Destiny 2's progression system is relatively straightforward, especially compared to the first Destiny. But if you're new to the series, you'd be mistaken in thinking that experience points are the only thing you need to worry about on your journey. So here's a breakdown of how it works, including the new Power levels setup.
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.
Levels and XP
As you'd expect, killing space aliens and completing quests gives you experience points that fill up a bar at the bottom of the screen. When you fill the bar, you level up, and the level you're at determines the gear you're allowed to equip, as well as the skills you're allowed to unlock (for example, you'll unlock your class-specific ability at Level 2).
The hard cap is Level 20. But once you get there, experience you get for killing enemies and completing quests still has a purpose: You'll get a Bright Engram each time you max-out your experience bar. These let you customise the way your character, ship, or gear look, so they're a nice bonus to keep you levelling up.
Your Power number is equally as important as your level, and it's something you'll have to keep in mind from the very beginning. Power is determined by the quality of the gear you have equipped, and directly informs both the amount of damage you can deal out and take.
Each piece of gear you have has a Power number assigned to it. Together, they're averaged out to determine your overall Power level. You can hit L2 (LT on Xbox One) to see the power levels of all your available gear at a glance.
As you'd expect, keeping this number as high as it can be is a good idea. It'll give you an advantage in being able to take on more difficult missions with higher suggested power requirements. Because of this, it's a no-brainer to keep checking new gear pickups regularly, and equip them if it's better than what you currently have. Don't get too hung-up on how it looks!
Unlike Destiny 1, your Power number does not inform the quality of the randomised gear that might drop during your travels. This is determined simply by the quality of gear you have in your inventory. This means you may have lower-level gear equipped, but the game will still calculate drops based on that high-level gun you have in your Vault.
The soft cap for Power is 260. Past that, you'll need to work extra hard to increase this number.
The End Game
While all the details of Destiny 2's end game are still to be confirmed with our collective experiences, what we know from previous Destiny experience is that once you hit 260 Power, the only way to increase this by completing Milestones--the rotating, weekly challenges laid out by Bungie, and the raid, which will be available on September 13, 2017.
Completing the raid and certain milestones (which can be seen on the map screen by pressing L2/LT) can reward you with Powerful Engrams contain gear with Power levels well above your own. If you're at 260 Power, this means these items will help boost you past that.
We'll be updating this article once we confirm these and any additional methods or reaching the maximum level cap.
Mobility, Resilience, and Recovery
On your character screen, you might also notice three additional numbers under Power. These are Mobility, Resilience, and Recovery. While these numbers don't restrict you from any gear or activities, having them high is, unsurprisingly, very beneficial.
- Mobility refers to your movement speed and maximum jump height.
- Resilience helps to increase the amount of damage you can take.
- Recovery refers to the speed of health regeneration.
Each piece of armor of Uncommon rarity or better carries a certain amount of strength in one or more of these traits, and contributes to the overall effect. You won't be able to max out all of these at once, so the decision to equip items that focus on a single trait versus having a more rounded loadout is one you'll have to make based on your personal preference and situation.