Destiny 2‘s 23rd Season is quickly approaching. Just a little over a month away now (34 days to be exact).
While info about Season 23 is still redacted, Bungie has posted a preview of the Weapon Tuning pass that will drop as part of the big update to start the season.
Read it below, or check it out on Bungie’s website here.
Hi, all. It’s the Weapons team here with a look at the Season 23 weapon changes. While we do have a few PvP changes in here for you to see, we wanted to share a deeper look at the PvE changes specifically.
When we look at weapon balance in PvE, we look at several things and ask ourselves some questions (this is not an exhaustive list, just some of the common ones):
- What is the intended role for the weapon?
- What ammo type does the weapon use?
- How safe is it to use the weapon?
- How easy is the weapon to use?
- How much damage per second (DPS) does it do compared to other options?
When we take all the answers to the above questions, we can holistically see if a weapon is potentially over or under performing in the sandbox within these bounds. These questions, of course, assume that we have a solid baseline to compare to, so one of the very first things we need to do is look at which weapons answer the above questions in a satisfactory manner.
Let’s take Auto Rifles, for example.
- Their intended role is mostly focused on add clear (as opposed to major killers, burst DPS, or extended DPS).
- They all use Primary ammo (for now 😉).
- They are moderately safe to use. as close to mid-range options allow you to be relatively further away from the combatants. Although, for the most part, they’re not as safe as Scout Rifles, Hand Cannons, or Pulse Rifles, they’re generally safer than Sidearms and Submachine Guns (SMGs).
- They are also relatively easy to use, with less punishment for missing individual shots and a lower reliance on critical hits than Pulse Rifles, Scout Rifles, Bows, and Hand Cannons, while being a bit more reliant than SMGs.
- They currently deal about 25% less DPS to minor combatants than SMGs. Since they are safer to use than SMGs, given their extra range, it makes sense for them to deal less damage. However, given they are more reliant on headshots, this price seems a bit high in the current sandbox.
Given these values, we can make an educated decision on how to balance Auto Rifles. This is, of course, only the first step in the balance process. After we make a change, we will playtest it extensively with A/B comparisons to get a better idea how it feels in game and to make sure we have not missed the mark with our change. Sometimes, we realize after playtesting that a change is not enough, and we will take a second pass in a future release to move the weapon closer to the ideal target. This process, in part, helped to lead to our decision in Season 23 to increase their damage versus minor combatants by 10%. This should narrow the gap in effectiveness between SMGs and Auto Rifles, without overstepping their bounds and invalidating another class of weapon.
We hope this provides useful insight into how we look at balancing weapons for PvE and that it will help you to better understand many of the changes that we will be discussing below.
We discovered a couple weapons with mistimed ammunition loading animations.
- Updated Drang and Zaouli’s Bane to load ammo at the correct point in the animation.
Auto Rifle DPS is generally in a pretty good place, but they were lagging slightly behind when it came to damage against minor combatants.
- Increased damage against minor (red bar) combatants by 10%.
Pulse Rifle DPS in PvE is comparable to Scout Rifle damage, but in the new sandbox they are more closely aligned with Hand Cannons and Auto Rifles in terms of range. As such, we have increased their damage against minor and major combatants to move them closer to the other mid-range options, and we will continue to monitor them to see how this changes their effectiveness.
- Increased damage against minor (red bar) and major (orange bar) combatants by 12.5%.
We wanted to improve how good it feels to use Glaives as both a melee and projectile weapon. We also wanted to increase the uptime of the shield without pushing it too far into the realm of being overpowered. As such, we have made changes to all three aspects of Glaives:
- Projectiles: Glaive projectiles were generally just slow enough that they felt unreliable to use against fast-moving targets, and Impulse Amplifier was seen as a must-have perk for Glaive usage in PvP. Meanwhile, in PvE, the Glaive projectiles felt underpowered compared to other Special ammo options, like Fusion Rifles and Shotguns. So, we gave Glaives a healthy portion of the Impulse Amplifier buff at base and increased their damage in PvE by a substantial amount to make them feel more worthy of their limited ammo. In PvP, the increased projectile speed has greatly improved their ease of use, so we brought the damage dealt by the projectile down just a bit to keep Glaives in line.
