There are two meters that you can level up in Destiny 2: your Power level and your Character level.
- Character Level is the measure of your current experience tally, and is currently set at level 20. As you increase your Character Level, you’ll unlock new abilities for your Subclass and access to new weapons, armor and gear.
- Power Level is the measure of the quality and capability of your gear. Power level is the average of your best gear in all 8 slots. Similar to a Guardian’s Light level from the original Destiny, this is what determines how combat-ready you are, and what types of enemies you’ll be able to defeat in battle. Increase it by acquiring gear with a higher power rating.
The progression to Level 20 will come from experience points. You can gain experience points by completing campaign missions, adventures, public events, quests, and even just defeating enemies.
Campaign missions will provide the most experience points out of all the activities and will unlock more adventures and quests upon completion. The final Campaign mission has a level 15 requirement so you might need to partake in a couple of activities to meet the level requirement.
Adventures are a great way of gaining that extra XP you need to hit level 15 and learn more about the world of Destiny. Adventures are smaller side missions that put you through different kinds of tasks and mechanics to help out humanity on the different worlds. For the most part Adventures will only net you XP and blue rewards so it is best to do these before you get to end game content. Some Adventures also reward you with subclass upgrade points to help you complete those subclass trees quickly.
Your Power Level will inevitably increase as you progress throughout the campaign and obtain loot and engrams, but there are a few ways you can speed up the grind.
The most efficient way to increase your power level before level 20 is to use your glimmer to purchase the armor and weapons. The NPC’s you encounter on the different worlds and social places will sell you common gear that have a max power level of 200.
Use your glimmer to purchase items for slots in which you have the lowest power level. Fortunately, you do not have to equip your highest power leveled gear when obtaining new loot.
Next to Campaign missions, the best way to earn experience is from completing Public Events with the heroic modifier active. Not only is the XP reward significantly higher than it is from the standard event, but you also stand a much better chance of receiving more gear to boost your power level as well.
This modifier is triggered by performing specific actions during each Public Event – you can find all of the Heroic Event triggers we know of so far here.
Looting chests and completing adventures will reward you with a Token for the specific world you are on. You can also find planetary materials lying around the open world. Turn in these tokens and materials to the NPC on the world you are on to gain reputation with them. Gain enough experience and these NPC’s will reward you with a Legendary Engram!
Players will have a quest to complete on each world once reaching level 20 and finishing the campaign. Quests are marked as a blue crown on your map. These quests are the first step in Exotic Weapon Quests. These Exotic rewards will drop at a Power level of about 15-20 points higher than your highest possible Power level so it is recommended to complete these when you’re around 260 Power level.
A solid way of obtaining gear and reputation tokens is grinding the Vanguard Strike Playlist. These tokens can be given to Commander Zavala for a chance at his loot. Strikes reward loot with gear around your power level and sometimes even exotic engrams.
Once you reach around 240 Power level you can try your hand at the Nightfall strike (you must complete two strikes and talk to Zavala to gain access to the Nightfall). The Nightfall is a heavily modified strike that rewards very powerful loot. Communication and teamwork is vital in completing this activity especially at a lower Power level.
Certain weapons and armor can only be obtained as rewards for participating in the Crucible against other players. You receive one Crucible token per match which you can use to increase your standing with Lord Shaxx to gain more powerful loot.
Playing any of the activities listed above and obtaining blue & purple gear will eventually take you to Power Level 260. Once you hit this level, you will start to realize that blue gear will no longer pass 260. There is a softcap Power Level of 260 when it comes to Blue gear. Once you hit this Power Level, the most efficient way of progressing is through legendary quality gear. Legendaries have a soft cap base power level of 265-270.
Once you hit this Power Level, the most efficient way of progressing is through legendary quality gear. Legendaries have a soft cap base power level of 265-270. Focus on farming tokens and planetary materials to obtain guaranteed Legendary gear from world NPCs. Repeat this process until you reach the Legendary soft cap Power Level of 265.
Breaking through Power Level 265 will require completion of Weekly activities and Exotic Quests/Engrams. Weekly activities include clan contribution rewards, Nightfall rewards, and Milestones.
Banshee-44 sells and trades mods that can help you customize and increase the Power of your gear. Legendary mods that add 5 Power Level to your gear can help you continue the grind to max Power. You can buy a random mod from Banshee-44 for 2500 glimmer or trade multiple rare mods for one of his Legendary mods.