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Destiny Arsenal Receiving Comprehensive Rebalance

by Matt Miller on Sep 08, 2016 at 06:08 AM

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We just finished up our month-long cover story coverage for Destiny, and we’re now just a few weeks away from the expansion’s launch. Details provided to us by Bungie as recently as last week suggested that the initial launch wouldn’t see too many big changes to the “sandbox,” but today Bungie has revealed details about a relatively robust set of changes coming to in-game weapon balancing.

We asked senior sandbox designer Jon Weisnewski about the reasoning behind the upcoming changes. “Rise of Iron has new weapons and artifacts that will be joining the mix to make players think hard about their load outs,” Weisnewski says. “A big part of our job as Sandbox Designers is watching weapon trends as they evolve in the live game and making adjustments to promote a healthy range of options. It is very important to us that Destiny players feel like they have choices at all levels of play. Those choices need to be impactful and reinforce a player’s style or intent. We have been committed to regular tuning passes that try to maintain variety and choice for all weapon styles, and Rise of Iron won’t be an exception.”

Sandbox designer Greg Peng goes into a great deal more detail in an extended post on Notably, several exotics received a refresh. A long-awaited update to the Fabian Strategy auto rifle boosts its range and stability, and offers  a portion of the magazine reloaded on kills, hopefully transforming the weapon into the gun Titans always wanted. Thorn has seen a range reduction, which hopefully will keeps its overwhelming power in the Crucible in check. Universal Remote,  Dreg's Promise, Touch of Malice, Boolean Gemini, and No Time To Explain have also seen adjustments. Of those, the Touch of Malice change is perhaps most striking. The self-damage infliction for the gun now removes Blessing of Light, which will have a profound effect on the way many players complete the final encounters of the King's Fall raid.  

In addition, most of the major gun classes have received minor to significant changes. Mid-range sniper rifles received reduced damage, which includes the deadly Thousand Yard Stare. Auto rifles are seeing minor changes to magazine size on high rate-of-fire weapons, and an increase to damage on mid rate-of-fire guns. Shotguns are getting a tweak, including a buff to the Titan's Immobius. Low and mid rate-of-fire pulse rifles are also seeing an increase in damage potential. Sidearms have been chronically underused by the player base, and Bungie is offering a bevy of options to make the weapon class more appealing. Rocket launchers are seeing changes to some important perks; better Cluster Bombs, and less effective Grenades and Horseshoes, which hopefully leads to a broader spread of viable launcher choices. High rate-of-rife machine guns are seeing a damage increase. Hand cannons are seeing a boost in potential range for for new low rate-of-fire weapons, which aims to make that model of weapon more appealing. Fusion rifles are only seeing very minor changes.

Bungie has also taken a pass at several weapon perks and how they work. Perhaps most notably, a long-running crash issue connected to the Firefly perk is said to be finally resolved. 

You can read about all the specifics of these weapons changes in the full post.

The Destiny: Rise of Iron expansion is set to launch on September 20 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

[Source: Bungie]


Our Take

It's always interesting to get these kinds of details from a game developer, and for them to acknowledge the ongoing efforts to make their game feel just right. Bungie has been diligent since Destiny's launch in its attempts to continually watch its community and adjust gameplay, and I'll be eager to see the ways that these new changes affect play, especially in the competitive Crucible scene. I'm particular pleased to see several exotic weapons that have great themes but low power finally get some help, like Dreg's Promise and No Time to Explain. As far as weapon classes, it's interesting to note that many weapons are only seeing minor changes within their own class, especially on balance between different rate-of-fire options for a given style of armament. That suggests that Bungie is beginning to feel like they are very close to nailing the balance they hope for in Destiny. We'll see if the community agrees once Rise of Iron launches.