Bungie’s Destiny has become one of the most played games of the year since it released in early September, but a large player base doesn’t necessarily translate to an informed player base. Over the past few weeks I have encountered people who didn’t know how to do some of the most important actions in the game, and in that same period of time, I have learned some very important things that are necessary to progressing your character in the post level 20 end game of Destiny. We all know that Destiny doesn’t do a great job of explaining anything, so here are a few tips for people who are struggling to understand the Destiny meta game. 1. Leveling your gear/your character – Leveling your character post 20 in Destiny is definitely a little different from leveling your character in any other game. Getting your character to surpass level 20 is entirely based on the gear you are wearing the and “Light” level of it. If you look at your gear, you will see attributes on it, usually something like +10 Strength or +15 Intelligence. Once you have reached level 20, you will start to notice the gear you are getting will have a new attribute, +Light. The amount of light on your gear is what levels up your character after level 20, so it is in your best interest to seek out gear with a high Light attribute. These pieces will likely come from legendary/exotic engram drops or from the Vanguard/Crucible vendors. Now once you have gear with the +Light attribute on it, you will have to concentrate on leveling that gear. Leveling the gear will increase the amount of each attribute attached to it. For example, if a piece of gear starts with +10 Strength and +8 Light, leveling that gear will increase those attributes. The best way to level gear is by completing Bounty mission, which can be found at the Bounty robot on the Tower, finishing Strike and Patrol missions, completing Crucible matches, and by killing enemies while the gear is equipped. Each time a piece of gear gains a level, there will be a “+” by it in your inventory screen. From there, just open the info on the piece of gear and click the circles to level it up. By leveling your gear after 20, you are leveling your character. 2. Choosing a faction – We all know about the Vanguard and Crucible vendors on the Tower. They are the people you can buy legendary gear from after you have a level 20 character and have reached level 2 reputation with them. What most people don’t know about are the other factions located on the Tower that you can also build reputation with and buy gear from. These faction vendors are found scattered throughout the Tower and offer the same types of gear you can get from the Crucible and Vanguard vendors. The main difference is that each faction vendor’s gear has 2 set attributes on it plus the Light attribute. For example, each piece of gear that you buy from the New Monarchy will have Strength and Intelligence on it, so if you want to exclusively level those two attributes and completely forget about Discipline, they are the faction for you. There are other factions around the Tower that offer different attribute combinations, so finding a faction is all about finding the one that offers the 2 attributes you want to focus on. In order to gain reputation with your new faction, you will need to buy your class’s vanity item from the faction vendor and wear it at all times. By wearing the faction specific vanity item, all of the experience you gain from bounty missions, patrol missions, strike missions, and crucible matches goes toward your reputation with your chosen faction. Once you reach reputation level 2, you can buy your new gear with crucible marks. In my opinion, the grind to reputation level 2 with a faction like New Monarchy or Dead Orbit goes a bit faster than the grind to reach level 2 with Vanguard or Crucible, mostly because every bit of experience you get goes to that faction. 3. Daily and Weekly Missions – Are you in need of ascendant materials or strange coins? Well the answer to your prayers might be right in front of your face. Weekly and Daily missions become available to Destiny players once you hit level 20. By doing these Daily and Weekly missions, you are accomplishing 2 goals, gaining more reputation for your chosen faction and getting your hands on elusive materials like ascendant shards/ascendant energy and the mysterious Strange Coin currency. You can jump into these missions by opening up your orbit map and looking directly to the left and selecting one of the missions along the left screen boundary. Each week there will be a Weekly Nightfall Strike (suggested level 28) and a Weekly Heroic Strike (suggested level 22 and up) that give very useful gear and currency. Completing the Weekly Heroic Strike on the lvl 26 or lvl 28 difficulty will reward you with very useful Strange Coins that can be redeemed for Exotic weapons or armor from Xur, the weekend vendor. Completing the Weekly Nightfall Strike, which is no easy feat, will reward you with anything from Exotic weapons and armor to ascendant materials, all of which are very useful. The Daily Heroic mission, when done on the 2 higher difficulties, will reward you with either 1 or 2 ascendant materials, depending on the level you do it at. As we all know, ascendant shards and energy are extremely important when upgrading your exotic/legendary armor and weapons. Doing these Daily and Weekly missions can drastically lessen the time it takes to procure all of these materials and level your character up. Just think about it, if you do your daily heroic mission on the hardest difficulty every day for a week, it will bank you 14 hard to get ascendant materials! 4. Farming Materials – You have already read the section about how important it is to level up your gear once you have reached level 20 in Destiny, so now you are probably wondering how in the cosmos you are going to get all of these materials you need to level the gear! Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get them. Getting the materials you need comes down to farming that material on the planet that it occurs on. For example, most high level gear requires Spirit Bloom to level it up. Spirit Bloom is found exclusively on Venus, so the best way to get it is to heard to Venus’ patrol area and ride around on your sparrow looking for Spirit Bloom. Doesn’t sound very appealing? Well there are some spots that produce more Spirit Bloom than others, so finding a good farming area is essential. The best way to do that is to search for well known farming locations on the internet. Above I have 1 of many YouTube videos linked that show a Spirit Bloom farming run, and a cursory YouTube search for any material you are looking for, eg.: Spirit Bloom, Spinmetal, Helium Filaments, or any others, plus the word “farming” will give you a bunch of results of people running the best farming routes. From there, it is all up to you. I have found that it is best to run with another person of with a full 3 man fire team. That way you have more eyes on an area and you can scour a larger area for the materials. 5. Elemental Damage and How to use it – Elemental damage modifiers on weapons are common in most RPG based games. If you have ever played an MMO, or even a game like Borderlands, you have encountered weapons with elemental damage modifiers. Destiny’s elemental damage modifiers are pretty easy to spot. The flame on a weapons info screen indicated a fire damage modifier, the blue ninja star indicates lightning damage, and the purple swirl indicates void damage. While elemental damage works in a pretty normal way in Destiny as it does to other games, one of the most overlooked aspects of elemental damage in Destiny is how it is used to take down enemy shields. If you look closely at shielded enemies, the shield has a specific color to it. That color always corresponds to the shield’s weakness. So if an enemy has a red/orange colored shield, a weapon with a fire damage modified will rip it away. Purple? Pull out a void damage weapon and drop that shield before the enemy knows where you are. Blue shields indicate a weakness to lightning damage weapons, so if you see a tint of blue, call down the lightning! Aside from weapons, each character subclass has a certain elemental affinity. For example, the Defender subclass of the Titan is a Void subclass. The Grenades used by Defender Titans deal void damage, while the Striker subclass is lightning based. The Sunglinger Warlock is a fire based subclass, while the Voidwalker is a void based subclass. The Hunter’s Gunslinger subclass is fire based and the Bladedancer subclass is lightning based. There you have it, some very important tips to help you make the most of your Destiny experience. If you have any question about Destiny, or if you have a tip to give us, leave a comment below or tweet at us @GAWeekly!