A smart Destiny 2 player decided to run a number of tests that revealed a few key points about how the game handles Kinetic and Energy weapons, in both PvE and PvP.
Seeing as Destiny 2 is the first game in the series to upend the old weapon categories system, we needed more information about how the new Kinetic and Energy categories work, beyond what the game could provide.
Reddit user Kitsunekinder tested the damage done in PvE across the two categories, and the different weapon types: auto rifles, scout rifles, submachine guns etc, while taking into account whether the enemy was shielded or not. Of course, it’s common knowledge that you need to use an Energy weapon to take down enemy shields, but do you actually lose anything by treating Energy weapons as primaries?
According to his findings, Energy weapons do 10% less damage than Kinetic to a non-shielded enemy. If the enemy has a shield, however, an Energy weapon will do around three times more damage, regardless of where you hit or even if you’re using the correct element. The comparison here is apples to apples, so a scout rifle is being compared to another scout rifle and so on.
Like we mentioned in our Destiny 2 guide, you should always switch to an Energy weapon whenever you see a shielded enemy, even if it has the wrong element.
Energy weapons are also the only category capable of the shield burst effect, of course, but only if the elements match. A shield burst does great damage to the target and the enemies around them when it happens – not to mention look cool.
Some of his other interesting findings cover how the different enemy ranks take different amounts of damage for the same shot. Elites (enemies with yellow health bars) will take the same body shot damage as a regular enemy, but about 50% less damage from crit shots.
As for PvP, both Energy and Kinetic weapons do the same amount of damage to players in standard firefights. However, if a player is in the process of using his Super, your Energy weapon will do 10% more damage to them, regardless of whether or not you’re matching the element. This is particularly helpful when dealing with roaming Supers like a the Striker Titan, the Stormcaller Warlock etc.
You can follow the original link to see the entire methodology, and the rest of the numbers breakdown. It’s really fascinating stuff.