What's new

Tutorial (Massive In-Depth) Level Guide: Bungie Does(n't) Play Favorites. Hit 290+ with this.

  • Thread starter Shenmue
  • Start date
  • Views 1,997


Pwahh JD & Coke <3
Reaction score
Hey lucky Guardians,

You know who you are; you're the "lucky ones". You're the ones who are already ready to go for the raid. You've put in countless (well, probably countable) hours into TTK, and you've actually got something to show for it. You're Light 280+ with some sweet swag under your belt. Nice exotics, by the way.

Now, what about the others that are still stuck "Forever 240"? You players also know who you are; you play for a few hours a day at night and try your hardest, trying desperately to figure out the Dreadnaught's hopeless maze...and you still whine whenever you finally get that one key to drop and you finally find the chest that matches it, only to receive a couple boring blue engrams. You watch in rage as all your other friends climb higher and higher in Light, only to be ready to do the Nightfall and Heroics, and ultimately the raid, weeks before you'll get there...

But the truth is, Bungie DOESN'T play favorites! Don't mistake this for a rant; I want to make this a short guide to leveling up faster; something of a culmination of many other Destiny Reddit posts. You may think you're just the unluckiest person in the game, but you're not. You just don't play enough, or better yet, you don't strategize well enough. I'm here to turn that around for you today as your few friends take on the raid (and probably fail miserably). My name is Fearosis (XBL), and I am Light 293. After the leveling section, I will continue to post most-asked questions to help sherpa players on their way to a higher level TODAY. Give yourself 3-4 hours tonight and you'll be riding shotgun with the Raiders soon.

Leveling Guide (to 40):
--As easy as this was for myself (and most other people), some may have difficulty quickly getting here. Obviously, snag any Tower bounties you see and get them done asap. This is the "painful" part of Destiny. Also, I do believe several of the older story missions grant exp as well, so be sure and go back and do them. Quests are also available with exp rewards attached in the Hall of the Vanguard.

Leveling Guide (Beyond 40+):
--Now the real fun begins. I mentioned above the best way to go about this process is to strategize as best you can. I personally planned for weeks in anticipation and had bounties, commendations, reputation rank, etc...ready to go Day One so that I'd have a headstart. As much as I'd like to think that did the trick, many of my fellow friends have caught up to me through other basic tricks and tips that I'll be sharing with you today. It's all about prioritizing which activity to do next, whether its a quest or strike, make sure you're doing something that progresses your character. Some will take this slow intentionally, and that's fine, but this guide is for those who wish to achieve "maximum" light to be raid-ready ASAP.

1. Prioritize Quests/Activities that get you further in Light.
  • This may mean a lot of things. Exploring the Dreadnaught is cool, but do you have a goal in mind? Do something that nets you tons of engrams to decode.
  • Pay attention to your Quests!
  • Pick up as many as you can and followup with NPCs whenever you complete one.
  • Check out the rewards to see what it gets you for completing as you should prioritize Quests with legendary upgrades rewarded.

3. Check out that Vanguard strike playlist! (Or Heroic if you're a boss already!)
  • It's level 36 recommended.
  • Find a couple buddies to go on a streak.
  • "Streaking" is a new bonus applied to the strike playlists; finish one and stay in (don't go to Orbit) and each subsequent strike gets you better and better loot drop chances. Legendaries galore!
  • As far as I know, the streak bonus doesn't stop stacking so go as long as you can!

4. Being "SMART" with Engram Decryption
  • You've gotten like 20+ engrams now after a couple hours. Loot time! Don't be a fool however...here's a quick tip/trick that works phenomenally: decode ONE AT A TIME and check out the light level. This takes longer obviously, but if you find something with higher light, equip it and keep going. This is because decoding all at once would make most, if not all, the blues/purples to be about the same light level. The other way gradually helps you climb. I've had a TON of success with this method.

