Destiny - 10 tips to build a secondary Guardian quicker

Faster Alt character, Kill, Kill...

Anyone who has played Destiny (properly) knows that the real game starts at level 20. And it's glorious: a finely balanced symphony of varied, challenging gameplay, and an upgrade system that perfectly complements it. Even when you've spent 100 hours in Destiny, there's always something to push for, some new skill to learn or piece of kit to acquire and upgrade. However, this often means that you need to get a second and third character to that magic level 20. I call this you 'alt'. As in 'Alternate'.

Sadly, once you've experienced the glory of post-20 play in Destiny, the act of getting another character from levels 1-19 can be a slog. If feels like you're playing a nerfed version of the game. Never fear, though, Guardians! I've put together a list of ten tips and tricks, born from my own 100 hours in the game and countless conversations with friends, which will help you get to level 20 quicker, and with a much better loadout than you thought possible. So check out my ten top tips for levelling your alt character in Destiny.

1. Do it with friends (so you can play Strikes)

Ok, this one might sound like filler, but stay with me here. If you, and two or three friends, agree to create an alt at the same time, then you're all going to be roughly the same level until you hit 20. This means you'll usually have two reliable companions for tackling normal-level Strikes, and that's hugely important. Strikes are a great source of XP, and they're often tied to specific bounties. So, having reliable friends to call in for Strikes outside the Vanguard playlist (which you can't access until level 18) is a must.

2. Store weapons and engrams from your alt

You already know there are a panel of Vaults in the Tower that allow you to store weapons, armour, and items. You also know that these Vaults can be accessed by any of your characters, right? Ok, here's the pro-tip: whenever you get those crappy green pick-ups in game (as your main character) you should keep the weapons. Bin the class-specific armour for sure, but store the weapons. See, when you start a new character, one of the rarest resources up until about level 14-15 is Weapon Parts. However, if you've got a steady stream of otherwise-useless Uncommon weapons from your main, these can be a great source of Parts for your alt.

Engrams too. This is really for players who have hit levels 29-30. Chances are, even the Rare Engrams are just giving you items that get quickly dismantled. Sure, they sometimes yield Strange Coins, Motes of Light, or Legendary items, but you've already got loads of them. Why not store Rare Engrams for your alt? It gives them better weapons, and boosts their Crytarch level quicker...

3. Use your Motes and Coins to buy them kit

If you're fully kitted out, then start spending excess resources on stuff that'll benefit your alt. Sadly, you can't buy from Vanguard vendors outside your current class, so you can't spend money with the Warlock Vanguard if you're a Titan etc. What you CAN do, is buy armour and break it down for Ascendent Materials, which will allow your alt to level their Light Armour quicker.

You should also spend Strange Coins on Exotic pieces, and - if you're feeling fruity - splash Motes of Light on Exotic Engrams from Xur. I earned a sweet Exotic Helmet for my Titan alt by cashing an Engram from Xur. WARNING: Don't buy armour pieces from factions like FWC, Dead Orbit, or New Monarchy - they only sell armour items to the class you're currently using.

4. Gather Exotic weapons for your alt now

Ok, while we're gathering kit for our alt, let's think about weapons. Consider the weapons you want to use for your alt right now. You should always be looking for weapons that complement your sub-class abilities. Example? If you're creating a Titan with the Defender subclass, aim to have a powerful, short-range secondary that you can use to kill people inside and just outside your Ward of Dawn bubble-shield. If you've reached level 28+, you'll know what works and what doesn't.

Now think about Exotics. Chances are, you've got more Exotic weapons than your main really uses. I'd recommend grouping Exotic weapons together for your alt, so they only have to switch between weapons in the same group. For example, my main has all Secondary Exotics (Invective, Patience and Time, Pocket Infinity) while my alt now has Heavy Exotics (Super Good Advice, Truth). This means you don't have to swap your whole load-out every time you swap weapons.

