Analysis: Patch 1.1.1 & You

Published on: Mar 1, 2015 @ 9:50

Contributing authors: Anson C & Ryan Kirby

Now that Patch 1.1.1 just rolled out, some changes may heavily affect the way you play.

It’s strangely satisfying keeping heavy ammo on death and all, but the community has forgotten about the existence of heavy weapons now that shotguns hit like a hand-held howitzer.

The balancing was largely successful at defining each weapon classes’ roles. Turning dust collecting pulse rifles into kings of Crucible and breathing new life into shotguns in PvE—something many people thought impossible.

We detailed the changes before the patch deployed, but now that its live, its time to see how everything is shaping out.


As expected, armor that previously increased heavy ammo reserves no longer come with the drawback of that ammo being reduced on death. Machine Guns never suffered from this glitch but rocket users and Fireborn Sunsingers will be happy to know they can use their favorite weapons with reckless abandon.

Auto Rifles of all kinds lose some of their usefulness, especially those of the high Impact variety, as the effective loss in damage is roughly 10% when range is taken into consideration.

However, high Impact Pulse Rifles such as Red Death are much more powerful, capable of doing more damage than high impact Auto Rifles in a short amount of time.

Shotguns are now much more useful, dealing double the damage that they did in PvE. While they may not be the weapon of choice in situations like Nightfalls where Lightswitch is activated, or when incoming damage is too high for close quarters combat to be practical as a result of the range decrease, the increased damage more than compensates for the lack of range.

A shotgun with elemental damage like Swordbreaker can easily kill Praetorians within a couple of shots.

While the patch notes do mention a nerf to Armor Piercing Ammo, in practice this only means that you cant shoot through particularly thick objects. Sniper rifle rounds can still go through cover, just not things like the floor and walls in Phogoth’s Shrieker room. Damage is unaffected if the bullet penetrates.

Golden Gun’s damage has been unintentionally decreased as a side effect of the hand cannon nerf.


As an inadvertent side effect of the Fusion Rifle nerf, the Vex Mythoclast has less ammo in the magazine and in reserve, but this will be fixed in a later patch.

Because heavy ammo no longer drops from anyone, it is particularly imperative to wait until your teammates are nearby when heavy ammo spawns. As a result, an effective strategy is to simply steal the other team’s heavy ammo spawn since you can deny all of their heavy ammo, even in the case that you die in the process.

One of the most monotonous Iron Banner bounties, Focused Aggression, can now be completed with any primary weapon.

The range nerf for Shotguns and Fusion Rifles have affected Fusion Rifles more, possibly shifting the balance of power in favor of Shotguns and Sniper Rifles with low magnification scopes. While Fusion Rifles are still the optimal close-mid range special weapon, they can no longer reliably kill in a single burst from across the map, and the prevalence of shotguns means that it is even more important to stay away from high traffic areas of maps.

Shotguns, despite the universal range decrease, can still be used at ranges greater than 5 feet, though it is even more important now that you have a shotgun with any combination of naturally high Impact or range with Shot Package or Rangefinder perks.

High Impact Pulse Rifles such as Red Death can kill within 2 bursts, assuming every bullet hits the target in the head, dealing about 34 precision damage per shot.

High Impact Auto Rifles will deal much less damage, with the Vanquisher VIII dealing 23 precision damage and SUROS Regime dealing roughly 31 precision damage.


When the balance patch was detailed, the shotgun buff looked more than a little silly. Shotguns lost some of their range and starting ammo, but gained a 200% damage buff in PvE.

The change was intended to get shotguns into PvE, but the community was quick to note that the damage shotguns dealt wasn’t what kept them from being useful outside crucible. Their low range coupled with the burst damage of high level enemies simply made shotguns poor equipment in the endgame.

Turns out 200% is quite a lot. The difference between shotguns pre and post patch is so jarring that many players changed their playstyle just to mix it up with these weapons.

