Destiny 2 - I don't have time to explain Bungie's MMO shooter 2.0


I’d love to get in on this over the weekend. “tensten” on PS4.


Yes, I do have a crapload of mods that I’ve pretty much ignored. I think I’ve been conditioned to get a little twitchy when I hear the word “mod.”


I think I’ve figured out how the light power level works on drops.

First, this is all about “regular” drops. Whether common, uncommon, rare, or legendary (white, green, blue, purple), I just mean the ones that will pop up frequently through normal play or be given from vendors for normal stuff like turning in faction tokens. So I’m not talking about “Powerful Gear” rewards for milestones like Call to Arms (Crucible) or Flashpoint (Weekly public event bonus).

Regular drops seem to have a floor and a ceiling which eventually collapse into a single value. The floor seems to be a percentage, approximately 96.5% of your current maximum power. You’ll never get regular drops lower than that.

The ceiling starts out somewhere above your maximum power, and I don’t even have a ballpark figure for what it is to start, or if it’s a flat value or a percentage, but the ceiling seems to have a hard maximum of 265, until that would be lower than your floor.

So during the campaign and for a while after reaching level 20, you’re finding a range of drops, but even the stuff you’re coming across in the wild is slowly bumping you up. When you’re 240 you might find pieces around 243 or 246 or whatever, slowly increasing your maximum power level, in turn slowly increasing the drops. But once you start getting drops and vendor packages at 265, the value stops going up until your floor catches up. So at 260 you might start seeing 265 drops, then 264 you’re still only seeing 265, then you’re above 265 and you’re still only getting drops at 265.

From then forward, you’re only* getting drops above your current maximum power level from things like those weekly Powerful Gear rewards or Exotics. Once you hit about 273, your floor is 265 (the approximately 96.5% figure), and from there your drops will start slowly increasing again as your power level continues to increase, it’s just that from now on they’ll always be below your current max power instead of above your current max power. My maximum power now is 294, my vendor rewards and random drops are 284.

Make sense?

*As @baren mentions, mods can make a regular drop 5 higher than your current ceiling/floor, I’ll dedicate another rambling post to those.


Oh man, this is turning into the Diablo 3 thread all over again. Not that I don’t appreciate the info, I’m just not sure how much work I want to put into figuring out how to maximize my power.



Another caveat: apparently Bungie has a sort of “nerf” on multiple characters of the same class. I haven’t run into this myself (and won’t, I just have one of each class) so I don’t know the specifics, but from skimming reddit, if you’re using two of your character slots for warlocks, there’s some way in which the rewards or drops or something for the “second” one (not sure how that’s determined) will be lower. This may just be for weekly milestone rewards, I dunno.

AFAIK there’s no such penalty between characters of different classes. You can’t swap armor between them anyway, but you can share guns. Bungie doesn’t mind players running three different players, but they didn’t want running three of the same class to be “rewarded”.

Just throwing that out there in case someone’s running more than one of the same class and wondering why what they’re seeing doesn’t match what the rest of us are talking about.


It’s not that you need to put work into it (well, maybe a little work on the mod part), it’s just that it’s not really obvious what’s going on behind the scenes.

As others have said, you almost (mods as the exception again) never have to worry about what’s actually equipped. All of your rewards—random drops, nightfall’s, vendor packages, milestones, whatever—have their power level determined behind the scenes by what your maximum power could be if you equipped your “best” possible gear.

The system is very friendly in that regard. You can’t accidentally wear the wrong armor and get lower rewards than you otherwise would.


The short version on mods: never trash any of them, blue or purple. But never equip blues.

Blues are only useful as trade-ins for purples (available once you get to 280), so you don’t want to waste them by equipping them, and you don’t want to waste them by dismantling them either.

Purples are the good ones, so when you equip them, only equip them to gear you plan on sticking with. You can’t remove a mod from gear.


OK, that’s info I was looking for. So it’s a one shot like a shader. Just to clarify, because I think baren said this, but if you infuse a weapon to improve a modded weapon, is the mod kept or lost?


What? I’ve been not doing all this at all. I equip Blues because they’re a higher number than purples, so that my light level goes up. And any blues that are lower level get recycled.

