dreg's promise sidearm exotic review

Dreg’s Promise Exotic Review

“I am a marvel with ten thousand arms.”

Dreg’s Promise is an Exotic special sidearm.

This weapon is obtained after completing The Elder Cipher Exotic bounty.


The good: Insane RoF, quick reload speed, high stability.

The bad: Low range, shots have a travel time, unique perk hardly helps.

Conclusion: Perfect fusion rifle alternative.

This is an Exotic Weapon
Sidearm (Special Weapon)
Arc Base Damage365
Quality Lvl70
Rate of Fire
Magazine Size

Aim Assist
Equip Speed
Recoil Direction

Talent Upgrades Tree

Arc Damage

This weapon causes Arc damage.

Soft Ballistics

Less recoil. Penalty to Impact.

-5% Damage
+10 Stability

Grave Robber

Melee kills while this weapon is equipped have a chance to refill the magazine.


Aiming this weapon is incredibly fast. Increases aim down sights speed by 30%.

Shock Rounds

High ricochet shock rounds with enhanced target acquisition.

Reserve Ammo

This weapon always has ammo on respawn.

CQB Ballistics

Greatly reduced recoil. Significant penalty to range.

-10 Range
+15 Stability

Field Scout

Maximum Ammo capacity.

Aggressive Ballistics

+10% Damage
-5 Range
-5 Stability

Perfect Balance

This weapon has extremely low recoil.


Weapon Review

The Fallen’s weapon tech has finally fallen into Guardian hands, and we couldn’t be more excited. The three Exotics that have been re-purposed for Guardian use are available from the Prison of Elders, in the form of a new Exotic bounty called The Elder Cipher.

If you’re able to complete it, you’ll be rewarded with either the Queenbreaker’s Bow, Lord of Wolves, or Dreg’s Promise. Today, we’ll be reviewing the sidearm, Dreg’s Promise.


The Good

It’s not easy to quantify a sidearm’s strengths. To this date, we’ve only seen two examples, which are nearly identical at a cursory glance, including their shared Arc damage. The only immediately noticeable distinguishing feature is the Dreg’s Promise burst-fire compared to the Vestian Dynasty’s semi-auto fire.

Everyone has had a chance to play with the Vestian Dynasty after receiving it from Petra, and reactions have been mixed. Sidearms are certainly fun, and can pack a wallop in close range, but are they worth using over your other secondary options? Moreover, is Dreg’s Promise good enough to justify your Exotic slot? Let’s find out!

The obvious statistical standout is a Rate of Fire at 100. While undoubtedly an impressive number, it doesn’t mean much in the context of sidearms at the moment. The Vestian Dynasty shares this, and yet the RoFs aren’t really comparable due to their different fire patterns. Dreg’s three rounds within the burst fire extremely quickly, and the downtime between bursts is minimal.

The Stability of 79 is quite high outside of its class, and although it falls short of the Dynasty’s 91, is very manageable. The Reload Speed is similarly quick, reloading all 18 of its base Magazine Size in about 2 seconds to get you back in the fight as soon as possible.
dreg's promise exotic review recoil
Finally, although it isn’t advertised, the sidearm archetype is granted a considerable amount of aim assistance, and the Dreg’s Promise shares this boon. Aim Assisstiance is nearly maxed once you unlock the Shock Rounds perk, and this is helpful because the rounds have a short travel time, similar to fusion rifles.

Like a few other Exotics, the stats don’t tell enough of the story to get a good impression of what it can do, so we have to take a look at its perks.

Soft Ballistics bumps up the Stability for a small dip in Impact; CQB Ballistics gives you all the Stability you could ever want, but sucks away your Range; and Aggressive Ballistics normalizes the kick to predictable levels and increases impact, but compensates by slightly nerfing Range and Stability.

