Weapons Q&A with the Bungie Dev Team for Destiny 2
After a few light TWAB’s over the last few weeks, Bungie was back this week with a banger and a Q&A with the dev team related to weapons. The team covered loads of stuff for this season, next season and beyond. This includes buffs and nerfs, perks, new exotics, old exotics and plenty more.
Without further delay, let’s dive right in.
Weapons Questions with Bungie
When the full auto setting arrives for all weapons, are you still going to keep the Full Auto Trigger System mod as an option? It’s kind of nice to have the flexibility without making every weapon full auto.
Yes, there are no plans to remove it. The Full Auto Trigger System mod isn’t going away.
What will replace Full Auto Trigger System on Exotics that have it as a perk when the new accessibility feature goes live?
We don’t want to inadvertently make these stronger in PvP, so the goal here was to replace Full Auto with something fun and thematic, but more useful in PvE than PvP.
Here are some examples:
Replaced Full Auto Trigger System in the catalyst with Surplus.
Replaced Full Auto Trigger System in the catalyst with Ensemble.
No Time to Explain:
Replaced Full Auto Trigger System with Feeding Frenzy.
Note that encounters are built around players having access to being able to weaken, as many folks have theorized. We don’t believe that Divinity in its current form is actually a balance problem, i.e., it’s not necessarily too strong in isolation. That said, Divinity is incredibly dominant in endgame PvE because it trivializes aiming precision weapons and has an extremely high uptime for weaken. The most important issue is that Divinity granting 30% weaken sucks the air out of the room for all other weaken sources (such as Tether and Tractor Cannon), and we don’t want to power creep past Divinity to make them interesting.
With this in mind, we’ve been looking at Divinity for a while now, and have tested a variety of changes in Season 19 over the last few months, landing on reducing Divinity’s weaken from 30% to 15%.
Kinetic Weapons in PVE
We’re looking at Kinetic damage type (as opposed to slot) changes sometime post-Lightfall to make this a more interesting aspect of how weapons feel.
What about Adept raid weapon viability?
As it stands, crafted base raid weapons are flat out better than Adept raid weapons. We’re not happy with this current state and have changes coming in Lightfall that give the new Lightfall raid Adept weapons access to enhanced perks (note that this is not going to be full, freeform crafting). It’s a little complex, so please look out for more information to come when we’re a little closer to Lightfall’s release.
Future plans for Exotic Champion weapons?
We don’t have specific plans to add anti-Champion mechanics to existing Exotic weapons. The goal of recent additions was to address some obvious holes in the options available, and we’re happy with how that worked out. That said, we are building anti-Champion functionality into a new Exotic weapon in Season 19 and may revisit other weapons later if we see a need.
King’s Fall weapons have unorthodox perk pools. What are the team’s feelings about continuing to do this versus making custom raid perks to differentiate endgame rewards?
We have guidelines for how spicy perk pools can be depending on the difficulty of the source of the weapon. For example, Trials of Osiris and raid weapons get to break our standard perk combination rules. The King’s Fall weapons push this to an extreme, and we’re evaluating whether they’re an actual balance issue (seems okay so far though).
We intend raid origin traits to make raid weapons feel unique and may still make one or more perks that are exclusive to a new raid. Starting in Season 19, you will see a small number of non-raid weapons get access to perks from older raids.
Does Outbreak Perfected truly have Persistence, or is it simply its recoil settling like any weapon?
Outbreak does not have Persistence. It does have 90 recoil direction where similar weapons are in the 40-60 range, but more importantly it recoils like an Auto Rifle not a Pulse Rifle, which is part of why it feels so unique. This was a Destiny 1 bug that we elected to maintain in the Destiny 2 reprise of the weapon.
The Cold Denial that Xûr sold with the accuracy Masterwork, does that actually improve its accuracy?
Masterworks provide additional weapon stats to a stat already existing on the weapon. Weapons can’t benefit from a stat they don’t have, and only Bows have an accuracy stat. The short of it is no, an accuracy Masterwork won’t have any effect on Cold Denial.
Do stability perks such as Rapid Hit affect the perfect draw window on Bows?
Yes, anything that affects the stability stat on a Bow will affect the perfect draw window.
How was it for the Weapons Team to add subclass verbs like Head Stone, Chill Clip, and Incandescent to weapons? Did you enjoy syncing the two more closely in gameplay and builds?
Subclass 3.0 verbs opened up a huge amount of design space for weapons. The perks we’ve already made are just the beginning.
Why does only a subset of Exotic weapons tie into Subclass 3.0?
