The patch containing the updates in question, version 1.1.4, is scheduled to be released March 27. Bungie described the changes as a “tuning pass” that is “focused on adding and/or increasing player Power spikes.” The developers are focusing on unpopular gear — likely in an effort to boost its usage rates — but they’re considering tweaks to all exotic items. Bungie’s primary goals are to “lean into an item’s established gameplay and push it harder,” and to “avoid catch-all improvements that dilute item identity.”
Bungie used Graviton Lance, a void pulse rifle, as an example. It’s a weapon that seems awesome in concept, but in practice, players have found it lacking. The damage is concentrated in the final round of the three-round burst, so if that pulse misses, you’re going to be in trouble. The weapon also has a relatively high recoil to it. If you score a kill, it’ll send the corpse flying backward for a void explosion, but the body moves so far that the explosion rarely ends up near other enemies. At the moment, said Bungie, Graviton Lance is “all spectacle, not enough utility.”
Here’s how the studio is addressing the problems with Graviton Lance:
To target the first pain point we reduced the recoil of the burst, added some aim assist, and changed it from three rounds to two. This still plays into the fantasy of a low-damage gravity-neutralizing round forming a projectile tunnel for the last bullet. It also allows us to ensure the damage per burst is at a competitive level for PVP engagements. In fact, it gives Graviton a slight mathematical edge against other pulse rifles.
On the second feedback item, we did some tuning to the ragdoll body. We made it so that rather than violently flying backwards and likely out of range of a potential splash damage opportunity, the defeated opponent floats back and up. Then we made the explosion bigger, increased the damage, and added some void field projectiles that seek out any remaining targets.
Bungie isn’t planning to make such drastic and numerous changes to every single exotic; the studio said the updates to Graviton Lance represent “one of the more exaggerated examples” of balance tweaks. The developers also noted that seven exotic weapons — more than one-fourth of Destiny 2’s current arsenal — aren’t getting any updates in the v1.1.4 patch: Merciless, Telesto, Wardcliff Coil, MIDA Multi-Tool, Colony, Legend of Acrius and Vigilance Wing.
“Some of the above perform well without needing changes, while others, like the Vigilance Wing Pulse Rifle, are already benefitting from the tuning changes planned for Update 1.1.4,” said Bungie. The studio noted that every other exotic “has had some degree of power or utility increase.”
For more on Bungie’s plans for Destiny 2, check out the development roadmap that the studio laid out in January.