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Destiny 2: The Final Shape – Weapon Tuning Preview

Hey, Guardians, it’s the Weapons Team here with the weapon balance update for The Final Shape.
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Destiny 2: The Final Shape – Weapon Tuning Preview

Hey, Guardians, it’s the Weapons Team here with the weapon balance update for The Final Shape.

There’s a lot to go through, from a comprehensive PvE weapon damage pass to Exotics changes, varying from substantial reworks to minor tweaks. We are also tamping down some outliers with an eye toward the World First race for the upcoming raid. And maybe there’s a hint in here about a returning fan-favorite weapon, too… 

WEAPON ARCHETYPES 

Back in update 6.3.0, we rolled a set of Spec mods (Dragonfly, Surrounded, and Rampage) into the base functionality of those perks, and now we’re coming for the rest of the Spec mods. We’ve increased base weapon damage almost universally (making exceptions for weapons that were already overperforming or that we buffed very recently) and have retired the following weapon mods: 

  • Boss Spec, Taken Spec, Minor Spec, Major Spec, and Adept Big Ones Spec. 

We were already happy with the damage output of Exotic Primary weapons and Trace Rifles, so we only slightly reduced their damage bonus versus red bars. In most cases this means their damage output is roughly unchanged (since they receive the buffs below). 

  • Reduced damage bonus versus Minors from 40% to 30% (except Fighting Lion). 

Included below are the matching damage changes by weapon archetype. Note that we made some exceptions for Exotic weapons that were already performing strongly and applied some buffs just to specific tiers of enemies. Except where noted, these changes are in PvE only. Also note that, because Exotic weapons can’t equip mods, this gives them a larger relative buff than Legendaries, e.g., Riskrunner’s maximum possible damage is increased 10% versus red bars, but Shayura’s Wrath’s is increased by 3% in effect because it can no longer slot a Minor Spec mod. 

In addition to compensating for the removal of Spec mods, we’ve taken this opportunity to buff some weapon types that have languished in endgame PvE, most notably Pulse Rifles. 

  • Increased base PvE damage versus all combatants. 
    • Pulse Rifles: 20%  
      • Exceptions: Graviton Lance and Revision Zero’s Heavy Burst mode. (These both have an intrinsic PvE damage buff built in.) 
    • Pellet Shotguns: 10%  
      • Exceptions: Legend of Acrius, Tractor Cannon, Conditional Finality, and The Fourth Horseman. (These are all already performing as intended.) 
    • Slug Shotguns: 9% 
    • Fusion Rifles: 7%  
      • Exceptions: One Thousand Voices. (This one was just buffed.) 
    • Sniper Rifles: 7%  
      • Exceptions: Izanagi’s Burden’s Honed Edge shots and Cloudstrike’s storm. (These are both performing well.) 
    • Glaive projectiles: 7% 
    • Linear Fusion Rifles: 5% 
  • Increased damage versus Minors (red bars)—this stacks with the base PvE damage increase. 
    • Sidearms, Trace Rifles, Scout Rifles, and Bows: 20% 
    • Auto Rifles and Pulse Rifles: 15% 
      • For Pulse Rifles, this is in addition to the above buff, and Graviton Lance and Revision Zero’s Heavy Burst mode are included. 
        • I.e. Pulse Rifles will do 1.2 * 1.15 = 38% more damage to red bars. 
    • Submachine Guns: 10% 
    • Hand Cannons: 5% 
  • Increased damage versus Majors (orange bars). 
    • Trace Rifles: 20% 
  • Increased damage globally, including PvP. 
    • Machine Guns: 7% 
    • Swords: 7% 
  • Splash damage from add clear-Exotic Primary weapons was overperforming in The Final Shape when combined with the damage buffs listed above, so we’ve pulled it down slightly on a handful of weapons. 
    • Reduced splash damage by 10%: 
      • Sunshot 
      • Trinity Ghoul 
      • Polaris Lance 
      • Graviton Lance 

Several releases back, we gave Kinetic weapons a substantial damage bonus in PvE to account for it being harder to use them in subclass builds. In general, we’re ok with leaving this in place until we have a better-defined role for Kinetic weapons, but the bonus damage versus Boss-tier combatants was making it hard for weapons of other damage types to compete. 

  • Kinetic damage type weapons no longer deal bonus damage to bosses; damage to other combatant tiers is unchanged. 
    • For example, a kinetic Sniper Rifle and a Stasis Sniper Rifle of the same subfamily will both deal the same damage to a boss. 

