Y1 Exotic Changes, Patch Analysis (Part 2)

Published on: Sep 8, 2015 @ 16:05

We left off with changes to weapon perks, but now it’s time to take a look at what you were all anxious for: Exotics.

For the most part, Bungie has followed through with their original aims for Exotic redesigns. We’ll be sure to give your our honest and thorough take on what it means for their viability.

For the sake of consistency, we can only consider Y1 PvE/PvP content at this time. So keep in mind that Y2 redesigns could change any number of variables that render any analysis moot.

After you check out our analysis, watch Tefty experience it all for the first time:

Primary

Bad Juju/Red Death

The two Exotic Pulse Rifles are unchanged, with each receiving the requisite compensation balance to combat the class nerfs. It must be said here that Bad Juju and Red Death are going to run rampant in the Crucible, with the latter perhaps now being one of the best weapons in the game. Without the absurd threat from Thorn and TLW at PR ranges, Red Death will finally have its day in the limelight. It can be hoped that the new Auto Rifle threat will be enough to keep it in check, but there’s going to be a lot of experimenting this week, and Red Death will doubtless be at the center of it.

Hard Light

It keeps getting extra base Stability with every patch, and it’s now been pushed to a pretty substantial 80. While this is impressive, the biggest barrier to Hard Light’s accuracy has been its strange recoil pattern, and it appears Bungie hasn’t explicitly addressed this. Nevertheless, extra Stability, the lack of damage falloff on projectiles, and a cleaner FX with increased bounce count make every change to the Hard Light a positive one.

Expect to hear the satisfying churn of laser rounds this week as Guardians take to the Crucible to play with the newly balanced Hard Light, and give it a shot yourself. In PvE, you might find the high Magazine Size and ricochet rounds melt trash adds like butter. Who knows, we might have a top-tier Exotic on our hands!

SUROS Regime (Y2)

While most of us would probably think Suros taking a slight Stability reduction is something it could shrug off pretty easily, recall that barrel and ballistics options no longer have as significant an effect as of 2.0. For this reason, Suros is certainly going to have to rely on the newly-buffed Focused Fire to keep its reticle on target at those longer ranges. With that said, Suros certainly could barge its way back into the metagame in a big way. We still have nightmares about the “ping ping” that spelled death in the early days, and the pride of the Suros manufacturer will likely prove to be a solid choice in the Crucible, and even in PvE – just don’t try it against shields.

Necrochasm

It’s fitting, somewhat, that the weapon that took the longest to reach its full power in the game took the longest to reach its true potential from Bungie’s patches. Yes, the Necrochasm now is boasting a higher mag count, greater base Stability, and a Cursebringer perk that will proc 100% of the time with explosions that will shake the room. You may think to yourself: “This screams PvE!” – and you’d be right, except for the pesky detail that the Hive Exotic will not be joining us in TTK’s early days. With that said, you still should play around with it in the Crucible, where the increased damage from Auto Rifles and potential for double kills in Control could make it one of the funnest weapons available. You might not top the scoreboards, but hey that’s not all Destiny’s about, is it?

The Last Word

It’s taking a hit to its base Range and Stability, which further compounds the issues that will be introduced from the nerfs to Hand Cannons as a whole. It’s very difficult to speculate what this will look like in-game, but the cumulative result is a gun that can no longer pop skulls from an unreasonable distance. In fact, Bungie is clearly incentivizing its use in close-range, by offering extra aim assist on precision hits from the hip, as well as increased accuracy when firing from the hip. This pushes The Last Word into the territory in which it belongs, frankly. As the TTK is unchanged, it’ll still be a fearsome weapon in adept hands, but no longer the end-all be-all for Rumble.

Thorn

It’s going to lose out on a whole bunch of range from its barrel perks and Send It getting a nerf, in addition to the Hand Cannon class nerfs. This will already cheer up Snipers and Scout users considerably, as the likelihood of getting picked off with scary accuracy will plummet. On top of the more mundane statistical rebalances, Thorn’s DoT will no longer apply its full damage from a simple headshot. Instead, Guardians will be awarded a stacking DoT if they’re able to chain multiple shots together. The “two and done” combo is gone, and Thorn’s poke damage is severely weakened.

Now, Thorn is still going to be one of the most deadly guns in the game if you allow yourself to get caught in the open. It will likely still be a three-hit body kill, which means you won’t be saying goodbye to it just yet. However, the real issue of Thorn was that it rewarded opportunists who could pop out of cover for milliseconds and do the full damage required to finish off or severely weaken targets. Thorn users will now have to be a bit more enterprising to make their mark. And if they want to finish off their weakened foes? Remember that they’ll probably be finding a different grenade than Arcbolt. Overall, we predict Thorn will be right where it needs to be.

