The Taken King Redesigns Leveling From One To Forty

Our recent visit to Bungie provided us with hours of hands-on impressions detailed in this month’s magazine cover story, and one of the major changes we learned about is a new approach to leveling. Players earn XP by killing monsters, completing missions, and turning in bounties, as has always been the case, but that experience now feeds directly into your level progression all the way from 1 to the new level cap of 40.

Meanwhile, weapons and armor continue to provide increased power to your character, with new gear unlocking for use as you level up. “The conflation of gear and character level led to this place where your identity was determined by things outside of your control,” says creative director Luke Smith. “We don’t want to do that.”

We were also told that Destiny’s loot system will now pay closer attention to the loot you have already received when determining an appropriate drop, so that players will more consistently receive armor and weapons that provide meaningful power growth, items that vary their gear slot from one drop to the next, and fewer drops of items that a player has already attained.

Our Take
The original release of Destiny had an unusual progression system. Leveling followed a traditional RPG structure for levels 1-20, but switched over to gear as the main path to advancement for subsequent levels. Not only did the system lead to some confusion, but it also left many players stuck at a given level for too long as they waited for the loot drop they needed to progress. The new system should be friendlier to new players, but should also benefit veteran guardians who are eager to see their extensive play time met with commensurate progression and rewards. In my hands-on time, my existing level 34 guardians transitioned seamlessly into the new system, and leveling during subsequent story missions was smooth and engaging.


This I like! Totally needed :open_mouth:

I’m very undecided if I like this new levelling system… When I first started playing the game at its release, at first I hated it once I hit level 20. But as time has gone by, it has grown on me and now I think it’s different but in a good way! It made you come back for more to reach that maximum level.

Does this also mean that “Light” from Armor will be removed aswell to make a transition to XP based levels?

I like the sound of the new loot tweaks. That can be very beneficial to many of us!

So…does this mean that i as a year 1 player ( i passed on the buy with zur) will maybe catch the mystical rainbow unicon (aka gjallarhorn) finally lol…and also now leveling from 34 to 40 is pretty much just like leveling from 1-20…like a normal mmo…finally i remember doing VoG millions of times and being stuck at level 29 needing a helmet to drop for 2-3 months this is quit interesting cause i still see people busting ass for that last little bit of light to get to 34 so i know their pain

Wait. So are we being reset to 1? Or do existing 34’s start there and work towards 40?

No we as 34 will stay as 34 and progress to 40 they just converting the lights to XP but ya we just work to 40 with Xp

You will enter Taken King at the level you have currently obtained

Every player gets a boost consumable to bring you up to Taken King level - will be available in the tower

Well to my fellow Guardians…The grind is on.

Good write up, Carboy.

I’m actually really excited that they’re implementing this system again. Reason be, the fact that everyone can stop complaining about how much RNG hates them when it comes to having a certain armor piece drop. And I’ve always been more a fan of having to play and earn the XP rather than get the gear, just seems more fun.

Also, I’m pretty sure I’m one of the last surviving people that play this game on the daily…

I liked the old way and better I still do the raids for the hell of it even though I already own everything from them. Everyone will spam the Focused Lights to get max ranks Day 1 unless they go down Halo Reach path with the extreme amounts of XP then that will be boring lol

This isn’t the first time Bungie has said they were reworking the RNG algorithm to a “smart loot” system where it will only drop you gear that you need, and not give you duplicates. They said this when The Dark Below launched, and absolutely nothing changed with the loot system. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if the same thing happens here.

@carboy Everytime I see those H2 ranks in your sig, I get a chub. Just saiyan

Nope, I too play the game on a daily basis…
…we may be the last few from this site that do so though.

Honestly I didn’t even think of that…the Halo: Reach levels. If Bungie were to do something as cringing as those styled ranks then I feel as if we’ll hear about it the following day or days to come; especially when events like Iron Banner where your level some-what matters or is taken into play. Personally I don’t fear not reaching the next level cap because I play the game enough to be able to reach it; even if it is as much of a grind as Inheritor!


I gave up trying to reach ranks on Reach. XP route is a bore-fest to me. I got bored when going for 20 two more times on my other characters but getting to 34 on all three characters was fun and interesting for me.

Personally it depends on the enjoyment of the game on whether or not I lose interest in a time-based leveling system. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy Halo: Reach, but when you did get to the ranks where it would take months to level-up I definitely wasn’t interested in completing events that only rewarded a few thousand experience! Granted I did achieve the rank of Legend, but that’s where I stopped because it would have taken me millions of experience to reach the next level!