Destiny 2 – New Player Guide And How To Start In Destiny 2 (New Light & Systems Explainers)

Destiny 2 Beyond Light is out now, and it’s one of the best expansions of Destiny 2. This is the 3rd major expansion, and is a kind of reset with 2 more major expansions planned for 2021 and 2022 – Now is a great time to jump into Destiny 2. This is a guide for new players and returning players alike, so the following is how to start in Destiny 2 Beyond Light.

Today I am going to go through the New Light experience, which teaches you the basics of Destiny 2 as well as loot, mechanics, equipment, menus & UI and destinations. Check out the timestamps down below and you can skip to a section that you’re interested in. While I am going to go into detail for the New Light experience, the rest I am going to give a high-level overview – but let me know in the comments if you want a deeper dive on any of the systems or anything in the game.

To kick things off, let’s start from the beginning with New Light. New Light is the name for the collection of missions you have to go through and act as a series of tutorials to give you a grounding in Destiny 2. New Light takes a few hours, but you’re going to get a tutorial in shooting, loot, armour, different weapons, game mechanics, destinations and NPCs. The goal is to give you enough background knowledge and power levels, so you can jump into the latest Beyond Light campaign if you want, or you can roam around the free-to-play activities.

Create a Character

At the start, you have to create a character. You can pick between the 3 Guardian races – we have Human, Awoken and Exo. Humans we know and understand, Awoken are a kind of Alien Race and Exo’s are robots. There’s a fairly lightweight character creation toolkit, so pick what’s best for you and then it’s time to pick your class.

The 3 classes in Destiny 2 are Titan, Warlock and Hunter. Titan’s are your punchy tanks, Warlocks are the space wizards and Hunter’s are your ninja class with stealth and speed. There’s not a massive amount of difference between them. Historically Hunters are the most popular class, due to their mobility, but pick the one you think is best as each has its pros and cons. If you really enjoy Destiny, you can create one of each… but in the first instance just pick one.

New Light

Now you have created a character it’s time to jump into the New Light Experience. You’ll get some nice story cutscenes telling you about The Traveller, The Darkness and the main story beats. You are then woken up on Earth inside Old Russia in the Cosmodrome. Your ghost woke you up and says you are in danger and need to get out of there and things will be explained along the way. Get up and go, follow the markers and take it all in. Ghost will lead you to your first weapon, so pay attention to the screen and you’ll be taken through a few basic mechanics like shooting, throwing grenades and melee abilities.

Once you have got through the first phase you’ll meet Shaw Han. He’s a seasoned Guardian, out there with his fireteam and he’s going to help you through the opening missions.

Loot overview

Along the way, you’ll be introduced to the concept of Loot. This is central to Destiny, and you’ll be hunting down weapons and armour. There’s a few different colours and classification of weapons you have white (common), green (uncommon), blue (rare), purple (legendary) and yellow/gold (exotic). When you start you’ll have Uncommon weapons and armour, but your goal is to work your way up to a mix of Legendary/Exotic weapons and armour. During your journey in New Light, you’ll get Legendary Weapons and armour as well as Exotic Weapons. The benefits of Legendary weapons and armour are related to power, mods, and perks. One of the main objectives of Destiny is to reach max power, and loot is one of your primary ways of climbing the power ladder. That’s it for the VERY brief overview of the loot, let’s get back to the missions.

Mission – Schism

The first mission is called ‘Schism’ and you’ll be wanting to follow Shaw’s Signal. There should be a marker on the screen, go there and then defend the source. This is one of the main mechanics of activities where you tend to have to defend something, normally your ghost while it tries to hack something open.

Next up you have to inspect the power unit and get the code of the access codes. Follow the on-screen instructions to kill the Fallen to get the codes, disable the barrier and try to find Maeve. You’ll encounter some powerful hive and there’s a sad end for one of Shaw’s Fireteam.

Mission – A Guardian Rises

With the introduction mission out of the way, you should now have a handle on the basics – moving, shooting, interacting and basic mechanics. Next up, there’s a new mission called ‘A Guardian Rises’. You’re going to be taught how to fast travel, so bring up the menu, select the destinations, Cosmodrome and then The Steppes. Once you have travelled to The Steppes, speak to Shaw Han. Here you’re going to learn about bounties and quests.

Step 1

Pick up the bounties from Shaw Han, as you’re going to need to complete 3 of these for the first step of this quest. Once you have the bounties make your way to The Divide. If you don’t know where you are open up the map and your location is indicated on the map by the yellow arrow. Use the map to get to The Divide. Once there kill the Fallen to help gather data scraps. Check out the quests tab and read the bounties to find out what to do and complete those tasks.

