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Destiny 2 Glossary: A Guide To All The Terms From Xur To Exotic

Native tongue.

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The lingo of Destiny 2 can feel like a foreign language to those new to the series, even for shooter and RPG fans. Do you not know your Cryptarchs from your Shaders? We have you covered with this list of definitions, including terms new to even Destiny vets, like Bright Dust.

For more about Destiny 2 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, read our in-depth feature containing Xur's location, all our reviews and guides, plus all the PC details you need.


Adventures are quests that are smaller than story missions, but larger than mere patrols. You can find them while exploring the solar system's various destinations.


Arc, solar, and void are the elements of the world of Destiny 2. Subclasses, energy, and power weapons have elemental affinities, and they affect how well your attacks and abilities work against enemies with shields of the corresponding color. Solar weapons and solar subclass grenades, for example, work most effectively on enemies with orange shields.

Bright Dust

Bright Dust is a special currency you get by dismantling items received in Bright Engrams. It can be used to purchase specific items from Tess Everis and her Eververse store.


Challenges are location or activity-specific goals available after a certain point in the story. You can view them while in the field or playing in the Crucible by bringing up your Ghost--tapping the touchpad on PS4 or the select button on Xbox One.

The Collapse

The Collapse is Destiny's name for the apocalypse--a catastrophic event when the Darkness arrived, destroying most of humanity's solar system-wide civilization and bringing an end to the Golden Age.

Commander's Blessing

Commander's Blessing is a buff received at the Farm when you complete a series of seemingly random, but oddly connected, steps. You can also receive it in passing from players who've completed said steps. Check out our guide to learn more.


Consumables are one-time-use items that grant a variety of effects. Tokens and Gunsmith Materials fall into this category, as well as other items, like the Scout Reports you can buy from Cayde.


A Cryptarch, like Tyra Karn in the Farm, can decrypt encrypted Engrams for you, turning them into gear.


The main adversarial PvP area of Destiny 2. Participating here will complete Milestones and you're also rewarded with experience and loot for playing.


The Darkness is the opposite of the Light. It's a vague term for bad guys in Destiny's universe; the worse a bad guy is, the more they've embraced the Darkness. It's not Destiny's most original writing.


The Director is the interface that includes the map screen (and your Milestones), your Destinations (the solar system map), and your Roster, which includes your friends list, clan list, and players currently in your game. It's accessed by holding down the touchpad on PS4 or the view/select button on Xbox One.

Dusklight Shard

Dusklight Shards are items you can find in the European Dead Zone on Earth and turn in to Devrim Kay for reputation. They look like white crystals.

Energy Weapons

Energy weapons are your secondary weapon slot, accessed by tapping triangle on PS4 or Y on Xbox One. They can be the same weapon types as primary weapons--auto rifles, hand cannons, scout rifles, pulse rifles, submachine guns, and sidearms--but with an elemental affinity (arc, solar, or void).


Engrams are the hexagonal items you find out in the field, color-coded to the rarity of the equipment they hold, the rarest being purple for legendary gear and golden/yellow for exotic gear. Some engrams appear automatically as items in your inventory, while others need to be brought to a Cryptarch to decrypt. Bright engrams, which hold special items like shaders and ornaments (and rarer loot) can only be decrypted by Tess Everis.


The rank of the rarest items in Destiny 2.


Your Fireteam is the squad of Guardian teammates you're currently playing with. When you add players to your Fireteam, they stay with you when you change activities, like going to orbit or starting a new mission. Fireteam members share objectives and map markers. Random players added to your team through matchmaking aren't automatically in your Fireteam; you have to invite them, or set your Fireteam to "public" in the roster tab of the Director to let them join you manually.


Your Ghost is the tiny floating robot who brought you back to life, heals you, and keeps up the chatter throughout the game. It's voiced by Uncharted actor Nolan North, although in the original Destiny it used to sound different.


Glimmer is Destiny 2's main currency, the universal cash of the solar system. Spend it freely, because it's easy to get.

Gunsmith Materials

Gunsmith Materials are like Tokens, but for the Gunsmith character. In other words, trade them with the Gunsmith for reputation.


Infusion is the process by which you raise your gear's Power level. It's only available on Legendary or Exotic weapons and armor. If you have another piece of comparable equipment with a higher Power level, you can infuse that gear into the lower-level equipment, raising its Power. Infusion uses Legendary Shards and Glimmer.

Legendary Shards

Legendary Shards are used to infuse weapons and armor, raising their Power level by sacrificing a higher-level piece of gear. Obtain them by dismantling Legendary and Exotic equipment.


Light is the Traveler's power that, in turn, gives Guardians their power. It's a general force of good that manifests itself in various types of space magic, from flaming hammers to deadly balls of void energy. It also reanimates dead people and turns them into Guardians. Don't think too hard about it.

Microphasic Datalattice

Microphasic Datalattices are items you can find on Nessus and turn in to Failsafe for reputation. They look like glowing white glitches floating in the air.


Milestones are Destiny 2's quests and other goals. You can view them by holding the left trigger on the map or destinations tabs of the Director.


Mods are new to Destiny 2. You can apply them to weapons and armor to grant various effects, from improving certain stats to changing the element of a gun. Beware, they're one-time-use.


Patrols are available after a specific point in the story. They're smaller subquests that involve a single goal, such as killing a specific number of enemies or reaching a certain point on the map and scanning something. Their rewards are proportionally small, but they can be easily grabbed from Patrol beacons and accomplished while you're focusing on bigger goals.


Power is the number you see next to your name and level in most situations. It's an average of the Power numbers on all your gear, including weapons and armor. You should always be working to increase your Power, as some activities can't be accessed until you hit a certain level. If you played the original Destiny, you'll be familiar with this concept, although it used to be called your Light Level.

Power Weapons

Power weapons include the weapon types that don't go in the primary or energy slots: rocket launchers, shotguns, sniper rifles, fusion rifles, swords, grenade launchers, and more. Access them by holding the weapon swap button.


Raids are Destiny 2's ultimate challenge, six-person missions that are far more difficult and complex than story missions or strikes, with unique and valuable rewards. Destiny 2's first raid, Leviathan, will become available Sept. 30. Make sure you're ready for it!


Reputation is your standing with various factions and characters. Increase it by giving them your tokens. Each new level gets you another reward.


Shaders are one-time-use items that change the color of a weapon, piece of armor, or vehicle when applied. They can be acquired a variety of ways, including from Bright Engrams.


Sparrows are light ground vehicles that Guardians can summon at will by pulling up their Ghost (tap the touchpad on PS4 or the view/select button on Xbox One) and holding square (PS4) or X (Xbox One). They're available after you complete the story, or, if you're lucky, from a Bright Engram once you hit level 20.


Strikes are longer missions that are more challenging than typical story quests. Luckily, that also means greater rewards.


Tokens increase your standing with specific factions or characters when you speak to those characters and hand them over. You can acquire them in a huge variety of ways, from opening chests in various locations to completing Crucible matches. Earning enough reputation with factions generally rewards an Engram.

The Traveller

The Traveler is an important figure in Destiny's lore. It's the big, white orb that floats over the Last City, and the source of the Light that gives Guardians their power. In Destiny 2, Ghaul assaults the Traveler, setting the game's story in motion.

Upgrade Points

Upgrade points let you unlock new subclass abilities. They're shared between subclasses, so use them wisely. You get them when you level up, until you reach level 20, at which point they're more difficult to get.


Xur is a mysterious vendor, an "Agent of the Nine" who appears sporadically to sell rare exotic wares. It's unknown ahead of time where he'll appear or what his inventory will hold, but it's always worth seeking him out.

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