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Changes To Sandbox PvP Mode – This Week in Destiny 2 February 15th

Bungie is gearing up to implement substantial alterations to Destiny 2’s PvP sandbox, alongside a multitude of adjustments to abilities, weapons, and various other aspects.
Home » Destiny 2 » Changes To Sandbox PvP Mode – This Week in Destiny 2 February 15th

Changes To Sandbox PvP Mode – This Week in Destiny 2 February 15th

Bungie is gearing up to implement substantial alterations to Destiny 2’s PvP sandbox, alongside a multitude of adjustments to abilities, weapons, and various other aspects.

This week topics:

  • Destiny 2 x BioWare collaboration is live. 
  • Preview of the upcoming sandbox changes. 
  • Celebrate the Lunar New Year with us. 
  • Trials map voting results are in. 
  • Destiny 2 deal at Humble Bundle. 
  • Our latest Player Support Report. 
  • And the Art and Movie of the Week winners. 

This Week in Destiny 2 - February 15th

Assuming Direct Control

You can fight like a Krogan, run like a leopard, but you’ll never be better than Titans cosplaying as Commander Shepard and awkwardly dancing in the middle of the Tower. They are alone on the dance floor because Hunters are busy with calibrations as Garrus Vakarian, and Warlocks can’t stop arguing about the best biotic Void build as Dr. Liara T’Soni. And this is all possible thanks to the new Destiny 2 x BioWare collaboration! 

Look for the Normandy Crew Bundle at the Eververse in-game, where you’ll find these looks as well as the Flux Dance emote and Omni Strike finisher. You can also pick up the Alliance Requisitions Bundle at no cost, which includes the Enhanced Defense Ghost Shell, Alliance Scout Frigate ship, and Alliance Drop Ship Sparrow.  

To celebrate this collab, we want to see your strongest builds inspired by Shepard, Garrus, and Liara. Maybe you like charging with a Shotgun and punching everything in sight? Or staying behind and shooting from a vantage point with a long-range weapons? If you prefer to go nuts with your abilities, that’s fine, too.  

Show us using the #NormandyCrew hashtag and we’ll reward our favorite ones with a very special emblem called Felis Galaxias. You have only until the next TWID.  

LET’S TALK ABOUT SANDBOX UPDATES 

Update 7.3.5 arrives on March 5, and it includes changes across weapons and abilities, as well as some Crucible-specific tuning. This is intended to set up the sandbox for success in the new PvP landscape as well as the new content coming with Destiny 2: Into the Light in April. Let’s first dig into abilities. Take it away, Combat Gameplay team!

ABILITIES SANDBOX

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Hey folks, Combat Gameplay here with a quick update. This is a lightweight one for us, as we are heads down on The Final Shape, but we have a few changes coming that we wanted to share.  

As a quick rundown, Update 7.3.5 will bring the following: 

  • A reduction in uptime for Threaded Specter. 
  • A few changes to Threadlings to make them easier to deal with in the Crucible. 
  • A fix for the Restoration timer extension issue, with a few corresponding changes to relevant Solar Fragments. 
  • A small number of ability buffs that we’re pulling forward from our balance pass in The Final Shape. 

Threaded Specter 

Threaded Specter is currently overperforming in high-level PvP activities, particularly Trials of Osiris. We believe there are two core issues that drive this overperformance, so let’s talk about each separately. First, uptime on Threaded Specter is significantly higher than we think is healthy, particularly with the fast cooldown of the Hunter’s dodge combined with the two Threadling Grenade charges granted by Widow’s Silk. For Update 7.3.5, we’re implementing a change that applies the same class ability regeneration penalty that Ensnaring Slam uses when the player creates a Threaded Specter.  

We don’t want this change to have a significant negative impact on Threaded Specter’s performance in PvE, so we’re reducing the duration of that regeneration penalty by 50% when in PvE activities (which will also apply to Ensnaring Slam, increasing its uptime in PvE). In addition, we’re increasing the Threaded Specter’s detonation damage vs. PvE combatants by 25%, with the goal that while you may be able to create fewer shadow clones overall, each one will be more impactful to compensate. 

  • Ensnaring Slam 
    • Reduced class ability regeneration penalty duration by 50% in PvE activities. 
  • Threaded Specter 
    • Now applies the same class ability regeneration penalty used by Ensnaring Slam when the player creates a Threaded Specter. 
    • Increased Threaded Specter detonation damage by 25% vs. PvE combatants. 

Threadlings 

The other half of Threaded Specter’s PvP potency comes from Threadlings themselves. Like Axion Bolt projectiles prior to Update 4.0.1, we believe that Threadlings are currently too difficult to clear off the battlefield. To address this, we’re implementing a change to make them easier to shoot and reduce instances where it feels like your bullet went straight through a Threadling without it detonating.  

