Bungie has fully revealed how its Guardian Ranks progression system will work in Destiny 2 when it arrives as part of the Lightfall expansion on Feb. 28.
The ethos behind Guardian Ranks is to help players better understand the game and its activities, both for those unfamiliar with Destiny 2 and existing players who are coming to new content each season.
“One of the problems if you’re starting or returning to Destiny is, outside of New Light, there’s no evergreen story for you to follow,” creative director Tyson Green explained during a recent press event attended by Polygon. “A lot of people feel aimless unless something catches their attention, or they wind up confused if things get introduced out of order, and we want to fix that. Guardian Ranks have been introduced to add that structure to the game.”
There are 11 ranks in total, each a “phase in your journey as a Guardian,” Green said, with the first five ranks designed to help players understand the basics of Destiny 2 and “build up knowledge and power base.”
Ranks 6 to 10 will be focused more on season-specific challenges, proving a player “knows how to handle themselves in current activities with confidence.” As a result, some of these ranks are temporary, and will partly reset each season when new content is cycled in.
“It’s actually much faster to regain a former rank than it would be the first time round, and you’ll keep all the credit for any completed evergreen objectives — so it’s more about checking out and mastering new content that’s come out,” Green explained. “We’ll memorialize past-ranks too, so you can always see what you’ve achieved for a previous season.”
Existing players who have completed the New Light campaign will automatically be skipped ahead to a certain rank, and have all existing features available to them when Lightfall arrives.
The highest Guardian Rank of 11, meanwhile, will not only require playing the most challenging activities, such as master-difficulty raids and Grandmaster Nightfalls, but will also rely on players having good standing in the community as part of the upcoming Commendation system.
“One of the things we want to represent is the respect other Guardians have for you, so there will be an element of the Commendation system in those higher ranks, meaning you have to seek the approval and respect of other Guardians you’ve been playing with,” said Green.
“When you see a Rank 11 player in the Tower, you know that is a person who is accomplished as a player and accomplished as a leader.”
Bungie said it does not want to add another grind to the game through Guardian Ranks — objectives around seasonal content will be things players should already be interested in playing, for example — though for new players, it will lock certain “advanced” elements behind their progress as a way not to overwhelm them.
“As a player who is starting out, we want to make sure we’re not dumping the whole game on them all at once — that leads to a situation where you’re just very confused,” Green said. “We unlock loadouts and other things, like certain mods, as you increase ranks. If you are an established Destiny player, then you’re going to have a lot of these things unlocked for you already.”
Your Guardian Rank will appear above your character in-game, and progress can be tracked in a new Journey area of the inventory menu, alongside existing progression systems such as ranks, commendations, titles, triumphs, and seasonal challenges. “View Journey” will also appear as an option alongside the Director in orbit, making access to Guardian Ranks and the path it provides more visible each time you load up the game or complete an activity.