The highlight of the latest Bungie weekly update has to be the changes coming to Destiny 2 exotic weapons. While, yes, there’s another Faction Rally taking place next week, it’s the comments about Destiny 2‘s most powerful weapons that most players will want to know about.
Bungie Senior Designer Jon Weisnewski has provided an update on what’s coming with the “Exotic Tuning Pass,” which is scheduled for a March 27 launch:
Hello players! I’m here to talk to you about the work going into the Exotic Tuning Pass on the D2 road map.
When Destiny first launched, we built, play-tested, and shipped a batch of Exotic weapons that we hoped would be worthy of your time and hype. Shortly after release, we were happily inundated with a mountain of player feedback. This allowed us to check our assumptions, do some tuning, and push out one of the first Destiny sandbox updates which were solely focused on Exotic weapons. We’re doing this again with Destiny 2 and this time we’re including Exotic weapons and armor.
Gameplay goals for this pass:
Tuning pass on Exotic gear focused on adding and/or increasing player Power spikes.
Focus on low-usage items, but all items are being considered.
Lean into an item’s established gameplay and push it harder. Avoid catch-all improvements that dilute item identity.
So how does this play out? We can look at Graviton Lance as an example. The functional concept is a weapon that fires two Cosmic Void rounds that create a zero-air-resistance tunnel for a high-caliber precision shot to fire through. The first two rounds have almost no recoil and prime the air, and the third round does high damage with no falloff. A kill knocks the body back with considerable force, it tumbles, and then explodes.
Resounding player feedback has been along the lines of “looks great, sounds great, neat explosion! I can’t get kills in PVP because all the damage is at the end of the burst, kicks too hard for the follow up, and I can’t reliably damage targets with the death explosion in any activity because the body goes flying too far backwards.”
All spectacle, not enough utility.
To target the first pain point we reduced the recoil of the burst, added some aim assist, and changed it from three rounds to two. This still plays into the fantasy of a low-damage gravity-neutralizing round forming a projectile tunnel for the last bullet. It also allows us to ensure the damage per burst is at a competitive level for PVP engagements. In fact, it gives Graviton a slight mathematical edge against other pulse rifles.
On the second feedback item, we did some tuning to the ragdoll body. We made it so that rather than violently flying backwards and likely out of range of a potential splash damage opportunity, the defeated opponent floats back and up. Then we made the explosion bigger, increased the damage, and added some void field projectiles that seek out any remaining targets.
This is one of the more exaggerated examples to help describe how we’re looking at our goals and applying them to the gear. At the time of this writing, the weapons that ARE NOT getting an update are Merciless , Telesto, Wardcliff Coil, MIDA Multi Tool, Colony, Legend of Acrius, and Vigilance Wing. Some of the above perform well without needing changes, while others, like the Vigilance Wing Pulse Rifle, are already benefitting from the tuning changes planned for Update 1.1.4. Everything else has had some degree of power or utility increase, whether it’s simply bumping a stat or some deeper plumbing as described above.
We’ll be touching a lot of powerful gear with this update and to truly understand the impact for players requires a lot of design iteration and test time. It isn’t enough to crank up the damage and run one strike or Crucible match with a gun and helmet and move on. Dialing in the right amount of power, testing in all activities with all types of load outs, finding the bugs, fixing the bugs, updating the perk description text to reflect new behavior, and then handing that off to localization for translation—it’s a ton of work, but we’re up to it. We sincerely appreciate your patience. I believe it will be worth the wait.
We’ll be back soon to talk about Exotic Masterworks as well! Until then, continue being excellent to each other.
You can read the full Bungie weekly update here.