5. Infusion/Legendary Marks Dilemma
  • So you're finally getting some swag, right? Cool. But let's not get too cocky just yet. You want a leg up on your friends, right? You've gotta play it smart from here. Sure, you get a cool purple LL250 piece, but you just got a piece-of-crap blue LL273. What do you do? Honestly, I'd have to make an executive decision, but truth be told, I just suck it up and equip the blue and dismantle the purple. But whyyyy? I didn't infuse because:
    • 1) I only get 80% of the light difference, making me lower (probably) than I would if I had just accepted the infusion rate
    • 2) Costs me 3 marks and they're a commodity right now.
So what are we saving marks for anyway? For now, save for infusion and perhaps year 2 upgrades. But absolutely DO NOT BUY PURPLE ENGRAMS from Cryptarch. You will waste whatever the cost is, and be happy (momentarily) and then be pissed again blaming RNGesus over a blue you find that's better. When do these legendaries become desirable then? Because the legendaries should decrypt to your level or higher, and the fact that I KNOW that it's hard finding good level stuff over LL280+ (being a 290+), it might be a good idea then, and only then to buy one. Personally, I won't be buying one for a while. There is always the CHANCE to get an exotic, which would be at least LL280+, but that's not a guarantee, and isn't worth the frustration. Your friends who got Zhalo Supercell from a purchased purple got lucky, and they know it. We don't play the game for luck...we strategize, remember?

Legendary Marks
  • You'll get a ton of these naturally from Quests and legendary dismantles. Did you know you can use motes of light to level old legendaries, then dismantle for a bonus 5-6 marks? Better than 3-4 marks for sure...you shouldn't worry about spending motes either as they're given like candy. Do the daily crucible, as that nets you an easy 15 marks win or lose. If you're high enough, do the heroic daily for another 15 marks. Grab a buddy and share the rewards. Look for quests that give them as rewards too if you're low on them. Oh, and buy the Vanguard Ghost Shell ASAP for 65(?) marks. Easy 280 and is most viable as you don't get a terrible amount of high level ghosts.
When do I Infuse stuff?
  • There's certain key items I'm upgrading through infusion currently: artifact, ghost, sword (more on this shortly), beloved Dead Orbit primary...maybe my new sniper =) Point is, find something you LOVE and infuse it little by little. Don;t worry about armor right now as it's going to continue to change drastically until you taper off around LL285. If you have a question about this, please ask away. Remember, your marks are special right now...be smart!
6. Seek out Legendary Packages! Use your commendations!
  • If you're clueless about this, it's a package you receive from all reputation vendors AFTER level 3. Each level you achieve, you'll receive a package that could contain some ballin' new swag! While legendaries may not be super common, they do happen more often than they used to. Faction packages are especially good for legendaries; I think they each have a special legendary weapon or armor piece per package. THESE DO NOT STACK ANYMORE!!! Remember in the good ole days when we got commendations? If you're not a new player, check your inventory, and burn these suckers!! They give a ton of rep and hopefully a few packages that could give you a "boost" to your light. If you don't have anymore, don't fret; just keep leveling normally. All in good time, my friends.

7. Stay on ONE CHARACTER! For Now...
  • Simple and smart. Day one, I slipped from my hunter to my titan briefly and realized this was a mistake and waste of my time. Pro tip: do as much as you can one character and then switch. Try and experience all the quests before jumping to a new character...While on my 290 Hunter, I've managed to find some high level blue weapons, ghosts, and artifacts, that I'm vaulting for my other two alts. Makes for faster leveling later.
--That's all I have momentarily on light level increases (and quickly too!). If you have something to add, please let me know in the comments. By strategizing your character's light, you'll ultimately go further, faster. Don't wander around without a goal, little lights...oh, the doors (and chests) you'll open if you just think smarter!

Special Quests, Chests and Exotic Info:
1. The Legendary Sword--Wondering how to get the sword? Plenty of videos out there, but I'll make this simple: once you finish the Taken King campaign, you'll receive a quest from Eris and subsequently, Lord Shaxx. He'll ask you for 25 Hadium Flakes and 10 motes of Light. Once you have these, you'll get the choice between 3 elemental swords, each costing different planetary materials. Hadium flakes are found in every chest int he Dreadnaught. This sounds easy (and it is!) but it's tedious. Grab a hunter buddy if possible because the new subclass has a perk called Keen Scout that's allow them to find active chests. There's also a cheese method...but you can look elsewhere for that garbage. By the way, the Quest is called The Broken Will.

2. The Exotic Sword--Yup, it's real and it's here. It's called Reforging the Blade (?) and you receive it from Lord Shaxx (again) once you infuse the sword to 280+. Just started it personally, but I've seen the quest line and it's a pain from the looks of it.

