XP in Destiny 2 doesn't level you in the same way it does in most RPGs, as it's primarily used to increase your season pass rather than your character's level.
Similar to Glimmer, XP can be earned across the game regardless of how you play, but there are reasons why you'll want to earn it faster - perhaps to level up your artefact, or to unlock the final few tiers of the season pass before it expires.
This page explains our XP farm suggestions in Destiny 2, as well as a list of XP boosts you can employ across the game.
On this page:
What is XP used for in Destiny 2?
Before we start, it's best to explain what XP does in Destiny 2, because it is different to how the power level system works - which is increased by equipping higher numbered gear. That said, earning XP can affect your gear level also, albeit indirectly and temporarily.
In Destiny 2, you'll want to get XP to do the following:
- Increase your season pass. The primary thing XP does in Destiny 2 is increases tiers of the game's version of the Battle Pass, found within the 'Seasons' area of the menu. Every XP level earned will progress you one tier through the season pass, granting you a variety of rewards, including cosmetics, Exotic Engrams and planetary resources.
- Level up your artefact, which grants you new seasonal mods and a power level boost. Every season, you are given a new artefact, which will come with season-specific mods. By levelling up the Artefact, you will earn two things - those season-specific mods for your gear, and additional power levels, which are added on top of your gear level average. This gives you two ways to increase your Power Level, one through gear drops and one through levelling the artefact with XP.
Interestingly, there is no cap for your season pass or artefact. Though there are no season pass rewards past 100, your artefact will continue to add levels to your gear average. So even if your gear is at the cap, you can keep adding levels indefinitely until the end of the season.
It's important to note the above (season pass and the artefact) will reset every season. This means the XP you have earned will disappear along with it, with the next season introducing a new set of season pass tiers and artefact to level up.
With all this being time limited - each season lasts around three months - learning how to maximise your XP gains is important, allowing you to unlock mods for specific activities while they are active, or earning the rewards you want from the season pass.
How to get XP boosts in Destiny 2
There are some things you can unlock or equip which can boost your base XP gains further, regardless of how you play. These include:
- Applying an XP mod to your Ghost. Year 4 introduced the concept of levelling up your Ghost and applying a variety of mods, which can include an XP booster. There are a variety of XP boost mods, with lower tiers (up to 10%) available right away, and a higher multiplier (up to 12%) dropping from world Engrams at random.
- Progressing through the season pass. If you buy the season pass, at regular intervals, you will earn an XP multiplier, with a 32% boost available in total.
- Playing with other players with Fireteam XP boosts active. As well as XP boosts throughout the season, the pass also unlocks up to four "small Fireteam XP boosts", amounting to 8%. Though this does not stack with multiple Fireteam members, it's a useful to know that playing with others can give you a little help in levelling up.
- Play every week to take advantage of the 'well rested' bonus. After every weekly reset, for the first five levels of that week your XP gains are doubled. This a healthy boost, and though it will only last one or two sessions, is a nice incentive to check back in regularly.
In short - playing Destiny 2 regularly, plus buying and progressing through the season pass, is the best way to get an easy XP boosts. Playing with others who have also progressed through the Season Pass, and using a Ghost XP mod are small boosts by comparison, but also help - and for those who want to min max your way to tier 100 every season, you'll want every advantage you can get.
New for February is Season of the Chosen - which introduced the Presage mission, the Hammer of Proving, Cabal Gold and War Table reputation. There are also new Exotics, a max level cap and sunset list, and the Aspect of Influence quest. If you're still catching up with Beyond Light, make sure you pick up Salvation's Grip, The Lament, Hawkmoon - which can be improved further with the Harbinger quest - and Augment Triumphs. As well as XP farm and Glimmer farm advice, looking to the year ahead, we explain everything we know about Destiny 2 crossplay and transmog.
XP Farming methods: What are the best ways to farm XP in Destiny 2?
You earn some XP from doing pretty much anything in the game - whether it's completing activities or killing enemies - and it's designed to all add up over time than be delivered in large amounts.
However, there is a way to farm XP, and that's from pursuing the best single source of XP - completing Bounties. These are mini-challenges you can pick up from Vendors across the game, and task you with playing the game a certain way. This includes:
- Gunsmith bounties (using specific weapons) from Banshee-44 in the Tower
- Playlist-specific bounties (Gambit, Crucible, Strikes) from their respective vendors in the Tower
- Destination-specific bounties from their respective vendors
- Seasonal and event bounties (which are either mode or game wide), such as from Crow in Season of the Hunt, Eva Levante during The Dawning, Lord Saladin during Iron Banner, etc
By collecting and completing Bounties regularly, you will earn XP far quicker than simply playing the game. The good news is there is a Bounty which will align which pretty much any activity you choose, and so you can complete them at the same time.
Some tips on how to effectively complete Bounties include:
- Before you start playing, make sure you stock up on Bounties according to what you plan to do in that session. If you have the Destiny 2 phone app, you can grab Bounties provided you are not in an activity or destination (in order words - in orbit, the Tower, or when not playing the game).
- If you are unsure what you need, some vendors - such as the Gunsmith and Seasonal bounties - are for using certain weapons or killing specific enemies regardless of the mode or location, meaning you complete them anywhere.
- Be sure to read their descriptions carefully - some can be completed faster by killing Guardians in Crucible or Gambit than standard enemies, for example, while others require you to be in specific regions of a world, such as a Lost Sector. Remember you can track them as you would a quest, so you can follow along with how you are doing by pulling out your Ghost.
- Bounties refresh daily but last 26 hours, which means you can stock up if you plan to play a specific activity past the next daily reset time. Again, you can do this without loading up the game through the Bungie app - so if you are serious about XP gains, you could check in every day 15 minutes before the reset to make sure you are carrying up the maximum amount of Bounties at all times.
- In terms of which Bounties to get - it really depends on what activity you wish to play. Gunsmith and any seasonal / event Bounties are at least recommended each time, then those for the activity and / or destination you are playing on. That said, DeerTrivia on reddit offers a daily breakdown of 'optimized bounties', explaining the most efficient way to complete that day's bounties according to what's available. This is useful if you want to speed through the season pass quickly - or if you are in need of inspiration of what to do during a session.
Remember, completing activities and killing enemies as you work towards Bounties also grants XP - so it's not just the Bounties themselves which will contribute to the Season Pass.
With Season of the Chosen, Weekly Bounties - which rewarded more XP than Daily Bounties - have been replaced with Seasonal Challenges. This is arguably a better trade for those who prefer to log in less frequently, as though Seasonal Challenges roll out weekly, they don't expire until the season's end - allowing you to 'save' them until the end.
However, note doing so means you also miss out on Daily Bounties, as well as the weekly 'rested' XP bonus - so if you are serious about XP, unlocking season pass tiers and powering up your artefact, then playing regularly is key.