Bungie has posted the weekly This Week at Bungie post and in it they detail some of the upcoming sandbox changes coming in Beyond Light, particularly regarding the weapon sandbox. These include some buffs, some nerfs, and some major changes to hand cannons.

This week, our focus shifts to the weapons in your arsenal. As with our mods preview, we have a collection of patch notes accompanied by developer commentary. Alright, we ready?

Let’s pass the microphone over to the Dev Team for some juicy details.

Dev team: Hello! Today, we’ll be covering some changes to a few specific weapons and weapon families. For those of you who don’t have much knowledge of our sandbox, each weapon has a specific “frame” that is also tied to its associated rate of fire (RoF). We’ve included both of these for a bit of clarity, as many players default to RoF when talking about various weapons. As an example, “Aggressive” Hand Cannons currently have a RoF of 110 rounds per minute.

Hand Cannons: We’re making changes to give hand cannon subfamilies more diversity, and more reasons to use each.

  • Aggressive  
    • Increased RoF from 110 to 120.
    • Broke out Aggressive Hand Cannons, allowing custom tuning of stats (e.g. damage falloff for 100 range in this subfamily now starts at 32m).
  • Adaptive and Precision 
    • Range stat now has more impact on minimum damage falloff range for both archetypes.
      • Damage falloff for 100 range now starts at 25m, was 20m.
    • Precision Hand Cannon
      • (180 RoF) magazine scaled up by 37 percent.
      • Note: This also affects Exotics with that rate of fire.
  • Lightweight (folded in to Adaptive) 
    • Moved all Lightweight Hand Cannons (150 RoF) to the Adaptive subfamily (140 RoF).
      • This includes Luna’s Howl and Not Forgotten.
      • One Exotic Hand Cannon will retain 150 ROF.
        • We aren’t going to leave it to speculation.
        • It’s beautiful.
        • It does solar damage.
        • It makes enemies explode.
        • It’s Sunshot.

At this time, Lightweight (150 ROF) Hand Cannons represent the majority of Hand Cannon usage in the Crucible. While we experimented with many different ways to even out Lightweights (150 ROF) and Adaptives (140 ROF), Lightweight Hand Cannons consistently retained a faster time to kill (TTK). As such, we opted to equalize their ROF.

We selected 140 ROF as it is fairly balanced in the Crucible sandbox. It gives other weapon archetypes more time to breath between shots, avoids an overabundance of Hand Cannons with faster TTK than other weapons, and pairs nicely with upcoming changes to 600 ROF Auto Rifles (more on that below).

Sniper Rifles: We want Sniper Rifles to feel powerful, without being so easy to use that they dominate.

  • Adjusted how aim assist (AA) is affected by Sniper Rifle zoom level. Lower zoom scopes have less AA, higher zoom scopes have more, scopes with around 50 zoom are unchanged.
    • Lowest-zoom scopes have a large reduction in AA cone angle.
    • Highest-zoom scopes have a small increase.

Auto Rifles: In Season of the Worthy, the Adaptive archetype (600 RoF) was given a buff. We’re pulling that back a little to keep it in check with other Auto Rifle archetypes.

  • Adaptive
    • Damage per bullet reduced from 15.75 to 14.25.
    • Note: Prior to Season of the Worthy, damage per bullet was 13.75.

Scout Rifles: Scouts have a reasonable time to kill (TTK)and can’t be adjusted too much without making them dominate the battlefield, so we’re making them a little easier to use.

  • Increased how much each point of the AA stat widens the AA cone.
  • At maximum, the AA cone is now 15 percent wider.

Rocket Launchers: These Heavy weapons currently have very low reserves, so we’re adjusting that. We expect to take another look at Rocket Launchers in a future Season.

  • Increased reserves by 1 or 2 rockets depending on Inventory stat.

General: The following is a list of surgical changes for select weapons based on player feedback. Some of these changes apply to weapons that are a little too far ahead of other options while others apply small buffs to increase the weapon’s effectiveness.

