For those who don’t play, you level 1-20 in Destiny like you do in any MMO; gaining experience from killing baddies and finishing quests. Once you hit level 20 a new system, the Light system, kicks in. Basically it’s like hitting cap in an MMO and having your gear score on display. Different bits of gear, starting at 20, have a light attribute, and the more Light you have equipped, the higher your displayed level is.
I played for a couple of weeks after hitting 20 and I think I made 2 levels in that time, finishing at level 22. I mostly play solo and so mostly counted on random drops and I just wasn’t lucky. So I felt like I wasn’t making any progress and drifted away.
A few weeks ago I bought a copy of Destiny for the Xbox One and have once again been enjoying leveling a Titan from 1 to 20. But things were different with this character. First of all, he got some “Strange Coins” (a special type of currency) in the (in-game) mail; some kind of promotion from Bungie I guess. I was able to spend those to get a level 20 gold (Legendary) helmet that had a high Light attribute. As soon as I clicked over to level 20, I donned this helmet and my level jumped to 22.
Then a few hours later I was cheesing some Bounty Quests by picking on really low level bad guys. I was doing a level 3 mission (at level 22) and a random mob dropped a “blue” item (item rarity in Destiny goes white – green – blue – purple – gold) that has a pretty large light level. I put that on and I was level 24.
So over the course of a couple hours I made more progress than I made in a few weeks on my PS4 character, and the difference was the Random Number Generator. I mean seriously, the mission I was doing was so easy I was punching everything to death rather than shooting stuff, and I got a bit of gear worth 2 levels. I didn’t feel in any way like I ‘earned’ that gear or those levels.
OTOH on the PS4 I felt like I couldn’t make any progress at all, because I was less lucky there. I actually logged in my PS4 character because I figured he too had Strange Coins waiting in the mail. And he did, but the Vendor didn’t have anything he could both afford and could use. So again, the RNG foiled me.
The good news is we’re a few weeks from The Taken King, where the level cap will be raised to 40 and you’ll level up to it the old fashioned way, gaining experience from quests and killing mobs. They’ve also promised tweaks to the random stuff so you’re more likely to get gear you can use. The Light system will still determine your power, but as you get higher levels you’ll get access to higher level gear with more light. At least that’s how I understand it.