Destiny’s Story Got a Little Weird – Pointers for the Map and Some Suggestions for Playthroughs

With the additions of the expansions, Destiny’s story got sort of twisted up, so if you’re playing the game for the first time and it gets a little confusing or if you’re playing a new character and things look a little different, I hope this can help you.

The are four different story lines in Destiny – The Vanilla Story, The Dark Below (TDB), House of Wolves (HoW), and The Taken King. If you’ve played from the beginning, the stories made sense as they came out. The new level caps meshed with each expansion and there was balance in the Universe. And then Year 1 ended and the Taken King came out and screwed it all up. Its really easy to play the overarching story out of order, taking the fun out of what is a pretty decent story. I’ll start with the map but if you’re familiar with it, scroll on down to the Story.

The Map Interface

First, here are some brief pointers when approaching the map interface:
  • The top of each mission’s hover-over text lets you know what story its a part of (the mission on the left is for The Dark Below). If there is nothing there then it is for the Vanilla Story.

tdb hover over 1 edited again hover over vanilla 2 edited again

  • The two missions above also highlight what level your Guardian should be when you try to play it. The levels unlock based upon your Guardian’s character level (the left number on the character screen), so compare unlocked mission’s level suggestions to not play anything out of order. If the missions are from different stories, like the above missions, venture down to the suggested playthroughs for some ideas.
  • The Purple Triangle is usually your best friend. That’s your quest indicator, telling you what the Vanguard wants you to do next. You can find your collection of quests to the left of your character screen.



  • If there are two missions that both have The Purple Triangle (or neither have it) and have the same level suggestion, you can play them in whichever order you want.
  • Sometimes the quests will skip over missions so keep an eye out for lone missions (there are two on Mars) that are sort of extra.

the stragglers EDITED

The Story

If you’re curious as to why its all so wonky, before the Taken King, each story corresponded with a set range of character levels – Vanilla, 1-20; TDB, 21-30; and HoW, 31-32. Anything after level 20 was your light level and it maxed out at level 30 (TDB) and then 32 (HoW). When Year 1 ended, they revamped the light level system, making it a separate entity from the character level, and upped the character level to 40. Anyone at light level 32 got to stay at 32. But instead of starting the Taken King at level 32, they started it at 25 and lowered the other expansions, forcing three different plots to happen at the same time. So here are some suggestions for tackling this mess. (Note: the first two options do not take into account any leveling that will happen when you play the Crucible.)
1. Chronological Order
This is how people played the story during Year 1 and I suggest you go with this order. Play missions in level order starting with the Vanilla Story and then working your way through each expansion. Each bit focuses on a different enemy – Vanilla, the Vex; TDB, The Hive; and HoW, The Fallen – allowing it to build until the clash with Oryx. Running the story this way can feel kind of awkward since you’ll be around level 20 when you start The Dark Below which is slotted at level 6. This gets especially off when you reach the end of House of Wolves. Because of the weird leveling, I defeated the boss of that story with one Super activation and a clip of heavy weapons ammo. Not too thrilling for a boss battle but there are harder ones once you start the Taken King anyway. You can realistically be at level 32 by the time you get to the level 25 Taken King story but that just means you’re doing it right.
2. Level Suggestion Order
Another way to run the full story is to play it as the mission hover-over text suggests. Ignore which story a mission belongs to and only play the missions as they are unlocked on the interface. This means that the plot will get bogged down since you’re dealing with three different stories and various NPCs which can make it feel like you aren’t accomplishing any one specific thing. However, the leveling stays accurate (for the most part) which makes it a fun experience as along as you keep track of the quests and follow what they want and who they belong to.
3. Skip Right to The Taken King
If you got the legendary edition, or purchase one through your console shop, you can use the Spark of Light consumable to jump your Guardian directly to level 25 and play the Taken King story. The new guns and armor that you get during the story and the crucible will be more than enough for you to be okay if you just want to skip to the new stuff. You’ll figure out soon enough what happened to bring Oryx to you but you’ll only get to see a little bit of the Awoken Queen.
4. Don’t Play the Story
Okay, I lied. Play the first two levels of the story, get to level 5, and you can ride your way to level 40, light level 335 with just the Crucible and Iron Banner. You will miss out on various sets of armor, emblems, and color shaders and the story is pretty cool so give it a shot, but if you wanna just do the multiplayer, that’s totally an option.

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