Shotguns – In Season 11 we wanted to see if slugs could be viable in PvE with a high enough reward for the risk of being close and the time it takes to aim at a head. Good news, they’re viable! However, they currently outclass pellet Shotguns and many other Special ammo options (not to mention being part of a dominant boss-melt tactic), we’d like to equalize this a bit. However, since pellet Shotguns are easier to use than slug Shotguns they don’t need as large a bump.
- Reduced slug Shotgun PvE damage bonus from 30% to 20%.
- Gave pellet Shotguns a 10% PvE damage bonus.
Linear Fusion Rifles – In Season 14 we bumped these up but believe that while their potential damage output competes numerically, and they’re extra hot right now because of the sweet Particle Deconstruction artifact mod, they can’t compete with the ease of use of other damage options. Last time they got a precision damage buff, this time it’s a flat damage buff.
- Increased PvE damage by 10%.
Caster Swords – We shipped this with a high Heavy attack ammo cost to offset a great melee weapon that also has a good ranged attack, but now believe it’s safe to reduce the ammo cost.
- Reduced Heavy attack ammo cost from 8 to 5.
Bows – In Season 11 we bumped Bow damage up 10% vs rank-and-file enemies, having seen this in game for a few Seasons it seems safe to nudge them up again.
Increased damage vs rank-and-file enemies by ~10%.
Sidearms and Fusion Rifles – Due to an ancient data entry error, Sidearm and Fusion Rifle projectiles were non-hitscan. Behind the scenes, the engine does math converting a projectile from non-hitscan to hitscan if it would cover a specific distance in one frame, so this would only occur running at 60fps or higher – shoutout to a specific community that provided us with evidence on this issue, you know who you are.
- Increased Sidearm and Fusion Rifle projectile speed from 999 to 9999 (which makes them hitscan regardless of framerate).
Vex Mythoclast – Yeah we over buffed this, and while it’s kept in check by the peekshot potential of Hand Cannons etc., it’s definitely melting faces. In playtests we feel it’s still strong enough to be desirable, without feeling free.
- Reduced Aim Assist stat by 25.
- Reduced the Linear Fusion Rifle mode Aim Assist Cone scalar from 1.1 to 1.05.
- Now requires 3 eliminations for full Overcharge instead of 2.
Fighting Lion – This wasn’t a specific problem, but given increasing frustration with breech Grenade Launchers in Crucible, it seemed like a misstep to say “we hear you” and “here’s an infinite ammo version of that thing you’re frustrated about” in the same patch. It should be clear to everyone that a full nerf isn’t needed, so we’re adjusting it. (Note: This is not a full rollback — there’s still a difference between “almost infinite ammo” and “actually infinite ammo” in how weapons are used, and in playtests where we tried to abuse infinite ammo, it was extraordinarily oppressive, much more so than we expected given that it had a ton of ammo previously.)
- Removed the multi-hit requirement
- I.e., dealing any damage will grant the buff.
- Increased the buff to the reload stat from +50 to +70.
- I.e., reload will still be slow if you miss, but if you land any damage, Fighting Lion will reload faster than it did before the nerf.
- Increased the buff duration to 7s.
Arbalest – We always wanted this to have utility in high difficulty PvE, but its lack of Champion mods prevented that, and it’s all about shield breaking already, so we’re fixing that.
- Now has intrinsic anti-barrier.
Sleeper Simulant – The delta between Sleeper and the best Legendary Linear Fusion Rifle wasn’t large enough to make this a compelling option, so while it benefits from the 10% damage buff above (really, this time), we’ve given it some additional love.
- Increased magazine size from 3 to 4, increased PvE damage by 6%.
Suros Regime – Dual Mode Receiver always made Suros a worse 360 RPM auto rifle but fixing that is a straightforward stat bump. This may not make this mode dominant, but at least makes it do what was intended: turn it into a high-impact Auto Rifle.
- Dual Mode Receiver mode now grants the following in addition to its current effects: +30 range, +3 zoom.
Cryosthesia 77K – Given the state of Stasis in PvP at the start of Season 14, we deliberately shipped this weapon in a weak state (which almost physically hurt us, but was the right decision), not wanting to contribute to the problem. Now that we’ve had more time to evaluate the state of the sandbox, we’ve reworked this Exotic to address its weakness in PvE. Specifically, the following pain point: Fire on release with the charge trigger, losing all ammo on firing the freezing shot.
- Removed Variable Trigger completely. Now fires on trigger press instead of release (this will make it feel much more responsive).
- Charged Shot moved to special reload. Getting a final blow with the Sidearm enables access to the special reload.
- Once the Charged Shot is fired, the weapon reverts back to standard Sidearm mode.
- This does NOT cost your entire magazine.
- Charged Shot now causes an AOE which freezes AI and slows players (direct hits still freeze).
Leviathan’s Breath – This Bow is underused, so we wanted to give it a bump, while also making its catalyst more interesting (expect this type of catalyst tweak to become more common moving forward).
- The catalyst now grants the Archer’s Tempo perk in addition to its other effects.
Whisper of the Worm – The original DPS king has fallen out of favor, with the delay before the damage buff kicking in making the weapon less usable in short damage phases, and optimal sustained damage requiring all critical hits but not sufficiently rewarding precision.
- Reduced delay on activating Whispered Breathing from the catalyst from 2.1s to 1.2s.
- White Nail magazine refill changed. Was 3 from inventory but now pulls 2 from inventory and 1 from thin air.
- Increased damage in PvE by 10%.
