Destiny 2’s Beyond Light Expansion is here, and with it, a sweeping list of changes to some of our favorite weapons. Let’s take a moment to examine these changes and talk about what they mean for Guardians in PVE and PVP.
Talking about Hand Cannons within the community is always a dangerous proposition. There have been so many changes to this iconic weapon type — I’ll tackle them one archetype at a time.
The criminally underused 110 Rounds-Per-Minute (RPM), Aggressive Frame type now fires at 120 RPM. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’ll have second and third order effects. Your overall time-to-kill (TTK) in PVP will be slightly better, but not buffed into absurdity.
This slightly lowers the damage per shot of this frame type, but you’ll still be able to two-tap other players with just one stack of Rampage.
The real buff to this archetype is the how much more range they’ll have over other Hand Cannons with this update. Bungie lists an example of a Range stat of 100 pushing damage drop-off (that specific distance between you and your target when your shots start doing less damage than they normally would) all the way out to 32 meters.
Rest in Peace, Lightweight Frames
The most significant and controversial of this update’s changes to Hand Cannons is the merging of 150 RPM Lightweight Frames into 140 RPM Adaptive Frame weapons. Pour one out for your god-rolled Dire Promise, everyone.
This means your Thorn, Dire Promise, Lumina (suppress that laugh), and Spare Rations all fire at 140 RPM and no longer offer you a hidden +20 to your Mobility stat. To be blunt, these changes hurt.
The PVP community asked for some time for the two archetypes to merge, likely betting this would go the other way (140s getting merged into 150s). They rightfully pointed out having two types of Hand Cannons firing at nearly the same rate and with basically the same effective range didn’t make much sense. And that’s before you take the Mobility buff from Lightweights into consideration.
What this means for you is that you’ll probably see a lot more of Thorn and Ace of Spades in the Crucible. Ace was the king of Hand Cannons on PC if you played with mouse and keyboard during Forsaken, even with Not Forgotten and Luna’s Howl in their prime.
Speaking of Luna’s and Not Forgotten, they’re getting changed yet again. They’ll still retain their Precision Frame stats, but now fire at 140 RPM instead of 150.
As for Thorn, it’ll hit just slightly harder than it did before, and its damage-over-time poison effect will become even more threatening because of that.
Sunshot, the Best Shot, is the only weapon not affected by this change. It will now be the only 150 RPM Hand Cannon in the game.
Precision Hand Cannons are getting a buff to their magazines. Put plainly, you’ll have more ammo in your magazine now. I hope you were lucky or patient enough to farm a Seventh Seraph Officer Revolver with Fourth Time’s The Charm or Triple Tap and Vorpal Weapon for PVE, because it’s even better now.
Oh yeah… you’ll be killed a lot more by Malfeasance in PVP now. Enjoy!
The Sandbox Team reduced the Aim Assist (AA) for lower-Zoom scoped sniper rifles. The lower the Zoom rating on the weapon, the larger the reduction in the AA. Conversely, higher-Zoom weapons will see a small buff to AA.
Player favorites like Beloved and Revoker will feel this the most. You’ll notice your bullet magnetism is less forgiving and your reticle friction on controller isn’t as sticky.
Sniping in Destiny 2 is a bit of a sore spot for players. Revoker, and Snipers in general, were a go-to for cheaters before Bungie slapped Perfect Aim with a Cease and Desist order. But sniping overall was just too accessible and powerful at the same time. Add in weird cases like getting flinched onto your enemy’s head, and you can see why Bungie felt the need for change.
I’ll admit it. My god-rolled Gnawing Hunger has more Crucible kills on it than I’d like. But hey, so does yours.
The 600 RPM Adaptive Frame archetype got a small nerf to its damage, going from 15.75 damage per bullet to 14.25. What does that mean for you? Gnawing Hunger still goes BRRRRRRRRRR. It and other Autos like it will still be amazingly effective, but not so much so that other weapons don’t stand a chance against them.
