I've been playing destiny for a few weeks. It took me 8 or 9 days to get to level 20, and then only a few days to get to level 25, but I've been stuck at level 25 for a week. The only way I can see to reliably level up is to increase my Vanguard rank and buy armor from the Warlock mentor. Trouble is, it's taking a really long time to get to Vanguard rank 2. Except for the occasional bounty I can only seem to earn 10 Vanguard rank points at a time, which means 200 missions to get to rank 2.

Am I missing something, or is it really this tedious to level up in the later stages of the game? Is there any list of armour to favour to level up quicker?

By the way I'm a Warlock Sunsinger, and I'm trying to level up to make the DLC level 26 missions possible.

5 Answers 5


With the release of The Taken King, light level and character level have been separated and the progression system has been redesigned.

Character level now progresses all the way to 40, rather than stopping at 20. Continuing to level beyond 20 is simple - you gain experience points as normal. The main point of character level is to enable you to equip more powerful gear, which directly influences your light level.

Light is now the average of all your attack/defense values (in the 2.0 update, Attack and Defense values were rebalanced to reflect this). Your light level progresses as you acquire better gear, and is now affected by your weapons as well.

So, how do you obtain stronger gear in The Taken King? There are a few ways:

  • Legendary Marks: these are the most obvious. Legendary Marks replace Crucible and Vanguard marks as the new currency du jour. Many quests reward Vanguard marks, but the primary way to obtain them is the Vanguard Heroic Strike playlist. Your first three strikes on this playlist per week per account award you an additional 10 Legendary Marks. These marks can be used to purchase Vanguard or Crucible gear (which still require reputation, but reputation is easier to acquire in The Taken King) or craft Year 2 Exotics.
  • Strikes: While you're gathering your Legendary Marks in strikes, you have chances to obtain Vanguard gear as normal drops. A new mechanic added in The Taken King is chaining strikes: the longer you stay in a playlist without returning to orbit the better your rewards will be. Presumably this applies to Legendary Marks from the Heroic playlist, but I haven't been able to test that yet.
  • Crucible: The Crucible rewards gear and Legendary Marks as well. Playing each week's featured playlist will earn you Legendary Marks, reputation, and a chance at Crucible gear. Lord Shaxx now offers quests and special bounties as well - completing all of these in a week will reward "nightfall-like rewards".
  • Nightfall and Raiding: These require a pretty good light level already, but have very attractive rewards. Note that neither of these are matchmade: If you don't have friends who are willing to do this, I recommend using a service like destinylfg.com
  • Thanks, I actually happened across a new piece of armour from the postmaster within an hour of posting this question,so I'm now level 26! But I will follow your advice also.
    – Ian Newson
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 14:09
  • 1
    Level 26 strike playlists are best for farming blues, even if you are only at 25. The blue engrams can push you up through the cryptarch ranks pretty quickly, this is where I've gotten the majority of my legendaries Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 16:26
  • 1
    Make sure to do at least 1 public event each day. Each one will give you marks + rep, and the first one will give you a package at the postmaster with materials in it.
    – Adeese
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 21:16
  • @Adeese Good point. I forgot about that. I'll edit it into my answer.
    – two bugs
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 21:49
  • I do believe this answer is out of date, now, due to recent major changes and the release of Taken King
    – user106385
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 1:58

Most gear, even when maxed out will not be able to get you to max level of 32. The only gear that will get you to level 32 is the gear you get from do the Crota Raid. Then if you max level them all and have 1 fully leveled exotic piece of gear you will hit level 32. It's much easier to get to level 31 though.

To get to 31 you only need 1 fully leveled exotic and the rest of your gear can be bought from the Vanguard or Crucible quartermaster. I recommend using an exotic Helm for your warlock because helms are more expensive to buy from the quartermaster than the other 3 pieces of gear.

The way I leveled my Warlock: Got an exotic helm and leveled it up. Bought Gauntlets, Boots, and Chest from Vanguard Quartermaster in the tower. Leveled those up. Now I am level 31.

