Destiny 2 has changed dramatically with the release of update 18.104.22.168, which coincided with the launch of Shadowkeep, Season of the Undying, and the free-to-play New Light version. Whether it’s weapon mods, infusion, the pursuit of Powerful rewards, Crucible playlists, Nightfalls, or any number of other things, numerous areas of the game work differently than we’ve become accustomed to–sometimes in dramatic ways.
It’ll take hours of playing to come to terms with all of this and fully comprehend how things work now, but there are some pieces of advice to heed as you make your way through the game to ensure you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot. Certain things–like infusion–should be ignored in the early going, and you’ll want to ensure you’re racking up as much XP as possible, even from sources you might have ignored previously. We’ve compiled a handful of tips that you’ll want to be mindful of as you start making your way through Destiny 2 whether you’re playing New Light or you’ve jumped directly into Shadowkeep.
Don’t Infuse Anything For A While
If you’re familiar with Destiny and Destiny 2, you know about Infusion–the system by which you consume a weapon or piece of armor you don’t want to transfer its Power level to one you do want. Infusion is how you push your character to higher and higher Power levels, allowing you to bring your favorite equipment up even if its numbers are lower than your average Power.
It’s tempting to spend resources infusing your best Legendary items, especially if you have a lot of holdovers from previous Destiny 2 content, as you ascend toward the new Power level cap. Don’t give in, though. Until you reach the soft Power cap of 900, every gear drop you get in the world of Destiny 2 will be better than what you’re using. That means every blue (Rare) drop will have a higher Power level; if you start trying to infuse your favorite guns and armor as you climb, you’re going to waste a ton of resources, only to have the next thing you get overtake the item you just infused.
Instead, just use the blue drops you get as you work through the Shadowkeep campaign or climb toward the soft cap. Just because a gun is a purple (Legendary) or gold (Exotic) drop doesn’t mean it’s worth the cost to use right away. This climb is also a good opportunity to try lots of weapons under a variety of experiences to figure out what you like best. Just equip the best gear you have, and every time you get a blue drop that’s higher than what you’re carrying, feel free to delete the lower Power item. When you hit the endgame of Destiny 2, you won’t want to hang onto any blues at all. You’re free to delete them as you see fit, because they’ll almost instantly be replaced.
Don’t Worry Too Much About Mods Early On
Similarly, don’t waste a ton of your resources on applying mods (particularly to weapons). While the mod system has been reworked greatly (more on that below) so you aren’t consuming the mods themselves, it still costs glimmer to equip them. Given how often you’ll be swapping out gear in your first dozen hours, you’re better off leveraging the new glimmer cap of 250,000 and stockpiling your resources. That said, if you have a particularly good mod for your current loadout, it only costs 500 glimmer to apply it to your armor.
Open Region Chests Early
Take a look at your map and you’ll see several plus sign icons scattered around any given location. These mark Region Chests, which are hidden gold treasure chests. Opening them all in an area will unlock a Triumph, and they’ll always give you a blue gear drop when you open them. That means that Region Chests are very useful as you climb toward 900, and almost completely useless once you’ve reached it. Region Chests can quickly provide you some gear for the climb (as well as glimmer and experience points)–if you have some you haven’t opened, particularly on the moon, they’re worth seeking out early. If you wait until you hit the soft cap, you’ll be receiving gear that you’ll immediately delete.
Toss Your Weapon Mods
The Shadowkeep update to Destiny 2 changes a lot of things about how weapons and armor mods work. There’s no Weapons 2.0 system like there is for armor, but Bungie did make mods easier and more welcoming to use. Right now, any weapon mod you have is automatically available for every gun–they’re no longer consumable items you need to stockpile in case you want to use them on more than one gun. Once you have a weapon mod, you own it forever and can apply it to anything. Therefore, any weapon mods you currently have in your inventory or Vault are worthless and you’re free to delete them. They’ll give you Mod Components, which you can then funnel back into unlocking new mods for your guns or buying mods for your armor.
