Destiny 2: Lightfall: How To Power Level Your Character So They’re Ready For The New Expansion

Destiny 2: Lightfall: How To Power Level Your Character So They’re Ready For The New Expansion
Contributor: Jordan Garcia

Destiny 2: Lightfall is almost upon us. With the next year of Destiny about to start, players find themselves in a position where they need to prepare for the tidal wave of content coming with it. One of the biggest components to any new expansion is the new Raid, and the World’s First race that ensues. Regardless, players of all kinds can prepare for the launch of the Destiny 2 Lightfall expansion. This is recommended because, as with every new expansion, a chunk of current seasonal content will likely be vaulted on Lightfall‘s arrival.

For the Hoard

New expansions are accompanied by the launch of a new content season. While it is not currently known what the seasonal mods will be, there is no doubt that they will prove to be vital, especially in the day-one raid race. Earning these mods isn’t exactly difficult, but can be quite time-consuming. It is all based on earning experience points, so the more quickly you can earn them, the better.

The easiest way to ensure that you can power through the new Artifact levels is to hoard as many bounties as possible. This includes weekly bounties, dailies, and even the repeatable bounties that can be acquired from Tower and destination vendors like Zavala. While they may not give a huge amount of experience on a bounty-to-bounty basis, in concert they add up to a solid chunk of XP.

I would highly recommend hoarding your bounties, especially the weekly ones, from here on out. If you play pretty regularly, this shouldn’t be too hard, and this late into the current season (season 19) you shouldn’t be in a position where you really need that much experience to finish the current season pass (assuming you haven’t completed it already). Thankfully, getting these bounties is easy. You can run whatever content you like, whether it be the Vanguard Ops/Nightfalls, the Crucible or *shudders* Gambit.

Crafting (Savage)

One of Destiny 2’s newer systems is its weapon crafting system. Crafting was introduced in the Witch Queen expansion. Each season since has had a handful of weapons that could be crafted, provided you had unlocked the weapon patterns. Moving into the next year of Destiny 2, seasonal content from the Witch Queen era will probably be removed from the game. What this also means is the ability to unlock the weapon patterns for these seasonal guns will be removed too.

Some of the guns that are available from these seasons are actually very good, like the Ikelos SMG v1.0.3, or the Calus Mini Tool. However, do not confuse these weapon patterns with the ones that can be obtained from the raids. Raids weapons will NOT be removed with the release of Destiny 2: Lightfall, so it is only the weapons that can be obtained from within the H.E.L.M, which is basically your hub area for season-related weapons and gear (as well as for seasonal stories/quests but that is beside the point here).

You can ensure that you get at least one red border seasonal weapon each day which makes the potential grind for these weapons a lot easier, but if you are still missing a lot of these weapon frames then you may not be able to get them all in time. This means you will have to grind really hard and roll the dice with RNGsus if you wanted to add every Witch Queen era weapon to your collection. If you don’t want to get every weapon (which is entirely understandable), then I’ll list my recommendations below, sorted by season:

Season 16 – Season of the Risen

  • Explosive Personality – Solar Grenade Launcher
  • Thoughtless – Stasis Sniper Rifle
  • Sweet Sorrow – Kinetic Auto Rifle
  • Piece of Mind – Kinetic Pulse Rifle

Season 17 – Season of the Haunted

  • Calus Mini Tool – Solar Submachine Gun
  • Bump in the Night – Stasis Rocket Launcher
  • Tears of Contrition –  Kinetic Scout Rifle

Season 18 – Season of the Plunder

  • Tarnished Mettle – Arc Scout Rifle
  • Brigand’s Law – Arc Sidearm
  • Blood Feud – Stasis Submachine Gun

Season 19 – Season of the Seraph

  • Retrofit Escapade – Void Machine Gun
  • IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.3 – Arc Submachine Gun
  • Disparity – Stasis Pulse Rifle
  • Fire and Forget – Stasis Linear Fusion Rifle

Once you have all these weapon patterns obtained and can craft these weapons, you are free to choose any other weapon patterns to go for as you see fit. It’s entirely possible that the other weapons will become viable in the first season of Destiny 2: Lightfall, but even if these weapon archetypes get buffed by a bit, the perks available on some of these other weapons are just not that appealing.

