In Destiny‘s Patch 1.1.1 , due out later this month according to Community Manger David “DeeJ” Dague, the studio is planning a few major weapon tuning updates that will aim to help balance out the overall weapon sandbox in PvE and PvP combat.
All based on community feedback and user research date (with the help of “your mom”), Destiny’s next update will rework weapons like the under-used Pulse Rifles to become more effective while, at the same time, toning down some of the game’s more popular guns.
While weapon “nerfs” will undoubtedly upset a portion of Destiny’s user base, Sandbox Designer Jon Weisnewski says the changes are necessary.
“We pay close attention to kill times in all game modes against all combatant types. If we brought up all the other weapons to account for lethality spikes that occur in specific situations, then our TTK (time to kill) would get faster with every patch,” he explained in a recent blog update. “It is important to us to keep TTK values such that your arsenal feels lethal, but also both allows for some drama while you fight, and creates opportunities for counter-play when you’re being attacked.”
Why are these changes necessary? Well, take a look at Bungie’s latest user research findings via this handy info-graphic depicting weapon usage in PvE and PvP.
As you can see, Auto Rifles dominate both PvE and PvP settings while Pulse Rifles go nearly completely unused. Weisnewski went on to explain how this plans to be rectified in Destiny Update 1.1.1.
“Many of these changes are subtle. It may take a little while to feel the nuanced differences, or you may feel the changes immediately” he said. “It all depends on how you play. This is an opportunity to change up your combat strategy in new ways, and/or double down in the areas that still feel good to you.”
Here are the specifics on Bungie’s goals for each weapon class and how the game’s next update will help reach those goals:
- Auto Rifle is optimal at close to medium range
- Damage, Stability, and Range are tuned such that players desire Stability for reliable close quarters damage, or Range for better accuracy at a distance
- Reduce base damage of Auto Rifles by 2.5% (averaged across Rate of Fire stats, higher RoF took less of a reduction than low RoF)
- Reduce effective range values so that damage falloff and accuracy are a stronger factor in combat decisions
- Range reduction is less severe in the higher stat values, so now your range stat is more critical to long distance engagements
- Pulse Rifle is optimal at medium range, but can still effectively harass enemies at close or long range distances
- Rate of Fire sets a pace for players to both track moving targets, and then deliver precision damage in bursts
- Increase base damage of Pulse Rifles by 9.7%. DPS is now more in line with other primaries
- Hand Cannon is optimal at medium range
- Hand Cannon is optimal when shots are paced, becomes less effective when fired quickly
- Rewards agility when under fire, precision targeting, and snap shots
- Reduce effective range
- Damage falloff starts closer to the shooter, and follow up shots are less accurate at long ranges
- Slight reduction to initial accuracy
- This is unnoticeable at close to medium range, but underscores the range intentions when used from far away
- Fusion Rifles are optimal at mid-range, where targets are easier to track but they’re not close enough to attack while you charge up
- Requires combat foresight and the ability to predict a target’s movement to use successfully
- Blast pattern on a Fusion Rifle burst cone is a little wider
- Close to medium range volleys are largely unaffected, but at a distance the projectiles are less likely to land hits on a single target
- This reduces the reliability of landing a one hit kill at far range, and makes the weapon better at spreading damage into a group
- Initial starting ammo is reduced across all ammo stats. This is change primarily affects The Crucible
- Starting a Crucible match, you’ll have less Fusion Rifle ammo in reserve
- In PvE activities we persistently track your ammo. We only use initial ammo values if you are logging in for the first time, or starting a Crucible match
- Shotgun is the most optimal at very close range
- Complements melee attacks and other close quarters class builds
- Offensively closing on an enemy with a Shotgun is a risk/reward timing game
- Increase damage by 2x (100%) against all non-Guardian combatants (aliens)
- Reduce high end range values – damage falloff starts sooner, so Crucible players with long range shotguns need to be a little closer for successful one hit kills
- (Like the Fusion Rifle) Initial starting ammo is reduced across all ammo stats in the Crucible:
- Starting a Crucible match, you’ll have less Shotgun ammo in reserve
- In PvE activities we persistently track your ammo
- We only use initial ammo values if you are logging in for the first time, or starting a Crucible match
As for Scout Rifles, Sniper Rifles, and Heavy Weapons, Weisnewski says they will go largely untouched in Destiny’s next patch.
For better or worse, we’re pretty excited to see Destiny’s PvP gameplay get some love with these new updates. What’s your take on the upcoming tweaks? Tell us in the comments below!