Believe it or not, one of the joys of slavishly playing a live service game is that a big patch note post is treated with the reverence of the Dead Sea Scrolls 2 being hand-delivered to your door. And let me tell you, Bungie just dropped an absolute banger. Ahead of the launch of Season 18 on August 23rd, the developer has detailed a swathe of changes coming to Destiny 2's combat sandbox. There are buffs and nerfs to some of the most used (and abused) gear, plus granular changes to specific perks, including the addition of much needed anti-Champion functionality on four exotic weapons.
The entire This Week at Bungie update is worth reading, but if you're daunted by the sheer density of bullet points and indiscriminate use of the word scalar, don't worry: I've broken out the highlights below.
Omnioculus and Lord of Wolves are getting big PvP nerfs
The Hunter exotic chest piece Ominoculus, which grants the player and their teammates substantial incoming damage reduction whilst invisible, has been top of the hate list in PvP for some time now. Especially in Trials, it can feel like you're fighting a team of three Predators. Bungie is toning down the damage reduction in PvP but leaving it mercifully unchanged in PvE. The same reduction will also apply to the Whisper of Chains Stasis fragment.
As for everyone's favourite burst shotgun, Bungie admits "Lord of Wolves has long been a thorn in the side of PvP players." It's getting multiple changes, including reduced starting ammo (PvP only), lower damage while Release the Wolves is active, and a smaller burst size. In PvE it'll get a 20% damage buff to compensate, and Bungie says a further rework is planned that aims to stave off Lord of Wolves' issues in PvP for good, while also making it a better PvE option.
Vow of the Disciple's memed-on exotic weapon is getting a much-needed buff
I'm still sceptical about this one, but at least Bungie has heard the feedback that Collective Obligation sucks in its current state. The Pulse Rifle will be getting a suite of PvE buffs, including an increase to the Void Leech Timer and a 20% damage buff once active. Void Leech will also now be instantly charged whenever you kill a debuffed target, and will even trigger if you become debuffed yourself (although apparently you won't be able to self-trigger this using Suppressor grenades). Will that be enough to make it more effective than a Funnelweb in a good Volatile Rounds build?
Dead Man's Tale is also getting a spicy rework
Here's a gun that definitely doesn't need help. Bungie says the Dead Man's Tale scout rifle [insert yee-haw sound] is being reworked to better capture the fantasy of being a hip shootin' cowboy. That means removing the stacking damage increase from the Cranial Spike perk in PvP (it stays for PvE) and replacing it with improved reload, aim assist and range. At max stacks it will also fire 50 RPM faster, at the cost of 20% damage, which I guess is where the 'Pop! Pop! Pop!' fantasy comes in. Dead Man's Tale is frankly one of the strongest and most fun exotic primaries in the game so I'm excited to try this out.
Legend of Acrius gets a juicy buff
The exotic Heavy Shotgun is unique, but also currently unusable due to a combination of its lack of damage and range. (You essentially have to stand in kissing range of the boss.) "Legend of Acrius has fallen far behind other Heavy, short-range weapons," agrees Bungie. The weapon's catalyst will now grant the Trench Barrel perk, in addition to its existing benefits. That's a 50% damage buff for three follow-up shots after a successful melee attack. If melee exotics like Liar's Handshake and Synthoceps are meta next season, Acrius could be a contender again.
Multiple exotics are being given the ability to stun Champions… including Thunderlord
This is the kind of thing that probably doesn't sound like a big deal unless you play Destiny 2 endgame PvE, but is actually going to have a huge impact on build-crafting. Champion enemies are a pain in the ass of cosmic proportions, so being able to stun them consistently with an exotic weapon is a major consideration when doing stuff like Grandmaster Nightfalls. So far these options have been pretty limited, especially when it came to Overload champs, so any additions are hugely welcome:
- Le Monarque bow gets Overload
- Thunderlord machine gun gets Overload
- Wishender bow gets Barrier (also lower draw time, increased damage against Champions and bosses)
- Malfeasance gets Unstoppable (specifically for its explosions)
The two Overload options here are most noteworthy. We already know Le Monarque will synergise amazingly thanks to previous seasons when Overload Bows featured as an Artifact mod. Its Poison Arrows do a great job of keeping Champions under tight control because the damage over time re-procs the Overload effect. I also have high hopes for Thunderlord, because Heavy Weapons are invariably good on the rare occasions they have anti-Champion effects. It should be a serious rival to Divinity (and is certainly much easier to acquire). With next season being arc-themed, it looks like it's finally time to go full Thor.
Origin Traits being reworked and added
These are the new perks that have been added to weapons that are tied to specific activities and playlists. Both the Gambit and Iron Banner Origin Traits were too niche to deliver much benefit, so will be switched up in Season 19.
- Gambit — Invader Tracker renamed Gun and Run. Sprint speed increased on multi-kills.
- Iron Banner — Skulking Wolf will now grant enhanced radar and remove you from the opposing radar on kills while at low health.
Weapons from the Dares of Eternity playlist will also now drop with a refreshed perks and a new Origin Trait (no word on what it does). I'm less pleased about this, because if it's any good I'm going to feel compelled to re-grind the god rolls I've already got. Addiction is a hell of a thing.
Several unloved archetypes are getting blanket buffs
The blog post also ticks off a bunch of buffs that the community has been clamouring for in order to make specific types of weapon viable. The headlines are:
- All Scout Rifles get a 10% buff versus minor enemies. This is in addition to the previous buff they received and despite Destiny boss Luke Smith telling me they were a 'coward's weapon' a few years ago.
- High Impact Auto Rifles will have their Stability improved by 6-12 (which Bungie assures us is noticeable in-game).
- Once the kings of DPS, Heavy Grenade Launchers might be back on the menu courtesy of a 10% damage buff vs major and boss enemies. Not Parasite though, because it's already quite broken enough.
- Finally, Lightweight Bows will draw faster and be easier to draw perfectly.
Honestly, there's a bunch of other cool-sounding stuff, like buffs to the Ambitious Assassin and Wellspring weapon perks, but I really do recommend reading the whole thing if you're a current player or just considering coming back. Bungie also teased more changes coming further into next season and beyond, including increasing the amount of exotic armor that can proc using glaive melee attacks. Bungie says that Karnstein Armlets and Necrotic Grips are already done, so I might have to really commit to the prodding aliens with a stick playstyle. Like I said, it's a banger of a patch note post.