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Guide to Getting Started in Destiny 2 New Light

A beautiful and hostile universe of adventure awaits, this time free to play.

Oct 28, 2019

We liked Destiny 2 when it first released back in 2017, but after the countless updates and the few major DLC releases, the game is in better shape than ever. Alongside the new expansion, Shadowkeep, Destiny 2 was made free to play in a new version titled New Light that gives new and returning players alike a great place to enter the shared world universe of Destiny. It can be a bit confusing at first though if you’re new to the series, so hopefully this guide will help you get started in your first steps as a Guardian. The first decision you’ll make is what kind of character you want to play as.

Titans are heavily armored knights, Hunters are sly rogues, and Warlocks are your magic-wielding mage or wizard.Titans are heavily armored knights, Hunters are sly rogues, and Warlocks are your magic-wielding mage or wizard.

New Light, Quests and the Universe of Destiny

Developer Bungie wanted to make it as easy as possible for new players to jump into the game and play whatever they want with very few restrictions. However, there is very little guidance for where new players should begin once they are set free in the solar system. You get to play through a version of Destiny 1’s intro mission, where your Ghost reawakens your chosen Guardian class be it Warlock, Hunter or Titan in the Cosmodrome. Destiny has an gripping universe that combines both classical fantasy of knights and dragons with the far-flung future of space ships and aliens. There are dozens of small stories to read and lore to uncover while playing, and some of those stories could be whole games on their own.  You find a ship, and your adventure begins. You the player are given the freedom to pursue whatever activities you want after that. Be it story quests, strike missions, patrols, player vs player action in the Crucible or endgame missions that only the bravest of Guardians should try, there is a whole lot to do and sights to see in Destiny 2’s solar system.

Destiny 2 has some incredible sights.Destiny 2 has some incredible sights.
  • Story Missions: Linear missions that take you across exotic locations and where most of the story takes place. There are three story campaigns included with New Light to play through. Red War, Curse of Osiris and Warmind are all free and are a great starting place if you are new to the game.
  • Strikes: Challenging missions where a team of three Guardians is tasked with eliminating a big threat to humanity and the Last City. These are tough, have lots of enemies, end in a boss battle and are always a blast to play through especially with friends. Hop into the Strike Playlist to play multiple missions in a row, and with how many have been added to the game there are enough to make sure each mission is exciting. 
  • Patrols and Public Events: Out in the field you can pick up short tasks that usually boil down to collecting a certain number of items or taking down a certain number of enemies. There are tons of these and can be repeated for planetary rewards which are different resources that are only found on specific planets. Public Events are big group activities that every so often pop up on each planet. These can often give you great rewards, and put you into unique combat situations. Doing them over and over can get repetitive, but each planet has a different Public Events to take part in to keep things fresh. 
  • Adventures and Quests: Each planet has several Adventures and Quests to partake in. They play out pretty similarly, with Quests having multiple parts to them and a bit more story. Adventures are a bit more straightforward but can still put you in some unique situations and are worth seeking out. The rewards for these can be extremely helpful especially when you first start your journey and they help you get to know the various characters you'll meet on each planet.
  • Raids: Raids are the ultimate challenge that only the strongest of Guardians should undertake. A team of six players up against seemingly impossible odds. Gather your friends if you think you are up to the task, just make sure you are at least Power level 900. These are the best way to get the most top tier gear and are meant to be redone a few times to become as powerful as possible.
  • The Crucible: The Crucible is Destiny 2’s take on competitive, player vs player action. The difference between Destiny and other games that you might be used to, is that all the armor and weapons that you find out in the world can be used in matches. This can give players with the best gear a bit of an advantage, but Bungie tries to make everyone to be on as even a playing field as possible. The Crucible is also a part of the game’s world. The matches are broadcast to humanity for people’s enjoyment, and even though this didn’t have to happen it makes the whole universe and your gameplay experience feel like one big whole.
  • Gambit: Definitely the most unique take on Multiplayer that Destiny 2 offers is Gambit, a fast-paced and hectic game where two teams compete to score the most points by fighting enemies and bosses. You can invade the other team’s area to try and stop them from scoring, which introduces Guardian vs Guardian action in the middle of a huge battle with alien enemies.  

The Crucible is where Guardians test their skills against each other.The Crucible is where Guardians test their skills against each other.

