april 12 balance update recap

Exotic Updates, Warlock Nerfs, Ammo Changes, & More!

Today’s final April Update reveal stream brought us information on what changes we can expect to the Sandbox and Crucible. Developers Lars Bakken, Jon Weisnewski, and Grant Mackay joined Deej to cover topics ranging from subclass balancing to rewards for our time spent in combat.


Rewarding Gameplay

According to Lars Bakken, Bungie’s intent is to provide a rewarding experience to players. This, of course, should include those among us who prefer to primarily play PvP. Having heard the complaints of subpar rewards for competing in the crucible, Bungie will be increasing drop rates for Legendary items across all PvP game modes. If that weren’t enough, Lord Shaxx will also now be dropping gear up to 335 for completing his string of weekly bounties.

Keeping with the theme of making PvP a more rewarding experience for players, Bungie also revealed changes to the loot system for Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris.

  • Iron Banner Rank 3 and 5 packages will now drop loot at 320.
  • Legendary Engrams will no longer drop from the end of Iron Banner Matches. These have been replaced with Iron Banner item drops, which can drop up to 335.
  • Trials of Osiris bounty completion will now reward players with 330 gear.
  • Lighthouse loot chest will now drop both weapons and armor. Rewards up to 335.
  • Players will now be able to complete the ToO bounty His Eye Upon You every day.



Bungie has heard all sides of the great Warlock debate, and will be several changes to the subclasses.


  • Buff that boosts the efficiency of the Energy Drain perk.
  • Grenades will recharge very quickly upon activation of Energy Drain, allowing for players to use their charged skills much more often.


  • Landfall damage will be reduced. It will no longer destroy Defender Titan Bubbles.
  • The blinding effect of Landfall will have a smaller radius, giving nearby opponents extra time to defend themselves when the super is cast.
  • Super is drained quicker.


  • Flame Shield will be weaker and can be activated less often.
  • Solar Wind and Brimstone melee abilities will now charge faster than Flame Shield.
  • Radiance time is reduced when running Fireborn (Self-Res).
  • Firebolts, specifically Superburn (Viking Funeral + Touch of Flame), will remain untouched.

Grant Mackay stated on stream that since a number of perks were required for the Sunsinger to have Superburn Firebolts, there was no easy solution to fixing the perceived problems with them. The thought is that with the nerf to Flame Shield the subclass should be more balanced, but they will be continuing to keep an eye on Sunsingers.


Special & Heavy Ammo

If you have played crucible for a meaningful amount of time, you have likely been in at least one Skirmish match that is dominated by a few guardians that pick up Heavy ammo and spend the remainder of the match with their Qullim’s Terminus equipped. This is one reason Heavy Ammo will now be dropping once per match at the 5 minute mark of the contest. Further action was taken to prevent overuse of machine guns, as they will now have a reduced magazine size.

Special Ammo will also significantly different in the April Update. Bungie has reversed their most recent change, and players will once again be spawning with Special Ammo. The trade off for having Special on spawn is that ammo crates will now only spawn 2 times per match (Once at 3 minutes, and once at 5 minutes). Ammo gathered from sidearms or exotics that regen will no longer be transferable to other weapons.

Several weapons such as 1000 Yard Stare and shotguns will have a reduced ammo inventory. To compensate for these changes in PvE, AI enemies will now drop ammo packets more often.

These ammo changes will be active in every game mode except Mayhem. To compensate for overall.


Risk the Revive?

Revives in 3v3 game types will be seeing change soon. Lars Bakken and the crucible design team want revives to be more Risk/Reward. With that in mind, they have made changes to the Res system, such as:

  • Revives will now take longer, even while wearing fast res gear.
  • Sprinting through your teammates orb and getting a revive will no longer be possible, even with quick res gear.
  • Players are now required to stand closer to a team member’s orb to perform a revive.
  • Shields gained for resurrecting a teammate will be weaker.
  • Revive timers will be increased by 2 seconds in Trials of Osiris. The first death will be a 7 second timer and stack for each death.



A new weapon tuning will be changing how our weapons behave. 1000 Yard Stare was revealed to be the most equipped special weapon in the game. Taking that into account, as well as how heavily snipers are used in the crucible, snipers will have an across the board stability nerf, increased scope zoom for the 3 short range scopes (Ambush, Shortgaze, Longview SLR10), and have time added to scoping in. The snapshot perk will provide a 20% boost to ADS time, versus the 30% boost we currently have.

Snipers aren’t the only weapons seeing changes, of course. Auto Rifles, Fusion Rifles, and Pulse Rifles will also be seeing some changes.

  • High RoF Auto Rifles (Doctrine) – Slight damage nerf
  • Low RoF Auto Rifles (SUROS Regime) – Slight increase in damage
  • Fusion Rifles – Universal stability buff, allowing for closer grouping of bolts.
  • Low ROF Pulse Rifles (Spare Change) – Slight boost to damage to allow for 2 burst kills on some enemies if all bullets are headshots.
  • Hand Cannons – Reserve Ammo Increased.

Kings Fall raid weapons get some love in the update; All KF weapons will be getting a buff to reload speed.


Exotic Weapon Tuning

Some exotics will be getting adjusted, including the much hated Thorn. Thorn, while remaining purely a Year 1 gun, will be seeing a huge nerf. The damage over time (DoT) cause by poison has been decreased to the bare minimum a weapon can deal in the crucible. DoT will wear off much more quickly on Thorn, and the green poison effect that players see when taking DoT will also be reduced. These changes will ensure that Thorn will no longer kill a player in 3 body shots.

  • The Last Word – Hip fire damage reduced, making 2 shots from the hip impossible.
  • Ice Breaker – Decreased Handling. Increased Scope Zoom.
  • Hawkmoon – Range Increased, resulting in a increase in accuracy.
  • MIDA – High Caliber Rounds will no longer be an intrinsic perk. Flinching reduced.
  • SUROS Regime – Focused Fire perk now increases range. Acceleration of fire rate occurs 4 bullets later in the magazine.
  • Telesto – Projectiles can attach to friendly players, but will not damage team members.
  • Dreg’s Promise – Projectiles will lock on target when ADS.