In addition to their potency as a distraction tool, Threadlings deal enough chip damage to players to significantly change the outcome of an engagement. So, we’re slightly reducing their damage vs. players (both at base and with Thread of Evolution equipped). Finally, we’ve identified a bug where groups of Threadlings were not chain detonating as intended when one is destroyed, which is being fixed. 

  • Threadlings 
    • Increased aim assist shape size from 0.41m to 0.5m (this makes aim assist more effective against them, making them easier to shoot) 
    • Reduced base damage vs. enemy players from 40 to 35. 
      • Damage with Thread of Evolution equipped reduced vs. enemy players from 45 to 38.5. 
    • Fixed an issue where groups of Threadlings were not reliably chain detonating when one was destroyed. 
    • Fixed an issue where Threadlings sometimes did not play their (non-damaging) destruction performance when destroyed by enemy fire, resulting in them appearing to blip out of existence.  

We realize these changes are not localized to Threadrunner and will also affect Broodweaver potency in the Crucible. To compensate for this, we’re pulling some other buffs forward that we originally planned to ship in The Final Shape to keep the power of their overall kit in roughly the same place. With Update 7.3.5, we’ll be increasing Arcane Needle’s aim assist and tracking strength, making it significantly more consistent against close- to –mid-range or fast-moving targets. 

  • Arcane Needle 
    • Increased aim assist angle (the size of the cone that the aim assist system uses to bend the projectile’s initial direction) by about 50%. 
    • Increased aim assist falloff distance (the distance at which aim assist begins to decay) from 30 to 45 meters. 
    • Increased tracking angular velocity (how quickly the projectile can bend towards its target) by about 5%. 
    • Increased the length of the projectile’s tracking shape (the shape in front of the projectile that it uses to find targets). 
    • Fixed an issue where uncharged melees while Arcane Needle is equipped resulted in the player appearing to freeze in a melee pose. 

Restoration and Radiant Updates 

Update 7.3.5 will also bring an update to the Restoration and Radiant keyword buffs, which currently have a number of buggy interactions with timer extensions, most notably the Ember of Empyrean Fragment in combination with Ember of Mercy. We’ve rebuilt a significant portion of these keyword buffs to store their timer data more safely. 

  • Restoration and Radiant 
    • Fixed an issue where the maximum duration of Restoration and Radiant buffs was being incorrectly stored, resulting in their buff timers resetting to their initial duration instead of their maximum when the buff was reapplied. 
    • This also resolves similar issues with shorter Restoration sources like Sunspots with the Sol Invictus Aspect. 

Alongside these changes, we’ll be adjusting both the Ember of Empyrean and Ember of Mercy Fragments. Left unchanged with the dramatically increased consistency resulting from this bug fix, these two Fragments (particularly when paired together) would vastly exceed our power bar. We believe that even with these changes, the experience of using each of these Fragments (whether alone or paired) should be equivalent or better than the experience in the experience in the game right now. 

  • Ember of Mercy 
    • Now extends your current Restoration duration by 2 seconds when a Firesprite is collected. If you don’t already have Restoration active, collecting a Firesprite grants Restoration with a 2-second duration. 
    • This Restoration extension is increased to 3 seconds while Ember of Solace is equipped. 
  • Ember of Empyrean 
    • Increased the maximum duration extension from 12 to 15 seconds. 
    • Reworked the duration extension granted with each Solar defeat. 
      • Previously, it always granted a 4-second duration extension, regardless of the type of target defeated. 
      • Now the duration extension varies based on the strength of the defeated target. Defeating an Elite or weaker combatant will result in less time added than in the game currently, but defeating Champion or stronger combatants results in a greater extension. 

Solar Ability Buffs 

Let’s stick with Solar for a bit. In combination with the Arcane Needle improvements detailed above, we have a small number of Solar ability buffs that were originally slated for our balance update coming with The Final Shape. We now feel confident enough to move those buffs up to this release, in conjunction with the Solar-aligned Seasonal Artifact.  

For our Sunbreakers, we’re improving the consistency of Consecration, making it better able to catch floating targets or enemies that jump too late. We’re also increasing the travel distance of both the scorch wave and ignition wave and further increasing the ignition wave’s travel speed (both with and without the Pyrogale Gauntlets Exotic armor equipped). 

  • Consecration 
    • Increased the travel distance of the initial ground follow (a projectile that travels along a surface like Thermite Grenade’s wave or the Coldsnap Grenade seeker) from 18 to 20 meters. 
    • Increased the height of the slam ground follow detonation by about 1 meter. 
    • Increased the travel distance of the slam ground follow from 16 to 20 meters. 
    • Increased the travel speed of the slam ground follow (including the Pyrogale Gauntlets’ enhanced version) from 16 to 24 meters per second. 

