Although Destiny borrows heavily from games within both the FPS and MMO genres, developer Bungie also tried to cut a new path for their title thanks to some interesting systems. Chief among those was a leveling system that used an armor rating called ‘Light’ to determine a player’s current level, thereby locking the progression behind loot drops.
For Destiny: The Taken King, however, Bungie has learned the error of their ways, and they have done away with the light-based leveling system. Now players can go from level 0 to level 40 (the new cap for Taken King) purely by playing the game, as they would any other RPG experience.
Even so, Bungie was seemingly not willing to let go of the Light concept, and have instead shifted its function to a measure of a player’s combat readiness. With Destiny: The Taken King, every piece of gear (armor, weapon, class item, mark, artifact, and ghost shell) carries its own Light level, and specific Light levels are recommended for specific activities. For example, the Weekly Nightfall Strike recommends a minimum Light level of 280.
Although Bungie may have eliminated the Light-based leveling to streamline the experience, this new overall Light rating may be confusing to some. Players may look at one of the various missions and see a recommended Light level and not know (a) what their light level is or (b) how to improve their Light level.
How Light Works in Destiny: The Taken King
For starters, the average light of every piece of gear determines a player’s Light level. So, if a player has all 100 Light level gear, for example, they would have a Light level of 100. But once they got a new piece of gear - like, say, a helmet - with a higher Light level, their overall Light level will increase. This upward trend will continue as long as the player continues to increase their average, specifically by acquiring gear with higher individual Light levels.
Currently, we don’t know what the Light level cap may be, but it seems like 290 is towards the high end. Every piece of exotic gear for The Taken King carries a 280 Light level, as does the top tier gear for sale by the Factions and Vanguard/Crucible. Presumably, the raid gear will have a higher Light level, but we don’t know too much about those items yet. We should know more about that when the King’s Fall raid launches on Friday.
Reaching Max Light Level for King's Fall
That being said, it’s safe to assume that in order to hit the max Light level, players will need a full set of gear (weapons, armor, class items, artifacts, and ghost shells) with the same individual max light level. Much like hitting level 30 in Vanilla Destiny required Light level 30 armor, The Taken King will require that same Light level, only for every piece of gear. Get all of those pieces, and you will be at the max Light level.
The good news is that Bungie has filled Destiny: The Taken King with a ton of new gear, and thus far the Light levels only seem to increase as we play. Yes, there are plenty of lower level (read: useless) drops, but the carrot seems to dangle a lot closer in Year 2.
What do you think of the new Lght level system? How does it compare to the system in Vanilla Destiny?
Destiny: The Taken King is out now for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.