I find offering up Destiny 2 beginner tips strange. I’ve been playing the game for the better part of a decade, so what classifies as “beginner” may be different to me than someone else. However, all that experience means I’m in a better position than most to tell newer players what they should be focusing on to make it far in Destiny 2.
I am to do just that with this Destiny 2 beginners guide. I’m not going over the game’s basic mechanics. Instead, I’ll assume that you’ve played a bit of the game and don’t need to be told how to point and shoot. Instead, I’ll give you a roadmap of aspects to focus on to ensure your personal long-term success with the game.
Do the Campaigns
Out of all the Destiny 2 beginner tips I’ll be offering up, none is more important than telling you to do all of the campaigns you have access to. If you’re a new light (the name for new Guardians), then you’ll likely be dropped straight into the Lightfall campaign. If you bought a complete edition of Destiny 2, you’ll also gain access to the following campaigns – do them in this order:
- New Light campaign.
- Shadowkeep campaign.
- Beyond Light campaign.
- Witch Queen campaign.
If you’re on a free-to-play version of Destiny, you’ll only have access to the New Light campaign. Destiny’s free-to-play model is more of a demo than anything else. If you’re fond of the game after finishing it, consider picking up the rest of the expansions.
Doing all of these in order will sort of catch you up on the story – at least a little bit. It’ll also give you a ton of rewards and experience with the game’s mechanics.
Focus on Guardian Ranks
Bungie introduced the Guardian Rank system to Destiny 2 with Lightfall – so new players have a specific framework that they can follow to progress with the game. If you’re brand new, you’ll start at level one. Make getting to rank six a priority. Returning players will already start at rank six, at which point you’ll have to complete harder activities to rank up.
That process of moving through ranks one to five, though, will generally introduce you to all of the important aspects of Destiny in an interactive way. If you’re ever lost for what to do, open up your Guardian Rank menu in the Journey tab of your inventory screen, and go do whatever it tells you to.
By the time you reach Guardian Rank six, you’ll be all set to go out into the wider world of Destiny 2. Until then, keep yourself isolated from the wider world and get all those challenges done. It’s about as good of an introduction to Destiny as a Destiny 2 beginners guide could offer.
Weapons in Destiny 2 work very differently than in most games. When you get a new weapon, you’re probably only concerned with the weapon’s type and stats. This is the wrong approach. While stats are important at a high level, all you need to worry about for now are weapon perks.
Every Legendary weapon in Destiny 2 has four perks, or perk columns. There’s a slot for a barrel perk, an ammo perk, and two slots for special perks that enhance your weapon’s stats or functionality. Every weapon in Destiny has a set pool of perks that can show up in each slot. So, every weapon you find will have four perks that have been randomly selected from each slot’s pool. There is a different pool for column one and column three, for example.
Whether or not a weapon is good depends on these perks. You’re looking for columns three and four perks that work well together. Traditionally, you’ll want one perk that helps your weapon’s ammo – like something that refills the mag on kills, and something that increases your damage. With one of each, you can’t go wrong.
I played through Lightfall with some new players recently, and not once did they even know they could customize their subclasses. To them, their subclass was just their Super, but they’re so much more than that.
Your subclass consists of three parts:
- Class ability
You won’t have many of these when you start the game. You can get more by completing the Lightfall and Beyond Light campaigns, as well as by purchasing them from Ikora Rey on the west side of the Tower.
She sells Aspects, abilities, and Fragments for all three Light subclasses. You can buy these for Glimmer – which is Destiny’s most abundant resource. Make a point of buying all of these ASAP. Make it an absolute priority.
Having a good subclass build makes all the difference to how difficult you find the game. You’re making Destiny much harder for yourself by ignoring the system.
Before you jump into armor mods, make sure you understand the four previous Destiny 2 beginner tips. They’re the fundamentals you need to know to properly come to terms with the game. Consider this the Destiny 2 beginner’s guide chapter two – get the first tips down first.
After that, you’ll be able to jump into the armor mod system – and this is what really separates high-level Guardians from low-level ones. A lot of new Guardians don’t even know Armor Mods are a thing, yet if you tried to join a high-level LFG without them, you’d be kicked.
You’ll unlock all the armor mods you need at Guardian Rank 6. Each one of your armor pieces has four mod slots. Like weapon perks, each slot has a different pool of mods. Unlike weapon perks, armor doesn’t roll with mods – you get to pick them yourself.
I could easily sit here and write 4,000 words on the Armor Mod system, but neither of us has time for that. Instead, I’ll blitz you through the basics – the rest you’ll have to experiment with and explore for yourself:
- Armor has 10 charges. Each individual mod takes up a certain amount of those charges.
- There are two types of Armor mods – basic and combat.
- Basic mods include mods that cause more ammo to be dropped, decrease your incoming damage based on type, and more.
- Combat mods work on the Armor Charge system. Every time you pick up an Orb, you’ll get an Armor Charge. You can then use those Charges in various ways depending on what mods you’re running.
Get Osteo Striga
If you have the Witch Queen campaign, then completing all of Destiny 2’s campaign expansions is even more important. For finishing Witch Queen, you’ll be given the Osteo Striga Exotic SMG. This is a free Exotic that’s easy for new players to get – and it’s one of the best primary weapons in the game as of Lightfall.
