The Destiny franchise has always been known for having a fairly intense and time-consuming grind. In the first game, whether you were hunting for god-rolled weapons or trying to min-max your stats, there was always something to do. In Destiny 2, things became a lot easier, which made a few hardcore fans agitated.
The Forsaken expansion, however, tweaks things a bit. The grind is indeed back, and it is real. Getting to 600 or max Power Level (PL) — which veteran Guardians also call “Light Level” or “Light” — is no joke. We do have a basic guide for “Everything you need to know” about Destiny 2: Forsaken which you can check out. However, this particular leveling guide for reaching 600 PL will be more detailed.
Please note that a lot of the information presented has been collected from various community members on Reddit, namely Daniel300999, Primidius, and Zephaus. These three exemplary Guardians were able to provide a lot of help regarding power level thresholds, gear drop tiers, and scaling. I’ve simply added some input here and there as someone who’s already reached the 600 PL mark on two of my characters (Titan and Warlock).
Destiny 2: Forsaken — The Basics Of Leveling Up
A lot of players will feel daunted knowing that the grind to 600 or max Power Level can be a bit much. That’s a fair assessment. Those who have full-time jobs or families may feel that they’re getting left behind as well. These are some basic ideas to apply:
1. Don’t rush. Play at your own pace
You don’t need to rush it. The raids will still be there. The missions will cycle around. Play at a pace you’re comfortable with and don’t sweat it.
2. Don’t do an activity if you don’t enjoy it
Some activities require hundreds of Crucible kills or Gambit grinding to complete just to get a powerful gear to drop. If you don’t like these activities, that’s fine as well. Do what you love to do and eventually you’ll get to max PL.
3. Group up whenever possible
While many activities can be done by a solo player, group play is where it’s at. If you can find a decent group to do Gambit or Crucible matches, or even certain Dreaming City missions, then do so. It makes everything a breeze.
4. Have three different characters
If you make three characters, make sure they’re three different classes. Making the same class for your alt will prevent it from getting certain powerful gear drops once your main already obtained those for the week. Once you’ve done every milestone/bounty on that character, switch to the one with the second highest PL.
5. Focus on them one at a time
But even if you have three, just focus on one. This is regardless of which class you like best or what you consider as your main. Due to RNG, you might get the drops you need on your Warlock instead of your Hunter. If a certain character is higher PL, focus on that first to ensure that you get better drops. Remember that weapons can be passed from one character to another to boost their PL as well.
6. You don’t need to have these items equipped
You don’t need to have your highest PL items equipped. It’s fine if they remain in your character’s inventory. No need to change items every Strike or Last Wish boss fight just to ensure you’d get higher drops.
7. Focus on the task and some time management
For the sake of comparison, I’m in my mid-30s and self-employed. Apart from writing for PC Invasion and other websites under the Enthusiast Gaming umbrella, I also own a small business. I’m also a family man with a wife and a three-year-old to take care of. I have my hands full with adult responsibilities. What I am very good at is time management. I choose the activities I want to complete for the day in Destiny 2: Forsaken. I see these through to maximize my output for the day.
Any player who is a family man or a working adult might find the grind too daunting, but a little time management and focusing on the task at hand will see you through. However, for those who can spare three to four hours a day while focusing on the tasks that need to get completed, you should be done in no time.
Forsaken Activities And Powerful Gear Drop Tiers
Check out the infographic above from Zephaus. The information that he and other users provided has been quite helpful in knowing which activities to complete depending on your current Power Level.
When you reach a certain PL, the powerful gear that drops from these activities and milestones will have a soft cap. That means they’ll only drop +1 to +2 of your current status. You’ll need to do activities in the higher tiers to get drops that are +5, or even up to +10 of your current PL. Here are the tiers:
Tier 1: 520 Power Level Soft Cap
- one Strike
- one Crucible match
- one Gambit match
- one Heroic Adventure
- three Strike with a teammate using the same subclass
- five Crucible matches completed
- three Gambit matches completed
- three Heroic Story Missions – Pick the easiest and fastest ones to complete if they’re available like Pilgrimage, Riptide, The Gateway, Deep Storage, and Hijacked.
