An Essential Tip For Destiny 2: Pay Attention To Mods

My Titan does not look happy about my fashion choices.

For the most part, Destiny 2 makes it easier to level up than its predecessor did. If you're rushing to raise your Power level to prepare for next week's raid, however, you'll want to understand how legendary mods can help you climb faster.

Destiny 2 works similarly to Destiny in terms of its overall levelling structure. First you earn XP up to the level cap of 20, and after that you focus on your "Power" level, which is an aggregate of the damage or defence numbers attached to your weapons and armour.

New weapons and armour drop according to your current max possible Power level. (That's a fantastic change over the first game, which dropped gear according to your equipped Power level.)

Because of that, for the most part, you can kinda just hang on to your most powerful items and be guaranteed a smooth curve ever upward.

Well, the curve is smooth to Power level 260, at least. It becomes much steeper after that. It's generally believed we'll want to be around 280 to be ready for the raid, and those last 20 points are much slower going than the 260 preceding them. Enter legendary mods.

As you play, you'll occasionally notice you got a legendary item with a significantly higher number than you were expecting. If you inspect it, you'll see a purple legendary mod in the mod slot. Could be a weapon, could be armour. It looks like this:

See the "5 Defence" attached to it? That means it bumps the item's Power value up by five. Here's where things get tricky and, honestly, a little too Destiny 1-era convoluted for my tastes.

The item's actual power number remains five below what it says in your inventory, because the mod is raising it by 5.

That means that if you want to get your overall possible number to go as high as possible (thereby getting yourself the best possible drops as you go), you should definitely hang on to any weapon or armour you get that has a legendary mod attached to it.

Here's an example that illustrates why: Say you have two helmets. One is a legendary helmet with a legendary mod, and it's at power level 268. The other is a blue helmet, which is also at 268.

Because of the mod, the legendary helmet's power level is actually 263. Which means you can infuse the blue helmet into the legendary helmet, even though at first glance they have the same Power number. Doing so will bring your modded legendary helmet's score up to 268, which the mod will then bring up to 273.

So, basically: If one piece of gear has a legendary mod, you can infuse a 268 into another 268 and get a 273.

Once my Power level passed around 265, I started paying attention to mods. It definitely made a difference as I made my way through the 70s. I'm now at 282, which is extra helpful because once you hit 280, you can start to trade lower-level blue mods for more purple Power-raising mods at the gunsmith.

Part of me resents that I have to keep track of this kind of thing, since by and large Destiny 2 hasn't required me to reserve space in my brain for complicated optimisation gymnastics.

I'm guessing that in a week or two, this kind of tip will be less relevant, since the raid will be more of a known quantity and time won't be as much of a factor.

But if you're trying to get your Power number as high as possible before Wednesday, I can't deny that an understanding of legendary mods will help make that happen.

A couple other things I've found as my Power number has climbed:

  • I haven't actually hit a cap for blue items yet. They hit a few soft caps like 260 and 265, but eventually my Power will get high enough that they will start to drop above that. I'm hopeful they will just keep climbing forever. Blue drops appear to correspond with the legendary drops I get when I rank up a faction or vendor, so those engram drops are also climbing. When I rank up the vanguard or gunsmith now, I get low-270s gear. In general, it seems like blues and legendary engrams drop around 8-10 below my current max Power level. So, I'm at 282 and I'm currently getting blue drops at 271 or 272.
  • If you're really doing the Power Levelling thing, you should also wait until you're past 260-265 or so to turn in any Milestones that say they give you "Powerful Rewards." Those ones go much higher than the ordinary vendor cap, so you want your Power to be as high as possible. Same goes for opening Cayde's treasure chests, though I actually did those whenever I wanted and I still broke 280 just fine.
  • This should go without saying, but never get rid of an item if it's your highest Power level in that category! You don't have to use it to benefit from owning it. Even if it's a sucky grenade launcher, if it's higher Power than any other power weapon you have, it will raise your overall potential Power, which in turn can affect drops going forward.

It's nice that Destiny 2 by and large doesn't require this kind of optimization, but I guess it wouldn't be Destiny if we weren't doing at least a bit of mental contorting to get where we want to go. Good luck out there, and may you all get the Rat King:


    Fuck that armour is hideous no offence.