Dreg’s Promise would be best off with Aggressive Ballistics in most situations, for that little extra damage with near-negligible penalties. The weapon is not particularly unwieldy, so buffs to Stability are not worth their trade-offs.
dreg's promise exotic review pvp
Fortunately, it also has Field Scout among its pick-and-choose perks (which you won’t find on the new Legendary weapons). This is the far-and-away winner among them, adding an extra burst to the magazine in addition to fortifying your reserve ammo. Snapshot or Perfect Balance just can’t compare to Field Scout’s usefulness.

The ricochet rounds from Shock Rounds can be considered a positive as well, though will hardly get any real use. The aim assistance is already strong, but since Dreg’s Promise functions quite a bit like a burst-firing Fusion Rifle, Shock Rounds could be considered a free “Skip Rounds” which may earn you some lucky kills here and there.

Arc damage is excellent for dealing with the most common close-range devils. Fallen Captains and Epic Hallowed Knights despise Arc damage, and it’s arguably the best element for CQB.

The Bad

Nothing about this weapon could be considered outright bad. Dreg’s Promise fits the archetypal sidearm expectations to a tee. It excels in close to medium range encounters, but is pretty much worthless outside of these areas. The perks for a weapon such as this should be designed around cementing this niche, and not expanding it uselessly into a Range to which its not suited.

Its Impact of 5 is clearly low at a glance, but again, the number doesn’t mean much when we’re considering how sidearms perform. Their impact isn’t comparable to other variants, and this goes double for the burst-firing Dreg’s Promise. Still, each individual round does not have a lot of Impact, so it’s probably good to mention it.

The Range is also deceptively bad. 41 seems like a strong base for a sidearm, but anyone who has used the Vestian Dynasty knows how quickly damage drops off, and how impossible it is to hit anything even at medium distance, and the Dynasty’s Range is only a hair beneath the Dreg’s Promise.
dreg's promise exotic review pve damage
The same amount of Range on a Sidearm does not equal that same Range on a Hand Cannon. You’re going to be forced to use the Dreg’s Promise in mostly CQB fights, extending it to farther away with quickly diminishing returns.

Grave Robber, its first first perk, is a bit of a letdown. About 20-30% of the time it will grant an instantly full magazine following a melee kill. While this seems ideal for a sidearm, in which enemies are almost always close at hand, the proc rate has proved unreliable. Needless to say, this is going to be a pleasant surprise at best, and certainly not worth building around.

Snapshot and Perfect Balance, Field Scout’s alternatives, aren’t very desirable. Being a sidearm, it’s ADS time is not worth forfeiting Field Scout to improve by fractions of seconds, and although Perfect Balance will all but eliminate recoil, you’re better off learning how to manage it than trying to get rid of it all together.

Finally, the disappointing Shock Rounds is another example of Bungie somehow thinking that rounds that bounce are worth an exclusive perk. Shock Rounds doesn’t really hamper or improve Dreg’s Promise, so it has to be mentioned in both The Good and The Bad.


We’ve discussed the polarizing dominance of Shotguns and Snipers at short and long distance respectively, and how Fusion Rifles have been somewhat left out in the cold. Unfortunately, sidearms are a little hamstrung by the same lack of a niche. Dreg’s Promise is plenty effective at dispatching enemies in its ideal range. Its damage piles on quick with the absurdly speedy bursts, and most Tier 1 enemies can be dropped with just one. Tier 2 Majors take a bit more work, already sponging enough of the damage the Dreg’s Promise puts out that you’ll start itching to switch to your Shotgun.

Thankfully, its effectively large magazine size (7 bursts with Field Scout), very quick reload speed, and noticeable edge in range still gives you a reason to use it over your Shotguns. It helps to think of it as a more forgiving Fusion Rifle that can spread its damage out evenly with more judicious fire.
dreg's promise exotic review skip rounds
If you’re going to succeed in PvE with Dreg’s Promise, you’ll have to be almost constantly aware of how you’re engaging enemies. If you’re keeping them a couple yards out of Shotgun length and not letting up with the hail of bullets, you’re using this sidearm correctly. If you find yourself closing to breathing distance, and hip-firing like crazy, you should consider switching to a Shotgun.