We’ve also made some quality-of-life changes to several weapon types. 

  • Updated Heavy, Adaptive, and Aggressive Burst weapon intrinsic names to match burst count across all weapon archetypes. Functionality is unchanged. 
    • 2-burst: Heavy Burst 
      • Includes Sidearms, Hand Cannons, and Pulse Rifles. 
    • 3-burst: Adaptive Burst 
      • Includes Sidearms, Linear Fusion Rifles, and Adaptive Pulse Rifles. 
    • 4-burst: Aggressive Burst 
      • Includes Pulse Rifles. 
  • Removed the foundry name from the Veist Rapid-Fire, Häkke Precision, and Omolon Adaptive weapon intrinsics. 
  • Scout Rifles 
    • Updated the hip-fire reticle to better show accuracy and aim-assist state. 
  • Hand Cannons 
    • Some aggressive Hand Cannons struggle to compete with the stats of the top-tier examples [cough] Igneous Hammer [cough], so with Crimil’s Dagger and Something New returning in The Final Shape, we updated their stats. 
      • Crimil’s Dagger (Iron Banner) 
        • Stability: 23 to 31 
        • Handling: 23 to 31 
        • Magazine Size: 8 to 9 
        • Airborne Effectiveness: 10 to 21 
      • Something New (Solstice) 
        • Stability: 27 to 30 
        • Handling: 24 to 30 
        • Magazine Size: 8 to 9 
  • Low inventory Sniper Rifles were a little too low in PvE for our liking, so we’ve increased the minimum. 
    • Increased minimum reserves from 14 to 17 shots; maximum reserve is unchanged. 
  • Linear Fusion Rifles 
    • Adaptive Burst Linear Fusion Rifles are strong, but in some cases are quite hard to control. 
      • Reduced firing animation kick and recoil for Adaptive Linear Fusion Rifles. 
  • Wave Frame Grenade Launchers deal competitive damage as of the Destiny 2: Into the Light update, but some stats on these didn’t have a gameplay effect. In this pass, we’re adjusting the blast radius. 
    • The size of the wave is now affected by the blast radius stat. This will mostly impact the width of the wave, though the length and height will also be scaled. 
      • The default display stat for the blast radius has been changed from 100 to 50 (where 50 represents the previous baseline—any stat over 50 will result in a larger wave segment than what was possible before). 
    • Special ammo Wave – Frame Grenade Launchers overperform as add clear weapons in their current state, so we’ve pulled the length of the wave back a little. 
      • Reduced the length of the waves from 22 meters to 15 meters (except for Dead Messenger). 
  • Swords 
    • Updated the Sword reticle to better indicate its charge state. When Sword energy is consumed, the amount of delay the Sword has before it begins to recharge now subtly appears in the reticle. 
    • Bug fixes: 
      • Fixed an issue where the Overwhelming Battlesong debuff from some missions would prevent Swords from recharging or losing energy while guarding. 
      • Fixed an issue where unpowered caster Sword heavy attacks would not reset the Sword’s energy recharge delay. 
      • Fixed an issue where uncharged adaptive Sword heavy attacks cost the same amount of ammo as their charged counterparts. They now cost 1 ammo, same as other uncharged heavy attacks. 

EXOTICS 

Divinity’s ability to bypass combatant gameplay by generating a weak spot (called a “cage” internally) on command has too high an uptime as it stands, particularly with trigger feathering. We’re not changing how effective the cage is or how feathering works, but we are increasing how long it takes to generate the cage, which will make it less ammo-efficient and less useful against targets that break aim frequently. 

  • Increased the number of shots required to generate the cage by 75% against combatants (PvP unchanged). 

Rat King’s firing animation makes the weapon hard to control at high rate of fire, so we’ve updated it. 

  • Swapped the firing animation to the same one used by other auto-fire Sidearms. 

Devil’s Ruin could be made to apply its firing animation to other equipped Sidearms. 

  • Fixed an issue where the firing animation from Devil’s Ruin would get applied to other equipped Sidearms if the weapon was swapped during the firing animation. 

Symmetry needed a little attention, particularly its reload speed and handling, so we took this opportunity to increase those via the catalyst. 

  • Catalyst now provides +10 reload speed, +10 handling, and the Eddy Current perk, in addition to its existing effects. 

Gjallarhorn’s Wolfpack Rounds always looked like Arc projectiles, regardless of the weapon’s actual damage type. 

