TL;DR- most of Bungie's adjustments were to improve player experience on both the Damage-dealing and Damage-receiving end and to improve viability of more abilities/subclasses. Both buffs and nerfs are necessary to do this, so go try out a few new abilities and builds before whining about how the sky is falling on the forums. I promise you, you'll survive this... Let me preface with two things: 1. The world didn't end yesterday when the patch dropped (despite the outcry from both Reddit and the B.Net forums) 2. I've played this game a lot on all classes and subclasses- I play both PvE and PvP, and I enjoy almost all gametypes (Rift is terrible, but that's for another day). I don't grind for weapons or light, because it isn't enjoyable- when this game isn't fun, I stop playing. I think that gives me a pretty good foundation for a well balanced assessment. [b][u]Good Balance vs Bad Balance[/u][/b] [b]Good Balance[/b] means that many different perks/weapons/abilities can be viable- this allows customization, allows people to tailor builds to their unique tastes and skill sets, and improves replayability of a game. Content feels different if you approach it multiple times with different builds and weapon combos. If there are perk/subclass/ability combos which are clearly superior to other choices (Vex Mythoclast/Bladedancer in Vanilla...), then it reduces the replayability and variety in the game- quickly making encounters seem stale and boring, and shutting out players who don't enjoy playing as that particular build. [b]Bad Balance[/b] means that there are a small subset of builds/perks/abilities which are clearly superior to other choices, so the majority of players gravitate to them in order to remain competitive or to succeed at high level content. Examples are Thorn/Sunsinger teams in HoW Trials- clearly a superior choice, but if everyone is doing it, then it is technically balanced since all players have an even chance at success. Another example is Halo:CE (showing my age) where using anything but the Pistol was just foolish- everyone always had it, so it is technically balanced, but it makes encounters become stale after a while. [b]Good Balance[/b] is the goal of all tweaks. Failure to achieve [b]Good Balance[/b] will make the game die faster than anything. Everyone loved Gally, but running Fatebringer/Black Hammer/Gally through every strike/raid/mission forever was boring- choosing to do otherwise would weaken a member of the team, making them less capable when tackling high level content. This means that players were basically forced towards a particular build when tackling content- this is bad. [b][u]Nerfing vs Buffing[/u][/b] A fundamental truth is that it is easier to adjust a few things than it is to adjust many things. If Thorn is what unbalances PvP encounters, the safest and most responsible tweak is to reduce its effectiveness. Attempting to buff EVERY OTHER GUN IN THE GAME is a stupid solution, and would require a ridiculous amount of developer time and energy which would be better spent on other, more important tasks. This goes for both sides- when No Backup Plans were simply not used during year 1, making them better was a good call instead of trying to adjust EVERY OTHER ARMOR PIECE. Bungie has done a pretty good job of trying to achieve [b][u]Good Balance[/u][/b], and- in order to address the (legitimate) concerns of waning Guardian power in PvE as a result of balancing efforts- most patches have included a buff to damage against AI combatants across the board. There is nothing wrong with that. That is them listening, even if the forums don't address that at all (waaaaaa!! My gun was nerfed 6%, requiring me to hold the trigger for an additional .05 seconds (actual number) to achieve the same DPS!!!). So, in reality, in order to achieve [u][b]Good Balance[/b][/u] in the safest, most efficient way possible, Bungie should be identifying target TTK or "effectiveness" levels, and adjust weapons/perks/abilities around that (both up AND down). In order to keep the game fun, there should be MANY options, creating diversity, and no player should be compelled to choose from an extremely limited set of builds in order to be competitive in either PvE or PvP. If there is ever a universal "best" or "worst" setup related to weapons (Thorn/TLW/Gally are examples of Y1 weapons), subclasses (Bladedancer Y1, Sunbreaker (PvP) or Nighstalker (PvE or PvP) during Y2), or Subclass setup (for Sunsinger, Flameshield/Ignite/Viking Funeral/Flamebolt for instance) then the game is not properly balanced. This means, for instance, that if the Gunslinger tripmine is the only logical choice for a Subclass (can stick, or be a trap, can one-hit most guardians unless Warlock/Hunter run max armor), then something about that Subclass is not balanced. Buff, Nerf, or Adjust, but if there is only one logical choice, then the game is by definition not balanced. That is the truth. [b][u]Counter-Play[/u][/b] The other thing that Bungie has done well here is related to "Counter-Play". [b]Basically, it is the idea that being on the receiving end of damage should be almost as exciting and fun as being on the giving end.