The Dreg’s Promise rewards very positionally aware Guardians, but if you don’t have the patience to maintain this, you’re going to be handicapping yourself. Ultimately, it is a very average option for PvE, though undeniably fun. It just doesn’t have the damage output to choose it over a Legendary Shotgun, and its even harder to use, knowing you’re locking yourself out of using another Exotic.


It’s a mixed bag. As noted in the video review, this weapon is hit-scanned differently from most Crucible weapons. There is a certain amount of “travel time” for each round in a burst, and any of the rounds can frequently wind up missing if your target is on the move – especially laterally. This makes it a little frustrating to work, much like a regular Fusion Rifle.

Again, the analogy of it as a more forgiving Fusion Rifle is apt here. A single well-placed burst from a normal Fusion Rifle can outright kill a Guardian, but might very well outright miss. However, with Dreg’s Promise you should be able to lead your target and get some residual damage, even if you’re unable to burst them down in the initial encounter.

Its damage is surprisingly high, at 40 per body shot. This technically makes it a two-burst kill, should you land 5-6 of the rounds before the damage begins to drop off. The headshot multiplier of 1.25x doesn’t change this TTK too drastically, but gives you a little more leeway if you manage to get a couple headshots, compensating for any rounds that missed.

This high damage is much-needed to accommodate the range problems. Much like PvE, if your playstyle leads you into Shotgun-duel range, you’re not going to do very well with Dreg’s Promise. If you like sitting back a little too much, and end up with loads of assists from its damage dropping off, then you haven’t chosen the right weapon.
dreg's promise exotic review pvp damage
Its best in the role of a Fusion Rifle, in forcing uncomfortable engagements for Shotgun rushers. Back-pedalling will be your friend, and anyone who chooses a single vector in attacking you, and doesn’t bother to strafe, will find themselves the victim of your displeasure.

Of course, just like PvE, you have to pick it over any other Exotic. For the Crucible, in which Thorn, Hawkmoon, The Last Word, and Red Death are super deadly, this isn’t always an easy call to make. You also have Plan C vying for its spot, serving a very similar purpose, so you shouldn’t be set on going with Dreg’s Promise on every map.

You’ll be most pleased with it if you stick to your favorite Legendary Primary Weapon at almost all times, taking the Dreg’s Promise out carefully and only in the right situations.


It’s a Fallen Shock Pistol. You’re not going to be able to hide it with its battered frame, rustic brown coloring, and brutal spikes giving it a dangerous appeal. It’s distinct, as only one of two sidearms. Subtle red lights put a futuristic twist on the otherwise simple and stark design.
dreg's promise exotic review pve
The ADS sights are unobtrusive in the best way, but its spare hip-fire sights that are the most appealing. They grow slightly as you burst-fire the weapon, and consistently will put your shots right where you want them.


Dreg’s Promise is an interesting new Exotic sidearm that, while not necessarily surging to the front of the pack, sits as a well-designed and functional weapon for general play.

It lacks the punch of Shotguns and the range of Snipers, but competes admirably with the Fusion Rifle, making a case for itself with a high fire rate and precision at close-to-medium distance.

In PvE, you won’t be blown away with it, when such great alternatives exist, but it will do its job well within its admittedly limited range. In PvP, it can hastily drop other Guardians at ranges in which a Shotgun blast would amount to little more then a sneeze, but has to be very cautiously used to avoid frustration.

It delivers all of the above in an aesthetic package that is a must-have for anyone looking for a stylish secondary. If you get lucky with the Elder Cipher, the Dreg’s Promise just might be your kind of weapon.

For PvP this weapon earns a 7.7/10 and for PvE a 7.6/10.