It had been months since I grinded out PL, so I had to read up on it a bit. I put it all in the above image, so that I could refer to it. While it’s very clear in the Director what you can do to get powerful engrams, it’s not exactly clear how to optimize the grind.
First of all, the soft cap is 950, the powerful cap is 1000, and the hard cap is 1010. This refers to gear score, and does not include the bonus from the seasonal artifact. I’m currently at 995 and I get +9 from my artifact, so I can continue grinding powerful engram sources until I hit 1000 GS. Once you hit 1000, you’ll only go up using pinnacle activities. A 100,000 score Nightfall: The Ordeal, a Pitt of Heresy run, the Garden of Salvation raid, getting a flawless card in a Trials of Osiris run, and a couple more activities will drop pinnacle engrams. These are usually clearly identified in the director.
These drops are between +2 to +3, up from a simple +1. This means that about 3-4 drops should be enough to bump you up a PL. You’ll be doing that a lot in order to get to 1010. As usual, the pinnacle drops are timegated weekly until Tuesday’s reset, so you can only get so many in a single week. I heard that Crucible: Survival can drop many engrams, though I’m not sure if they drop any pinnacle ones. Probably not.
When you start out at 950, any world drops will raise your PL. Starting 960, only powerful engrams will raise you until 1000. From 1000 onwards, it’s pinnacles only. To optimize the powerful engram grind, you can check out Vendor Engrams. It lists all of the vendors in Destiny 2, and will let you know which ones drop packages in exchange for planetary resources or tokens at your PL. This is very useful, because if you have a piece of armor or a weapon that is lower than your PL, you can spam tokens and hope to get an engram to fit the right place. This can boost your level higher. Once you have equalized your level at your current PL, you can continue doing powerful engram drops.
I found that this technique was hit and miss. Sometimes a vendor’s engrams would suddenly be lower than expected, even after I had gotten one engram at my PL. However, you can use the armor from your season pass to equalize. It’s a lot easier, but you get only so many drops that way. Some of the armor that drops from the season pass has very good stats, ~66-67. However, they are averaged out stats, instead of being very high in one category. It’s going to be my choice if I hadn’t masterworked a set already.
The whole masterworking system that was reworked is very resource intensive, meaning they players will have to invest a lot of time in order to masterwork a set. This means like activities like the dungeon Pitt of Heresy, are quite valuable, since they drop a masterworked piece of armor. The few times I’ve run it, I ended up deconstructing them because the stats were average. Currently, I’m working on my PvP set, focusing on mobility and recovery. It’s a hit and miss. For now, I usually use 1 set, with an exotic piece of armor, usually STOMP-EE5, which I masterworked.
This week’s Nightfall isn’t that conducive to getting a high score. I struggled completing it with an LFG fireteam at Hero 970 difficulty. Instead of killing all of the champions to maximize rewards, one group just speedran the Nightfall. I can’t imagine how the 1000 would go with randoms, but just for this week’s NF. This week, I’m going to do the dungeon for a pinnacle drop, as well as the previous one, Shattered Throne for Izanagi. Iron Banner has started again, and there are pinnacle drops available as well.
Overall, it wasn’t too bad, but I’m surprised that people were able to grind it out in a few days. It took me almost 2 weeks, and I played almost every day. Still, once you’ve done one character, doing another is a lot quicker. It’s also a good way to get reacquainted with the game, as I almost took 2 months off from playing regularly.