Patch Outlook: Where Do They Stand?

Fresh off the desk of Greg Peng over at Bungie, I’m Tijo bringing you all the latest news (and some personal opinions) on the newest round of weapon balance changes!

Exotics

Fabian Strategy

  • Kills with this weapon will automatically load a portion of the magazine
  • Increased base range by 16% and base stability by 45%

It’s no secret that the Fabian Strategy is one of the guns that’s been longest in need of a rework. The Titan Specific Auto-Rifle will see a bug overhaul in Rise of Iron, and from looking at the buffs, it looks like it’s going to be a bit of a beast!

The automatic reload is borrowed from Bad Juju, and what a perk it is. It’s slightly brought in hand by only being a portion of the magazine, but this is huge for Auto Rifle lovers. Add in those stat boosts to range and stability (two of the most important perks on AR’s!), and this looks like it could become the Titan weapon of choice, finally worthy of that all-important exotic slot.

Thorn

  • Base range reduction of 25%

Let’s face it, we all feared the return of this monster. Flashbacks of Year 1 two taps, people using it in PvP the past few weeks to get used to it again. A weapon that truly divides the community.

The range nerf is needed, warranted and welcomed. It makes the Send It perk almost necessary to combat the nerf, and means the other perks in it’s tree can’t be selected. After using it in the past couple of months on and off, I whole-heartedly agree this way forward was right.

Universal Remote

  • Exotic Perk range bonus decreased by 75%
  • Increased Rate of Fire (side effect; lowers impact)

Ah, the shotgun of shotguns, the junker that is really a beast. Well, in this patch, it’s had it’s talons clipped and it’s teeth blunted.

Many in the community, especially those using the UR, will freely admit this weapon needed reigning in, but these changes are drastic, even by Bungie’s standards. It may have turned from a beast to a junker! The range bonus granted by it’s exotic perk takes it out of max range territory, but it does increase the Rate of Fire, so it remains to be seen where this gun will be left. It could well become a different shotgun archetype with more range than any of the others in it’s archetype, much like it’s the highest impact archetype now, but with more range. We won’t know until we see it!

Dreg’s Promise

  • Damage increased by 8%
  • Magazine size increased by 3

The Dreg’s Promise is back, and in the Sidearm section below, you’ll see even more reasons, but these buffs are specifically for this weapon.

I don’t have much to say about this one, honestly. It’s not had a lot of love, and for good reason, but an 8% increase in damage could be massive for it. Let’s wait and see how it picks up…

Touch of Malice

  • Taking damage from Touch of Malice now removes Blessing of Light

Oh dear. If Bungie wanted to keep players in King’s Fall after Rise of Iron drops, this was not the way to do it! It was something used by a lot of people, but happily, they didn’t do anything to the Exposure perk, so this is still going to be viable, but taking Blessing away on that final bullet is going to neuter most KF raiding parties, unless Light Level makes a big difference.

Boolean Gemini

  • Added High Caliber Rounds as an intrinsic perk

Calls to bring Boolean Gemini back in to play have been vast and played out, and it looks like some notice has been taken here. This may bring the gun back in to play, but with the other buffs hovering around, this may well play out differently to the intention here.

Stagger is a big element of High Caliber Rounds and was the thing that was taken away from MIDA Multi-Tool for being overpowered. Adding it to the Boolean Gemini will bring this back in to contention, and it’s actually already a pretty good weapon already. On the PvE side of things, it will also bring it back in to a good spot for staggering enemies easily as an already high powered scout rifle. All around, a very positive change!

No Time To Explain

  • Added Headseeker as an intrinsic perk

I’ll not explain this weapon. Obvious reasons.

Seriously, though, Headseeker compliments this weapon really, really well. It adds benefit to the bullets that don’t hit the head where the bullets that do hit the head already have a major benefit. This should see the NTtE get much more use!

Non-Exotic Weapons

Sniper Rifles

  • Reduced damage on the mid-high impact snipers by 6.95%
    • Mid-High Impact Snipers will no longer reliably kill high armour Guardians in Super
    • No Land Beyond is unaffected by this change
  • Target acquisition reduced for LDR 5001 and Y-09 Longbow Synthesis ti bring it in line with other snipers

Huge. Absolutely huge. These changes to the “Mid-High” impact snipers will see the most used snipers in the game brought down a couple of steps, snipers such as the 1000-Yard Stare and the Y-09 Longbow Synthesis. Read on for even more changes, and more discussion.

