In a previous entry I tried to describe in detail about my specific strategy for leveling, and I think I’ve got a pretty clearer way to describe how you can level slowly toward 300 and up, without even needing exotics in the first place.
Once you get up to around 265, your blues and purples seem to stop dropping at higher levels and actually seem to only drop at LOWER levels, and all of your token rep rewards all seem to stop being higher around there, too.
What if you could have the same level of anticipation about BLUE engrams might be, that you do with exotics?
For simplicity’s sake, imagine that you have only a single piece of gear, like Legs, that affects your total ‘Power’ (which I will call Light here) level.
If you have 265 Legs, and blues/purples and rewards are only dropping at 262-ish, then inspect the Leg piece in detail. Chances are, you have a purple mod on them, diving you a +5 boost — so ACTUALLY, the leg piece is only 260, with a +5 bonus, and you’re mistakenly looking at the 265 as the real light level.
If there is a purple mod on item that is rated at 265, think of it actually as 260 +5.
The engrams that are dropping at 261 are actually higher than your “260 +5”, so infusing a 261 onto your “260 +5” will make it now “261 +5” for a total of 266.
Now that your leg piece is 266 total, but actually “261 +5”, engrams will begin dropping at 262 or so. Use that 262 to infuse to your “261 +5” and it will become a “262 +5” for 267 total.
Now you have a reason to be glad at getting even any blue engram, and you can get higher and higher just by only grinding on blues.
Since legs are only one of 17 pieces (Helmet, Arms, Chest, Legs, Mark, AutoR, HandC, Sidearm, Pulse, Scout, Sub, Shotty, Fusion, Snipe, Rocket, Nader), you might think you have a TON of grinding to do, to make EACH piece get the next-higher level once it moves up, but:
That’s where the tokens come in. SAVE your tokens and Gunsmith materials for when you notice the blue engrams dropping at the next higher number, so that you can go to one of these vendor reps who will drop their rewards at that level, so you can have a pretty good chance at getting the ones you need to push the base level higher.
They key is to remember that your purple-modded items are actually only “+5” boosted, so the real light level is -5 below it. When you get a blue engram of that armor or weapon type, you can infuse it to the purple-modded item to increase the -5 level up a few points gradually.
I personally keep on-hand one of each type of weapon, even ones I hate like sidearms, so that I can upgrade the light level for that piece to possibly count toward the total better, but that’s not necessary.
The good thing about getting exotics, is that they will leap the light level of your dedicated piece a LOT higher than just one level at a time, and may actually influence the total light level average much higher so that all of your engrams may even skip a level or two instead of going one level at a time progressively upward, but I think it is important to understand the basic nature of why they do.