ELI5: Destiny level cap

Explain it like I’m 5: what’s with the level soft cap? So you hit 20 but you can keep leveling with Light-spec gear? For how long? Is there a hard cap?

Is grouping with 20-25 level ranges different or does it level off?

From the Destiny wiki

Light is a player attribute that boosts the player’s level past 20, increasing the damage done by subclass abilities against higher-level enemies.

The levels are just a rounded approximation that allows you and others to see how much Light a character has on their gear for higher-difficulty content without having to inspect people.

ELI5 Version: Bright light makes big boom.

Edit: For note, 120 light = level 30, which seems to be the highest you can get at this point.

Ah! So everyone is level 20 but that level metric essentially turns into a gear score based on a Light attribute after 20.

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Personally, I think the leveling is moronic. Why cap it (soft or not) at 20? Then just grind and grind and grind until you max out light?

They really goofed on the longevity of this game, in my (unpopular) opinion

I don’t much understand why they chose to do it this way. Just to make leveling harder? Getting light and the right gear is just a matter of good luck, but why leave leveling up to luck rather than doing work as is typical? I haven’t played any other MMOs that do it like this, but apparently WoW does? I’m not sure.

Maybe they didn’t want everyone getting to the Raid required levels.

Well, regardless of the game, all games that utilize levels have a cap followed by an inevitable gear grind. All of them. You can argue that the level cap is too low, but since you earn XP for your individual skills, levels in general are in and of themselves fairly arbitrary in this title. It’s only used as an indicator of what you can and cannot handle fighting, but it has no direct correlation to your character’s skill progression. It just determines how hard your skills hit mobs based on the level difference.

I’m not defending how they set the game up or whether it’s a good system or not; I’m merely pointing out that despite it being a different system than’s been previously applied to games like this, they had to apply something.

Every MMO comes down to luck in regards to gear. It’s all a grind to get that piece that’s slightly better than what you’re already wearing. Maybe you know a specific piece comes from a specific boss in other titles, but it’s never 100% droprate (usually far, far from it). The fact that you can get great gear off any MOB in Destiny is kind of refreshing for me. The prospect of running the same content over and over and over trying to get something is daunting. Getting bored in Destiny? Go grind/farm something else; it can drop the gear too (raid gear notwithstanding).

Also, the “levels” are just a more direct representation of your character’s preparedness for content than other titles provide. They’re actually making it easier for us in that regard. Take WildStar, for example: once you hit 50 (cap) you’re welcome to begin doing Veteran difficulty Adventures and Dungeons. What they don’t tell you or indicate in any way is your character needs to grind gear in Adventures first (the easier content) before you’ll be able to survive the Dungeons. In the same way, you need a certain quality of gear to do harder content in Destiny, but rather than having to establish what that point is via trial and error, they’re telling you exactly what you need to have on in order to complete the content.

Raid have always been a more exclusive type of content. There isn’t a single MMO out there that’s made raiding accessible to every player. Hell, WildStar made it so hard that a ton of people quit. Also, it’s literally the first week, they really have no longevity if the majority of their playerbase completes all the content in the first week of release. A raid should be something the average player has to work hard to do. It should be a grind, it should be difficult. If it wasn’t there’d be no reason to treat the content differently from any other in the game.

Final thought: if they’re planning to increase the level cap with DLC’s, capping it low on release was a very wise decision IMO. It will help keep the power creep at bay. I don’t think we can make accurate judgments as to the quality or intent of the system until we see how they expand on it.


That was an eloquent and well argued perspective and i whole heartedly agree.

There was an interview with Deej or someone else from Bungie, pre-release, where another reason Bungie wanted to keep the level cap low, so your friends could catch up more easily. I wish I could find the interview…makes sense to me, easier to catch up from 1-20 than 1-50.

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