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Destiny Weapon Tuning - June Update

Destiny Update 2.3.0 is scheduled to deploy tomorrow. The following is a preview of how it will impact weapon balance.

From the desk of Greg Peng:

Hi everyone! Sandbox Designer Greg Peng here. Pleased to meet you. I've been working with Jon Weisnewski on weapons since The Taken King (he’s my boss), and I'll be your gunsmith for the upcoming Rise of Iron. I am honored for this opportunity to step up as another representative for Sandbox.

For 2.3.0, our primary goal has been to address some of the most commonly voiced concerns from the Destiny community, and to continue to bring balance and improvements to our little piece of the Destiny universe.

Weapon Balance

Hand Cannons
After a shot has been fired from a weapon in Destiny, there is a short period where accuracy drops to simulate how weapon recoil affects re-acquiring a target. This helps dissuade players from spamming the trigger and emphasizes precise aiming. The degree of accuracy drop is controlled by the Range stat per archetype. Because of the increased importance of landing every shot, this effect is especially heightened on Hand Cannons.

It is our intention to reduce the necessity of rolling range perks on Hand Cannons in order for them to be considered usable. However, we also do not want to return to a world where Hand Cannons can contest Scout Rifles at long range. 

  • Increased initial accuracy and decreased accuracy drop for low range hand cannons
  • Made damage falloff curves steeper to better coincide with intended effective range of hand cannons
  • Small increase to PvE damage to all hand cannons (amount depending on enemy class)

Auto Rifles
Doctrine of Passing. Soulstealer's Claw. Arminius-D. These names strike fear into opponent's hearts, not only due to their quick kill times, but also the amount of screen shake or "ping" they inflict upon their targets. The family of high rate of fire auto rifles currently leads the pack as most used, and so we will nudge it lower once again.

  • Reduced the damage of high rate of fire autos (Doctrine of Passing) by 6%

Ammo Economy
Running out of ammo? The recommended solution is to grab some fresh ammo that just dropped at the feet of a dead combatant. But we recognize that there are certain dire combat scenarios where gathering blocks is not a viable solution. In these cases, we currently detect that you're low on ammo, round up ammo from the field, and automatically deposit it in your backpack. As an improvement, we've significantly sped up the time this process takes. 

  • It takes less time to automatically grab ammo from the battlefield for you when you’re running low.

With the recent Hand Cannon improvements, the Hawk was flying a bit too high. A minor stability reduction brings it into line, but may encourage a reexamination of one's barrel selection...

  • Slight reduction to Hawkmoon Stability (-5 Stability)

There are some cases where a perk's effectiveness makes it seem like an absolute necessity to run. For many players this is currently true for Counterbalance; not only is it an extremely effective perk, but it nullifies the uniqueness of each gun’s recoil pattern. We hope these changes will let the personality of each gun shine through a bit more.

  • Slight reduction to Counterbalance effectiveness (Reduces 80% of recoil angle instead of 90%)

  • Fixed incorrect UI bars on Red Spectre (no gameplay changes)
  • Fixed Exotic Machine Gun Stability where some weapons were ignoring their own base stats for recoil (Thunderlord, Super Good Advice)
  • Fixed Defiance of Yasmin to have the correctly adjusted zoom for Sniper Rifles introduced in 2.2.0 (5x), increased inventory stat by 10 to compensate

Sandbox Mythbusters

I’m hoping to also use this opportunity to clear up some common questions and misconceptions for how weapons in Destiny work. Knowledge is power!

What does Rangefinder REALLY do?
According to the description on the Perk: “Aiming this weapon increases its effective range.”

There are a couple ways to interpret this description. A common interpretation is that the Rangefinder increases the Range stat when a player goes into aim down sights (ADS). In reality, it is a bit more nuanced than a simple sentence can encompass.

Rangefinder impacts two primary things:
  1. Target acquisition falloff
  2. Zoom factor multiplier (1.1x zoom, 1.05x on shotguns)

So why do we call it “Rangefinder?” Well, Zoom itself is a huge component of damage falloff! We scale down damage falloff by the Zoom factor because enemies FEEL closer in zoom view, even though they can be quite far away. This is super important to keeping things feeling consistent.

What’s more, ADS accuracy and recoil are also calculated based on the zoom view. So with greater zoom, your bullets will also stay closer together, which is another element of extending the effective range of your weapon. Everything is relative!

What is Weapon Handling?
While we don’t display it in the UI like we do the other weapon stats, Weapon Handling is a stat that controls three things to make your gun feel heavier or snappier in your hands:
  1. Ready time – amount of time it takes to bring  out your weapon
  2. Away time – amount of time it takes to put away your weapon
  3. ADS time – amount of time it takes to fully reach maximum zoom in ADS

Different guns have different Weapon Handling stats, but as a general rule of thumb, the longer range and more damage a weapon does, the lower the Weapon Handling stat.

That’s all for the 2.3.0 Weapons Update Preview. I hope it’s been informative, and I’m looking forward to hearing your questions and comments.
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