Destiny: I’m Level 20, Now What?

by Daniel Tack on Sep 22, 2014 at 06:38 AM

The road to 20 in Destiny can be a quick one, with story mission experience bonuses and bounties coming together to achieve the so-called “soft-cap” quickly. But what can you do once you’ve reached the “endgame”? Scoring some legendary or exotic gear pieces and ramping up your light level will get you to where you need to be to attempt Nightfall or Raid encounters, but it’s not explicitly explained how you should be spending your time. Here are some activities you can start doing at 20 to begin moving on up. Note that you should be incorporating appropriate bounties (new bounties are available daily) into all these activities!

By Yourself

The Strike Playlist

If PVE is your thing, the strike playlist will get you into a group and taking on bosses quickly. You’ll receive Vanguard reputation, Vanguard marks, and an item or two on each run. While it may be tempting to push your abilities and try for strikes above your level, you’ll probably find it more efficient to take on strikes equal to or under your level. These also provide a solid experience drip, that will provide motes of light. Not sure how much progress you’re making on your next mote? Hover over your “level 20” on the character screen and it will display your progress. These motes can be traded in to Xur on the weekends for a random piece of exotic armor.

The Crucible

The Crucible is a great way to start gearing up at 20, and although the end-of-match rewards are  random and you could walk away with nothing or an exotic each game, you’re still putting in constant progress with Crucible reputation and marks trickling in after each game. It’s also wise to scan each possible game mode every day, as one of these modes will provide a one-time bonus to experience, useful for getting more motes or finishing up your class/subclass.

Chest Runs and Loot Farms

There are a number of excellent chest spawn and enemy farm points available. If you’re doing chest runs, find the planet that’s going to provide the auxiliary resources you need to upgrade your legendary gear (helium filaments, relic iron, etc). These chests can also pop out random rare ships that will impress your teammates in orbit as you prep another run. On Mars, there’s an excellent basic chest run just a few seconds from the patrol spawn point. On Earth, there’s a cave that when farmed correctly can provide a silly number of items – Even if you don’t get anything great, your Cryptarch can get a ton of levels by identifying all the loot.


It’s not explained anywhere in the game, but those account-level unlocks that you’re constantly working on from getting kills with types of guns to massacring Hive warriors convey a variety of benefits. You’ll have to go to Bungie.net or use the official mobile app on iOS or Android to check out exactly what bonuses you’re receiving/working on.

With Friends

Activities with friends seem to be tuned with higher difficulty and gear checks in mind. It should be noted that you can take your friends with you into any of those solo activities and still come out with a bushel of loot and experience, but once you’re light level 24-26, you’re probably going to be chomping at the bit for the next challenge. These are likely gated off from bringing in random players because they can take many more attempts and are tuned for a coordinated approach.

Heroic Weekly

Don’t be fooled by the level on these – A level 22 heroic weekly is harder than a level 26 strike. There are swarms of yellow mobs that have no issue spawn camping your team. More importantly, there’s no respawn timer, your friends either get you up off the ground or you stay there until the wipe happens. The rewards for these are substantially greater than basic strikes, and provide guaranteed Strange Coins to bring to Xur for exotic rewards.


Nightfall missions are quite difficult, and you’ll need the right weapon for the job to be able to damage enemies with specific types of shields and vulnerabilities. If you can handle these missions, you’re looking at legendary or exotic rewards.


Once you’re geared enough, Destiny’s single six-man raid encounter is the place to go for now. The Vault of Glass is the current “endgame” encounter and we can expect others to follow.

There’s new content coming to The Reef as well, as tomorrow the Queen’s Wrath event will begin and run until October 6. This special event will award unique legendary and rare gear.