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I just hit power level 900 rather quickly after playing D2 for the last 3 days. However, it seems now that my power level goes up rather slowly, by at least 1-2 every few hours.

It doesn't seem level is tied to the power level -- in fact for some reason, when I started playing, I was already at max level, with all the skill trees unlocked.

What is the max power level in D2, and how do I get there?

7

What is the max power level?

The maximum light changes with each season and/or major update. This answer is to track the increases to the caps (historical1 and current). The following light levels are based on equipped gear only and does not take artifacts into account.

  • Season of the Hunt (Beyond Light Expansion): 1250 (1260 with Pinnacle gear)
  • Season of the Arrivals: 1050 (1060 with Pinnacle gear)
  • Season of the Worthy: 1000 (1010 with Pinnacle gear)
  • Season of the Dawn: 960 (970 with Pinnacle gear)
  • Season of the Undying (Shadowkeep Expansion): 950 (960 with Pinnacle gear)
  • Season of the Opulence: 750
  • Season of the Drifter: 700
  • Season of the Forge: 650
  • Season of the Outlaw (Forsaken Expansion): 600
  • Moments of Triumph event: 400 (405 with mods)
  • Warmind : 380 (385 with mods)
  • Curse of Osiris: 330 (335 with mods)
  • Initial Release: 300 (305 with mods)

How do I get there?

Powerful Gear

Powerful gear is the primary way of reaching the light level soft cap. There are various ways to obtain Powerful Gear, which are included (but not limited to):

  • Completing 8 bounties from various vendors
  • Completing a Nightfall Strike
  • Random drops

Pinnacle Gear

Without taking artifacts into account (see below), Pinnacle Gear is the only way to reach the light level hard cap. Pinnacle Gear is much harder to come by than Powerful Gear, and takes more effort to acquire. The primary sources of Pinnacle Gear are (but not limited to):

  • Completing 3 Gambit matches, Crucible matches, and Strikes (with the weekly elemental burn subclass equipped)
  • Obtaining 100,000 Points during Nightfall Strike
  • Completing the seasonal raid

Seasonal Artifacts

Released in Season of the Undying, the Seasonal Artifacts are another way to increase your maximum light level outside of your equipped gear. To view the seasonal artifact, it is located in your character menu on the bottom left of the screen just below your ghost shell.

The Seasonal Artifact provides a light level boost that is uncapped (this Reddit thread says that some players reached 1100 light during Season of the Arrivals).

By simply playing and gaining experience, you can increase your light level that effects all of your guardians by gaining bonuses through the artifact. You can view the current bonus apply by hovering over your light level on the top right of the character menu.

The light level bonus resets with every season.

Armor Mods (Destiny Armor 1.0)

This is legacy information and does not apply to how Destiny 2 is currently designed.

To simply put it, armor mods were upgrades you could apply to gear to increase your maximum light level. Destiny Armor 2.0 was released alongside the Shadowkeep expansion in 2019, changing the way how armor mods work and effectively making 1.0 armor mods obsolete and no longer affecting your light level.


1 Historical light level caps referenced from here

  • 1
    This is a fantastic answer and a good way for old and new guardians to have a good reference when seasons change. – sayu Nov 24 at 21:59
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The soft light cap is 900, which appears to already be reached for you.

For gaining light levels after 900, you need to complete activities that reward "Powerful Gear". These activities can be redone every week after the reset to get even more powerful gear.

There are three tiers of powerful gear. Tier 1, 2 and 3. The higher the tier, the more powerful gear you will receive.

You can find all activities in Shadowkeep that reward powerful gear here.

A lot of people don't know this, but you get 3 times the amount of drops per week by having three characters, one of each class. Having multiple characters of the same class won't drop more gear, as it is class based.

Once you hit 950, which is the hard light level cap, you will need to pick up "Pinnacle Gear" to continue your journey to the Pinnacle level cap (960). This is the highest current light level possible in Shadowkeep.

Pinnacle gear is dropped from the raid (Garden of Salvation), high level nightfalls, and other end-game activities.

Edit: I forgot to mention this initially, but there is a new seasonal leveling system in place.

At the start of every season, you will be given a seasonal artifact. As you level up the artifact with EXP gained, you will gain an additional bonus power level up to +12 power. This technically makes the max possible light level in Shadowkeep 972 power (960 max for gear, plus the +12 bonus light level with the seasonal artifact at max level).

The only downside to this, is that your power level bonus will expire and have to be re-leveled with your new seasonal artifact whenever a new season starts.

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    I'm fairly sure the power level increase from leveling the seasonal artifact is uncapped. It just gets exponentially slower. "12" comes from the amount of modification unlocks you can choose as you level it (out of 25). Right now mine is giving +7 power, with 10 mods unlocked. – Kommissar Oct 8 '19 at 14:51
  • Top tier with the artifact is 980. 960+20 as @Demon says – David Yell Oct 17 '19 at 9:20
  • What do you mean by "A lot of people don't know this, but you get 3 times the amount of drops per week by having three characters, one of each class." ? 3X the drops regardless of the character currently in play or ? – Иво Недев Nov 11 '19 at 11:16
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Actually the hard cap is 960 plus 20 for your artifact for a total of 980 (hence the most difficult nightfall recommended power of 980). There is a triumph called "Season 8: Power Bonus" which clearly shows a total of 20 points as I'm currently at 13/20.

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Caps are increased now: I'm PL 980 already, and the soft cap is 950 and the hard cap is 1020.

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According to a Kotaku article from yesterday, 960. And to get there, you need every bit of your gear to be Power Level 960.

Because the stated Power Level is an average across all your equipped gear.

And seems the only gear with that Power Level is Powerful Gear, which seems to be an in-game term.

To get that gear, the article says:

Powerful Gear currently will only come from the latest raid, Garden of Salvation, which opens this weekend.

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  • The quote is wrong as well, powerful gear has plenty more sources. Pinnacle gear drops from the raid and high tier nightfall. – VanBuzzKill Oct 6 '19 at 19:13

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