D.A.R.C.I. – This Sniper Rifle’s damage has fallen behind as other options have been buffed, and its damage is dependent on crits, while also requiring 100% time on target, so we’ve improved its ease of use and bumped the damage up.
- Reduced flinch, recoil, and accuracy degradation by 50% while Personal Assistant is active.
- Personal Assistant now has a 1s delay before deactivating when off target (was instant).
- Increase damage in PvE by 20%.
Malfeasance – For a weapon all about explosions, this Hand Cannon’s explosions were a bit underwhelming.
- Increased explosion damage by 50%.
Dead Man’s Tale – We’ve seen this Scout Rifle’s usage drop dramatically on console since the recent nerf. So we spent some time tuning it in a way that benefits controller much more than mouse and keyboard (i.e. we don’t believe this buff will improve the weapon much on mouse and keyboard), specifically touching hip fire with the catalyst.
- Note: This isn’t actually branching the tuning between input devices, but the bits we touched are either only present or are much more impactful on controller:
- Increased reticle friction falloff distance (no effect on mouse and keyboard).
- Less recoil (reduced effect on mouse and keyboard).
- Improved accuracy (reduced effect on mouse and keyboard).
Heir Apparent Catalyst – There was a data error in the Heir Apparent catalyst resulting in it granting too much damage resistance against players, this has now been corrected. No effect in PvE.
- Reduced damage resistance against players from 75% to 25%.
Lorentz Driver – The bonus ability energy feels extraneous when the damage buff is so strong, and we’re limiting certain weapon sources of ability energy.
- Removed ability energy regeneration on picking up a telemetry.
Traveler’s Chosen – The ability energy granted from the perk was on a curve that isn’t intuitively understood. Similar to Lorentz Driver, it seemed appropriate to adjust this in PvP. These changes aren’t noticeable in PvE.
- Now grants 10% ability energy per stack on activation (was previously more generous on low stacks, less generous on high stacks, the average and amount for 10 stacks are unchanged).
- Reduced stacks granted on a Guardian defeat from 3 to 2.
Adrenaline Junkie – This perk wasn’t performing as well as intended, and the path of least resistance was making it live up to its dev name (grenadebuckler).
- Eliminations with the weapon can add single damage stacks or extend existing ones.
- Grenade eliminations boost the stacks immediately to x5.
- Lowered the duration to compensate for weapon activation.
Vorpal Weapon – A perk that grants 15% bonus damage against all targets I’m going to use my Heavy weapon on? This was a non-choice and sucked the air out of the room for other damage perks. At the same time, it was failing its original role: giving players a reason to run a primary weapon against tough targets.
- Was 15% damage on all weapons.
- Now 10% on heavy weapons, 15% on special, 20% on primary.
- No change to damage vs players in Super.
Whirlwind Blade – This was too obviously the best Sword damage perk around, so while we’re fine with it being good at sustained damage, we’ve pulled it back for shorter fights.
- Increased number of stacks needed to hit maximum damage from 5 to 10.
Pulse Monitor – What if instead of activating on what feels like a fail state, this activated on a state you’ll be in in almost every encounter, even if you’re winning?
- Changed threshold for activation from 90% health to 30% shield (i.e., this now requires much less damage to trigger).
Quick Access Sling – The usage on this mod is very telling — it’s extensively used on Bows and breech Grenade Launchers, and barely used at all on other weapons. At the same time, we’ve pulled down some options players had for improving their swap speed, and wanted to make an option available for building towards that on all Legendary weapons.
We’ll be watching how this feels in the wild and may revisit it later.
- Functionality changed:
- Was: +100 handling, 0.9 * ready/stow/aim down sights time for 0.4s after running out of ammo.
- Now: 0.9 * ready/stow time all the time.
- This change also applies to the Swap Mag perk, as they use the same perk behind the scenes.
Full Auto Retrofit – We’ve seen plenty of requests for an accessibility option allowing full auto fire, particularly on fast-firing semiautomatic weapons. We have a settings option in the works for a season after The Witch Queen launches but decided to put in a stopgap to help players until we are able to ship it. Please keep these types of suggestions coming!
- Added a Full Auto Retrofit weapon mod that enables full auto while the trigger is held, usable on Legendary Hand Cannons, Sidearms, Scout Rifles and Pulse Rifles.
- This is unlocked by default for all players.
The Near Future
Annual expansions are a good time for system-level changes, since they get so much more playtest time over a longer duration compared to a normal Season.
We don’t like that the desire for Exotic catalysts is largely driven by the orbs of power generation they provide, and have something in the works to let players build around that limitation.
Weapon differentiation — if I have two Void adaptive Hand Cannons, one from the Suros foundry, and one from the latest raid, why do I care about one more than the other? The stats tend to be fairly close. Perk pools can be different, but there are only so many perks, and it’s a stretch to say the perk pool gives the weapon its identity. We’ve got something shipping on all new and reissued weapons in The Witch Queen that addresses this issue directly and are working to expand the same solution to all weapons that drop in the future.
We mentioned in the last patch notes that we’re not done with Special ammo economy in PvP, and have a further tweak coming that should help bring down the amount of ammo floating around.
Exotic primary weapons already advance Ammo Finder mods much faster, but we want them to feel better in hard PvE content and are adjusting all of them to reach this goal.
We’re adjusting some Exotics, some that consistently top the PvP usage charts in an oppressive way, some that had their perks limited to a degree that’s no longer warranted. (We’re looking at you, Chaperone…)
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).