The 23 most important changes from Destiny 2.0 – nerfs, buffs and more

By Brenna Hillier, Wednesday, 9 September 2015 04:58 GMT

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The 23 most important changes from Destiny 2.0

Destiny 2.0 is the biggest update Bungie has ever brought to the table. The patch notes are staggeringly weighty and filled with things you don’t care about (Suros Regime rebalance? Yawn) but there are some changes you need to know about, right now, today, because they’re going to change the way you play Destiny this week – and forever.

Let’s take a look at how Destiny has changed before The Taken King shows up next week and upends the apple cart again.

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1. Gjallarhorn has been nerfed

The picnic is over, Kinderguardians. Whether you sweated through hundreds of endgame activities waiting a drop, got lucky or just threw some coins at Xur, Gjallarhorn has been your saviour through many a battle. Why engage with boss mechanics, learn to use cover and control adds, and use your powers as a team when you can just “burn” everything…?

Well, that’s all over. The mighty Gjally still packs a punch but it’s no longer an instant win button. The Wolf Pack rounds – those tracking mini-rockets that follow the main payload – now do 33% less damage than before. That might not seem like much, but it’s enough to drop Gjally’s output from one-hit to hard-hitting, and to bring it in line with other Exotic launchers. Soz, hey: you’re gonna have to learn to play the game now.

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2. You can skip cinematics

You’re tired of hearing the Exo Stranger bleat on about mysterious threats. You’re tired of listening to the Queen and the Prince disparage your efforts on Venus. Mostly, you’re tired of examining a dead Guardian’s body for approximately twenty gazillion years when all you want to do is wake the bloody hive again after losing your checkpoint.

Good news! You can skip cutscenes now. I hope you’re going to watch The Taken King’s scenes at least once, and you should probably go check out Nolan North’s voice acting once, but after that, it’s all shooting, no snoozing.

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3. More vault space and Collections terminals ease inventory issues

Thank you, RNGesus: vault space has been increased dramatically. You can now hold onto 72 weapons, 72 armour pieces, and 36 general items.

That’s already pretty great, but you’ll also notice the Tower is dotted with Collections terminals now; they look like big smartphones stuck to walls – check out the Vanguard hall and Eva Levante’s corner. All your shaders, emblems and Exotics can be retrieved from these terminals if you discard them to make room in your inventory or vault – although there’s a material cost to rebuild Exotics, so bear that in mind.

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4. Light and XP progression have changed

Okay, so: you can now ascend to level 34, the pre-Taken King cap, just using XP. Whatever level you were able to achieve with your very best armour before the patch launched is now your XP level, so if you were stuck at 33 or 32 or even 29, just go out and shoot faces till you hit 34. Nice.

You still have a Light level, but it’s a reflection of how good your gear is. The higher this number, the more damage you will do with your special abilities (super, grenade, melee), so be sure to keep chasing the most powerful weapons and strongest armour. Oh, and you’d better equip a new Ghost shell…

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5. The Speaker is selling new Ghost shells

Want a new look for your Ghost? Of course you do! And you need one, too, because Ghost shells contribute to your stats. Your base Ghost shell probably gives you something like three defence and virtually no Light, so grab one of the new ones for a significant boost to your tankiness and damage output. Oh, and look out for those special perks; some Ghost shells can pinpoint resources, increase glimmer drops, and more.

Visit the Speaker in the Tower to buy a snazzy new Ghost shell, giving your little buddy a facelift to go with his general overhaul. Speaking of which…

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6. Ghost is Nolan North now

Peter Dinklage’s Hollywood commitments prevented him from recording for The Taken King (also: he probably wasn’t super keen to come back after we all spent a year bagging out his performance), so Bungie’s wiped him from the record and substituted Nolan North.

None of the writing seems to have changed so your mileage may vary on Ghost’s pretty pitiful jokes, and to be honest North’s delivery is mostly pretty well matched to the original: Bungie has a definite idea of how a tiny AI split off from an enormous alien intellect should sound and “natural” is not a part of it. But yeah, go check it out.

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7. Networking improvements

Europeans can skip this bit, but for those of us languishing on copper networks elsewhere in the world, here’s some excellent news: Bungie has made some changes in the hopes of improving the lag situation in the Crucible.