Once you’re done with those steps, it’s time to find the Lost Sector. Lost Sectors are like caves full of enemies with a mini-boss at the end. After you kill the boss, there’s a loot chest, which should give you an upgrade. Once you have done this, it’s time to move onto the next step of the quest.

Step 2

Next up you want to have a chat with Shaw Han. Here you’ll get your first Legendary Weapon Nightwatch. This is a nice Scout Rifle, which comes with random perks. Check it out and see what you get, perks are random and once you get into the latter parts of the game you’ll want to be looking out for nice perks.

Step 3 – Complete the mission ‘Cold Boot’ in the Mothyards

The next part of the quest is to complete the mission ‘Cold Boot’. Follow the onscreen instructions, kill the enemies. There is an interesting part here where you get taught some PVE mechanics. You have to stand in a particular glowing area on the floor, and look up and shoot the crystals. When you’re outside the area, they are immune, when you’re standing in the area you can shoot them. This is one of the key PVE mechanics to learn, so pay attention to this part. The other parts of this quest are fairly straight forward – follow the onscreen instructions, kill the hive and get to the end of the mission, ideally without dying.

Step 4 – Speak with Shaw Han

Now it’s time to move onto the next step. Speak to Shaw Han and he’s got a Sparrow for you. Sparrow’s are Destiny’s single guardian vehicles, allow you to travel around faster than on foot.

Step 5 – Complete the mission ‘Vendetta’

The next step is to complete the mission called ‘Vendetta’. Once again follow the onscreen instructions. Once again you have some interesting mechanics here with collecting energy sources. Exploring and collecting based on markers on the screen is another interesting mechanic found in PVE.

Once you have the energy, follow the onscreen instructions and get to the end of the mission where you have to take care of Navota. Once you chase her off, collect the Superconductor and this opens up an Exotic Quest. Exotics are the pinnacle weapons and armour in the game.

Step 6 – Speak to Shaw Han

At this point speak to Shaw Han and get your ship. Now you have a ship, you can travel to other destinations. The first port of call is the Tower and the Last City on Earth. This is going to be your main hub area, it’s where a lot of NPCs live, plus your weapon vault and where you can buy cosmetics and various other things.

Step 7 – Travel to the Tower

Open up the Director and select the tower from the Destinations menu. Once you arrive in the Tower, first of all, have a chat with Amanda Holiday. She’s in charge of ships and things like that.

Next, you’ll want to find Zavala. He’s a Titan and in charge of Vanguard Strikes, little self-contained missions where you fight a bunch of enemies, traverse the environment and there’s a final boss at the end. Strikes last about 10-15 mins and combine a bunch of mechanics plus you get a nice boss battle at the end.

Zavala has a gift for you, so go and pick up that gift from his office. There should be a marker on the map, follow that and get the gift. It’s Lonesome, another Legendary weapon. This time it’s a Sidearm, which is a fast-firing, short-range weapon.

Next have a chat with Ikora Rey. She’s the leader of the Warlocks and you’ll get a Ghost Shell. This is essentially a cosmetic item for your Ghost, allowing you to customise the look and feel of your ghost. When you have finished with Ikora, go and have a chat with Drifter. He’s in the Annex in the Tower, and he’s the NPC focused on Gambit. Gambit is a combination of PVP and PVE, you should check it. Drifter should give you a sword.

Next up, have a chat with Lord Shaxx. He’s the Crucible Master, where Crucible is the main PVP mode in Destiny. Shaxx shouts a lot, but he’s a legendary Titan now in charge of training Guardians via the PVP game mode. Shaxx with giving you access to Triumphs, where you get points for completing objectives. It’s also a record of your achievements in the Destiny Universe.

Once you have finished with Shaxx, go and speak to Banshee-44. He’s the Gunsmith and knows everything about guns. Banshee-44 will give you a Grenade Launcher. Later on, you can pick upgrade modules from Banshee-44 to allow you to upgrade armour and weapons. Don’t worry about that for now, you can come back later.

Next up, have a chat with Master Rahool. He’s the Cryptarch in Destiny, and he’ll help you decrypt engrams that you find out there in the wild. If you find a Prime Engram, take them to Rahool and he’ll give you loot in return. For the final step, speak to Zavala and then it’s time to move onto the next step of the quest.