Scouts are getting more Aim Assist overall with a tweak to the amount they get per point. At its max, your AA cone is 15% wider.
I remember loving my Scout Rifle in Destiny One. I would get more kills during each raid than anyone else and I was safe while doing it. Perhaps that was the problem.
In their delicate balancing act, Bungie had to adjust the damage Scout Rifles do going into D2 because you were just too safe using them. Good players could always put a significant amount of space between them and their enemies. Lowered damage combined with much smaller maps in the Crucible delivered a death blow that Scouts never really recovered from in PVP.
There are exceptions to this rule. Jade Rabbit, or any 150 RPM Scout Rifle, is underrated for Invaders in Gambit. Yes, Xenophage and Truth are extraordinarily strong (too strong) in Gambit, but I’ve also learned to fear the Jade Rabbit when I see an Invader equipping it.
Scouts will probably never be what they were in Destiny One, but this buff to AA could be a difference maker.
Rocket Launchers are still in a tight spot after Bungie nerfed their damage a few updates ago. Grenade Launchers quickly stepped in to fill the vacuum in the Power Ammo spot. You’ve probably heard someone say, “Grenade Launchers are better Rocket Launchers,” and that’s objectively true. Rocket Launchers never carried enough ammo in the reserve without devoting armor mod slots to them, and you could argue that even then, it wasn’t enough.
Bungie seems interested in bringing some balance to the Power Weapon slot by buffing how much ammo your Rocket Launcher can carry in reserve. This is a good start to addressing the issue, but it’s only half the problem. We still need more than one rocket in the chamber.
Rocket Launchers still don’t stand a chance if I can dump half a dozen Spike Grenades from my GL, then reload it at Outlaw speeds with Field Prep to fire another six shots. This buff is probably Bungie playing it safe and taking baby steps to bring Rockets back onto the table without overdoing it.
The Other Stuff
There were some perk and Exotic-specific changes I’ll quickly go over here:
Outlaw got a buff to its reload speed effect. Bungie felt that Outlaw wasn’t pulling its weight on specific weapons, so they buffed it a bit.
Merciless, the Solar Energy Exotic Fusion Rifle, has more ammo in its reserves. This plays very well with the weapon’s Exotic perk. Could be worth checking out in PVE.
Mountaintop lost 33% of its splash damage, some direct impact damage, and 20% of it’s rounds’ firing speed. Good. Its in-air accuracy was also kicked swiftly in the sack. Very good. Die in a fire, Mountaintop.
Everyone’s favorite boss destroyer, Falling Guillotine, will do about 24% less damage with its heavy attack. This puts it closer to other Swords in terms of damage. It’ll still be better than most, just not so much better there’s no point in using anything else.
You can now buy a new version of the MIDA Mini-Tool and Drang from the Gunsmith that will never be sunset. This is great for those you brave enough to try using double Primary when Special Ammo weapons are so powerful.
Ruinous Effigy’s Transmutation Spheres’ melee attack does 25% less damage. That isn’t really an issue, since that’s not why you use the Spheres. The drain effect from using the Block button does “significantly” less damage. Unfortunate, but probably done so players use the Spheres as intended, slam dunking aliens with the heavy attack.
Arbalest will no longer hit energy shields multiple times. I didn’t even know that was a thing, honestly. But when it does hit, it will hit much harder.
Jade Rabbit’s Armor Piercing Rounds were apparently bugging out its Exotic perk, so they were swapped out for High Caliber Rounds. All the flinch!
Traveler’s Chosen will no longer blind you when firing due to reduced muzzle flash.
Point of the Stag, the Iron Banner pursuit weapon from Shadowkeep, now has a Max Power Level of 1310. This is great news because Vorpal Weapon makes this weapon a great option for Grand Master content with Arc Energy Shields.
Last, but not least, Divinity got a bugfix to deal with an issue that stopped some weapons from being able to deal precision damage to the bubble.