Destiny’s endgame is vastly different to is story line counterpart, giving you access to PVP, raids, strikes as well as armour/weapon upgrades which were previously unobtainable. Granted, some of the content you can access prior to hitting the level 20 mark, but realistically, apart from the experience and faction marks it isn’t really worth it.
Once your level hits that magical level 20 not only will you unlock the ability to obtain rare and legendary drops from your fallen foes (pun not intended), you will also start on your journey to tackle Destiny’s endgame content. With rare grade gear and above you will also see they have a light level in addition to the standard defense value (naturally, this only applies to armour). With this light level, the higher the digit, the more it will advance you to your next “post level 20” level. Don’t be fooled though, gaining light levels is not as easy as you might think, and it takes considerable effort. This may be through foraging for better gear on general or by upgrading your current gear through the use of hard to come by items. You will some times be faced with sacrificing some defense for an increase in light.
Your legendary and subsequently your exotic armour can be upgraded from its base state to give you additional perks, defense and light. The upgrades are initially unlocked through completing missions, killing enemies and completing bounties. But you will also need to pay a fee of glimmer and rare items to activate the bonus. Luckily, you do not need to apply an upgrade before working to unlock the next one, you do however need to apply them in order. Many of the legendary items require the use of Ascendance Shards or other rare items to upgrade, often making the upgrades costly and time consuming.
I’ve noticed that it is generally quite hard to get better armour, but this being said, at the moment all of the legendary armour have the same upgraded stats. Their man differences being their additional perks, eg: hold more heavy ammo or reload hand cannons faster. This gives you very little incentive to spend your hard earned currency on the same armour type, unless of course you wish to change your sense of sweet style.
There are many vendors strewn around the Tower who offer weapon and armour purchases. I personally found the gunsmith next to useless once I had hit level 20, the wares he had to offer were still the same as they were when I was young and inexperienced, as was the same with the Cryptarch. Once you get to a certain point, white and green engrams are really no use to you. Your journey to gain light levels will not be advanced by these two. Essentially, the only way to get better gear is to grind away so you can unlock purchases from the Vanguards, Crucible or other various factions that are present in the last sanctuary for man kind. By completing various challenges you can earn favour for specific factions; through completing bounties, patrol missions and public events you will gain reputation points for the Vanguards as well as spendable marks. Where as competing in the crucible will present you with Crucible reputation and likewise, Crucible marks. Once you have gained enough favour in your chosen faction, you’ll be able to exchange these marks for better weapons or armour.
I’m not going to lie; this process is long winded and requires dedication to the cause. It really requires you to continually grind the same missions over and over and over again with very little reward. For completing a patrol mission you will get on average 10 Vanguard points, where completing a Crucible match will yield you 25 Crucible points. Now considering it takes 1500 of these reputation points just to get to level one and a further 2500 points thereafter for addition levels, and you need to be at least level 2 to buy any thing of merit… well, you get the picture. You can purchase special armbands from various factions though, such as the Future War Cult which will filter all of your points towards that specific faction, but it is still a slow and arduous process climbing the ranks.
You can also increase your faction points by completing bounties. These will give you a set task to complete and will reward you with between 50 and 100 faction points, as well as a nice chunk of experience (Which will go towards your next Mote of Light if you’re level 20 and above). These are by far the best way to gain faction levels, especially as you can have 5 active at any given time. Pick 5 that are similar and you’ll be laughing. The only downside is that these only refresh every 12 hours, so you’re still limited to the amount of points you can gain in any given session.
In addition to your standard bounties, you will eventually be given the opportunity to undertake an exotic bounty. Beware however. These are not for the faint of heart. These bounties will reward you with an exotic weapon, but only after your skills have been tested and you have been deemed worthy. This is done by completing multiple parts of the bounty that spans various aspects of gameplay from strikes to the Crucible.
Your other point of call to unlock better gear is to partake in the daily and weekly strikes. These are mainly just strikes from the main story line with ramped up difficulty. It can be frustrating as you’re not guaranteed to get better engrams so you’ll find yourself repeating the same missions over and over again. I truly have lost count on how many times I’ve killed Aksor, the Archon Priest. I found even in the Queen’s Wrath playlist – where a legendary armour piece was guaranteed to those who had completed a special Queen’s Wrath bounty – I was getting duplicate items. Out of the six strikes I completed from the playlist, I got five legendary chest pieces. And it wasn’t just me, the other two guys I was online with experienced a similar issue. Talk about frustrating.
Admittedly, Destiny’s endgame is aimed at groups of players, and not really tailored for the lone wolf style of gaming. Tackling it with this mindset is tricky, and honestly, a little difficult. With friends by my side I can forgive the repetitive nature of the strikes and I feel like the game is much more enjoyable. Defeating a strike on a higher difficulty feels more rewarding when your “bro” has your back. Though with this being said, if you do not have six like minded friends, you currently will not be able to tackle Destiny’s one and only raid: The Vault of Glass. Which is disappointing. I understand matchmaking is being worked on, but this seriously alienates a lot of players from joining in on a massive part of the endgame experience.
Bungie have tried to shake things up a bit with the addition of special events. At first we had the Queen’s Wrath, which meant by completing a New Monarchy bounty, you would be rewarded with a special card – with one of these, if you were to complete a strike from the Queen’s Wrath playlist, you’d be rewarded with a legendary armour piece.
The second event is the Iron Banner. Replacing the Queen’s Wrath, this game mode is orientated towards the Crucible. Normally in the Crucible matches equipment and perks are equalised, giving newer players a chance to compete fairly, even if they have a lower level Guardian. The Iron Banner however allows you to take advantage of your hard earned exotic weaponry and armour, giving those with higher ranked gear an advantage. (Although I understand this only applies to opponents within an 8 level range of one another).
Don’t get me wrong. Destiny’s endgame is not bad. It is far from un-enjoyable. I just feel it is lacking in content, and often the grinding can get a bit tedious. Playing on your own is definitely not as fun as playing with friends, and as I said, some of the repetitive quests can be forgiven when you’re in a group. This being said, it hasn’t stopped me coming back to the futuristic shooter time and time again. Despite the repetitive nature, I still find the Crucible great fun, and even though searching for better gear can be tedious and met with a lot of disappointment, nothing beats the excitement when you finally find what you’ve been hunting for for so long. I feel that once the DLC updates have gone live, and there is more to do in the solar system, Destiny’s endgame will finally start to bloom into the experience it is meant to be.
You can check out our review on the Destiny main game here
Read what we thought about Destiny’s The Taken King expansion here