The core gameplay loop in Destiny 2 is trying to reach the Max Power Cap. Hitting it means that you’re getting the best gear, can really start optimizing your builds, and have the best chance of completing end-game content like Raids.
This cap grows every season, pushing the goal of maxing out further and further away. And if we’re being honest, part of the fun in Destiny 2 is that it’s a game designed to grind. However, this can be a real deterrent to new players and veterans alike, who really don’t have the time to invest and keep up.
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Now, there’s no cheat for leveling up quickly. But the more you understand the system, the more you can optimize your play to max out as fast as possible. Want to learn how? Read on for our full Destiny 2 Power Level Guide.
How Leveling Works in Destiny 2
The leveling system in Destiny 2 is directly tied to the Power Level of your gear. This means that the game takes the combined average Power Level between every piece of Armor and every Weapon you have equipped, in your inventory, and even in your Vault to give you your current standing. The benefit of this is that it allows you to focus on upgrading specific gear slots if they are bringing your average down. The drawback is that it is very common to have one weapon or Armor slot that is always lagging behind.
Additionally, you also have different level caps — known as the Soft, Powerful/Hard, Pinnacle, and Max Caps — that can only be reached by earning specific gear. The higher your Power Level gets, the more specific the gear you earn will have to be. This means that when you’re first starting out and going after the Soft Cap, any Rare, Legendary, or Exotic gear will help you level up. But once you hit Powerful and Pinnacle caps, you have to focus on specific gear types known as Powerful and Pinnacle Gear.
Now your Max Power Cap can only be achieved by hitting Pinnacle and fully upgrading your Seasonal Artifact. That’s a slightly different system, so we’ll tackle that here in a bit.
What is the Max Power Level Cap in Destiny 2?
Every Season and Expansion increases the Power Level Cap. For Season of the Splicer, this is what you can expect:
- Starting Level: 1100
- Soft Cap: 1260 — All gear types level you up
- Powerful/Hard Cap: 1310 — Only Powerful and Pinnacle gear levels you up
- Pinnacle Cap: 1320 — Only Pinnacle gear levels you up
- Max Power Level: 1330 — Requires leveling up your Seasonal Artifact
What’s Different About Leveling in Season of the Splicer?
It used to be that with every new Season in Destiny 2, you’d have to grind in order to hit the new Soft and Hard Cap again. Season of the Splicer has changed that by only bumping up the overall Power Level by 10. If you maxed out and hit the Pinnacle Cap last season, you’re now back to grinding for the latest Pinnacle status.
Additionally, these are a few other changes to be aware of:
- Deep Stone Crypt Raid no longer drops Pinnacle rewards
- Presage Exotic Quest no longer drops Pinnacle rewards
- Shadowkeep events like Nightmare Hunt no longer drop Powerful rewards
- Vendor purchases are now set 20 Power below your current level
Aside from that, the only difference this season is that there are a few more light levels to grind for as always. Let’s get into how you do it.
How to Reach the Soft Cap in Destiny 2 — 1260 Power Level
When it comes to Destiny 2, how to increase power level depends on where you are in the game. When just starting out, virtually anything you do in the game will increase your Power Level up to 1260. This will typically include Legendary (Purple) and Rare (Blue) Gear that you’ll regularly be acquiring, along with the occasional Exotic (Gold). You’ll be able to earn new gear drops from the following activities:
- Completing Public Events, Lost Sectors, Strikes, Gambit, or Crucible
- Daily Heroic Story Mission
- Beyond Light and New Light Campaigns
- Raids and Dungeons
- Regular Nightfall playlist
- Clan Bounties
- Rare and Legendary Engram drops from enemies
How to Reach the Soft Cap as Fast as Possible
The difficult thing about reaching the Soft Cap is that there’s no real shortcut for jumping levels. For example, you can play activities that reward Pinnacle gear, but it will just be incredibly difficult and give you decent gear at your current level. Focus on acquiring as much gear as possible and shredding any that you’re not using for Weapon Parts.
At the start, you’ll likely be seeing a lot of Rare gear, which is great, because it tends to drop at a higher level than early Legendary gear. What you really want to do here is play activities that can be done quickly and that can stack up with Quests and Bounties. While it really depends on what you like to play, here is what we recommend you start with:
- Work through both the Beyond Light and New Light campaigns
- Jump into Public Events and trigger Heroic versions
- Play through any Quest that rewards gear
- Run Lost Sectors, Strikes, or the seasonal activity at the lowest Power Level
- Track down chests (marked on your map and you can even upgrade your Ghost to help)
Out of all of these options, the quickest route with a guaranteed drop is Lost Sectors. Find one that is relatively short and just run it over and over again. The Weep in the EDZ or Concealed Void on Europa are both great options.
