How to Play Destiny

Jumping in for Rise of Iron? Use our guide to learn how to play Destiny!

This guide will help you understand all the basic things you need to know when learning how to play Destiny. Whether this is your first time fighting for the Traveler or if you’re returning after a long hiatus, we’ve got you covered. Just like in school, you should never be afraid to ask a question, so below are answers to some standard questions you might have when learning how to play Destiny!

What Class to Choose in Destiny

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Picking a starting Class is the very first decision you will face in Destiny. The three classes are vastly different, they jump differently, their melees, grenades and supers are all different as well. You can have up to three characters, which gives you ample opportunity to try all three classes, but to start with, you need to think about what interests you most while learning how to play Destiny.

This is where things can be a bit subjective. If you believe you will be playing more of the PvP side of Destiny, choosing a Hunter is a good idea. If you want to support your teammates while playing against the AI enemies of Destiny, a Titan would be a perfect choice. Warlocks are a bit of an odd mixture of the two and should be chosen if you enjoy mage-like classes.

The Difference Between Level and Light Level

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There are two types of levels in Destiny, there’s the 1 to 40 Level and a Light Level. The 1-40 Level is your standard RPG levelling system that dictates what weapons you can and cannot use. It’s also a good indication of what missions you can play and how much of your Subclass you have unlocked.

Light Level on the other hand can be thought of as your Guardian’s power, how much damage they deal and how much armor they have. Your Light Level is averaged out through all your gear, so the piece of gear with the lowest Light is going to pull your overall Light Level down. Your Light Level will increase by finding, decrypting, or buying new gear. Once you finished everything, even the Dreadnaught, you’re going to be looking for a way to reach 335 Light easily!

How the Destiny Radar Works

Being able to quickly assess the information the radar is displaying to you is vital for surviving through enemy encounters. At first glance, the radar will seem peculiar as there are no dots to signify enemy positions, instead there are multiple segments of a circle.

As with all radars, your position is in the very center of the circle with the outermost segments being the area furthest from you. Red lines will appear on the very circumference of the radar when an enemy gets in range. This red tinge will creep inward, a segment at a time until it is either at the closest segment or right on top of you. If a segment on the left of the radar is illuminated in red, an enemy is to your left.

The good thing about Destiny’s radar is that it is always detecting enemies regardless of what they’re doing. So whether your enemy is standing still or shooting you in the face, they will always show up on the radar.

Destiny Primary Weapons

In Destiny there are four Primary weapon archetypes each designed for vastly different playstyles.

Auto Rifle

Auto Rifles in Destiny are your standard first-person shooter assault rifle. The Auto Rifle spews out bullets faster than all other Primary weapons, but each bullet does less damage. The Auto Rifle is ideally used in close-quarters combat where the recoil can be handled and the short range doesn’t hinder the damage. If you plan to get up-close and personal, definitely opt for an Auto Rifle.

Hand Cannon

Hand Cannons are Destiny’s version of a revolver or pistol. Hand Cannons hold fewer bullets than all other Primary weapons, but each bullet does a considerable amount of damage. Best used in medium-to-close ranges, the Hand Cannon rewards a steady aim. You should consider using a Hand Cannon if you prefer to take your time and line up shots.

Pulse Rifle

Pulse Rifles in Destiny are like the Battle Rifle from Halo. The Pulse Rifles shoot in bursts of three bullets, with each bullet dealing its own damage. Pulse Rifles work well in medium-to-long range encounters and will have a higher rate-of-fire than a Hand Cannon. They’re a nice middle ground between Auto Rifles and Scout Rifles.

Scout Rifle

Scout Rifles are Destiny’s own semi-automatic marksman rifles. Each pull of the trigger means a single bullet leaving the chamber, so it requires a steady hand. To this effect the Scout Rifle is like a long-range Hand Cannon and as such should be used in medium-to-long range. Use a Scout Rifle if you prefer the slower firing weapons that deal a lot of damage, but also enjoy shooting enemies from afar.

When to Use Your Grenade, Melee, and Super

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Destiny makes you a legend, but the most important thing in being a legend is remembering to use all of your abilities! Use them as often as you can because they will recharge relatively quickly as you kill minions.

