[Destiny 2] Leveling to 265 and above - Your Do's and Don'ts



Alright, so Destiny 2 is now released across all systems. Although many of us have been playing on consoles, there are a fair few here that are brand new on PC.

There’s some important notes when it comes to leveling in Destiny 2 once you hit level 20. Yes we have Power levels… not light levels, but power levels. Pretty much the same thing. Once you hit level 20, the world opens up a bit, with more access to content, and you know… the usual end game stuff. Through this time, your goal is to level up your gear, and what you’ll come to notice is that your gear will generally drop +1 to your base power level… eventually these +1 drops will end though. This all stops at 265. Once you hit 265+, all your gear will drop at your current base level. This means no more easy progression beyond 265. You’re now going to need to rely on these powerful engrams.

So this is a bit of a guide on the best ways to level up and maximize your powerful engrams.

What is a powerful engram?

A powerful engram generally drops around 5 light levels higher than your current base level. An exotic item that comes from a powerful engram will drop up to 10 light levels higher than your base level. So, clearly these are pretty important, right?

How can you get a powerful engram?

There’s actually a few ways you can get access to powerful engrams. Most of these are by completing your weekly milestones. These include

  • Nightfall
  • Raid
  • Trials of Osiris
  • Weekly Flashpoint
  • Crucible Call to Arms
  • Clan XP contribution
  • Exotic Quests
  • Lastly, you can even get these powerful engrams by having your clan mates complete your Clan milestones. These would be the clan Nightfall, Raid, Trials and Crucible. Each of these grant you 1 powerful engram to pick up at Hawthorne.

Well this sounds great. Clearly, you’d want to go through and complete all your milestones ASAP and grab all those powerful engrams, right? Well… yes and no. Yes you want to complete everything, but no you don’t want to turn everything in ASAP. Doing so will essentially waste some potential levels you could have gained. I should also note not to complete any of your exotic quests prior to hitting 265. These exotic quests drop similar to powerful engrams, and can only be done once per character. The only exception might be the quest for the Mida Multitool which is found in the EDZ. If you want that before 265, then by all means. I’ll talk more about exotic quests later.

So, I’m going to assume that you’re currently below 265 power. If not, skip down a bit.

So being below 265 power, you’ll be able to climb your way up to 265 power without turning in ANY powerful engrams / milestone rewards. This is because all items that drop will drop at +1 your current base power. So if your base level is 235, then your new gear drops at 236. So go farm some Public Events, or run some strikes or whatever you like so that you get that 236 gear. Eventually you’ll be wearing enough of it that your base level jumps to 236, and you start seeing 237 drops. Repeat this process until 265 or server reset (or close to).

Server Reset

This is one of those key moments where you’ll want to put some thought into when you’re going to turn in your engrams. It’s very likely many of us will be level 20 and grinding away before our first weekly reset, however it’s unlikely many of us will be over 265 at this point. Now I did tell you not to turn in your engrams until 265… but reset is well reset so this will be the time to turn it in regardless of your power level.

You’ll still want to be smart with this though. On Tuesday @ 5am EST reset will occur, and any unclaimed powerful engrams will automatically be turned in, your milestones reset and you’re back to a new week. If at all possible though you don’t want your engrams turned in automatically for you.

Once you get near reset, you’ll want to figure out what days or nights you can play.

The Grind towards reset

If you’re able to play Sunday and Monday night, then great. Farm away through till Monday, and then come Monday evening, you’ll want to slowly turn in your powerful engrams. Once you’re at a level you’re content with and you want to get a bit of a boost, turn in a powerful engram, and you should see a boost in your base level by 1-3 levels. Go farm a new set of gear at this new base level, and in doing so you’ll likely jump another 1-2 levels. Once you’re at a pretty even level, go turn in another powerful engram. Repeat this process until you’re out of powerful engrams, or server reset hits. This could potentially take several hours which is why you want to plan out your playing time near the end of the week to make sure you have the time to do this.

Just pulling some random numbers in, but if you have 4 powerful engrams to turn in, you could see your base level jump from 240 -> 255 or more. Keep in mind that if you were to turn in all your powerful engrams at once without any farming in between it’s possible you could only see a jump to 245 -> 250 or so. So that’s a good chunk of levels that you could miss out on.

So, continue with this and just rinse and repeat until 265.

Base Power Level and Legendary mods

Okay, before we get much further and start diving into the 265+ part, I know I’ve mentioned base power level a couple times, but never explained what I mean by that. Essentially your base power level is an average power level between all your gear and weapons. I believe each piece is weighted differently, however I don’t have the exact breakdown of that.

