Destiny Quick and Dirty Beginner’s Guide

Everything you need to know to get started in Bungie's Destiny!

Destiny is more than your average shooter. There are classes, special abilities, leveling, exploration, and more. Things seem daunting at first, and players new to the game might wonder about some of the things you can do in the game.

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Some things are also not  immediately clear. That’s why I decided to make this guide for tips to anyone starting Destiny. This article answers any questions you have about the game.

It is also used as a directory to other Destiny guides, so check back often!

This guide will cover the basics of Destiny including:

  • Gear – The types of things you can equip.
  • Grimoire Cards – What they are and how to get them.
  • Controls – Helpful tips for doing things in Destiny.
  • Classes – Each class and the differences between them.
  • Tower – What it is and everything important about it.
  • Preorder Bonuses – How to get your pre-order bonuses.
  • Game Modes – Explanations of each game mode currently available.
  • Bounties – What they are and when you unlock them.
  • Destiny Companion App – What it is and why it is helpful.


There are 8 different gear slots. For details on the weapon options visit the Destiny Weapon Options guide.

  • Primary Weapon – Your main weapon and what you sue the most/have most ammo for. (Dropped ammo is White)
  • Special Weapon – Secondary weapon that’s more powerful and has less ammo than your primary. (Dropped ammo is Green)
  • Heavy Weapon – Special weapon that does a lot of damage and has low ammo. (Dropped ammo is Purple)
  • Helmet 
  • Gauntlets 
  • Chest Armor
  • Leg Armor
  • Class Bond – Special visual item unique to your class.

Sometimes you’ll loot gear that looks green and says Encrypted Engram. You have to decode them to see what the gear is and use it. Do this by going to the Cryptarch at the Tower. I’ll go over the Tower later.



Higher level gear can be upgraded, this is very important. To do this, hover over the item, then Press Y or Triangle, depending on which system you have. This brings up detailed info.

Hover over each option to get a description of the upgrade and how much each thing costs. The more rare an item is, the more upgrades, and costs/materials, it has.

Grimoire Cards

Grimoire Cards are kind of like achievements or challenges. Whenever you complete something, such as kill 500 of a certain enemy, you get a Grimoire card. These give you Glimmer, the currency, and more details about the story of Destiny.

Venisia wrote a Destiny Codes article for free grimoire card codes and other goodies.


Most things are simple and natural to anyone who has ever played a first-person shooter. I found a few things that people should know however that aren’t clear. 

  • Aim down the sights of your gun when you can. For weak enemies it doesn’t make a big difference, but you will get significantly more accuracy while aiming down the sights.
    • It is obvious to most people, but makes even more of a difference in this game.
  • When you unlock heavy weapons, hold the weapon swap button down to switch to it.
    • It is not clear that you have to do this to switch to heavy weapons. Just tapping it switches between your Primary and Special Weapons.
  • Click the right stick when targeting someone to interact with them.
    • After clicking right stick it tells you to push a button to bring up options, such as inviting to a Fireteam.
  • While running, hit the crouch button to do a slide.
    • Great for getting into cover or reaching a fallen teammate.


There are 3 classes in Destiny. They are: Titan, Warlock, and Hunter.

  • Titan is like your soldier class. They have more defense than other classes and the ability to shield allies.
  • Warlock is like a Mage class. They clan glide and use magical abilities to destroy their foes.
  • Hunter is the rogue/thief of the game. They use knives, attack quick, and can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.

There are 2 sub-classes for each class. The second one for each is unlocked at level 15. The great news is that you only need to get 1 class to level 15 to unlock the other subclasses for all your characters! That’s right, if you level a Titan to level 15 for example, you’ll be able to play a new or existing Hunter or Warlock and choose the second sub-class right away!




For a full overview of all the classes, check out the Destiny Class and Subclass Overview.

If you’re interested in some specific builds, we’ve also worked up a Sunsinger raid build, a Bladedancer Ninja build, and a Titan Striker Juggernaut build.


This is the social space/vendor area of the game. You walk around in 3rd-person and with your helmet off to show you beautiful face. You can also meet with other people to form fireteams before adventuring or doing Crucible. I’ll explain the places listed on the map below.


