Destiny 2 Ability Changes for Dec. 7 Update Detailed by Bungie

destiny 2 ability changes

Ahead of the big 30th Anniversary update next month, Bungie, in their latest weekly blog, detailed some of the finer Destiny 2 ability changes coming to the game. Most of these changes are targeted towards PvP, as the side of the game have been descibed by both players and Bungie being slightly more ability-based rather than gun-based. Head down below for a rundown of these changes and see if you’re subclass just got a boost or a nerf.

Destiny 2 Ability Changes:

Flux Grenade 
  • Increased base cooldown from 82 seconds to 182 seconds.
  • Increased attached detonation damage from 150 to 250 (one-shot kill in PvP).
  • Increased damage vs PvE combatants by 15% (on top of base damage increase).
  • Removed projectile tracking.
  • Added a small amount of aim assist.
  • Increased throw speed by 117%.
  • Now sticks to all surfaces.
Firebolt Grenade 
  • Reduced base cooldown from 82 seconds to 64 seconds.
  • Reduced damage per bolt from 90 to 65.
  • Increased damage vs. PvE combatants by 15%.

On the Character screen, you’ll see the actual cooldown time of your abilities as they’re affected by your equipped ability and armor stats.

  • The “Base Cooldown” time is actually the cooldown time at tier 3 of the relevant armor stat (Strength, Discipline, etc.) This is because the system technically penalizes you for tanking your stats below tier 3, in which case your cooldown would be longer than the base. We are looking into updating this to be more intuitive in a future release.
  • Cooldown times for class abilities are not currently displayed due to a technical issue. We plan to fix this in a future release.
One of our design goals this year was to reduce the amount of ability spam in the Crucible and put the focus back on gunplay. To this end, we’ve made ability cooldown times longer on average than they were before. We don’t want the PvE experience to suffer for the sake of PvP balance though, so we’ve tried to compensate where possible. For example, we’ve increased all grenade damage vs. PvE combatants by 15% or more. This should make grenades feel like bigger power moments than they do in today’s game. Melee ability cooldowns haven’t been increased quite as much as grenade cooldowns, and some of the less-aggressive melee attacks have lower cooldowns than before. Class ability cooldowns have also generally increased, but the changes vary depending on which ability is equipped.

In high-stakes game modes like Trials of Osiris or Survival where each life is precious, passive play becomes more common as players sit back and wait for their Supers to close out a tied game. In general, we want the most efficient way to gain Super energy to be actively engaging in combat. That doesn’t mean you need to win every fight, but we want you to try.

To get us closer to that goal we’re making a big change to the system. Super regeneration will still have a passive component scaled by your Intellect stat, but at a significantly reduced rate. On top of your passive regeneration, you will also gain Super energy by dealing and taking damage to or from opponents.

Here are a few key goals for this new system:

  • In PvE, Super uptime should be relatively unchanged from the live game, if not slightly higher.  
  • Everybody should get at least one Super in a 6v6 match that goes to the score or time limit as long as they engage in regular combat. 
  • Supers should be less frequent in 3v3 modes than in the live game, where two Supers per match is a fairly regular occurrence.
  • Primary weapon play should have a noticeable benefit in Super energy regeneration.
  • Different Supers should come online at different times in a given match, and your Super of choice should have an impact on how quickly it regenerates.  

To that end, we’ve separated Supers into cooldown tiers that affect both the passive regeneration rate as well as the damage-based regeneration rate. This tiering was primarily influenced by each Super’s kill potential, where most one-off Supers are unlikely to wipe a team or a room of combatants, but a long-lasting roaming Super can and should have a tradeoff as a result.

