Destiny 2 – Vault of Glass Return Date Plus Weapon and Perk Buffs (Season 14 Sandbox Changes)

Bungie was back this week with some latest news from Destiny 2 related to season 14 including details of Vault of Glass coming back when it’s going to be available for players plus news of the world’s first race. We’ve also got in-depth news of weapon buffs (including 450 auto rifles, linear fusion rifles, and fusions), plus some buffs to perks across the sandbox.

Let’s dive into the news, taken from This Week At Bungie on 29th April 2021. Bungie say:

READY, SET, RAID!

In case you haven’t already heard, Vault of Glass is coming to Destiny 2 for the first time next Season. And though we haven’t revealed Season of [Redacted] yet, we want to make sure you have time to make any arrangements necessary if you are planning on taking on the challenge of getting a VoG raid clear on day one.

VAULT OF GLASS WILL GO LIVE ON MAY 22 AT 10 AM PDT

That’s right, Guardians will be going up against Atheon in less than a month. The story isn’t changing, but you may notice other differences. Our goal was to keep the feeling similar to how you remember, but we have made some updates to bring this content up to Destiny 2 standards. We don’t want to spoil anything though; experience it for yourself starting May 22.

IT’S A RACE

World First races have been exciting events over the last seven years since, well… we first kicked things off with Vault of Glass back in 2014. Back then, no one really knew what to expect from this new highly challenging cooperative activity. There was a mystery and excitement in the air that set the stage for all future races to come. With this being the first raid returning from the Destiny Content Vault, we asked ourselves, “How do we recapture or reimagine that moment?”

Our goal is to not fundamentally evolve this raid into something completely new. So, this will be the first race (outside of previous hard modes) where players have a broad understanding of what to expect while still encountering changes they’ll have to adapt to.

With that in mind, we’re shaking things up with a new type of World First race.
Vault of Glass will launch with Contest Mode (explained here) enabled for 24 hours.
You will need to be at 1300 Power to be at the cap for all of the encounters.
Clearing Vault of Glass with Contest Mode active is the first step to access the new Challenge Mode in the Director and the Tempo’s Edge Triumph.

  • Completing Tempo’s Edge, a curated list of Triumphs, in this newly unlocked
  • Challenge Mode, will be how a fireteam crosses the World First finish line and claims their prize.
  • To enforce the Triumph requirements in the Challenge Mode, your team will wipe if you fail the success conditions during each encounter.

What prize, you ask? We decided to make a belt for the occasion, but also wanted to respect the Guardians who were the first to be victorious in the vault nearly seven years ago. These belts will have a silver aesthetic and will have the clan name of the OG World First fireteam featured.

Challenge Mode and the Tempo’s Edge Triumph will only be available for the first 24 hours and then that node will disappear. The encounter challenges will become available again later in the season. We will have a full array of raid rewards and Bungie Rewards associated with Vault of Glass as well as an emblem available for completing it. We’ll cover all of the details on how to get them soon.

One quick thing to call out is that the opening area of the Vault of Glass will now be a private space for your fireteam, so don’t expect any backup from wandering Guardians. You won’t be able to abandon the mission and explore Venus (as tempting as that is). There is only one way forward and that is into the Vault.

As with any World First race, we will be following along and keeping an eye on the action as it unfolds.

LINEAR VOOP RIFLES

A few weeks ago, we talked about upcoming changes we are making to the sandbox. We started by looking at a few weapon types that were a little hot and that needed some cooling down. Today, we are focusing on some upcoming buffs coming next Season. Weapons Feature Lead Chris Proctor is here with the details and goals behind what we have planned.

HEAVY WEAPON ROLES

Chris Proctor: Hello everyone, it’s great to be back! First, I want to share how we think about weapon roles, with Heavy weapons in particular. We intend each weapon to excel in one or two areas, making them optimal choices in particular situations, based on target type or engagement distance. For Heavy weapons, this is how we intend the weapons to fill the roles of add clear, single target damage, and burst damage:

Explanation of roles:

  • Add Clear: Clearing weaker enemies faster than you could with a primary ammo weapon. For most content, primaries do the add clear job perfectly well, so this is most useful in high difficulty PvE, such as Grandmaster Nightfalls, where you sometimes benefit from the rapid-fire damage of a Machine Gun, or the group clearing potential of a Rocket Launcher.
  • Single Target Damage: Burning down a boss.
  • Burst Damage: Burning down a champion quickly, or for bosses with multiple damage phases, clearing a phase quickly.

How weapons map to roles:

  • Sword: Ammo efficient add clear, single target sustained damage, secondary burst damage (at the cost of being next to a dangerous target).
  • Rocket Launcher: Burst damage, secondary add clear.
  • Machine Gun: Ammo efficient add clear, secondary single target sustained damage.
    We expect to adjust Machine Guns in a future Season, they’re not currently hitting this target.
  • Linear Fusion Rifles: Single target sustained damage (where the target has a handy crit spot), secondary burst damage.
  • Drum Grenade Launchers: Burst add clear, secondary single target damage.
  • Exotic Snipers: Single target sustained damage (where the target has a handy crit spot).