Videos like Phogoth being stun-locked by Universal Remote or Urzok dropping to the red with a full burst from Invisible Hand flooded the Internet after the patch. Many Guardians are having fun with shotguns, and it shows.

Shotguns only received nerfs in PvP, and yet they seem to be even more abundant. Perhaps players that had stayed away from shotguns found them so fun in PvE that they simply couldn’t put down these weapons long enough to play a Crucible game.

The clear winner of 1.1.1. are shotguns. If you’re looking to get your hands on one of these weapons now that they’re the talk of the tower, you’re in luck. There are a variety of fan favorites available for purchase, from New Monarchy’s Judgment VI to the Crucible’s Two To The Morgue. If you snagged yourself a Felwinter’s Lie from Iron Banner, or you picked up a Universal Remote from Xur, you’re bound to be getting a lot of use out of these weapons in the coming months.

But it bears repeating, don’t try to hit Crota with your shotgun… unless of course you’re in a group of invisible Bladedancer Hunters.

Pulse Rifles

As soon as the phrase “Weapon Balancing Patch” was uttered, we knew pulse rifles would be getting some love. After a blanket 9.7% damage increase—and a little help from auto rifle and hand cannon nerfs—pulse rifles are finally performing up to par.

Pulse rifles now correctly fall somewhere between auto rifle and hand cannon as a primary. They’re less punishing on whiffed shots than a hand cannon, due to their burst fire, but they’re not as reliable as auto rifles.

In PvP, pulse rifles are performing well—maybe even a little too well. High impact pulse rifles (Three Little Words, Red Death, and The Stranger’s Rifle to name a few) are killing in two precision bursts, making them some of the deadliest weapons in the game.

pulse rifle buff

Players (not so) fondly remember the vanilla Bad Juju, the original Necrochasm. After the balancing, Bad Juju became a situational primary that complimented certain builds, but still lacked the punch to be viable in endgame content, especially in the Crucible. Well, it’s been bulking, and in 1.1.1. it’s reached its final(?) form.

If you’re looking to try out the new and improved pulse rifles there are a few options. If you haven’t been graced with a Red Death or the bounty for Bad Juju, your best bet is to pick up Three Little Words from the Crucible Quartermaster. It’s the best & most well-rounded pulse rifle available for purchase right now.

Oversoul Edict retains its situational, PvE-exclusive perks, but it’s very strong in the right scenarios, especially now that full auto has been fixed.

Are you kicking yourself for getting rid of The Stranger’s Rifle right now?

Hand Cannons

You would have thought The Traveler was falling when the hand cannon nerfs were detailed. There was even talk of hand cannons being completely phased out.

Hand cannons received a decrease in range and damage fall off now happens closer to the shooter. This change is only really noticeable when trying to out-gun snipers or guardians with scout rifles from across the map. Hand cannons still feel like an incredibly rewarding choice for Crucible.

Thorn remains a beastly weapon in all areas of Destiny, but now there’s more reason to pick the Send It perk. Suck it up and complete that Thorn bounty already.

TFWPKY 1969 and Fatebringer are still fantastic weapons, especially for PvE where their perks can shine, and The Last Word still rules the PvP arena.

Auto Rifles

Without question, auto rifles took the biggest hit in 1.1.1. Bungie claimed a 2.5% reduction in base damage and a range nerf, and the community was mostly on board.

Only time will tell, but the patch may have went a little too far in some places. Low RoF auto rifles were already valued before the patch for their high Impact, while high RoF auto rifles were mostly relegated to PvE. The gap between the two camps has widened even further.

Low RoF auto rifles, like SUROS Regime, Abyss Defiant, and Vanquisher VIII have taken a noticeable hit to range and stability. They’re far from unusable, forcing users to display a little more finesse in lining up precision hits outside mid-range.

Unfortunately, high RoF auto rifles are even harder to work into a build—guns like Atheon’s Epilogue, Silimar’s Wrath, and Bungie’s punishment for months of cheesing normal mode, Necrochasm, are outclassed by better options.

