Bungie was back this week with their This Week At Bungie Update detailing changes coming to abilities across all subclasses and elements including Solar, Arc, Void and Stasis. I’ll go through all the changes today, plus we have a release date for the next dunegon coming to Destiny 2 in December.
Without furher delay, let’s dive into the ability changes.
There’s no doubt that few things feel as satisfying as Thundercrashing through an enemy as a badass Titan, becoming a Tether god as a strategic Hunter, or changing the entire battlefield with an expert Shadebinder Warlock. That being said, the role of abilities has evolved since the start of Destiny, and that evolution is far from over. Going over some of the planned abilities changes coming in the future is our talented Sandbox Team, including reflecting back on the road so far and what awaits in Season 19.
Sandbox Team: Hey folks, Sandbox Team here to talk through some of the changes we have lined up in the abilities sandbox for Season 19’s launch. Before we get into the specific changes, we want to reflect on the last year of abilities changes and talk about our goals for this update.
Last December, we released update 3.4.0 which reduced ability cooldown rates across the game, with a goal of reducing focus on abilities in high-level Crucible modes like Trials and Survival. We also wanted to reduce the number of low-cost abilities that could down a Guardian in one hit. For additional context, prior to update 3.4.0:
- The Super energy economy at the time promoted extremely passive play in high-level PvP activities to secure guaranteed round wins with the use of roaming Supers.
- Ability cooldowns within each slot were identical, and cooldowns were not something that could easily be changed to help balance ability potency.
- The Subclass 3.0 updates were in the works, and adding build crafting options and additional combinations of perks, abilities, and keywords was unavoidably going to create power spikes that were not present outside of Supers in the preset subclass options.
To address the first point, with the changes to Trials (reduced round timers, the addition of Zone Capture as a Trials variant) and the systemic changes to Super cooldown times, this is no longer something we’re particularly concerned about, though there are some outliers at the very low and very high ends of the recharge tiers we’re looking at. Giving cooldowns independent timers solved what was stated in the second bullet above.
To reiterate the third point, this work was done to give us additional runway for the Subclass 3.0 updates. Without the 30th Anniversary tuning pass, the ability energy economy would not be sustainable in a post-Subclass 3.0 world with additional build crafting options and an enormous combination set of abilities and perks.
Instead, the uptime of neutral game abilities has taken the spotlight as the most vocal pain point for our players, particularly in the Crucible. In the long term, we plan to do another holistic pass on the ability energy economy to bring outliers in line and get our baseline closer to the 60/40 gunplay/abilities goal we have laid out previously for the Crucible, and better enable our PvE activities to challenge players while letting subclass fantasies shine through.
To set expectations now, that is not what the Season 19 abilities update is. Any large-scale ability energy economy tuning would be on a post-Lightfall timeframe so we can include Strand in our holistic review.
For Season 19, our primary goal is to more closely normalize the power of our existing subclasses, giving us a more standard baseline that we can use for future tuning. This is coming in the form of targeted updates to outliers on the high and low ends of the Light subclasses and Stasis. Let’s get into it.
With Solar 3.0, one of our goals was to get persistent healing in a place where it felt valuable in high-level PvE. However, with the updates to Resilience that released alongside Solar 3.0, Restoration has proved to be too powerful for our current suite of activities and has been a particular pain point in high-level PvP. To that end, we’re making a small adjustment for Restoration x1 and a larger adjustment for Restoration x2 to make sure that a careless player can still be punished by an opposing Guardian or a particularly crafty PvE combatant.
Restoration x1 base healing rate reduced from 25 to 20 health per second (40 health per second in PvE activities, down from 50).
Restoration x2 base healing rate reduced from 40 to 32.5 health per second (65 health per second in PvE activities, down from 80).
No longer stacks with Healing Rift’s healing. The stronger heal-over-time value is prioritized and will stop the weaker heal-over-time from taking effect.
Overall, we’re content with the potency of Radiant and its place in the sandbox, but in its current state, its uptime has no meaningful drawbacks, so we’re making a few changes to the Solar Fragment suite to reduce that uptime.
Ember of Torches
Radiant base duration reduced from 10 seconds to 8 seconds.