Hawkmoon (Y2)

Everything bad happening to Thorn’s range is also happening to Hawkmoon, but thankfully the no-longer-PS4-exclusive has a bit more base Range to fall back on. It’ll likely retain its 13 round clip, as Holding Aces now provides the two extra rounds that we predict the Hand Cannon rebalance will remove. For those rare matches where one lucky proc can mean the difference between a victory and defeat, some will be happy to hear that Hawkmoon can no longer one-shot-kill an opponent. Overall, Hawkmoon is going to stay in its niche, but have to work a little bit harder for its kills. You won’t be nearly as precise at nearly as far a range, but at the right distance, you’ll still be a two-shot force to be reckoned with.

Monte Carlo (Y2)

In addition to patching a small exploit, Bungie scaled its Stability upwards to compensate for the class nerfs. This is essentially a similar case to Vex Mythoclast, so know that your Monte Carlo is going to perform as expected. It was already very stable, and just needed a little bit of damage to really reach its potential, so we anticipate it being an excellent Crucible weapon, perhaps surpassing most Auto Rifles in the game.

Universal Remote

Expect to see this weapon in the Crucible a lot more, with its base Range increased by a mammoth 20 points. We’re not certain if Universal Remote’s unique perk is going to be affected by the Shot Package or Rangefinder nerfs, but if not, this Exotic Primary Shotgun might just be the best Shotgun in PvP.

Vex Mythoclast

The Vex will be staying the same, with two compensatory buffs to counter the changes to Fusion Rifles. It looks like the two are still tethered, but at least Bungie has improvised a suitable solution.

No Land Beyond

With a handling increase and a buff to The Master, NLB might very well be the choice for those of us whose aiming skills know no limits – in PvP, of course. We’ll have to see if the 3.0 damage bonus to the next shot is enough to hit a significant threshold in the Crucible. A one shot body kill would certainly be cause to use it, but likely too overpowered. In PvE, you’re still better off with just about anything else.

Special

Ice Breaker

They didn’t take off the nerf outright, but at least shaved off one precious second. Honestly, it’s still not gonna be worth it. In PvP, upon respawn you’ll have to wait a ridiculous 7 seconds before getting your first shot, and a subsequent 7 for each consecutive one. For a game mode that forces you into engagements in that time frame quite frequently, this is unacceptable. For PvE, unless you’re just hell bent on doing the old methods of safe and patient combat, you’ll be bored to tears with the new recharge rate. Time to learn how to run Oracles in VoG, Guardian.

Lord of Wolves

Rally will now grant +5 Recovery to allies in close proximity. We believe Bungie mentioned something about “tripling” the effect, but this may be what they compromised to come up with. Regardless, your team will only see the benefit if they’re consciously keeping close to you, and again we wonder why Bungie didn’t bother to increase the AoE just a bit more.

Plan C

Unchanged in every way, with only a small buff to base stats to maintain the status quo following Fusion Rifle changes.

Heavy

Gjallarhorn

See? It wasn’t that bad! Yep, Gjallarhorn’s infamous Wolfpack Rounds are only seeing their damage reduced by 33%. Well, it wouldn’t be that bad, except that we know Gjallarhorn is not coming along for the ride with TTK. It will still deal unparalleled damage for the remaining week, but as Attack and Light grow in Y2, it’ll be hard recommending Gjallarhorn even in Y1 content. It’ll still be a great choice in PvP, with a built-in Grenades & Horseshoes and tracking, as well as the Wolfpack Rounds that can surprise your foes every now and then. We’re curious to know if Gjallarhorn innate G&H is having its proc distance reduced, too.

Thunderlord (Y2)

We’re happy to see Bungie make Lightning Rounds live up to their name, by increasing their proc rate to 50%. With the slight damage increase from the class buff, the field will be awash with electricity as you mow down your enemies. They also gave Thunderlord a bigger Magazine Size, as Field Scout will no longer be of much use. It may still be an unwieldy beast when it spools up, but if you can keep it on target long enough, nothing is gonna withstand it.

 

That about wraps up Exotic Weapon Rebalances! We’re going to take a short break from reviewing the patch, and conclude with changes to Exotic Armor and other activities later tonight.

We may even have a sneak preview and analysis of some of the new Exotics from the database! Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.

Joel
I'm aWrySharK, your resident Exotic guru and lover of all things min/max. At PlanetDestiny, my perfectionism is no longer simply a matter of form over function.

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