Whether you've just bought Destiny and want to catch up with your friends or you're a veteran who wants to roll another character, we can help you get to a high level pretty quickly while still having plenty of fun. Our guide is based on soloing, but as with everything in Destiny, this adventure is more enjoyable if you undertake it with some friends in a fireteam. It doesn't matter which class you choose - the principles are the same for Titans, Hunters and Warlocks.
You can also level up steadily by playing a lot of games in the Crucible, Destiny's PVP mode, but in our experience it is much faster to level your character by racing through PVE content, so that is what this guide focuses on.
Levelling guide - how to reach level 20 quickly
Levels 1-4: Story missions
There's no particular trick to the early levels - you just need to do what the game tells you and play through story missions, returning to the Tower when prompted so you can be introduced to the various vendors. Once you hit level 4, though, you gain access to bounties through Xander 99-40, at which stage you can accelerate your development.
Levels 4-20: Story missions and bounties
The key to advancing quickly through these levels is to focus on story missions and combine these with bounties from Xander. Do all of the story missions, including the optional ones, and don't change the difficulty. Upping the challenge increases the XP reward, but more powerful adversaries will slow your progress. You are better off finishing quickly, moving on to the next easy story mission and doing as many bounties as possible.
Bounties are secondary objectives that exist outside specific missions. They come in a few varieties, but the ones you will see at this stage are Vanguard (grey icon) and Crucible (red icon) and you want the Vanguard ones, which ask you to do things like killing 100 enemies with precision damage or melee-killing 30 enemies without dying. You can have five bounties on the go at a time and those two are good examples of the ones you should prioritise: easy to complete during the general run of play. Whenever you are in the Tower, make sure you load up on Xander's available bounties, which refresh every 24 hours.
As well as the more general bounties, Xander also offers a lot of more situational bounties that involve killing particular groups of enemies or even individual enemies on higher difficulty tiers. By all means pick up the ones about killing a specific race's Majors or Ultras if you are working through story missions on a planet where they are common, but at this stage don't bother with the more elaborate or challenging bounties like killing specific mini-bosses with the Heroic difficulty modifier active - you are trying to level quickly, not showcase your skills.
Easy Vanguard bounties
- Body Dropper - Kill 100 enemies without dying
- It's All in the Head - Kill 100 enemies with precision damage (headshots in most cases)
- Knuckleduster - Melee kill 30 enemies without dying
- Predator and Prey - Kill 20 enemies without taking damage from them
- Unstoppable - Earn 9000 Experience without dying
Still easy, but a bit more situational
- Relic Harvest - Cosmodrome - Collect 200 Sensor Mites in Cosmodrome (you automatically gain Sensor Mites after each kill in the Cosmodrome with this bounty active)
- Relic Harvest - Moon - Collect 200 Impact Shards on the Moon (you automatically gain Impact Shards after each kill on the Moon with this bounty active)
- Relic Harvest - Venus - Collect 200 Pumice Threads on Venus (you automatically gain Pumice after each kill on Venus with this bounty active)
- Relic Harvest - Mars - Collect 200 Olympus Tears on Mars (you automatically gain Olympus Tears after each kill on Mars)
- Exalted Hive - Kill 10 Hive Majors or Ultras
- Fallen Leaders - Kill 10 Fallen Majors or Ultras
- Cabal Command - Kill 10 Cabal Majors or Ultras
- Vex Minds - Kill 10 Vex Majors or Ultras
It should be possible to hit level 18, 19 or even 20 simply by completing all the available story missions with bounties in tow, and in our experience a player who already knows the content can do this in 6-8 hours. Once you get to level 20, things change up quite a bit, so if you want to keep levelling as quickly and efficiently as possible, check out the next stage of our guide.