How to Upgrade Gear in Destiny 2
17 March, 2021...
How do you upgrade gear in Destiny 2?
It's not always very clear and in fact there are things you can do to save yourself precious resources that you grind for.
In fact the New Light tutorial part for new characters doesn't really explain how to upgrade gear.
You just end up swapping up to higher Power level gear.
What you don't realize later until you maybe waste some precious enhancement cores is that you can upgrade cheaply in a certain case.
Green and Blue Coloured Gear
First lets get this out of the way.
Green "uncommon" and blue "rare" gear can't be upgraded to higher power levels as far as I can tell.
You only have the ability to increase the mod space in it.
Also the mod space on any gear is a random number.
Whether it's blue, purple, the mod space is a random number, usually between 1 - 5.
Green gear or "uncommon" usually has no mod space at all.
You can increase this mod space by spending glimmer at first, then needs extra legendary shards, enhancement cores, enhancement prisms and ascendant shards.
As you add a new level, the cost increases.
So what I just talked about just now about mods applies to almost all gear except yellow exotics.
Yellow exotics have a fixed set of mods already on them.
To be honest, you're better off not spending anything more than glimmer on blues when increasing mod space.
Purple "Legendary" Gear
This is where most of your character's gear will be at.
It's also where power level upgrading truly happens.
So if you find a piece of purple gear with rolls you want to keep, do you have to swap to another piece of purple gear of a higher level that has worse stat rolls.
You find a purple Warlock chest piece with +14 Int, +14 Recovery, +14 Intelligence which is pretty okay, at power level 1100.
Then later as you do a strike you find a power level 1103 chest piece with a different look that you don't like, with +14 Resilience, +12 Intelligence, +18 Melee.
So what do you do?
Do you take the higher power piece with stats you don't want, just to increase your power level?
Nope, you don't have to.
You can infuse the higher Power (i.e. 1103) gear into the lower level gear (i.e. 1100).
You'll just need an Upgrade Module to do it.
Upgrade Modules can be obtained from Banshee-44, the gunsmith in the Tower.
Upgrade Modules cost 1 Enhancement Core, 10 Legendary Shards, 25 of some specific map resource and 5000 glimmer.
Glimmer is so common that you can literally ignore it.
It's very likely by doing public events, quests and strikes you'll have more glimmer than you can use.
It is capped at 250000.
How Do You Get Enhancement Cores?
This is probably the biggest challenge for new players I've discovered.
You'll want to do all of Banshee-44's bounties that reward Enhancement Cores.
Banshee-44 is located not far away, across from Cryptarch Rahool's stall in the Tower "Courtyard" area.
Opening some Prime Engrams or other engrams loot can sometimes give you Enhancement Cores as well.
If you're willing, you can start the Forsaken campaign in the Tangled Shore if you have access to that and get the bounties that reward Enhancement Cores.
You need to complete the first mission of Forsaken to get bounties.
These are some of the most obvious ways to get your hands on this scarce resource.
If you're constantly upgrading it'll feel like you never have enough.
How Do You Upgrade Gear Power Level?
This method only applies to purple legendary and yellow exotic as of now.
The weapons involved must all be in the same weapon category.
If you're upgrading a kinetic weapon of 1170 power, then you must use a kinetic weapon that's higher than 1170 power to infuse.
You can't use a power weapon of higher power - that's a different weapon category.
Once you have enough resources to get the Upgrade Module you click into the gear you want to upgrade (usually with the right mouse button).
Then you go to the icon that looks kind of like an arrow.
Then select the gear that you want to infuse i.e. the one with the higher Power level.
The higher Power level gear can be any type or colour rarity.
Doesn't matter as long as it's the same overall category (i.e. Kinetic for kinetic, Energy for energy, Power for power).
Select Dismantle for Infusion or the command along those lines.
F until it happens - this prevents accidentally infusing the wrong gear hopefully.
Is it worth upgrading power level if the higher level gear is only 1 level higher?
I often wait for a 3, 4 or higher level difference before infusing.
Depends on whether increasing that specific piece for Power level raises your average gear score.
If you use Destiny Inventory Manager it will be a lot easier to understand your Power level.
The Cheaper Way to Upgrade Gear Power Level
You can do what I just told you above to upgrade your purple and yellow gear at any time.
That's what I did for a very long time before realizing that there is a cheaper way however it does require some grinding and luck.
During a season you'll often be getting dupes or duplicates or copies of gear that you're using or want to upgrade (yet didn't have enough Enhancement Cores).
All you need is to infuse the higher level duplicate into the lower Power level one that you're using.
The process of doing it is the same as before.
The cost however isn't.
It doesn't cost Enhancement Cores, it only costs glimmer (which is literally thrown at you).
Considering how easy it is to get glimmer, infusing a higher Power duplicate of your favourite gun (so that you keep your favourite gun's stats and mods), it's a no brainer.
This is the cheapest way so far that I know to upgrade purple and yellow gear.
Of course it depends on getting duplicates by either grinding, just playing casually or luck.
Otherwise just go with the upgrade module way mentioned before.
You should always be keeping an eye out for duplicate drops of the weapons your using and then make it a habit to check your alts and Vault to see if you can upgrade a well rolled weapon or armour piece.
I'm constantly using Destiny Inventory Manager to do this.
What is a well rolled weapon or armour piece?
It's one with mods that you like or are known to be great for dps or other roles.
So that's how you upgrade your gear in Destiny 2, the expensive and cheap way.
Destiny 2 doesn't really make it super clear how you can upgrade gear and which gear.
Hopefully this has helped.
If there's anything missing in this guide do let me know.