Thankfully Bungie did address that Necrochasm wasn’t preforming as well as it should be, so we may see it buffed in the future.

If you don’t want to live anywhere but in the glory days of auto rifle domination then your best bet is to get real friendly with New Monarchy for a Vanquisher VIII – check out our full review for it. Guns like Do Gooder V and For The People are still solid pickups too, you’re just going to have to work a little harder for those kills.

Other Weapons

Fusion rifles were the ‘other’ weapons to be changed in latest patch, but lowering their range and starting ammo while increasing spread hasn’t buried these weapons. Their usefulness in PvE may be questionable in the wake of the shotgun buff, but their telltale charge still screams “don’t turn that corner” in PvP.

Of the weapons not directly affected by 1.1.1, scout rifles benefited the most. The range reduction on auto rifles and hand cannons has created a climate where scout rifles can truly succeed in the crucible.

B-Line Trauma, Badger CCL, and Another NitC are incredibly strong and easy to obtain. Gheleon’s Demise is notable for its super high impact and re-rollable perks. Check out our Legendary reviews section for our thoughts on these weapons.

Changing Landscape

Shotguns are a blast in PvE. As Guardians search for the best ways to incorporate these weapons into PvP, they may forget that Valus Ta’aurc has an instant-kill ground pound. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Despite nerfs in PvP, shotguns have clearly weathered the storm. Related: It’s a great time to use Blink.

Pulse rifles, hand cannons, and scout rifles are all well-balanced. These weapons feel strong in their own right, but none are so powerful that they can be used to full effect in every situation. Each classes’ unique traits have placed even greater emphasis on using a secondary weapon to offset their natural weaknesses.

Auto rifles might be a tad weak. They’re still decent options for PvE thanks to their consistent damage output and overall reliability. However, in PvP they have to compete with pulse rifles and its unclear if they’re up to the task.

destiny weapon patch analysis

For now, the patch was successful in opening up build diversity—especially in the crucible. Weapons certainly fell like they have a prescribed purpose, and no weapon fells like a skeleton key.

There’s still plenty of uncertainty. Everyone will have to experiment with their arsenal to settle on what feels best for them. Weapons that have been ignored since launch are making their way to the front lines.

It’s a great time to experiment, and we can only hope that when the dust settles, there’s better diversity at the top of the weapon charts.

What loadouts are working for you? Did you stick to your guns or pick up something shiny and new?


Check out if you’d like to talk to others about Destiny in a friendly and welcoming community! :)


  • Keith Christmas

    Generally I’m happy with the changes. You’re right on saying that weapon classes have more defined roles now, and that’s absolutely to the benefit of the game in general.

    But low impact autos have gotten screwed. I understand what Bungie wants them to be. They’re supposed to be for laying down a hail of bullets for indiscriminate close range crowd control. Something you’d use against a crowd of charging thralls, for example. But the problem there is twofold. Firstly, so little of the game, especially in high tier play, suits those kind of weapons. It’s too rare that they’ll be useful often enough to make them a regular part of your loadout. The second problem is, there are so many other weapons that can play crowd control effectively against trash mobs (literally any weapon with Firefly, for example) and still excel in other areas, that most autos are just completely redundant.

    I understand what Bungie is trying to do. The weapons are, to an extent what they want them to be. The problem is, what they want them to be just doesn’t suit the game they’ve designed.

    • c

      f this

  • Issac Tisnado

    Three Little Words was my first Legendary and I was doing faily well with it in the Iron Banner when I first started playing again (January), so I’m excited for the patch to see how they perfrom. I have too many weapons to level up at the moment, I’m off tomrrow, then start leave the day after, so I can’t wait to get home!

    hope you fellow Guardians are enjoying the patch! as always, great work Planet Destiny!

