The Crucibible: Aiming (Chapter 2)

Published on: Mar 21, 2015 @ 17:03

Aiming is pretty straightforward for the most part; not much about it changes at all between shooters aside from sensitivity ranges and speed.

Unlike the motion tracker, which operates a bit differently than most shooters, aiming in Crucible will be pretty much the same to every other game you’ve ever played.

An important distinction to make is the difference between aiming and recoil control. While the two do go hand in hand, each calls for a different set of skills to master.

In this chapter of the Crucibible, we’ll be covering all aspects of aiming and also a bit on recoil control.


Finding the right sensitivity for you is of utmost importance to mastering and fine-tuning your ability to aim effectively, so let’s start there. A low sensitivity has your character turning very slowly but it usually makes aiming and weapon handling easier. On the flip side, a high sensitivity will have your Guardian turning around extremely quick, but as a result, aiming can be more difficult to control.

destiny aiming guide

Ideally you want your sensitivity to be as high as you can handle it without having it be disorienting or negatively affecting your aim. There are a myriad of other advantages associated with higher aiming sensitivities:

  • A high sensitivity gives you the advantage of being able to turn around at lightning speed if you’re getting shot at from behind or flanked. Destiny’s field-of-view is relatively narrow in comparison to most FPS games so having the ability to quickly check your surroundings is key.
  • A more subtle advantage to a high sensitivity is that it allows you to maneuver around a map more smoothly.
  • The smallest of movements in the right stick will register and move your reticle by millimeters, granting you the ability to fine-tune your aiming to a tee and gives you more precise recoil control.

Lower sensitivities are easier to handle but generally offer less advantages. If you’re accustomed to using a lower sensitivity such as 3, try out 4 for awhile in PvE. After you feel more comfortable with it, try out 5 for a bit. The goal is to get as used to a higher sensitivity.

If you jump into an easygoing Patrol environment and master aiming for the head with a high sensitivity, it’ll make it that much easier once you’re ready to enter the Crucible.

This, much like the peripheral vision technique that was discussed in chapter 1, is all about developing your muscle memory. Practice flicking your thumbstick and try and internalize how far it moves with each flick. Train with the weapon that you are best with, or that has the highest stability, as that’ll make the whole process easier.

All things considered, what will really define your ideal sensitivity is your playstyle. Are you a run and gun shotgun/fusion rifle user? Then a higher sensitivity works best as it will allow you to jump between your targets quicker. Are you a patient sniper/scout rifle guy who prefers to fight from afar? Then a lower sensitivity will work best since it will give you greater recoil control without having to worry about jumping between multiple enemies.

An important thing to keep in mind is that your look speed changes depending on whether or not you are ADS. Aiming down sights reduces your look speed by a significant amount, enough so that you’ll struggle to keep up with a fast-moving target (Blinker). It’s usually best to pop in and out of ADS when you are going to be covering large distances between targets.


Once you’ve found the sensitivity that you are most comfortable with, you can start the process of fine-tuning your aiming.

Pre-aiming: predicting where and when an enemy will show up and being ready to fire as soon as your opponent appears.

The meta of pre-aiming changes depending on a wide variety of variables: weapon type, distance from target, line of sight, among others. These will be discussed in greater detail in future chapters.

  • This will allow you to not only surprise your target but also get the first shots off; you can get off 2-3 headshots before your opponent even knows where you’re shooting them from.
  • Know the chokepoints of each map and where most of the action takes place; pre-aim as you turn around corners in these densely populated areas.
  • You do not want to be ADS all the time as this removes your radar (unless your weapon has the Third Eye perk or you have the Knucklehead Radar), not to mention slowing down your walking and turn speed.

Aim Assistance

AA is strong in Destiny, and some weapons have much more of it than others. Whether it helps or hinders you will depend on your preferences.

It may get in the way if you’re shooting at someone at a distance and another enemy happens to run by. The aim assist may track him and throw your aim slightly off. This is especially aggravating when sniping.

destiny aiming ads guide

Bullet magnetism is also a thing. This pulls bullets towards your target, even if your crosshairs aren’t directly on it. You can put your crosshairs mere millimeters away from your enemy and he’ll still take damage from your shot.

You can usually use this to your advantage: If you can’t get a direct shot on an enemy behind cover, shoot as close to the edges as you can. More often than not, you’ll still hit the guy (especially with precision weapons).

Aiming Basics

Now that you’ve found your ideal aiming sensitivity and understand what to aim, it’s important that we understand how to aim most effectively.

Unless you’re using Southpaw, you’ll aim with the right stick and move with the left. As a result, most players think that each stick is exclusive to their function, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you only use the right stick to aim at your targets.

The movement stick can be used to aim at your target thanks to the aim assist; it keeps your weapon anchored to your target as you move back and forth.