Now applies a -10 Discipline penalty while equipped.
Ember of Solace
Now provides a bonus 50% to Radiant duration, rather than a flat 5 seconds.
Note: this is consistent with its behavior with Restoration.
Next up is Knock ‘Em Down. This Aspect does a lot of work, most of it being passive in the background. While we’re happy with its use as a neutral game tool to throw an absurd number of knives in target-rich environments, its benefits to the Gunslinger’s Supers are currently overloaded. In particular, the overlap in benefits between Deadshot and Marksman Golden Gun muddies their identities. The bonus duration on Deadshot resulted in a few too many Seventh, Eighth, and Fourteenth Column videos for our comfort.
We want to cement Deadshot Golden Gun as a tool for a Hunter that wants to dive into the fray, whereas Marksman is for calmer sharpshooters that want to wait for the perfect shot. To that end, we’re splitting Knock ‘Em Down’s benefits more cleanly across the two Golden Gun variants. Deadshot will gain 15% damage resistance but lose its bonus duration, and Marksman will no longer provide bonus damage resistance while Knock ‘Em Down is equipped.
While it has been refreshing to see Blade Barrage topping the PvE DPS charts, the base damage increase it received alongside Solar 3.0’s launch, in combination with Knock ‘Em Down’s bonus knives, have pushed it above where we’re comfortable with a burst-damage Super living, so we’re bringing down the bonus Blade Barrage knife count from 5 to 3 per wave.
Knock ‘Em Down
Now provides 15% bonus damage resistance to Deadshot Golden Gun and no longer provides bonus duration.
No longer provides 15% bonus damage resistance to Marksman Golden Gun.
Blade Barrage bonus projectiles reduced from 5 to 3 per group. It now releases a total of 20 knives , down from 24.
With Solar 3.0’s release, we reduced the damage of Celestial Fire against enemy Guardians as a tradeoff for increased long-range consistency. However, that change resulted in close-range melee duels (i.e., both players lunge at each other) failing to end in a trade because a base melee in combination with Celestial Fire only deals 190 damage. We’re making a change to address that here. In cases where the auto-melee control binding activates a projectile melee at close range, our goal is for that damage to be, at minimum, equal to a base melee.
Increased close-range melee damage from 90 to 100. Players using Celestial Fire and the auto-melee option are no longer disadvantaged in close-range melee fights.
While Void has maintained a solid position in PvE since Void 3.0’s release, the survivability benefit of Void overshields didn’t quite land where we intended due to a bug. We’re fixing that bug in Season 19, which should increase overshield’s viability as a protection tool in high-level PvE.
Fixed an issue where the overshield was only providing 25% PvE-only damage resistance to the overshield, rather than the intended 50%.
Voidwalker is also in a place we’re pretty comfortable with across all modes, but Vortex Nova Bomb currently doesn’t feel like it provides a meaningful enough benefit with its pull effect to make it a compelling choice over the Cataclysm variant. We’ve also observed that players frequently undershoot their intended target in the Crucible, especially if that target is moving quickly. We’ve made a few targeted changes here to address this, but we’ll be keeping an eye on it going forward to make sure it’s hitting the mark.
Nova Bomb: Vortex
Increased initial projectile speed by 21%.
Increased radius of the inward pull on impact by ~17%.
Increased strength of the inward pull on impact by ~20%.
For Sentinel Titans, in Season 19, we’re making a change to Shield Bash to make its suppression effect more consistent when the user impacts a fast-moving target in PvP. Its current implementation results in too many whiffs on quick targets, especially while the target is airborne.
Improved reliability of applying suppression.
With Void 3.0’s release, we made significant changes to both Shadowshot Super variants. Deadfall Shadowshot received a larger pull on impact, and Moebius Quiver was reworked completely. We’re pretty happy with Moebius Quiver’s hybrid burst/debuff role, but it’s currently too good on one side of that role. We want to push Moebius Quiver further away from Deadfall’s role as the long duration debuff tool by reducing its Tether lifetime, while simultaneously increasing the Tether lifetime of Deadfall Shadowshot.
