Grammar on my terms

Destiny 2 Leveling

Understanding Base Light Level

Item drop level is based on your Base Light Level and not your Effective Light Level (ELL for short). Base Light Level (BLL for short) is your gear light level, minus any mods.

This means if your gun is 275 and has a +5 mod then your BLL for that gun is 270. This means if the BLL of your character is 280, and you add +5 mods to all your gear, your ELL will be 285. However, legendary engrams and item drops will still drop at 280 since that is your BLL.

You can only infuse the BLL. If you have a 275 gun with a +5 mod then it’s BLL is 270. If you attempt to infuse the gun into a 270 gun, destiny will tell you the base light level is not high enough.

Leveling Strategy

  1. Hold on to reputation tokens and faction tokens. Turning in rep tokens will always grant you gear at your BLL. Engrams do have a chance to drop with a +5 mod attached, but that gear is not useful for infusing because you can’t infuse the +5 mod only the BLL.
  2. Buy gear mod packs from the weapon vendor when you hit the max glimmer cap, you don’t want to throw away glimmer and you will use these mods later to buy legendary mods. Also, buy legendary mod packs when you can, they cycle daily. It’s nice to have a collection on hand so you can pick and choose mods when you get a nice drop and helps you keep your ELL up.
  3. Only turn in reputation tokens once you have gained an additional BLL level by turning in the weekly milestones or Cayde’s treasure hunt, or nightfall and you have increased your BLL. Only then you can use the rep gear and drops to upgrade all your other gear.
  4. Don’t turn in milestones (quests that grant “powerful gear”) without having your max light gear on.
  5. Essentially you ALWAYS want your max light gear on, Anytime a exotic could drop (Public Events, Strikes, PvP, etc..) it drops based on your current BLL level. According to what I’ve seen, exotics can drop at your BLL plus 1 or 15 light levels higher (this doesn’t include the +5 mod that all exotics have) Which means it’s possible to get an exotic drop with a ELL of 20 light levels higher than your current BLL. (I had an BLL of 274, when my MIDA Mutli-Tool dropped at ELL of 294)

Just by holding on to my rep tokens, and waiting for an exotic drop of BLL +1 or more, I’ve been able to gain a light level almost every day I play.