The highly-anticipated sequel to Destiny is finally here. Bungie went to great lengths to make Destiny 2 faithful to the original — in its final, improved form — while also addressing some lingering issues from its first shared-world shooter. As a result, Destiny 2 is incredibly similar to the original mechanically, but longtime fans will notice that a significant part of the formula has been tweaked and enhanced. These changes essentially reboot the whole Destiny concept and, if anything, have made the game more approachable to newcomers. Destiny 2 is a game with immense depth, one that will evolve and transform over time. Whether you’re a hardened Guardian or entering the light for the first time, let us help you start your grand adventure off right with our Destiny 2 beginner’s guide.
Classes, Subclasses, level, and power
Choosing a Guardian class
The three character classes from the original — Titan, Hunter, and Warlock — carry over into the sequel. Classes in Destiny 2 don’t have the same hard-coded roles as seen in traditional MMOS, but each class has its own strengths and weaknesses.
For players unfamiliar with Destiny, the Titan class is the most forgiving. Titans effectively play like Tanks: They don’t get around the map as quickly as the other two classes, and their melee attacks also take longer to execute. That said, they also generally have greater resistance to damage, and their shields regenerate quicker when nearing death. Since they can take the most damage, the Titan should be your go-to class if you plan on flying solo.
The Titan’s default skill tree emphasizes more powerful grenade and melee attacks. As you level up, you can choose between different grenade and melee modifiers to match your play style.
The Hunter class, the most nimble of three, is the hardest to get the hang of for most players. Along with being super speedy, Hunters can triple jump. For newer players, the Hunter may feel a bit unwieldy at first: The lightweight class can’t take much damage, so if you aren’t evasive and always on the move, your Hunter may go down — frequently. That being said, all these differences end up becoming strengths, as a player with great FPS handles will likely find the Hunter class to be the most tactically engaging. If you want a challenge and to move endlessly, the Hunter class is for you.
The Hunter’s skills focus on movement, from your Guardian down to your weapon. The Hunter has unique dodging abilities, too, along with possible reload and melee attack bonuses.
The Warlock class winds up serving as the middle ground between the Hunter and the Titan. The Warlock is faster than the Titan but slower than the Hunter; more durable than the Hunter, but less resistant than the Titan. The Warlock is great for both close quarters combat — especially when it comes to clearing out large groups of enemies — and competent for long-range attacks. Warlocks jump in a floating manner, as if they are ascending on a broomstick.
The Warlock’s skills are both supportive and self-serving. Warlock’s can heal areas around them, including themselves, or increase attack temporarily.
If you stick with Destiny 2 for the long haul, you’ll probably end up having a character from each class, especially if you wind up joining a Destiny 2 clan. If you’re still unsure which to play as at the start, we suggest running through the first mission with each class to get a feel for each one’s quirks.
Each class — Titans, Warlocks, Hunters — has three subclasses, which dictate your character’s super ability, modify their skills, and provide unique upgrades designed around playing your class in a specific way. Each class starts out with a new subclass, but players can earn two returning variants from the original by completing public events in each world.
To unlock subclasses, you must find relics. Relic locations seem to be completely random, and can be found by low- and high-level players in loot chests dropped after completing public events. After you secure a relic, you’ll have to complete additional public events to “charge” the relic, then complete a special quest that unlocks the new skill set.
The Titan starts out in the sentinel class. The sentinel’s super ability, aka the apt-titled “sentinel shield,” summons a large shield that allows your Titan to rampage through a swarm of enemies. Sentinels can choose between two class abilities, a large barrier that you cannot shoot through or a waist-high barrier, which you can crouch behind, and pop in and out of cover.
The sentinel’s passive abilities are divided into two sectors — “code of the protector” and “code of the aggressor.” The former gives defensive boosts for melee attacks, while the latter emphasizes getting more out of melee and grenade attacks. For instance, with the “super arsenal” passive skill, successful grenade moves replenish your grenade energy instantly.
Retooled from the original, the striker is great at inflicting damage across a wide area. Its special move, “fists of havoc,” lets you either repeatedly barrel down on enemies from above or come down once and then use your shoulder to charge through them.
The striker’s passive abilities are broken down into two sectors — “code of the earthshaker” and “code of the juggernaut.” The former includes an ability that lets you shoulder-ram enemies after sprinting. This collision creates a mild explosion as well. “Code of the juggernaut” features defensive passive skills, which allow you to automatically regenerate health or reload your weapon after performing melee executions.