We’ve also heard some consistent feedback about Gunpowder Gamble’s self-damage resulting in untimely misadventures, so we’re reducing it to make the Gamble slightly less risky. 

  • Gunpowder Gamble 
    • Reduced the maximum self-damage from 144 to 80. 

That’s it for us this time. When Update 7.3.5 goes live on March 5, we’ll be keeping an eye on how these changes are landing, so please keep the feedback coming. See you soon. 

WEAPONS SANDBOX

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G’day G’dians, it’s Chris Proctor and the Weapons team here with what’s planned for Update 7.3.5 (and a little tease of what’s coming later).

Each release we make changes to weapon archetypes, Exotic weapons, perks and more, intended to improve the balance of the game and introduce some more variety. In this release, we have some small adjustments to PvP tuning for weapons (the bulk of the PvP changes are PvP-specific, in the Crucible Sandbox section, hefty PvE changes to Rocket Launchers, Drum Grenade Launchers and Caster Swords, and a set of weapon perk changes (mostly buffs). 

Weapon Archetypes 

When we created the new Heavy Burst Hand Cannon subfamily for Warden’s Law, we inadvertently included some content that made them harder to control while playing with a mouse and keyboard. 

  • Heavy Burst Hand Cannons 
    • Corrected an issue that was causing Heavy Burst Hand Cannons to have 25% less aim assist than other Hand Cannons when hip firing or airborne on mouse and keyboard. 

Bows continue to be hard for some players to counter in PvP. They’ve always been strong, but we recently made them easier to use by making their fully drawn projectiles hitscan  at longer distances, which makes them much more reliable at range. We’re keeping that change, but we’re adjusting some aim assist data to require more skill to use them at extended range. 

  • Bows 
    • Reduced the auto aim falloff distance start and end by 15%  
    • i.e. aim assist will be less effective at long range 
    • Reduced the maximum auto aim cone size by 5%. 

We shipped Breakneck with one fewer perk than intended in the right column. Oops. 

  • Auto Rifles 
    • Added the missing 12th perk (Target Lock) to Breakneck’s second trait column. 

Lightweight Scout Rifles have always had a following, but they’ve suffered from being unforgiving when missing crits. We’re making a change that reduces the proportion of crits required for optimal time to kill (TTK) from 4 crits to 3 crits + 1 body. 

  • Lightweight Scout Rifles 
    • Increased base damage by 5%. 

Despite being less popular than some other special weapons in PvP, Sniper Rifles are disproportionately oppressive to play against, particularly in 3v3 game modes. We’re making them slightly harder to use by nerfing aim assist a little bit. 

  • Sniper Rifles 
    • Reduced the auto aim cone size by 10%. 

The Rocket Launcher meta has become more set than we’d like, with Adaptive and Aggressive subfamilies outperforming the rest. We’re making changes to the Precision and High-Impact subfamilies that give them more reserve ammo than the others, as well as making other adjustments to give them some unique strengths. 

  • Rocket Launchers 
    • Precision 
      • Increased reserve ammo by 2 and reduced damage penalty from -10% to -5%. 
    • High-Impact 
      • Increased reserve ammo by 2. 
      • Now deals more detonation damage and less impact, for roughly the same total damage.  
        • This should make them more effective vs. groups, or when getting splash damage on a target with a near miss. 
    • The above changes also affect Deathbringer, Gjallarhorn, and Truth. 

We’ve touched Heavy Grenade Launchers a few times lately, and while they’re fairly strong mathematically, it hasn’t moved the needle. It’s time to make some more substantial changes. We’re pushing them more into sustained damage and add clear, and we’re also tweaking Spike Grenades to make them less of a dominant pick. Note that this change is not a nerf to overall Grenade Launcher damage output, as we’ve increased impact and detonation damage to compensate and dramatically increased reserve ammunition. 

  • Heavy Grenade Launchers 
    • Increased reserve ammo by a minimum of 6 rounds, maximum of 10 rounds, depending on the Grenade Launcher. 
    • Reduced Spike Grenade’s impact damage buff from 50% to 12.5%. With the below changes, this reduces the total Spike Grenades damage buff from about 8% to 3%, making them less mandatory. 
    • Increased direct hit impact damage by 10%. Combined with the above change, this brings non-Spike Grenade Launchers almost up to the level of Spike Grenade Launchers, and very slightly reduces damage output with a Spike Grenade Launcher. 
    • Increased detonation damage by 5%. (In PvP, this is offset by a reduction to detonation damage, for no overall change.) 