- Increased projectile speed by 30%.
- Increased projectile damage in PvE by 25%.
- Decreased projectile damage in PvP.
- Aggressives: 125
- Adaptives: 113
- Rapid-Fires: 101
- Melee: The long delay between firing the projectile and being able to melee made Glaives feel clunky and unintuitive to use, so we have reduced that delay to a more manageable amount. This delay exists so that people cannot dive on other players and fire then melee as a single event, but 3/4 of a second was definitely more conservative than what was needed to prevent that behavior. It should now feel far more intuitive to shoot a projectile and follow up with a melee attack—without it feeling overly frustrating to fight someone using that combination.
- Reduced the delay after firing before you can melee from 0.75 seconds to 0.2 seconds.
- Shields: Relying on dealing damage with a projectile to grant shield energy was a choice made to limit the amount of uptime the highly damage-resistant shields had in Crucible and in endgame PvE content. Unfortunately, it effectively gated a significant portion of the weapon’s effectiveness and made using a Glaive without energy feel like you were wielding half a weapon. We wanted to increase the uptime of the shield, so you could get a little bit more of the weapon fantasy to shine through, but we had to be careful not to give too much or to allow the shield to become too strong in competitive content.
- Made the shield energy now recharge passively when the Glaive is held at a rate of 1% per second.
- Set up the base Glaive shield damage resistance to be tiered in PvP.
- Glaive shield damage resistance remains at 50%.
- Damage resistance against Primary ammo weapons and melee attacks has been reduced to 30%.
We’re continuing our trend of moving Sniper Rifles up by small amounts at a time, to make sure we do not upset the encounter balance in PvE.
- Increased Sniper Rifle PvE damage with a flat buff of 15%. (This also applies to Exotic Sniper Rifles that use Heavy ammo.)
Although Vex Mythoclast received both a range buff and a PvE damage buff in Season of the Witch, we believe it has additional room to grow in PvE and find a unique role. We have increased damage against minor and boss combatants and are going to be experimenting with a different style of anti-Champion gameplay. Instead of having an intrinsic anti-Champion perk, we are massively increasing the damage that the Linear Fusion Rifle mode deals to all Champions. This places it in the unique space of being more of a Swiss Army Knife and less of a specialist. We envision it as a weapon you can take into an activity, regardless of which Champion type is present, and still have it be an effective tool—especially when it’s utilized in concert with other anti-Champion abilities.
- Increased damage versus:
- Minor (red bar) combatants by 10%.
- Bosses by 25%.
- Champions by 200% when in the Linear Fusion Rifle mode.
As a second part of our anti-Champion experiment, we are also increasing Revision Zero’s damage versus Champions, although by a much lower amount, since the weapon also retains its intrinsic anti-barrier.
- Increased damage versus Champions by 100%.
In Season 23, Thorn will be getting both a catalyst to bring its strength up in PvP and a change to the base behavior to make it more fun to use in PvE.
- Picking up a Remnant can overflow the magazine, up to 40 rounds max.
- +20 range
- +10 stability
- Getting kills or picking up a Remnant grants additional range, handling, and mobility.
Alongside the Glaive rework mentioned above, we have also done some tuning on the class Exotic Glaives introduced in The Witch Queen. The below changes are for all three Glaives, to make using their Exotic functionality both more forgiving and more understandable:
- Grant 1 ammo when you activate the perk, so you can use it even if you are out of ammo.
- No longer passively drains shield energy when you special reload to activate the perk.
- No longer deactivated by reloading or stowing the weapon.
EDGE OF INTENT (WARLOCK)
Edge of Intent seemed like it was begging for some Solar 3.0 interaction instead of the previous generic healing effect. A larger area of effect (AoE) helps it reach more nearby allies, too.