Aim Deflection, or Flinch

  • Increased initial flinch strength from 30% to 50%
    • Each hit adds more strength to the flinch, up to 100%
  • Flinch multiplier increased on ADS sniper rifles to 1.9x (previously 1.85x)

Even more hits on sniper rifles, and under the radar, scout rifles too! It looks like a massive overhaul of how the flinch mechanic works, and it also looks, from the wording at least, as if Bungie has added the ability for even more flinch to be inflicted. From my time spent sniping, flinch was uniform on each successive shot; now it will increase, and that is absolutely massive news. And just to add a little extra nudge away from hard-scoping lanes, the increased the sniper ADS Flinch individually. Wow, Bungie. This is game-changing.

Auto Rifles

  • Magazine size decreased (no numbers given) for high rate of fire auto rifles.
  • Damage buff for mid-rate of fire auto rifles by 1.5%

Not a lot of huge news in the Auto Rifle world, but the mid-RoF archetype looks like it’s coming back in to play, and the Doctrine archetype, whilst not completely neutered, is being brought in just a little bit more!

Shotguns

  • Immobius, the Titan shotgun earned from the Gunsmith, has decreased pellet spread while ADS and a base stability increase of 60%
  • Full Auto shotguns (Invective excluded) now have less of a spread angle penalty.
  • High and mid rate of fire shotguns get an increase of 2% to damage

Interesting choices given here by Bungie. Shotguns are not nearly as rampant as they used to be, there’s no major special ammo changes, and there’s a little bit of buffing in certain key places. The full auto style of shotgun should see most Full Auto shotguns start to come up towards Invective levels, and the higher Rate of Fire shotguns may be making a comeback to a place where one could viably choose it over a Party Crasher +1 or a Conspiracy Theory-D! Interesting time for shotgunners all around in PvP! In PvE, the small damage buff, and the reduced angles on Full Auto should make even more of your shotgun drops viable to use! Good news all round for shotguns!

Pulse Rifles

  • Increased the Rate of Fire on the Lyudmila-D specifically (no numbers given)
  • 2% increase to damage on the mid-rate of fire Pulse Rifles, the Nirwen’s archetype

It’s no secret that the PDX-45 and Hawksaw have been having their day in the sun, and they are rampant right now. These couple of small changes seem to hint at trying to pull the spotlight slightly away by buffing others, rather than nerfing the contenders. I consider this a very good move!

The Nirwen’s family is getting a buff! This is fantastic news for those of us who played Iron Banner to get a great roll – I know I did! This should make it so one more body shot is allowed to kill a max-armour Guardian (if my math is correct, of course!)

Sidearms

  • Unified damage numbers across all archetypes
    • Häkke family damage buffed by 3% for low rate of fire, and 7% for higher rate of fire
    • Decreased non-hitscan Sidearms (Vestian Dynasty and Queen’s Choice) damage by 5%
  • Damage falloff increased by 0.5m across all Sidearms
  • Minor stability increase for all sidearms (no numbers given)
  • 20-30% damage buff in PvE for all Sidearms
  • Two new faster firing Sidearm families are coming. Visual representation of rate of fire will change on all current sidearms, but this is visual only, and will not affect in-game performance.

A lot to take in about Sidearms, a weapon class that, for me, is criminally under-utilised. It looks like Bungie want to uncover this hidden gem, and give it a bit of polish while they’re at it!

The PvE damage buff is very welcome; I had no reason to use a Sidearm previously, and whilst I probably still won’t, it’s nice to see! Everything else is tweaking to Sidearms, nudging them in a positive direction and unifying them so you know exactly what you’re getting. These weapons may well see a rise to infamy in this expansion!

Rocket Launchers

  • Cluster Bomb effective range increased
  • Grenades and Horseshoes activation radius brought down from 1.3m to 1m. Truth is unaffected.

G&H has been the one perk that every good Rocket Launcher had to have for a long, long time. Bungie have already brought the radius in once before, and they’re doing it again here to try and encourage more diversity in the perk pool. Especially with the Cluster Bomb buff! This may just push more people to use Truth, though!

Machine Guns

  • Highest Rate of Fire Machine Guns get 4% damage increase.

Not a great deal to say here. GG Bungie. Bringing more MG diversity is only a good thing!

Hand Cannons

  • Zaouli’s Bane rate of fire stat bug fixed.
  • Down and Doubt 00-0 and Kumakatok HC4 stat bar bug fixed

That’s it. Bug fixes. No extended range or ghost bullet detection fixes. No range increases, or stability decreases. Bungie are happy with where Hand Cannons are, even if the community largely is not! Interesting stuff!

Fusion Rifles

  • Accelerated Coils UI Impact stat bar fixed, UI only change (no gameplay difference)
  • Stat bars on Techeun Rage fixed

Hooray, no Fusion Rifle nerfs! (No buffs either, but still, no nerfs is always a good thing!).

I quote directly from the Bungie site: “You can stop making that joke now.”

Perk Changes

We’ll examine all the new weapons, archetypes, and how these perks operate overall after Rise of Iron drops, and put in some recommendations in a separate article. 