Wave Frame Heavy Grenade Launchers have struggled to find an identity, with not enough ammo to really work for add clear (as addressed above) and not as much single-target damage as standard Grenade Launchers. With these changes, they will be able to compete with other Grenade Launchers, and it will be easier to land damage. 

  • Wave Frame Heavy Grenade Launcher 
    • Increased damage by 20%. 
    • Increased wave width by 40%. 

Caster Swords are the only Swords that have a ranged attack (for now), and the tradeoff for maintaining distance was damage. This reduction was more extreme than it needed to be, so we’ve brought the heavy attack damage up to approach other Swords, while also reducing the heavy attack energy cost to grant higher uptime on the projectile attack. 

  • Caster Swords 
    • Reduced heavy attack energy cost from 5 to 4. 
    • Increased heavy attack damage by 16%. 

Exotics 

Vigilance Wing is strong in PvP already, but it’s fairly hard to control with how much that 5-round burst kicks, so we’ve made that easier to compensate for. 

  • Vigilance Wing 
    • Now has a deterministic recoil pattern. 

Vex Mythoclast fires like a High-Impact Auto Rifle. Other High-Impact Auto Rifles have a larger aim down sights (ADS) damage falloff scalar, so we’ve increased Mytho’s to match. 

  • Vex Mythoclast 
    • Increased ADS damage falloff scalar from 1.5x to 1.7x. 

Wish-Ender’s True Sight is a big part of its Exotic identity, so we wanted to retain that, but in its current form, it’s far too useful in PvP, particularly with the Oathkeeper Hunter Exotic Gauntlets equipped. 

  • Wish-Ender 
    • True Sight will now deactivate if you leave ADS or hold it for longer than 3 seconds. To reactivate, you must fully redraw the Bow. 

Edge of Action’s bubble isn’t intended to compete directly with Ward of Dawn, and with the Glaive changes from Season of the Wish, we hit its health too hard. There’s room to make it a lot more durable in PvE. 

  • Edge of Action 
    • Increased its damage resistance in PvE against all combatants except bosses to 85% and increased its damage resistance against bosses to 15%. 

Manticore shipped with a unique airborne playstyle, but it has several usability issues that we aim to address, including the need for a reliable way to drop out of the air (and prevent accidentally activating antigrav), survivability in PvE, and synergy with builds that utilize Void overshields. 

  • Manticore 
    • Players must now be airborne for 0.5 seconds and deal damage with the weapon to activate the perk. (This prevents accidental activation while running down stairs or doing small jumps.) 
    • We gave it a special reload to quickly disengage antigravity thrusters. (Swapping weapons will continue to disengage as well.) 
    • Tarrabah also receives this special reload animation. 
    • While antigrav thrusters are engaged, combatants will be less accurate when targeting the player, similar to the Always on Time Sparrow. 
    • With the catalyst, final blows and sustained damage with Manticore while airborne grant a Void overshield and return ammo to the magazine. 

Players enjoyed the Ex Diris Grenade Launcher for delivering on the Boomer Knight fantasy, but ultimately it just wasn’t hitting hard enough in PvE to be a top-tier pick. Fortunately, this was easy to address by bumping the damage and rate of fire. 

  • Ex Diris 
    • Increased impact damage against PvE enemies by 50%. 
      • Detonation damage is unaffected, so the total damage increase works out to be around 20% (varying by target type). 
    • Increased the maximum rate of fire by 17%. 

Perks 

Heal Clip wasn’t as valuable to the activating player as we wanted it to be, so we fixed that. 

  • Heal Clip 
    • Now grants Cure x2 to the player while still granting Cure x1 to nearby allies. 

Trench Barrel was originally designed in a world where there were few ranged melee attacks, and it wasn’t desirable to make them even more valuable by allowing them to activate certain perks. That’s no longer the case, and we’re starting to open these up. 

  • Trench Barrel 
    • Can now be activated by dealing damage with ranged melee attacks. 

Barrel Constrictor was fairly experimental, so we shipped it in a constrained state. We’re now removing some of those limits. 

  • Barrel Constrictor 
    • Once activated, it no longer deactivates upon firing a shot, it lasts for 7.5 seconds, and it buffs all shots fired during that time. 
    • Enhanced Barrel Constrictor lasts for 8.5 seconds. 

Loose Change is strong in a PvE subclass build, but it isn’t particularly interesting for PvP. We’re adding some buffs to help with that. 

  • Loose Change 
    • Applying a subclass 3.0 debuff now grants +20 aim assist stat and 20% reduced ADS movement speed penalty in addition to the existing +50 reload stat. Applying another debuff now refreshes the duration, too. 

Dual Loader takes up a trait slot, which is a sufficient enough cost that it doesn’t need a penalty. The wording also locked it to Shotguns, when there are other continuous reload weapons in the game that already load more than one round at a time. 