      Destiny 2 just isn't that pretty a game I have found, when you look at the details. Certainly not bad, but animations are stiff and armour assets are jagged and Lego-like. Compare it to Warframe (not to start some flame war about which is better, just the first game that came to mind as I've been playing it a lot) where animations are fluid and character models are super polished, Destiny 2 just ends up looking dated. Like, that armour above just doesn't look like current generation character model... It just doesn't.

        I agree on the player characters and armour, so awkward and oftentimes ugly, but I love Destiny 2 environments - top notch environments.

          Yeah, when you analyse the environments up close they're pretty stunning.

          The day Bungie didn't have to dev for the 360/PS3 must have been a great day.

            Just go and grab Aleph One and bask in the glory that is the Marathon Trilogy, or try and find a copy of Myth: the Fallen Lords and Myth 2: Soulblighter, or the creme-del-creme Oni. Also recommend Pathways into Darkness and Minotaur

              I've got a copy of Myth laying around somewhere. Might even be in the office.

          Totally agree. The environments are incredibly striking at times. I shouldn't have left that out.

      Kirk just hasn't put any shaders on his Guardian. That's all.

    As someone who isn't really in a position to do anything heavily coop for at least the next few months, I have to ask; is it still worth playing Destiny if I'm not going to bother with raids and generally go solo for the most part? Is it still fun/satisfying? I had a pretty good time with Warframe without really bothering with any of its "end game" content and only letting randoms into missions with me where it was too hard go alone...

    I don't have a PS4 so never got to try the first game and I'm still trying to make up my mind about whether I get this when it comes to PC.

      To be honest probably not. I mean the single player portion of the game is good and there are a number of solo-able activities post campaign but really, co-op is where the game shines. There's just nothing that compares to the fun you can have kicking the shit out of a boss in a good raid group. Having said that I used to queue into PvP in Destiny 1 on my own and enjoy it quite a bit so if you like the competitive aspect might still be worth a look.

      Much like D1 you'll be able to comfortably (eventually) play all but the high end content (raid and nightfall) by yourself. The caveat being strikes which will make use of matchmaking and pit you with two other players but that is seamless. You can still avoid the strikes for the most part if you want to and keep it all solo.

        Sounds like it might be a matter of opinion. I'm not against matchmaking with randoms at times where I know I can commit to something for 20-30 minutes without being interrupted, so strikes might not be entirely out of the question. I would also play a bit of PvP if it fit the same criteria... unless they both generally take a lot longer than 30 minutes to complete?

        It's the longer sessions requiring proper organisation & communication that I can't see myself doing for various reasons.

          Strikes shouldn't take much more than 30 minutes, especially once you and your randoms know what they are doing ;)

    Not being a Destiny (1) player I was initially baffled by the infusion system (I think I skipped/ignored reading the tutorial text due to wanting to shoot things instead). But TL;DR it allows you to improve rare, low power Items with less rare, high power gear of the same subtype (helmet, SMG, pistol, etc). So you can keep cool exotic stuff as you level up, which is a nice mechanic I haven't encountered before.

    Congrats on the Rat King! Loved the challenge - we cut it much finer at 35 seconds spare. Such a quirky gun. Now I'm stuck at 279 with a double-sidearm loadout... not really a flexible combination. :P

      And yet again I'm miles behind... :-/

        It really doesn't take long to gear up this time around if you do things in the right order, and besides, I have been playing almost every chance I can get since it launched. The endgame feels a lot shorter than anything in D1 - blues soft-cap at 260, which is 20 above the standard Nightfall, and the Flashpoints also reward Nightfall-tier rewards and just require public events. Even the normal raid is easier to gear for - it's at only 260-280.

    Don't use purple Mods. I have been stuck for over a week since all my gear had the mods on it. Lowest piece was 279. All my drops, even exotics were 274. This week I went ahead and equipped all 274 blues. After an hour all my gear was up to 275, even the flashpoint loot dropped at 286 without a purple mod. The vendors were all stuck at 274 also. After I hit 275 they switched to 276.

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