Advancing to Guardian Rank 5 in Destiny 2
So after wandering around at level 4 for a long time I finally bit the bullet and did some Vanguard raids in order to be able to give commendations to other players. This is a bizarre requirement for gaining a level in the game but they do things like this and while I feel like some of the requirements are actually built in to encourage you to use the store, this particular requirement is simply teaching you to use certain aspects of the game that while I think it is a rather pointless part of the game, it is still a part of it and one that you likely wouldn't ever look at if they didn't force you to do it.
According to the stuff I have read online these Guardian ranks were introduced as part of the Lightfall expansion, which is one of the DLC's that I do not own. I only have the base game which is free-to-play now as well as the The Witch Queen expansion which was included in my PS-Plus Extra membership.
It can be a bit complicated to advance your guardian rank because some of the things you have to do seem a bit pointless since they don't necessarily advance the story, nor to they really make you any more powerful. Regardless, people are going to feel compelled to advance these things because it adjusts the little number that appears above your head in the game.
I am currently level 5, which according to people who have been playing the game a lot longer than I have, is a rank that anyone that was playing before never even sees. Those that have progressed to a certain point in the game start out at rank 6 and once you pass that it is meant to always remain at at least that level when the season resets. It is very conceivable that I will not even be playing the game anymore when the season reset comes around because I don't see myself playing this, or any other game, for the next full year.
The top rank you can possibly achieve in this portion of the game is the rank of Paragon or level 11. These level advancements don't appear to do anything for you in game nor do they offer any sort of rewards for obtaining them. Apparently there are some mods that you will receive 3 sets of surge mods, but honestly, at this point in my experience I am not really all that sure what "surge" even means.
So for the most part the advancement of guardian ranks seem to be based exclusively in prestige and are not a critical part of the game. I will say that by doing some of the requirements I became aware of certain parts of the game that I otherwise might not have ever tried especially since I am not really keen on joining up with random unknown players in order to get past a certain raid or as they were called in the part I just got past Vanguard Operations, which thus far in my journey, have been 3-person missions that are reasonably difficult but certainly not requiring of advanced skills.
This is good news for people that are like me that don't like the pressure of needing to "git gud" in order to not piss off 12 year old's who are gaming before their bedtime.
I have been completely carried by my team in all of these that I have done except for once where somehow we got paired up with someone that is even less skilled than I am.
So for anyone out there that is newer to this than I am know that you don't actually have to advance your Guardian Rank as it is not a critical part of the game and if you simply choose to NOT advance it, it will not hold you back from other aspects of the game. Those parts of the game that you cannot access are and likely always will be, hidden behind a paywall :)