Controversial opinions ahead.
I was on board with Redrix's Claymore/Broadsword (as an item, not the grind) initially as PvP had never offered a reward that was built to be used in PvP. Trials had good items, throughout its lifespan, but not all of them were PvP-focussed. The TTK set of weapons that had Last Stand as the Adept bonus, for example, is something that has benefit for PvP but Last Stand was never the best perk. Similarly, the RoI set offered Snapshot, which is not bad by any means but nothing unique or game-changing. Desperado, as a unique perk, was a new thing for PvP weapons - even the snippet of lore behind the gun is something nice, about Shaxx introducing rankings to Crucible.
Beyond that, the weapon isn't broken. It's in a difficult-to-use archetype that rewards the same tenets the quest is supposed to teach you in a meaningful way. It has a place in PvE, but will never outdo Rampage or Kill Clip. On the flipside, it easily outdoes both in PvP by way of a significantly longer duration, the lack of any concern for ammo and the ability to refresh indefinitely. It shines where it's supposed to. A good idea that I think would have been praised more, had S3 Comp not been so awful - for which, the Broadsword quest was an apology, not Bungie saying that every Pinnacle weapon will be available without Comp in due time, like many players seem to think is the case.
Luna's Howl was not a good Pinnacle Weapon. Don't get me wrong, it was a great gun and still is on console. The problem is that it was always too good. It retains the same PvE viability as Claymore but ramped up the PvP effectiveness. Simply put, it made every other Hand Cannon obsolete, barring Not Forgotten - all comments I make about LH can simply be applied to that too, apart from things relating to how many players own it. I got my LH in early October and had stopped using it by November apart from sweaty comp matches. It sits in the Vault with somewhere around 1400 Crucible kills on it. It was boring. Mindlessly easy to use and blew every other weapon out of the water, it was indefensibly good. If you have it available, you had no reason to use any other Hand Cannon because it had no drawbacks that are not overly compensated for by its time-to-kill. I personally think that Bungie underestimated how many players would actually obtain the gun; you couldn't go into any match without 3 or 4 people on the other team using it, thereby forcing you to use something much more tryhard-y than your current loadout in order to remain competitive. For a weapon of that calibre, it was far too prevalent. Claymore is good, but you never have to switch guns because someone else is using it, nor does it make every other Pulse Rifle look like garbage.
Each season thereafter brought three new Pinnacle Weapons, with the introduction of ones for both Vanguard and Gambit. I feel like the essence of my problem with Pinnacle weapons has been well-exemplified with the contrast between the first two, so my words on all that came afterwards will be brief, with the exception of The Recluse, for obvious reasons.
Breakneck is a funny one. A very good weapon that has shortcomings due to being an Auto Rifle but is completely overshadowed by The Recluse. Underrated for sure but it would be difficult to place if Recluse was neutered.
Loaded Question leans more towards Luna's Howl than Claymore on the spectrum. I don't think it's broken by any means, but why would you use any other Fusion Rifle over it? You could make a case for Telesto or Jotunn, but Merciless and every other legendary falls well short of it.
Mountaintop is a horrible grind but absolutely worth it. Great in PvP, due a nerf in PvE but more because of Grenade Launchers being strong right now that the weapon itself being too strong. That said, it also lands in the same area as Loaded Question. Why use any other breech-load GL over it if you have the choice? The simple answer is that you wouldn't because nothing can match the benefit it provides.
Oxygen is another underrated weapon in the Pinnacle hierarchy and shows, to me, that the community disrespects anything that doesn't have pure damage perks.Could it do with a buff? Yes. Do Scout Rifles in general need a buff? Yes. Is the gun so bad you shouldn't use it ever? Absolutely not. Meganeura takes chunks out of majors and is plain fun to use.
21% Delirium excels in Gambit Prime, as it should do. The Killing Tally stacking up to 3x works well with the fact that the Primeval Envoys tend to spawn with 3 mobs near them each time. Outside of Gambit, it's still an excellent Machine Gun. It may be more situational than Thunderlord or a well-rolled Hammerhead but that's not a problem, nor should it be.
