Destiny 2 Makes Sandbox Changes in Run-Up to Lightfall

Sandbox changes abound (once again) in the latest This Week at Bungie report for Destiny 2.

Another This Week at Bungie delves deep into a lot of Destiny 2 balance changes as we get ready for the Lightfall expansion (and its subsequent seasons). One such area that’s being altered, of course, is the “sandbox.” In other words, weapons and armor will all receive nerfs, buffs, and altogether reworks to make them more (or less) effective in PVE and PVP across the game. Just what is getting changed? I’m glad you asked! Here’s a very condensed breakdown of the full changes listed in the TWAB.

1. Airborne Effectiveness Becomes More, er, Effective

The Airborne Effectiveness stat essentially dictates how well auto-aim and other properties work when your Guardian is jumping or flying. The stat is getting a notable buff going forward — especially with primary weapons. This is to reflect the upcoming “Strand” ability subset in Lightfall, which allows players to swing and grapple through the air like, I dunno… some kind of “spider man.” Secondary weapons, like snipers and shotguns, will receive a much smaller change: at least a first. The sandbox team believes there’s still room to make them more effective in the air in the future.

2. SMGs Get SMEven — Destiny 2 Sandbox Changes Pre-Lightfall

The SMG weapon category, Bungie notes, is totally dominated by the range stat. Any that shoot farther are just straight-up better than their short-range counterparts. Thus, the team is working to buff short-range SMGs a good bit while also slightly nerfing the long-range variants. Adaptive SMGs will also be made “more rewarding in skilled hands” by increasing their critical hit multiplier. In other words: shooting somebody in the head with them in the Crucible will deal more damage.

3. The Pulse Rifle Stifle

Speaking of long-range weapons: pulse rifles sure have been popular in the Crucible lately. So popular, in fact, that Bungie is dialing back how powerful they are at a distance. This includes a minor increase in damage falloff at long range. Mouse and keyboard players will also experience slightly more recoil “to bring [pulse rifles’] ease of use more in line with controller.”

4. Sidearms Are Not Immune

Last but not least, sidearms have also seen a small nerf to their effective range. Though its really just Bungie dialing back a bit of the buff they gave the weapon type in Season 18. That season’s “aim assist falloff distance buff” has been reduced from 30% to just 20% better than previous seasons.

5. The Dead Speak…

Dead Messenger (the Exotic grenade launcher) is getting flat-out nerfed as Bungie reduces its “wave splash damage against players by 35%.” Dead Man’s Tale, on the other hand, is getting something more like a rework. Its hip-fire prowess is being reduced — making it slightly harder to kill people from 300 meters without aiming. On the other hand, the sandbox team is removing the Cranial Spike damage debuff entirely. Dead Man’s Tale will no longer receive a damage penalty upon hitting five stacks of Cranial Spike. Period. The devs just decided it never felt good, so they axed it.

6. Reversal of Fortune Gets Its Fortunes Reversed — Destiny 2 Sandbox Changes Pre-Lightfall

Revoker has gotten more and more popular in PVP of late as Bungie continues to eliminate power scaling in certain competitive modes. This is partly because Revoker features the “Reversal of Fortune” perk, which returns shots to the magazine whenever a player misses a shot. The perk is being reworked to only give you bullets back if you miss two shots within six seconds of one another. Your infinite ammo sniper rifle is no longer so infinite!

7. Class Abilities Show Up Fashionably Late

Most class abilities — specifically Dodge, Barricade, and Thruster — have had their base cooldowns increased by 20%. That means an increase of 5-8 seconds across all of the different types. Though the nerf is even more pronounced for Titans using Citan’s Ramparts. Bungie also went and “increased the cooldown of the Barricade ability while Citan’s Ramparts are equipped by 70%.” The Exotic armor piece was then further nerfed (at least in PVP) by increasing the amount of damage that Guardians deal to the barrier it creates by 25%.

8. Touch of Thunder is a Touch Weaker

Touch of Thunder, the Storm Grenade aspect made available with the release of Arc 3.0, has been nerfed as well. It now deals 25% less damage per lightning strike, has less tracking, and moves significantly more slowly. There’s also now a “ramp up” time now built into the grenade type. The first lightning strike now occurs on a delay after you throw each Storm Grenade, the cloud of damage moves more slowly and gets slightly faster over time (though even its maximum speed is lower than its previous flat rate), and the grenade starts with a smaller tracking radius before expanding over time.

9. Slide Penalties Slide Back Out

Bungie previously added penalties to players who did that little slide move (by crouching at the end of a sprint). Basically, too many people were using it to zip around the Crucible and one-hit-kill folks with shotguns. These penalties have been removed. The reasoning? Skill-based matchmaking and weapon tuning have made effective sliding less of a deciding factor in PVP engagements. Specifically, there are no longer penalties to “stability, incoming flinch, and Shotgun pellet spread penalties while sliding.”

10. More to Come — Destiny 2 Sandbox Changes Pre-Lightfall

Naturally, Bungie won’t stop just stop making changes after this. The latest TWAB also lays out some basic plans for future updates. These include:

More substantial changes to weapon hip-fire reticles, with the goal of exposing more information specific to weapon types or Exotic functionality.

A full auto melee setting.

Another set of craftable, reprised raid weapons with an origin trait (similar to what we did with the Deep Stone Crypt weapons in Season 19).

Regular Seasonal and mid-Season balance updates.

And more!

So stay tuned for all that on the official Destiny website and on Fanbyte in the future!