If you were a Year One Destiny player, you should remember getting exotics as the Christmas morning equivalent of playing the game. In other words, during Destiny’s first year, there was nothing better than an exotic weapon or a piece of exotic armor. However, this is no longer the case in Year Two.
In the days before Light levels, wearing an exotic piece of armor would bring your Guardian one step closer to achieving maximum level perfection. If you possessed an exotic weapon then, it was almost a guarantee that you had one equipped whether it was in the primary, special, or heavy slot. But now, it’s not uncommon to see a maximum level Guardian with no exotic pieces equipped at all in favor of either King’s Fall raid gear, Trials of Osiris gear, or even just plain legendary gear.
The word “exotic” used to signify that an item was the best of the best. All exotic really means now is that an item has attractive perks, and we have the Light level dynamic to blame for that. Until a player reaches a Light level of 300, all exotics will drop at 290 Light. This may be helpful at first but as your Guardian progresses forward, the light level of the exotic will hold you back.
At Light level 300, there is a chance that the exotics will drop at 310 Light or 290 Light. However, the current maximum Light level for the Taken King expansion is 320, which means that no matter what you do, exotics will not help you find your way to the top.
If you are looking forward to getting your exotic pieces from Xur, there’s even less to be excited about. Xur sells exotics with 280 Light which is 10 points lower than the lowest random exotic drop. In year one, Xur coming to town was one of the most awesome experiences in the game. Even if you were having trouble clearing the raid, beating the nightfall strike, or battling through the Prison of Elders, Xur was always there to make you feel better on the weekends.
When Xur appeared, buying one of his exotic weapons or armor pieces would instantly improve your Guardian, or at the very least, keep your Guardian at his/her current level while providing some fun variation to your play style. But now, at purchase, exotics will lower the Light level of your guardian significantly if you are anywhere close to being maxed out which makes them undesirable to use in the field when acquired.
Eventually, you can bring your exotics up to par with the Infusion system, but that just increases the struggle required to use something that used to be fully functional upon acquisition. To infuse your exotic weapons to max Light level, you are going to need not just one, but several exotic shards and rare or legendary guns that are in between Light level 280 and 320 and at least one of the guns will need to already be the max level of 320. The guns will also need to be the same type as the one you want to infuse. And you’ll need Legendary Marks, Motes of Light, and weapon parts/armor materials too.
If you’re a Year Two newbie, then maybe you don’t notice how annoying this is or don’t have any problem with the current system. But for year one players, exotics have fallen from where they used to be. In their current state, they’re hollow shells of what they once were. For now, all we can do is hope that Bungie realizes the error of their ways and restores the golden exotic to its former glory.
But while we wait for that, let’s take a look at how the new light level system affects the King’s Fall Raid gear and Trials of Osiris gear. If the light level system diminished exotics in favor of something great, that might be understandable. Unfortunately, the more we look into Destiny’s new light level system, the more flaws we find…
With Destiny’s new year two Light level system, with exotics removed from being one of the ways to max out, the best options to maximize your Light level are the King’s Fall Raid and the Trials of Osiris.