The Source(s) of Light & TTK Subclasses

Given that this video by Myelin Games popped into my sub box earlier today, I thought it’d be a nice time to add some details + speculation about the source(s) of Light to the pile.

So, the Destiny website’s description of the European Dead Zone includes the following:

European Dead Zone was ground-zero for a cataclysmic event that left a massive shard of The Traveler — the source of every Guardian’s power and immortality — embedded into the vast landscape.

This heavily implies that the Traveler is the sole source of every Guardian’s Light, as a Guardian’s “power” comes from their Light-based abilities, and their “immortality” comes from Ghosts. However, there have been arguments made that say the subclasses released with The Taken King- the Stormcaller, Sunbreaker, and Nightstalker- were “created” with Light not bestowed by the Traveler. As Myelin says:

The Taken King subclasses[…] had you unlock abilities from different areas: we harnessed the Void for the Nightstalker from the Black Garden, the Solar energy for the Sunbreaker from the Forge on Mercury, and we harnessed Arc energy from the Arc storms on Mars for the Stormcaller.

This is where I begin to disagree with the theory that there are several sources of Light. We do utilize different forms of energy in the subclass quests in order to ‘unlock’ new subclasses, but this theory implies that all Arc, Solar, and Void energy is tied to the Light, and that simply gathering energy can lead to new Light-based abilities. However, the Arc, Solar, and Void cards all begin the same way:

The universe is defined by fundamental forces.

Additionally, we see enemy races using these energy types: shock daggers, line rifles, shredders, etc. These weapons are not inherently ‘Light,’ they simply make use of energy types. As a note, “Energy” itself may be a Guardian concept:

In Guardian parlance, these weapons deal Solar damage.

So, I don’t think that Guardians gathering energy from different sources means that they’re also drawing Light from these same places. Instead, I’d argue that they’re simply taking that energy and combining it with their already-extant Light, the same Light that the Traveler bestows. The Nightstalker’s Trail implies that learning how to Nightstalk affects a Guardian’s Light itself:

Your light gets twisted. Changed. You find the power to punch through and borrow something from the other side. The Void opens up a hole, and draws from the deep.

While the subclass quests lean heavily on gathering elemental energy, that energy still needs Light in order to create the subclasses. Additionally, subclasses like the Voidwalker have always “drawn from” the Void, so I don’t think the wording of the Nightstalker cards implies anything about different Light sources:

Thus we know that the void is full of power. Thus we enter the void without fear.

In conclusion: I think that all Light comes from the Traveler, and that Guardians have learned to combine Light & elemental energy in different ways to form different subclasses. Places like the Forge & the Arc storms are simply places that allow Guardians to combine their Light with elemental energy, enabling them to ‘access’ new subclasses.

Thanks for reading! This is my first actual post, so sorry if anything’s wonky. :relaxed:


Firstly, this post is perfect! You did great!
Secondly, I agree whole-heartedly with your post, I also believe that the reason for a Guardian’s power is his/her light and that the various subclasses are just ways of using said light!
I’ve always believed this but @HandsomeDragon would disagree!
Anyways, we’re a family here and I respect everyone’s opinions!
EDIT: Wow, I use exclamation marks a lot.
: p


I will try to create a proper rebuttal at some time, I can’t at this point, HOWEVER, I will say that there is a very distinct difference between power and light. Our power comes from the Traveler, that doesn’t mean that all Light comes from the Traveler.


I’m curious, what do you think the distinction between power and Light is? I’ve always assumed they’re the same, as cards such as Guardian Abilities seem to refer to the two interchangeably:

Only Guardians have the gift of the Traveler’s Light - the ability to channel its energies to project vast power into the world.[…] While these abilities rise from within, Guardians master their power in different ways.


This is a previous post I wrote on Reddit in response to a similar post.

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Essentially, this is the idea at play - Radiance doesn’t pull Solar Light from the Traveler, just as Golden Gun doesn’t. The Traveler gives us the means to channel Light, where we get it is from different sources. We may draw on the Suns of Mercury to throw our Sunbreaker hammers, but no matter what, we are drawing Solar light, solar light from the universe, and it’s our power from the Traveler that grants us the ability to do so


Thank you for the thread link! I think we’re partly in agreement, actually- namely this part of your comment:

We are able to channel the Light as Guardians because of the Traveler. It is the Traveler’s Light running through us that empowers us and gives us the means.

The Light used in a Golden Gun, Radiance, etc. comes from a Guardian’s Light, and that Light in turn was bestowed by the Traveler. There are mentions of Light coming from “within” a Guardian:

Change one ripple in an ancient ocean and we would never have been granted the Light within us, or the good Ghosts that want to help us.

I think the main point of contention here is whether or not Guardians are drawing specific types of Light from differing sources or not. I still think that the Light originates from the Traveler; the Speaker says the Light ‘comes from’ the Traveler:

To seek out those who can wield its Light as a weapon.

And the Light is referred to as the “Traveler’s Light” a whole bunch.

I don’t think that Light can be simply drawn from the universe, because that implies that there is Light everywhere. If that was the case, then Light-eaters such as the Hive would not have to chase the Traveler, because there is Light simply in the universe that they could track down and consume. Additionally, if there was Light that could be drawn from the universe itself, then Guardians dying would seemingly be less of a problem, because they could simply draw in more Light to power their Ghosts.