Osteo Striga is an SMG with tracking rounds – meaning range isn’t an issue. You can sit in safety while still hitting enemies for high damage. What’s more, kills with the weapon cause poison to spread to other enemies – giving you good AOE add-clear potential.
While there is a handful of better Exotics in Destiny 2, this is easily the best one for beginners. It’s extremely easy to get and is incredibly strong. It’ll give you a noticeable bump in combat, especially if you haven’t got many Exotics, to begin with.
For other Exotics – you can either open Exotic Engrams or purchase them from the Monument to Lost Light between the Vaults in the Tower. Explore those two options, as well. The sooner you build up an Exotic arsenal, the better.
About Power Levels
Your level progression in Destiny is a bit odd. You have an individual power level, then all of your gear also has its own power level. Your power level is the average level of all your gear combined.
Generally, progression in Destiny 2 simply involves increasing this number by getting higher-level gear. You can infuse high-level gear into your low-level gear, so don’t worry about not being able to keep something you like.
There are a few Power Level caps you need to be aware of:
- 1600 Power is the base level. All new players should be at this level when they log into Destiny.
- 1750 Power is the soft cap. Between 1600 and 1750, every piece of gear that drops for you will be a power increase over your current power level.
- 1800 Power is the Power cap. Between 1750 and 1800, you’ll need to do activities that reward “Powerful Gear”.
- 1810 Power is the hard cap. You won’t be able to increase your base power level above this. Between 1800 and 1810 Power, you’ll need to complete activities that reward “Pinnacle Gear” to increase your Power Level.
Do Your Weeklies
Speaking of your power level – once you’ve gotten all the campaigns done, focus on your weeklies. What are weeklies? Well, there are a bunch of activities in Destiny 2 that reward either Powerful or Pinnacle gear. You can only get these rewards once per week, with the weekly reset happening on Tuesday.
For brand-new players, this isn’t important. Once you start settling into the game, though, this will become your primary gameplay loop as it’s the only reliable way to increase your Power Level above the Powerful and Pinnacle caps.
Pretty much everything rewards Powerful gear. When you open your Director map, have a look at the various nodes and activities available on each planet. That’ll tell you the type of reward it gives you – just remember it’s generally only once per week.
Once you’re past the Powerful cap, you’re on what’s called the “Pinnacle Grind”. There are only a handful of activities in the game that reward Pinnacles, so getting them all done every single week is critical to your progression.
Take Advantage of LFG
I know nobody wants to hear this, but you need to start taking advantage of LFG – especially when you get into the Pinnacle grind. Dungeons are difficult to solo, Raids are impossible, and Master/Grandmaster Nightfalls are infinitely easier with a team. All of those activities are the high-end of PvE, meaning they drop the best rewards.
When you start moving into that territory, specifically on the hunt for Pinnacle drops, you’ll either need a dedicated team of five or so Guardians you can play with, or you’ll have to bite the bullet and start using LFG.
There are the top two Destiny 2 Discord LFGs I recommend:
I would use Discord over Bungie’s LFG. Discord is more seamless and allows for much better communication due to its voice channels. What’s more, it’s also out on PlayStation now, so cross-platform voice chat won’t be an issue.
Get used to using Destiny 2 Discord LFGs for any Legend or higher activity that isn’t a Lost Sector. You won’t get to do them otherwise.
Learn the Lingo
Like any good MMO, Destiny 2 players have their own vocabulary. You’ll learn and develop this yourself as you play the game and watch videos/streams on it, but dedicated players will want to make a point of accelerating their lingo-learning.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet on some of the terms you might hear during your travels:
- LFG – Looking for Guardian. This is used in social spaces when someone is looking for players to join them and complete an activity.
- God roll – Weapons in Destiny 2 drop with random perks. If those perks are the best that weapon can possibly get, it’s called a god roll.
- Adds – Adds stands for additional enemies. This refers to red-bar regular enemies like Vex Goblins that you kill by the hundreds in-game.
- Add-clear – By extension, Add-clear refers to the efficient, mass-killing of these low-powered enemies.
- DPS – Damage per second. This generally refers to a weapon’s efficiency at dealing damage to bosses. It’s also a common callout for when an encounter moves to a damage phase.
- Shards – This is simply an abbreviation of Legendary Shards. Sharding is also another term for dismantling a piece of gear as it turns it into Legendary Shards.
- Golf balls – Golf balls are the community-given name for Ascendant Shards. The Shards look like golf balls, hence the name.
- AOE – Area of effect. This refers to something’s ability to deal damage in a wide radius, rather than to a single target.
- Blueberry – You may have been called this. Blueberry is used by hardcore Destiny 2 players to refer to newer or casual Guardians that don’t keep up with the game’s META and otherwise may not know how to complete encounters. This name comes from the arrow of random Guardians on your Fireteam in a match-made activity being blue.
Those are my top 10 Destiny 2 beginner tips for 2023. I’ve been playing Destiny for years, so when I say I believe this stuff is important for you to know – that’s coming from experience. If everything here sounded like complete nonsense, then slow down a second and simply follow the game’s directions. Get through those Guardian Ranks and the campaign, then come back. I promise that you’ll know what I’m talking about then.