Stuck at the 265 light soft cap? Or wanting to get to 305 light as quickly as possible before the cap is raised in a future expansion? Let our handy Destiny 2 guide point you in the right direction.
Because damage you deal and the damage you receive is worked out using your ‘power level’, also known as ‘light level’, you want to get it as high as possible. Plus some events such as the Leviathan raid require a minimum before being unlocked.
In the early stages, item drops typically arrive above your level and that makes progression easy. Easy, that is, until the soft cap of 265, at which point your progress – already slow by this point – gets even slower.
No longer will blue items drop above your current power level, which means only legendary purple items and weapons have a chance to be higher. But most vendors reward you with slightly lower light level items later in the game, with exception to Cayde-6, Ikora Rey and Commander Zavala.
Suddenly, the probability you will get anything useful dwindles. Repeat exotics become common (if we get one more bloody D.A.R.C.I.) and virtually all new legendary weapons you get, if new to your arsenal, will need to be infused if you want them to match your current power level.
The last 15 points can be slow, but you can really improve the pace by playing smart. Because working smarter, not harder, is always the best policy in games where grinding becomes more prominent as you approach the end game.
So here is the Recombu Digital guide to reaching 305 light as fast as possible, with each section broken down into detail and tips on how you can get exotic weapons and armour fastest.
Every week, come Tuesday, a new set of Milestones can be completed in Destiny 2. There is a Flashpoint, which rewards you for completing public events on a certain planet, with the more difficult Heroic versions speeding up the competition time.
All public events can be turned into Heroic events providing you and anyone around you does the right thing. At lower light levels, they are going to be very tough to solo but around 280 light and above you can without being immensely skilled.
Heroic events can be completed fast and reward you with excellent loot so they are best if you want to ‘farm’ exotic items. Faster than strikes and crucible matches, anyway.
Useful tip: The countdown timer of certain events such as Glimmer Extraction will reach zero but remain active so long as you stay in the extraction area marked on the floor. This means you can go wherever you like to kill the boss (for extra loot) before returning with 10 seconds or so to spare.
Glimmer Extraction: How to turn into a Heroic event
This one is relatively easy to initiate providing you have a lot of firepower or multiple people to help. All you have to do is shoot a small generator when it appears. Killing all marked enemies before blowing up the generator will cause it to disappear along with the extraction equipment.
Injection Rig: How to turn into a Heroic event
Bit more challenging to trigger this Heroic Event. You need to kill a Psion then blow up the vents that open on top of the rig. Do the same again when you kill another Psion and the bottom vents open. Watch out for the damage done when inside the dome after all vents have been blown up.
Ether Resupply: How to turn into a Heroic event
While battling the giant Servitor eyeball-looking thing, smaller Servitors will appear that tend to link with the bigger one. You need to blow them all up within 30 seconds or so before they despawn multiple times before the event becomes heroic in difficulty.
Disrupt Vex Construction: How to turn into a Heroic event
Capture the three platforms that are pointed out by beams of light while stopping the Vex from reaching the lantern in the middle, that is the key to making this public event Heroic. Defeat the Hydra and you may be rewarded with an exotic.
Devil Walker: How to turn into a Heroic event
Relatively easy, this one. Fire everything you have at the Devil Walker until it drops its defences. Use the orbs to unlock all the bubbles housing scorch cannons, then defeat the second walker.
Cabal Excavation: How to turn into a Heroic event
A great one to run solo, Cabal Extraction can be tackled using a long distance between you and the boss that spawns once you have blown up the Thresher ship that circles high above. Longer range weapons and rockets are a good shout here, but you can get quite close briefly once every orbit.
Witch Ritual: How to turn into a Heroic event
Kill two witches by standing on the plates to take their shield down, then stand back on the plates to blow up a jewel above the central door. When both are destroyed you get the Heroic version.
Taken Blight: How to turn into a Heroic event
Fairly simple this one when you know how. Run into the scary black domes, then run back out and you will see a temporary ‘Blight Receding’ buff. When this is active, you can now shoot the main Blight. Rinse and repeat until it is blown up, at which point you get the Blightmaker boss.
Call to Arms
Nice and easy way to potentially win powerful gear. Complete Crucible matches until you reach 100 per cent and then go collect your prize. Be sure to cross your fingers before, of course.
Run the Nightfall Strike, which is a more difficult version of a standard strike with modifiers that can sometimes help you, but usually not. With a decent fireteam, it should doable once you have at least a light level of 240.
Nightfall strikes are timed so it is worth Googling what you will need to do each week, especially if you have a lower light level. Sometimes the time limit can be extended by finding and shooting glowing orbs of light or killing enemies.
The trick is usually finding a balance of fighting the battles you need to and avoiding those you don’t. Guided Games remove the save point feature so use the looking for game feature or a third-party app or website to bring along two other capable players.
For the Prestige Nightfall, you want a power level of 300 light or enemies will do more damage and your guns will do less. Stick to the vanilla Nightfall until you are packing some serious heat.
