Destiny 2.0 and The Taken King brought many changes to how Light, Armor, Weapons, and other gear affect your Level and combat effectiveness. Some of the most pertinent changes are:

  • Level no longer dependent upon Light, and therefore no longer dependent upon Armor.
  • Level advancements are through earning XP only.
  • Light still affects combat effectiveness (damage dealt/taken) and certain missions or difficulty selections will require or recommend a minimum Light value.
  • Light is (approximately) an average of the Attack/Defense values of all your equipped gear (Armor/Weapons/etc.).
  • Maxed Year 1 gear ("365" Weapons, fully-upgraded Legendary/Exotic Armor) now have Attack/Defense ratings of 170.
  • Level cap raised to 40.
  • Year 2 gear can have Attack/Defense well above 170, even down at the Common level.

Given all this, I'm now wondering: What's the new "level 34" or "365"? Under the new mechanics, this boils down to: What's the highest Attack/Defense rating for Year 2 equipment?

  • We probably aren't going to know for sure until the raid is released this Friday, but TTK exotics have the ability to consume another piece of equipment to improve their values. The default attack/defense values for TTK exotics seems to be 280, currently. – two bugs Sep 16 '15 at 16:08
  • @twobugs A pre-requisite of Infusion though is that the consumed exotic must be higher Attack/Defense than the one being Infused. – Iszi Sep 16 '15 at 16:17

The light "level" of your character is an average of your gear's light.

For this reason, at level 34 when everyone only had 170 gear the "cap" was 170. Now, for the same reason, the cap of gear's light level will be the cap of player light level.

I have seen prior that the new Trials of Osiris lighthouse gear will be given out fully maxed at 310. This leads me to believe that 310 is the cap for gear, and by relation 310 would be the light level cap.

As the release was only yesterday, there is obviously going to be more information to come, but for now this is as close as possible.

List of Taken King known gear
Video of several 310 Trials pieces along with other new gear
310 Auto Rifle Doctrine of Passing (Adept)destinyDB "Death is the best teacher"


After playing for some more time, here is the breakdown.

Non raid gear, even blues and legendaries, will only drop with a cap of 300.

In order to reach this pre raid level, it is best to identify your items from the cryptarch one item at a time, ensuring to equip it as you go if it is a higher light level - this will affect future light levels in identified engrams.

In general, the raid is very smooth with a light level of 295.

So if you do not raid, your light level will cap at 300. In order to reach the 310 gear the raid must be completed or attempted. At which point, a full 310 set would place your guardian at 310 which is the overall cap.

Now with hardmode out dropping 320, and Trials gear dropping 320, the cap is at 320 light. Some surmise that it is not possible to reach without an Artifact however this is incorrect. As the light level of your character is an average, if you never get an artifact that slot is not included in the average. The result is that several people have taken advantage of this and reached 320 already. There is probably something to be said for a tradeoff of stats (lost int,disc,str) but it is possible and achieved at present.

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    Link to source for 310? – Iszi Sep 16 '15 at 22:11
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    @Iszi - I added a few links at the bottom showing some of the 310 light gear available. – Travis J Sep 16 '15 at 23:54
  • I just had a look at Bungie's Armory. (Don't know why I didn't think of that earlier.) Seems like the only 310 gear there is right now are: 3 Exotic Swords (one for each damage type) and 4 Legendary primary weapons (one of each primary weapon type), The highest armor there is are Exotic faction-specific class items (Cloaks, Bonds, Marks) with 290 Defense. – Iszi Sep 17 '15 at 13:46
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    Ok. I looked. (Nearly forgot you can do it on Bungie's site.) Armor and weapons cap at 170. Class items at 140. Bummer. That used to be the "easy way" to get a maxed set, if you didn't mind waiting through a few weekly cycles. – Iszi Sep 22 '15 at 21:19
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    @Iszi - The best way to level is to make sure that you have your max amount of light on when identifying engrams. Only id one engram at a time, and if it raises your light put it on before identifying the next one. – Travis J Sep 22 '15 at 21:22

With the release of the hard mode King's Fall and boss challenges, the light cap is 320 light.