  • Strafing, along with making you a harder target to hit, can also be used to fine-tune your aim if you find that your crosshair is a bit off target.
  • The ‘aim stick’ should be used for the initial “snap” to your target, recoil control, and following your target if they move.
  • The ‘move stick’ should be used to make minuscule adjustments, to make sure your shots hit the head, while using the movement controls to alter recoil and follow your target.

The way that you place your thumbs on the sticks has a huge effect on your aiming, believe it or not. Some gamers place either the tip, fingerprint area, or first knuckle bone on the very top of the stick.

The tip doesn’t work very well because it limits the your range of movement a bit; it’s kind of difficult keeping the tip of your thumb as you move the stick all the way forwards and also has a much shorter range of motion.The first knuckle bone doesn’t work very well either; it offers little precision and is more prone to slipping.

destiny ads aiming tips

The bottom “fingerprint area” of the thumb work best, towards the front and right below the fingernail. In my opinion it has the best range of motion, speed, and comfort.

Now, where on the stick do you place your thumb? I find the best place to be a nice middle portion between the very center and the edges of the stick.  The center is hard to stay on for the entire radius of the stick and having your thumb on the edges doesn’t give you as much control.

Get Uncomfortable

Automatic weapons are a bit of a crutch. Throughout decades of games, automatic weapons have conditioned most gamers to follow the spray and pray mentality. They require little thought by the way they reinforce the run and gun, mindless rushing mentality. They disregard things like controlling your shots and more advanced techniques.

Put down the auto rifle and pick up a hand cannon or scout rifle, even if you’ve never picked one up before. Take a few deep breaths, grab your new friend and take him with you into the Crucible. Try to use nothing but your hand cannon for at least 10 consecutive games.

destiny hand cannon tips

While you’re going through these games, keep everything you learned in this article in mind. Be conscious of your aiming, your shooting, and your positioning. There’s a reason that nearly all the best Crucible players run nothing but hand cannons.

  • Make your first shot count. Do not shoot wildly at the first hint of trouble. Line up the weapon, square in the center of your opponent’s face, and shoot.
  • Get out of the spray and pray mentality. Don’t wildly pull the trigger while you’re struggling to work with the recoil.
  • Go for the difficult shots and really test yourself and what your aim is capable of. The more you push yourself, the easier it’ll eventually become.
  • Don’t worry about your stats, that will come naturally as you learn these and other techniques. Let go of all that pointless worrying and have fun with practicing to get better.

Once the ten games are up, take a break and maybe go back to PvE to try out a new sensitivity. Have you found the best sensitivity for you yet? If you think you’ve reached the optimal setting, continue to work on your aiming skills with weapons you’re not necessarily accustom to.

It all comes down to repetition and muscle memory. The more often you practice, the better the results. Once you learn it, it’s like riding a bike. You’ll never forget.

Be sure to check out chapter 1 as well.

Chapter 3 of the Crucibible will teach you movement. How to move quicker, strafe better, slide, duck, jump, run, crouch, and sprint more effectively. You’ll learn how to be quicker and more precise with your movement.

Here’s a preview of what you can expect:

Martin Q

PlanetDestiny’s PvP specialist, author of the “Crucibible” guide. I’m a writer and I’m a gamer. Combining the two seemed like the logical thing to do. You can usually find me in the Crucible. If I’m not there then, I’m most likely dashing to and from class.

  • Christian Jimenez

    Destiny’s sensitivity is snail speed compared to most fps’ speed. I have to play on sensitivity 10 and even that is still slow. I play destiny and then I play titanfall or CoD and I feel like the flash. I use titanfall as a warm up before destiny and then I nail head shots like its my job

    • insanetrasher

      It also seems very different from a console to another, on PS3 I was playing on 8-9 while on PS4 I play on 5-6, but I’m still not 100% used to the new controller..

    • SGT_Pannenkoek

      And I’m just playing on 2 lol. but that’s a perfect sensitivity for me. Most of the time I end up in the top of crucible matches 🙂

  • You have to aim ahead of a player in PvP relative to your internet lag. I’m surprised you didn’t mention that in opening part about aiming. If a player runs across your path and you use an auto rifle. Head shots will miss unless you aim slightly ahead of them.

    • BurningPlayd0h

      Actually with how lag compensation works you may need to aim behind them to land your shots. I have experienced in both Battlefield and Halo games where it seemed that the hitbox was trailing behind my opponents as they move. Thats often part of what’s happening when you get behind cover and still die in many FPSs.

  • Sbeney

    Crucible…….. Nah

  • I love these crucible guides. The radar one was super helpful and helped me with awareness and this one was helpful as well. I wonder… I struggle if I should use the aim assist or not ( currently don’t). I feel like my skills will get better if I don’t use it, but would it be better to have it on?

    • Bob

      Aim assist is on all weapons, there is no way to disable it

      • Yep, only way to sort of remove it is by using weapons with less AA

        • Co

          I wish they would at least give an option to disable AA. Having your crosshair follow someone who just crosses your line of fire when trying to headshot someone else really makes me mad sometimes. Is this common in other FPS’s? Haven’t really played any in between quake 3 and Destiny..

