Published on: Aug 26, 2015 @ 18:13
Our discussion of the subclass redesigns continues with the Sunbreaker. The Solar Titan is largely unchanged, with a few perks shuffled around and a few descriptions altered for clarity, but there are still some notable differences we’ll outline for you.
As always, you’ll hear what we have to think about each talent and how it compares to the initial set that was shown at E3.
Much like the Nightstalker, the Sunbreaker’s grenades haven’t changed a bit. In fact, the only change is to the name of the Sunbreaker’s unique grenade: “Match” grenades have been appropriately renamed “Thermite” grenades, which is probably a better name choice on the whole.
No changes here, either. Titans only have one glide/lift profile, and the Sunbreaker is no different.
NEW Forgemaster: Throw more hammers, and hammers cause bigger explosions.
It’s safe to say this perk effectively replaces High Noon, with a very similar description as our leading evidence. In fact, it appears to be a buff, as it no longer requires the Sunbreaker to have high health to take advantage of the benefits. Of course, Bungie may have scaled down the extent to which the Hammer of Sol may be abused, so it remains to be seen how potent Forgemaster is. Unfortunately, the lower skill curve also removes some of the cool synergy with older perks that restored health and granted overshields for flame kills. The name is pretty cool, though.
NEW Suncharge: Press (R1/RB) during Hammer of Sol to hurl yourself forward. Enemies in your path explode, chaining fiery damage to other enemies.
The perk name hasn’t been altered, but the description has changed significantly enough for us to consider this a redesign. Most notably, enemies that are caught in the Suncharge are now specified to explode, and will chain solar damage to nearby enemies. This immediately jumps out as a PvE-friendly addition to the perk, and is perfect for dealing massive damage while applying an AOE DoT to anyone unlucky enough to survive the initial Suncharge. According to Claude Jerome of Bungie, you’ll also be able to use it “a bunch of times.” Keep an eye out for the potential synergy this perk will have with another Sunbreaker perk listed later on!
NEW Scorched Earth: Ignite the world, creating Sunspots everywhere your Hammer of Sol impacts.
The amendment to the word “where” to become “everywhere”, and “Scorched Earth” replacing “Conflagration” are the only changes to this perk. We preferred Conflagration; it’s always good to expand your vocabulary! We got our first glimpse of Sunspots with the Strike footage, too. They appear to be a sort of hovering Solar AOE, in which a flame encircled by a ring of fire deals damage to nearby enemies while providing shelter to the Sunbreaker within.
Sunstrike and its perks are largely unchanged. A couple of perk description and names have been altered, but from what we understand the talent effects are identical to what we saw in the first reveal.
Melting Point: Burn away your target’s defense. While burning, targets are weakened to both you and your allies. [Description updated]
NEW Thermal Vent: Replaces “Fulminator”, and has an updated description, but is otherwise unchanged. The name is a welcome shift, “Fulminator” sounds like a bad Terminator joke.
Stoke The Forge: Reduces Sunstrike cooldown. Getting a killing blow with Sunstrike instantly recharges it. [Description updated]
NEW Flameseeker: Your Hammer of Sol will alter its flightpath to seek out your enemies.
The perk itself is not new. However, it has been moved from its previous location in the Class Talent column. Additionally, it now appears to offer both a Recovery and an Agility boost, whereas previously we only noticed Agility. We’ve confirmed via the stream that it does in fact offer both of these, which is a first for Destiny!
NEW Explosive Pyre: Enemies felled by your hammer explode, chaining fiery Solar damage to others.
This replaces Wildfire, a perk that initially was slotted in the Class Talent column. Although its description is slightly different, it looks like it will be identical in function. We still believe that Explosive Pyre will be an excellent PvE choice, inspiring you to abuse your Solar abilities early and often. With the addition of a similar DoT effect to Suncharge, if you select these two perks, every one of your kills with the Hammer of Sol will cause your victim to detonate and spread fire to anyone nearby. Take advantage of this indiscriminating devastation when enemies are clustered and you’ll be a powerful Sunbreaker in no time.
Fleetfire: Enemies brought down by your fire grant you bonus Agility and Reload Speed for a short time. Stacks up to 3 times. [Unchanged]
Perhaps a testament to the strong foundation for the Sunbreaker, not much has changed in its class tree either. A couple of perks have been re-shuffled from other columns, with updated descriptions – but the practical differences are few and far between. We’ll describe each just to reassure you that you aren’t overlooking something.
NEW Simmering Flames: When Super energy is full, grenade and melee abilities recharge twice as fast.
Replacing “Tempering”, Simmering Flames provides what is likely an identical effect, just with more clear and precise language. It’s nice to see Bungie describing exactly what “more” means, as the word “double” is quantifiable and instantly appreciable. It looks like Sunbreakers are going to have good reason to save that Hammer of Sol for when it counts, as they’ll be able to halve their Grenade cooldown. With max Discipline, assuming the buff is applied second, that’s a grenade roughly every 15 seconds! Throw in the Catapult modifier, and you might just even make a Sunsinger jealous.
Cauterize: Enemies brought down by your fire regenerate your health. [Unchanged]
Even though its synergy with High Noon gone, Cauterize is still a powerful survivability tool. You’ll have to weigh the potential Overshield from a Sunspot with Fire Keeper against the more mobile-friendly, Hungering Blade-esque boon that Cauterize can grant you. While an Overshield is nice, we now know that it won’t persist if you leave the safety of the Sunspot AOE. Free health is reliable, and can be proc’d with a Grenade, Melee, or Super kill.
NEW Fire Keeper: When standing in a Sunspot you gain an Overshield and Hammer of Sol lasts longer.
Wreathed in Flames was simply moved from the Passive tree and renamed “Fire Keeper”. It’s good to see that powerful Overshield remain as an option for the Sunbreaker. As mentioned above, it unfortunately doesn’t persist if you exit the Sunspot, so it is best utilized when you’re prepared to stand your ground.. We’re curious to see if the extended duration for Hammer of Sol results in a net gain for hammers thrown, or simply gives you more time to throw a pre-set amount. After all, Forgemaster already ostensibly has that role. Do the two stack? If that’s the case, then it’ll be hard to pass this up.
Actually, not much! The Sunbreaker is more or less the happy Solar Titan we saw when we last checked in on him. We think this speaks to a fundamentally sound design with perks that lead towards balanced, but useful builds.
But what do you think? The Nightstalker was extensively re-tooled, and the Sunbreaker stays more or less the same. Did Bungie make the right call? Or is there something you wanted to see on the Sunbreaker that you feel was a missed opportunity? Let us know in the comments!