On Feb. 22, 2022, Bungie released Destiny 2: The Witch Queen. This expansion brings a lot of content with it, but it’ll also level the playing field by setting all players’ Power level to 1350 — the Power level needed to start the new campaign. From there, everyone will have to play to increase their power level and participate in various activities, such as Nightfalls or the new raid.
Leveling your gear and increasing that Power level can be confusing, so in this Destiny 2 guide, we’re breaking down everything you should know about increasing your Power level when The Witch Queen drops.
The soft cap for The Witch Queen expansion is 1500. What does “soft cap” mean? It means that up until you reach 1500 Power level, pretty much anything and everything can give you a Power level increase. This can be blue drops from the ground or activity rewards; anything that drops for you will be a few Power above your current Power level.
The Powerful cap for The Witch Queen expansion is 1550, meaning that between 1500 and 1550, the only way to increase your Power level is to get a reward from activities that say they grant Powerful or Pinnacle items. If you complete the Legendary Campaign, you’ll get a nice head start towards that Powerful Cap, which we’ll talk about more below.
If you are trying to be as optimal as possible — possibly for a day one raid — you’ll want to save all of your powerful rewards until after you get to 1500 (or 1520 if you are doing the Legendary campaign). Powerful loot drops are limited per week, so you don’t want to waste Powerful or Pinnacle drops when you can still get levels from unrestricted rewards.
The Pinnacle cap for The Witch Queen expansion is 1560, meaning that between 1550 and 1560, the only way to increase your Power level is to get Pinnacle rewards. Similar to Powerful rewards, if you are trying to maximize the effectiveness of the Pinnacle rewards, you won’t want to collect them until after you have reached Power 1550, as these loot drops are also limited per week.
However, it’s worth mentioning that there’s no point in saving Pinnacles if you’re not going to reach 1550 on that character by the end of the week. We recommend just doing all Powerful rewards on a character first and then tackling Pinnacle activities.
The first place you want to start your leveling journey in Season 16 is The Witch Queen campaign, specifically the Legendary difficulty. The Legendary campaign offers many rewards, but one of the most important is a full set of gear that is 1520 power. This set includes one piece of armor and one weapon per slot, meaning eight pieces in total — enough to replace every character slot and instantly get your Power average to 1520 in the vow of the deciple boosting.
By playing the Legendary campaign, you can skip the soft cap grind entirely and cut 20 levels into the powerful grind. This by far is the most efficient way to level in The Witch Queen. The Legendary version of the campaign also gives more drops, reducing the likelihood of needing to go outside of the campaign to get power levels.
Powerful rewards are currently broken down into two tiers and include the following rewards:
Tier 1 (+1 Powerful level)
Tier 2 (+2 Powerful levels)
Do note that these might change when The Witch Queen launches, but all activities clearly state the level of reward they offer, so just check the tooltip in-game if you’re unsure.
Pinnacle rewards are currently broken down into two tiers and include the following rewards:
Tier 1 (+1 Pinnacle level)
Tier 2 (+2 Pinnacle levels)
Do note that these might change when The Witch Queen launches, but all activities are labeled if they give Pinnacle rewards. If an activity doesn’t list it’s Powerful or Pinnacle tier level, you can use a tool like Bray.tech to find out.
If you have three Destiny classes, you might want to level one up faster than the others. You can actually play in a specific order to make this easier, as the last character you play in a week will almost always end up the highest of your three characters.
If you are aiming to play the raid on day one, or just trying to maximize your main character’s Power level, the best way to do this is to use a snaking order. First, rank your characters in an order that you feel you want to focus on, where your top character is your main, and the last character is your least played. For example, the order I want to play the new Witch Queen raid for my characters is:
In week one, you’ll want to play your characters in that ranked order, getting the character over 1500 (ideally by beating the Legendary campaign three times) and then completing every Powerful and Pinnacle activity before moving onto the next character. So for me, I’d start on my main (Warlock), move to my second character (Titan), and then finally my third (Hunter). In week two, I’ll want to reverse that order, playing on my third character (Hunter) at the beginning of the week before ending with my main (Warlock). This should result in my Warlock having the highest power level out of my three characters.
If you are not looking to min-max your Power level, just play through the game and have fun. But since you’ve stuck with this guide for this long, we’re going to assume you’re looking to level up quickly for the raid or Grandmaster Nightfalls later in the season. Here’s some extra information to keep in mind while you level:
If you are going for a day one completion of the new raid, the recommended Power level is only 1530. You can just run the Legendary campaign and climb up to those Power levels over the course of the first few weeks. Compared to past raids, the grind for The Witch Queen should be much easier, so don’t worry as much about perfectly optimizing your grind and stop to smell the flowers.
Until you hit the Powerful cap, you should turn in Bright Engrams immediately after you pick them up. These are considered +1 Powerful rewards from when they drop, meaning their Power does not increase as your Power level does. If you continue to level up without turning the Bright Engram in, you’ll essentially waste it. If you’re struggling in the raid and you get a Bright Engram, it’s always worth taking a Tower break to decrypt it.
Lastly, Destiny 2 uses a slot leveling system, meaning that gear drops per slot and is based on your current average Power level. A sticking point of this system is that some of your gear slots may fall behind. Your overall level could be 1525 while your Hunter’s Cloak could be stuck at 1520 and your helmet is in the stratosphere at 1528.
To make the most of your Powerful and Pinnacle drops, try to keep your items within a few Power levels of each other, which can be done by collecting items that drop “at Power”. “At Power” means the gear drops at your current average Power level, which can help bring up some pieces that fall behind (bringing your Cloak up to 1525 and raising your overall average without using a weekly Powerful or Pinnacle reward drop). This can increase your overall Power level and make those Powerful and Pinnacles more impactful.
If you don’t even-out your armor, a Pinnacle or Powerful might drop a +2 power helmet, which would be a waste since it’s already your best slot. Many playlist activities — Strikes, Gambit, Crucible — will drop items “at Power’, so keep an eye out for any gear that’s lagging behind.