The Taken King is with us, and by now there's Guardians all over the world rising through the ranks, aiming at the end goal of taking down King's Fall, the high level Raid that requires a serious investment of time and effort if you're to get there.
Gone are the methods of old, and the 1-40 ranking system is now largely redundant, but Light, the previous factor the decided your rank, is once again hugely important.
It's recommended that you hit Light 290 before you play King's Fall, and although it won't take you forever to get there, here's some helpful pointers on how to arrive at your desired destination that little bit faster.
The Way of the Engram
Remember back in the olden days when a blue engram would drop from a fallen foe, and you'd sigh a sigh because blue engrams were common as muck, as dull as dishwater? Well those days are no more, and now these engrams are your ticket to a higher Light level.
Whenever a blue drops, grab it and add it to your stash. You'll need to collect a few together and then, once you've got a healthy collection, head to the Cryptarch in the Tower and see what you've won. However, there's a couple of steps to follow if you want to make the most out of these engrams.
The engrams you unlock scale with your level, for example, if you're around Light 250, any items Master Rahool opens for you will be around your level, either just below or just above. So if you've got a couple of helmet engrams to unlock, one of them is likely to offer up a new helmet somewhere around level 255/260.
Here's the trick. Unlock the new gear, and if it's higher that what you're already wearing, leave the Cryptarch menu, and then equip the item in question. This will raise your level, to say Light 252, which means the next item you unpack is potentially going to be higher than your new, slightly better light level. With that in mind, if you have any purple (legendary) engrams, save these till last to maximise their loot.
It's not a quick process, but it works, and if you visit the Cryptarch with a significant stash of engrams come the end of an extended play session, chances are you're going to find yourself climbing the ranks very quickly indeed.
The Court of Oryx is a patrol event based in the new environment, the Dreadnought. Using Runes you've picked up along the way, you can initiate an encounter with high level bosses that, if beaten, dish out at least two blue engrams. Level one encounters are manageable alone, while level two encounters will normally require company. We've not done a level three encounter yet, you need at least Light 300.
There's really no reason not to go down this route, because even if you fail, you'll get your Rune back and can go again. Of course you can win, and if you do you'll get the engrams, but the Rune that acted as your ticket in will be lost forever. Therefore this is a finite experience, and can't be relied upon for a constant stream of engrams.
Make Your Mark
The other way to quickly level up your Guardian is to buy the gear that you need, and to do this you'll need Legendary Marks. Legendary Marks are the now the one-currency-fits-all solution to vendor shopping, and you'll need a fair few if you're going to deck out your character in lovely purple gear.
The simplest and quickest way of earning the Marks you need is to play the daily Crucible map. This is about as straightforward as it gets. Play one game, take home the Marks, even if you finish bottom of the losing team.
Then there's the daily Heroic story mission, although you'll need to be rocking around Light 240 if you want to tackle this. However, it's worth it, because for around twenty minutes work you'll get another purse full of Marks to add to the kitty.
Once you've done that lot, and once you're around Light 260, you can crack on with the Heroic Strike, which again will offer up Legendary Marks. Finally there's the Nightfall Strike when you're Light 280, though who knows what rewards you'll get for doing that.
This one might feel counter-intuitive given how long we've spent clinging onto legendary gear in the past, but as you rise through the ranks, much of the legendary gear you earn will quickly become obsolete in The Taken King, and even the rare items you find will be more useful.
So what to do with all that purple gear? Well, your ingrained instinct might be to hold onto those items, to file them away for later use, but that won't help you climb the ladder of success. You can, however, dismantle them and take the Legendary Marks that drop as a result.
There's a couple of caveats to this. Firstly, you're only going to get the Marks you need from dismantling the year two legendaries in your collection, thus "legacy" legendaries won't do the trick.
Secondly, if you dismantle all your gear your main character will certainly level up faster, though you won't be able to share the good stuff and speed along the development of any alts that you may want to improve too. You have to choose between speeding through the ranks with one character, or taking it more slowly and bringing two or three up at the same time.
Having said all that, before you burn any old legendaries, first make sure you've taken them as far as you can and have added as much Light to them as possible. Don't do what we did at first and burn old gear before infusing it with the abilities of higher level rare/blue gear.
For us the penny dropped when we investigated the "infuse" option on one of our heavy machine guns, and we realised we'd been chucking away perfectly good legendaries in exchange for a small amount Marks, when we could have been using existing rare items to improve the level of our much rarer gear. Learn from our mistake; infuse your gear instead of throwing it away.
There you have it, a variety of useful tips to help you get well on your way to competing in King's Fall. Good luck getting to Light 290 Guardians!