  • Tier 5 (Fastest Regeneration)
      • Well of Radiance
  • Tier 4
      • Blade Barrage
      • Silence and Squall
  • Tier 3
      • Shadowshot
      • Burning Maul
      • Arc Staff
      • Nova Bomb
      • Thundercrash
  • Tier 2
      • Golden Gun
      • Chaos Reach
      • Nova Warp
      • Stormtrance
      • Daybreak
      • Sentinel Shield
  • Tier 1 (Slowest Regeneration)
      • Spectral Blades
      • Fist of Havoc
      • Hammer of Sol
      • Glacial Quake
      • Winter’s Wrath
Subclass Neutral Game Perks – These perks have had their ability energy regeneration reduced by roughly 50% in PvP. We targeted perks that can either activate out of combat, with a single button press, or those that were returning amounts of ability energy that were significantly out of band.
  • Whisper of Shards (Stasis Fragment)
  • Arc Web (Stormcaller Warlock)
  • Rising Storm (Stormcaller Warlock)
  • Ionic Traces (Stormcaller Warlock)
  • Electrostatic Surge (Stormcaller Warlock)
  • Aftershocks (Striker Titan)
  • Inertia Override (Striker Titan)
  • Benevolent Dawn (Dawnblade Warlock)
  • Practice Makes Perfect (Gunslinger Hunter)
  • Dark Matter (Voidwalker Warlock)
Subclass In-Super Perks – These perks scale down energy returns as you get kills in your Super (i.e., the first kill while in Super returns more Super energy than the third kill). These perks often result in Supers being able to roam the map for much longer than is healthy for the game and mean that a victim can frequently die to an active Super, respawn on another side of the map, and be killed by that same Super again. We’ve rescaled this energy refund decay more aggressively in PvP so that the minimum energy refund is reached roughly twice as quickly. No change has been made to the refund decay against PvE combatants. 
  • Everlasting Fire (Dawnblade Warlock)
  • Trample (Striker Titan)
Exotic Armor – Each Exotic below had a custom tuning pass focused on their ability energy return in PvP:
  • Frost-EE5 – No longer stacks multiplicatively in PvP with other regeneration buffs, is now an additive scalar.
      • No change in PvE.
  • Heart of Inmost Light – Ability energy regeneration scalars reduced by 50% in PvP.
      • Reworked so activating multiple abilities will now reliably result in multiple Empowered stacks. The stacking behavior was previously a bug, but this seemed like a good opportunity to promote it to a feature.
  • Contraverse Hold – Duration of the grenade regeneration buff is no longer random between 1 and 4 seconds and is now a fixed duration of 1.75 seconds. Reduced grenade energy regeneration scalar by 50% in PvP.
      • The previous average duration due to weighting was 1.71 seconds, with a 1 second duration being most common, so this should improve the Exotic’s consistency across the game with a lower return in PvP.
  • Doomfang Pauldrons – Reduced Super energy gain on activation when an opposing player is killed by a Void melee by 50%.
      • No change in PvE.
  • Shinobu’s Vow – Reduced grenade energy gain on hits vs players by 66%.
      • No change in PvE.
  • Crown of Tempests – Grenade, melee, and Super energy regeneration scalar buff duration reduced from 7s to 4s in PvP.
      • No change in PvE.
  • The Stag – Reduced class ability energy refund on shield break by 50% in PvP.
      • No change in PvE.
Armor Mods – In general, we’ve reduced energy returns from these mods by roughly 50% in PvP, depending on the number of copies of the mod you have slotted.
  • Melee Kickstart
  • Grenade Kickstart
  • Utility Kickstart
  • Perpetuation
  • Bolstering Detonation
  • Focusing Strike
  • Bomber
  • Outreach
  • Dynamo
  • Distribution
  • Momentum Transfer
  • Impact Induction
Stasis crystals do a lot. On top of freezing players when they’re created, they also block line-of-sight, block movement, and act as explosive barrels. It’s all a bit too much for PvP. With this release, Stasis crystals will now slow players instead of freezing them, and they’ll do much less damage to players when they detonate.
As far as PvE is concerned, Stasis crystals will still freeze combatants, and we’ve increased Stasis crystal detonation damage vs PvE combatants. Looking at the numbers, it was almost always better to shoot directly at a combatant instead of at a crystal near a combatant. This change should help crystals better live out their explosive-barrel dreams.
Stasis Crystals 
  • While forming, Stasis crystals now slow nearby players instead of freezing them.
      • They still freeze PvE combatants while forming.
  • Increased slow/freeze radius while forming from 1.75m to 2.6m.
  • Reduced crystal detonation damage vs players by ~55%.
  • Increased crystal detonation damage vs. PvE combatants by ~60%.
  • Increased crystal detonation radius from 6m to 8m.