  • Dual Loader 
    • Removed the reload speed penalty. 
    • Changed the wording of the perk description to make it clearer that it increases the number of shots reloaded, so we can now apply it to other weapon types without confusion in the future. 

Since we’re shipping a couple of Tex Mechanica Legendary weapons in 7.3.5, we wanted to take another pass at the Tex Mechanica Origin Trait. It wasn’t really landing the hip-fire fantasy of the foundry. With this change, landing damage while firing from the hip will make it easier to land follow-up crits. 

  • Tex Balanced Stock 
    • Now grants +20 range and a +1.5 degree hip-fire precision cone angle in addition to its other effects, making it easier to land follow-up crits with hipfire. 

Häkke Breach Armaments, Deconstruct, and Sundering felt like they should work against more targets that look like constructs or vehicles. 

  • Häkke Breach Armaments, Deconstruct, and Sundering 
    • Now work against Void Souls, Strand Clones, Cabal Projection Shields, and Brigs. 

Häkke Breach Armaments has one specific edge case that increases the complexity of the perk and is no longer needed, so we’re reducing the number of different damage bonuses this perk has. 

  • Häkke Breach Armaments 
    • Damage bonus vs. Stasis crystals reduced from 85% to 60% to match other constructs. 

As an Origin Trait, Sundering has a fairly high uptime in Warlord’s Ruin because of the number of Eye turrets. However, a perk themed around “breaking stuff” feels like it could apply more broadly, and shield break is an obvious activator. 

  • Sundering 
    • Can now trigger on shield break in addition to final blows on vehicles and constructs. We added a small reload speed scalar while reducing the charge rate benefit to account for the higher uptime. 

Hatchling is a fun perk, but weapons that can technically crit but are bad at it suffer from precision kills being the only activator on certain weapon types. 

  • Hatchling 
    • Activation requirements are no longer locked to the archetype in terms of precision or non-precision kills. Instead, the perk will trigger with either a precision kill or 3 non-precision kills. 

Target Lock is a large part of the reason why Submachine Gun (SMG) popularity has remained high despite changes to the weapon archetype. With this change, it’s still a solid perk, but is much less oppressive in PvP. 

  • Target Lock 
    • Now activates later in the magazine for SMGs (at 20% instead of 12.5%), so the damage buff will swing Primary weapon gunfights less often. 

Envious Assassin’s loop works well, but with certain weapon types, the payoff was far too great for the amount of effort involved. For example, even with the above large buffs to Drum Grenade Launcher reserves, it was possible to shove all of your reserves into your magazine, making the perk the best option by far. With this change, it’s still very strong, but its potential has limits. 

  • Envious Assassin 
    • Each activation is now capped at 100% of magazine size instead of 150%, and the maximum overflow is now 3 times the magazine size instead of 4 times. 

Bait and Switch is a little too strong in its current form, outpacing most other options. But at the same time, it doesn’t need a massive change. 

  • Bait and Switch 
    • Reduced damage bonus from 35% to 30%. 

And to finish the perks section, we’re making these two additional fixes. 

  • One-Two Punch 
    • Now correctly deactivates after dealing damage with a powered melee. 
  • Deconstruct 
    • Updated the perk description to correctly state that it pulls ammo from thin air, not reserves. 
    • Fixed a bug preventing the perk from triggering when shooting an enemy Titan barricade (and similar targets). 

Mods 

Bonus damage against minibosses should have been part of Boss Spec, not Major Spec. We’ve updated these mods to correct that. 

The Future

We’ve pulled a lot of balance changes from The Final Shape and Destiny 2: Into the Light into Update 7.3.5, but we’ll still have a number of small but exciting changes shipping in Into the Light, touching content many players haven’t thought about in several years.

In The Final Shape, we’re rebalancing many weapon types in PvE, buffing underperforming weapons, and leaving most high performers untouched. Since we’re looking at PvE weapon tuning anyway, over the course of the year of The Final Shape we’ll be looking at weapon mods that feel mandatory, and we intend to make some changes that will increase player choice, particularly in PvE. We’re also making substantial changes to several of the least used Exotic weapons (we see a lot of requests for these, see if you can guess which Exotics we touched), and adjusting some perks (including a long-requested change to Chill Clip, making it more viable to use on slower-firing weapons).

You can also look forward to being able to enhance many more weapons. We’ll be back with more information on weapon enhancement soon.

CRUCIBLE SANDBOX 

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Hey folks, the PvP Strike Team has a lot to talk about in the coming weeks—in this section we’re covering the changes to PvP-specific tuning for weapon types, Exotic weapons, abilities, and Special ammo generation.