We’re not planning to tie every Exotic into Subclass 3.0 verbs, but over time we’ll add functionality to several of them, starting with those that are strongly themed around damage types. We’re currently looking at Seasons 20 and 21 for passes on this, but we don’t have anything more on this particular topic at this time.
Are we going to be able to have multiple perks in each column on crafted weapons at some point in the future?
We’re investigating this for a possible future release, but it’s a more complicated task than it appears at first glance. Nothing in the immediate future, but we will continue looking deeper into this.
How do the extra perks on ritual rank resets actually work? Is there a cap to the benefit?
We have a formula that determines the maximum number of alternative perks based on the number of resets. For example, here are the formulae for Valor:
Left column: 1+(CLAMP((valor_reset_count+1)/2,0,(10rand/2)%3)) Right column: 1+CLAMP((valor_reset_count)/2,0,(10rand/3)%3)
Ok, that’s pretty arcane.
What this means is that the left column maximum perk count increases at first and third resets, and the right column increases at the second and fourth resets. The maximum possible is three perks in each column, with the actual number randomized between one and the current maximum.
There has been a lot of discussion on perk drop rates recently. I’d really like to know if all perks are truly weighted equally and randomized, or if certain perks (i.e., newer ones) have drop priority.
Weapon perks are weighted equally under all circumstances. There are zero cases in the game where one perk is more likely to roll than another.
I’ve heard that you’re reworking 20 Exotic weapons in Season 19. Why so many?!
We said we’re touching 20 Exotics (both buffs and nerfs), but the extent of that varies quite a bit. From a substantial rework (e.g., Lord of Wolves) to a small but impactful change (e.g., Legend of Acrius), there’s a lot to cover, both big and small.
Also, a small update on that number. 20 is out of date, and it’s now 26. We always keep the list of under and overused Exotics in mind and decided to take on a big chunk of them in Season 19.
What are the criteria for reprising Destiny 1 weapons in Destiny 2?
It’s important to note that it’s impossible to simply copy and paste Destiny 1 content into Destiny 2. Because of engine changes and the significantly higher bar for art quality on current generation hardware, any Destiny 1 content has to be rebuilt from scratch. They’re basically the same development cost as brand-new Destiny 2 weapons, and with some exceptions, we believe players significantly prefer new content over reprised.
For raids, we’ll always reprise an Exotic weapon associated with a raid when we bring that into Destiny 2. We’ll select the six most popular Legendary weapons and reprise those, as well. One other thing, and this hasn’t come up yet, but in the event that a raid didn’t have an Exotic (or that Exotic has already come back), or there were fewer than five Legendaries, we get to make new weapons to match the raid.
Why does Adagio have to be different on so many weapons?
It’s actually not. Adagio is only branched two ways, specifically to prevent it from being too strong on Bows (one-hit kills for getting a single bow kill is way too strong) and Shotguns.
Bow plus Shotgun: + 20% damage
Everything else: + 30% damage
Note that because of damage number rounding, it may be difficult for players to reverse engineer this in-game.
What does Zen Moment actually do?
Each hit grants a stack (max 5) that lowers recoil. Reloading or not hitting for one second clears all stacks. As for what it does, maximum stacks massively reduces recoil.
In your opinion, would you use accuracy perks (e.g., Firmly Planted) on Slug Shotguns? By my testing, they seem to be very accurate by default. I don’t observe much spread.
Slug Shotguns are very accurate, so it’s likely only worth using accuracy perks if you plan on using them while airborne or in other situations that reduce accuracy.
What are the numbers on enhanced perks? Are there any guidelines or rules of thumb for all? Specifically, how much do the enhanced versions of Firmly Planted and Opening Shot give vs. the base perks?
The guideline is that an enhanced perk should be 5 to 10 percent stronger than a base perk. We do exceed this in some cases though.
Here’s an example of the enhanced versions:
Enhanced Firmly Planted grants an additional +5 stability and +5 handling compared to the base perk.
Enhanced Opening Shot grants an additional +5 range and +5 aim assist compared to the base perk.
I am genuinely curious why the One Quiet Moment origin trait was created. What’s the benefit of having increased reload outside of combat?
The intended loop is to pause after an engagement to see whether you have another enemy to deal with before reloading your weapons (because being caught mid-reload is bad news). This is something that doesn’t match everyone’s playstyle though, so we’ll be updating this in Season 19.
What is the minimum draw time on Bows after the recent changes?
Minimum draw time is 500ms for Lightweight Frames and 540ms for Precision Frames (weapon perks can reduce this even further).