  • Updated the visuals of Wolfpack Rounds to match the damage type of the weapon.For example: 
    • On Gjallarhorn, they will use Solar effects. 
    • On the Royal Entry Void Rocket Launcher buffed by Gjallarhorn, they will have Void effects. 

Touch of Malice’s burn from the Darkness Ball didn’t last long enough to be useful in PvE. 

  • Increased duration of burn applied by the Darkness Ball against combatants from 2 to 3.5 seconds. 

Osteo Striga made it too easy to spread poison across a whole encounter from a couple of kills of weak combatants. 

  • Now has a 4-second cooldown on the poison burst on kills. (Poison burst from sustained damage doesn’t receive this cooldown.) 

Necrochasm’s add clear role wasn’t as strong as we’d like, so we’ve buffed it and replaced the Outlaw perk on the catalyst with a new, custom perk that leans into this role. 

  • Intrinsic perk now provides increased reload speed after precision kills. 
  • Increased duration of burn applied by the Cursed Thrall explosion against combatants from 2 to 3.5 seconds. 
  • Catalyst has been rebuilt. 
    • One for Thrall: Damaging 3 combatants in quick succession provides a period of increased damage, range, and aim assist. 

While The Lament’s damage is roughly equivalent to other Swords, the healing on hit largely removes the intended downside of using a Sword for boss DPS, and the chained heavy attack was too strong. 

  • Reduced healing effect by 20%. 
  • While this weapon does inherit the 7% global buff to Swords, we’ve reduced the damage of the high end of the chained heavy attack by 20% from that point. 
    • This means combos at lower stacks are less affected by the change than combos at higher stacks. 

Dead Man’s Tale’s rapid-fire hipfire fantasy isn’t landing as well as we’d like, so we’ve bumped up the rate of fire and added a bit of stability to Cranial Spike to make this easier to control. At the same time, its strength is skewed a little high on mouse and keyboard and a little low on controller, so we’ve tuned accuracy and magnetism (controller reticle friction) to address this. 

  • Baseline: 
    • Cranial Spike stacks now grant stability in addition to aim assist stat and range (+2 per stack). 
    • Increased reload speed benefit of Cranial Spike stacks. 
  • With catalyst, iwhen hip-firing: 
    • Slightly reduced accuracy benefits. 
    • Increased magnetism falloff scale (1.6 to 1.7). 
    • Increased baseline rate of fire from 130RPM to 140RPM. 
    • Removed PvE-only damage buff that scaled with stacks of Cranial Spike and added a 15% damage bonus at maximum stacks of Cranial Spike. 

The Colony’s fantasy of spawning self-replicating insectoid robots is something we’ve wanted to juice for a while now. This update allows The Colony to deal with waves of combatants in a unique way. 

  • Now spawns additional insectoid robots on final blows. More robots (up to five) spawn from tougher combatants. 

Truth has fallen far behind other Exotic Rocket Launchers, largely due to its lackluster damage, and we wanted to lean further into total rocket count. 

  • Increased area-of-effect (AoE) damage such that it doesn’t lose noticeable damage due to not dealing impact damage. 
  • Increased total reserves by 3. (This is on top of the reserves change to high impact Rocket Launchers from the 7.3.5 update.) 

The Queenbreaker’s damage output is outpaced by Legendary Linear Fusion Rifles, so we’ve increased its damage and reserve ammo to compensate. We do see frequent requests to move Queenbreaker to the Energy slot, but given the number of Special ammo damage options in this slot, we have opted to push it further in the Heavy slot. We’re working on some functionality changes to this weapon for a future update as well. 

  • Increased damage versus bosses, minibosses, Champions, and vehicles by 12%. 
  • Increased reserve ammunition by 3. 

The power from Cerberus+1’s focus fire perk from the Exotic catalyst was limited by it being always available. We’ve changed this to only being available following a kill, allowing us to increase its strength. 

  • Focus fire now will activate on Special reloads following a kill and will no longer reduce range or rate of fire. 

In a world where Bastion has competition for a Fusion Rifle in the kinetic slot, we felt that it was time to lean further into emulating Saint-14’s combat style. 

  • Reworked Saint’s Fists perk: Dealing damage with melee increases your charge rate, damage, and reload speed for a short duration. Landing a majority of pellets in a burst increases melee damage. 

Eriana’s Vow has fallen behind other anti-barrier Special weapons and, as a Solar weapon, has the opportunity for a subclass tie-in. 

  • Breaking a matched shield or piercing a Champion’s Barrier will cause the target to ignite. 