Step 8 – Complete the Strike ‘The Disgraced’ on Cosmodrome

Zavala asks you to complete the mission ‘The Disgraced’ on the Cosmodrome. Open up the map, select the Cosmodrome from Destinations and then select the mission to start. Work your way through the mission, you should be teamed up with 2 other players at this point to form a full fireteam of 3. Work your way to the end of the mission, Kill Narota. You’ll get some loot as a drop at the end of the mission, check it out and equip it if it’s higher gear score than what you currently have. This is a core gameplay loop – find loot, check it’s the score, and equip it if it’s higher.

At this point, you’ll also get a new quest called ‘A Spark of Hope’, which is your first exotic quest in the game. This is going to give you access to a very powerful new weapon called Risk Runner, using the Superconductor you picked up through ‘A Guardian Rises’ mission.

Exotic Quest – ‘A Spark of Hope’ (Risk Runner)

For the first step in this quest go back to the Tower and have a chat with Ikora Rey. She’ll direct you towards Earth, and specifically the EDZ to speak to a location NPC called Devrim Kay. He’s on watch on Earth to help you out with quests and bounties, much like the other vendors. Devrim will give you the next step of the quest and you have to clear out 3 lost sectors in close proximity to Devrim. You can see the Lost Sector icons on the map.

Once you have cleared out the 3 lost sectors then you have to complete the mission ‘Risk / Reward’ in the Cosmodrome. Open up the director and select the Cosmodrome, and then pick the mission and get going.

Mission ‘Risk / Reward’

Run through the mission paying attention to the objectives. Defeat the Dusk Captains, find the locked gate and do some exploring around the chasm. This is another core mechanic of Destiny 2, exploring and platforming. Some of the best secrets in the game are hidden, so get used to exploring the nooks and crannies of the levels as you never know what’s there. If you get stuck on where to go, bring out your ghost and it’ll give you a little hint where to go with a marker on the map.

Once you make your way to the end, recover the Arc Conductors and pick up Risk Runner. Congrats, you have your first Exotic Weapon! Once you have done this you’ll be dropped into combat to test out Risk Runner. This is an Exotic Arc Submachine Gun, meaning it chains lightning alongside the regular bullets the gun shoots. It’s very cool and a nice demo of what Exotic Weapons can do.

Finally head back to the Tower and now everything should be unlocked and you’re free to explore the Tower and speak to everyone.

There’s some good quests to do including:

  • Exotic Quests (Chaperone)
  • Speak to Zavala (Strikes quest)
  • Speak to Lord Shaxx (Crucible quest)
  • Speak to Drifter (Gambit quest)

Game modes

Now you have completed the New Light introduction, you should have a little bit of loot, understand the basic mechanics and have started to level up your character. There are 5 main modes of play in Destiny 2 – Vanguard Strikes, Crucible, Gambit, Campaign Missions and Exploring Destinations. To access these activities open up the Director and above the Traveler you’ll see 3 main nodes for Vanguard Strikes, Crucible and Gambit. The other nodes are destinations – planets and moons in the solar system that you can explore.

Vanguard Strikes

Strikes are PVE or activities where you play with other guardians in a Fireteam of three. Vanguard strikes are self-contained little stories where you have to make your way through waves of enemies, sometimes encounter mechanics and then fight a boss at the end. There’s a harder version of Strikes called Nightfall Strikes, which can be selected from the director. These aren’t match made like regular strikes and you have to find a fireteam. Bungie has a good companion app you can use on mobile or via if you want to find some people to play with. Or join a clan.


Crucible is the main PVP game mode in Destiny where you battle against other guardians. There are a few game modes of 6v6 including Control, where you have to capture points A, B and C. There’s Clash, which is your standard 6v6 deathmatch and also Elimination which is 3v3 where you only have a few lives. Rumble is where you can go in as a single player. In these non-competitive game modes, you can earn Valor Points, and then there’s a couple of Competitive game modes where you earn Glory points. Both are a kind of ranking system and often can be used to complete quests and triumphs. There’s also Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris. Iron Banner is 6v6, normally in the Control variant of PVP. A new NPC called Lord Saladin comes to the Tower and you access Iron Banner through him. Trials of Osiris is the pinnacle PVP activity in the game and is in the form of 3v3 elimination. Here the best PVP players battle it out and get some awesome rewards at the end. Speak to Saint-14 in the Tower to access Trials.


Gambit is a mixture of PVE and PVP. This is 4v4 and when you start you have to collect motes from enemies you defeat. You bank motes in the central bank and when you have enough you summon a Prime Evil, or boss. The team who kills the boss first wins. At certain points in the game you or the opposing team can invade, stopping the progress of killing the boss.

Those are the 3 core playlist activities but we also have exploring too.