- Ikora’s Challenge (20 bounties) – If you’ve already done this for the week and have bounties to spare, keep them in your inventory and turn them in next week to get some additions to your tally
- Clan Engrams – completing a Raid, Nightfall, Gambit, and Crucible match with a clanmate
- Spider main Wanted Bounty (five Ghost Fragments to buy)
- Crucible – the first time you increase your Valor rank per tier
- Crucible – Valor reset at Legend rank
- Also for Crucible – Glory (Competitive) rank ups
- Gambit – the first time you increase your Infamy rank per tier
- Complete a Strike wearing the full Vanguard armor set (Vigil)
- Win a Crucible match wearing the full Crucible armor set (Wing)
- Win a Gambit match wearing the full Gambit armor set (Ancient Apocalypse)
All of these activities offer the most opportunities to get powerful gear. Unfortunately, they all cap at 520 PL. Once you get past that hump, they’ll merely drop at +1 or +2 PL. So if you’re 540+ already, you shouldn’t prioritize these activities unless you have no other choice.
Tier 2: 540 Power Level Soft Cap
- Petra’s Quest – These are story missions from Petra that change each week to signify the corruption that’s slowly seeping in the Dreaming City.
- Nightfall – regular completion, score not taken into consideration
- Nightfall – 100k score threshold
There are three Nightfall Strikes to choose from each week. You’ll want to pick the option with the most number of mobs and which won’t be a hassle for your fireteam. Match it with an appropriate elemental singe or burn, as well as the Match Game, Extinguish, and Blackout modifiers. You can add a handicap to increase the score as well.
Certain Nightfall Strikes like Strange Terrain (Nokris), Will of the Thousands (Xol), Savathun’s Song, and the Pyramidion are very easy to complete. They offer tons of mobs to rack up your score. Just remember to have players with the appropriate elemental weapons to break enemy shields due to the Match Game modifier.
Finally, prior to hitting 540 PL, Nightfalls can drop blue gear at -5 your current PL. You can even hit Lost Sectors while doing a Nightfall and they’d give you the scaled drops. Let’s say you’re 539 PL and your gloves are holding you back. Load up a Nightfall and go to the closest Lost Sector and start farming until you get gloves that would put you more in line with your current status.
Tier 3: 560 Power Level Soft Cap
- Petra’s Quest (eight daily bounties completed) – To save time, log on and pick up bounties before the daily reset. Pick up the next ones that become available once the daily reset happens. Pick the eight easiest ones you can do.
- Gambit – Infamy rank reset
- Exotic Quests (Ace of Spades, The Chaperone) – These ones will only be +3 after 560 PL. Don’t pick these up from the NPC unless it gives you a full PL boost for that weapon slot. For the record, I’m unsure whether this applies to Malfeasance and Wish Ender. That’s because I obtained these at max/600 PL already.
Tier 4: 580 Power Level Soft Cap
- Petra’s Quest – These are the two Weekly Bounties she offers: Ascendant Challenge and Offering to the Oracle.
- Ascendant Challenge – On top of that, completing the Ascendant Challenge in the Dreaming City also drops powerful gear.
- Exotic drops from RNG – Exotics that drop in the wild (very rarely, mind you) can drop at a PL up to this threshold.
- Last Wish raid – The first three bosses (Kalli, Shuro Chi, and Morgeth) will drop items only up to a specific threshold.
- Blind Well Tier 4/Heroic – Completing the Blind Well’s heroic version will grant a powerful gear drop once a week per character.
- Iron Banner bounties – “Unrelenting” (15 final blows when your team has a power play) and “To Be Precise” (100 precision kills)
Tier 5: 600 or Max Level Cap
All of these activities will drop items at max Power Level. Some are fairly manageable, and others are the toughest ones in the game.
- Weekly Clan bounty – The 5,000 XP bounty can award +3 PL.
- Weekly Clan Challenge – Available at Rank 4. Done by completing challenges in the Last Wish raid.
- Last Wish raid – Both the Vault encounter and Riven can drop items up to +10 of your current power level even beyond 580.
- Gambit powerful gear bounties – Each week, The Drifter will have one weekly bounty that awards powerful gear for you.