Deterministic Chaos didn’t have a clear niche when it shipped, so we’ve redesigned it to be an anti-Champion and weakening powerhouse. 

  • This weapon is now intrinsically anti-barrier. 
  • The Heavy Metal and Vexadecimal perks have had their locations and behavior swapped. 
    • Heavy Metal now causes every 4th bullet to make targets volatile. 
    • Vexadecimal now causes every 16th bullet to also weaken targets. 

The flexibility offered by The Fundamentals (on the Borealis, Hard Light, and Dead Messenger Exotic weapons) is useful, but most of the time there’s no need to switch damage types rapidly, so it’s irritating having the current damage type clear on death. 

  • The Fundamentals now maintains its state across death or respawn. 

PERKS 

Alacrity working in solo activities is intended, but it’s too strong a perk to have 100% uptime in PvP. 

  • Will no longer work in Rumble. 

Archer’s Gambit has been brought down a bit so it can be used on Legendary weapons. 

  • Reduced draw time buff from 66% to 60%. 
  • Reduced buff duration from 8 to 4 seconds (but it can now stack up to 8 seconds). 

Grave Robber needed some extra love. 

  • Will now activate on dealing damage with a powered melee, in addition to standard melee kills. 

Chain Reaction is too strong on Special ammo weapons in its current form, so we’ve branched it between Heavy and Special ammo weapons and will be shipping it on new Special weapons in The Final Shape. 

  • Special: About 15% smaller AoE size and 20% less damage. 
  • Heavy: Same AoE as before and 30% more damage. 

Eddy Current was a little too slow to activate and didn’t provide a strong enough bonus, particularly when amplified. 

  • Now takes 1.5 seconds of sprinting to activate instead of 3 seconds.  
  • Also provides a bonus to handling and a 5% scalar on each stat at base.  
  • Being amplified will immediately activate the perk at its maximum effectiveness. 

Underdog was shelved a long time ago, but we wanted to swap it out for a more viable perk on weapons that still had it. 

  • Instances of Underdog have been replaced with Pulse Monitor. 

Osmosis and Permeability have some interesting build-crafting potential, but when all they do is change damage type, they don’t have enough general utility. It’s also irritating when the perk effect falls off when you don’t actually put your weapon away. 

  • These no longer drop off when pulling out a Ghost or similar actions. 
  • Now partially refill the weapon’s magazine on activation. 

The previous Chill Clip change hurt slow rate of fire weapons disproportionately and left Rapid-Fire Fusion Rifles as the clear best option, so we’ve branched the functionality to account for this. 

  • Adjust the number of slow stacks applied based on properties of the weapon. 
    • In this case, Rapid-Fire Fusions like Riptide will still require 3 shots to freeze, but slower firing Fusions only require 2. 
  • All other archetypes have been un-nerfed and only require 2 shots to freeze. 

High Ground’s functionality wasn’t delivering on the concept strongly enough, so we’ve granted it better baseline functionality while retaining the fantasy. 

  • Reworked to provide a stacking damage bonus when getting kills in any context (like Rampage) or instantly granting the maximum amount of stacks when damaging an enemy from the high ground. 
  • PvE max bonus increased to a 25% damage bonus, and PvP max increased to 15%. 

The Killing Tally perk on the original 21% Delirium Machine Gun has been updated to match the version found on random-rolled weapons. 

Perks that currently match your equipped subclass have been changed as follows: 

  • Osmosis and Tessellation now match the damage type of your equipped grenade. 
  • Permeability and Elemental Capacitor now match the damage type of your equipped Super. 

Deconstruct had a variety of issues that cropped up when it started to appear on AoE weapons. It’s been updated to address bugs and prevent exploiting ammo generation: 

  • Now refills from reserves instead of from thin air and should trigger more reliably across weapon types. 

THE FUTURE 

Now that we’re largely happy with weapon damage in PvP, we’re going to move the PvP-specific tuning out of the game modes and into base weapon tuning in the future. This will give us the ability to fine-tune damage per weapon subfamily, e.g., on precision Hand Cannons instead of all Hand Cannons. 

We also have some big systems changes we’re working on for a future release, including redesigns of the PvP and PvE ammo economies, introducing more player choice into weapon mods and more new weapon types. 


And that’s all we had for today. We hope these changes will help you better understand how your arsenal will fare once The Final Shape arrives on June 4 and that you can better prepare your loadouts for the new raid. Be on the lookout for another sandbox-focused article coming on May 22 about abilities and Exotic armor.  

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