Armor mods now work similarly, at least in regards to armor from the Armor 2.0 system. While armor mods will be consumed if you want to apply them to old armor, that isn’t the case with any new gear. If you’re content with using newly acquired armor, you can toss your old mods.
Go For Bounties
Shadowkeep changes the way experience points work in Destiny 2, but it doesn’t get rid of their importance. In the past, you leveled up your character with experience before chasing down better and better gear to raise your overall Power level, and once you hit max level, extra experience points would occasionally unlock Eververse engrams for cosmetic drops. That system is gone–now gaining experience points advances you along the seasonal reward track. You’ll still want to maximize your experience gains, especially once you hit Rank 7 on the seasonal track, which unlocks your Seasonal Artifact. Your gear’s Power level is capped at 960, but continually leveling up your Artifact allows you to increase your Power endlessly beyond the cap. Thus, experience is still very important, and you’re going to want to maximize your gains.
You get experience for killing enemies, opening chests in the world, and completing activities–basically everything you do. But one of the best ways to get experience is from completing bounties, particularly weekly bounties. Grab all the bounties you can–even the ones from old activities like the Black Armory and Gambit Prime–and keep clearing them to advance your experience gains. Any bounty you can knock out while doing other things will help you in your climb.
Pick Up Everything
Years of playing Destiny may have caused you to overlook mundane things–opening chests, picking up planetary resources, and so on. But with a renewed emphasis on XP, which levels up your Seasonal Artifact and thus provides access to its many battle pass rewards, every bit of XP counts. In addition to completing bounties, these menial things will net you XP and help you progress more quickly.
Listen To Toland On The Moon
As you start working on your Shadowkeep-specific weapons and armor, you’ll pick up Nightmare Essence quest steps that require you to do activities on the moon. Some of the easiest ones to clear are patrols, but especially if you’re a longtime Destiny player, you might gravitate toward patrols that just require you to kill enemies or gather resources from certain baddies. On the moon, though, it’s worth doing the “Scanning” patrols, which are marked by a glowing, floating orb. That’s Toland, the Shattered, a character who’s been hanging around Destiny for quite a long time. The Toland patrols and short, simple, and illuminating–follow his instructions and Toland will tell you a little about the backstory of the Hive and Eris Morn. If you’re interested in story and lore in Destiny, make sure to seek out Toland.
You Might Not Have To Look Bad While Leveling
A new batch of Destiny content typically means dismantling or at least vaulting your existing armor and using whatever you come across. As noted above, you’ll probably be equipping any new gear you acquire, which can result in you looking like a mismatched mess. But it doesn’t need to be this way, thanks to an aspect of the new Armor 2.0 system.
From the new Appearance menu (accessed by pressing Down while inspecting a piece of gear), you can see the ornaments you own. While you might not have had any before, certain pieces of armor you’ve obtained in the past–namely, Eververse gear–have now been converted into universal ornaments. That means it can be applied to any piece of armor you own while still enjoying the benefits of that armor. You may not have a full matching set, but if you hate the look of a particular piece of gear you feel compelled to use, at least you have an option for making it look better.
Consider Saving Your Powerful Rewards
Once you reach Power level 900, you’ll be able to access a new slate of activities (such as Nightmare Hunts), as well as earn Powerful rewards from weekly challenges that aren’t available to sub-900 players (like playing a handful of Crucible or Gambit matches). But even before that point, you’re able to earn what are called Powerful rewards. Once you hit the soft cap of 900, you become almost exclusively reliant on Powerful rewards to advance further, which complicates things since there are a limited number of Powerful rewards available each week.
So if you’re interested in leveling quickly–perhaps to take part in the Garden of Salvation raid launching on October 5–you should avoid cashing in any Powerful reward sources until you reach 900. (Make sure you’re looking at your inherent Power level, without the boost you receive from your Artifact.) That includes the Exotic armor piece you receive from Ikora after finishing the Shadowkeep campaign. It’ll be tempting to grab that immediately, but if you’re sub-900, you’re better off waiting.
For even more advice on this front, be sure to check out our guide to leveling your Power above 900.