Neighbours or Home and Away?
When is the Nutbush emote coming to the game? >:)
We’ve heard a rumor that there may be a weird Australian-ish dance emote coming shortly after Lightfall.
When do we get truly ocker perk names like drongo, two up, rack off, or strewth?
Weapon names only so far, but there is a fair amount of those, and they’re not accidental, such as with Tarrabah, Funnelweb, Redback, and Lunulata.
What favorite weapon perk combinations does the Weapons Team have?
Proctor: Perpetual Motion + Surrounded on Sidearms on Submachine Guns.
Brandon: Heating Up + Rampage on Pulse Rifles.
Vivian: Stats for All + Reservoir Burst on Fusion Rifles.
Alex, Intern: Grave Robber + Golden Tricorn on arc weapons for PvE, Killing Wind + Rangefinder on Submachine Guns for PvP
Mercules: Moving Target/Perpetual Motion + Kill Clip on any primary ammo weapon for PvP
George: Perpetual Motion + Killing Wind, I blame 90s arena shooters
Taylor: Killing Wind + Multikill clip
What replica weapon would each weapons designer want?
Proctor: Dead Man’s Tale
Brandon: Lorentz Driver
Vivian: [REDACTED Season 19 Solar Exotic weapon]
Alex: [REDACTED Lightfall raid Exotic weapon], but Tarrabah is a close second.
Mercules: [REDACTED Season 19 Kinetic Exotic weapon]
George: [REDACTED Season 18 Festival of the Lost weapon]
I’d be interested in looking at what perks make “god rolls” on what weapons? What would be recommended for a Scout Rifle, Submachine Gun and Pulse Rifle? What works and why?
Mercules: Depends a lot on what the role of the weapon is going to be. These roles can be broken up into some general areas:
PvE: Regardless of the role, generally perks that increase damage, increase magazine size, grant ammo, or improve reload speed are prioritized for add clear, yellow bar/champ killer, and DPS weapons.
Add clearing: Perks that trigger on final blows are great, like Rampage, Subsistence, Swashbuckler, and Feeding Frenzy.
Tanky-target and DPS: Perks that trigger neutrally or from dealing damage like Frenzy, Firing Line, Rapid Hit, and Triple Tap.
PvP: Two very different styles of perk preference:
Dueling: Perks that increase the consistency of the gun in 1v1 engagements, i.e., Moving Target, Rangefinder, Opening Shot, Eye of the Storm, etc.
Kill-chaining: Perks that provide dramatic improvements to weapon performance after a kill, e.g., Kill Clip, Tunnel Vision, Killing Wind, Rampage, etc.
What is your opinion on Rangefinder drastically changing the effective engagement distances on weapons? The zoom benefit already improves damage falloff and effective accuracy, but the aim assist falloff increase feels like… a lot.
We’ll be removing the added aim assist falloff in the mid-Season balance pass. The perk is ridiculously strong with just the zoom bonus, it doesn’t need to increase aim assist fall off in addition to that.
Is someone going to fix The Fate of All Fools perk on the Jade Rabbit? It’s totally inconsistent and sometimes doesn’t work at all.
Yes, the perk was having similar issues to what was going on with Cranial Spike on Dead Man’s Tale. The plan is to change it so that rapidly chaining precision hits (effectively the same trigger as Triple Tap) will make your next body shot deal the same damage as a crit, and you will be able to store up to three increased damage body shots at a time. So, if you hit nine crits quickly, you could follow that up and kill someone in PvP with three body shots.
Basically, we want to reward accuracy and then make the gun easier to use instead of the other way around.
How do you feel about Season 17 and Season 18 balance changes now that they have been in the wild for a decent amount of time?
We think most of them landed pretty well, all things considered. High Impact (150 RPM) Scout Rifles probably got overbuffed by a small bit. Auto Rifles probably did not get buffed enough.
We’ve seen both Precision Frame (180 RPM) Scout Rifles and Hand Cannons come up in usage and effectiveness which is great.
What future balance changes should we be looking forward to?
In the mid-Season balance pass, we’ll be making a number of changes to both under and over-performing archetypes:
Sizeable stability bump for Auto Rifles and Trace Rifles.
Small buff to critical hit damage on Adaptive Frame Pulse Rifles and Precision Frame Auto Rifles.
Slightly reduce effective range of Pulse Rifles at low to mid stat values.
Nerfs to Jade Rabbit and No Time to Explain ease of use.
Continuation of the Lord of Wolves rework.
Small Rocket Launcher blast radius buff.
