When levelling a sub-class is it possible to upgrade all the abilities in a whole sub-class or are the number of upgrades limited meaning that you have to pick certain ones?

I read on the Destiny Wiki that sub-classes are levelled independently so I assume that you can switch them out as you like after lv15. Does this mean that essentially there are 40 levels worth of class upgrades to unlock?

Plus if the second sub-class becomes available at lv15 and the 'soft cap' is lv20, how do you upgrade all the abilities in the sub-class with only 5 levels of experience?

  • The second sub-class is available for all characters, including new ones you might create, once a single character hits 15.
    – Eben
    Sep 24, 2014 at 20:03
  • Wait, so my Titan could be a blade dancer? As I'm playing Hunter mainly? That's pretty awesome.
    – Neon1024
    Sep 24, 2014 at 22:41
  • No. Just that when you start a new hunter you can pick blade dancer right away instead of waiting until level 15. I didn't make that exactly clear in my first comment, did I? >.>
    – Eben
    Sep 25, 2014 at 8:15

2 Answers 2


Experience in Destiny counts towards 3 separate areas:

  • Your level, up to level 20
  • Your active skill subclass
  • Your equipped items

If you kill a mob, for each 1 experience point you get, 1 experience point is attributed towards each of the 3 separate areas above.

Let's take an example.

You kill a Dreg at level 15. Dregs give 20 experience.

  • Your level gets 20 more experience points towards level 16
  • Your active subclass gains 20 more experience points towards the next skill(s) to unlock
  • Your equipped armor items get 20 experience towards their next upgrade points (if they can be upgraded)
  • Your equipped weapons get 20 experience towards their next upgrade points (again if they can be upgraded)

If you kill the same Dreg at level 20, your level does not gain any more experience and will stay at 20. You need armor with +Light stat to gain more "light level" above 20. However, the rest of the areas get the same experience as before.

This means that you can unlock all skills on both subclasses with time.

Note You do not unlock skills because you level. Since both your level and your skills get XP, to begin with it seems that every time you level up you gain a skill but that is just because the same amount of XP is needed both for the next skill and the next level. If you momentarily switch to your other subclass and earn some XP, the level and skill XP will be out of sync, so you'll gain a level when killing one mob, and gain a new skill a bit later.

Things I don't know:

  • Do all weapons get experience, or only the one(s) you used to kill the mob with? If you used two weapons, do they both get XP, do they get 20 each or a portion of the 20 each?
  • Do all armor items get 20 each, or a portion of the 20 (say 5 each)?
  • Do all skills that currently have a progress bar get 20 each, or a portion of the 20 (say 10 each if you have 2 that currently have a progress bar)?
  • 4
    Although exp doesn't go towards leveling up past 20, it does get converted into Motes of Light. So even if you max out all of your stuff, farming additional exp won't be "wasteful". Also, you probably shouldn't ask questions in your answer. You can ask those questions and then link them here if you wish.
    – Rapitor
    Sep 24, 2014 at 12:13
  • All of your actively equipped items get the exp for anything killed when you're the killer or standing near the killer. The amount they get is the same no matter who many others have progress bars needing filling. The easiest way to test this (that I did) was by turning in bounties that are fixed amount of xp.
    – Eben
    Sep 24, 2014 at 20:02
  • I notice you can buy items with Motes of Light, so I guess they are both exp and a form of currency.
    – Neon1024
    Sep 24, 2014 at 22:43
  • Not quite, you don't rank anything by earning Motes of Light. You earn Motes of Light by doing things that give you XP, but they don't count as anything but a currency. Sep 25, 2014 at 6:52

You can still gain experience after level 20 just not for your Level.

I cannot level any higher without Light currently but by completing bounties I gain experience and therefore weapons, armours and my sub-class all continue to level up from the experience gained from these bounties. I assume from this, you could upgrade a sub-class fully and if you choose too, both sub-classes. Also regular kills and Crucible fighting gains you experience for gear and sub-classes but not as noticeably large amounts like bounties.

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