommend running through as many of the quests as you can, as some of the rewards are very good (300 light shotgun or fusion rifle, exotics, etc).

Sorry for the huge wall, but I hope this helps!

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