Whether or not Activision and Bungie wants to call Destiny an MMO or not, it is in a large number of ways. One of those key ways being end-game, where Destiny has a number of gameplay elements to work on.
What To Do In Destiny When You Reach Level 20
After completing the main story missions and reaching level 20 you’ll be at end-game, and here you’ve got a grind on your hands. Here’s what you can do at level 20 in Destiny.
You won’t be able to increase your level any more (that is hard-capped to 20) but there’s still reputation and gear grinding, the latter of which will increase your Light level – a new way of increasing that number by the side of your name.
Gear Grinding & Your Guardian Light Level
Once you hit level 20 the number by the side of your Guardian will turn yellow. This will be your Light level, and it’s sort of Destiny’s way of levelling up outside of the initial experience-based levels.
From level 20 onwards you’ll start collecting new equipment – weapons, armour and the like – that will come with a new Light stat. You’ll need to collect and equip gear with a certain amount of Light to increase your Light level.
You can check this stat in your inventory menu, and as you increase your Light level you’ll be able to take on tougher end-game missions (since the gear you’ve equipped makes you more powerful), which in turn will gain you access to even more powerful gear.
It’s an endless cycle, and it will mean that you’ll need to grind missions quite a number of times to get that better loot.
Complete Hard Mode Missions
Since you’re going to be grinding for gear once you reach level 20 you’ll probably be pleased to hear that when you reach this cap the missions you’ve already completed unlock Hard Mode equivalents.
This will pit you against a tougher challenge of enemies – suitable for you level – as well as rewarding you with better gear upon their completion.
Collecting Vanguard Reputation & Vanguard Marks
At level 20 you’ll then be able to grind for reputation. Doing so will unlock higher tiers of equipment, and is one of the only guaranteed ways you’ll get access to a purple (or legendary) equipment for your Guardian.
Vanguard is associated with PvE content (so standard missions), and as such completing random Strike Missions from the Strike Playlist will increase your reputation here.
Doing so will also earn you Vanguard Marks, which is the currency used at your Class Vendor and the Vanguard Armory to purchase new gear.
You’ll also be able to do a ‘Daily Heroic’, which rewards additional Vanguard Marks for completing a particular story mission on Hard Mode.
There’s also a Weekly Heroic equivalent that, as you might expect, rewards you with more but can only be completed once a week.
The number of Vanguard Marks you can collect is limited to 100 per week.
Collecting Crucible Reputation & Crucible Marks
These work in much the same way as the Vanguard rep and Marks but instead require you to take part in Crucible PvP matches. You’ll earn both naturally as you play, with a higher reward for winning matches.
You can also complete Bounties in Crucible games to earn additional Crucible Marks.
As with Vanguard Marks, you are limited to earning 100 Crucible Marks per week – after which you can earn another 100 and so on.
These can be spent on fancy legendary gear from Class Vendors, Crucible Armory Vendor and Faction Reputation items.
Earning Faction Reputation
In lieu of earning Vanguard or Crucible reputation you can, instead, pick one of the three Factions to earn reputation for: Dead Orbit, Future War Cult or New Monarchy.
These Factions sell different items depending on how high your reputation is – so check them out and see which route you want to work towards first.
You’ll need to earn reputation and Crucible Marks to purchase their items.
To earn reputation for any of these Factions, visit their Faction Vendor and purchase one of the level 20 pieces of equipment – it’ll be all you can buy at that point.
Equip this item and, instead of earning Vanguard or Crucible reputation for any action that might reward it, you’ll earn rep for the chosen Faction.
Strange Coins & Xur, Agent Of The Nine
While playing Destiny you might collect a Strange Coin, and wonder what it is used for.
These items can be used as currency for Xur, Agent Of The Nine’s black market. Xur only appears at the Tower from 9AM on a Friday to 9AM on a Sunday each weekend.
Xur sells Exotic items, some of which you’ll certainly want to try and get hold of. But how do you get Strange Coins?
The easiest would be to complete the Weekly Heroic Vanguard mission, which will earn you 3 Strange Coins, 250 Glimmer and 250 points of reputation for its completion.
But you can also earn a Strange Coin for the first Public Event you complete a day. It’s not clear just yet, but it seems like you’re limited to earning only one Strange Coin a day from this method.
You’ll need a minimum of 7 Strange Coins for items purchased from Xur, so it’s a fair old grind if you want to collect these items.
What To Do With Spin Metal, Relice Iron, Spirit Bloom or Helium Coils
You can find these items throughout each of the four areas you can explore in Destiny.
Once you’ve collected 50 pieces of each you can head over to a Faction Vendor, Vanguard or Crucible Vendor and turn them in for a boost in reputation.
Taking Part In The Iron Banner
Here’s a funny one. At level 20 you’ll unlock the Iron Banner mode in the Crucible, a ‘hardcore’ version of the PvP that does away with traditional balancing and instead has you fight allsorts of levels.
The damage boosts and the like that are applied to standard Crucible matches are removed too, so you’re on your own.
Of course this means that it’s more dependent on your item level, or Light level. Gear is far more important since you’ll be able to deal and take so much more damage with better gear than those who are just starting out.
It’s something of a challenge, then; a real test for your own abilities in lieu of the standard balancing that you might see in typical matches.
It’s something to aim for though. You probably won’t want to enter it as soon as you hit level 20, but once you’ve got a few decent items under your belt it could be a good way of proving yourself.
But you’ll also earn reputation for the Iron Banner and, as with all Factions, you’ll be able to purchase items and rewards exclusive to the Iron Banner.
Destiny’s Raids & Post-Release Content
As of right now there is no extra content to work through with regards to end-game, but the first raid will appear on 16 September 2014 – and you’re going to need some high-level gear if you have any hopes of surviving a raid.
After that the first expansion pack – Dark Below – will launch in December 2014, and it’s there that the first huge content drop will happen – with new solo, co-op and Crucible content being added into Destiny.
And yes, you’ll need suitable gear to work on this, too.
In other words, this is what all the end-game grinding is for, to get you ready for whatever Bungie will later add to Destiny.
And that won’t be all. Patches between now and December could unlock new content or missions or raids, while 2015 is likely to feature a number of other expansion packs and content drops.
It’ll be necessary to keep Destiny going, and you’ll need the gear to even be able to access it.
Failing that, you could always spend some time exploring Earth, the Moon, Mars or Venus in free roam, hoping to find some as-yet undiscovered secret.