A few examples of how we’ve used Heavy weapons in playtests of high difficulty content, or when we’ve played Grandmaster Nightfalls (GMs) in retail:

  • Linear Fusion Rifles: Burning down Champions, boss damage where the boss has a crit spot, or with Divinity.
  • Rocket Launcher: Burst damage against Champions or bosses (particularly with Lasting Impression), clearing clumped-up waves of tough adds.
  • Machine Gun: Breaking matching shields in GMs where our other weapons can’t do the trick, using a Machine Gun instead of a Primary Weapon in a Heavy ammo-rich situation where your Primary and Special weapons are not rapid-fire (e.g. Le Monarque + Succession + whatever Machine Gun has a useful damage type in this GM.

BALANCE PHILOSOPHY

There are two approaches we take to making balance changes:

  • Big Swings: Make a big change that we believe will immediately encourage new player behavior. Most useful when we need to nerf or buff something hard enough that everyone can tell that it’s happened, with the expectation that we may need to dial the tuning in in a later release. Examples: the 120 Hand Cannon buff in Beyond Light, or the
  • Rocket Launcher buff in Season of the Chosen.

Incremental Changes: Take something that we feel isn’t far from where it needs to be, and nudge it a little at a time. Most useful when we don’t want to overcorrect and make something overpowered, or when we don’t want to make a change with huge test wake and would prefer smaller, safer changes. Examples: The Precision Auto Rifle change outlined below, or the Season of the Arrivals High Impact Pulse Rifle change.

In most releases we make changes of both types, and which we choose for a given feature depends on how much time we have to test and iterate on a change, how many changes are already in a release, and how close we think a feature is to being balanced already.

A SMALL NOTE ON DAMAGE FALLOFF DISTANCES

When we call out changes to damage falloff distance, we always do so according to a weapon’s base damage falloff (i.e., hip-fire). Damage falloff distance increases differently based on a weapon’s zoom, so for example the Fusion Rifle distance changes described below, or the Hand Cannon distance changes called out previously will be higher when zoomed.

WEAPON ARCHETYPES

Precision (450 rpm) Auto Rifles: This subfamily fell behind other Auto Rifles in the Auto Rifle tuning last year, so damage has been increased to be closer to the time to kill of the others. Increased Precision (450 rpm) Auto Rifle damage per bullet from 17 to 18.

Rares: We added a Rare Machine Gun and Bow to the World Loot Pool recently, but we didn’t have any obtainable Linear Fusion Rifles or Breech Grenade Launchers and wanted to make sure these archetypes were also easily accessible. Added existing but unobtainable rare Linear Fusion Rifle and Breech Grenade Launchers to the World Loot Pool.

Linear Fusion Rifles: These are an unpopular choice in PvE, largely because other weapons do their intended job (single target sustained damage) better or more efficiently, without the requirement of landing all precision hits. We want to keep the LFRs focus on precision damage but decided to increase the precision damage to make them more competitive, and increase reserves to give them more staying power.

Note that we have seen plenty of suggestions to move some or all LFRs out of the Heavy slot, but this is a substantial amount of work and a balance risk for PvP, due to the difficulty of balancing Sniper Rifles (as instant-shot weapons) against LFRs (with charge time), with wildly varying flinch and aim assist values, and reduces weapon diversity in the Heavy slot. It’s still a possibility for sometime in the future though, if tuning them as Heavy weapons doesn’t have the desired effect.

  • Increased precision damage by 15%
  • Increased reserve ammo by 20%

Fusion Rifles: The recent buff to Fusion Rifle ranges had the side effect of making the best subfamily for PvP (high impact) even better, so we’ve decided to bring low range-stat Fusion Rifles up a fair bit. Increased damage falloff start distance for Fusion Rifles, no effect on 100 range stat, +2m on 0 range stat.

PERKS

Subsistence: When we made this perk, we were experimenting with unusual downsides for powerful perks, but ultimately decided that reducing reserves wasn’t an interesting tradeoff. We also wanted to be able to put the perk on Special and Heavy weapons, where reducing reserves would feel terrible. Submachine Guns were granting a much smaller magazine fraction than Auto Rifles, so we fixed that at the same time.

  • No longer reduces reserve ammunition.
  • Submachine Guns now receive the same ammo fraction per takedown that Auto Rifles do (was 10%, like most weapons, now 17%, same as Auto Rifles).

High-Impact Reserves and Under Pressure: Due to technical constraints at the time these were created, the trigger condition for these is on projectile impact (i.e., the bonus won’t take effect until you fire the weapon once), but we have more flexibility in perk activators now. These are now active as long as their conditions are met.

Unrelenting: This was hard to trigger in difficult content, and the health awarded was hard to perceive. Now easier to trigger in PvE (immediate trigger on majors) and heals 20% more.

