How To Max Out Your Light Level On ‘Destiny’ (Without Doing The Raid)

There's always a workaround.

Rob Feeby Rob Fee
Still from “Destiny: Rise of Iron,” courtesy of Activision.

With the release of Destiny: Rise of Iron, Guardians were presented with new challenges, game modes, and most importantly, a new light level to reach. In the early days of Destiny, the only way to reach max light was through the raid. Thankfully for players that can’t always get a group of six together for a multi-hour endeavor, those days are gone. Obviously the raid is a great way to boost up your level, but it’s certainly not the only way. As of right now, the soft cap on light levels is 385. I’m currently 386 and I haven’t done the raid yet. I did it just by playing, and it was the most fun I’ve had in the game yet. Here’s how you can do it, too.

How To Max Out Your Light Level On Destiny: Rise of Iron

If you’ve been playing at all, your light level is probably somewhere around 330 to 335. Hopefully you’ve got some Legendary Marks saved up. If not, go through your vault and dismantle some of those weapons you’re never going to use. My rule is that if I hadn’t infused them up to 335 through all of The Taken King, I probably don’t need them. Use those marks to buy a ghost shell from the Vanguard vendor or your faction. Ghost shells drop the least frequently, so this will be a big help right off the bat.

Use your other marks to buy as much armor as you can. If you have enough junk in your vault, you can get close to 350 just through vendors. By the way, Legendary items that have the perks unlocked on them give you five marks instead of three. Keep that in mind when deciding which items to dismantle. You also get a 350 artifact just from playing the Rise of Iron story missions. This is nice because artifacts are a giant pain to find.

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Still from “Destiny: Rise of Iron,” courtesy of Activision.

One of the most important things you can do is to constantly pop three of coins. Keep one active on your character at all times. Exotic engrams will be your best friend later. When they drop, do not decrypt them yet. Put them in your vault for now. Trust me on this one. Some people will tell you to wait on Legendary engrams as well. But they drop often enough that if you want to decrypt a few, it’s not going to set you back that much.

You have a few options as far as game modes go at this point. Archon’s Forge drops class items pretty frequently, as well as a few weapons and pieces of armor. It’s good for a change of pace, but certainly not the most ideal way to rank up. Crucible is a viable option because you can use a three of coins on every match and the post-game rewards are solid. The best option, however, is the strike playlist. Your first three strikes of the week will drop guaranteed Legendary engrams and every strike you do will drop blue engrams up to 365 light level. So just by running strikes, you can hit 365.

Some people farmed Omnigul to get the engrams quicker, but for me, that sounds like the least fun way to rank up. By finishing the strikes, you’ll get rep with the Vanguard and your faction, which gives you additional rewards that are usually higher than your light level. You now get to pick if you want armor or a weapon. Therefore, you have a much better chance of getting the item you need, as well as ghost shells, which randomly drop in both types of reward packages.

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Still from “Destiny: Rise of Iron,” courtesy of Activision.

If you want, you can just keeping equipping the higher level blue items. Or, if you have the marks to spare, you can just create one loadout and keep infusing everything into that setup. That way, you can keep using your favorite weapons. It’s really up to you.

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Still from “Destiny: Rise of Iron,” courtesy of Activision.

Once you’re at 365, it starts to get a little trickier. The blue engrams no longer help you and random Legendary engrams max out at 365. So now you’re going to be relying on those Crucible, Vanguard, and faction packages a lot more. A very important thing to remember is to switch your weapons and gear to your highest possible light level before accepting a package. This is because it drops according to your light level and you want to utilize every single drop.

Your post-game Crucible rewards will still drop higher, as will Nightfall rewards, Trials rewards, Iron Banner drops, Skeleton Key loot, and Nighfall rewards. Try and save the nightfall to as late in the week as possible. By doing so, you can get your light level the highest for the reward. At 384, I got a 388 helmet from it.

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Still from “Destiny: Rise of Iron,” courtesy of Activision.

At some point, your lowest items will be your ghost shell and your artifact. It’s frustrating because there aren’t exotic engrams for these and exotics are definitely the easiest way to bump that light level quickly. I highly recommend playing as much Iron Banner as possible. It’s easy, fun, and the rewards are fantastic. Artifacts drop quite often at a high light level.

Your other option for getting an artifact is to head to the Court of Oryx and plow through all those runes you’ve got lying around. A tier 3 rune will give you 100 rep with Eris. Most are three of coins eligible, so it won’t take that long if you can get in there with a group or some randoms show up. The Legendary drops in Court of Oryx max out at 335, but ranking up with Eris offers a reward up to 385. She gives you either a class item or an artifact. It is quite frustrating to spend all that time ranking up with her only to get yet another class item, so only do this if Iron Banner isn’t an option.

If you can get a halfway decent team together for Trials, the bounties and post-match rewards are fantastic. It’s also a great way to get exotics since the matches are usually quicker than normal Crucible matches.

The most important thing you can do with Destiny: Rise of Iron is have fun. It’s not as much of a tedious system anymore, so you can totally choose your own path to 385. If you don’t get a ghost shell right away, don’t worry. You’ll eventually get a random one from a package or a random drop. I’m robfee50 on PSN, so once you get to max light, please don’t kill me too much in Crucible when we run into each other. Thanks!