How to Reach the Powerful Cap in Destiny 2 — 1310 Power Level
Once you’ve hit the Soft Power Cap, your options are now limited to activities that reward you with Power or Pinnacle Gear. Luckily, you don’t have to guess what these are, as you’ll be able to preview the reward types directly from your Directory. These are typically weekly challenges that include:
- Strike, Gambit, and Crucible playlist completions
- Seasonal activities and Umbral Engrams
- Complete eight bounties for Lord Shaxx, Banshee-44, The Drifter, Zavalla, Variks, or the Seasonal vendor
- Complete the weekly Exo Challenge
- Win three times in Trials of Osiris
- Prime or Exotic Engrams
- Season Pass Rewards
How to Reach the Power Cap as Fast as Possible
At this point, it’s all about stacking activities to make the most of your time. That means grabbing Bounties from Vendors and then running weekly challenge activities. You can run through three of each playlist activity and potentially finish up your eight bounties for each vendor. What’s key is that you grab Powerful gear but always finish out any Pinnacle rewards, since that will actually give you a greater Power Level boost at this point.
How to Reach the Pinnacle Cap in Destiny 2 — 1320 Power Level
The last Level Cap in this Destiny 2 Power Level Guide is the easiest to understand. Now, all you can do to level up is earn Pinnacle rewards. This includes:
- 3 Strike, Gambit, and Crucible playlist completions. (Strikes require you to use a specific subclass noted as a burn)
- Valor, Glory, and Infamy ranks
- Weekly seasonal activities (Currently requires you to open 3 Conflux Chests in Override)
- Going flawless in Trials of Osiris (7 wins)
- Complete Iron Banner Bounties
- Complete the Prophecy Dungeon
- Complete the weekly Exo Challenge
- Score 100,000+ points in Nightfall the Ordeal
- Earn weekly Clan XP
- Complete Expunge missions
How to Reach the Pinnacle Cap as Fast as Possible
Similar to the Powerful Level Cap, the best thing you can do is try to stack playlist activities. Especially during a week when Iron Banner is active, you can quickly earn 5–6 pieces of Pinnacle gear by playing Crucible for a few hours. Other than that, run your weeklies and hone in on activities that you enjoy and can play quickly.
This is the biggest grind in Destiny 2. There’s not really a quick method here, it will take play. So, look to optimize your time and complete everything that’s available.
How to Reach Max Power in Destiny 2 — 1330 Power Level
The next stop on our Destiny 2 Power Level Guide? A new addition known as The Seasonal Artifact.
The Seasonal Artifact adds another potential 10 Power Levels for you to earn. Unlike the other Power Caps, you don’t have to wait to start leveling it up, as long as you have purchased the current Season Pass. Once you hit Level 7, you’ll gain access to the Artifact, which also provides unique Armor Mods you can unlock and can start earning experience.
That’s basically it, you just need to play and earn XP. If you can, focus on completing the weekly Seasonal challenges which provide massive XP boosts, and typically tie into other high-level activities. Eventually, you’ll just naturally level the Artifact up and potentially hit the Max Power Destiny 2 Level if you’ve hit the Pinnacle Cap.
How to Level Up Fast in Destiny 2
Each Level Cap has specific activities and methods for speeding up the process. However, there are some general tips you should keep in mind that can help you speed up the process throughout your entire journey. Here are our tips to help you with power leveling in Destiny 2.
Equalize Your Gear
This is by far the most complicated element of leveling up and it has everything to do with the average that dictates your Power Level. Again, Destiny 2 takes into account gear that is slotted, currently in your inventory, and in your Vault to various degrees. So, what you need to do here is identify specific weapon and armor slots that are lagging behind.
You can do this manually, or use the Destiny Item Manager app to have your holistic stats automatically calculated. It even showcases which slots are behind and by how much, making it easier to hone in on which gear to focus on.
Once you know which gear to go for, the key is to then play activities that give you Powerful or Pinnacle rewards at your current Power Level. This allows you to then replace lower-level gear or use it to upgrade your favorite gear. Keep at it until your average for each slot is even or above to ensure your next Pinnacle drop is a healthy increase.
Prime Engrams are an odd outlier that has stuck around as Pinnacle and Powerful Gear have evolved. Generally, they serve as the middle ground between the two and can be acquired in greater quantities from challenging activities like Raids or Dungeons.
If you’ve maxed out all Powerful and Pinnacle rewards in a given week in your pursuit of the Power Cap, look for opportunities to grab the Engrams. They are far rarer than before, so it’s only going to give you a few more pieces of gear, but it’s worth checking out.
Playing 2 or 3 Characters
There’s a method for quickly upgrading new characters by transferring more powerful gear to your weakest build. When using this Destiny 2 Power Level Guide to push for Pinnacle, you’ll go the opposite route. Just grind out the activities in the given stage you’re at with your weakest player, transfer gear over to the next best build, and finally, to your highest level build. This gives you an improved baseline of gear to work with at the start of the week and improves your gear power average.
Season Pass Rewards
There are plenty of weapons and armor that you’ll earn as you level up your Season Pass. Now, if you’re going for Powerful or Pinnacle gear, wait to collect these until you hit a Power Level you’re grinding out. While you won’t earn a higher leveled item, you will earn one just below or at your current Power Level.
Like switching gear between characters, this will mainly help improve the Power Level balance of all of your gear.
Become a High Grounder
There’s no way around it — hitting the Pinnacle and Max Cap in Destiny 2 is a grind. But hopefully, with this Destiny 2 Power Level Guide, you can optimize your play to make the grind less painful.
If your Fireteam has been struggling to get those last few levels, or you have a newbie just jumping in, be sure to share this article with them on your favorite social channels. For the latest on Destiny 2, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.