What's the point of becoming a god-destroying wielder of the Light if you don't look good doing it? Destiny 2 has hundreds of pieces of armor, and a huge array of shaders. Add ornaments to your options, and you have a lot of choices when it comes to making the ultimate look. Will you be a serious edgelord covered in blades and spikes, rocking black and red shaders? Or will you be a blindingly colorful Guardian? And, if you are just starting out in your Destiny adventures, where should you start? Well, you're in the right place to make sure your more Dolce and Guardiana and not a Sepiks Primark.
Where to start
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If you are new to the land of Destiny, or to thinking about trying to refine your look, there are some key things you should know. The first step is an easy one—just play. It's never bad to have an idea where you want to go but you're not going to be able to choose between a collection unless you've built a decent one. The best way to get a good number to play with is to do general activities in the game world. First up, complete the game's story. After that, just keep hitting checks on the weekly list. By playing in the Crucible, doing strikes, story missions, flashpoints, and more, you will build yourself a strong starting point.
That all being said, it's always good to know what kind of direction you are moving. Each set from various activities have strong themes that might dictate where you want to be getting drops from. Tangled Shore and early Forsaken content drops armor that is a little more Mad Max, while the Dreaming City is high fantasy. The Moon's vibe is haunted astronaut and Mars is all about geometry. If you are trying to build a certain way, it's good to do a little research. If you want to see what the sets look like, DestinySets is a good place to start. It's a resource that shows off all the items in Destiny.
Also be sure to check out the DestinyFashion subreddit. It's a whole community focused on toying with Destiny's aesthetics and coming up with beautiful new creations. If you want to get inspired, or even just rip-off someone's look, it's the place to go.
The Eververse In the Room
If you are playing and feel you haven't found something that speaks to you, you could head over to Tess and look at her wares in the Eververse. This is, of course, Destiny 2's shop front for real life purchases. You have to open your wallet if you want what's in here. Tess mostly sells ornaments (which modifies the look of a piece of gear) in here, but will have a new set each season to get.
However, if you don't have the capital, you can earn Bright Dust by doing several weekly bounties. This will allow you to pick up items from Tess without spending real money. The catch is she rotates her inventory each week, so you have to just wait for the item you want to show up. Engage with Eververse as you feel comfortable, but it is a resource to use to spruce up your look.
We're in the Endgame Now
So, you now have a decent collection and you know the kind of vibe you want, but—wait, where did that guy get that really cool Vex-themed helmet? Where is that beautiful white and gold Warlock robe from?
Bungie's designers know people want the best looking stuff, and because of that, the best of the best is usually hidden behind end game content. Each Raid in the game has its own set and they are well worth experimenting with. Not only do you get to play the highest tier content in the game, but you slowly build a beautiful set that tells others that you've achieved something. You beat the raid, you've overcome the hardest content in the game.
What's the point of fashion if not to show off?
There are other great end game sets you can get too. Thanks to the game's new Season Pass track, as you play and gain experience, towards the end you will get cool new armor and ornaments. These really jazz your look up (although this will take 10s of hours to complete).
If you want to look as good as possible, you likely will have to interact with this challenging content that can take some time to reach. Aside from the fashion though, this content is the best in the game. While aesthetic might be your priority here, you'd be robbing yourself if you didn't try out a raid or two.
You think you have the right armor, but there's still an important decision to make that will make or break your look. What color are you going to be?
Destiny doesn't function like a lot of games that just let you paint your armor any color you want. Instead, it has set shaders that you can put on each piece of armor. These are found by general play, through the Eververse, vendors or specific activities. The best way to peruse what shaders Destiny 2 has to offer is to go into your main menu and tab over to Collections. From there you can hit the flair book and select the shaders sub-tab. Here you will be able to see just about every shader the game has to offer. Even if you don't own something, you will be able to see it and, importantly, 'try it on' with the preview button.
As a handy tooltip here too, when you are mousing over a shader, it will tell you how to get the shader you are after. Some may be unavailable as they can be tied to certain yearly events or stuck in Eververse limbo from a previous season. For most others though, they are tied to an achievable activity.
I currently really like the Gambit Emerald and Crucible Redjack shaders, if you want a place to start.
The addition of Armor 2.0 in the Shadowkeep update has complicated the fashion game, but ultimately gives you more flexibility. Instead of armour coming with a pre-rolled perk on it, now it comes empty. This allows you to invest in the piece, picking and choosing which perks you want to apply yourself.
Before this update, armour was left behind with each expansion. Looks only available in year 1 were abandoned as new stats and rolls were added to newer pieces of armor. If you liked something from a bygone time, you had to choose having worse perks just to look better. Now, that's not the case. This has blown the cosmetic scene wide open as now mostly everything (sorry Trials of the Nine gear) is usable once again.
However, there are distinct drawbacks too. Firstly, if you've been playing a while, anything you have from before Shadowkeep came out will likely need to be re-earned. That means back to old raids, content and more. That armor you have sitting in your vault, unless it has better perks than something you can concoct, you should dismantle it.
What's more than that, you might have to earn it several times over. See, not all armor drops are equal now. There are six stats that that can roll at various values on a piece of armor. These can help build your super, grenade and melees quicker, or even just make you faster. However, each armor also rolls with something called elemental affinity. There are now three sub-groups that the armor can roll—arc, solar and void. These are important because they dictate what perks you can use, including weapon-specific ones.
Arc supports Machine Guns, Shotguns, Bows, Pulse Rifles, Swords perks. Void takes Hand Cannons, Grenade Launchers, Scout Rifles, Sniper Rifles, and Sidearms. Solar supports Auto Rifles, Fusion Rifles, Linear Fusion Rifles, SMGs and Rocket Launchers. If you are a hand cannon lover and want to stack up on dexterity and reloader mods, you have to grind until you to get a void piece of armor. You also have to pray that it has decent stat rolls for what you are trying to build. This means you might have to re-earn the new armor several times over before you are content.
All in all, this is great for the long term of Destiny and fashion. Being able to use any of the really cool armor looks from previous seasons is perfect. The entire universe has just opened up. In the short term though, it means most of what you've earned previously is now useless and it might take a lot of grinding to get something you are happy with. The amount of effort you are willing to go to get perfect form and function will be for you to decide.