          • Psyk0tica

            I feel your pain. I definitely lose a kill or two a game because it tracks the person that ran in front of my target. Some games its really bad and some it doesn’t happen. Anomaly is awful for it though.

  • NeoGeo7011

    Very good articles. Informative and comprehensive. I encourage players to read and re-read them. They have already helped me in both PvE and PvP.

    I was, however, confused about the use of the word “Crucibible”. Is that a play on the use of a guide? If it is, I would like to know the distinction between Crucible, and Crucibible. If not, it’s probably just a general lack of editing skills found on many of Internet sites these days. In which case, I recommend having a friend or colleague review your articles before posting. As a writer, you should know the impact that a first impression of a misspelling makes on the reader of a guide posted by an “expert”, no matter how good the content.

    Please don’t take this as an attack on your skill. I realize this is not a high budget site, and it sounds like you’re still, in fact, in school. The article is well written, and comprehensive, with a sensible flow from technique to technique, peppered appropriately with links to other references and videos. I realize the readership is 100% gamers, who spend more time watching video tutorials than written guides, a trend I find deeply troubling. But I like to utilize both to improve my gaming. I encourage you to not compromise on your professional imagery, no matter for whom you write.

    I look forward to more insightful articles.

    • Duzel

      I’m pretty sure it was a play on words with the Crucible being the PvP area as wells a adding a B to add he word bible to the word. Many people see the bible as a guide to getting to know God so the Crucibible is a combination of the two words (Cricible) and (Bible) to make a clever play on words that represents a guide to the Crucible.

      Just wanting to clarify since you probably over looked it. Hope I helped 🙂

      • Martin Quintana

        Exactly right.

        I didn’t come up with the name myself. A Reddit user suggested the name to me when I first shared my idea of writing these articles. It’s a pretty sweet name.

    • Truth

      lol is this a troll?


    Historically, I’d always played with a relatively high sensitivity in FPS games.

    About two years ago, I bought those Kontrol Freek stick-extender thingys and had to turn down the sensitivity (Like from an 8-9 to a 3-4, so quite significant!) to maximize the benefit.

    These things took about a day/two to get used to, but once you do: PHENOMENAL!

    Problem being: I had them for my 360 controller, but the sticks are a little smaller (diameter) for the XB1 and they don’t fit. I haven’t yet bought a replacement set, and now I can’t get used to a higher sensitivity again.

    Anecdotally, those Kontrol Freek things will force you to lower your aim sensitivity, but will offer a much more fine tuned aiming mechanic. I loved mine, and need a replacement ASAP. Until then, still rocking a 3-4 sensitivity!

    • Martin Quintana

      I thought about mentioning Kontrol Freeks but went against it since I’ve never used them myself. Everyone says they work great but I’ve never felt a need for them. I’m glad they worked out for you! I’m at 5 sensitivity myself as of now but I may raise it soon as I’ve gotten pretty used to it and still want a more speed.

  • Yachuki

    I love this website for all things Destiny. You guys are light years ahead of the rest of the pack.

    My one question about Destiny that has to do with this particular article is: How does Aim Assist work?

    How is it triggered? What negates it? How can it best be utilized?

    My only real perception of it is when it assists in my death by taking me off the head shot I was about to land and tracks a random across the screen.

    • Martin Quintana

      Hey, Martin here! I’m the author of the Crucibible guides. Glad you enjoy the content PD puts out.

      Aim Assist in Destiny works a bit differently than in other FPS games.

      Different weapons have different levels of Aim Assist, first of all. This goes for each individual weapon, not just weapon classes. For example, the Grim Citizen III Assault Rifle has an aim assist of 37 while the Suros Regime has an aim assist of 50. You can see the aim assist of every individual weapon here on Planet Destiny in the Database since those numbers aren’t in the game itself. A higher aim assist makes a weapon’s crosshairs “magnetize” with your target more; recoil will pull you off target less and keep your crosshairs centered more easily. At the same time, however, your gun will be more prone to being pulled by enemies who happen to walk in front of your target. The problem you described of aim assist pulling you off target if someone else runs by is a huge pain and there’s nothing you can really do about it.

      Along with a weapon’s inherent aim assist values, the scopes you can choose from also affect aim assist. The Stability stat and aim assistance go hand in hand but their not quite the same, which is why I didn’t talk about it in this article. I’m not 100% sure about this one but how I’ve interpreted it is that higher stability doesn’t necessarily mean more aim assist, it just lowers the kick of your gun which in turn makes aiming easier.

      As to how can aim assist best be utilized? Let it do your aiming for you. When you see a target and go to aim at it, don’t worry yourself with making sure you put your crosshairs exactly on it as the aim assist will make this easier. Rather, run you crosshairs towards your target and as the aim assist slows your crosshairs down, stop moving. Get used to when the aim assist kicks in and work with it, not against it.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have anymore questions or comment. I’m always happy to answer.