Changes to Luna’s Howl and Not Forgotten

Bungie announced some massive changes for the Luna’s Howl and the Not Forgotten in their April 24th weekly blog.

These hand cannons were introduced at the start of the Forsaken DLC and are rewards for completing a grueling Competitive Crucible quest chain. They are considered two of, if not the two, best weapons in Destiny 2 PVP. Both of them are Precision Frame hand cannons with maximum accuracy and minimal recoil. They fire 180 rounds-per-minute (RPM) and come with the unique perk, Magnificent Howl. Magnificent Howl rewards a significant amount of bonus damage to a player’s next shot after they land two consecutive precision shots. This bonus damage allows players to defeat other Guardians in the Crucible with three shots, sometimes two, at an alarmingly fast rate.

The Luna’s Howl and Not Forgotten are so highly coveted you can find and pay top tier Crucible players to play on your account and earn the weapons for you. This is commonly referred to as a “recovery account,” or a “Bought Forgotten,” a play on the name of the Not Forgotten.

These weapons are so effective in a competent players hands that many Guardians without them often go to the Bungie Forums and social media to express their distaste for them and their use in Quickplay.

The Bungie development team took this feedback from the community and responded by announcing this plans to change the Luna’s Howl and Not Forgotten with the release of the upcoming Season of Opulence. They will reduce both weapons’ rate of fire from 180 to 150 RPM, while keeping their Precision Frame archetype, and change the Magnificent Howl perk to deal extra bodyshot damage. This extra damage will allow the Luna’s and Not Forgotten to kill in three hits either if all those hits or precision shots or two consecutive precision shots and one final bodyshot. Something they were already doing, only now slower, and without the potential to two-tap unlucky opponents.

It is my opinion these changes together are an unnecessary over correction that will strip these weapons of their identity and disincentivize players from pursuing future pinnacle PVP weapons.

The weapons are intended to reward committed players who seek to improve themselves. I am mediocre at PVP, and I still managed to mostly solo queue for my Luna’s Howl. I play on PC and on Asian servers, as I’m a member of the U.S. military stationed in South Korea. I want you to imagine the living nightmare I put myself through to get Luna’s Howl. I lost to and conquered full teams of Japanese, Taiwanese, and Korean players. The journey to my Luna’s was an emotional rollercoaster filled with anguish, anxiety, dread, and at last relief when it was done. I couldn’t help but chuckle when Shaxx offered me the quest to get Not Forgotten. That was never going to happen.

Do I think it is scummy when I queue up for Quickplay and I see a six stack of One-Eye Mask Titans or Spectral Blade Hunters with Gwisin Vest with max-range Dustrock Blues, Not Forgottens, Wardcliff Coils? Hell yes I do. It’s obnoxious, and these players know exactly what they’re doing. They’re bullies. They derive pleasure from beating a group of uncoordinated opponents who likely never stood a chance. But they would still be doing this if Not Forgotten didn’t exist. These are people who are at their core fundamentally flawed individuals. They will always find a way to make other people less happy. It’s their purpose in life.

These nerfs were aimed directly at console players. I admit this makes sense. The majority of the player base plays Destiny 2 on a console. The fast firing, 180 RPM archetype are the most reliable hand cannons for the PS4 and XBOX. Lowering the rate of fire to the Luna’s and Not Forgotten to 150 while allowing them to remain Precision Frame weapons seems to be a good compromise. I’m sure it played out well internally given the testing resources available to Bungie. I’ve heard over and over again one of the hardest parts about game design is the inability to properly simulate the effect changes will have on a massive playerbase.

There will be numerous second and third order effects from these changes which could not have been predicted from internal testing alone. The ones I can immediately think of are the following. The Ace of Spades will become the default choice for any competitive Hand Cannon user on PC. The Ace is already a godly weapon on PC, and it’s only going to become more popular after these changes. Other 180 RPM hand cannons will fill the vacuum left on console. These changes do not address the real issue; 180 RPM hand cannons are the only viable option for Guardians on console. I suspect removing bloom from the other rate of fire hand cannons would do more to fight back against the Not Forgotten’s dominance on consoles than would these nerfs.

The best Crucible players will always unlock whatever pinnacle reward Bungie puts into the game. It’s what they do. But, these nerfs are going to give common players brave enough to go for something like the Luna’s or the Recluse some pause. They will stop and ask themselves, “Will this be worth it?” “Will this get nerfed a few months from now?” It is already daunting enough for the average Guardian to step into the Competitive playlist alone. Taking away the effectiveness of any material rewards for doing so only further harms the population for those game modes.

I truly hope these changes don’t leave players who earned their pinnacle weapons feeling denied the rewards they work so hard to achieve. This announcement comes at a challenging time for those who primarily enjoy PVP. The recent news that Trials will not return for the foreseeable future leaves many competitive players without someplace to go once they’ve made their way to the top of the Glory ranks. Trials boons also saw casual players properly rewarded for their efforts as well. Added to this are the effects the Revelry tonics are having on the Competitive playlist, where Skip and Suppression grenades along with permanently invisible Hunters are leaving many frustrated. We all owe it to the development team to hear our feedback. Please take some time after reading this to go to the forums and let them know about your thoughts concerning these changes. The team needs feedback and it’s up to us to give it to them.