Destiny 2, while not surprising, is sure to break many a Guardian’s heart: inventory from Destiny 1 will not carry over into Destiny 2. There’s even a canon reason for it: Ghaul (or Gary), has destroyed all our stuff.
There are several positives to this, such as that Destiny 2 won’t feel like just another expansion to the original game, and that Bungie will have the chance to sort out some of its lingering balance problems.
Even so, we all have gear that we’ll be sad to see go (such as the very mediocre void-damage Secret Handshake I used to complete the Crucible section of my Thorn quest).
Beyond all of our very personal favorites, there are some that have never quite disappeared and remain iconic. These represent some of the best – and worst – of Destiny 1.
Be sure to comment below with your favorite weapon(s) & most memorable moments from these past few years!
The Stranger’s Rifle was, in its heyday, part Crucible wrecking ball, part reminder of Destiny’s early flaws. Given to the player from a character responsible for one of the most infamous lines in Destiny (“I don’t even have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain”) at the end of mostly-incomprehensible storyline, the Stranger’s Rifle – a blue rare drop, no less! – was a force to be reckoned with…sometimes.
Its fortunes rose and fell with the nerfs and buffs that affected the other pulse rifles in the game, but from the moment it appeared, we all wondered: “Why is one of the most unique weapons in the game not even Legendary?”
It reappeared later as the exotic weapon “No Time to Explain,” which remains a more enjoyable gun due to the questline required to obtain it rather than due to its actual utility. Even so, many of us look back on The Stranger’s Rifle with fondness – it’s a reminder of the early days, and of how far Destiny has come since September 2014.
We could easily make an entire list of weapons that have defined the Crucible Meta, but since few auto rifles have held that honor, the Doctrine seems to be the most worthy addition. This is especially true because it represents one of the longest-lasting sticking points in Destiny: the division between PvE and PvP; and beyond that the division between players who adore Trials of Osiris, and those who can’t stand it.
There have been very few weapons in Destiny designed specifically to shred other Guardians in the Crucible, but this is one of them. This gun was a massive boon to those who managed to find the perfect roll, and a nightmare for those on the receiving end. With incredibly stability, massive damage, and an absurdly quick time-to-kill, it’s one of the few weapons to have ever unseated the formidable Last Word as the King of the Hill.
For a large portion of Destiny’s player base, due to its Trials requirement, many never had the chance to get it. In fact, it’s almost iconic for that reason alone. Unlike most of the other guns on this list, it has no impressive lore, there’s no special quest, and it’s not even a particularly unique-looking.
What it is – or was – is excruciatingly powerful, and Destiny’s Crucible community latched on to it immediately. Until it was the target of another nerf, which left it with modest, but not overwhelming, power; and it was of course then abandoned for fairer shores. In its own way, it’s a great symbol of many of Destiny’s guns – but we’ll remember this one because, although brief, its time in the sun was enough to force an impressive number of Guardians to rage-quit.
Ah, how far we’ve come. No Land Beyond makes this list for several reasons, and not all are positive. There’s no denying that it’s instantly recognizable (it is, after all, a bolt-action rifle), and ever since it first appeared there have been small groups of Guardians capable of harnessing and directing its potency – in contrast to most of the player-base, who turned this weapon into an exotic shard immediately after realizing it’s a bolt-action rifle. It was, for a long time, the butt of joke, and it has never had any utility in PvE whatseover.
Only over the last year or so has its true power revealed…and then came Update 126.96.36.199, in which Special Ammo was completely nerfed. Suddenly, having a sniper rifle in your primary weapon slot was a huge leg up in the fight for Crucible victory.
After the nerfs to sniper rifles that placed shotguns at the top of the food chain, No Land Beyond was the only rifle that could be used aggressively, in the thick of things. It was the only sniper rifle that could be used without massively slowing down the pace of the game.
And the complaints began. True, No Land Beyond didn’t “flinch” the way other sniper rifles did – line it up, and no matter how much you were being shot, your own bullet would land true. This wasn’t a problem when other rifles were still viable, but suddenly…well. All things must pass, and we’ve now reached a point in Destiny’s lifespan where even the No Land Beyond was nerfed.
You know the old saying: you either die a hero, or you live long enough to become the villain. Now the NLB is both: a hero to the few who’ve used it since they first received it, a villain to the many, and a testament to the tides of change.