3. Chaperone Exotic Shotgun--Snag this beauty after the sword quest from Amanda Holliday called Jolly Holliday. Note: For a non-handcannon player, this will SUCK. It requires you to:

  • Go to crucible with The Last Word equipped and get kills. Every kill is 1 point, deaths -2 points, and bonus points for streaking. Get to 100 points...basically have a 2.0k/d+ to get this. I hated my life yesterday.
  • Bribe Cryptarch for 15,000 glimmer (yikes!)
  • Become renown with shotguns in crucible and kill high level majors. (Not sure on point values, but no loss on deaths).
  • Complete special Bond Brothers 290 light strike on Dreadnaught....by killing both with a shotgun. Link to Video
  • Wait until reset (Tuesday) for Chaperone!!!
4. Boolean Gemini--Complete Taken War Quests with Petra and you must complete Wolves on Mars quest line with Variks. She'll give you another quest (sometimes takes a while to appear) to receive this awesome exotic scout rifle.

5. Special-Class specific weapon from Gunsmith 280+-- Each class, upon getting to rank 2 with Gunsmith will receive a rather easy to complete quest for a pretty nice class-specific weapon. Hunters gets a sniper, Titans get a shotgun, and Warlocks get a fusion rifle.

6. Ace of Spades/Fabian Strategy/Tlaloc--Rewarded to Hunter, Titan, and Warlock, respectively. Once you achieve rank 3 with Gunsmith, you'll receive another exotic quest to get one of these sick guns.

7. Agonarch Rune--Currently unknown what it does other than opens a chamber in the Founts, but to charge the Rune, you must go to Dreadnaught 7 different days of the week, and kill the Taken major that appears in the mini-public events.

8. 3 of Coins--Xur sells these. 5 for 7 strange coins. Using one before you kill an Ultra or raid boss will give you a chance to drop an exotic weapon or armor piece. It appears to be about a 33% chance increase as using 10 coins will net you about 3-4 exotics. Not too shabby. Videos are appearing on the webz indicating a farming method by going to Scourge of Winter on easy, getting to Draksis, sniping him until one shot, and use a rocket to blow both of you to smithereens. This will respawn you at Draksis as well as possibly dropping an exotic on the ground. Dying does not take away the exotic engram. So, pop a coin, shoot draksis, blow yourself and him up, repeat. EDIT: I mentioned above I don't like the Hadium flake farm, but this being alright, in my opinion, is due to the fact that you have no idea what you'll get from exotics.

9. Keys to various chests in the Dreadnaught--Nearly all the chests in the Dreadnaught have random, non-unique rewards. They require a key that can be received by:
  • Killing random majors in the Dreadnaught (Court of Oryx usually)
  • Killing champions, receive a rune, charge it by killing enemies, receive random key
  • Other special chests or doors require special items or procedures to open them. More on this later.
10. Crucible Quest Bounties / Nightfall Tier-Rewards!

Did I mention yet how awesome this game is?? Anyway, Crucible handler, Lord Shaxx, has something for you: it's a Quest (and the crowd goes wild!...). It's kinda long and drawn out...but it's worth it! Here's why:
  • Grab that Crucible Quest and get going!
  • Once you complete a long string of quests within the Crucible, you'll get access to a series of special Crucible bounties
  • Once these bounties are completed, you'll get access to one last bounty/quest that rewards you with a nightfall tier item! Super nice!!

11. Quests with High (280+) Rewards (excluding exotic quests)
  • Complete 5 heroic strikes, then the nightfall to snag 50 marks (total) and a 300 weapon (not including the Nightfall reward). You get 2 options: either a fusion rifle or shotgun. I chose the shotgun because it's practically Felwinter's Lie, and we all know how overused and overpowered that was...and still is. Still great for PvE though. Either option will be great for you and your Light.
  • Already mentioned special Gunsmith bounties (see #5) each reward you with 280+ items
  • Completing Eris' Quest "Depose the Court" grants a 300 artifact. Requires you to complete 6x Tier-1, 3x Tier-2, 1x Tier-3 Court of Oryx Events. EDIT: You will get credit for these as long as you participate and complete them. It does not have to be your runes!! Good luck, Guardians!

