So, this is a weird one. Tucked away near the bottom of today's Destiny 2 weapon changes preview is a note about scout rifles. It reads: "Long Arm was inadvertently receiving the damage bonus vs minors for Exotics, so we've addressed that." Doesn't sound like a big deal unless you're familiar with the nitty gritty of Destiny 2 damage values, but the upshot is that Long Arm was getting a free 40% bonus against all rank and file enemies in the game, which should have made it an easy meta pick in hard activities where even minor mobs have thick health bars.
[Update: I asked Bungie how long the bug has been in place, and they told me it's been there since the start of Season 19, which means December 9 when the gun became available as part of the Spire of the Watcher loot table. I guess we really should have been using it all this time!)
What's astonishing to me, as a player who consumes an enormous amount of Destiny 2 stuff on YouTube and reads the subreddit daily, is that as far as I can tell nobody outside of Bungie noticed. I haven't seen it crack the list of most-used PvE weapons once this season. Partly I think that's down to the fact that arc weapons haven't been a top pick this season because the damage 'surges' in higher-end activities have focused on Solar, Void and Strand. Also, Scout rifles have the 'Unstoppable' breaker effect this season, meaning you can use them to stun the corresponding champion type, but the suspend Strand effect is so strong that many players haven't bothered using scouts that much, especially arc ones.
Anyway, given that this balance patch will go live when Season of the Deep launches on May 23, you still have a few days to enjoy Long Arm in its fairly wildly overpowered state. The rest of the blog post focuses on a suite of changes coming to exotic weapons, plus a few quality-of-life changes, such as the addition of a full-auto melee setting. You will also now be able to rotate the weapon models on the inventory screen. And if you're wondering who cares about that, the answer is very much me.
Bungie also detailed the extensive work that's gone into tweaking the reticles on a number of weapons. The goals here are a mixture of improving general readability and adding information about the weapon's state, particularly when it comes to exotics—eg indicating a perk is available or showing the number of special rounds currently loaded. I suspect the other intention is to help clean up the left-hand side of the screen, which is struggling under the weight of buffs and debuffs that can be active at any time.
Speaking of exotic weapons, there are a ton of tweaks coming next week, some of which sound very juicy. One in particular will delight that niche subset of players who love to combine Sweet Business (a minigun in the primary slot) with the Actium War Rig (a chest piece that reloads auto rifles and LFGs as they fire). It's a meme playstyle for wannabe Rambos, but I will confess that it's also incredibly annoying to face in the Crucible if you queue into six titans with the same loadout. Anyway, as of next week that gun is also going to fire an explosive shot on every 20th bullet that will deal extra damage and flinch opponents. So screw me, I guess.
Here are some exotic weapon changes I do like the look of:
- Eyes of Tomorrow: The rocket launcher from the Deep Stone Crypt raid will now refund a rocket whenever you kill four or more enemies at once. This one could be very potent.
- Tommy's Matchbook: The solar auto rifle will apply stacks of Scorch damage when the exotic catalyst is slotted.
- Bad Juju: The super-generating pulse rifle is having its recoil—which had been inadvertently coded as an auto rifle—fixed to be more stable.
- Heartshadow: The void sword will now proc its weakening debuff on any damage while the 'shot in the dark' perk is active, rather than just on heavy attacks.
- Manticore: The SMG gets more damage resistance and maneuverability when hovering, plus partially reloads the magazine when killing enemies whilst airborne.
The post features some broader changes to legendary weapon archetypes too, including a damage nerf for aggressive SMGs (plus a range one to The Immortal in particular) and a slight buff to sniper rifles that I'm not sure will be enough to drag them back into PvE viability. I also note with some interest that Bungie mentions making a buff to the Tyranny of Heaven bow, which comes from The Last Wish raid. That seems a clear hint it could be the next raid to get to an updated perk pool for its weapons, otherwise why bother?
In combination with last week's breakdown of changes to exotic armor coming in the same patch, and three new aspects for the Strand subclasses, there are going to be plenty of new builds to try when Season of the Deep drops next Tuesday. To which I'd add that only an idiot would book a crucial work trip out of state on the same day. I guess that idiot is going to be playing on a laptop.