- Changed the effect of the healing turret projectiles to grant cures and provide restoration.
- Increased the AoE radius to 8 meters to benefit more nearby allies.
- Increased its magazine size from 4 to 5.
EDGE OF ACTION (TITAN)
We wanted to make the baby-bubble more effective in endgame content, so it now provides some benefits to weapons just for passing through it, even if you do not remain inside.
- Passing through the bubble now grants bonus reload speed, handling, and a small amount of stacking bonus damage in addition to the overshield.
- Reduced the health of the bubble from 8000 to 2400 to account for the increased uptime and improved effects.
EDGE OF CONCURRENCE (HUNTER)
The Glaive changes mentioned above already made this quite solid, but we felt that Lightning Seeker presented a fun opportunity for an Arc 3.0 interaction.
- Lighting Seeker now jolts targets on impact.
- Reduced the direct hit damage of Lightning Seeker to account for the free ammo granted.
Osteo Striga has been, quite frankly, far too powerful for the ease of use it provides when it comes to add clear in PvE. It has more range than most other SMGs, does not require kills, and does not rely heavily on precision aim to activate one of the strongest AoEs we’ve ever had in Destiny. In addition, the lingering poison damage has benefited from the damage scalar that SMGs get in PvE content, which was intended to buff SMGs direct impact damage. This scalar, which is one of the highest scalars of any weapon type in the game, is pushing the poison damage to such an extreme level that it’s been difficult for any other weapon to compete in the add clear role. While it is likely that this change will not move the needle on Osteo Striga by a substantial amount, it will at least be slightly less of an outlier compared to other add clear weapons. To preempt the argument, buffing other weapons up to the same level would be power creep to an extreme degree and very unhealthy for the game as a whole, so it is not something we are going to explore.
- Removed the SMG damage bonus scalar that was affecting the poison damage. This brings Osteo Striga poison down to match standard Necrotic Grip poison, though as an Exotic, it will still deal 40% bonus damage against minors.
Placed a speed limit on the detonation when damaging Stasis crystals. This will help prevent the detonation from being able to shatter too many crystals on a single frame, which would sometimes kick the player to orbit with an error code.
We did not want to leave Winterbite out of the Glaive improvement pass, so we made it a little stronger and a little bit less lethal to the user.
- Increased the detonation damage of the large projectile by 25%.
- The self-damage blast radius has been halved, and the self-damage has been reduced.
- Danger Zone: We made a small change to how Danger Zone works on Rocket Launchers. You can figure it out for yourself when Season 23 drops.
- Heavy Grip: We discovered that the Heavy Grip perk was slightly increasing incoming flinch. That was not intended, so we removed it.
- Precision Instrument: The difference between Precision Instrument and Enhanced Precision Instrument was barely noticeable in practice, so we wanted to differentiate the two a bit. We increased Enhanced Precision Instrument damage bonus at max stacks from 26% to 30%.
- Kinetic Tremors: We wanted to make the activation requirements more consistent across archetypes, so we changed the number of hits needed to trigger it on some weapons.
- Pulse Rifles: Common reduced from 12 to 11. Enhanced increased from 9 to 10.
- Non-burst Sidearms: Common reduced from 12 to 8. Enhanced reduced from 9 to 7.
In the Season 23 mid-Season patch and the patch that will launch with The Final Shape, we will have a host of new changes for you to try. Some highlights to look forward to are:
- Bow tuning in PvP.
- Additional weapon tuning for Checkmate, aimed at promoting a better diversity of weapons.
- Necrochasm will be getting a buff to extend the duration of the poison damage-over-time effect it applies from the Cursed Thrall explosion. It will also have a new catalyst called One for Thrall, which grants a moderate period of increased damage, range, and aim assist after you damage three enemies in quick succession. Damaging three more enemies while the perk is active refreshes the timer.
- Buffs to Truth, Colony, and Dead Man’s Tale as well as other Exotic weapons.
- Heavy Grenade Launchers will get a substantial inventory buff.