  • Sumire CorpseGrinder Muroto

    I used yo hate pulse rifles, but this patvh made itso bad juju is niw my go-to exotic

  • Jimmymann

    You still lose heavy ammo when you respawn after going to orbit (which is s**t).
    And technically it’s not true that machine guns weren’t affected. You always lost/lose 1 bullet (instead of 1 rocket).

  • brad

    At first I was upset about the new weapons patch because they were screwing with more things. This article and the one before has really opened my eyes though and made me think

    • ProfessionalCitizen

      Alright! Keeping an open mind!

  • Fenrir

    After this patch, i havr a black omen…as wr have seen, according yo bungie, the more you use a weapon, the more broken it is…so they “balance it”.

    That being said, i can see that pulse rifles will get a nerf on a future patch…why? Because people will use most of the time those weapons amd on bungie’s logic to date, that is bad.

    Shotguns will be ok, because they only care about pvp and not pve, so they will be saved and maybe…just maybe, a little buffto AU, but i can hardly see that one comming, because bungie is an expert in nerfing buy not in buffing.

    Before people starts trash talking, check the facts…bungie talked about too many people using AR on the IB, but maybe it was because of that bounty.

  • enjaytee

    I didn’t even notice much of a difference with Hand Cannons. Maybe it’s because I never tried to kill anything at sniper range with it.

  • Applejack

    I’m confused, did shotguns take a range nerf in PvE as well?

    • ProfessionalCitizen

      Yes, but it doesn’t particularly matter, because damage is radically higher than before.

      • Applejack

        Back when I was pre-level 20, I used a shotgun all the time. I think it helped I received a 365 dmg Secret Handshake as my Bungie Christmas gift (after the most recent patch, 331 dmg -_-). As the enemies became deadlier, distance became more important. Getting one-shotted in melee range is dangerous, but the shotgun damage is extreme after this patch. I can two shot the Blade of Crota in the Crota’s Fist mission (with no headshots). But is it worth the risk with a Swordbearer in Crota’s End hard mode? I don’t know, maybe. I prefer caution, but then again, I do play a Defender Titan.

        I would like the range restored for PvE, but maybe keep the change in the Crucible.

        • ProfessionalCitizen

          A quick note: any attack rating over 330 wouldn’t be useful anywhere in the game other than giving you a slight advantage at the end of HM Crota, so don’t be too sad. Besides, you weren’t supposed to get 365 anyways.

          But yeah, some extra range would be nice in PvE. Then again, that would defeat the purpose of a high risk, high reward weapon.

          As much as shotguns are pretty great now, I would be hesitant to use them in a raid, at least for crota. Generally you want to be very conservative there. If you have felwinters or universal remote, something with max range and impact, I would say no on the sword bearer because you don’t want to get too close. A high rate of fire shotgun may be a decent choice for tearing through thralls and other weaker enemies that get too close though.

  • Finesse K

    This patch has kinda ruined my play style not so much in PvE but a lot in PvP because I use auto rifles like Suros, Abyss Defiant and Vanquisher and they just don’t compare to the pulse rifles now. I find Suros being beaten by the Strangers Rifle even though i’m landing consistent head shots with Suros. And don’t even get me started on Red Death I easily went 20-6 while playing with it in Clash yesterday, so I hope Bungie can see this and correct the problem.

    Now I have no problem with the other Nerfs or “Balances” I agree fusion rifles range was just to high and effective and that the pistol should be not so effective at a far range, especially for people who use Thorn a lot which I find to be the most crutch exotic in PvP.

    Also with us not being able to pick up heavy from other players we should at least be given a bit more to begin with…And shotguns in PvE perform really well maybe to well I find myself not even using my primary in strikes because shotguns tear through anything not even bosses like the Nexus and Phogoth are to much of a match.

  • Finesse K

    Also to add the Vex Mythoclast basically feels broken you spawn with less ammo which has already been noted but it feels like the range has been nerfed you have to be extremely close to kill then usual it’s not effective at all how it was in PvP pre-patch so I really hope the community helps bungie notice these problems so they can fix them.

