Destiny 2 is actually two different games, and it’s best to make peace with that fact as soon as possible.
The strategies and play habits that you used to get your character to power level 265 or so suddenly become useless. That means it’s time to change how you approach the game, or you have little to no hope of advancing further. The second part of your Destiny 2 adventure has just begun, and we’re going to help you figure out what comes next.
You may feel like you’ve hit a brick wall and advancement is impossible, but we’re here to tell you that moving ahead is easier than it seems. You just need to completely change how you approach the game.
Let’s get started, shall we?
First, read our guide to getting raid-ready
Our raid-ready guide focuses on leveling up quickly with the express intention of being able to play Leviathan, Destiny 2’s first raid, but the information inside will help you get going if you feel stuck at 265. It’s a good place to get acquainted with the strategies that will keep you moving forward, and then you can come back to this guide for a step-by-step guide on how to execute on those plans.
The next step, in fact, is pretty easy.
Finish your Powerful Gear milestones
You’ll be given a fresh set of Milestones every week, and you’re going to want to focus on those that offer Powerful Gear as a reward for completion. This is where the magic is going to happen.
Finish each one (they won’t always be easy) and you will not only get more and better gear, you’ll likely be helping to level up your clan for the week as well. There are a finite number of Milestones, but they reset every Tuesday. You’ll want to hit them all, and get your 5,000 XP maximum clan contribution out of the way as soon as possible.
If any of your Powerful Gear Milestones take place in public activities, make sure you use a Fireteam Medallion if you’re going to be playing for at least a few hours. The rewards are hard to pin down, but at 50 Bright Dust, the known minimal cost is worth even a small possible reward.
Be sure you’re using your time wisely as well. Keep a Patrol mission going at all times, and join Public Events when it’s convenient — and make sure you know how to turn each one into a Heroic event for better rewards.
There’s rarely an excuse for only doing one thing at a time at this point in your quest to gain levels.
Join a clan
There are plenty of reasons to be in a clan, and there are no reasons to avoid it. You can find clans for any type of player online, or you can start your own and try to entice your friends to join. You’re likely ready to contribute to your clan if you’re already the type of player who reads guides on how to get to power level 280 and beyond.
Clans give you passive XP and bonus engrams, and you can contribute up to 5,000 XP yourself per week — which will get you even more Powerful Gear from Hawthorne, the Clan Steward at the Tower — or help with the checkboxes by taking part in high-level content yourself.
There’s no downside. Find a good clan, and join it. Contribute as much as you can, and enjoy the rewards.
Find all the Cayde-6 chests
After the weekly reset, go to Cayde-6 in the Tower — spoiler warning! — and buy all of his maps. You should be Glimmer-rich at this point, anyway.
Spade icons will then appear on the map of each planet, and you’ll get Legendary (purple) gear or even some Exotics (yellow) by tracking them down.
This is an easy source of Legendary Shards, if nothing else, and those will help you with the next two pieces of advice.
How to use the right mods
Once all your gear is Legendary (purple) or above, and after you have found all the Cayde-6 chests, make sure every piece of gear or weaponry has a Legendary mod attached.
This might be tricky — you can’t just buy Legendary Mods until you hit 280 — but at this point you should have enough to buff most of your items and weapons.
This won’t give you a huge boost in the grand scheme of things, but it’s not nothing. Your mod strategy will change once you hit 280, but for now, focus on farming what you can for the most powerful armor and weapons in your possession.
Take advantage of Xur
Xur will be selling exotic items every week, and they’re good fodder for infusion even if they’re not otherwise helpful to you. Make sure you visit him every week, which means making sure you’re farming enough Legendary Shards as you go.
Hell, clean him out every week if you can afford it. You never know when you’re going to start another class, and having a selection of exotics ready to go in the vault is a good way to boost a new Guardian’s power quickly.
The exotics will give you some flexibility when it comes to builds, and they can be buffed up by infusion, but since Xur’s items top out at 265 with a +5 Mod for a total of 270, they’re not going to be that great for gaining levels. This is more about making sure your loadout of exotics is as flexible as possible between as many classes as possible.
We can’t stress it enough: Buy everything Xur is selling every week if you can afford it. You never know what might become important in the meta later in the game’s life. Gjallarhorn was a second-week item from Xur in the first game. It came and went before most people knew how big of a deal it would ultimately become.
Learn from that mistake.
Hit all the blue crown quests, but do them one at a time
Blue crown quest lines will reward you with a guaranteed exotic item, but that item’s power is based on your power at the time at which you complete the quest.
So finish one quest completely, make sure your power level is as high as possible, and then move onto the next one. There’s a reason we left this activity until the end of the guide: You want the most powerful Exotic (yellow) items possible without having to resort to infusion.
If you really want to maximize your power gains, check what the rewards are for each of these quests, and make sure those slots are lagging before you complete them. An example: If your power level is 267 but your kinetic slot is 269, don’t complete the MIDA Multi-Tool quest just then. Wait until your kinetic slot is lagging first.
Trials of the Nine
Trials of the Nine offers some serious rewards, but you’re going to have to put together a serious fireteam to earn the best the mode has to offer. It’s also only available for a few days a week. Good luck with all that.
Tackle the raid
Leviathan is a challenge, but we can help. The loot can be great, the initial power level recommendation is reasonable — even if you’ll want to be higher due to the challenge of the final boss — and you can try it as many times as you want.
Nightfall strikes are harder versions of the standard strikes, and they offer Powerful Gear if you’re able to finish them. You’ll want to play with other serious players and take advantage of voice chat, and there’s an even harder option with a power level recommendation of 300 if you really want to challenge yourself.
The Nightfall strikes change every week, and are included in your Milestones, so be sure to hit them with regularity.
Is this it?
Come back and complain once you’ve done it all. These challenges are not easy, and the Milestones will change every week. If you’re able to go through the entire list every week, you’ll be at or near maximum level before you know it. Building a network of players who are ready and willing to join you for the Nightfall strikes and raids is key, so prioritize finding a good clan and proving yourself to be a team player.
You’ll also be very, very good at Destiny 2.