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Destiny 2 Power leveling guide

A practical guide to leveling up your Power and the Power cap

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

We’ve written a lot of words about Power, what it means in Destiny 2 and some of the best ways to increase it. But sometimes, to really understanding a concept, you just need something a little more stripped down and direct.

In this guide, we’re going to talk about the basics of Power first, because there are some strange, unspoken rules about it (especially if you’re new to them). Then we’re going to talk about how to increase your Power toward the cap.

What determines your Power?


Power is an average of the strength of all of your offensive and defensive gear. Better gear means higher Power. That’s really it.

So why do I care about Power?

First, your Power is your level after your level stops being your level.

In the beginning of Destiny 2, you have a familiar mechanic as you go from level 1 to level 20, based on gaining experience as well as completing the campaign and campaign-based actions.

Once you hit level 20, though, you stop getting levels and switch to Power. Your “level” is now inextricably tied to your gear. To increase your Power, concepts like XP and leveling up don’t apply anymore — everything is based on gear and getting better gear. The end.


Second, Power a shorthand for how prepared you are to take on various events. Everything from Public Events to Strikes to Raids have a recommended Power. Basically, this translates to “your gear must be this good to ride this ride.”

How to increase power

The short answer to “How do I increase my Power?” is: Just play the game and use the best gear you have.

Nearly everything that drops will be within a few levels of your current level. Sometimes it’s a little lower and you can dismantle it, but sometimes it’s better and it’ll increase your Power. And that works. Up to a point.

This is the core concept of the Power-based loot system that Destiny 2 uses. Your Power determines the gear you get, and the gear you have determines your Power. That cycle of looting and upgrading continues, until you just can’t get any better gear this way. Rare (blue) Engrams max out at 260 Power, and Legendary (purple) go up to 265. This puts a hard limit on how far this looting cycle can get you.

Power 1 to 260 (and 265, really)

You can basically do anything in the overworld to get to 260. Rare (blue) and Legendary (purple) Engrams that drop in overworld activities like Public Events, Patrols, Lost Sectors or even just shooting a random bad guy you stumble across will (slowly and randomly) build you up toward 260. And that’s really all there is to getting to 260. Just keep doing those things. (And make sure you try to turn every Public Event into a Heroic for better rewards.)

It’s important to note here again that the Power of an Engram is randomly determined. You’re not guaranteed something exact, and you’ll will often get something that’s a lower Power. You’re just going to have to do a lot of playing to get to 260, but this will get you there.

The 260 to 265 gap

Since Legendary (purple) engrams go up to five levels above your level (up to their limit at 265), they’re your key to getting gear above 260. That means that random drops alone can get you across the 260 to 265 gap given enough time, but since it’s random, it’ll take a lot of time.

Faction Rewards (Tokens)

Ranking up a Faction Reward for a Legendary Engram. This one is at the upper limit of 265.

On every planet, you’ll earn Tokens for doing pretty much anything. Everything from finding loot chests to (Heroic) Public Events to completing Patrols, Adventures or Lost Sectors to just taking down yellow-bar baddies will earn you Tokens. These Tokens are planet-specific and can be turned into the local Faction leader for a reward.

Faction Rewards give you Legendary (purple) gear every time you rank up with them at a Destiny 2 vendor. That means that those tokens are a sure way to get 260+ gear if you cash them in at level 260.

Decrypt Engrams immediately, but hold on to your Faction Tokens

An Engrams’ Power is set when you pick it up, but a Faction Reward’s Power is determined when you visit the vendor to redeem it.

So what does that mean? You want to decode an Engram soon after you get it because its Power is already determined and will be close to your current Power. If you wait too long, its Power will no longer be a help to you.

Your Faction Tokens, on the other hand, earn you an Engram when you cash them in. It’s still a Engram just like above, but you have some control over its Power by choosing when to collect it. And since they’re Legendary, those Faction Reward Engrams are invaluable to help you across the 260 to 265 gap.

There’s an argument to be made here for saving all of your Tokens for when you get to 260 and using them to jump you up to 265 almost immediately. And that’s one way to do it, but it doesn’t mean you have to save every Faction Token until then. In fact, the five-level boost a Legendary will get you is invaluable just about any time. And since you get Tokens constantly, they’re not exactly a limited resource.

Power 266 to 280 and beyond

This is where things get tricky. After you hit 265, you can no longer rely on drops in the overworld or Faction Rewards to increase your Power level. You can hope for an Exotic (yellow) Engram to drop randomly, but you’re going to be hoping a lot more than you’ll be collecting. And an Exotic (yellow) isn’t going to suddenly launch you to 280 anyway. You’re going to have to put in some very specific and purposeful work to get the rest of the way to 280 (and then to the Power cap at 300).

  • Flashpoints. Cayde-6 will send you to a certain planet each week, where you’ll have to complete a number of Public Events. The outcome of the event determines how many you have to do. A failed (regular) event will get you the least credit, while a successful Heroic Public Event will get you the most. Conveniently, we’ve got a guide for how to turn every Public Event into a Heroic Public Event.
  • Nightfalls. Nightfalls are high-level (and therefore extra difficult) Strikes. The Nightfall will change each week with the Tuesday Weekly Reset.
  • Calls to Arms and Trials of the Nine. Both Calls to Arms and Trials of the Nine (which are similar to Destiny’s Trials of Osiris) are Crucible-based events. Some of them are rewards just for participating. Others require you to actually win.
  • Clan rewards. Being a member of a Clan is about more than just a sense of belonging. First, there’s the Guided Games that allow solo players to experience end-game content. But there’s also just straight-up rewards for playing the game while you’re a member of a Clan.
  • Raids. Raids are the culmination of all things Destiny 2. They are six-person, non-matchmaking, high-level, high-difficulty, low-guidance missions. (Destiny 2’s Guided Games gives solo players a way around the lack of matchmaking, though). You’re going to have to put in a lot of the above work to get the point where you can tackle a Raid, but you’ll also get rewarded in kind for that work.

Extra little bits


Remember to check your Mods periodically to see if you have any Legendary (purple) ones. All Mods are useful in general, but Legendary Mods will boost an item’s Power up by five (and therefore increase your Power).

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