Obviously we don’t know if this has worked yet – hopefully this week’s preview event, or “beta” as I might cynically label it, will give us an idea – but it’s great to see Bungie taking this problem seriously. According to the patch notes, the update “improves damage validation systems to reduce the effectiveness of players with extreme lag” and “improves accuracy of network quality meters slightly”, as well as reducing latency on kill notifications. Nice.

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8. All platform exclusive and DLC Crucible maps unlocked

If you’ve only ever bought vanilla Destiny and are playing on Xbox, this is a terrific change – the PlayStation exclusive maps are now in general rotation, and so are all those added in House of Wolves and The Dark Below.

The Taken King will add a bunch more exclusives in both PvE and PvP, of course, but base Destiny is certainly better value now, and a good time for PvP fans regardless of add-ons.

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9. Mercy rule puts an end to one-sided Crucible matches

We’ve all been there; you and five randos from different countries are teamed up against a crew of six perfect PvP gods with no lag and a private chat party, probably under the command of Julius Caesar. You immediately get steamrolled and the rest of the match is just painfully waiting for the inevitable.

Shaxx takes pity on you. If shit goes south in a major way, the match will be ended early, so you can go play with someone else and get on with your life. This is a great change; there’s nothing more dispiriting than sitting through one-sided matches.

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10. All your Exotic Bounties have auto-completed

Bam. Any Exotic Bounties you had sitting around in your inventory before the patch dropped are complete. You’ll find whatever it was you were chasing in your Exotic Blueprints in the Vanguard hall.

I really wish I’d known this beforehand, to be honest, because I know I’d never be able to earn a Thorn the old way. Not that it matters any more, because…

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11. Thorn has been nerfed

Yes, the undisputed king of PvP has had a little tuning. Unlike Gjallarhorn, which will be replaced by new Exotics anyway, this one’s going to stay relevant in The Taken King because PvP isn’t level adjusted.

That damage over time effect has taken a major hit with a 33% downgrade in both PvE and PvP. To compensate you can now stack Thorn poison damage up to five times, and the end result is actually more powerful than before, but you need to land all five shots – you can’t just drop two bullets in a Guardian and walk away.

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12. Ice Breaker and Black Hammer have been nerfed

Ice Breaker and Black Hammer were too good to be true: powerful sniper rifles that refill their own ammo? Spectacular.

Well, they’re still good, but: Ice Breaker will now take seven seconds to recharge each shot, as opposed to the already eternity-feeling five, and the White Nail perk that refills Black Hammer’s magazine on critical hits now draws on your ammo reserves to do so. So. You know. Let’s learn to actually play the game, hey?

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13. The House of Wolves has given up and gone home

The rebellious Fallen who served under Skolas have decided to stop getting their faces smashed in on the regular and go back to working quietly for the Awoken Queen – well, probably. Who knows what happened to them? The point it, they’re gone – we can expect the Taken to liven up Patrol missions in the future, of course.

Don’t worry, you’ll still have plenty of chances to visit the Reef and chat with Petra Venj. The former Corsair will have new challenges for you to tackle, and will still award you a treasure key for the first Bounty you fill each week.

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14. Eris is over it

Now that Crota is well and truly canonically dead, Eris has bigger things to worry about. She’ll no longer be offering bounties targeted at Crota’s forces.

On the other hand, she’s very keen on Oryx’s pet army, the Taken, and will still reward you with reputation for the tackling Crota’s End raid. Fulfil her quests to rank up – she’s no longer capped at four ranks and will hand over reputation reward packages on the regular. Nice.

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15. New Bounties, Bounty tracking and more Bounty space

Now that you don’t get an XP boost from the Nightfall, Bounties are your best way to increase your XP earnings while you’re out and about. It’s now easier than ever to take advantage of Xander’s contracts: you can carry up to 16 Bounties at once, and Bounty space is separate from quest and story mission slots.

Open your Quest menu and you can turn in completed Bounties or track them, making it easy to check progress by bringing up your Ghost in the field. Give it a go – Xander has a bunch of new Bounties to try.

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16. Everything is quests now

You know how the story of vanilla Destiny was sort of, uh – invisible? Like you followed your waypoint around and tuned everyone out? Bungie is hoping its new quests system will improve on that, by sending you to interact with characters and providing more context for your tasks.