Note: These changes are not applied to Mayhem, Momentum, and Checkmate. They retain their own custom modifiers. Checkmate has been retuned to be more representative of its original intended form, and there will be more info on that from the PvP Strike Team next week. 

Our base Crucible sandbox currently faces a number of issues. What we’ll talk about here today represents a large, macro pass designed to begin to address several of these concerns, and it will be followed by additional micro-tuning in the future. The symptoms of these issues affect players across the skill spectrum, from 2,000-hour veterans to New Lights, so it’s important that we begin to address them as best we can.  Let’s identify our goals, what the symptoms are in terms of how our gameplay is affected, and then we can discuss the root causes and the corresponding changes. 

Goals: 

  1. Help players to more clearly understand the sequence of events that led to their death, so that they can more easily learn how to improve  
  2. Alter the weapon sandbox to account for the increased average skill of our player base by reducing the amount of high-reward low-risk options. 
  3. Encourage primary weapon mastery to be an aspirational pursuit for players

As we’ve increased the prevalence and strength of some sandbox elements, the ability to clearly understand what is happening from a target’s perspective has suffered. It is increasingly common to be defeated instantly (or so quickly that there is no time to react), and often so many different things are happening that it’s nearly impossible to determine the sequence of events that killed you.  

When a defeated player has difficulty recognizing and reacting to how they were defeated, it creates a situation where it feels like there was nothing they could have done, making it hard to learn what to do better next time. It also places a strong focus on being the one to deliver as many of these types of unreadable kills as possible, while utilizing buildcrafting to avoid becoming the recipient. Then sandbox elements that do not benefit either of those paths fall out of favor. 

Additionally, while the average skill of our players has crept up over the years, the weapons’ sandbox has not grown alongside it. For example, a much higher percentage of our players can hit optimal time-to-kill with SMGs, peek-shoot with Hand Cannons, or “blint” (look it up) with Wish-Ender today than could several years ago.  

In large part, this is because a certain amount of forgiveness was baked into many Primary weapons to allow more players to utilize them at their full potential. For example, high-reward weapons like Precision SMGs or Aggressive Hand Cannons only requiring 67% critical hits to achieve optimal time-to-kill, and Wish-Ender allowing you to follow up the Bow swap with a body shot from a Hand Cannon. This leniency allows players to make mistakes and still benefit from the full strength of the playstyle.  

That made sense when the average player skill was lower, but in the current ecosystem, a far larger number of players can take advantage of those benefits. This is manifesting itself in multiple places, but it’s most noticeable in the significant compression of the skill gap at high levels of play. An additional byproduct is an increase in difficulty for new players finding their footing in a game where many veteran players have near-mastery of these existing playstyles, which increases the friction of refreshing the pool of players in Crucible. 

Finally, at high levels of play, things like high body shot damage, generous aim assist, Primary weapon flinch, and low critical hit requirements all contribute to the feeling that putting in the time to improve your skill with Primary weapons is generally not worth the effort.  

With many meta Primary weapons, hitting optimal or near optimal time-to-kill is less representative of mastery of the weapon and is instead merely an expectation of standard play. Similarly, at lower levels of play, players can still lose relatively quickly to an inaccurate opponent, which minimizes the time they have to figure out the sandbox and learn, often making them feel like they are playing higher skilled players than they really are. 

These symptoms are all generated by a handful of root causes, each generally linked to the others in a cycle of balance that encourages us to touch all of them at once if we’re making big changes, or in smaller increments if we are modifying things individually: 

  • We have certain ability builds with either higher uptime or higher potency than we believe is healthy. 

To help keep those builds in check: 

  • We’ve provided a near-constant availability of Special ammo, which means there is always a surplus of one-shot-kill weapons on the field. 

And to keep Primary weapons competitive: 

  • We have made Primary weapons highly lethal, fast-killing, and in general also very forgiving. 

All that leads to: 

  • A high percentage of deaths in our sandbox where, from the target’s perspective, it feels like there was nothing they could’ve done differently. 

Simply put, we have a risk vs. reward problem. Over time, we pushed some of our sandbox elements to have higher rewards without offsetting them with the risk of punishing sub-optimal play. Some elements take it a step further. Instead of just rewarding the attacker, they punish the target (e.g., the Explosive Payload Hand Cannon’s flinch and Wish-Ender’s True Sight). 

To begin to address these issues, the following changes will be applied to the Crucible starting with Update 7.3.5. on March 5. 

Player Health  

We have two goals with the following increase to player health: It gives us far more granularity to balance our current and future sandbox elements and it lets us decrease the relative lethality of multiple sandbox elements (e.g., grenades and body shot damage) all at once and universally. 

  • Player health will be increased by 30 HP in base Crucible, so players have 100 health (up from 70) and 116-130 shield, depending on the player’s Resilience values. 