5. Level up weapons for your alt now

Unless you're constantly playing Raids and Nightfall Strikes, you won't get much of a challenge from anything else in the game once you hit level 28. So why not take time to level up spare weapons for your alt to use. If you know they're going to be carrying a Pulse Rifle as a Primary, and you already have a Legendary Pulse Rifle stashed away... then start unlocking those upgrades. Your main is in the best position to provide Ascendent materials, so you may be able to have several weapons up to 300 damage before your alt hits level 20 (and can actually use them...)

Ok, so maybe the process of unlocking upgrades is half the appeal of Destiny. I understand (and I'm actually saving my two Exotics for my alt to upgrade), but if you want to jump straight into Raids as your alt, you'll need weapons that are maxed out...

6. Always go resource-farming with your alt

The key to levelling up your alt quicker is, rather obviously, spending time with them. However, if you're keen to just get to level 20, then it's all about maximising the efficiency of that time. Farming resources with your main is a grind. So take your alt on a resource gathering mission for a few hours. Always have free-roam missions equipped (and Bounties) so you're constantly earning XP.

The added advantage here is that you get materials that benefit both characters AND you alt levels quicker. If your alt is a higher level, then story missions get easier, and you're less likely to get stuck trying, say, a level 16 mission as a level 14 character. Efficiency, yeah?

7. Select your preferred sub-class as early as possible

DO NOT FORGET - once you've levelled up a single character to 20, then you can choose any sub-class for your alt right from the start. This means that, if you want to go Defender instead of Striker, you can select that immediately rather than waiting for it to unlock. It's important that you decide how you want to use your alt, because - if you've already got armour and kit saved for them when they hit level 20 - your sub-class levelling will lag behind the rest of your character progression. You just won't have the game-time with them.

So, realistically, you'll only have time to level a single sub-class before you hit 20. Sure, if you spend another 20 hours with that character, you'll likely unlock the second sub-class, but I'm guessing you want to hit the ground running with your alt...

8. Fill as many bounty slots as possible

Hello, Captain Obvious. Look, just make sure you've always got Bounties equipped. You can now have ten Bounties on the go at once, so make sure all your slots are full. If you're doing Story missions, fill up with stuff like Body Dropper and Knuckleduster, if you're doing Crucible (which is a tricker way to reach level 20) then aim for easier bounties like 'Kill 15 Hunters' etc. It's worth refreshing bounties EVERY day, because they boost your XP fast if you're cashing two or three Bounties every time you visit the Tower.

9. Don't play Crucible until you start earning marks

Speaking of the Crucible. Look, the balancing in Crucible is amazing, so you'll never really be at a huge disadvantage when playing as your alt, but... You will keenly feel the lack of sub-class abilities, and the perks offered by Light armour and Legendary weapons. Another thing to consider is that you won't be earning Crucible Marks until level 18, so you're not getting great value for your game time. Again, this guide is all about making a more efficient use of your time - so apologies if it sounds a little clinical.

10. Spend as much Glimmer as possible

If your main has hit level 26 onwards, you've maxed your Glimmer. Sure, some Bounties require you to spend 10K chunks of it, but chances are you've got 25K just sitting around doing nothing. Let your alt spend it. Spend on weapons, armour, and Engrams. Especially Engrams. You can just buy Uncommon Engrams to unlock higher Crytarch levels, which will yield better stuff, quicker. Also, you should consider transferring boost items like Ether Seeds to your alt, as you'll be able to use them to generate more Glimmer. It's a shared resource - spend it like you're going to jail for fraud tomorrow!

Get cracking!

That's all folks. I'm sure there are all kinds of tips and tricks that you use, and if you think they're relevant, please share them below. I'm off to drag my Titan up to level 20 so I can help my Raid team out with that pesky Vault of Glass...

Want more excellent Destiny guides? Here's one that tells you about Free Destiny Codes, and another that tells you where to Find All The Dead Ghosts. Enjoy.

Andy Hartup