Glaive damage resistance nerf.
Sidearm aim assist falloff buff.
Sniper flinch rework.
Very small tweaks to Submachine Guns that are outperforming their intended ranges.
Small decrease to High Impact Scout Rifle damage.
Some outliers that have zoom levels outside normal parameters are being brought back in line.
Riskrunner PvP Arc damage resistance reduction (will still remain ridiculous in PvE).
In Season 19, we have an additional list of changes we will be making, including:
Removing some Shotgun randomness.
Improved hit detection for Glaives.
Reworking/changing nearly 20 weapon perks.
Reworking/changing over 20 Exotic weapons.
Do Trace Rifles have accuracy bloom as you hold down the trigger?
Is Under Pressure going to be nerfed on Fusion Rifles? How are you going to finally rein in Xûr’s Main Ingredient without diminishing Precision Frames as a whole?
We’re not going to nerf Under Pressure on Fusion Rifles. Most likely thing we will do if Main Ingredient usage doesn’t come down naturally is lower its stats. This will allow us to avoid hitting all Precision Frame Fusion Rifles, and give other weapons in the subfamily room to breathe.
That being said, Precision Frame Fusion Rifles as a subfamily outside of Main Ingredient are still very strong, and we are looking at them too.
Are there any plans to add more subclass verbs to more Exotics?
Lots of plans! Nothing concrete to share now, but we’re always on the lookout for places where we can add subclass verbs. We have to be cautious, as some of the intrinsic functionality of the verbs may actually be worse than what is on the Exotic weapon, or the uptime of the verb on the Exotic weapon would cause severe balance issues with subclass interactions.
Will skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) being present in Control have any effect on the way we handle weapon balancing?
We already used Survival and Trials as more indicative game modes for balancing purposes. Survival has had SBMM and Trials has the Flawless pool, which enables us to see what good players use, and what is effective when they are more likely to care about winning.
It will, however, allow us to see what the different skill groups of players that generally avoid Survival or Trials use, and what they are effective with when they are not in skill-pools that are as mixed as Control used to be.
Proctor: If skill-based matchmaking continues to roll out over time, it may give us the option to revisit weapon skill gaps.
What are your plans for Sniper Rifle and Special Linear Fusion Rifle (LFR) flinch?
For Sniper Rifle flinch, we have dramatically increased the time it takes for the reticle to reset back to center after taking damage, which in playtests has seen a marked decrease in the amount of times players are able to shoot through the flinch. (We also greatly decreased PvE flinch to counter this).
This will not prevent players from “trading” with the Sniper Rifle on their first shot, nor will it hurt players using Sniper Rifles who disengage to allow the reticle to reset before peeking again, but it should hopefully address the instances of hitting someone using a Sniper Rifle with multiple crits only to get sniped through it.
If this change plays out successfully in the game itself outside of testing, we will try to migrate it over to the special LFRs.
Any Fusion Rifle changes coming? Like a Rapid Fire Frame buff?
We want to see how the Shotgun changes land before we re-buff Rapid Fire Frames.
What can be done to make Headseeker more interesting?
The plan is to increase the duration the perk is active, have the perk reset on body shots when it is already active, and have it increase aim assist by a very small amount. In playtests it is very good, arguably one of the best neutral perks for Pulse Rifles.
Do Aggressive Frames have High-Caliber Rounds baked in?
No, however, the flinch from a single shot is proportional to damage, so high damage per bullet weapons will flinch more than low damage per bullet weapons.
Dynamic Sway Reduction seems like one of the most misunderstood perks in the game. Can you explain a little bit about how that works?
Dynamic Sway Reduction starts working as soon as you start firing. Each subsequent shot improves its effects (increasing accuracy and stability) until it maxes out (around 20 shots). So, high RPM weapons get maximum benefits more quickly than low RPM weapons.
The perk deactivates as soon as you stop firing.
What exactly does Box Breathing do?
After being ADS for 1.5s without firing, Box Breathing increases the precision damage multiplier of the weapon and increases the aim assist falloff distance by 10%. It resets when you fire the weapon or leave ADS.
Is there a way to estimate how much zoom decreases the effective cone angles?
On most weapons, you can just divide the base cone angle by the zoom: i.e., 3 degrees base / 1.5x zoom = 2 degrees. Zoom reduces the size of both aim assist and accuracy cones, which means you are more accurate at higher zooms but have a smaller aim assist radius. That being said, some weapons have additional scaling applied on top, like Sniper Rifles with aim assist.
Let me know in the comments what you think of the Q&A format.