Ok. So Part 1 of this primer can get anyone to level 20. Cool. Part 2 can help usher PvE players to the promised land of level 34. Great. Now it’s time to show love to the more competitive players. I will warn you, this guide will be pretty simple. Don’t think it’s that way because I don’t care much for PvP. That is certainly not the case. Simply put, the only way to get to 34 from 20 is playing PvP. I know that sounds funny, trust me. But all you’ll be doing is pretty much playing your favorite Crucible mode. But there’s still a way to speed things up a little. So let’s talk about it.
So you’re all ready to take your level 20 character for a spin in the Crucible. You jump in, only to find you’re playing with a bunch of characters ranked 34. It really doesn’t matter in the normal crucible matches, but it ABSOLUTELY DOES for Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris (ToO). So the strategy here mirrors the PvE one. Same rules apply for getting to 34. You still have 3 ways.
- Earn it from the Trials of Osiris (ToO). You have to win 5 matches in a row or more to guarantee yourself an armor piece. It will start at 42 light.
- Ascend any legendary armor. All legendary armor maxes out at 36 or less light. That is, unless you earn an Etheric light. Using this can push it to 42, regardless of what the original max was. Etheric light can be earned by playing the Iron Banner (we’ll get to that) or in ToO.
- Ascend any Exotic armor. If you have an Exotic piece of armor that maxes at less than 42, a second exotic shard can push it to 42.
So let’s talk about the gameplan here. I still believe in mirroring the PvE scheme. So we want to get ourselves to 32, then use the high level modes to earn our last 2 levels. Here are the steps.
- Assuming you got to Crucible Rank 2 like I told you, earn 75 marks if you haven’t yet and buy a pair of Legendary boots from the Crucible handler.
- Earn another 150 and hold on to them. (Remember you earn double for the daily playlist.)
- Buy an Exotic Helmet from Xur (or use Engrams to earn one.) If you choose to buy another exotic armor piece, you will require an extra 45 marks to reach level 32. Keep that in mind when deciding what exotic armor to choose.
- Use your marks to buy 2 more legendary pieces of armor for whatever slots are missing. Ideally it would be chest and gauntlets if you got the Exotic Helmet. Hence the 150 marks. You’ll need 195 if you chose otherwise.
Once that armor is purchased and leveled up, you’ll reach level 32. At this point you have two options to reach 34. Iron Banner, and the ToO. These are the only way to earn Etheric light without playing PvE.
Now let me be clear about some things. You can play ToO (and Iron Banner) once you reach level 20. However, in both modes, level advantages are in play. So you will be so weak, it is almost pointless to play. It’s not impossible to do well, but it’s harder than you really need it to be. So I would suggest you stick to the normal crucible until you can get to 32. With that said, if you decide to play Iron Banner beforehand, you can possibly earn Etheric light without actually doing all that well. If you can reach Rank 3 (which isnt hard if you play enough) you can buy an Etheric light. You can buy a second at rank 5. If you have 3 characters (and enough free time) you can possibly earn 6 Etheric lights in a week. I don’t have to tell you how advantageous that can be do I? I will anyway. That’s enough to help 2 characters reach level 34, assuming they have one maxed out Exotic on and 3 maxed out legendaries. So there is a possible benefit to jumping the gun. Just don’t expect to do very well.
When it comes to ToO, I wouldn’t suggest jumping the gun AT ALL. You can only get Etheric light here by going 9-0. I seriously doubt most players can do that with a level 20 character. Also, while you can earn armor here that starts at level 42, the odds of you doing well enough at level 20 to get it are low. You can also get it as a random drop after a match, but we’re not here to tell you to rely on RNGesus. Your choice though. You’re better off waiting until AT LEAST 32, preferably higher, before going after ToO gear.
So let’s wrap this up. As always, you have options on how to get where you’re going. But I’m just here to present what I think is the fastest one. So I’m summarize in one more quick reference guide.
Quick Reference Guide
1. Earn 75 marks and buy Legendary Boots.
2. Earn another 150 marks.
3. Earn 13 Strange coins and buy Exotic Helmet from Xur. Use 150 marks to get Legendary Chest Armor and Gauntlets. (Sidenote, I believe the only way to earn strange coins in PvP is through random drops. So for this reason an alternate plan could be to bite the bullet and earn 120 more marks for a legendary helmet. It might actually be faster than randomly coming up on 13 coins solely in PvP.)
4. Earn Etheric light through Iron Banner to ascend your armor. (You can also earn it through ToO, but only with a perfect 9-0 record. I wouldn’t push you in that direction, but it’s an option.)
So there you go. My humble attempt at getting Destiny players who forego PvE to level 34. I’m sure someone well versed in PvP could do better, but hey. One flaw in playing PvP exclusively is the lack of options for earning Strange Coins. I never really thought about it until now, but it’s really unfair. Bungie should look into that. Another think to think about is how dependent on others you are in this quest. PvE relies on a team as well, but most would agree facing the AI is easier than another team full of players. This is especially true of ToO, which is extremely hard for myself.
Some parting words for all you Destiny players who read this primer, or any part of it. I would personally suggest mixing and matching these strategies to reach 34. Not only is it more fun IMO, it will diversify your skill set as a player. I skew towards the PvE side, but I always play Iron Banner for the week it is here. Now that I can earn 6 Etheric Light, I DEFINITELY play it. Even though all of my characters are already 34, I still dabble in Trials and the crucible from time to time. We don’t know what The Taken King will have in store, so getting better in all phases of Destiny should only serve to help maximize your chances of earning cool gear and weapons.
Well, that’s all I have for you. We sincerly hope we were able to help a Guardian reach their full (Year 1) potential with this primer. Once again, if you see a way to streamline anything you read, hit me up and I will edit it. You will also receive full credit. I’ll see you around. Happy gaming!