Exploring Planets & Moons

You can select a destination from the map and simply explore. Here you tend to have planetary NPCs who will give you bounties and quests. There are a few unique activities on each planet and moon. The locations are Earth, Moon, Tangled Shore, Dreaming City, Nessus and Europa. On each of these locations, you have a vendor and a map with activities such as Public Events, Patrols and Lost Sectors.

Public events

These are indicated by a blue diamond point on the map with a countdown timer. A public event takes a few minutes and generally means killing hordes of enemies or defending a point. You’ll get a loot chest at the end for successful completion. If you take on the event in the correct way, then it’ll trigger a Heroic Public Event which is a little harder but you’ll get more loot at the end. Public event completions are often needed for quests.


Patrols are short missions where you have to kill a number of enemies, collect some items or find a specific enemy and kill them. Patrol beacons can be found throughout the planets, and also if you being out your ghost when on a planet or moon thye will highlight the closest one with icons. Patrols are often needed for quest completions.

Lost Sectors

Lost sectors are hidden caves found throughout the locations. They are normally marked on the map and indicated with a symbol. This means a Lost Sector is nearby, so look for an opening or hole nearby to the icon and you’ll find a secret location. These are filled with enemies with a boss at the end, and then a nice loot chest. In Beyond Light there are Legend and Heroic Lost Sectors, with unique loot for harder/solo activities including Exotic armour rewards.


Raids are the pinnacle PVE activity where 6 players get together to take on multiple encounters, solve puzzles and work together to take down a series of bosses. Raids contain some of the best rewards and most impressive boss battles and set pieces. They are not matchmade, so you have to go in with a premade team. You can find people on Bungie’s companion app or through LFG websites like Destiny Tracker. It’s well worth getting into raiding if you can. The Destiny community is generally very welcoming, so I’d recommend giving them a go. There’s 3 raids in the game right now – The Last Wish (tied to the Forsaken expansion), Garden of Salvation (tied to the Shadowkeep expansion) and The Deep Stone Crypt (tied to Beyond Light). You can access these activities from the director, although be warned you’ll have to put some time into levelling up to access the latest raid.

That’s about it for activities, let’s have a look at the menu and UI.

Menus and UI

Open up the menu and you’ll have a few options including The DIrector, Map, Quests, Roster, Seasons and Store.

The Director

This is where you can access all the planets and the moons plus The Tower.


The map is local to your location, so if you’re in the Tower your map will be of the tower and if you are on the EDZ then the map will show you the EDZ.


The quests tab are where all of your quests and bounties live. Think of this as your objectives tab. On the left-hand side are the main quests and then on the right-hand side you have the bounties.


The roster is where you can interact and invite friends and access messages.


This is where your season pass is stored. There’s a free track and a paid track. To get progress on the Season Pass to earn XP through activities and bounties to open up the rewards, and you can check out a guide for that here.


You can also purchase cosmetic items for Destiny including armour skins, weapon skins, emotes and things like that. There’s a couple of currencies – SIlver and Bright Dust. SIlver is paid for with real money through your platform’s store. Bright Dust can be earned in-game and traded for rewards. You don’t really have to ever buy silver, I think I played Destiny for 3 years before ever buying Bright Dust. Some of the items found for Silver often rotate into the Bright Dust economy.

Next up, let’s have a look at the character menu.


Here we have access to Character, Triumphs, Inventory, Collections and Clan.


Our character menu shows you your Guardian with Weapons, Armour, Subclass and Ghost as well as Sparrows, Ships, Finishers and Emotes (if you navigate down). You’ll most likely be spending a lot of time in this menu, equipping the best loot, checking out the mods on armour and weapons or changing subclass.

You start out with 3 Light subclasses – Arc, Solar and Void. Try then out and see what works best for you. If you decide to go on and do the Beyond Light Campaign, then at the end you’ll get access to Stasis, the first Darkness Subclass. Each Light subclass has 3 nodes and on each, you can change grenade type, class ability and subclass tree. Try them out and see what you like. As you get more in-depth with Destiny you can spec into different builds, when combined with Exotic weapons and armour. Arc is like electricity, Solar is Fire and Void is some kind of purple magic. Stasis works a little differently as Bungie are experimenting with new subclass types as they move more into the MMO space with Destiny.


Triumphs are your record of achievement in Destiny and you can complete various objectives. Here you can earn seasonal titles as well as check out the Lore, which is very underrated and hidden away but there’s some fantastic story telling the in the world of Destiny if you want to seek it out.


Items and currencies go in the inventory including tokens and many other weird and wonderful items. These items and currencies are normally needed for activities. Here you can access shaders and see how many engrams you have stored away.