Raids, and the Shadow of Legends

Even though none of the existing Destiny 2 raids will be removed for Lightfall, there is still a reason to do them as much as you can before the new expansion drops. The reason is pretty similar to the seasonal weapon, but with less of a time crunch. You won’t be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t have all the important crafted weapons from the Deep Stone Crypt, Vow of the Disciple, and King’s Fall raids, as they can still be obtained at any time, but the opportunity to grab these weapons will be fewer than they are currently, as people will be busy playing the new content for a little while.

Like the seasonal weapons, not every weapon in each raid is important, as there are a few which are…lacklustre (I’m looking at you, Posterity). However, there are still quite a few weapons that are incredibly powerful and obtaining their frames is highly recommended. They are as follows:

Deep Stone Crypt

  • Heritage – Kinetic Shotgun
  • Succession – Kinetic Sniper Rifle
  • Commemoration – Solar Machine Gun
  • Trustee – Solar Scout Rifle

Vow of the Disciple

  • Forbearance – Arc Grenade Launcher
  • Submission – Kinetic Submachine Gun
  • Cataclysmic – Solar Linear Fusion Rifle

King’s Fall

  • Zaouli’s Bane – Solar Handcannon
  • Defiance of Yasmin – Kinetic Sniper Rifle
  • Doom of Chelchis – Void Scout Rifle
  • Smit of Merain – Kinetic Pulse Rifle

Each raid can guarantee at least one red border weapon each week, obtainable from the Spoils of Conquest vendor at the end of the raid, which makes life a little easier. Additionally, Vow of the Disciple and King’s Fall also have red border chests which will drop a guaranteed red border weapon at the end of both raids once per week. This is, however, relying a little too much on RNG for my liking.

Killing Sprees with Shuro Chi

With your weapons crafted, it’s time to level them. I’m not going to beat around the bush, this step kind of sucks – especially for stuff like Linear Fusion Rifles and Sniper Rifles. The easiest way to level these weapons is to go to the Last Wish raid, go to the wall of wishes and input the wish to be transported to the Shuro Chi encounter. It is recommended that you do this as a Void Hunter with the Deadfall tether selected, as chain reaction kills from this tether count as weapon kills for weapon levelling (for some reason), but also ensure that you do not have Echo of Expulsion equipped. Enter the wish below to be transported to the Corrupted Techeun.

Now that you are outside of Shuro Chi’s room, put your Rally Banner down. If you don’t have any then you can easily pick some up from Hawthorne in the Tower or Petra Venj in the Dreaming City and return to your now-saved Shuro Chi checkpoint. Once you start the encounter, immediately run past everything and go up the first set of stairs. From here you, wait for the Taken Thrall to chase you up the stairs and then shoot your tether onto the floor. It will start tethering everything around you and you can begin killing things with the weapon that you wish to level. I only really recommend doing this for Special and Heavy weapons, as grinding out levels for Primaries can be painfully slow using this method.

It is worth noting that you will go through a lot of Rally Banners throughout this process so be willing to part with those as well as either a lot of glimmer or legendary shards (or both).

A Catalyst for Growth

This one is pretty simple. There are a few exotics that are more or less expected to be good. Stuff like Izanagi’s Burden, Whisper of the Worm, Gjallarhorn, Witherhoard etc. If an exotic has a catalyst, it is almost always worth putting in the effort to get the catalysts as they can have a huge impact on how the guns perform. Izanagi’s Burden, while still good without it, is able to output insane amounts of damage with the catalyst (provided it isn’t in a state where it sucks as it does right now).

Most catalysts require an arbitrary number of kills to complete so it is quite easy just to complete these with the aforementioned Shuro Chi encounter. Identify which exotics you feel will prove useful and try to get their catalysts completed in time for Lightfall.

Stats What I’m Talking About

Newer players may consider them an afterthought, because the game routinely fails to foreground them, but stats have become increasingly relevant and important in Destiny 2. Some, like Intellect, are less important than others. The really important stats, like Resilience, are dangerous to ignore, and will have you playing at a distinct disadvantage if you do. As such, the stat rolls on your armour are incredibly important now. Typically, the stats you should focus on are (in order of priority):

  1. Resilience

  2. Discipline

  3. Recovery

  4. Strength

  5. Mobility

  6. Intellect

Ideally, you will want to have a stat count of 100 in Resilience and Discipline each, with a third stat being high as well. Resilience is by far the most important stat to have because the difference it makes in terms of your survivability is huge. Discipline is great because it affords more liberal use of your grenade ability. Getting either of these raised as high as possible will put you in good stead for running any Destiny 2: Lightfall content on launch day.

