Bungie discusses plan to buff Destiny 2's least loved Exotics

OK, hands up who wants to hear an embarrassing confession? Back when I previewed Destiny 2 in a Seattle hotel ballroom, I got one of the guns very wrong. At the time I described the Graviton Lance, which is an Exotic void pulse rifle, as "a thing of absolute joy." 

I went on to explain that: "It fires three-shot bursts, the third of which has higher recoil and damage, and on kills releases what looks like a mini black hole that travels past the target wreaking additional havoc. Oh and when you pull the trigger it makes a "BZZZZZZZZZZM" sound like a guitar amp being flicked on. To fire the Graviton Lance is to know true love."

Reader, I was very wrong. Because once I spent extended time with the finished game, I soon realised the gun was hot purple garbage. Here, a redditor explains why the Graviton Lance is actually worse than even the most bog standard pulse rifle, and only an idiot (ie me) would ever think otherwise. The short version is that the first two shots of the three-round burst do almost no damage, while the powerful final bullet is a pig to land on target. It's bad, and according to Destiny Item Manager, the community-voted rating is a savage one star out of five.

But hopefully it's not going to suck for much longer.

According to the latest This Week at Bungie update, the operation to buff Destiny 2's under-performing Exotic weapons and armor is going well. Sandbox senior designer Jon Weisnewski said that there are three main goals of the Exotic balance pass:

  • Tuning pass on Exotic gear focused on adding and/or increasing player Power spikes. 
  • Focus on low-usage items, but all items are being considered. 
  • Lean into an item’s established gameplay and push it harder. Avoid catch-all improvements that dilute item identity. 

In the post Weisnewski went into detail about the work being done to remove Graviton Lance from the dumpster. It's well worth a read to get a sense of how granular this kind of tuning is, but the tl;dr is more stability, bigger explosions, and two bullets rather than three. As someone who's always loved the look and feel of the gun (before I noticed the damage numbers), I can't wait to see how Graviton 2.0 feels. Particularly as I scored that sweet new ornament last night. And even if you're still not a fan of it, plenty of the other weapons are getting improvements of their own.

Weisnewski listed the guns that aren't getting changed—Merciless, Telesto, Wardcliff Coil, MIDA, Colony, Legend of Acrius and Vigilance Wing—noting that these "perform well without needing changes, while others, like the Vigilance Wing Pulse Rifle, are already benefiting from the tuning changes planned for Update 1.1.4." Theoretically then, we can infer the following guns are on the workbench:

  • Sturm
  • Prometheus Lens
  • Coldheart
  • Sweet Business
  • The Rat King (please make this play as cool as it looks) 
  • D.A.R.C.I.
  • Risk Runner
  • Sunshot (which seems odd, as it's amazing)
  • Crimson
  • The Prospector
  • Fighting Lion
  • Tractor Cannon
  • The Jade Rabbit
  • Hard Light
  • Skyburner's Oath

That's a veritable arsenal to update. Whilst some of these will no doubt see more marginal changes than the Graviton Lance is getting, just the chance to tinker with new loadouts is going to be good news for those players who've stuck around (ie me). The Exotic balance pass will also see tweaks made to armor items, though Weisnewski doesn't go into specifics on that front, presumably saving it for a future post. The only bummer is that according to the roadmap Bungie posted recently, the update isn't due to land until March 27.

In the nearer future, the faction rally event returns next week with Tuesday's weekly reset. New Monarchy are looking to make it three wins in a row, and with those sweet red and gold shaders on offer, who would bet against them? There's more info in the post about the loot on offer. Let me know in the comments about which Exotic weapon you most want to see buffed and how. Or rail furiously about how the game's very existence is an affront to you. I'm 41 years old and it really does bounce off the old deflector shield at this point. 

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.