Ability Cooldowns 

These values, combined with the changes to the mod economy earlier this Season, will move us to a place where ability uptime is healthier for the Crucible. 

  • Melee, Grenade, and class ability cooldowns now have a 15% penalty applied to them in Crucible only. 
  • Super cooldowns now have a 20% penalty applied to them in Crucible only. 

Ability Damage 

To account for the increased player health and the reduced uptime, we have made some general changes to melee and Super damage (and one grenade) to make sure that we maintain moment-to-moment muscle memory and retain our current general rules of most Supers killing in one-shot and most melees killing in two. 

  • Supers 
    • Increased base Super damage by 31%. 
  • Melee 
    • Increased base melee damage by 16%. 
  • Grenades 
    • Increased Arc Flux Grenade damage by 16%. 

Primary Weapon Archetypes 

To maintain the same optimal time-to-kill rates as the current sandbox with the new HP values and to place an increased emphasis on precision, all Primary weapons except Bows will have their critical hit damage increased. We will also reduce the flinch dealt by Hand Cannons, as they were a consistent outlier, even compared to other high-damage Primary weapons like Scout Rifles and Bows. 

  • Pulse Rifles, Auto Rifles, Sidearms, and Scout Rifles 
    • Increased critical hit damage by 14%. 
  • Hand Cannons 
    • Increased critical hit damage by 10%. 
    • Reduced body shot damage by 5%. 
    • Reduced flinch dealt to players by projectile impact by 12.5% and by Explosive Payload by 10%. 
  • Submachine Guns 
    • Increased critical hit damage by 12.5%. 
    • Reduced body shot damage by 3%. 
  • Bows 
    • Reduced base damage by 15%. 

Special Ammo Acquisition 

After a lengthy test period in Crucible Labs, we are ready to move the Special ammo meter system into the wider Crucible. We have made several changes between the initial version and this one, so here are the details on how it will work now: 

  • You will start every game (all game types, including round-based modes like Dominion) with two kills worth of Special ammo for your chosen weapon. 
  • Instead of two kills worth of Special ammo being granted every time you respawn, you will earn more ammo by filling up a Special ammo meter, with points given for getting kills, assists, or completing objectives. Getting 100 points grants you two kills worth of Special ammo for your chosen weapon. 
    • Base Point Values 
      • Kills: 23 
      • Assists: 10 
      • Deaths: 10 
      • Control zone capture: 14 
      • Heavy ammo pulls: 8 
    • Elimination/Dominion Point Values 
      • Kills: 38 
      • Assists: 16 
      • Deaths: 16 
      • Heavy ammo pulls: 10 
    • 3v3 Respawn Modes (Survival, 3v3 Clash, and Countdown Rush) 
      • Kills: 26 
      • Assists: 12 
      • Deaths: 11 
    • Rumble 
      • Kills: 30 
    • Countdown 
      • Charge armed: 20 
      • Charge defused: 40 
      • Charge detonated: 70 
  • General Notes 
    • Kills from Special ammo weapons and Heavy ammo weapons do not grant any points toward Special ammo meter progress. 
    • Jumping off the map will subtract progress from the Special ammo meter. 
    • Ammo is not dropped on death, and you will not lose the Special ammo you have earned when you are defeated or are revived. 
    • Earned Special ammo will carry over between rounds. 
    • Swapping from double Primary weapons to a Special ammo weapon will reset your Special ammo meter progress. 

Special Weapon Archetypes 

To offset the increased health and partially make up for the reduced uptime, we have increased the base damage of several Special ammo weapons. 

  • Trace Rifles, Shotguns, and Fusion Rifles 
    • Increased base damage by 20%. 
  • Glaives 
    • Increased projectile damage by 20%. 
    • Increased melee damage by 16%. 

Heavy Weapon Archetypes 

Heavy ammo Grenade Launchers have been the meta pick for PvP for a long time, and we wanted to make sure that they did not get any better with the PvE changes outlined above. (In fact, due to the increased health, it will be a little more difficult for them to kill high-resilience Guardians when using Proximity Nades.) Machine Guns have long been in the shadow of other Heavy weapons, so we wanted to give them a little boost upward as well. 

  • Heavy Grenade Launchers 
    • Reduced detonation damage by 5%.  
  • Machine Guns 
    • Increased base damage by 20%. 

Exotic Weapons 

Some Exotic weapons partially bypass the Special ammo economy changes, and in a world with reduced Breech-Loaded Grenade Launchers and Fusion Rifles, they quickly rose to the top of the list of annoyances. Crimson, like other Hand Cannons, has long been dealing extreme amounts of flinch to other players, and this was exacerbated by the fact that it fires in a burst. It has been custom tuned to deal slightly less flinch than other Hand Cannons. There were also a couple of Exotic weapons that we felt deserved to come up a bit, so that they were not punished by the changes. 