Legendary weapons, armor, and ghosts can drop in the hard mode raid, and Trials of Osiris, at up to 320 light. A legendary, 320 light artifact can be obtained from the hard mode raid challenge added the week of 12/1/2015.

This means that all slots can be upgraded to 320 light, for a maximum gear score of 320 light.

It is also worth noting, that at this time, exotic items do not drop above 310 light, but they can be infused above 310. The 330 light exotics that were data-mined seemed to have disappeared.

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  • +1 Just to clarify, if you decrypt an exotic engram while your character is above 300 light, it has a chance to be 310. Above 310 light, this chance increases. – two bugs Nov 6 '15 at 18:03
  • This is not accurate. The cap is 320, and there are players at 320 already. – Travis J Nov 6 '15 at 19:01
  • @twobugs The probability of getting 310 from an exotic engram is already pretty high in my experience, and I've only made it up to 305 so far. Raise it any more and it'll be practically guaranteed. Now I just wish Legendaries would be so generous. – Iszi Nov 6 '15 at 19:22
  • @TravisJ provide proof, to my knowledge, there is no artifact that drops higher than 310 from "The Taken War" quest line. – turbo Nov 6 '15 at 19:52
  • It doesn't, but you don't need one. If you never complete the artifact quest then that slot is not computed. I added an edit in my answer to address this. – Travis J Nov 6 '15 at 19:53

After you complete the court of oryx I was rewarded with a titan mark with 300 defense. I'm thinking that 300 is max for ant non raid gear or ToO gear

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  • That's a good data point, but I'm not sure it alone is enough to be conclusive. – Iszi Sep 25 '15 at 15:13
  • Its also innaccurate, as I often see 305s in crucible – user106385 Nov 13 '15 at 21:34

Lvl cap is well over 310 if you have an exotic sword it's starting damage is 310 and you can fuse other items to get it higher still

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    Is there a source to validate your claim? – nine Sep 25 '15 at 15:04
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    But what items are you going to find that are higher than 310, to use for infusion? – Iszi Sep 25 '15 at 15:11

Just got the Hunter exotic Sealed Ahmakara Grips at 290 defence from an exotic engram drop at Draksis with three coin buff activated. I don't believe the grips can be ascended any further.

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    This is a very isolated case example, and really can't be used alone as a representative of the limitation (if any) on all high-end gear. – Iszi Sep 22 '15 at 21:21

Theoretically, there is no maximum light level. Heres why:

Your current light level affects the light level of decrypted engrams. When my overall light level was 240, the engrams I decrypted were anywhere from 220 - 260ish. Now that I am light level 280+, the majority of my engrams decrypt to 260 - 300. Using that formula, we could assume that reaching light level 310 will decrypt engrams that are 290 - 330 light, and at 330 light, engrams will decrypt to 310 - 350, and so on.

However, I haven't seen an uncommon (green) above 200 light.

So, when I'm decrypting a ton of rare/legendary engrams, I will check each one as it decrypts, equipping it if its a higher light level, as this will affect the value of the next engram decrypted. Pro-tip, save legendaries for last.

The old system of rare < legendary < exotics is obsolete as far as light is concerned. Though, legendaries seem to have 2-3 perks, and 100-120 stat points total, while rares have 1-2 perks and 50-75 stat points total.

Also, infusion seems to follow this equation:
ceil(((D - I) * 0.8) + I) = L

D = light value of the item to be dismantled
I = light value of the item to be infused
L = new light value of the infused item
ceil = round up to whole number

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    Is there a source for some of these? – nine Sep 21 '15 at 12:35
  • While it would be nice to believe that this offers an infinite amount of light progression, it's very unlikely to be true. It would seriously break game balance, and allow players to rise well above the "level" of even the newest Raids - and Raids are always supposed to be geared slightly above the highest player level. Never mind what it would do to Trials of Osiris or Iron Banner! Chances are, there is an actual cap and once you reach 310 (if that's it) you just continue to get stuff in the 270-310 range until they bump the limit again with a new DLC. – Iszi Sep 22 '15 at 21:23

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