Dev Team: Hey, Guardians. Trials is coming back, and the Combat Systems team has been hard at work preparing Destiny 2 for its arrival. We’ve made a number of big changes to the abilities sandbox, and instead of simply dropping them all in the patch notes, we wanted to take this opportunity to offer some transparency for our decision-making process.Before we begin, we want to give a big shout out to the data scientists here at Bungie. They provide us with mountains of valuable data to sift through—from the win rates of each subclass in each Crucible game mode to the kills-per-minute of each weapon on each platform in each PvE activity. This data allows us to make sure we’re making informed decisions when balancing the game. It allows us to separate the perceived power of abilities, weapons, and armor, from their true, objective power. But The data doesn’t always tell the whole story, and we believe strongly that perceived power and community sentiment are just as important as cold, hard data. Even as Trials returns, we’re committed to maintaining a fun and fair sandbox for both PvP and PvE, and we considered data for all game modes when making adjustments.
Warlock MeleeWarlocks have long been at a disadvantage in melee fights because it takes them slightly longer than Titans and Hunters to recover from making a melee attack. So, next Season, we’re extending the Warlock’s basic melee range by one meter to a total of 5.5 meters. Warlocks will still melee slightly slower than the other classes, but they’ll now have a one-meter advantage. If you can use this window to land the first melee attack in a slap fight, you’ll likely emerge victorious. We feel this is a more interesting solution to melee disparity than homogenizing all of the melee attacks, and we’ll be studying the data as it rolls in to make sure it’s balanced.
Titan BarricadesA Titan’s barricade is incredibly powerful in Trials because you can use it to safely resurrect your fallen teammates. Next Season, we’re creating counters to the barricade while also raising its health from 500hp to 600hp. Barricades will now take extra damage from Special-ammo weapons, anti-barrier weapons, and certain Heavy weapons. This change makes barricades sturdier while giving opposing players the option to use their Special ammo to bring down the barricade more quickly.The following weapons now do 30% extra damage to Barricades:
- Sniper Rifles
- Grenade Launchers
- Linear Fusion Rifles
- Machine Guns
- Trace Rifles
- Anti-Barrier WeaponsThe following weapons now do 60% extra damage to Barricades:
- Fusion RiflesYou’ll see yellow damage numbers when hitting a barricade with a counter weapon, which always feels good.
One-Shot AbilitiesWith the introduction of the Hunter’s Weighted Knife in Season of Dawn, each class now has a neutral-game ability that can kill PvP opponents in one hit. We’ve taken a pass at all of the one-shot abilities to tune their risk/reward factor. We’ll warn you that some these changes look extreme on paper, but we made a point to make sure these abilities retained their overall feel.For the Titan’s three Shoulder Charge abilities, we reduced the auto-targeting angle by 50%. That might sound like a lot, but acrobatic Titans could previously auto-target to make an instant 90-degree turn. We also adjusted the lunge distance to 5.5m for both targeted and untargeted lunges. Targeted lunges were previously 6m, while untargeted lunges were previously 4.5m. These changes make for a more consistent experience while lunging.For the Hunter’s Weighted Knife, we’ve reduced its tracking significantly and created new tracking tech that will make the knife more faithful to its initial throw trajectory.As for the Warlock’s Handheld Supernova, we’ve made a number of changes to bring this ability in line with the other one-shot abilities. While part of HHSN’s strength lies in its pairing with the Contraverse Hold Exotic gauntlets (which are also being tuned this Season), our data indicated that even without Contraverse Hold, Handheld Supernova needed to be adjusted. Here are the changes:
- Increased activation time by 0.6 seconds
- Reduced hold time from 3.5 seconds to 2.5 seconds
- Reduced range by 20%
- Tightened horizontal spread of bolts by 25%
- Bolt explosion now does self-damage
- Reduced bolt explosion radius from 3m to 2.5mIn our playtesting, we’ve found that the product of these changes is an ability that is still incredibly strong but now has a risk/reward ratio commensurate with its power. (After all, this thing can vaporize multiple PvP opponents instantly.) There’s even a bit of silver lining here —the tightening of the bolts leads to more concentrated damage at range, improving its viability against Supers. To compensate for this change, other elements of the middle Voidwalker path are being buffed, including the Nova Warp Super, which now has increased damage resistance, a longer duration, and a reduced blink cost.
General Subclass TuningWe’ve made changes to a number of subclass paths in an effort to tighten the gameplay balance. For example, Stormcaller top, Striker bottom, and Arcstrider bottom have remained dominant in PvP for multiple Seasons now, consistently beating out all other paths in both win-rate and average efficiency. These paths have also ranked among the top PvE paths in terms of kills-per-minute. We’ve adjusted these paths (and others) to bring them closer to the middle of the pack. On the other end of the spectrum, paths such as Voidwalker bottom, Nightstalker bottom, and Striker middle needed some love, so we’ve taken steps to lift them up.In the spirit of transparency, we take no joy in nerfing the abilities, weapons, and armor that we all love to use. We wish the answer to keeping the game balanced and fresh was always to buff the underperforming elements. But such an approach leads to power creep—the slow and steady increase of the average power of everything in the game—which trivializes the incredible game modes and encounters that the other teams at Bungie work hard to create. After all, as Destiny players ourselves, we go home and play the game too, and we want the game to be as fun and as healthy as possible.That’s it from us today. You’ll find more details about these changes and more when the patch notes drop in early March.Oh yeah . . . and Hunter Tripmines are sticky again. Stay sharp, Guardians.