The revelation that Bungie is doing away with tying a Destiny character’s overall level to the light level of their armor was met with many questions by PlayStation and Xbox players. Community Managers David “Deej” Dague and Eric “Urk” Osborne both added some clarifying statements while making clear what happens with player’s current level during the transition to The Taken King expansion.
As previously covered, Destiny is replacing the current post-level 20 leveling system based on armor’s light level with a traditional leveling system through the new level 40 cap. Experience points will still be earned through missions, bounties, and killing things, but you will no longer have to decide whether to wear that one odd piece of armor that doesn’t match just because it gets you to level 34.
Light level will still matter in some fashion though. In separate interviews with IGN, Bungie’s Community Managers explained that Light will still determine a player’s overall power. They are saving a complete explanation for a Twitch stream prior to The Taken King‘s launch, but did provide a few details.
Missions will have a minimum recommended minimum light level in order to complete, but can still be undertaken. Datto from DattoDoesDestiny speculates that this will make the power difference between levels gradual versus the sudden steps that are experienced today.
For example, character’s one level below an enemy today experience approximately 30 percent damage penalty. Two levels below is approximately a 42 percent drop, three levels is 52 percent, and finally four levels or more below is a 100 percent damage penalty.
We don’t know the exact numbers yet, but it could result in something more akin to a steady damage penalty curve versus the stair case of today. For example, the max light level today is 168 and gives a player level 34. Having 160 light results in a 30 percent penalty today against level 35 enemies today, but may only mean something along a 10 percent penalty in The Taken King.
Again, this is just speculation but does seem a likely benefit of separating a character’s overall level from a light level that determines their power. It also allows players to switch their gear around in a way that allows them to make more tactical choices such as maybe being a little less powerful, but getting to carry more heavy ammo or maybe gaining a more useful ability perk.
While all that is just speculation, we do know that Destiny players won’t have their progress set back any as part of the separation of light level from overall level. Characters will be set at the maximum level they achieved when The Taken King releases on September 15. In other words, the Warlock you got to level 34 will stay at level 34. The Titan that only made it to 29 will still be 29 and the Hunter that you goofed around with until level 20 comes in at level 20.
Bungie will provide a one-time boost to the minimum level for The Taken King through the distribution of an item from a Tower vendor.
[Images via Bungie]
[Edit: Corrected typo on levels in second to last paragraph.]