The collections tab is a record of the things you have acquired in the game and also shows you what else there is to acquire, so it can be used as a checklist. If you accidentally dismantle something then you can grab it again from collections, although not all items can be reacquired so remember to lock certain items you don’t want to accidentally delete. Collections will also show you some of the recent loot you have acquired like legendaries and exotics.


Your clan page is where you can see who’s online and also interact with your clan and see clan objectives.

That’s the UI, next up let’s check out the Tower.

The Tower

We’ve already had a little tour of the main vendors in the tower, but there are some things that were missed which you should know about.

Vault – The vault is near Banshee-44 and here is where you can store away weapons and armour for later. If your inventory is getting filled up then you can always add an item to the vault.

Postmaster – Sometimes you miss items out there in the wild like loot drops, shaders and engrams. If you miss them then they get sent to the postmaster, so you don’t have to worry about picking everything up. However, if your postmaster is full do beware because items can get deleted. Always make sure you have room in your postmaster so you don’t miss anything.

Exotic Kiosk – This. is a new addition to destiny and allows you to pick up exotics from past expansions. Given much of the game was put into the Destiny Content Vault (removed) many of the quests went with them too, meaning you can now buy exotics for currency. Some recommendations from here would be Thorn (Hand Cannon), Anarchy (Grenade Launcher) , Izanagi’s Burden (Sniper RIfle) and Eriana’s Vow (Hand Cannon)

Hawthorn – She’s near Ikora Rey and deals with clan things. If you are in a clan you’ll get engrams for clan activities, so it is worth being in one.

Missions Kiosk – This is another new thing in Destiny where you can access old missions you may have missed.

Saint-14 (Trials of Osiris) – Saint 14 is the Trials vendor and he’s in the Hangar in the Tower. Trials is normally around at the weekends and is the pinnacle PVP activity in the game.

That’s it for the tower, next up let’s have a look at the weekly schedule of events.

Event schedule

Destiny 2 is a live game, meaning there’s a schedule of events on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis.

  • Daily reset (Daily 5 pm GMT / 12 pm ET / 9 am PT) – Daily bounties refresh as well as some activities.
  • Weekly Reset (Tuesday 5 pm GMT / 12 pm ET / 9 am PT) – Weekly bounties refresh as well as new content put into the game. Often new quests or activities can start on weekly reset as well as seasonal events.
  • Xur (Friday – Tuesday 5 pm GMT / 12 pm ET / 9 am PT) – Xur is a vendor who sells exotic weapons, so if you don’t have something or want to start your own collection, then check out Xur’s location on Friday – Tuesday.
  • Trials of Osiris (Friday – Tuesday 5 pm GMT / 12 pm ET / 9 am PT) – Trials is the pinnacle competitive PVP game mode and is available at the weekend.
  • Seasonal events – The Dawning (Christmas), Festival of the Lost (Halloween), Guardian Games & Solstice of Heroes (Summer) – These events happen throughout the year and generally link up with global seasonal events and often offer cosmetic rewards or exotic quests.

Tools and apps

Finally today I am going to go through some useful tools to help you find out more information, find a fireteam or manage your gear nice and easy. Due to the availability of Bungie API the community have made lots of very useful tools that help make your life in Destiny much easier. – This is a very good website telling you all about the loot and good rolls to look out for.
Bungie Companion App
– Here you can find other players to play with
Destiny tracker – This is another Looking for Game (LFG) website where you can find other people to play with
Destiny power bars – This is a useful tool to help understand your power level and helps you understand what you need next
Destiny Item Manager – One of the most useful tools to help manage your gear in a drag and drop manner across multiple characters
This Week At Bungie – – Lots of great information like lore, news and the weekly edition of This Week At Bungie

Let me know. in the comments what you think of the guide.

That’s it for this New Player Guide And How To Start In Destiny 2 in 2020. For more Destiny 2 Beyond Light content check out the full guide and subscribe on YouTube to This Week In Video Games today.

5 thoughts on “Destiny 2 – New Player Guide And How To Start In Destiny 2 (New Light & Systems Explainers)

  • May 3, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    Absolutely amazing – this guide has helped so much! Exactly what I was looking for and now I feel so much clearer on the game. It’s not the easiest to get into and this has really helped!

  • June 3, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    Appreciate the help thanks.

  • June 6, 2021 at 4:16 am

    Is the daily reset time listed wrong?

  • December 2, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Lol I wished I found your article few weeks ago when I started playing. 😂
    I’ve been going in blind. Fortunately found out some friends have been playing for ages now so they’re taking this noob under their wings. ❤️


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