taken king december patch analysis

Future of the Meta – PvP Analysis

Published on: Nov 23, 2015 @ 14:47

The release of weapon balance notes to be seen this December have already sparked a myriad of conversations regarding the “metagame” and how the changes will affect the Crucible.

Final judgement can’t be passed until the patch is in effect and players have experienced the balances for themselves, but in this episode of Crucible Radio, we speculate about what the Crucible experience look like come December.


Primaries – Filling a Role

Besides scout rifles, which seem to fit a niche, just about everything else is being updated. After a long year of buffs and nerfs, the primaries are slowly coming into their own and fitting a role; the goal is to avoid one choice being the obvious standout in most scenarios.

Auto Rifles – Once the absolute kings of Crucible, auto rifles fell into recession after a series of balances that left them weak from all ranges. Though their range will remain short, perhaps a 3-7% buff in damage will allow them to actually succeed up close, thus filling their intended role, fighting on the front lines.

Pulse Rifles – The clear and obvious choice for overall primary no matter the situation when it comes to the current meta, pulse rifles will see a drop to damage and an adjustment in range. When a gun so clearly succeeds at all ranges, its role becomes entirely undefined. If the pulse rifle is usable in that mid-distance area between autos and scouts, it might actually fill a role as the “all-around” weapon without beating another primary at its job.

Hand Cannons – Due to the fact that hand cannons have seen such little use in competitive environments since 2.0, it’s tough to understand exactly what the changes will do to the weapon type. If auto rifles are good up close and pulses cover middle range, what purpose does a HC have? Perhaps this change comes down to player style – a missing factor in the past. An agile shooter with strong gunskill could out-maneuver other primaries, thus giving certain players an advantage.


Special Weapons – RIP Shotgun?

Primaries surely needed some attention but perhaps the biggest changes coming in December apply to special weapons, and one gut-busting gun in particular.

Fusion Rifles – currently a rare sight in competitive play, fusion rifles fell out of favor awhile ago and never seemed to resurface even after multiple adjustments to the balance. In the new patch, we’ll see a redefinition of what a slow-charging fusion should do as opposed to a fast-charging fusion. This will perhaps allow for more “playstyle” decisions and avoid a single gun pulling ahead of the pack. But like all balance, guns can be directly and indirectly affected by changes, and fusion rifles may get a chance to succeed based on changes to shotguns.

Sidearms – the newest addition to weapon types is receiving a very subtle adjustment, but because of their relatively low usage in the Crucible, players aren’t exactly sure how they’ll change. Special weapons are often used as kill weapons rather than support, and if sidearms can’t pave the way, they might still remain as a niche weapon. It’s possible however that different primary roles will suggest different loadout decisions, and a sidearm could pair better with different primary weapons.

Shotguns –  It doesn’t take an expert analyst to see that shotguns remain one of if not the most-used special weapons in the Crucible even after major changes to the weapon. December brings perhaps the largest adjustments to shotguns, but is it too much?

The fact of the matter is, shotguns allow aggressive players to dominate with a weapon that retains ammo quite well, rewards mobility, and kills from what almost every player would consider too large a distance. First person shooters often revolve around “contracts”, which means certain weapon types give players certain expectations – a sniper round to the head is expected to be a kill, and a shotgun in the stomach is expected to destroy an enemy. But should a shotgun act like a lightweight death laser usable in mid-air? This is up for debate, but it’s clear that their use in Destiny has caused some problems.

It’s likely that shotguns will still see a lot of use, just in a different way. Does this hurt aggressive playstyles and reward more conservative ones? Perhaps, but this remains to be seen. It’s still true that Destiny involves aggressive gameplay, shotgunning or not, and it’s still true that almost all maps currently in-game encourage close-quarters-combat. If a shotgun handles slower and moves a bit slower, they might give other specials and primaries a chance, which in the end makes for a more balanced arena. Only time will tell how drastic the changes are, but don’t count them out completely.

If you’d like to hear more analysis and predictions on the future metagame, be sure to check out this week’s Crucible Radio featuring Ms. 5000 Watts which includes some in-depth discussion on the coming patch.