The entire community has been asking for changes to hand cannons so that there are other perk options down the middle besides Rifled Barrel. The only thing the 18.104.22.168 did was enforce that Rifled Barrel is an absolute necessity.
Yes and no? Mostly yes. It's been the "You have to have this perk" since Taken King, but with the increase of accuracy.. One of the biggest problems with Hand Cannons before was that they could miss on the first shot (before bloom is in effect) 8 meters before hitting their max effective range (the point where they start suffering damage falloff). When you considered that the BEST accuracy of hand cannons can only get out to 26 meters so that missing on the inital shot isn't a thing, BEFORE BLOOM, it's no wonder why no cannon with a base range stat of close to 40 ever really gets used. Rifle Barrel has always been an absolute necessity since the Taken King. but now Hand Cannons can hit things beyond their effective range, so much so that while firing WITHIN their effective range they're going to be more accurate, to the point you'd likely need to be firing rapidly at the bottom half of a mag before bloom rears it's ugly face in. With this change, yeah, the best hand cannons get pushed down a bit. But with the greatly enhanced accuracy, all mid impact hand cannons become usable (not too sure about the high rof cannons, bloom might still prove too strong), since they can now all be accurate within the 25-ish meter range (where Palindrome is accurate right now due to bloom and low initial accuracy native to hand cannons). It's still a bad change overall, Palindrome will still be the defacto best hand cannon, but at the very least everything that isn't palindrome will be -kind of usable- now, once you get used to the new falloff and accuracy changes. Not like now, where it's if it doesn't have enough range, you have to have stupidly high range just so your cannon doesn't randomly miss on the first shot and a creditable range. They should have just increased accuracy. Even if they had ADDED 5 meters, and NOT changed the falloff, it's not like they actually compete at pulse rifle ranges (unless the pulse user is just that bad), and it would have been a far better change. HOWEVER! Explosive rounds. Combined with the restored accuracy, and that the explosive half of the damage isn't penalized by range, might be a feasible substitute for Rifle Barrel (unless you get one of those few cannons that can get both, like the Lingering Song or Stolen Pride, but neither of those are mid impact). Unless they've gone and made bloom more aggressive, this could be the next PvP god roll for cannons. We'll have to wait and see.