I also feel as though it’s important to talk about those legendary mods I’m sure you’ve seen. These legendary mods give you various perks and bonuses that can be equipped on weapons and/or armor. These legendary mods also give you +5 power. So, it’s incredibly important to note that when infusing legendary items and when calculating what level your gear drops at, these legendary mods are not included. This is why you can be at power 270, but yet only get drops at 265. Thus, your base level is what your gear average is without any legendary mods.

Power 265 and above

So, you’ve now hit 265. Ultimately the grind isn’t going to be much different, however it will be a much slower climb. The key here is that you want to have every piece of gear at your base power level or higher. If your getting 267 drops, make sure your kinectic, elemental, power, helmet, arm, chest, boots and class item is 267 or higher. If your arms are 266 or lower, keep farming. Once you get that final piece, head back and turn in one of your powerful engrams. This should boost you 1 or possibly even 2 levels, and then you can farm to get a full set of gear at your new base level. Keep repeating this until you’re out of powerful engrams.

Exotic Quests

There is one exotic quest on each world. You can only complete these once per character and they do not reset each week. This is why I suggested above to hold off on completing these until you were 265+. Once you’re 265 you can start to cycle through these missions and complete them similar to how you completed your other milestones. These exotic quests will drop items at a similar power level as your powerful engrams.

Wearing gear and how it effects your base level

A final note is regarding how the system will figure out your levels. For anyone who played Destiny 1, we all remember the pain of doing the whole dress up game before turning in engrams. Making sure you had your highest light level equipped, etc.

Well thankfully in Destiny 2 you do NOT need to do this. So when you’re grinding 265+ you don’t need to wear all the crappy rare items you’re getting, you don’t need to keep spending legendary shards to infuse your gear for 1 power level. Simply having that gear available to you is enough. The system is supposed to check your vault, your player inventory, and what they’re currently wearing to figure out the optimal highest level you can achieve. This was confirmed behavior by Bungie and is intended to work as such. So don’t worry, you can scrap all the lower level crap, keep on hand the highest power level, and continue to farm while wearing your optimal or most enjoyable load out.

I do suggest playing around with different weapon combo’s though. Farming Public Events and patroling is the perfect time to try a different scout, rifle, smg, etc. So get used to it all and have fun, and don’t worry about what you’re wearing, or how ugly you look when turning in engrams.

That’s about all I have for now. I typed this up at work in between appointments, so if shit seems out of whack, I missed something, or something is unclear, please let me know.


this is very helpful, thank you for taking the time to write this out for us.


Amazing! Saved. Will likely have questions. :slight_smile:


Great post, thank you!


Great post. Looking forwarding to getting into this on the weekend!


FYI added this excellent post to https://strats.co — thanks for the hard work!


Do we have a Strats clan for D2?




So what is the incentive to reach 305 power level? Recommended for the raid is 270 power.


Right now, it’s for the completionists. That said, when the DLC drops you’ll need to up your power level again & it helps to be near max when you start that journey again.


I expect things will progress just like any expansion for any game; there will be new purples to carry me to the minimum level required for the next raid. And I’m ok with that.


To do the raid on Prestige level you need to be level 300 power.


Even though it opens at 270, a team full of 270’s will likely have a really hard go of it (basically having to play very well and having a bit of luck), nevermind the hard mode raid (or Prestige mode, whatever we’re calling it now).


The prestige levels are 300 power as well, so there’s that.


Question for the power levelers: Is it really going to hurt my progress to have one of each class or should I commit to making 3 Warlocks, for example, to maximize loot acquisition?


Personally I think creating 3 of the same class is just dull. If you’re obsessed with power levelling then sure, but my main (only) character is 292 after like 10 days, so it can’t be that bad.


Yeah I’m not sure I can bring myself to having 3 of the same class.


Go for 1 of each. Leveling isn’t truly that bad. Also your weapons still help with it, just not armor.


Me either; my plan in the short term is to have a pair of Warlocks to play a bit of catch-up and maximize my gear acquisition. I didn’t actually play all 3 classes in D1, and I suspect that will be the case in D2 as well, but if I change my mind I can always blow it up when I’m ready to roll the 3rd (and, until then, it’s more shots at the gear I’m after by doing milestones). Tentative plan at this point is a pair of 'locks and a Titan.


That makes a lot of sense.