As we’ve previously announced, in Season 19, the damage bonus provided by Divinity is being reduced, which we hope will make Deadfall Shadowshot a more attractive option for situations like boss damage phases.
Increased Tether anchor lifetime when triggered from 8 seconds to 12 seconds.
Shadowshot: Moebius Quiver
Reduced Tether anchor lifetime when triggered from 8 seconds to 6 seconds.
Let’s take a moment to address the elephant in the room—we know invisibility is currently a severe pain point in high-level PvP. We don’t have any plans to announce today, but we’re looking at longer-term solutions to address the difficulty in countering a full team of invisible Nightstalkers. We made a few changes across Updates 184.108.40.206 and 6.1.0 to make refreshing invisibility more punishing by implementing a radar ping loop to give victims a better understanding of where they may be attacked from, but we don’t believe we addressed the problem strongly enough. We are investigating additional solutions to make invisible players less frustrating to run into without compromising their elusive gameplay style.
Arc 3.0 is relatively new and we’re still monitoring the feedback and data coming in. We’ve identified some obvious outliers in the Arc ability suite that we’d like to address, the largest of which is currently Touch of Thunder Storm Grenades.
Our intention with this Aspect was to lean hard into Striker as the Titan’s grenade-centric class, echoing Code of the Earthshaker’s role, and for the Storm Grenade to be used to force bunkered players to move when a Storm Grenade was approaching. It’s been pretty clear from feedback in the Crucible that these linger in the world too long and are difficult to read from the target’s perspective.
To address this, we’re reducing the enhanced Storm Grenade’s base lifetime, as well as the benefit it receives from Spark of Magnitude. We’re also making changes to the friend-or-foe ring that travels along the ground to improve its readability during combat and adding a visual layer to the roaming storm to help players identify whether the grenade is friendly or dangerous.
Touch of Thunder Storm Grenade
Decreased Touch of Thunder’s Storm Grenade base roaming duration from 5 seconds to 4 seconds.
Decreased the bonus lifetime granted by Spark of Magnitude to the enhanced Storm Grenade from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds.
Updated friend-or-foe visual language.
Previously, the friend-or-foe ring surrounding a Touch of Thunder Storm Grenade’s lightning strikes blinked on and off between strikes, and there was no indication within the cloud itself of whether it was friend or foe. Now, the ring persists through the life of the storm, and enemy storms have an additional VFX layer in the cloud itself to help differentiate them from those created by allies.
Sticking with Striker, Ballistic Slam is performing very well in the Crucible but is a little short of the mark in PvE, so we’re bumping up its damage against PvE combatants a bit.
Increased Ballistic Slam damage against PvE combatants by 16%.
One of our primary goals with Arc 3.0 was increasing the viability of Arcstrider in high-levelPvE content, and it’s doing pretty well at the moment. However, the global damage reduction Tempest Strike received with Arc 3.0’s release makes it too difficult to justify slotting over Lethal Current or Flow State, so we’re increasing its damage output in PvE.
Increased Tempest Strike damage against PvE combatants by 30%.
We’ve received a lot of feedback about Stormcaller’s potency across both PvE and PvP since Arc 3.0’s release. Primarily that they don’t have a place in high-level PvE, especially when the tradeoff is giving up Child of the Old Gods, Bleak Watcher, or a Well of Radiance. We agree and are making a series of targeted changes to Stormcaller abilities to increase their potency, some of which will also increase Stormcaller’s viability in PvP modes.
With Arc 3.0’s release, we increased the base damage of Arc Souls against PvE targets from 25 to 35. Since we anticipated the supercharged Arc Soul (granted by becoming Amplified) to be significantly more prevalent, we were fairly conservative with this number. However, that increase wasn’t enough to give Stormcaller a unique role in combat and make it a situational pick. In Season 19, we’re swinging harder on Arc Souls. A lot harder. We’ll be keeping an eye on these once players get their hands on them, but we’re okay if Arc Souls have some time in the sun.
Increased base damage vs. PvE combatants from 35 to 60.
We’re also making some updates to Stormcaller’s melee abilities. While being Amplified increases their potency, they also compete with Lightning Surge, which has been a very popular Aspect choice, so we’re making some updates to help them be more competitive in their base forms.