  • Perks
    • Outlaw – The reload speed increase felt insufficient with certain subfamilies and combinations of rolls (e.g. Aggressive Hand Cannons).
      • Increased reload stat bonus from +50 to +70.
  • Merciless
    • Increased inventory stat from 36 to 55 (this increases reserve ammo).
  • Mountaintop
    • We’ve had a ton of feedback that Mountaintop feels a bit over the top in Crucible modes. This Pinnacle weapon has had ample time to shine, so we’re taking it down a notch.
    • Specific pain points:
      • A one-shot body shot with infinite range.
      • Quick and easy cleanup of wounded Guardians, even around corners.
      • Deals high splash damage, rewarding players for inaccuracy.
      • Perfect in-air accuracy allows airborne Guardians to rain down death, and there’s not much grounded Guardians can do to respond.
    • Here are the changes intended to address those points:
      • Reduced splash damage by 33 percent, increased impact damage such that total damage is 5 percent lower than before.
      • Reduced projectile velocity multiplier from the Micro-Missile perk from 1.4 to 1.2. (i.e., now 20 percent faster than other breech Grenade Launchers instead of 40 percent).
      • Reduced in-air accuracy. Now has significant projectile error while in-air (around 7 degrees without the Icarus Grip mod, substantially less with).
  • Falling Guillotine
    • Reduced heavy attack damage by ~24 percent to bring in line with other Swords.
    • Note: Falling Guillotine will continue to be slightly above average, just not to the extent that it is now.
  • MIDA Multi-Tool and MIDA Mini-Tool
    • MIDA Mini-Tool
      • Moved the “Mida Synergy” trait to the intrinsic, similar to how the (Baroque) version works
      • Added the following perks:
        • Hip-Fire Grip
        • Kill Clip
      • NOTE: There is an issue with the masterwork on this weapon that prevents it from being upgraded. This will be fixed in a later update.
  • Sturm and Drang
    • Drang
      • Moved the “Together Forever” trait to the intrinsic, similar to how the (Baroque) version works
      • Added the following perks:
        • Accurized Rounds
        • Moving Target
      • NOTE: There is an issue with the masterwork on this weapon that prevents it from being upgraded. This will be fixed in a later update.
  • Ruinous Effigy
    • Transmutation Spheres
      • Reduced the damage of the aerial melee attack by 25%
      • Significantly reduced the damage of the drain effect on enemy combatants
  • Arbalest
    • No longer strikes shields multiple times, but its efficacy against shielded targets has been increased.
  • Jade Rabbit
    • Armor Piercing Rounds swapped to High Caliber Rounds.
    • This fixes an issue that could prevent the exotic perk from triggering.

Some of these changes look pretty hefty, and we’re looking forward to seeing your reactions. When first hearing that Aggressive Hand Cannons would be shifted to120 RPM, I wondered if it would be enough to push them into the hands of my Guardian. I can safely say after quite a few playtests, I have a bunch of new favorite Hand Cannons that have been waiting for their time to shine.

Smith’s Sentiment: Couple of things working backwards; Jade Rabbit change will fix the exotic perk and also make the gun better, particularly in PvP. I will take High Cal over Armor Piercing any day of the week on a Scout in PvP. Arbalest isn’t being nerfed, it’s having a bug fixed and is being given a slight buff to compensate for fixing said bug. I don’t really know why Ruinous Effigy needs a nerf, but whatever.

So the hand cannon changes sound great. I wouldn’t have considered changing 110’s to be 120’s, but merging 150’s into 140’s is a want I’ve had for awhile and I’m thrilled to see it finally happen. The 150’s were the meta, because they killed faster, but on console I’ve always preferred the feel of a 140 over a 150. The mag increase for 180’s was also desperately needed. All things considered, I like all of these changes on paper a great deal and there’s some soon to be 120’s and 180’s that I look forward to using particularly in PvE.

Hopefully the change to Mini-Tool and Drang mean that they are getting new versions, which I already assumed they would. Just give me a way to farm Drang, because I will miss my Baroque in PvP.

Falling Guillotine nerf was expected, and I don’t think it’ll be that bad.


Gary is Owner and Editor-in-Chief of Vortainment. He's usually posting news and reviews, and doing all the back end stuff as well. He likes to play video games, watch movies, wrestling and college football (Roll Tide Roll).

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