With each new Destiny DLC expansion comes a lot of expectations, both in terms of extending the lifespan and entertainment value of Bungie’s game and in terms of the content itself. To the latter point, Destiny players presume that with each new Destiny DLC add-on, Bungie will bump the level cap upwards, making players stronger and more effective in battle.
However, what makes Destiny unique is that each new level cap has carried with it different leveling procedures. The base game had its own leveling system when trying to hit level 30, and then when Dark Below launched the quest to hit level 32 carried its own challenges.
Now that the latest Destiny expansion, House of Wolves, has hit, players have a new level cap to work towards: level 34. And like with the past level caps, this new one will take a fair amount of effort, and some luck, if players want to get there.
Ascend Your Gear
With the new Destiny level cap raised to 34, players now want to have four pieces of armor with light level 42 for a total light count of 168. However, whereas past Destiny level caps have required obtaining new gear to hit higher light levels, House of Wolves’ system lets players ‘Ascend’ any piece of Legendary or Exotic gear to light level 42. That means players have a lot more options when it comes to what gear to wear at level 34, including that Vault of Glass armor that’s been sitting in players’ vaults for the last few months.
The ‘Ascend’ feature can be activated in one of two ways. For exotic armor, players can ascend the gear to light level 42 by using an Exotic Shard. Players can find Exotic Shards in Xur’s inventory every weekend, or they can earn one by dismantling an unwanted exotic. Then, simply pull up the exotic armor piece’s skill tree and hit the ‘Ascend’ ability on the far left.
Find Etheric Light
Now, with one exotic armor piece fully leveled, players will have to ascend three pieces of Legendary gear. To do so, they will need Etheric Light, a new upgrade material introduced with House of Wolves. However, Etheric Light is extremely rare and can only be obtained a few ways.
- Nightfall Strike reward (RANDOM)
- Beating Prison of Elders on the Level 34 or Level 35 difficulty levels (GUARANTEED ONCE PER CHARACTER)
- Trials of Osiris event reward (RANDOM)
- Prison of Elders reward (RANDOM)
So, with only two guaranteed chances at Etheric Light – one of which is extremely difficult if you’re not level 34 already – players will need to hope that the material randomly drops during one of the three weekly events. If not, they wait for the reset and hope again. Or…
If a player does have a second or third Destiny character – it doesn’t matter if it’s a different Guardian class – they can get that third Etheric Light through one of the guaranteed options. Then these players can take that Light and use it to boost the last piece of gear and become level 34. Things obviously get trickier when trying to get another class to level 34, but for the time being we will focus on just getting one to the cap.
Armor Core for Variks
Now, outside of the Etheric Light and Exotic Shard options, there is one last shot at level 34 gear thanks to another new Destiny currency: the armor core. With an armor core, players can buy a piece of light level 42 gear directly from Variks, the new Prison of Elders vendor. This gear, unlike most other Legendary armor pieces, comes with the light level 42 already built in, meaning players do not need to ascend it.
Like with the Etheric Light, armor cores can drop randomly as rewards for Prison of Elders, but there are also two guaranteed cores for beating the combat arena on level 32 and level 35. Since beating level 35 doesn’t seem likely at level 33 or below, we will assume players will only be able to get one armor core, but even then that’s something. With one armor cores in their possession, players can presumably buy a piece of light level 42 gear and be most of the way to level 34, even without any Etheric Light. However, that all depends on what Variks is selling. Right now, he only has one specific piece of gear available, meaning players will need to wait until his inventory rotates (if it does, in fact, rotate) in order to buy a different/correct armor piece.
The Race for Level 34
Pulling that all together, it’s certainly possible that a Destiny veteran would be able to hit level 34 within the first week of House of Wolves. Granted, they would need to focus on ascending armor instead of weapons, but that’s typically what players do anyway. Hitting level cap is always a key part of the fun of a new Destiny expansion, as it makes players more viable combatants and gives them an easier time with higher difficulty experiences. We can’t wait to see how easy Crota’s End on hard is at level 34.
How close are you to level 34? Have you found any other surefire ways to hit level 34?
Destiny – House of Wolves is out now for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.