How to reach max power level in Destiny 2: Artifact, Powerful and Pinnacle gear explained (Season of Plunder update)

Destiny 2 Witch Queen armor setBungie

Reaching the max power level in Destiny 2 is essential when facing off against many foes in PvE, and even in PvP. Here’s how to reach max power level ahead of Season 17.

Whether you’re a brand-new player or a seasoned Destiny veteran, leveling up and increasing your power level is one of the most important parts of the Destiny experience. For starters, many activities such as raids, strikes, and even some PvP activities have level requirements.

In short, if you want to enjoy the full Destiny 2 experience in all its glory, you will have to increase your power level. Here’s how to reach max power level in the game’s Season of Plunder.

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How gear affects power level in Destiny 2

titan, hunter, warlock destiny 2Bungie
Your power level is determined by your gear in Destiny 2.

For new players to Destiny 2, your power level determines how much damage you deal as well as how much damage you take.

Players can only increase their power level by equipping higher-tiered weapons and armor, which is why regularly upgrading your equipment is so important.

As of The Witch Queen, every player starts the game at 1350 Power Level and is required to work their way up the ladder to experience the most demanding content.

The cap is raised with each expansion, and each season. Your Seasonal Artifact will also level up and increase your Power Level, too.

Destiny 2 power level caps

The Destiny 2 power level caps for Season 18 are as follows:

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  • Soft Cap: 1520 power level
  • Hard Cap (also known as the Powerful Cap): 1570 power level
  • Pinnacle Cap: 1580 power level

Those numbers are up by 10 Power levels from those in Season of the Risen.

The soft cap of 1520 can be achieved by playing through any of the content in the game. This includes rare items, legendary and exotic.

The hard cap of 1570 is achieved through obtaining Powerful gear.

Finally, the max Destiny 2 Pinnacle cap, 1580, can be reached by collecting Pinnacle gear.

How to get to the 1520 power level soft cap 

Great news! If you have a power level that’s below 1510, then this will be the easiest time for you to level up in Destiny 2.

During this period when you haven’t hit the soft cap, almost every activity in Destiny 2 has the potential to drop gear that is higher than your current level.

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Here are some activities that will help you reach the soft cap:

  • PvE (Nightfalls, Strikes, Raids, Lost Sectors, Public Events, Dungeons, Daily Heroic Story Missions)
  • Rare and Legendary drops from enemies
  • Engrams
  • Dungeons
  • Crucible
  • Bounties

At this stage, by simply playing and enjoying the game, the majority of the activities will reward you with gear that is sure to increase your current level. So have fun!

How to get powerful gear & level up to 1570 power level 

By winning games of Trials of Osiris you can earn powerful gear. Bungie
Competing in Trials of Osiris can lead to powerful gear rewards.

Once you manage to make your way to level 1510 in Destiny 2, things start to become a little more difficult. All of the activities that previously dropped gear above your current level will no longer reward you with gear above the level of 1570.

In order to achieve powerful gear, you’ll need to complete specific activities and weekly challenges.

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They are as follows:

Leveling up to 1570 will definitely be a grind but these are the activities that you should be focusing on if you want to increase your level.

The most straightforward way to get powerful gear is to complete the eight vendor bounties because there are many vendors to choose from. You can stack them up, and blow through them. The count resets at the weekly reset.

In addition, there’s a chance that you can receive powerful gear after completing a playlist activity, even if you have already completed the weekly playlist challenge.

How to get pinnacle gear & level up to 1580 power level

Pinnacle gear destiny 2Bungie
You can reach the max power level in Destiny 2 by acquiring Pinnacle gear.

In order to achieve the last 10 levels in Destiny 2, you’re going to need pinnacle gear. These activities are some of the most difficult in Destiny 2, but the rewards are worth the grind.

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You can get pinnacle gear by doing the following:

  • Playlist activities completion (Strikes, Crucible, Gambit – completing three of each will award a piece of Powerful Gear)
  • Trials of Osiris rewards
  • Raid completions (Vault of Glass and Vow of the Disciple)
  • Dungeon completions (Grasp of Avarice, Prophecy)
  • Completing Nightfall: The Ordeal with a score of over 100k
  • Completing Iron Banner bounties

Collecting pinnacle gear is no easy feat, but after consistently trying to complete as many of the activities listed above, your power level will surely increase.

Keep in mind, seasonal artifacts also offer level increases. Just level up the artifact by earning XP and that can be a surefire way to give you that power level boost.

Both the Presage and Harbinger quests went away with the release of the Witch Queen, so any players who haven’t completed them would be best served by focusing those down first. If you did miss them though, the weapons will still be offered as part of Xur’s inventory.

Artifact levels explained

Each season in Destiny 2 adds a new artifact. This item unlocks a huge number of mods, many of which can help players deal with tougher enemies called Champions.

That’s not all, though, because the artifact levels up and increases your power level as if it was an extra piece of gear. There’s no cap, so you can level it forever if you’d like, but some activities will disable artifact level advantages (Grandmaster Nightfalls, Trials of Osiris, Iron Banner, for example).

To level it fast, we’ve got a full guide, but the key thing to remember is it’s improved through XP – so however you play, you’ll always be contributing to it.

General tips to reach max light level in Destiny 2

If you’re trying to reach the max power (light) level in Destiny 2 as fast as possible, then these tips should be helpful in speeding up the process:

  1. Level your alt accounts first: Focus on leveling your third or least played character before your transfer gear to your second character. Then, complete their weekly Pinnacles and transfer gear to your main character. Finally, complete every pinnacle source once more.
  2. Complete the Vault of Glass Raid: This iconic raid has 5+ encounters that will reward you with +2 pinnacle gear each. If you’re trying to reach the max power level in Destiny, running the VoG regularly is a must.
  3. Complete Seasonal Challenges: You can gain massive amounts of XP from these challenges which can then contribute to the power level of your Artifact.
  4. Complete Witch Queen’s Legendary Campaign: Completing the new campaign on Legendary difficulty will be a challenge, but much higher level gear will drop. Your power within the campaign is capped, but it means that afterward, you can go wild!

So, there you have it! Everything you need to know about reaching the max power level in Destiny 2 and the different types of gear. For more on Destiny 2, be sure to check out our other content for the looter shooter.

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