You don’t need to wait for The Taken King to try this out, by the way – you’ll find all the old missions are available at the Abandoned Quests collections terminal in the Vanguard hall, including one that introduces your second subclass. You’ll score a bunch of XP and other rewards for running through your quest log, and get to know some of the cool dudes in the Tower, too. Nice.

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17. Strikes offer more rewards – if you participate

Strike Playlists have always been a bit divisive: some people love them, and some people don’t see the point. Now that the number of Strikes is going up and Bungie’s adding remix elements to them the whole thing seems to make more sense – and to tempt you back in, Bungie has made some changes to the system. For starters, you need to actually shoot the boss to get the activity rewards (many of which now drop in-game rather than on the activity summary screen), so no more carrying idlers through, with any luck.

Moreover, if you stay in the Strike playlist and keep playing rather than going to orbit, you’ll get more rewards from the next Strike, stacking multiple times.

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18. Burns are not your friend

Daily and Weekly Heroic activities, including the Nightfall, usually include a couple of modifiers which Bungie sometimes calls “skulls” (a hangover from its Halo days). Of these, elemental burns are everyone’s favourite – arc burn? Hello, Fatebringer!

That’s changed. Bungie has nerfed burn damage output, reducing it from triple to double. Unfortunately, enemy burn damage against Guardians is unchanged, at triple the regular amount. Ooh, yeah; that’s not gonna be fun. On the other hand, The Taken King will introduce equipment with elemental resistances, so you’ll have a fighting chance against Omnigul’s incessant bullshit.

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19. Exotics change colour with shaders!

Here’s one for the space dress-ups crowd: some Exotics will change colour when you apply a shader. This makes me very happy. There’s nothing worse than putting together a perfect outfit only to find that your favourite Exotic chest pieces clashes like capitalistic social pressures and the quest for inner peace.

It won’t apply to everything, unfortunately, but it’s cool that Exotics will still look a bit unique, I guess. If you’re a Warlock or a Titan this may mean less to you than we flamboyant Hunters, hey.

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20. Major weapons rebalance

There are hours and hours worth of discussion to be had on the weapons rebalance. You’ll want to read those sections of the patch notes carefully – although it’s worth noting that your old Exotics will mostly be outclassed anyway, so don’t worry too much about ’em.

Base weapons though – that’s important stuff. Auto rifles and pulse rifles have both been buffed significantly in PvE. Scout rifles are slightly more powerful with bigger magazines. Hand cannons have been nerfed in terms of ranged and off the hip accuracy, with smaller magazines. Shotguns have been nerfed significantly, including a reduction in critical damage. Fusion rifles have been adjusted in a bunch of ways we can’t make a judgment call on yet. Rocket launchers with Grenades and Horseshoes perks have been nerfed for a smaller blast radius.

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21. A new approach to weapon perks

Bungie has made a huge number of adjustments to the myriad perks found on weapons. Looking through them all one by one will produce howls of outrage, as many of your favourites will feel quite different in Destiny 2.0.

Overall, though, the point of the rebalance is to make perk choice more meaningful. The idea is to force you to specialise – to build towards specific min-max situations with a risk-reward payoff. Pile everything behind your favourite stats and double down on your particular playstyle, see?

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22. Bladedancers are less deadly, Gunslingers are more dangerous

This one’s for Crucible fans, mostly: Gunslingers have been made even more dangerous with a boost to Golden Gun damage. There’s now no chance of walking away from a direct hit no matter how you spec your Guardian.

On the other hand, the other Hunter subclass is now a little less dangerous, thanks to some major changes to Blink. There’s a longer cooldown on this short-range teleport, and you should be able to see what direction the Bladedancer is traveling in.

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23. All your equipment has been downgraded

Log in today and your 365 damage weapons are suddenly listed at 170, with a similar downgrade on defence. What? Don’t panic: this is part of a normalising across the whole game. You’ll do the same amount of damage to enemies, and be just as tanky as you were yesterday. The numbers have changed, but the effect hasn’t.

Right now, you still have the very best gun there is – but when the Taken King drops on September 15, you’ll discover that literally everything you pick up is more powerful than your old boomsticks. Oh, boy.

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