Mountaintop and Falling Guillotine nerfs coming in Destiny 2's next sandbox update

(Image credit: Bungie)

You finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew up The Mountaintop! For those who don't follow the Destiny 2 weapon meta in forensic detail (god bless you for reading) The Mountaintop is a breech-loaded grenade launcher which is an absolute terror in PvP and also has a ton of utility in PvE. 

What makes the weapon so potent is that, unlike other breechloaders, its ordinance doesn't travel along a parabolic curve. Instead, The Mountaintop has a perk called Micro-Missile, which means it fires very fast in a very straight line. Combine that with a bunch of splash damage, one-shot body kills, and unerring mid-air accuracy thanks to mouse and keyboard, and you can imagine why the weapon induces teabagging like no other.

The Mountaintop is one of a small selection of Pinnacle weapons which are actually being sunset when Beyond Light, Destiny 2's next expansion, arrives on 10 November. That means you'll no longer be able to 'infuse' their power level to the current cap, effectively ruling them out of endgame activities such as raids or Trials of Osiris. However, such is the negative sentiment towards The Mountaintop these days that Bungie recently confirmed the weapon would be nerfed to make it less dominant in regular PvP (where power level isn't relevant.) 

Today, as part of the This Week at Bungie blog, we found out exactly what that nerf looks like.

The Mountaintop

  • Reduced splash damage by 33 percent, increased impact damage such that total damage is 5 percent lower than before. 
  • Reduced projectile velocity multiplier from the Micro-Missile perk from 1.4 to 1.2. (i.e., now 20 percent faster than other breech Grenade Launchers instead of 40 percent). 
  • Reduced in-air accuracy. Now has significant projectile error while in-air (around 7 degrees without the Icarus Grip mod, substantially less with).

Though it's not entirely clear from the numbers, my assumption is that direct hits will still kill, but the change to splash damage should make it less easy to just shoot near an opponent and then clean them up with a primary weapon. The Micro-Missile speed reduction ought to also allow for a little more counter-play in terms of getting the hell out of the way. 

The rest of the post details a number of other changes coming to the weapon sandbox with Destiny 2. All 150 RPM hand cannons are being switched to 140s (with the exception of Sunshot, which is an Exotic), a move which I expected to go down like a cup of sick with the hardcore PvP community who love the faster firing archetype. From what I've seen so far though, there reaction is more mixed. Some seem relieved that Bungie has picked one archetype and it isn't the dominant one, while others are upset that their favourite type of hand cannon is now effectively gone.

Here's Bungie's explanation: 

"At this time, Lightweight (150 ROF) Hand Cannons represent the majority of Hand Cannon usage in the Crucible. While we experimented with many different ways to even out Lightweights (150 ROF) and Adaptives (140 ROF), Lightweight Hand Cannons consistently retained a faster time to kill (TTK). As such, we opted to equalize their ROF.

We selected 140 ROF as it is fairly balanced in the Crucible sandbox. It gives other weapon archetypes more time to breathe between shots, avoids an overabundance of Hand Cannons with faster TTK than other weapons, and pairs nicely with upcoming changes to 600 ROF Auto Rifles (more on that below). "

I'm not sure I agree with the logic, largely because the 140s feel bad to use, so I would rather have seen those become 150s and call it done. Other notable changes include a rate-of-fire change from 110 RPM to 120 for the slowest-firing hand cannons, and that small damage nerf to the currently dominant 600 RPM auto rifles. 

In terms of buffs, rocket launchers get slightly more ammo, though unfortunately I read it as 'in reserve' rather than 'in the magazine', which will do nada for their current viability (which is nil in serious content). The weak sauce aim assist buff to scout rifles also isn't going to do much to bring them into the meta. 

Perhaps the most controversial change, though, is a nerf to an incredibly popular heavy weapon. Here it is:

Falling Guillotine

  • Reduced heavy attack damage by ~24 percent to bring in line with other Swords. 
  • Note: Falling Guillotine will continue to be slightly above average, just not to the extent that it is now. 

I have to say I've been calling this one for a while. Way back in June I noted that swords, and in particular The Falling Guillotine, were absurdly good and nerf was probably in the pipe. All you have to do is look around the Tower social space, or jam the Strike playlist, and you'll soon notice that everyone is running a sword. Specifically: this one. 

Falling Guillotine's strength stems from its heavy attack, which does a spin-to-win AoE that blitzes bosses and trash mobs with almost equal ease. Bungie has a long, and I mean long, track record of nerfing any weapon that approaches ubiquitous use, so I don't think any of us should be surprised. It was fun while it lasted.

For my fellow space gun obsessives, I do recommend checking out the changes in detail. There's also some stuff in there about how Adept weapons will work once they start dropping from the flawless chest in Trials. But seeing as I'm never going to earn one of those I refuse to depress myself by writing about them in detail.

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.