Take a Knee

  • Activates after 0.5 seconds crouched
  • 25% flinch reduction, and increased ADS speed by 25%

Exhumed

  • +5 seconds to the effect, bringing it up to 15 seconds

Cascade 

  • Melee kills automatically reload a portion of the magazine

Surplus

  • Now increases carried ammo capacity

Grave Robber

  • Proc chance now 25% (was 20%)

Guerrilla Fighter

  • Stability and range bonuses increased by 200%(!!!). Bungie likens this to adding Hammer Forged and Perfect Balance to your gun while the perk is active.

Magazine Perks

  • Magazine Perks will now give range bonuses
    • Removed impact stat bonuses that had no gameplay effect (only UI effect)
    • Armor Piercing Rounds adds 4 range, -4 to handling
    • High Caliber Rounds adds 3 range, -5 handling
    • Skip Rounds adds 5 range, -3 handling, +5 inventory

Unflinching

  • Decreased from 25% flinch reduction to 15% to make sure it doesn’t mess with new flinch mechanics

Firefly

  • Possible fix for the Firefly bug that has been present for a long time. 

Public Events

  • First Daily Gold completion rewards:
    • 1 Legendary Engram (at level 40, upgrade if below)
    • 15 Materials from the planet you complete the PE on
    • 15 Legendary Marks
    • 5 Motes of Light
    • Exotic Shard (Very low chance)
    • 4,000XP for anything that accepts XP
    • 25 Vanguard Reputation
  • Repeated Gold completion rewards
    • 200 Glimmer
    • 2-5 Planetary Materials (chance only)
    • 1-2 Motes of Light (chance only)
    • 1,500XP (unclear if only for gear or for everything)
    • Green/Blue Engram (I’d guess this is subject to level too)
    • 25 Vanguard Rep
  • Repeated Silver completion rewards
    • 100 Glimmer
    • 2-3 Planetary Materials (chance only)
    • 750XP
  • Repeated Bronze completion rewards
    • 50 Glimmer
    • 1-2 Planetary Materials (chance only)
    • 500XP

Public Events are worth doing again. This is massive for quality of life, giving players another reason to go down in to Patrol at least once per day, and giving the highly skilled players on Patrol the chance to help out lower-skilled or lower levelled Guardians all over again. Year One Public Events were a joy to behold, and where so much time was spent, and Bungie is bringing back just a little bit of that magic, if only for a little while.

Crucible

  • General Changes
    • Legendary Engrams removed from the rewards table, and replaced with Legendary Crucible weapons, which will now drop “significantly more often”
    • Crucible activity tooltips display bug fixed
    • Beowulf, Cicero and Gilgamesh Shaders can be acquired again
    • Reward logic for Shaxx Weekly Bounty vanity items fixed
    • “Factions” section of ‘The Mountaintop’ Quest will no longer have the New Monarchy step for earning points in Salvage.
    • Crucible Quartermaster Weekly bounties removed
    • Sterling Treasure from Weekly Crucible and Postmaster removed. Still available on Prison of Elders completion and from Eververse
  • Game Type Specific Changes
    • 3v3
      • Less Heavy Ammo per brick
    • Trials of Osiris
      • Now discontinued until September 30th
    • Elimination
      • Heavy Ammo now only has one spawn in a central location
      • Heavy Ammo persisting through rounds bug fixed
    • Salvage
      • Relic Capture spawn delay reduced to 10 seconds from 15
      • Time between Relic spawns is now 15 seconds (was 25)
      • Countdown on probe is now 30 seconds (was 45)
      • Interaction radius with enemy probe increased to 5m from 3m
      • Successful Sabotage score increased to 200 from 150, but only disabling player will get this score
    • Rift
      • Spawn with an overshield to cut down on Spawn Camps
      • Runner damage resistance extended by “a few seconds”
  • Map Changes
    • Rusted Lands, Vertigo, and Crossroads have invisible physics to prevent players reaching areas they shouldn’t be able to.
    • Pantheon has rotated lower Heavy Ammo spawn to stop ammo falling off the map
    • Blind Watch moved the capture point in Elimination inside to avoid Bravo team having an advantage

So. Many. Changes. PvP will start to become a very different place in Rise of Iron when combining these changes with the weapon balance changes. The obvious massive ones here are the Heavy Ammo changes in Elimination (which will also affect Trials!), the Salvage scoring overhaul that was promised and the Rift overshield. These are huge changes, and a lot of what the community wanted is in here. I, personally, can’t wait to see how Trials plays with only one Heavy Ammo to fight for!

 

Tijo
The Guardian Clown of the group. Fashion is my Destiny endgame, and I love to flaunt it in all the PvP modes, and in raids now and again. See you on the other side, Guardian.

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