A good way to get vanguard marks every day is to find Daily Public Events. You will get 4 marks every time you complete one and you can find them by using the website: DestinyPublicEvents.com. You can do them more than once per day. I know you can do it at least 3 times a day to get vanguard marks but you may be able to do them more than that. I can't remember if they stop after 3 times.

To get to Level 32: Play Crota raid as much as you can to get the raid gear now that you are level 31.

One last thing: The level cap will be raised from 32 to 34 with all new gear coming out in the newest expansion. The release date for the House of Wolves expansion is May 19th. The good news is that they will have a way to upgrade ANY legendary or exotic gear to be able to get you to level 34 when maxed out. So rest assured that the gear you are working towards now to get to level 31 or 32 will still be useful with the next expansion. Unlike how the last expansion made all our old gear practically worthless!


You might have all the legendary armor with 33 light, which would make you a lvl 31. The problem I see here is that you aren't upgrading them. They get more light as you upgrade them. Of you fully upgrade (incl. upgrade defense). And vanguard ranks are fast with bounties and patrol. Considering you do 5 bounties, it gives you ~350 reputation. The. it takes only 10 patrols to get 100 reputation (Note that Assasination patrols give you 25). If you have completed the Weekly nightfall strike, reputation gains are faster. You get about a quarter more rep. You get 31 instead of 25, 12 instead of 10, 125 instead of 100...

List of armor light (all fully leveled)

Crota's end gear and exotic armor = 36 light (full set level 32)

Vanguard, crucible and other common legendary armor = 33 light (Full set = level 31)

Vault of glass gear = 30 light (Full set = Level 30)

here is a list of light levels and the wiki page of light.

  • My armour is currently fully upgraded. You're right about bounties. I had been doing normal patrol missions which are typically work 10 rep, but that's an incredibly tedious way to earn 2000 rep... I've started picking and choosing bounties worth 100 rep, and now I'm only 150 rep away from rank 2.
    – Ian Newson
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 12:08
  • Good. Then that is about 15 patrols away. One more thing, what armor do you have? With rare equipped and fully leveled, you wont level up above 25. You might need better armor with more max light
    – John K
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 12:11
  • Yeah it's all rare armour. I'd love to get some legendary, but I believe this is effectively random? With the exception of purchasing some from some people at the tower, which is why I'm trying to achieve vanguard rank 2.
    – Ian Newson
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 14:15
  • Right. do rank 2, buy armor. Once you level to 30 or 31 you can do the weeklly nightfall strike. It is a torment, but its totally worth it. You get legendary or exotic almost guranteed
    – John K
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 6:31

Your best bet for leveling from that point is to purchase a set of armor from the Vanguard vendor (or to hopefully find some). In order to find a legendary piece of armor at level 25, your best bet is to do the hardest setting available for the weekly heroic once, and after that just run the strike list.

It would also be advisable to save up about 13 strange coins so you can purchase an exotic item from Xur. This, in combination with a legendary set of light 33 will get you to level 31 when fully leveled.

Leveling armor is best done by completing bounties. If you are not into crucible (which I honestly cannot get enough of) you can still do the PvE bounties. There are 9-ish (depends on Eris's available bounties) bounties you can do per day. Doing all 9 and then turning them all in will level your armor very quickly.

Once you reach level 27 a lot more doors will open up. Doing the nightfall gives you a buff until the next reset which will grant extra experience gained from bounties and rewards (this will help with leveling armor). At this point you can also do the raids (if you find a group willing to carry you). DestinyLFG.com is a good place to find nightfall and raid groups.


  • Buy vendor armor
  • Complete as many bounties per day as you can
  • Do the Heroic Strike on hardest possible setting once a week
  • Grind the strike list

Please note that with the most recent update if you perhaps get an etheric light as a random drop you can also upgrade your gear... but this is easily the hardest method.

  • It is not possible to access content at level 25 which would reward an etheric light.
    – Travis J
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 23:29

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