Some Nightfalls are more difficult than others so, as we said earlier, do a little research and use the modifiers to your advantage. If that is impossible, adjust your character to make life easier.
Join a clan, contribute to it by completing just about any activities you like. Crucible is a speedy way, but it depends on what you enjoy doing. Unless you play very little Destiny 2 per week, you should achieve this quite quickly and being in a clan is useful anyway.
Level up Vanguard reputation
Most Vanguard reputation bundles are 5 light below your maximum, which is a bit of a pain. But packages from Ikora Rey, Commander Zavala and Cayde-6 tend to be higher, which is what you want.
Complete any Milestones for any of these characters whenever you can and consider running Meditations for bonus Vanguard tokens. Cayde-6’s Flashpoint is usually easy and by the time you reach the soft light cap you will be relatively experienced anyway.
Cayde-6 Treasure Maps
Cayde-6 not only provides amusing commentary, he also offers some random items and, more usefully, Treasure Map that feature locations where you can find treasure. We seem to be unlucky with the loot, but supposedly you can receive items up to the maximum light level.
There are five to find each week (the reset is always on a Tuesday) and there are always guides you can find that practically walk you up to the treasure. The fact the chests glow helps, as does their appearance on the in-game map although you may still get a bit stuck.
Trials of the Nine
Unlike in the first Destiny, you can get impressive loot (and access to the Spire) with just three victories in the difficult PvP contest, then more loot at five wins and more again at seven wins.
The problem is that Trials of the Nine relies on your light level. You also need to find a fireteam, which can be difficult when your light level is low and nobody wants to trust you.
Then there is the fact players may check your PvP skills by using something like Destiny Tracker. If you are really bad at PvP, as in have a very poor kill to death ratio, you may struggle.
To be fair, if you are bad in a standard Crucible game then, chances are, you will be rubbish in Trials of the Nine. You can get to 305 without ever entering so fret not if PvE is more your thing. Besides, most of Destiny 2’s best guns (for PvE and PvP) can be found elsewhere.
The same goes for the Leviathan Raid. Playing it will give you some great stuff, but you can run everything else and reach 305 light. But the Strike is worth doing at least once just to see what it is like and there are some decent items to be had from it.
The minimum light level is 270, but it is best to be around 280 light and above because the later encounters are around that in difficulty. As with all light-based activities, you dish out more damage and reduce damage taken based on how much higher you are over the minimum light level.
There is no time limit for the Leviathan Raid, but you do need a fireteam of six players. That means either waiting ages for a Guided Game (around 45 minutes seems common on a UK evening) or finding your own using the Xbox’s looking for game feature or a third-party alternative.
The rewards are generally good and that is even the case when replaying more than once in a week, but the time taken to complete it means you need to set aside a few hours.
Legendary +5 damage mods
Exotic weapons come with a +5 legendary damage mod pre-loaded, which means their base rate is actually five points below what is displayed. Legendary weapon drops do not, however, which means you can increase the damage of a weapon by +5.
For energy and power weapons, this is relatively painless. Talk to Banshee, exchange the right stuff for a damage mod and attach it to the weapon. If there is no relevant option, buy something else and hope it appears in the updated inventory.
For kinetic weapons, you need to pay 2,500 glimmer and exchange two Mod Components. One Mod Component comes from dismantling one legendary mod. Get two and you can buy the Random Weapon Mod, which may reward you with a Kinetic mod (the chance is around 1 in 7).
Kinetic mods can also be had from levelling up Banshee using Gunsmith parts, which you get from dismantling legendary and exotic weapons (not blues), and from turning three of the same Armour or Weapon Mods into legendary versions, which can also be dismantled. Bear in mind armour power level can also be increased and there is a Random Gear Mod option.
In essence, you could reach 300 light without any legendary mods, then add +5 to all for the maximum of 305. Easy in theory, but luck-based so even going from 304 to 305 can be a slow process.
Exotic weapon quests
Exotic weapon quests such as Mida Multi-Tool, Rat King and Sturm scale with you until the light cap of 305. So there is a valid reason for leaving these as late as possible – although the Mida Multi-Tool is a PvP monster so we get why you may lack the patience.
Buy from Xur
With a maximum light level of 270, buying from Xur is a good idea in the earlier stages. Dismantling legendary weapons and armour gives you three Legendary shards. An exotic weapon and exotic armour piece from Xur costs 23 and 29 Legendary Shards, respectively.
So what is the fastest way to increase your light?
By completing all Milestones and challenges each week, then have a blast at Heroic public events. If you have time beyond that (or want to prioritise end-game content), find a clan or group of players willing to complete the Leviathan Raid, Nightfall and Trials of the Nine alongside you.
Before you know it, you will be heading to 305 light and starting to pine for another increase, but also happy you got there and likely able to access just about every item and weapon worth having. Good luck, Guardian.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.