- Prime Engrams – Prime Engrams can drop up to max light and are one of the best ways to increase your PL. They’re a catch-up mechanic obtained from killing majors and bosses, as well as completing Crucible matches. You can pick up one to three per day without your Prime Attunement buff disappearing. Then again, you could just farm spots where majors (yellow health bar mobs) appear often. But that’d be fairly boring.
- The Shattered Throne – The secret mission which eventually leads you to face Dul Incaru, and later on obtain the Wish Ender exotic bow has three encounters. All of these encounters will give you powerful gear. Check out our Shattered Throne/Wish Ender guide to know more.
Power Level Tiers… Now What?
Now that you know all there is to know about min-maxing your powerful gear drops, what should you do about it?
Hardest First, Easiest Later
Let’s assume that you do have the time to grind and you’re open to trying out all the content that Destiny 2: Forsaken has to offer. Well, the basic rule of thumb is to always prioritize the activity that will give you the biggest boost.
If you’re 585 PL, don’t just start doing those dailies for no reason. You’re not going to get much from them. Instead, do your Gambit weekly bounty for the powerful gear or even the Last Wish raid. And if you’re doing Last Wish, don’t just join a group that’s at Kalli or Shuro Chi. Nothing’s more disappointing than getting a +1 or +2 drop. Go ahead and tackle the Vault and the Riven boss fight. Too worried about how you’d fare? Check out our complete Last Wish raid guide.
Get That Extra Ethereal Key
The Well of Wishes lies inside the Last Wish raid. You can input a certain combination of images, changing each panel by shooting them with your gun. Various combinations can yield different results. The one you’d want is that particular combination above.
- Upper Left – “Fish left x4”
- Lower Left – “Snake eight x4”
- Upper Right – “Bird branch x4”
- Lower Right – “Fish up x4”
- Center top – “Bird branch”
- Center bottom – “Dragon/fire right”
- The two other panels are left blank
Once you’ve completed that combination, step on the glowing panel on the floor and you’ll get an Ethereal key. The only other place this key can drop from is once you’ve beaten Riven, the final boss in Last Wish. It’s used to open the chests at the end of the Queenswalk/Riven’s Heart Gauntlet, which drop max PL gear, including the One Thousand Voices exotic. Getting an extra Ethereal Key means you’ve got two chances for some great loot once you’ve reached the statue/chests room.
By the way, here’s how you can get to the Well of Wishes, courtesy of YouTube user MisterBo:
Bungie-Curated Drops Or God Rolls
When you’ve beaten a Last Wish boss, there’s a chance that you might get a weapon that’s fully masterworked. These are the Bungie-curated items with god rolls. As far as we can tell, these can drop up to +10 of your current PL as well. For instance, my Nation of Beasts had the “Fatebringer roll” — fully masterworked and at 595 PL. I was 585 around that time and it dropped from Kalli.
God-rolled/non-raid weapons from the Dreaming City can also drop when you turn in milestones or bounties. Unfortunately, we’re not yet certain if they’d be at a significantly higher power level than others.
Shattered Throne, Baby!
The Shattered Throne is recommended for 570+ PL characters. But you don’t want to do this at 570 PL. That’s because the drops can scale up to the highest tier. Instead, you’ll want to do this at 580+ to ensure that you get the highest possible drops.
In my case, I did this mini-raid or dungeon when I was 596 on my Warlock. I left that activity at 600 PL due to some lucky drops, all of which were at 600 PL.
Be Efficient In Your Enjoyment, Or Enjoy The Efficiency
Again, if you can’t play for prolonged periods, it’s fine. Do the activities that you can do. If you’re at 580+ and have three hours to raid, focus on Riven first. If you’re 540, go ahead and do Kalli, Shuro Chi, and Morgeth. Don’t have time to grind out those Iron Banner bounties whenever the event is live? That’s totally okay. Just do Petra’s challenges or Blind Well heroic to compensate.
Also, the best way to avoid getting burned out by the grind is to find a means of enjoyment. Listen to some music. Group up with some friends. And knock out those milestones one after the other by prioritizing the activities that get you the most bang for your buck.
We hope this leveling guide helps you out during the grind. And hey, look at my snazzy 600 PL Titan up there casually wielding a maxed-out One Thousand Voices from Riven. Just take your time and you’ll eventually get there.