More than fancy Exotics, more than the most satisfying of pop guns above all else, the primary drive in Destiny 2 has always been about accumulating power. What began with a Light Level in the original Destiny would evolve into the Power Level of Destiny 2, as Guardians would jet around the cosmos looking for all manner of rewards and engrams which would push their overall power ranking up higher and higher.
In Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, that search for power is going to change.
In the latest wall of text from game director Luke Smith, the director revealed how beginning with Shadowkeep, players new and old are going to find themselves pushed to Power Level 750 automatically. From there, Shadowkeep will introduce new ways to gain power across the endgame.
“Raising the Power of all players globally is indicative of a greater problem,” Smith wrote.
It’s real weird that someone will boot up New Light for the first time and immediately be 750. The capital-P Power level in Destiny (or Light as it was called in D1) has been asked to do a lot over the years. For a time in Destiny 1, it was one of the only things players had to pursue. In D1, Power/Light meant something in terms of achievement – but that badge of honor had its problems (forever 29 via raid boots, etc).
At D2 launch, we shortened the Power climb, oversimplified the game, made it too easy to get items, focused on bringing new players in, and hoped that players would pursue looks alone as their endgame (we were wrong!) while we continued to build features like what would become Forsaken Triumphs. During that period, we also democratized Power so that players didn’t need to raid or play Nightfall to reach max Power.
They could kind of just do any weekly. Forsaken introduced gold sources onto the map, and over the course of the year, the number of powerful sources continued to increase.
What that means, is that sources for more powerful gear will begin to dwindle (around to the number that was present during the launch of Forsaken), but the consistency of quality will increase and allow players to constantly improve if they pursue those activities where rewards are available. Players will be able to boost their power to 900 from general activity, and from there they’ll grind away for Prime Engrams that will take their Guardian to a 950 Power Level.
From that 950 plateau, Guardians will need to engage in pinnacle activities such as Raids and Dungeons if they wish to go beyond that number. “These sources are the only way to earn gear drops above power 950 in Season 8,” Smith explained.
Here’s the thinking: Pinnacle reward sites can award players Power above 950. This is a way of reclaiming a little bit of the character Power prestige that the initial D1 Power climb created. If you inspect a player and see their gear is 960, you know they’ve done a bunch of pinnacle activities. It’s worth mentioning that as you raise your Power via pinnacle activities, other powerful reward sites will continue to drop powerful sidegrades.
Artifacts will further increase the fine-tuning aspects of the Power Level climb, as these provide season-exclusive mods while also being a source of power across your account, especially if you’re a solo player. “This is meant to give players who can’t or don’t want to play pinnacle activities a seasonal path to Power,” Smith explained.
This way, even if a player doesn’t play the raid, Iron Banner, or the [REDACTED], they can still have a high Power value for the Season.
That’s a lot to absorb, so here’s the crib notes version of the article:
- Everyone will start Shadowkeep at 750 Power Level
- The path to power will cap out at 900 for regular play
- Powerful Gear will begin dropping at 900 Power and boost you to 950 Power eventually
- The sources for Powerful Gear will be smaller in Shadowkeep, but more consistent in terms of quality
- To go beyond 950 Power, you’ll need to engage in Pinnacle Activities to earn exclusive gear
- Seasonal Artifacts will provide a universal Power boost to solo players who don’t engage in Pinnacle Activities
- More Power changes are currently being toyed with, for a future update
There’s still a ton of questions in the air and I’m betting my replica Ghosts that something is going to break when this new Power system is applied to all the many many other changes coming to Destiny 2. Which is just another reason why this game is just so gosh-darn great.
Last Updated: August 16, 2019