    • Applejack

      The Vex Mythoclast was broken pre-patch, so if it’s not performing like it used to, all the better. I faced enough of those damned Vex guns in the most recent Iron Banner to make some matches exercises in frustration and vulgarity.

  • J.T

    I’d like to see some actual statistical comparisons between Pulse Rifles, Scout Rifles, and Auto Rifles now. Where does each class rank in terms of DPS and TTK on average? I’ve seen a lot of people claiming that AR’s now have the lowest DPS and TTK of any class of weapon, and that they are ‘useless’ but I still regularly use AR’s even after the patch, and I haven’t noticed that much of a difference.

  • Oscar Enrique Miranda


  • Thiago123

    I feel like this write up is beating around the bush too much. We all know that auto rifles got nerfed into oblivion for PvP. There’s no need to wait and see. The ONLY autos used in a Crucible pre patch were the high impact ones and they took the brunt of the nerf by a wide margin.

    For no discernible reason, Instead of just raising pulse rifles to compete, Bungie also kicked autos off the playing field. It is almost like they forgot that several high impact pulse rifles can also fire in full auto mode.

    “Display a little more finesse?!?” how can I do that when I’m being 2 shotted by Red Death?

    Why would I hold the trigger down on Vanquisher doing 23 head damage when I can hold the trigger down on Strangers Rifle doing 33?!

    • Keith Christmas

      And this highlights the heart of the problem, and the reason why Bungie is struggling to get the specific balance right.

      There was never any need for Pulse Rifles to exist.

      You want range and accuracy at the cost of RoF and difficulty with up close engagement? Use a scout. Want good rate of fire and medium range at the cost of damage per shot? Use an auto. Want maximum per shot damage at the cost of limited range and punishment for poor accuracy? Use a hand cannon.

      So… What were pulse rifles supposed to do? Fill a medium range niche between autos and scouts? That’s an awfully bloody small niche, made even smaller by the fact that hand cannons mostly excel at that range, plus the fact it’s easy to round out your loadout with the right special weapon anyway.

      They were redundant from the get go, and now Bungie is trying desperately to justify their existence, but because there’s always going to be a redundant class, raising one up has to come at the expense of another.

      I foresee another 18 months of constant seesaw between pulse and auto, until Bungie puts out Destiny 2 and rebuilds the whole system from the ground up.

      • Applejack

        I don’t know that the entire problem is pulse rifles. I think Bungie can balance this primary weapon damage paradigm as it exists. I think we can all admit high impact auto rifles maybe got hit a little too hard. If I could make a suggestion, I would cut the difference between how they were and where they are now damage-wise. Whatever range and accuracy nerfs they took, leave them in, I think it puts auto rifles where they need to be range-wise. As pertains to the Crucible in particular.

        • Keith Christmas

          Maybe. But I suppose then the question becomes; based on Bungie’s current foundering attempts to make any change that doesn’t immediately swing things from one extreme to the next (see also: going from never having anything to spend glimmer on to never having enough of the damn stuff), what are the odds they’ll ever actually manage it?

          That said… Holy crap, are shotguns ever fun now. I just found myself bounding repeatedly over the top of Valus T’aurc just so I could fill his face with Invective. I keep killing enemies by dropping directly on their head while firing, like Mario stomping a goomba. Bungie might have a hard time making changes that aren’t as extreme as humanly possible, but that’s one I can get behind 🙂

          • Applejack

            I think it can be managed sometimes with big changes, and sometimes little changes. The most recent patch, I think it felt pretty big. A whole new balance to the Crucible, I can understand why. But now, even out the wrinkles with a small patch, see how it goes. I don’t want Bungie to adopt a stance that every patch has to be big and radical.