So how do you get high-stat armour? Well, there are a few ways of going about that. Any repeatable activity that has a pinnacle drop tied to for the week will drop high-stat armour. This includes raids and dungeons. Dungeons are very important here because only the final encounters will drop the high-stat armour, but these encounters only take a couple of minutes to do. So, if you get a friend, clan member, LFG party member or whatever fits the description of a fireteam member, you can actually save the final boss checkpoint and repeat this one encounter over and over again. What is important is that you save the checkpoint on a character/class that you don’t care for or need the high-stat armour on. For instance, I’m a Warlock main (because I hate myself, clearly) so I would save the checkpoint on my Titan (I don’t like the taste of crayons) because it only exists in this scenario to hold the checkpoint and nephew complete it.

Once the checkpoint has been saved, you can complete it like normal and hope you got the drops you wanted. If not, then load the checkpoint on your other character, and have your teammate hop into your fireteam to be in the activity. Swap back and clear the encounter again. Rinse and repeat until you get what you need. On top of this, I highly recommend equipping the Discipline Armorer mod on your ghost, as the game will try to high-roll one of the top three stats (Mobility, Resilience, and Recovery). You can opt to do Strength or Intellect Armorer instead if you wish, but those stats are less impactful in comparison to Discipline (especially Intellect).

Weekly repeatable dungeons aren’t the only way to get high-stat roll armour, but it is by far the cheapest and easiest. If you don’t wish to grind one dungeon encounter for hours on end, because that can be incredibly boring, then you can actually just use the current seasonal vendors to get high-stat armour. My recommendation is to just use Season of the Seraph vendor for your high-stat armour purchases as getting the currencies/resources required is the easiest for that one, but Season of the Risen works well too! This is also provided that you have gotten the upgrade for that season to be able to purchase high-stat roll armour.

Once you have all your armour, it’s time to craft. This all comes with personal preference, as there are countless playstyles and strategies that you can employ while playing Destiny 2 – it is an incredibly flexible game. What is important here is using mods to complement your playstyle, whether it be the stat-increasing mods, Charged With Light mods (Protective Light, Lucent Blade etc), or Elemental Well mods (Bountiful Wells, Font of Might etc). If you are focused on weapon damage, I recommend stuff like Font of Might combined with Supreme Wellmaker and Elemental Time Dilation. Supreme Wellmaker can be subbed out for Elemental Shards if you don’t want to use your Stasis super a lot which can be valid for Titans and Warlocks who have roaming supers.

Downtime Expected

It’s no secret that Destiny 2 suffers from a lot of technical issues whenever an activity, season, or expansion launches. It’s natural, as live service games become harder and harder to bug-fix as more content gets added. One issue that has been really plaguing the game recently is its API. Chances are that, even if you don’t know what the Destiny API is, you’ve used it. Tools like DIM (Destiny Item Manager) and even the Destiny mobile phone app make use of the API, allowing you to manage your inventory, claim new bounties and check vendors from outside the game.

So why do API-related issues cause so many problems for the game? If you were to ask anyone who plays Destiny 2 on a semi-regular basis, they will probably tell you that the game is at its worst when they cannot use the aforementioned DIM. Being able to access your inventory from anywhere is incredibly helpful given that your character’s inventory space is…limited (to put it mildly).

While it may not have issues on launch, I would recommend having all the weapons and armour you think you’ll need on your character before Destiny 2: Lightfall. That way, if the API goes down, you’ll still have a kitted-out character ready to go. It’s reasonable to assume the API should be compatible with Lightfall’s loadout system, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

With all this, you should find yourself perfectly prepared for whatever Ligthfall has to throw at you. Whether it be just the legendary campaign or even the day-one raid race, you’re ready. With all the general armour mods now being available to all players, stuff like buildcrafting is even easier so it’s a matter of hoarding bounties, getting weapon patterns, levelling crafted weapons/completing exotic catalysts, getting high-stat roll armour, and ensuring whatever gear you need is on your character before the expansion launches!

Destiny 2: Lightfall launches February 25, 2023 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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