Revoker is very similar. Snapshot is a waste of a perk for PvE and Reversal of Fortune is also pretty meaningless. In PvP, though, it doesn't get nearly as much credit as it should. It does wonders in combating the poor special ammo economy that Snipers have.
Hush on console is worthless. Enough said.
Wendigo might be the sweet-spot for a Pinnacle weapon. Absolutely worthless in PvP but, under the right conditions, challenges an Exotic at its role i.e. Prospector for DPS. If Pinnacle weapons are to continue, then making them like a junior version of an existing Exotic that comes with its own niche and merits is the way to go. You might not like it, but this community doesn't seem to like balance anyway.
On that note, that's what The Recluse completely fails to do. Master of Arms lets you output a ridiculous amount of damage with no ramp up and it has the ability to refresh itself. Add that to Feeding Frenzy and a solid set of stats, you're left with a gun that is flawless, within reasonable bounds. You can go on long sprees with it in PvP and there is no better primary weapon for PvE than it. The damage increase roughly equates to Rampage x3 and you don't even have to use the weapon to get it. If the perk only activated from kills with other weapons, if it didn't refresh on every kill, if there was any kind of drawback to it, it would be fine. But there isn't. It does everything and frankly, it's the most boring gun in the game. I say that after 8k PvE kills and I know there are people out there with significantly more. What's Tarrabah even for? I'm not going to use my Exotic slot for a buggy boss-DPS SMG that can't hold a candle to any decent heavy.
A lot of words in a pretty ranty format, so my conclusion is this. The current array of Pinnacle Weapons fall into 3 categories. So broken that you shouldn't consider using anything else, completely outdone at their own gimmick or above-average weapons that have a niche. They should all be in that third category, the other two - for one reason or another - should not exist. They should not be making Exotics not worth using, nor should anything else render them unusable. I like Oxygen, but I also like my Kill Clip/Rampage Transfiguration and respect what each is good at. I like Mountaintop and accept that something like Orewing's Maul has no place in the game right now. I like Bows and know that Hush offers very little meaningful reward for the effort required to use it well.
Please come to terms with the fact that pre-nerf LH/NF and current Recluse should never have existed in those states. Realise that 21% Delirium and Revoker are much better examples of a reward that fits how you obtain it in the first place.
I mostly agree except for the Mountaintop part.
That weapon is a -blam!- to get and there are a shit ton of people who still don't have it.
It is a very harsh quest that rewards a very good gun that does roughly the same amount of dmg as a heavy grenade launcher. I think that the reward is balanced enough relative to the quest.
Recluse outshines every other SMG, very true but that isn't very difficult as SMGs generally aren't that strong except for Recluse. The fact that it is so highly regarded is the MoA perk. Nearly unlimited activation time in PvE and rather easily gotten in PvP unless you are a potato.
Hush is trash.
Revoker is a PvP pinnacle that does well in PvP as it should.
Oxygen is good but there are enough Scouts that are better/just as good without having to grind for them.
Loaded Question is really good in PvE while in PvP it is easily matched or outmatched by Erentil or say Tempered Dynamo. Hell even Epicurean with the right perks.
21% is good. A discount Thunderlord. I'll take that.
Wendigo...really depends if it can surpass weapons such as prospector or literally any 150rpm nade launcher with spike nades and boss spec or Anarchy as you can do background dmg with anarchy while also dealing active dmg. If you have the 6× buff plus some exterior buffs then sure maybe.
LH/NF were broken as -blam!- and have been reigned in a lot now.
Redrix is good but Blast Furnace is plain and simply better. Just like Bygones. Sadly. Redrix is a slog. Not difficult but a slog so it is kinda sad that that slog just got nullified by Blast Furnace and Bygones and now Bad JuJu. I'd add Outbreak but that gun was not as easy to get as say buying a god roll from Drifter.
I -blam!-ing love Breakneck. A grind for sure but the gun is fun but hindered by Bungo's lack of balancing knowledge
Good post OP. Not great but a welcome change amidst the toxic and whiny posts one usually sees