Use your grenades against swarms of little enemies or against a big target! The enemies with the yellow health bars are the strongest, so try to use your Supers against them else you’ll spend a lot of time shooting out their shields.

What Mission to Do Next

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With missions popping up left, right, and center, it can be difficult to figure out where to go and what to do next during your first phase of how to play Destiny.

As a rule, you should try to do all the missions on a planet before moving to the next one. Start with Earth, then head to the Moon, then Venus, Mars, and finishing with the Dreadnaught.

However, within this is a secondary rule, you should do the main quest first, then The Dark Below, followed by House of Wolves, then The Taken King missions. Doing it in this order will ensure you have gained enough experience to level up to the required Level and Light Level.

Telling the missions apart can be a bit difficult, so keep the following in mind: when hovering over a mission, the image at the top will tell you which DLC it is from. So on Earth, do all the missions that don’t have a DLC banner, then move into the next planet. Come back to Earth once you finish Mars and then do all the missions with The Dark Below banner.

Almost all of the missions are given to you through Vendors in the Tower or in the Reef. They can be tracked through the Quests tab in the start menu.

Don’t Get Attached to Your Gear

The guns are what make Destiny truly great, but you shouldn’t get attached to the earlier weapons you receive when first learning how to play Destiny. Sooner or later you’re going to start receiving Legendary (purple) weapons that have better perks, better stats, and deal more damage. So don’t feel bad about breaking down a Blue Hand Cannon!

Find Xur on the Weekend

Xur is a special Vendor who visits the Tower or the Reef on the weekend. He’s a mysterious figure who comes with Exotic (the most rare) weapons and armor. Check out our weekly Where is Xur articles to help find him and decide what to buy! Bring plenty of Strange Coins because his wares don’t come cheap!

What Are and Where to Find the Currencies

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There are more currencies in Destiny than you will know what to do with on first glance, so we’ve compiled a list of the most important ones.


Silver is probably the most important because it involves the use of real-world money. While it doesn’t change anything drastic in the game, it’s important to know how it works and what you can buy. You’re able to purchase Emotes, Sterling Packages, and Mystery Bags which contain a Sparrow, Sparrow Horn, or a collection of old Emotes.

You can purchase Silver in-game by visiting the Eververse Trading Kiosk in the Tower or in the Reef. By opting to purchase, your console’s Store will open and give you a few options for how much you want. Items range in price from 200 to 500 Silver.

Motes of Light

Motes of Light are used to purchase items from The Speaker and they can also be Consumed to add XP to your armor.

You can get Motes of Light by opening Faction Packages, by earning 20,000 XP after you reach level 40, or by doing Public Events.

Check out our guide on how to farm for Motes of Light!

Strange Coins

Strange Coins are used to purchase weapons and armor from Xur, the special weekend Vendor. You can earn Strange Coins by playing Prison of Elders which is found in the Reef menu, from opening Faction Packages, or by decrypting Engrams.

Check out the best way to earn Strange Coins!

Legendary Marks

Legendary Marks are used to purchase weapons and armor from each of the Vendors in the Tower. Legendary Marks can be earned through numerous methods, from dismantling Legendary gear to completing special Bounties and competing in Weekly Playlists.

Check out our full guide on how to get Legendary Marks.


Glimmer is used in almost every transaction and is extremely important while learning how to play Destiny. It’s needed to purchase gear from Lord Saladin during Iron Banner, to purchase a Challenge of Elders ticket from Variks, and even in ordering weapons from the Gunsmith. You earn Glimmer by completing Bounties, killing enemies with special Consumables activated, Dismantling gear and more. It’s easy to come by and doesn’t require much effort to gather.

Just Have Fun

Probably the most important thing that can be easily forgotten after pouring hundreds of hours into Destiny is that it’s a game and as such you should be looking to have fun. Enjoy the trek across the stars while you shoot aliens with incredible weapons. Take time to look at the scenery and read the item descriptions. Destiny is fun so long as you don’t stress out over the little things. If you read this article, you should now have a better understanding of how to play Destiny!

About The Author: Sam Chandler

Australian Made and Owned. Sam's a writer, editor, and producer who specialises in friendship and high-fives. If he's not playing video games he's pretending to know things about scotch whiskey. Find him anywhere as: SerfaBoy

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