[/b] That is why Snipers have scope-glint, for instance- so the receiving players understand what is happening and can mentally prepare themselves for what comes next. As frustrating as getting sniped can be, it would be 100 times more so if there was never an indicator as to where/when it was going to happen. [b]Encounters which are only fun for 50% of those involved will quickly lead to a 50% decrease in the number of players.[/b] People play for fun- losing a good match can still be enjoyable if the game is balanced and care is taken to ensure that encounters are built to not be frustrating. This brings us to Envenomed Smoke, Viking Funeral, and Tripmines. It -blam!-ing sucks to be "Wombo-Comboed" and die blind with no hope of escape. Even if it doesn't give a huge advantage (fusion grenades, for instance, require only a grenade charge and more reliably kill quicker), it is simply not fun to be on the receiving end of. How about Viking Funeral? Who loves crouching in a corner waiting to burn to death because some bastard tapped you with one MIDA shot and then cross-mapped a flamebolt that got you around a corner while you were getting ready to shoot back? I know I do... And Tripmines. Now, I am saying this as someone whose very first Exotic to 335 was Young Ahamkara's Spine- I love Tripmines- but they are better in almost every situation than any of the other GG (and possibly Hunter) grenade options. They are THE REASON I have to run max armor on my Hunter and Warlock- because doing so removes one more thing that could potentially kill me in PvP. And for those of you talking about the big ol' red beacon on them- all I can say is that I kill A LOT of people who I have never even seen with those grenades, so that beacon can't be all that obvious. Plus. If you throw it on a wall so that the first meter or so of the beacon is obscured, it is actually not so easy to see at all. Try it. So, on the receiving end, they deliver seemingly random, frustrating, instant death at any time unless you (the player) runs a very specific setup on your characters to combat this. Talk about being told how to play the game! If Bungie told you you had to run max armor in PvP all the time, the community would lose its mind, but a -blam!-ing grenade does that and people are lined up to bitch about how Bungie made it not deliver random one-hit kill destruction all over the map now. Incredible. [b][u]The Patch of DOOM!![/u][/b] So what did Bungie do? Well, they made a lot of stuff more viable through a mix of buffs and nerfs. First of all, use Golden Gun in PvE, and tell me you still care about your tripmines in the Raid. Thought so. The Super buffs (while I agree it should not have taken this long) really make the Supers feel special against all those smug Alien bastards. Nova bomb is another one. Use Lance for some extra ass kicking (that's that OTHER Nova Bomb option that NO ONE USED, but is now more viable because of the patch). Or, use Sunsingers with flamebolts, ignite, and Viking Funeral and Song of Flame in a boss fight instead of a tether in order to melt bosses. That is your nerfed subclass, Princess- the first time a Sunsinger has been helpful in a boss fight since the Templar cheese... I was going to go through each line, but there is a lot. My point is, go play the game for a while before you go on the forums and rant about how the sky is falling and Bungie is somehow controlling Trump's hairpiece from their headquarters in the Seventh Plane of Torment and Despair in Hell, just because they tried to make it a little less frustrating to get killed by some of the awesome abilities we all can choose from in this game. Go try a couple new perks or a new subclass build, and experience some of the content through a new perspective. I promise, the world didn't end. Maybe you'll even enjoy some of the changes... Edited for spelling issues and to add a TL;DR Edit 2: Downvotes are real, however, I'm not seeing a whole lot of counterpoints below. If you disagree, tell me why.