In order to meet our goal of less ability spam in the Crucible, we’re reducing how often Hunters can dodge. Gambler’s Dodge is getting hit the hardest here because it can completely circumvent melee-ability cooldown times. It also completely changes the Hunter’s silhouette in PvP, making it very powerful. In addition, Hunter dodges will no longer break projectile tracking, meaning it’s less of a get-out-of-jail-free card when a tracking rocket or another slow-moving projectile is flying toward you.
Hunter Dodge 
    • No longer breaks projectile tracking.
    • Marksman’s Dodge
        • Tier 10 Mobility cooldown increased from 11s to 14s.
        • Base cooldown unchanged at 29s.
    • Gambler’s Dodge
        • Tier 10 Mobility cooldown increased from 11s to 18s.
        • Base cooldown duration from 29s to 38s.
You guessed it—the Stasis Crystal changes detailed earlier mean that the Hunter Revenant’s Shatterdive will now almost never kill a full-health Guardian. Shatterdive may still kill if the Hunter is using Whisper of Fissures, Touch of Winter, and the target is in the very center of all six crystals, but that has been incredibly rare in our playtesting.
I think we can all agree that Shatterdive was too powerful—we tried a number of fixes over the past few releases, but the truth is that as long as Stasis crystals froze players and Shatterdive shattered players, it was going to be too good. But it’s not all rainclouds and puddles for Shatterdive Hunters—the increase in Stasis crystal damage vs PvE combatants makes Shatterdive a great choice in PvE. On top of that, we’re increasing Shatterdive damage vs frozen combatants by 100%. Have fun melting frozen monsters.
    • Much less lethal vs players due to Stasis crystal changes.
    • Much more lethal vs combatants due to Stasis crystal changes.
    • Increased shatter damage vs frozen PvE combatants by 100%.
Grim Harvest Aspect 
    • Increased fragment slots from 2 to 3
This change to the Combination Blow melee was made possible by our Variable Ability Cooldowns system. Previously, top-tree Arcstriders were basically required to use Gambler’s Dodge with this tree. We hope this change will make this ability viable even if you’re using Marksman’s Dodge.
Combination Blow 
    • Reduced base cooldown duration from 96s to 15s.
The Vanish in Smoke melee has low damage output but high utility. Our data shows that this subclass tree is struggling in PvP, so we’ve decided to increase how often Pathfinder Hunters can go invisible.
Vanish in Smoke melee 
    • Reduced base cooldown from 96s to 75s.


In our effort to put the emphasis back on gunplay in the Crucible, we’ve decided to reduce the number of abilities that can one-shot a full-health Guardian. As such, the Titan’s three shoulder charges are no longer one-shot abilities in PvP. To balance this out, we’ve made the shoulder charges quicker to activate, easier to hit with, and travel farther. We’ve also increased their damage in PvE. In our experience, they’re still powerful in PvP in combination with short-range weapons and when used as a movement tool. We wanted to curb shoulder charge’s potency now that we’ve tuned down shotguns as their current counter. We’ll be monitoring the data and feedback and adjusting accordingly.
All Shoulder Charges 
    • No longer one-shot players.
    • Sprint activation time reduced from 1.5s to 1.25s.
    • Increased range from 5.5m to 6.8m.
    • Targeting-cone width increased by ~10%.
    • Increased damage vs PvE combatants by 25%.
Seismic Strike (Arc Shoulder Charge) 
    • Reduced AoE damage from 90 to 40.
    • Now blinds enemies in the area on hit.
    • Increased base cooldown from 82s to 90s.
Shield Bash (Void Shoulder Charge) 
    • Reduced AoE damage from 90 to 40.
    • Increased base cooldown from 82s to 90s.
Hammer Strike (Solar Shoulder Charge) 
    • Reduced direct impact damage from 170 to 120.
    • Increased base cooldown from 82s to 90s.
Even with the Rally Barricade changes we made in Season of the Lost, using this ability during a firefight is still a risky proposition. We’ve spaced out the cooldowns of the two barricades to make the choice slightly more interesting.
Towering Barricade 
    • Increased base cooldown duration from 37s to 40s.
Rally Barricade 
    • Reduced base cooldown duration from 37s to 32s.
We agree with the general community feedback that the Behemoth could use some love in PvE. We’re hoping these changes to Diamond Lance make this Aspect a top-tier PvE pick. Shiver Strike is getting a big damage buff during the Glacial Quake Super. The Whisper of Chains fragment buff here is also very spicy and should help the Behemoth’s survivability in pinnacle PvE activities. Whisper of Chains can be used by all Stasis subclasses, but making crystals is kind of the Behemoth’s thing so we’re listing it here.
Diamond Lance 
    • Increased fragment slots from 1 to 3.
    • Now spawns a Diamond Lance upon:
        • Killing a PvE combatant with a Stasis weapon.
        • Killing three players with Stasis weapons in a single life.
        • Killing an enemy with a Stasis ability.
        • Shattering an enemy.
Shiver Strike 
    • Increased Shiver Strike damage while in Glacial Quake by 50%.
Whisper of Chains 
    • Increased damage resistance vs PvE combatants from 25% to 40%.
This class is absolutely dominating PvP this Season, so we’re turning it down a notch. The changes we made to Fist of Havoc in Season of the Lost helped top tree as intended, but they also turned bottom tree into a monster. On top of that, the Stasis nerfs and other changes we’ve made over the past few releases created a power vacuum that Striker Bot filled with extreme prejudice. We hope these changes put Striker Bot back into the pack instead of towering high above everything else.
    • Melee lunge range and melee damage bonus now deactivate after a melee kill.
    • Super-energy gain from Fist of Havoc light attack now decays to minimum amount over 3 PvP kills (down from 7).
Frontal Assault melee 
    • Increased base cooldown from 82s to 106s.
Fist of Havoc  
    • Heavy-slam radius reduced from 8m to 6m (bottom-tree only).


