Destiny's upcoming DLC, House of Wolves, will allow players to boost their older legendary and exotic weapons and armor to be viable for max level content, so long as they collect a new resource called Etheric Light.
Developers from Bungie explained the process during a livestream presentation today. Owners of House of Wolves, which launches May 19, can upgrade any legendary or exotic piece of equipment in the game to its highest level. For weapons, that means increasing their max damage to the game's new 365 limit, up from 331. For armor, your upgraded gear can bring you up to the new Level 34 cap.
Ascending weapons will not reset progression for the unlocked perks on each weapon.
Legendary equipment will require resources, Glimmer and one Etheric Light to upgrade. Etheric Light is a new resource that will drop in House of Wolves' new endgame content, the arena-like Prison of Elders, and the PvP Trials of Osiris. Etheric Light will also occasionally drop during Nightfall runs, and during the Iron Banner event, meaning players won't need to own House of Wolves in order to reach the new Level 34 cap, though collecting required upgrade materials will take longer.
Exotic gear won't require Etheric Light to ascend, and instead will burn one Exotic Shard — among other common resources. Xur, the game's weekend vendor, will no longer offer that service, as players will be able to upgrade their exotics without his help.
Obtaining needed materials for upgrades will be easier thanks to new stock at the Speaker, an NPC in the Tower, who will allow you to purchase Shards for Motes of Light, or exchange Ascendant Shards and Radiant Shards for their respective Energies — and vice versa.
New Legendary weapons included in the House of Wolves DLC can also be Reforged by talking to The Tower's Gunsmith, allowing players to randomly change up the perks included on those weapons.
Bungie attempted to keep upgrade paths for gear "as simple as possible," according to Christopher Barrett, Bungie creative director.
The system sounds like a vast improvement over how The Dark Below, Destiny's first DLC, handled distribution of the game's highest-level gear. The armor and weaponry dedicated players had found during their runs of the Vault of Glass raid were essentially made obsolete by The Dark Below. This new system will not only make that gear worth using again, it will allow for more variety in the equipment used by the game's highest-level characters.