Destiny 2 Lightfall New Changes: Loadouts, Guardian Ranks, Vanguard Mode, Artifact Perks, New Mod System

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Destiny 2 Lightfall New Changes: Loadouts, Guardian Ranks, Vanguard Mode, Artifact Perks, New Mod System

With the new expansion, Lightfall, Destiny 2 has gone through some significant changes. From minor updates to major additions like loadouts and an entire new subclass, there’s a lot to know about. Some of these changes are quality of life improvements, while some are general gameplay changes. In this article, we’ll cover some of the major changes you should be aware of, so let’s get to it!


A screen of the new Destiny 2: Lightfall loadout
(Image: Bungie via HGG / Brett Moss)

Loadouts are probably the biggest addition to Destiny 2 this season in terms of quality of life improvements. Since we have five subclasses now and endless builds to try out, it’s nice being able to quickly swap without having to spend twenty minutes re-doing mods. This is genuinely one of the best additions to the game in years.

You can swap loadouts at any time, even during activities. The only exception to this is content where you already weren’t allowed to change your equipment once you begin. These “equipment locked” sections are nothing new, so no surprise there. Being able to swap loadouts quickly and on the fly is amazing, especially for raids and dungeons where you might want to swap in-between encounters.

The only real downside to loadouts is not being able to separate weapons and armor. The weapons you save to your loadout will always get equipped when you swap, which can be annoying. Some loadouts do want specific weapons, but not always. Hopefully that’ll get changed in the future, but we can’t complain too much about the loadout system as a whole. Overall, it’s a great system with just a few flaws left to iron out in the future.

How to Unlock Extra Loadout Slots?

Everyone starts out with six loadout slots to swap between. However, you can unlock up to ten. If you want to unlock your remaining four slots, you’ll first have to progress to Guardian Rank 6 first. In the next section, we’ll take a look at the new Guardian Rank system.

Guardian Ranks

The new Guardian Ranks leveling system
(Image: Bungie via HGG / Brett Moss)

The Guardian Ranks system is effectively a new level system to show how much someone has played. Experienced players started out at Level 6, which is the last level before the “advanced ranks” (7–11). You can see your current Guardian Rank progress by going to the new “Journey” tab on the inventory menu.

Ranks 1–6 are all introductory level and serve as a tutorial for new players. Most of the objectives there are related to simply going to new locations, trying out the various game modes, and unlocking new gear. By the time a Guardian reaches Level 6, they’re ready to start delving into the “meat” of the game. It’s also important to know that Guardian Rank resets each season, but you won’t have to repeat all objectives. The gold checkmarks indicate objectives that will not have to be repeated. These are done forever once you do them. The objectives with blue checkmarks will have to be repeated each season, but these are usually not as time-consuming as the gold ones.

At Rank 6, one of the objectives rewards players with four extra loadout slots. This objective is called “Flawless, Solo, & Legendary.” To complete this objective and unlock your four bonus loadout slots, just complete a Legend difficulty Lost Sector without dying. This isn’t an easy task by any means, but if you do it in one of the easier lost sectors, it’s not too bad.

Vanguard Mode Changes

Missions modifiers for a Legend Nightfall game mode in Destiny 2
(Image: Bungie via HGG / Brett Moss)

This season, Bungie is paying special attention to the core Vanguard modes. The changes they’ve made are centered almost entirely around making the playlists a bit more difficult in general, specifically by modifying the strikes in the playlist. Some of the easier strikes that people used to speed run have had their presence in the playlist reduced, and Lake of Shadows (one of those easy strikes) has been updated to take longer.

Bungie has also made the decision to add one of the Battlegrounds missions into the Nightfall rotation this season. They originally added Battlegrounds to the Vanguard playlist last year, but this is the first time one has been a Nightfall strike. This Battlegrounds has already proven itself to be much more difficult than what most players expect from these kinds of activities, so we’ll just have to wait and see how Bungie reacts.

In general, all content in the Vanguard playlists has gotten harder this year. All Nightfall strikes now have a maximum effective Light restriction, meaning you can never reach the recommended Light level. So far it seems that most of the community agrees these new changes are a bit overtuned, but for now, you’ll just have to be very careful in Nightfall strikes. They’re a lot harder these days, so you have to take them a bit more seriously than before.

Artifact Perks, Not Mods

The artifacts perks screen for Ascendent Scepter
(Image: Bungie via HGG / Brett Moss)

This is another of the quality of life improvements, similar to loadouts. In the past, our seasonal Artifact has granted mods that we can equip on armor. Now, instead of having to do that, we just unlock the Artifact bonuses as static perks. That means no more trying to make room for expensive mods!

This new Artifact system is objectively simpler than before, and it doesn’t change much about how the Artifact works outside of how to utilize it. The Artifact is still the source for the most relevant mods in the game, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon.

However, while the new system is great, it is a bit annoying having to constantly reset it for every build. It would be nice to be able to save our Artifact perk selections to our loadouts, or at least just change one or two at a time. Needing to reset the whole Artifact just to get the one perk you need is incredibly tedious. However, this is still a better system than the old one. It’s not perfect (just like the loadout system), but it’s a great addition that we can’t really complain much about.

New Mod System

The Deep Explorer Hood new Lightfall armor mods
(Image: Bungie via HGG / Brett Moss)

While a lot of things have changed with the release of Lightfall, the new mods system might be the most impactful. Lots of the mods we have now are reworked versions of the old ones, but some are entirely new. We also lost all of the old combat mods (Elemental Wells, Charged With Light, and Warmind Cells).

To replace the mods we lost, we got a whole suite of new ones. Some are element-focused (Void Weapon Surge, Void Loader, etc.), while others grant specific bonuses based on the new Armor Charge mechanic. Armor Charge works the same way as the old Elemental Well and Charged With Light mods. For example, let’s look at the Armor Charge mod, “Grenade Kickstart.”

Eidolon Pursuant Gloves new Grenade Kickstart mod
(Image: Bungie via HGG / Brett Moss)

Grenade Kickstart gives you back some of your grenade energy each time you use your grenade ability. It’s incredibly strong, but it requires an Armor Charge to grant its effect. To get an Armor Charge, you just have to pick up an Orb of Power. Orbs are easy to make this season thanks to the various Siphon mods, and it seems like everyone is using them. This also has the side effect of making it much easier to recharge your super, since everyone is so focused on spawning Orbs of Power.

You can also stack multiple copies of a mod for increased effect (unless it says otherwise). Each copy of a mod that you have will provide less of the original effect, but sometimes it’s still worth doing. Especially with damage surge mods or ammo scavenger mods.

Join the High Ground!

These new changes will take some time to get used to, but they certainly add a lot to the game. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more Destiny 2 articles and guides in the future.

Happy gaming!

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