How To Go Beyond Level 20 In Destiny

How To Go Beyond Level 20 In Destiny

Destiny caps your character’s progress at level 20. But if you’ve been playing, you’ve doubtless seen people with those yellow numbers by their name, showing levels of 24, 25 and above. How did they do that?

The game’s level cap is a soft cap, and it’s possible to level beyond 20, provided you get the right equipment. I’m right on the cusp of level 25 and while I sense I still have many levels to ascend beyond that, I’ve got a pretty good sense at this point of how to go beyond level 20. It’s… well, it’s not the most intuitive thing I’ve ever seen, let’s say that. (The more I play, the more noteworthy it is how poorly Destiny explains itself.)

I’ve seen plenty of people asking about the Land Beyond The Cap, so I thought I’d quickly explain how it works. Worth noting: Some of the higher-level strikes require levels well beyond 20, and the first big raid, which launches tomorrow, comes in at a whopping suggested level 26.

It’s All About Your Armour

Past level 20, your level stops being dictated by XP and starts being dictated by light points. Light is assigned to various pieces of rare, legendary and exotic armour, and has its own stat, like so:

How To Go Beyond Level 20 In Destiny

Each time you get a blue, purple or yellow piece of armour, it will almost certainly have a light value attached to it. Equip it, and you’ll see your now-yellow progress bar climb a little bit. De-equip the armour, and you’ll drop back down.

You also get yellow XP from upgrading your light-enhanced armour, so it’s possible to climb a level without even getting any new gear.

You Can Get Light Armour A Lot Of Ways

You can find good loot engrams just about anywhere — if you want, you can go spend hours farming engrams by killing regular enemies in various places in the open world, or just go on missions and strikes with your friends. I got a purple engram that gave me a rad legendary helmet while re-playing the level 8 Russia strike mission.

Vendors Are Your Most Consistent Option

Your class vanguard, faction leader (if you’ve joined a faction) or crucible handler in town all have solid, rotating collections of legendary gear on sale, and all of that armour comes with a sizable light allocation.

How To Go Beyond Level 20 In Destiny

You can’t just buy legendary gear for ordinary currency — instead, you’ll need to get enough crucible/vanguard marks and get to a high enough crucible/vanguard level. Each item has a certain value in marks attached to it, and will only be sold to you once you’ve reached a certain rank.

How To Go Beyond Level 20 In Destiny

You can gain reputation points (which help you raise your rank) and marks (which act as currency) for your faction or vanguard either by playing in the crucible, undertaking bounties, or doing crucible and strike playlists. You can see how your progress toward a new rank is going by the circle on the side in each vendor’s window.

Rewards for various events and playlists are shown under each event in the map screen. Bear in mind that you can only get 100 vanguard and crucible points each per week, so you can’t farm them endlessly.

How To Go Beyond Level 20 In Destiny

You also get light points off of the exotic gear you can buy on weekends from Xur, the vendor who trades strange coins for extremely rare gear.

It’s worth mentioning that this is all fairly slow going – I’ve played a lot (30+ hours) but have gotten a legendary heavy machine gun and helmet purely through drops while either farming or playing regular strikes, and haven’t been able to afford any legendary gear yet.

Keep Doing Bounties

Last little bit of advice: Keep doing bounties! We included bounties in our tips post for beginners, but bounties don’t just give you XP, they also give you crucible and vanguard reputation points. Keep checking in with good ol’ Xander to see what’s what, and pick bounties according to whatever activities you’re going to be doing.

Every little bit helps get closer to that sweet pair of pants you had your eye on.

Want More In-Depth Info?

This excellent post by redditor mykkenny provides an incredibly thorough breakdown of the ins and outs of life post-level-2o, how to get the best gear fastest, and how best to spend endgame currency.

Hopefully that all helps you get your guardian on her or his way into the Land Beyond The Cap. If you have any questions or tips of your own, I hope you’ll share them below.


    • Not many. It’s really just a short leadup to end-game. The reason it’s so low is because they intend for players to run content with friends without being grossly over powered. At level 24 it’s all easy mode, but it’s not like I can just stand there taking hits with my shield regenerating faster than the enemy can take it down.
      I’m actually a fan of low level caps. Less padding that way.

    • I done it in about 2 days (20+hours), could prob do it faster. but now that I’m 20+ I’m enjoying the game allot more, getting that rare gear.

    • It’s pretty long and drawn out. Probably looking at 10-16 hours or so. At least on the way, the missions are new to you – unfortunately once the game apparently ‘starts at level 20’ you’ll be replaying the same stuff over and over and over again in order to grind for the gear to get you the rest of the way.

    • Hitting 20 is not hard at all, you’ll hit it well before the endgame unless you stick purely to the story missions. Getting the armour pieces to bump your light levels is more time consuming and expensive, hence this article.

    • I hit lvl 20 just as I was finishing the Moon, the second of four worlds. I did that by playing about 2-3 hours of the Patrol missions (free roaming) and about an hour of PvP. It was getting horrendously easy (moon missions are for like… lvl 10?) but thankfully hitting lvl 20 unlocks harder difficulty levels (lvl 20 and 24) so I can continue playing it without being overpowered.

  • I’m currently level 19 with 1 strike mission left to go,starting to struggle to find new ways to level up without going back to old objectives

  • I’m level 14 after about 14ish hours. Currently half way through the Venus story missions and have done the Moon and Venus strikes just once each.

  • I’m level 21, only had a single legendary engram drop through regular play, decoded it and only got a rare piece of equipment. Looks like it’s a bit of farming for me.

  • Thanks for replies. I think I just have Borderlands implanted in my head. Still keeping my eyes on this one for the future, I did enjoy what I played of the Alpha.

  • I’m loving this at the moment. Nearly at 21 finally but I’m struggling to gain the last light point to bump up in Lev.

    Thanks Kotaku and Reddit for the advice, I’ll give some of these that I haven’t tried a go tonight.

  • A useful thing I’ve noticed is upgrading your armor usually gives you a light upgrade, although generally not on the first upgrade option.

    So say if you have a helmet that is +10 light and completely upgraded and you find a new helmet that is +8 light it may be worth using the new helmet because it will probably get a higher light level after it’s upgraded.

    • Oh and another benefit of bounties is that when you fill a whole xp bar (I assume that the amount of xp needed is the same as going from 19 to 20) you’ll get a mote of light despite the xp not actually leveling you.

  • It’s not just about the levels though. Your class has skills that are earned over time and gaining XP. Typically you gain one skill upgrade per level, but the levels stop at 20 but the skills may not be maxed out at that point.

    Plus each class has a subclass with it’s own skill set, which is only unlocked at level 15. So I took one character up to level 15, unlocked the additional subclasses for new characters. Then started a new character one on of the unlocked subclasses and I’m working my way up to level 20+ and a full skill set. That’s before you even start worrying about gear, and oh yeah I’ve still got about half of the story to go too!

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