  • Fighting Lion 
    • Decreased damage versus players in Crucible by 20%. 
  • Devil’s Ruin 
    • Decreased charged beam damage against players by 15%. 
  • Crimson 
    • Reduced flinch dealt to players by projectile impact by 17.5% 
  • Forerunner 
    • Increased damage versus players in Crucible by 20% 
  • Symmetry 
    • Increased Revolution damage versus players in Crucible by 16% 

Whew! That’s a lot to cover, and there’s even more coming next week from the PvP Strike Team, including info on new rewards, game modes, matchmaking details, spawn tuning changes, Trials updates, and more.  

HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR!

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February 10 marked the start of the Lunar New Year, so let’s celebrate together and welcome the Year of the Dragon. Very fitting, don’t you think? Riven would be pleased. To honor this occasion, we have a very special emblem called Risen for you all. It can be redeemed using this link or the code below.  

THR-33A-YKC  

We also have new items available at Eververse as part of the celebrations for the Lunar New Year. The Leporine Jubilation Riskrunner ornament is back, and we have a new ornament for Two-Tailed Fox called Herald of Spring. There’s also a Year of the Dragon Bundle, which includes the Auspicious Exotic Ghost Shell, the Lunar Omen Exotic ship, and the Firecracker Exotic Sparrow.  

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AND THE NEXT TRIALS MAP IS… 

Do Guardians want to play Multiplex next? Maybe Distant Shore? How about Dead Cliffs? We asked for input last week, and the community voted via email for which map would be featured in Trials of Osiris starting tomorrow. Polls are closed, and we just got the results. The winning map with 43% of the votes is none other than… 

Dead Cliffs

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Now, go make Saint-14 proud once again, fight with honor, and reach the Lighthouse to prove you are not just worthy, but flawless. You will earn additional Trials ranks this week in the process by the way. 

DESTINY 2 AND HUMBLE BUNDLE 

From February 13-27, the Destiny 2: The Story So Far Bundle will be available at Humble Bundle. The Steam versions of all currently available Destiny 2 expansions along with the 30th Anniversary and Forsaken Packs can be acquired by tiers. And as is custom with Humble Bundle, when you pay for a higher tier, you get the contents of all the lower tiers, too.  

The top tier bundle will get you the Forsaken Pack, Shadowkeep, Beyond Light, 30th Anniversary Pack, The Witch Queen, and Lightfall + Annual Pass (which includes the Ghosts of the Deep and Warlord’s Ruin dungeons and the four Seasons launched during 2023)… all for $40! 

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On top of that, 5% of all the proceeds will go directly to the Bungie Foundation. So not only are you expanding your collection of Destiny 2 content, but you’re also supporting the humanitarian efforts of our nonprofit charity organization at the same time. 

Check out the Destiny 2: The Story So Far Bundle on the Humble Bundle website

PLAYER SUPPORT REPORT 

“But when he first opened his eyes, his words were only, ’Saint, my love.’ That was all. And that was enough.” 

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CLOSER TO THE HEART TRIUMPH INFORMATION

Due to an issue related to the delay of The Final Shape, the Closer to the Heart Triumph located in the Season of the Wish Triumph area appeared earlier than intended. The mission that will complete this Triumph will become available later this Season.

NEW SUBFORUMS

To help us more efficiently help you, we’ve created two new subforums within our Help forum: 

  • Fireteam Finder Help 
    • This subforum will help us find issues that players are reporting regarding our new Fireteam Finder feature. 
  • Accessibility 
    • As we continue supporting new accessibility initiatives, this subforum will be valuable to find live issues where we can help make access more equitable for all our players. 
CLAIMING GAME2GIVE REWARDS 

If you were one of the fundraisers who helped bring in more than $100+ in our recent Game2Give campaign, you should have received an email with a code for your earned rewards. For those still missing rewards, please review the troubleshooting steps listed in this article to track down that email. 

For those unable to locate any email from Game2Give, please submit a ticket here

KNOWN ISSUES 

For a full list of emergent issues in Destiny 2, players can review our Known Issues article. Players who observe other issues should report them to our #Help forum 

WHAT A RIDE, HUH?

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We weren’t expecting to go down memory lane this early in the morning, but damn, is this video well edited. Also, Fallout: don’t threaten us with a good time

Breathtaking Ride

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CHILL, OSIRIS

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Osiris has gone through a lot, but right now he is this very chill and lovely grandpa that has a very specific reaction to certain topics or attitudes…

Granpa is back to normal’, by Sylenth via X/Twitter  

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