Another season of Destiny 2 is almost upon us, and that can only mean one thing: I need to book a day off to sift through all the new gear to work out which weapon rolls I'm going to spend the remainder of this pandemic grinding lovelessly for day in, and day out, never stopping even though I have now acquired enough guns to shoot Neptune out of the sea.
It also means that we're due another major sandbox rebalance, which the dev team has begun detailing in the latest This Week at Bungie post. In time-honoured fashion, Bungie is beginning with the bad news. Which means nerfs. Back in February, assistant game director Joe Blackburn wrote that due to the decision to scrap the weapon sunsetting system, certain archetypes would need to be looked at, lest they dominate in perpetuity. That reckoning is now upon us.
No surprise that Aggressive frame shotguns are on the chopping block. Both Felwinter's Lie and older versions of Astral Horizon with the Quickdraw perk are having it retroactively removed and replaced with Surplus. Turns out being able to swap to the most dangerous boom stick in the game lightning fast was a bit too good in PvP. Who knew!
Also no shock is the reduction in range being made to 120 rpm hand cannons, which have also been terrorising the Crucible. Over in PvE, the wildly popular new Frenzy perk is being reigned in too, with the damage bonus shrinking from 20 percent to 15 percent. That's probably fair, given how easy it is to activate, but I imagine people with a vault full of Frenzy weapons will be irritated nonetheless.
Two of the most popular swords in the game are also being blunted somewhat. The Lament exotic is one of the best burst DPS weapons the game has ever seen, and will likely still be good after it eats a 16 percent damage reduction to its heavy attack. Meanwhile Falling Guillotine, the spin-to-win void sword, is getting another nerf, this time to the cost of its heavy attack.
For those looking for a crumb of good news, Bungie intriguingly noted that it is tweaking the Reservoir Burst perk. The bonus damage is coming down from 33 percent to 25 percent, but what makes that intriguing is that Reservoir Burst has only ever been found on the Loaded Question pinnacle weapon. Seeing as that gun will remain sunset, it's a heavy hint that the perk will feature on a fusion rifle next season.
Speaking of fusions, the exotic Bastion will no longer deal chip damage through shields, but will stagger Unstoppable Champions, meaning it could find a place in PvE after having long been a PvP staple.
There should be more good news on the way too, as community manager dmg04 said on Twitter that additional perk and archetype buffs will be featured in a future TWAB post, likely towards the end of April. And from the sounds of things, the comically underused Linear Fusion Rifle archetype is already booked into the shop to be fixed.
Season 14 of Destiny 2 will start on 11 May. I've posted all the sandbox changes announced today below the line.
- Aggressive (120 rpm) Hand Cannons are very dominant in PvP, and we've received enough feedback that we want to rein them in a bit, without completely taking away their range benefits.
- These weapons will now have damage and aim assist falloff distance reduced by between 2 and 4 meters, based on the Range stat.
- This roughly halves the range buff they received in Beyond Light.
- Vortex Frame Swords -- With Falling Guillotine now viable forever, we need to adjust it a little, as its damage output is flat out higher than all other Legendary swords. With this change we allow it to keep its high damage output, but are reducing its full-reserves damage output by reducing the number of Heavy attacks you'll be able to perform.
- Full energy Heavy attack ammo cost increased from 4 to 6.
- Chip damage -- Certain weapons (Swords and Bastion) bypass shields by varying amounts, which has caused numerous issues with Stasis-encased enemies, encounter mechanics, and other content.
- We have removed chip damage from Swords and Bastion.
- Quickdraw -- This perk is intended to provide faster swap speed, but it also passively buffs handling by +100. This completely negates the downside of using low-handling weapons (such as Aggressive Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, and Hand Cannons), which isn't something we want to encourage. Those weapons should have downsides and working around those completely via a perk isn't healthy. We don't think allowing a fast-swap to the Shotgun subfamily with the highest one-hit-kill range is great either.
- The Handling bonus is now removed one second after switching to this weapon, or upon aiming down sights.
- Replaced Quickdraw with Surplus on new and existing drops of Felwinter’s Lie and Astral Horizon.
- Frenzy -- This perk has extremely high uptime in PvE, to the point where it is clearly a better choice than most other damage perks. We like the high uptime and want to preserve that, but want it to award less damage than harder to activate damage perks
- Reduced bonus damage from +20 percent to +15 percent.
- Reservoir Burst -- Now increases magazine size in addition to its other effects, reduced full battery bonus damage from 33 percent to 25 percent.
- Upcoming content requires revisiting the Power Level of a damage perk that can be activated simply by having a full magazine.
- Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more...
- The Lament -- This weapon is a clear outlier for Sword damage, so for the health of Heavy weapon diversity, we're pulling it back a bit.
- Reduced damage of revved Heavy attack by approximately 16 percent.
- Note that The Lament retains standard anti-barrier despite removing chip damage.
- Bastion -- Since we're removing chip damage, Bastion gets something else instead. We’ve noticed increased feedback on Bastion and higher than normal usage in PvP, so are making a small change here and will revisit Bastion later.
- Intrinsically staggers Unstoppable Champions.
- Increased spread angle by 13 percent.