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Bungie details ability changes for Destiny 2’s ‘biggest balance patch ever’

The TLDR on Bungie’s massive ability update

Guardians use abilities in Destiny 2 Image: Bungie
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Bungie’s 30th Anniversary event, which comes with a host of new content, is fast approaching Destiny 2 with its Dec. 7 release date. Alongside the paid content, players will also get a major balance pack — so major that sandbox discipline lead Kevin Yanes said he’s “fairly convinced” that the upcoming update will be the “biggest balance patch ever.”

While Bungie detailed major weapon changes in its Nov. 11 blog, the Nov. 18 post focuses entirely on abilities. Here are the highlights:

The biggest change here is to ability cooldowns, as it’ll affect every class and every ability in the game. Instead of having universal cooldowns for all Supers, grenades, and melee abilities, Bungie will now tune them individually. This means that Bungie can base ability cooldown directly on that ability’s power.

The example Bungie uses in the blog post is the Hunter’s Flux grenade, which sticks to targets. Its current cooldown is 82 seconds, and it does decent damage to an enemy Guardian or target if the player using it is accurate. Starting Dec. 7, Flux grenades will take 182 seconds to cooldown after use, but they’ll fire faster, stick to all surfaces, deal bonus damage to PvE enemies, and kill an enemy Guardian in a single hit.

Supers will also benefit and suffer from the cooldown changes in Destiny 2. Depending on their potency, some Supers will naturally recharge faster than others. However, players will get bonus Super energy when in combat, especially when using a primary weapon. The Intellect stat, which governs the passive cooldown time of the Super, will no longer be as useful, as Bungie wants players to engage in combat to earn their most powerful ability.

Bungie is also making major changes to several class-specific pain points. The big ticket balance items are PvE buffs to Titan’s Behemoth subclass, improved melee attacks for Warlocks, and major PvP nerfs for one-hit kill abilities like Titan’s Shoulder Charge, Hunter’s Shatterdive, and Warlock’s Hand-held Supernova.

Most of these changes are aimed specifically at PvP modes, with most abilities getting more powerful and useful in PvE. This is a real push from Bungie to balance their PvE and PvP modes differently — something the studio hasn’t always wanted to do.

The general idea behind these changes seems to be that abilities should be as useful — or even more so — in PvE, but that PvP games should focus primarily on gunplay with brief, potent moments of what Bungie calls “space magic.”

The rest of Bungie’s blog post is filled with individual notes that will affect unique abilities and classes. And even in its thousands of words, Bungie is still saving a lot of specifics for the patch notes themselves, which will debut alongside the 30th Anniversary event on Dec. 7.

If you want to see all the previewed changes, we recommend you check out the blog on Bungie’s website and skip down to your favorite class’ section.

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