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Destiny: praise RNGesus, Gjallarhorn is getting a nerf

Destiny developer Bungie has announced a major rebalance, and a lot of you noobtubers are in for a shock.


Destiny is getting one of its very rare rounds of weapon tuning, and it's an absolute doozy. Expect Guardians to be snapping pencils and leaving all-caps comments for months.

There's a lot to look through but let's start with the big one: the almighty Gjallarhorn is being nerfed at last, with a simple damage reduction to its target-seeking Wolfpack Rounds.

"We definitely intended to have a high damage Heavy Weapon that was ideal for PvE destruction," sandbox designer Jon Weisnewski wrote in a new blog post.

"What we did not intend, and what we unfortunately saw, was pick up Raid and Nightfall groups gating participation based on whether or not players had this weapon. Gjallarhorn was so strong that for many people it had become the only answer to getting through tough encounters, and therefore they were less willing to spend time with other players that didn’t have it.

"We strive for Destiny to be a place where a single weapon or strategy does not dictate how, or with whom, you spend your time. In the new world Gjallarhorn is still worthy of its legacy as an exotic Heavy Weapon, but we hope it promotes inclusive behavior rather than exclusivity."

Oh, Bungie! You do read my letters. The attached graph showing Gjallarhorn usage was probably more what convinced you though, let's be real.


Gjallarhorn's nerf is just one of a huge pile of changes, and Weisnewski likened fixing outliers like Gjallarhorn and Thorn to "plucking a few meatballs out of this massive plate of spaghetti".

"These changes are all very dependent upon each other to be successful, and after careful consideration we decided the best road ahead was to present them all together as a full update," he wrote.

"Thank you for your continued patience! I mean that very sincerely. However, the total amount of time we as a studio can spend on a given build of Destiny is a shred of a fraction compared to the first hour this update hits all of you. As always we are excited (and slightly terrified, to be honest) to see what comes of this update in your hands."

I'll summarise the changes below, but it's really worth hitting the blog link above to read Bungie's discussion of why each change is being made:

Weapon category updates:

  • Auto rifles:
    - Increase base damage
    - Start damage falloff closer to the player to emphasize its role as a close to medium range weapon
    - Small reduction in base stability. Landing shots at optimal range is unaffected, but repeated precision hits require more weapon control to land consistently
    - Boost damage by 10% against AI combatants
  • Pulse rifles:
    - Reduce base damage of the medium RoF by about 2.5%
    -- PVP: Bursts-to-kill (all precision hits) is 2 or 3, depending on victim’s Armor stat
    - Small reduction in base stability. A burst should still land all shots at optimal range, but three precision hits will require more weapon control to land consistently
    - Increase magazine size on for all base inventory stats
  • Scout rifles:
    - Increase base damage for medium to high Rate of Fire Scout Rifles
    -- PVP: Does not affect TTK in PVP on a Guardian with full health
    - Increase magazine size for all base inventory stats
    - Reduce Final Accuracy when firing from hip
    - Fast firing outside of ADS will be less accurate
    - Boost damage by 5% against AI combatants
  • Hand cannons
    - Start damage falloff closer to the player to limit long range lethality
    - Small reduction in ADS accuracy, targeted at making long range snap-shooting less reliable
    - Reduce final accuracy when firing from hip
    - Fast firing from hip is less reliable
    - Reduce magazine size for all base inventory stats
    - Reduce base Optics (zoom) for all Hand Cannons
    - ADS now grants more width in favor of depth
  • Shotguns
    - Shotgun perks that enhance lethality at range should be less effective when combined with a high initial Range stat:
    - Reduce Shot Package Accuracy buff by 30%
    - Rangefinder adds a 5% base Range increase on ADS (was 20%)
    - Reduce Precision Damage multiplier on Shotguns by 10%
    - Reduce damage against AI combatants by 10%
  • Fusion rifles
    - Slow charging, high Impact Fusion Rifles have decreased Range values
    - Makes it more difficult to max out Range for these weapons
    - Projectile Speed for Fusion Rifles is slightly reduced
    - Emphasizes the need to lead a targets outside medium range
    - Improve Accuracy for short range Fusion Rifles
    - Reduce Accuracy for long range Fusion Rifles
  • Sniper rifles
    - Final Round on Sniper Rifles buffs precision damage only, not base damage (This change only affects this perk when combined with Sniper Rifles)
  • Rocket launchers
    - Slight increase in base Blast Radius.
    - Grenades and Horseshoes proximity detonation reduced.

Weapon-specific updates

  • Hard Light
    - Increase base Stability to 80 (was 65)
    - Increase bounce count for Hard Light projectiles
    - Hard Light projectiles are not affected by Damage Falloff
  • Necrochasm
    - Increase base Stability to 60 (was 40)
    - Increase magazine size
    - Cursebringer perk will always trigger on a precision kill
    - Cursebringer explosion has increased radius and deals more damage
  • The Last Word
    - Reduce Range stat to 10 (was 20), reduce Stability to 20 (was 30).
    - Reduce effective range while in ADS.
    - Increase accuracy and precision damage aim assist scale when firing from the hip. “Get three coffins ready.”
    - Fixed bugs with Hipfire damage bonus applying incorrectly
  • Thorn
    - Reduce base damage of Thorn’s Mark of the Devourer DoT (Damage over Time) to roughly 1/3 of what it was in PVP and PVE
    - Allow DoT to stack up to 5x across multiple landed projectiles (This is a net buff for Thorn’s DoT, but reduces the lethality of the weapon in PVP)
  • Hawkmoon
    - Add a stack limit to Luck in the Chamber and Holding Aces so that only 2 of the bonus perks will ever stack on one round. This should prevent Hawkmoon from 1-hit killing full health players in PVP
    - Add 2 rounds to Hawkmoon’s magazine when Holding Aces is unlocked
    - Luck in the Chamber damage bonus reduced by 3%
  • Ice Breaker
    - Increase recharge time for Ice Breaker rounds to 1 every 8 seconds. Was 1 round every 5 seconds
  • No Land Beyond
    - Increase weapon handling speed for faster time to aim, ready, and stow
    - Adjust sights to fix overlap/parallax issue while aimed
    - Increase time decay of The Master to 8 seconds
    - Add an additional 20% Precision Damage bonus while The Master is active
  • Black Hammer
    - Increase ammo inventory to 18 rounds
    - White Nail perk now pulls ammo from your inventory
  • Lord of Wolves
    - Tripled recovery boost bonus for allies granted by Lord of Wolves

Bungie also said to expect "some surprises and twists" when The Taken King and update 2.0 launch on September 15, and went into detail on changes to base stats, perks and talents that will affect weapons across the board.

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