Destiny‘s PvP meta has settled, with a number of weapons and subclasses reigning supreme for almost five months now. That’s how long it has been without a rebalancing patch, which debuted with the Rise of Iron expansion. But all that is about to change. Destiny will see the release of HotFix 18.104.22.168 next week, and the patch just may successfully deliver the shake up to PvP balance long time fans have been asking for.
Bungie showed off a number of the changes coming in HotFix 22.214.171.124 today in a developer live stream. One of the most notable is how Special Ammo will now work in the Crucible.
Special Ammo has been tweaked before but this change is new. When players spawn into a match, they won’t notice anything different; they will have Special Ammo to start. But upon death, a player’s Special Ammo will go away, similar to how Heavy Ammo works. To offset this, Special Ammo crates have an increased spawn rate from 90 to 60 seconds.
In Trials of Osiris or Elimination, players will spawn in with Special Ammo on the first round only. Death will cause loss of the ammo, and more will not be granted at the start of the next round, requiring players to pick it up from Special Ammo boxes.
Major Weapon Changes
As for the weapons that Special Ammo feeds, shotguns are getting the most adjustments. Despite Bungie saying shotguns would not be nerfed in this patch, it looks that way on paper. Admittedly, the dominant weapon class (making up nearly half of the Special weapon kills in PvP and nearly 15% of all kills overall) shotguns are not getting “nerfed into the ground” but they are definitely taking a hit. Here are the changes:
- Magnetism and aim assist are turned off when firing from the hip, pushing players to ADS to be most effective.
- In-air accuracy is greatly reduced.
- Precision damage has been removed. The Chaperone and Universal Remote exotics are excluded from his change. To offset the removal of shotgun precision damage, they get a 20% damage buff in PvE.
- ADS time has been slowed by 25% on the Rangefinder perk only on shotguns.
- The movement nerfs when holding a shotgun has been removed.
The next change targets the popular high rate of fire pulse rifle class, which includes The Clever Dragon and Grasp of Malok. These killers of the Crucible are getting their rate of fire decreased by 7.7%, which adds a frame in between shots and lowers the damage per second. In addition, this archetype is getting a base magazine size reduction, which could be further hampered by perks that reduce magazine size.
Another issue with these pulse rifles was when they were paired with the perk High Caliber Rounds. That perk’s effectiveness has been reduced on pulse rifles, and it is being fixed to actually work on hand cannons and scout rifles where they have been incorrectly working.
On the opposite end of the spectrum of pulse rifles, the lowest rate of fire pulse rifles are getting a buff, having their rate of fire increased by about 5%. This effectively increases this archetype’s DPS and appears to allow for two-burst headshot kills. Pulse rifles, auto rifles, and scout rifles are also getting a slight boost to their in-air accuracy. As for auto rifles, the class is getting a base damage buff and the lowest rate of fire archetypes are getting an increase to headshot multiplier damage.
Hand cannons, which are quite powerful, are getting a slight adjustment, but one that many longtime fans will be happy about. “Ghost bullets” on hand cannons is an ongoing issue and debate, and Bungie is fixing that a bit by returning the initial accuracy of hand cannons back to Year 1 settings. That means that the first shot (or fully reset shot) will land exactly where it is aimed. However, the accuracy then blooms out from there just as it has been on all subsequent shots. To try to even they buff out, hand cannons are getting a base range reduction of 5 meters, which will effect damage drop off, aim assist, and magnetism at a range.
Destiny Subclass Changes
Bungie then showed a few changes coming to subclasses. The Bladedancer’s Hungering Blade will no longer instantly regen health and shields, but instead, the ability will regen a set amount of health, which is allowed to bleed over to regen shields with any remaining HP after filling the health bar. The only other adjustment to Hunters is adding Solar damage to the Gunslinger’s Throwing Knife.
As for Titans, the Striker’s Juggernaut perk has been nerfed, getting a reduced duration and losing the ability to activate in the air. While Juggernaut has been buffed in the past to draw players away from the Sunbreaker class and to the Striker class, it has shown to be highly effective in the Crucible.
Lastly, Stormcaller Warlocks are having their melee range pulled into the same range distance as the Voidwalker and Sunsigner melee. In addition, having the perk Landfall will reduce the length of the Stormtrance super.
Bungie said that individual changes to exotics including Truth, Universal Remote, Young Wolf’s Howl, and Shinobu’s Vow will be detailed in the full patch notes. HotFix 126.96.36.199 implementing these changes will drop Tuesday, February 14 at 10 a.m. Pacific.
Destiny: Rise of Iron is available now on PS4 and Xbox One.