Shotguns have always been difficult for Bungie to balance, and Felwinter’s Lie was perhaps the height of a truly ludicrous moment in Destiny history. On top of being a max-range, max-impact shotgun, it could also be found with the unbelievably good perk, Shot Package, which was later removed from the game entirely.
If you owned this Crucible salt-harvester, you may look back fondly on all the fun times you had, sliding around every corner and shotgunning enemy Guardians from all the way across the map. If you didn’t (like me), you probably have a different memory: pure, unbridled rage.
The lie, is that it was a sniper rifle, not a shotgun.
6. SUROS Regime
Nostalgia as a weapon of war. Style as a hallmark of victory.
So reads the inscription for the SUROS Regime, the most gorgeous piece of hardware ever introduced into Destiny. “Darth Vader’s Ferrari,” it’s been called. This was the first weapon we saw from the now-well-known Foundry SUROS, and it remains the crown jewel – the F40 of guns, if you will; outclassed but never forgotten, and still cherished by the community.
In the early days of Destiny, this was the most fearsome gun in the entire arsenal, a mighty weapon that could carry its wielder through the deepest depths of the Darkness and the most intense Crucible combat. It chewed through enemies with shocking ease, all while making some of the most satisfying and distinctive sounds to be found in the game.
While the soundtrack remains unchanged, its might has diminished somewhat – after the first nerf to Auto Rifles arrived, it never quite rediscovered its former glory. Now, at the tail end of Destiny 1, its perhaps the closest its ever been to its original state, but it’s likely that it faces too much competition to ever sit atop the heap again. I offer the SUROS Regime a farewell salute, and though it may die when Destiny 2 releases, it will live forever in our hearts.
5. Ice Breaker
“I’ll stay up top and snipe Oracles.”
If you’ve been around since the days of regularly running the Vault of Glass, you probably have heard – and have uttered – those words yourself. By constantly regenerating ammo, and giving you the power to explode your enemies, the Icebreaker (along with the original Black Hammer) offered an excellent – if not quite above-board – way to annihilate bosses with minimal risk.
In Year 2 the Icebreaker didn’t return – except briefly in Trials, when changes to the special ammo economy meant that the Year 1 variant could reliably put your team in the lead through well-placed shots. Once that ammo nerf was undone, it faded back into obscurity.
Until now… With the changes to Crucible ammo economy once more placing an emphasis on the ability to find ammo quickly, the Year 3 Icebreaker has found a place in the PvP meta again. Of course, it remains perfectly usable in PvE, but with abundant ammo and more user-friendly options on hand (the Icebreaker kicks like a mule, and ultra-high impact rifles are popular for boss encounters) it’s not quite as necessary as it once was.
Even so, this sniper rifle remains one of the most visually and aurally distinctive weapons, even more so because its almost remained unchanged since the very beginning. It’s iconic not just because it demonstrates the lengths that players will go to get around the game’s restrictions, but because it once represented the zeitgeist of Destiny.
Vex Mythoclast: “Hey, what about ME?!”
Although Fatebringer was most popular during a time when hand cannons more or less ruled Destiny, it was neither exotic like Ice Breaker nor a running joke like Felwinter’s Lie. Instead, it was perfectly well-rounded due to its combination of perks and how freakin’ rad it was.
First and foremost, the combination of explosive rounds, firefly, and outlaw was both mesmerizing and occasionally frustrating. With well-placed shots, you could chew through legions of Vex without breaking a sweat – until an explosive round cancelled your Outlaw perk, and threw your Templar run into chaos. Or if, for some unlucky Guardians, Firefly activated and crashed your console. Even so, it was a mainstay of PvE content, offering hard-hitting reliability, satisfying explosions, and deliciously useful Arc Element Damage.
Once Year 2 came around, Fatebringer wasn’t brought up to Light, and the closest thing you could get to it was the exotic Ace of Spades. While itself a fine weapon, nothing ever quite delivered the satisfaction that Fatebringer did, until the Imago Loop was introduced.
This gun, however, came with random perks, and getting the perfect “Fakebringer” roll took some Guardians countless strike completions. Besides, if we’re being honest here, “Imago Loop” just doesn’t sound as awesome as Fatebringer.
This week, you can finally get your hands on the Exotic Adept version!
3 & 2. Thorn & The Last Word
It feels difficult to discuss one of these weapons without the other, since they’ve been tied together in both lore and gameplay for so long.
Canonically, Thorn and The Last Word belonged to two of Destiny’s best-known characters: Dredgen Yor and Shin Malphur, respectively, and the showdown between these two warriors is the stuff of Grimoire legend.