Increased travel range from 27.5 meters to 35 meters.
Increased damage against PvE combatants by 50%.
We’ve also been keeping an eye on conversations around Chaos Reach, which has felt underwhelming across PvE and PvP. The change made last year to Geomag Stabilizers is a contributor, but we were also conservative with Chaos Reach’s base cooldown with the 30th Anniversary tuning pass because it was the source of extremely negative sentiment in the Crucible during Season 15. Now that our ability ecosystem has changed, we’re more comfortable shifting the base cooldown to make this a more competitive option, sitting alongside other one-off options like Blade Barrage and Silence and Squall.
Reduced base cooldown time from 9:16 to 7:35.
Let’s talk about Stasis. We don’t have any intention of returning Stasis to its original potency at Beyond Light’s launch, but there are elements of Stasis that we swung very hard at with updates 220.127.116.11 and 3.4.0 that have fallen behind our current sandbox power bar. With Season 19 and beyond, we want to reassess the role of Stasis in the sandbox. These are the changes we felt we could make safely right now, but we’ll be continually evaluating as we move forward.
Our first targeted change is to the Slow status effect. In its initial form, Slow did too much and penalized too many facets of the player’s performance, but we aren’t happy with its current form, which just feels like a stepping stone to freezing your target. We’re making a measured change to improve Slow’s primary utility—reducing movement speed—and leaving Slow’s other effects where they are for now.
Increased movement speed penalty while Slowed by 10%.
Coldsnap Grenade has been falling under our reliability target for some time now. While things like Osmiomancy Gloves help solve that problem, Coldsnap fails to find even slow-moving targets often enough that we felt like a change was necessary. We’ll be watching this closely to make sure its potency in PvP doesn’t creep back up above our target.
Coldsnap’s seeker can now adjust its trajectory for 0.5 seconds after creation, rather than immediately finding a target and traveling toward their last known position.
With the Duskfield Grenade, we felt it doesn’t currently punish players in its area of effect (AoE) who fail to relocate quickly enough. We’re slightly increasing the rate at which Duskfield applies Slow stacks to enemy Guardians so that there is a bit more urgency when a player gets caught by a well-aimed grenade.
Increased Slow stack application rate on players by 13%.
Due to its potency at launch, Stasis has a significant number of single Fragment slot Aspects, particularly on the Revenant Hunter. We took this opportunity to review the single slot Stasis Aspects across Revenant Hunter and Behemoth Titan and found that a couple of them didn’t make sense in the current sandbox, so we’re bumping these up to two slots each.
Fragment slots increased from 1 to 2.
Fragment slots increased from 1 to 2.
Shadebinder is generally in a good place, but while potent, Glacial Harvest felt like a hard choice to make over Iceflare Bolts, Bleak Watcher, and Frostpulse. We believe a portion of that friction comes from Glacial Harvest’s lengthy cooldown after activation, so we’re reducing it by 33%.
Reduced cooldown on Stasis Shard creation (per six shards) from 15 seconds to 10 seconds.
A piece of feedback we’ve heard a lot since Stasis launched was Shadebinder’s inability to quickly shatter frozen targets with tools like Cryoclasm or Shatterdive. The Whisper of Rending Fragment was intended to be a tool Shadebinders could use to make that conversion easier, but in the current sandbox requiring a Kinetic Primary to be equipped felt too restrictive, so we’re making this work on all Primary weapons.
Whisper of Rending
Now provides bonus damage to Stasis Crystals and frozen targets for all Primary ammo weapons, rather than just Kinetic Primary ammo weapons.
Phew—that’s it! With the amount of change we’ve made to abilities in the last year, we’re still assessing the current state of the sandbox so we can make broader-scale changes following Strand’s release next year. While we can’t always take action immediately, we’re always listening and digesting your feedback as it comes in.
A new dungeon is on the way, and while we do want to keep the details close to the chest so that the day one experience can be exciting and new for all, we did—at the very least—want to share when you can get adventure-ready for Season 19.
The new dungeon will drop on December 9 at 9 AM PDT, the first Friday of the new Season.