  • Vaults – You can deposit gear in here to give you more room in inventory. This is also shared for your account, so you can give items to your other characters
  • Cryptarch – Where you go to decode and Encrypted items you get
  • Postmaster – When you get a quest item to turn in, you go here
  • Gunsmith – Sells guns
  • Bounties – Where you pick up bounties for either Crucible or the World
  • Crucible – A vendor for Crucible items
  • Vanguards – The class armor vendor
  • Quartermaster – Sells legendary Vanguard weapons
  • Shipwright – Sells vehicles and ships
  • Dead Orbit – Faction vendor for Crucible gear
  • Future War Cult – Faction vendor for Crucible gear
  • Outfitter – Sells emblems and shader colors to customize your appearance
  • New Monarchy – Faction Vendor for Crucible gear

Pre-order and Beta Bonuses

People who played beta get a special emblem. If you pre-ordered the game, you get access to Vanguard Armory items and an emblem. These are level 5, Uncommon quality items. Also, if you preordered from Gamestop, you get a special Sparrow ground vehicle.


  • After downloading and installing the content, restart Destiny.
  • Once you have access to the Tower, go to Tess at Special orders and get them for free.


  • Download and install content, start Destiny after.
  • Go to the Tower, then to the Postmaster to receive your Sparrow.
  • For some reason you get 2, so just put 1 in the Vaults for another character.
  • You can also buy it again for 50 glimmer.

Vanguard Armory

  • Same as above, but go to the Vanguard Quartermaster in the Hangar at the Tower.
  • It is to the right of the Ship vendor.

Game Modes

Before I explain the game modes, there Golden Chests available on each planet. You can get during a story mission that gives access to that area, or just go to the planet’s Patrol. My Earth Golden Chests guide can give you full details on their locations:


  • Story – Missions that explain the game’s story and progresses you through the game.
  • Patrol – Free-roam areas that also have missions you can complete if you choose. (Awards Vanguard Reputation)
  • Strike – These are missions for 3 players. The enemies are harder than normal and has very strong bosses. You can make your own team or get matched with other players when selecting this type of mission.
  • Crucible – The competitive multiplayer of the game. There are several match types, but only Control is available at this time.
    • Control involves 2 teams of 6 fighting to control 3 points on a map. The team to reach max points, or the most points when time runs out, wins.
    • You unlock Crucible after reaching level 5 and doing the initial quest. After doing this on one character, your others can reach it after doing the first mission. Go to Orbit and select Crucible.


After getting level 4, you unlock Bounties. You have to complete at least 1 of the 3 starting bounties to unlock the rest of Bounties.

  • These are challenges for either Crucible matches, or world missions.
  • You must buy them from the Bounty vendor, to activate them.
  • Completing them rewards experience and either Crucible Reputation or Vanguard Reputation, depending on which you complete.
  • Reputation is required to rank up, which you need to buy high level gear.

I’ll also explain Marks and gear from vendors. Marks are the currency for Legendary armor and weapons. You use Crucible Marks to buy Crucible gear and Vanguard Marks to buy Vanguard gear.

  • You get Crucible marks from completing Crucible matches.
    • You also gain reputation for one of the Crucible factions if you wear a class item that represent them during matches.
  • You get Vanguard Marks from doing Strikes and other activities.
  • You start getting these marks at level 18.

For more details on what to do after getting level 20, check out my Guide to Life After 20.

Destiny Companion App

There’s an app for Destiny on iOS and Android. It’s great because it lets you do quite a bit, all from your mobile device.

You can check the map of the Tower when you’re there. This is better than the in-game map because you can use it anywhere and you check all the shops and NPCs to see what they have in stock.

There’s a feature to look at your Guardian’s gear, and you can check your friends to see what they are up to.

For more info, check the Destiny App description.

That wraps up everything in this Beginner guide for Destiny. There’s a lot of content in Destiny so if I missed something, or you have questions about anything else, please let me know!

Check out our sister site, Guild Launch to Create a Free Destiny Clan Site!

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After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel ( and Twitch (