Additionally, the TTK subclass cards never refer to drawing Light from new sources, simply changing or using extant Light:

Forge your Light into a raging inferno of Solar energy, and pull forth a blazing hammer from the fire.

What the forge does to your Light must be respected, and feared.

Focus your Light to call forth a powerful Arc storm, and siphon it, channeling lightning through your fingertips to send it surging between your targets.

Your light gets twisted. Changed.

The focus is on “your” Light, not Light that is drawn from somewhere else.


What if Light is the medium for these energies?
Between the physical “source” and the projected energy?

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It could be! The idea of a “kinetic” subclass always gets thrown around when discussions about a new subclass come up, though that’s more a result of kinetic weapons existing than anything else. Still, if there’s three sub-aspects of Light- void, solar, and arc- then there might be some default “state” of Light that has no elemental attributes. Ghosts are Light-based, but they don’t exactly go around and Nova Bomb anyone. Maybe base Light + elemental energy = abilities?

(I know we all love to talk about how nebulous the concept of “Darkness” is, but Light’s almost just as vague! At least D2 is pretty focused on the (loss of) Light, so we may get some info.)


I’ve never thought of it that way!
But what if Kinetic weapons are just weapons?
With no relation to light?

Yeah, I don’t think the whole “kinetic” type is Light-related, I just mentioned it because that’s the subclass type people usually talk about when the “what fourth subclass should we have?” discussions appear.

Some weapons are definitely connected to either the Darkness or the Light- Thorn most prominently- but most guns just appear to be normal tools. There’s no reason a Citygoer couldn’t use MIDA, for example; a Light connection isn’t needed to shoot.

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I think this last bit is the key. There’s all those stories about how the original story for Destiny was scrapped last second and Luke Smith already admitted that they never really knew what the Darkness was. I think it’s likely that the same goes for the Light and I suspect that they’ll clarify a lot of this in D2 during our quest to regain the Light.

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That’s a good point.
Let’s add something new to the discussion here: Could a citygoer use Thorn, or Touch of Malice?
Would the Darkness corrupt them faster because they have no Light?
What would happen to a Human consumed by Darkness?
All good questions!
Hey @RedRenegade should we start a Darkness topic?

@The_Darkness Ooh, interesting! I’m not sure about specific answers, but I think a new topic might get some more insight + more people offering ideas.

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But - the Speaker says, “The Light lives in ALL things. It is all around us”

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I haven’t quite finished the campaign yet, so apologies if any of this is jossed in the latter part of D2. Also, spoilers ahead!

The Speaker does say that Light is within all living things. However, I don’t think that everything the Speaker says can be interpreted as 100% factual- he did have a whole speech that culminated in him telling Ghaul to kill himself. Additionally, there’s presumably some amount of ambiguity; does the Light reside in the Hive? The Cabal? If the Light was already within the Cabal, then why would Ghaul need to ensnare the Traveler?

The first act of D2 also seems to cement the Traveler as the source of the vast majority of our Guardians’ powers. Transcripts aren’t up yet, but Ghost does say that the Light within the EDZ shard is the Traveler’s Light. Guardians have some self-healing ability, but supers, grenades, resurrection, etc. weren’t possible without a connection to the Traveler.

Alongside the first EDZ mission is the fact that, when regaining subclasses, you have to go back to the Shard to regain that subclass. If only elemental energy was needed, than that trip back to the Shard- back to the Traveler’s Light, essentially- would not be necessary. We could simply gather elemental energy and go.

Couple things, first I see a reason to discount the Speakers words based on his F*%# you speech to Ghaul (which was amazing). We have no reason to think anything he said was a lie or incorrect. Regarding the main topic, I think the biggest disconnect between us is the separation of Light as a source, and Light as a power.

The Speaker says Light is in all things, all around us. That is true. But that doesn’t mean that those things can draw power from that Light. When our Guardian is filled with the Traveler’s Light, we are able to wield the Light. But, we do not pull the Light to cast Dawnblade from the Traveler, it is Solar Light, we pull it from a Solar entity. We do not pull the Light to cast Stormcaller from the Traveler, as it’s mentioned many times, we pull it from the Storm (we’re also told the only difference between it and Bladedancer and Striker is the focus involved, not the source of the Light). The Light from the Traveler gives us the Power to wield the Light that is all around us.

Yeah, that whole speech was great. I don’t really mean the “not 100% factual” as him being incorrect, just that it’s not impossible that he was lying to Ghaul about how the Light works in order to protect the Traveler.

I don’t think there’s too much of a difference between the positions “The Light from the Traveler gives us the Power to wield the Light that is all around us” and “The Traveler bestows Light, and Guardians use that Light and elemental energy to create subclasses.” There are semantics- is there inherent Light in Mercury’s Forge, why the Hive chase the Traveler if Light exists everywhere- but maybe not fundamental differences.

We also can’t use that Solar Light without a direct connection to the Traveler’s Light- a trip to the EDZ shard was necessary, and while we might draw Solar Light from the Sun or Mercury, that’s not enough for us to have full subclasses. Based on D2, maybe Traveler’s Light + Elemental Light = abilities?

See I think that’s exactly correct. What you’re saying there is what I’ve been saying, which is not to say that all Light comes from the Traveler, which if I understood correctly, is what was being said in previous posts.

Have you played any strikes yet? If so I think Savathun’s Song makes my point as well. The Hive DO capture the Light from within all things. They capture Void Light. But that doesn’t mean they’re instantly able to wield it like us or like Ghaul at the end of the campaign.