Edit: Oh wait, you’re talking about mods. Nevermind. I haven’t messed around with my mod inventory at all. I don’t even know what I have or how to equip it.


Legendary (purple) mods all give a +5 power to the equipment they’re applied to.

This counts as if it was the “real” power value of the weapon or armor for all purposes except infusions.

So your mods will raise your overall maximum power level for everything that matters to your character - other gear drops, requirements for nightfalls, raids, etc., and of course your actual power level against enemies for whatever you’ve got equipped.

But during infusions, the base power of the item and the +5 are considered separately.

The target of your infusion keeps whatever mod it may have. Its base power is increased by the item you’re dismantling for infusion.

The item you’re dismantling for infusion behaves as if the mod was simply destroyed just prior to the infusion. The mod from the dismantled weapon is not applied to the new one, it’s not returned to your inventory, and it’s no longer affecting the dismantled weapon’s power level.

So if my target is a 268 hand cannon with a legendary mod, its effective power level is 273.

If I have another hand cannon with a base power level of 269 or higher—whether it has a mod or not—that could be used to raise the level of my target. At 269, it would raise my target hand cannon to 269 base power, and since the target mod is unaffected and remains, it would still have the +5 bringing it to 274.

The confusion only comes if you don’t realize that the item you’re going to dismantle has a mod applied. Most of the items you find and receive will not have mods already applied, but it’s always a slim possibility, so that’s what you need to check. Otherwise you may not realize that the bonus you’re getting from the mod won’t be applied to the transfusion and you’ll wonder why your item didn’t increase as much as you thought.


Right. All weapons and armor have light power levels. But only legendary (purple) mods have power level bonuses, the rares (blues) do not. In almost every imaginable scenario, the long term gain of legendaries that can raise your power level will be more important than the short term benefits a rare mod would apply to your gear.

And once you start wanting specific legendaries (the power level bonuses are always 5, but there are different possibilities for the other effects depending on what piece of gear they’re for—do I want faster arc grenade cooldown, or faster melee cooldown?), it’s all just down to luck. The more purple mods you can get your hands on, the better, so the more blue you have to slowly convert into purples, the better.


OK cool, didn’t occur to me that mods would affect my light situation in terms of drops, so I guess I’ll get to modding.


If you just do some of the milestones every week, and get the “powerful gear” that comes as rewards, you’ll slowly get more powerful.

Just keep your most powerful items of each category in your inventory, and you’ll consistently find the most powerful items available to you.

Don’t worry about it beyond that… don’t make it into a job like some folks. There’s no actual benefit to getting your light level maxed out fast.

Just to be clear about this, they don’t. That is, the only thing that affects the light level of items you find, is the max un-modified light level of your inventory.

Mods will make your light level higher, but won’t change how powerful the stuff you find is.

To find better stuff, you need to raise your unmodified light level. This is done by getting exotics, and “powerful gear”.


I’ll let you and Wholly argue that one out then.


Right. Power affects three things:

  • Efficiency in combat (penalties on fighting enemies with a higher light level than yours)
  • Eligibility and results of infusion
  • Loot drops

Mods are only relevant for the first of these. Everything else works on the unmodified “base power”.


I’m 99% that it’s your maximum total power—which includes mods—that affects both efficiency in combat and loot drops. It’s only infusion results that are limited to the base power level.


I don’t believe it’s a percentage. Up until 260, you can get drops higher than your base light level. After that, blues/purples will drop at 5 lower than your base light. Luminous and exotic will drop at 5 higher than your base light.

Edit: Oh, and exotics from the blue shied quests will drop at 10 higher than your base light.


I am 100% certain that it’s base power for drops. Mods have no effect.


I am 100% sure you are incorrect.


All I can find on reddit is disagreement up to the point where someone references this tweet from one of the designers:

At which point, okay, there’s a Bungie dev saying mods don’t affect drops.

But man, I really think it does, at least up to a point. A lot of the “no it doesn’t” anecdotes are from people at or above 300, where I suspect the calculations may again be different—as they seem to be at the 265 point.

I’m not going to argue the point, but my own experience doesn’t seem to back this up, so I remain personally unconvinced for now.

In any case, the strategies for gearing up are unchanged for all but the most extreme min/maxing of scenarios, so the rest of the discussion in this thread should hold up.