[Sticky] How to increase your Power Level
Leveling your Guardian to 20 will come naturally, just follow the missions and around the time you complete the main story you should be level 20. What becomes more of an issue is raising your POWER level. This is done by increasing the quality of the gear you have. Every piece of gear has a base power level (and them some are increased by 5 due to an attachment but don’t worry about that until later) and the ‘average’ of your gear’s power level determines what content you are suited to handle. We will talk in general about how to raise your power level, and then specifically how you get over that 270 threshold.
Loot quality: White --> Green --> Blue --> Purple --> Gold
Activities that require a specific Power Level:
- Vanguard Strike Playlist - 140 Power Level
- End-game planetary story missions - 200 on Nessus, 220 on Titan, 240 on Io, 260 on EDZ
- Weekly Nightfall Strike - 230 Power level required, 240 Power Level recommended
- Trials of the Nine - 260 Power Level
- Leviathan Raid - Between 260-280 Power level
- Legendary Mods to be traded with Banshee-44 - 280 Power Level
- Prestige Nightfall - 300 Power Level recommended
As you gain gear it will scale with you, meaning that for example if you are currently power level 225 then gear between 225-230 power level will drop. So up until around power level 265 your best bet is to gain as much loot as possible to creep your way up. Here are a list of activities that will grant you scaled-levl gear:
- Blue and Purple drops from enemies
- Getting Faction rewards, including those from Faction Rally
- Decrypting Blue and Purple Engrams
- Completing activities (such as Public Events, Lost Sectors, Strikes, Crucible) for loot chests
- Trials of the Nine match completion drops
- Xur's Exotics (270 Power Level cap)
From here your upgrades become a little more sparse, as some of these upgrade options are on reset timers or are a little more RNG based. These activities are what will push you beyond 270 and scale with you all the way up to 300:
- Weekly Nightfall Strike drops and Milestone rewards
- Leviathan Raid loot drops and Milestone reward
- Trials of the Nine vendor rewards
- Weekly Flashpoint Milestone reward
- Maxing out your weekly Clan XP contribution, Clan Engram drops
- Possible drops from Cayde's weekly Treasure Maps
- Weekly Call to Arms Crucible Milestone
- Exotic quests, such as Mida Multi-Tool, Rat King and Sturm
- Exotic Engrams / drops (which can drop a random from any 'regular' up to 265 Power activity)
Another great way to increase your power level without having to sacrifice not using your favorite weapon is by using Infusion. For example, let's say you have a power level 265 god-rolled weapon that you are in love with but the fact it is only 265 is really holding you back. But you also have a power level 300 weapon that is absolutely useless and just taking up space. You can infuse the higher level weapon into the lower level weapon (by paying some glimmer and Legendary Shards) and this will retain all of the perks of the weapon you loved so dearly, but it will now be level 300. This unfortunately destroys the item used for infusion, and you can only infuse items of the same type, but is a gain overall. Be particularly on the lookout for the weapons with a +5 power mod on them. This can both help you or hurt you because there is a slight loss or gain depending on which way you infuse. For example:
265 item (260 base +5 mod) infused with a 295 item = 300 item (295 base + 5 mod from the original item) This is good!
265 item infused with a 295 item (290 base + 5 mod) = 290 item (only the BASE value is used) This is bad!
Lastly, keep in mind that the power level you see on your character screen may be misleading. That power level just indicates what content you can do and how much damage you output. The base power level is what determines the level of gear that will drop for you, and this is determined by the average of all the highest valued gear in each slot...even if it is not equipped! So as an extreme (though not likely) case just to make it clear:
A player with a base level of 280 and a character sheet level of 275 is going to get better gear to drop than a player with a base level of 260 and a character sheet level of 275.