Sympathetic Arsenal: Isn’t appealing enough for many players as it is, but is useful in niche situations, so we decided on a small buff to sweeten it a little.
Now grants +20 reload in addition to its primary effect.

Dragonfly: It always bugged us that Dragonfly wouldn’t proc on every enemy you could finish with a precision hit. Now works on heavy shanks and servitors, and occurs even faster than after the Season of the Chosen fix.

Hip-fire Grip: We’re being careful not to over-buff this, since when hip-fire is too effective it changes the game significantly, so we’re just bumping this a bit more over the Season of Arrivals buff to make it a more useful option. +1 degrees precision hip fire angle threshold, +1.2x reticle stickiness falloff distance.

One degree doesn’t seem like that much, but for reference Hand Cannon aim assist cone angle is 2.5 degrees at 0 AA, to 3 degrees at 100 AA, and you can feel the difference between a 90 AA hand cannon and a 100 AA hand cannon (a 0.05-degree increase), so a small difference can be significant. Note that precision hip-fire angle caps at the aim down sights aim assist cone angle.

Iron Grip, Iron Gaze, Iron Reach: We were cautious when making stat bump perks in Season of Arrivals, not wanting to break weapon stat ranges at too low a cost, but the penalties these shipped with were too much now that we’ve seen them in the wild.
Reduced secondary stat penalty from -40 to -30.

Osmosis and Elemental Capacitor: We didn’t have time to address these when Stasis came into being, but always wanted them to work correctly when playing a Stasis subclass.
Osmosis now switches the weapon to Stasis damage when playing a Stasis subclass – this should work for any mechanics that ask for Stasis damage (but not for Stasis ability damage). Also created stasis VFX for all weapon types that Osmosis can appear on (more coming later). Elemental Capacitor with a Stasis subclass grants +recoil direction and reduces ADS move speed penalty.

No Distractions: Because of an Exotic change below, and the Sniper Rifle flinch changes in Season of the Chosen, we wanted to make No Distractions a more appealing option for combatting flinch. Reduced trigger time from 1.5s to 1s and increased flinch reduction from 30% to 35%.

Celerity and Bottomless Grief: We addressed these specifically in an earlier TWAB, but here are the buffs again. Note that we buffed the perks themselves, so these changes will apply to your existing drops of these weapons (these being alternate perks on Adept weapons can’t be applied retroactively though).

  • Celerity: Now always grants +20 to handling and +20 to reload in addition to the triggered effect.
  • Bottomless Grief: Now always grants +30 to magazine in addition to the triggered effect.

Thresh: This change is already live and not a buff so much as a bug fix (Thresh unintentionally only worked in PvP for certain weapons in Beyond Light) but Thresh has worked for all weapon types in PvP since Season of the Chosen launch.

MODS

Adept Mag, Adept Targeting: Same reasoning as the Iron Banner perks, we were cautious initially but think it’s fine to reduce the penalties for these perks having seen them in action. Reduced secondary stat penalty from -20 to -15. Fixed Adept Mag not granting reserves when applied to a Sword.

Adept Counterbalance: This didn’t feel like enough of an upgrade over standard Counterbalance Stock to be worthwhile. Increased recoil direction benefit.

EXOTICS

MIDA Multitool: We’ve seen many requests to switch this from Outlaw to something more useful, and one thing we’ve observed is MIDA losing fights to weapons that cause more flinch, so here we go. Changed the catalyst perk from Outlaw to No Distractions.

Hawkmoon: Increased priority of Paracausal Charge and Paracausal Shot buff text (this was sometimes dropping off the bottom of the list).

THE FUTURE

Sometime further into Season 14, we expect to touch the following:

All Shotguns: We don’t expect the change to the two dominant Shotguns (replacing Quickdraw with Surplus) and nerfing Quickdraw to really move the needle on Shotgun usage overall in PvP. We agree with some of the comments that weapon usage is not only dependent on tuning, but that map design is also a factor. However, we want more weapons to be viable on all maps, and we can achieve this through tuning, giving other Special weapons room to excel. Specifics coming later.

Dead Man’s Tale: With the upcoming nerf to 120 Hand Cannon range, we expect to see a surge in Dead Man’s Tale usage (which is already high). We had enough moving pieces in Season 14 that we didn’t want to try to squeeze this in at the same time , but we have a change ready to go that reins in its ability to challenge Sniper Rifles, 120 Hand Cannons and Scout Rifles while in hip-fire without detracting from the fantasy of the weapon.

Fusion Rifles: As with some of our other changes, we don’t want to bump these too much too fast, so will follow up if needed.

Plenty of changes to get excited about. Linear Fusion Rifles could be viable for once, and I think it’s worth picking up some Linear Fusions in prep for Season 14. Check out the guide I have for the best ones on the channel.

Let me know down in the comments what you think of the changes, and let me know if you’re going to be jumping into the vault of glass on May 22nd.

That’s it for this look at the latest Destiny 2 news. For more This Week In Video Games content like this, check out the YouTube channel and subscribe today.