The final Titan subclass, the sunbreaker, returns from The Taken King. The sunbreaker focuses on inflicting burn damage. Its special ability, the “hammer of sol,” allows you to sling a barrage of fiery hammers at crowds of enemies.
The sunbreaker’s passive abilities come in two categories — “code of the fire-forged” and “code of the siegebreaker.” Sunbreaker Titans can melee while sprinting to throw a hammer at enemies with the former. The latter has neat abilities like “mortar blast.” Melee attacks will trigger an explosion and burn surrounding enemies.
As the starting Warlock class, dawnblade Warlocks give you your first taste at powers such as healing or increasing attack with the Warlock’s class abilities. The Dawnblade’s super ability, “daybreak,” turns light into sharp blades that rain down from the sky.
“Attunement of sky” and “attunment of flame” separate dawnblade’s passive abilities. The former offers airborne abilities, like the ability to restore grenade and melee energy after killing enemies while off the ground. “Attunement of flame” moves, such as “igniting touch,” burn and subsequently cause enemies to combust following melee attacks.
The voidwalker’s super attack, “nova bomb,” throws a beam of light at enemies, decimating anyone in its wake. The voidwalker inflicts damage with large scale attacks.
With “attunment of chaos,” a Warlock can manually drain power from its super meters to amplify grenade attacks. “Attunment of hunger” skills include the ability to sacrifice grenade energy to replenish health.
The final Warlock subclass, which originally appeared in The Taken King, is the stormcaller. Its super ability, “stormtrance,” lets Warlocks hover around an area and electrocute herds of enemies from above. The stormcaller uses its hands to deploy electrified damage.
Players can damage multiple enemies with a melee attack with an “attunement of ions” passive ability. “Chain lightning” creates an electrical current that emanates from melee attacks to hit nearby enemies. The “attunement of elements” subset focuses on preservation. One passive ability, “gale force,” replenishes super, melee, and grenade meters after performing a melee attack.
The starting Hunter subclass, arcstrider, summons a staff that the Hunter can use to swiftly dismantle enemies.
The arcstrider’s passive abilities are divided into “way of the warrior” and “way of the wind.” The former includes a skill that will automatically recharge your dodging meter when killing enemies via melee. Way of the wind focuses on speed. “Focused breathing” will replenish your dodge meter from sprinting, while also increasing your max speed.
Carrying over from the original, the gunslinger’s super ability summons the fan-favorite “golden gun.” This sun-soaked pistol instantly vaporizes enemies on contact. The gunslinger is ideal for pinpointing specific enemies for huge chunks of damage.
The gunslinger’s passive abilities are separated into “way of the outlaw” and “way of the sharpshooter.” Way of the outlaw skills increase the hunter’s gun reload speed and rate of fire, while way of the sharpshooter offers contextual damage buffs, such as damage bonuses for performing precision kills.
The final hunter subclass, the nightstalker, hails from The Taken King. Its super move, “shadowshot,” allows you to impair a wide area of enemies, lowering their defensives and ridding them of their own abilities. The nightstalker focuses on immobilizing and slowing enemies.
The nightstalker’s passive subsets are “way of the trapper” and “way of the pathfinder.” Way of the trapper emphasizes tripping up your enemies. With “snare bomb,” hunters can send a smoke bomb via melee attacks, which let you slow down and confuse enemies. “Way of the pathfinder” abilities such as “lockdown” can up your grenade and smoke bomb effects, making them last twice as long as normal.
Level and power
Destiny 2‘s progression system revolves around two things: Level and power. Just like in any RPG, players increase their level by killing enemies and completing missions to earn experience points. Unlike standard RPGs, though, your level has very little direct impact on your stats. Instead, you earn an upgrade point for each level, allowing you to acquire or upgrade your guardian’s abilities. Your level also affects your ability to equip new gear: Most weapons and armor have a minimum level requirement, so while leveling up doesn’t make you stronger, you need to keep playing to raise your level and use your best loot. Your character can get up to level 20 at launch.
Your power level, on the other hand, is a catchall signifier for how powerful you are. Power effectively works the same way as “light level” in Destiny, though in Destiny 2, characters start building it up right from the beginning. Your power level is an average of all of your weapons’ attack and gears’ defense stats. Pay close attention to your Power level before setting your sights on a mission. Both campaign and side-quests have a recommended Power level. The maximum power level is currently 350, though you can complete all but the most difficult missions with a far lower level.