            I get the Glimmer market man, I’m down in a depression right now myself. Most recent Iron Banner, I bought a lot of new stuff. Now I’m broke with no way to upgrade it. Damned ascendant shards in short supply too. You think with the weekly matchmaking they could add matchmaking to the dailies too? Daily public events are not enough.

          • Keith Christmas

            Yeah, I guess they might, but it’s been a LONG time since I couldn’t solo the daily. Not that I need to anymore. As soon as you’ve got raid gear, ascendant shards do nothing more that take up space in your vault (not gonna junk them, because you KNOW Bungie is gonna make them suddenly essential come the next expansion).

            Energies I can kinda use, since I still have a couple of legendaries I want to upgrade, but mostly I’m all raid gear and exotics now, so that’s more for my own amusement than it is for any real pressing need.

    • Finesse K


    • Aaron

      I won’t even play PvP until they get the weapon balancing right. I’m tired of them adjusting the entire game just because PvP isn’t balanced. I mean, this is Bungie. It’s not like they haven’t had plenty of experience in PvP, and yet they continue to fail. What each and every one of these updates will do is just move the “best weapon” title around. They won’t ever solve the problem. It’s coming on to spring time. BF 4 was way more “broken” and they had their game (mostly)fixed by this time last year.

  • FloydRTC95

    Hating that my Doctor Nope has finally been phased out, I got good enough perks to control the recoil but now it just spits damage in the Crucible instead of breathing fire. Had to break it down to upgrade my Three Little Words.

    On another note, I highly suggest taking Found Verdict into VoG now. 2-shots Oracles on Normal, 3-shots on Hard. It’s also incredibly good at dropping those pesky Minotaurs and Praetorians, flat-out scoffing at their shields and blowing off their heads. Feel free to jump into their faces and blow them away. Side note: Blink-Shotgun can now work well in PvE as well as PvP.

    Really wish Universal Remote hadn’t been hit by the Range nerf though, the whole point of it was it’s longer range and precision damage while being a Primary, but now it can get smacked by Swordbreaker and Found Verdict on a regular basis. Unfortunate, to say the least.

    No Land Beyond needs a RoF buff, like the Intervention from MW2 or MSR from MW3. Also, a decent set of sights and ADS speed buff would be incredibly useful. I’ve talked many a player out of using it as it is now, and I hope someday I can encourage my CoD friends to head over to Destiny and grab NLB for some space magic and quickscoping.

    • Applejack

      I remember the first “Modern Warfare” game. The M40 with the ACOG did a little extra damage, enough so the multipliers made a single hit on any part of the body a kill. It took a certain skill to do (dudes felt smaller and moved quicker in Modern Warfare mind you), but if the No Land Beyond felt like that M40 with ACOG, it would be my weapon of choice. In a game of overpowered M16s with red dots, I still loved using it.

  • BenqEnobe

    Is anyone else struggling to get a match made weekly heroic run without at least one of the other players being inactive?
    Disheartening and frustrating, I was hoping that particular change would be for the good but obviously human nature has other ideas.

  • Paperworkdan

    You still lose heavy ammo when switching weapons… wasn’t that supposed to be a part of the fix?

  • Blaw

    No that happens with any weapon

  • DangerousDonnyD

    I’m really enoying the pulse rifle buff and I found myself using Bad Juju as my primary most of the weekend. The string of curse perk has to be one of the best in the game. While I don’t venture to much into pvp I like changing my loadout through each wave of a strike depending on what is to come.

  • SkeletonPack

    At this point, Auto Rifles and Pulse Rifles have switched places. Sure, Auto Rifles aren’t particularly bad, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you use them over other weapon types; the same was true for Pulse Rifles prior to their buff.

    Personally, I think Auto Rifles in general should have their close range (8-16 meters) damage increased to the power they dealt before there were any sort of nerfs, but with some severe damage drop-off over range; “bullet-hose” Auto Rifles should have some minor stability increases and improved flinch/stagger, in addition to the general buffs.