In particular, there is perhaps no weapon that has been more indicative of the “health” of the Crucible than Thorn, as it has experienced a near-constant stream of nerfs and buffs. Once, it could two-shot enemies at any range. Then, a series of nerfs left it almost unusable, before recent buffs to hand cannon accuracy have rendered it a viable, if slightly de-fanged, version of the original.
Almost more importantly, the original Thorn could only be obtained through one of Destiny’s most grueling questlines, which required hard-to-achieve Crucible sprees, and a truly difficult assault on a particular Hive Wizard – Xyor, the Unwed – in “The Summoning Pits.” The reward was, of course, worth it.
Thorn is mostly cherished for its unique and unsettling gun model, along with the flavor text that introduced it. Yes, Thorn was the very first time that players heard of “The Books of Sorrow,” and we had to wait until The Taken King before we finally learned that said books weren’t simply a one-off that appeared in Thorn’s flavor text. Like many weapons, Thorn isn’t quite the beast it once was, but it remains a cornerstone of Destiny, both in terms of its lore and in the role it played in shaping the Crucible.
The Last Word
Similarly, The Last Word has gone from massively overpowered to massively frustrating, and now back towards a happy medium. This was never a PvE weapon, unlike Thorn, which could be wielded with impunity anywhere. However, as an up close and personal Crucible tool, it’s always been at or near the top, especially when it could still two-shot from the hip.
Those times have passed, but it remains a potent force. Of course, it is slightly less popular now that sniper rifles are mildly less viable in the Crucible, but in a one-on-one with a skilled user it’s still one of the most powerful weapons in the game. It’s also possible that The Last Word makes its wielder feel cooler than any other weapon in the game. Both the lore behind it and its unique animations bring the Space Western aspect of Destiny to fan-firing life, and mowing down a rushing Guardian while shooting from the hip remains one of the most satisfying feelings to be found anywhere in Destiny.
Whether these two guns will make a return in Destiny 2 remains to be scene, of course, but it’s obvious that their fates are wound together. I wouldn’t be surprised it we see their ancestors at some point over the course of the next game, because together they’ve defined a generation of gun-slinging space heroes. Which of the two was your favorite?
I thought long and hard about weapons that could possibly unseat the Gjallarhorn as the most iconic Destiny weapon of all time, and although the Thorn and Last Word seemed an obvious second, it seemed equally obvious that no weapon has had the impact on Destiny that Gjallarhorn has.
For all of Year 1 it was, bar none, the most purely powerful weapon in the game. It became, as many will remember, a necessary component of all “LFG” posts, the calling card that identified a Guardian as a power to be reckoned with. And it delivered: in its original form, it absolutely annihilated foes, its Wolfpack rounds causing unapproachably massive amounts of damage, particularly when the “Solar Burn” modifier was active. Add to that the fact that it was sold exactly twice by Xûr: once in the very early days of the game, when no one bought it because it wasn’t a machine gun (and who would use an exotic rocket launcher?!), and once at the very end of Year 1, when all of the people who never received it wouldn’t have a chance to use it before it was left behind.
It wasn’t just gameplay, though. Tor one of those reasons that will likely never be quantified or fully explained, the trivia surrounding the weapon appeared to resonate with players:
The Gjallarhorn was designed and personally crafted by Feizel Crux as a gift to the Guardians who fought the Battle of the Twilight Gap. It was forged from the armor of the Guardians who fell in battle.
This seemed, in some ways, a perfect summation of the game: an evidently tragic past that was, in Year 1, almost completely unattainable for players due to the fragmented nature of the game’s story and lore, but that resulted in something that everyone who played Destiny absolutely loved. That is, a rocket launcher with 16 wolves on it that utterly destroyed anything in its path.
So here we are. Even though the Gjallarhorn isn’t as hilariously powerful as it once was, it’s still the mightiest rocket launcher in the game. Why, just last week I used it to destroy Crota, and I felt as though I was back in the early days.
There are things that will always bring a smile to my face, and one of those things is obliterating my alien scum with a beautiful rocket launcher that’s covered in wolves.
Who knows what Destiny 2 will bring, but if Cayde-6 is to be believed, we have a lot of new loot to look forward to. Here’s to forging new memories & new legends!
Oh, and I can tell you that if Xûr sells an exotic rocket launcher the first weekend of Destiny 2, I won’t be letting it get away!