The arrival of The Dark Below expansion for Destiny has brought with it new features for Bungie’s MMO/FPS hybrid. Some of them have been welcome changes, like the introduction of new story missions and gear, while others have been far from successful.
Alongside the new content and systems, Bungie has upped the level cap for Destiny from 30 to 32. But much like going from level 28 to level 30 in vanilla Destiny, hitting 32 is not going to be easy. In fact, getting to the new cap may require just as much, if not more, dedication as getting to level 30 did.
As with level 30, the only way for Destiny players to hit level 32 is with some pieces of fully upgraded raid gear. It’s true that players can hit level 32 with either one of The Dark Below’s new exotic armor pieces or an upgraded exotic from Xur, but that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. Players will need to get, at the very least, three different armor drops from the Crota’s End raid if they want to hit level 32.
Those who just want to hit level 31, however, can do so with the new Vanguard or Crucible gear, and they don’t even need The Dark Below DLC either. Both the Crucible and Vanguard Quartermasters now sell gear with 33 light maximums, which means a fully decked out player will have a light total of 132. We should mention, though, that players will need a Vanguard or Crucible commendation to purchase the helmet and chest pieces, and the only way to get a commendation is by leveling up one’s Vanguard or Crucible reputation.
But those who spent the $19.99 or $34.99 to buy Destiny‘s DLC likely don’t want to get halfway to the game’s new level cap. They want to go all the way, and so that’s where we come in.
There isn’t much difference between getting to level 32 as there was getting to level 30. Players still need to procure at least three pieces of raid gear by reaching specific checkpoints in the raid, and then maxing out those gear with experience, upgrade materials, and glimmer. However, Crota’s End only has three checkpoints, as compared to the Vault of Glass’s four, which means one less opportunity to earn raid gear per week.
Like the Vault of Glass, there is only one piece of raid gear per slot per class, but it appears that the raid helmet is not segregated to the hard raid. It’s a smart move on Bungie’s part since the hard version of Crota’s End doesn’t launch until January. And just like the raid gear from the Vault of Glass, the various pieces earned during Crota’s End will give players useful boosts during the raid. For example, raid gauntlets give greater agility to a player when they are carrying the sword.
Even if a player does happen to get a piece of raid gear, though, they unfortunately can’t run off and upgrade it immediately. With The Dark Below, Bungie has introduced several new upgrade mechanics and materials, including radiant shards and radiant energy. These are raid armor and raid weapon-specific upgrade materials that are used in the same way as ascendant materials in that the last three upgrades on the path require them. Unfortunately, the only way to earn radiant materials right now is through the raid.
So, with each piece of raid gear needing 7 radiant shards per slot – for a total of 21 shards per armor piece – that creates a pretty hefty obstacle between level 30 and level 32. Sure, players can grab shards or energy from raid chests, but we still don’t know where all of those are. Most teams have found two, but we’d hope there is more than that.
To bring it altogether, players will first need to collect raid gear and/or exotic gear. Then they must level up each piece with radiant shards (for raid gear) and one exotic shard (for exotic gear). As they move up, the player’s total light will increase from the previous cap of 120 to 132 for level 31 and eventually 144 for level 32. And that should make the Crota’s End much easier. Not a breeze, mind you, but more manageable.
In the end, getting to level 32 is another hurdle for Destiny players to overcome, but we’re sure regular raiders will hit level 32 in no time. Those who have three characters to run the raid have the greatest odds of hitting 32 first, but they will still need luck on their side.
Have you been able to hit level 31 in Destiny? What do you think of the new upgrading systems?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina