Bungie's weekly blog dropped a day early this afternoon, largely because the studio is busy playing host to a bunch of YouTubers and Twitch streamers over the next couple of days, but also because it's rightly excited to show off how tuning work is progressing on Destiny 2's arsenal of Exotic weapons. Though not always guaranteed to output the most DPS, Exotics are the highest tier of weaponry in the game, and come with unique perks and visual models.
Unfortunately, and much like quite a bit of the shared-world shooter sequel, the reaction to many of Destiny 2's Exotics has been underwhelming, and they've even been outclassed by legendary weapons because those can be upgraded into Masterworks which generate orbs of light on multikills.
So that's the problem. The solution has been for Bungie's sandbox design team to undergo a lengthy rebalancing process, the fruits of which will be found in the forthcoming Season 3 update, launching alongside the Warmind DLC on May 8. And when I say rebalancing, we're not talking about just sliding some damage values up a little. Almost every exotic, barring a few over-performers, are being touched (you can find the full list here), and from the looks of these teaser videos, each weapon's signature perk is being beefed up or re-thought entirely.
Last week senior designer Jon Weisnewski showed how the Sturm & Drang combo is having its damage buff upgraded to enable it to 'two-tap' enemies in the Crucible PvP mode. This week Weisnewski was back with three more tweaked guns to highlight, each of which got its own quick preview video.
Let's start with the sexiest, the Graviton Lance, a gun which I described as "a thing of absolute joy" after a preview event, but eventually realised did damage that was absolute ass. Now, however, the gun really does look as spectacular as the lore suggests it ought to be (it fires miniature black holes, after all). Note how those purple axion bolts seek out additional targets after the initial explosion. Or should that be implosion? Either way, it finally looks as sweet as it sounds. Bzzzzzzzzzzzm.
Next up is Skyburner's Oath, the workmanlike but otherwise entirely boring Cabal solar scout rifle. Once patch 1.2.0 lands, the weapon will have two different fire modes. Weisnewski: "In ADS, the weapon will perform [as before]. Full auto, slow firing, high impact. When firing from the hip, Skyburner’s Oath now lobs slower projectiles at a faster rate of fire that tracks targets and explodes." The tracking element is particularly interesting, with Weisnewski adding that projectiles will be drawn to the centre of mass, and that precision damage has been adjusted accordingly. I think it should be great utility tool for crowd control and precision work.
Last but not least is the Rat King, the sidearm which looked cool but was relegated to largely unloved meme status due to its poor damage output unless used in a six-person team all wielding the same weapon. Part of the problem, according to Weisnewski, was that most players couldn't even pull the trigger fast enough to benefit from the improved rate of fire. However, it's now going to be much easier to get a boost from using the Rat King with friends.
"Rat Pack perk now triggers when fireteam members have Rat King slotted as their kinetic weapon, stowed or in hand," said Weisnewski. "We also front-loaded the stat benefits of Rat Pack so they increase a bit more drastically with one or two fireteam members—and upped the base invisibility timer of Vermin to seven seconds." From the speed with which the team in the video above wreck those orange bar Cabal, it seems like a substantial improvement.
Weisnewski also teased Masterworks Exotics, which will be coming as part of the same patch, though we don't yet know what these will involve. From the way he's talked about them so far, my guess would be that each Exotic gets an additional tweak to the way it works once upgraded to a Masterwork, plus presumably the orb generation effect. Those of us still playing will find out early next month.