Where to Start

It is understandable that new players might feel a little daunted by the huge variety of content that you can take part in. My advice, head to the Tower and speak with Amanda Holliday and start the Red War campaign. This was the main quest of Destiny 2 at launch and does a great job of setting up the world, humanity's enemies and the various locations you can visit throughout the solar system if you aren’t familiar with the game. You'll meet the whole cast of characters, take part in a cinematic storyline and get a head start on the endgame with some good loot for your Guardian. The first two expansions, Curse of Osiris and Warmind are also available in the free-to-play version, so along with the entire set of PvP maps, Gambit, Strikes, and Raids there is a huge amount of things to do in New Light alone before even tackling Forsaken and Shadowkeep which must be bought separately.

Amanda Holliday lets you play through the older story campaigns.Amanda Holliday lets you play through the older story campaigns.

Power Level

If you have played the game before but maybe have fallen off for whatever reason, New Light makes it easier than ever to jump back in. Everyone starts at 750 power level, which was the ideal number after the last expansion, Forsaken. There is no longer traditional leveling in Destiny 2, with the power level of your weapons and armor instead being the only measurement of strength. You also no longer have to unlock each of the subclasses and can instead choose between them all whenever you want right from the start making it even easier to play how you want. The road to power level 900 never really felt like a grind, since there are enough activities to play that nothing ever got repetitive and gear drops often and almost always was better than what I currently had equipped. The steady gear drops means you will be constantly switching weapon types, and with the different subclass abilities, the game feels fresh all the time.

In New Light, you can freely pick and customize every subclass.In New Light, you can freely pick and customize every subclass.

Customization and Armor 2.0

The only issue I had with progression was you can't get attached to one piece of armor or a weapon for too long since you get new ones so often. If you're like me and like to customize your Guardian from head to toe, keep the pieces of armor you think looks cool until you hit around 900. Before you could just Infuse your favorite gear with Legendary Shards, which you get from taking apart Legendary items, to upgrade your arsenal to match your current level. Now, however, to get your ideal loadout up to full strength you have to use an item called an Upgrade Module. These Upgrade Modules are a little rare, so you cannot upgrade your items nearly as often as before. Between this and Shaders, the items used to change an item's colors being consumable, customization seems to be more stressful than it should be as you have to plan where your resources and shaders go rather than being able to freely customize your Guardian's looks to your heart's content. Throughout your journey, you'll level up in a sort of Battle Pass like system similar to Fortnite, where you progress through different tiers and unlock rewards. I found this to be the best way to get Upgrade Modules, just be careful to use them on only your favorite gear. If you do need more, they can be purchased from the Gunsmith for a fee of materials and Glimmer (Destiny's form of money) if there's just a couple more weapons or pieces of armor you want to upgrade.

The best pieces of armor are found in Raids, are you up to the challenge?The best pieces of armor are found in Raids, are you up to the challenge?

The Season Pass system has 100 levels that you can progress through throughout a season which lasts a few months. Bounties and higher-level activities like Nightfall Strike missions are your fastest way to progress through the season, and you'll get some good rewards along the way. Other than looks, you can also swap out different armor mods across different pieces of armor to change how each piece functions and what benefits you'll get. This means instead of waiting for an armor piece that helps with your reload speed for example, you can apply a mod that does the same effect for just a bit of Glimmer. You have much more control over how the armor functions than how it looks, but overall it is a better system than waiting for a good piece of armor to drop.

Tip: Public Events are a good way to get good rewards quickly.Tip: Public Events are a good way to get good rewards quickly.

Final Thoughts

If you have gotten this far, it is clear that there is a whole lot to learn in Destiny 2. I haven't even explained things like the super competitive Iron Banner, Lost Sectors, Bounties, or timed events that pop up every so often. There is always more to learn with the game but hopefully you now have a good place to start. If you do want to take the time to get to know it, the game is an extremely fun shooter that you can enjoy for a very long time. Coming back to Destiny 2 after some time off has been great, and New Light has made the transition back into the game’s world very easy. It might not be perfect, there is some room for improvement to make it easier for new players, but if you have ever been interested in diving into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy universe that Bungie has created, there has never been a better time. 

Guardians are the only thing standing between humanity and the dangers that threaten the Last City.Guardians are the only thing standing between humanity and the dangers that threaten the Last City.
Share Your Thoughts

What do you think? Are you interested in trying out Destiny 2? Let us know below!


By: Noah Friscopp