12. Sleeper Simulant!
  • Alright, this has been pure speculation from a couple different subreddits, but I think it's worth noting.
  • You ever seen those consumable pyramids with the waypoint on them? When you grab them, it turns into a fusion rifle "relic" called DVALIN-RAS8711-FR00X (X=1-4). This is given to Banshee, gunsmith, for 200 rep.
  • The thing about these are they each have a different ending in numbers, and when you give them to Banshee, he says something different. Right now it look as thought you can only get 4 (the theory is you get a chance to find one per Gunsmith rank, 4 being the highest possible right now).
  • We already know Sleeper Simulant will be a fusion rifle given by Banshee through an "awakening of his memories". I can also speculate that this is part of the pre-quest because it has "FR" in the ending, denoting fusion rifle (and it's a black fusion rifle you pick up). It just all leads back to Sleeper Simulant....I hope. =D

13. A Scent Is The Key Chest
  • You have to find this cave in the Mausoleum and stand there for approx. 1 min to gain a 1 min buff that allows you access to the chest. It's a bit challenging so grab a friend to build the bridge for you! Link to Video
  • Note that this chest is just like the others; it is equally likely you will get anything but calcified fragments, motes, coins, runes, and blue engrams. Perhaps a legendary but don't hope too much. But still...free engrams. =D

14. Taken Consumption Chest
  • This one can be glitched, but let's try to do it the way Bungie truly intended. It's a cool little chest anyway. Similar to #13 above. You have to obtain a special relic from a ritual site inside the Hall of Souls and take it to the chest to open it. Link to Video

15. Skyburners Beacon, Deployment Codes, and Pass "Patrol"
  • This is a multi chain patrol that requires the Skyburners' Beacon to start. You'll receive this item dropped from cabal majors (and champions?) in Dreadnaught, to the left of the start spawn. It looks like House Banners' on the ground (or perhaps a white engram, can't remember).
  • Grab these and head inside the ship(again, to the left of the start spawn area). As soon as you pass through the ship's hull opening, look to your left to see a command console blinking. Use the beacon here to summon a champion.
  • After the champion is dead, he drops Deployment Codes. Take these to the Mausoleum inside the upper "command room" or whatever it is with computers and stuff. You'll see another console to the left of the Skyburners Pass access door. Remember where we are.
  • This starts a chain of events that seems to vary each time I've done them. Usually it's a kill mission, followed by a timed recon mission, and finished with a target VIP kill mission.
  • Upon killing the VIP, you'll receive the Skyburners' Pass to use on those doors next to the second command console. Open the chest and voila! Blue engrams...=P Link to Video
Constantly adding to this!! Check back soon for more!!

Thanks to fearosis on redit for the original guide.


Killer of all necromorphs
Reaction score
Can we get this pinned por favor?
pretty much exactly what i did to get to 296 light great tut


Reaction score
Can we get this pinned por favor?
pretty much exactly what i did to get to 296 light great tut
Very informative, but I'll stick to the forth class lol, but seriously great info n ideas for people who are confused, raid anyone? Lol


Retired Green and Yellow
Reaction score
Great guide! I'll be referencing it numerous times on my way to leveling up. Of course it will probably be the next DLC by the time I get to 290.... :wink:


Life is what you make it.
Reaction score
Bought the game yesterday and I'm already lvl 40 with 250 light, doesn't take that long but idk about the grind to 290.

Edit: So it took me 2 days from buying the game to hit lvl 40 and get 290 light. Pretty easy if you ask me. Playtime is 23 hours.
Last edited:


Trailer Park Boy
Reaction score
Great great posting brother I know most of this already but for those who do not it will be very very helpful!


Pwahh JD & Coke <3
Reaction score
Bought the game yesterday and I'm already lvl 40 with 250 light, doesn't take that long but idk about the grind to 290.
the grind past 260 is a bit of a pain tbh


Reaction score
the grind past 260 is a bit of a pain tbh
Once you hit 265 (which just takes a couple 280 pieces), go dominate some court of oryx for gear that is guaranteed 280-300 on T3. Additionally, you will get engrams to inch your way up and collect legendaries.

Keep all 290+ gear to infuse legendaries with. Anyone can have 300+ rares, but when you keep steady legendaries (especially the chest armor), you have the potential to out perform.

link in signature. I'm On mobile.
Top Bottom