Warlocks have been losing slap fights for too long. Yes, up until now, Warlocks haven’t been able to melee back-to-back as quickly as Titans and Hunters. NO MORE! With the 30th Anniversary, Warlocks will be able to melee just as quickly as Titans and Hunters. We’re also removing the 1m range extension Warlocks received to compensate. We still think the idea of each class having unique qualities to their melee is interesting, but we want to do it in a way that won’t cause one class to consistently lose slap fights. Maybe someday in the future.
Uncharged Melee 
    • Reduced melee range from 5.5m to 4.5m (now matches Hunter and Titan).
    • Reduced suppression time after melee (can now melee back-to-back at the same speed as Hunter and Titan).
In our effort to do away with one-shot abilities that are frustrating to be hit by, Handheld Supernova is also getting the Shoulder Charge treatment. That’s right—Handheld Supernova will no longer one-shot in PvP. To compensate, it now travels farther and pushes enemies back. We also increased the damage of Handheld Supernova and Nova Warp vs Champion and Boss combatants. We had increased their damage in Season of the Lost, but it felt like they could use even more juice.
Handheld Supernova 
    • Reduced damage vs players.
    • Now deals 150 damage max.
    • Increased damage vs Champions and Bosses by 30%.
    • Increased projectile range from 12m to 14m.
    • Now pushes targets away from the Warlock on detonation.
Nova Warp 
    • Increased damage vs Champions and Bosses by 30%.
We feel the Shadebinder is in a pretty good place with a couple of exceptions. One—Winter’s Wrath is still the best Super for shutting down other Supers, and it’s not even close. Winter’s Wrath must now freeze and shatter other Supers twice to kill them. As a general rule, roaming Supers shouldn’t be able to one-shot other Supers. Two—the Penumbral Blast melee is too difficult to land against PvE combatants. When we made the ability harder to land in PvP, it had a negative effect on the PvE experience. We’ve increased the proximity-detonation radius against PvE combatants to make it easier to land.
All three Stasis grenades now have different cooldown times, so we made a change to Bleak Watcher to avoid a situation where it was always best to use the grenade with the shortest cooldown time. This results in an overall cooldown increase for Bleak Watcher, which fits its incredibly high-power output.
Winter’s Wrath 
    • Reduced shatter-pulse damage vs enemy Supers.
    • Must now generally freeze and shatter all Supers twice to eliminate.
Penumbral Blast 
    • Increased proximity-detonation radius vs PvE combatants by 100%.
Bleak Watcher 
    • While Bleak Watcher is equipped, all Stasis grenades charge at Glacier Grenade rate.

What do you think? Are these ability changes overall good for PvP in Destiny 2? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Bungie

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