The sky is falling for some Destiny fans. Bungie has recently announced that the game’s most powerful weapon, Gjallarhorn, is getting its damage nerfed. Specifically its Wolfpack Rounds will be less effective. While the jury is still out on just how much of an impact the nerf will have on Destiny’s endgame, fans of the weapon across various social media are in a state of panic.
Whether you’re an upset Gjallarhorn owner, or someone just fed up with Bungie tinkering around with Destiny, I’m here to tell you that I feel for your frustration. However in the long run, this might be one of the best things to ever happy to Destiny. And let me add one thing for context: all this is coming from day one player that has had Gjallarhorn since his very first Vault of Glass run on normal during the game’s first couple of months.
As Bungie mentioned in their update, for months now the strength of Gjallarhorn has encouraged a divide between players who have it, and players who don’t. Whether it was Crota or now Prison of Elders and Skolas, anyone who had a Gjallarhorn was preferred over those that didn’t by a large margin.
I don’t blame the people that excluded non-Gjallarhorn users one bit either. The Gjallarhorn is so powerful that it really does make that much of a difference. For people that don’t have all the time in the world to play video games, and want to make the most of the time they have, why do something the hard way and risk wasting time, when you could blast away with Gjallarhorn? Skolas and Crota’s End (especially when it was first released), are completely different fights with and without Gjallarhorn. Attempting either of these without Gjallarhorn requires a different and almost always, more difficult strategy. Unless you wanted an artificial challenge, there are very few reasons why you would choose to not use a Gjallarhorn if you had it.This chart shows the lack of weapon variety in Destiny. Despite the multitude of exotic weapon choices, nearly a quarter of Destiny players opt for Gjallarhorn. This is a problem.
Obtaining Gjallarhorn is completely random. So on the flip side, it’s unfair to force those that haven’t had the good fortune of obtaining to jump through hoops, and at times beg, just to get invited to a fireteam. Destiny LFG sites users often leave notes that having a Gjallarhorn is a requirement (for the reasons I laid out above), leaving both skilled players and players trying to learn out in the cold if they lack the powerful heavy weapon exotic.
I don’t like making things harder for myself for no reason, so I will raise my hand and admit that I’d always opt for Gjallarhorn for any difficult fight made simpler by using it. And, while I wouldn’t outright exclude people, given the choice, I’d always prefer someone with Gjallarhorn over someone who didn’t have it. I’m not the only one, this is mentality shared by many and it’s unhealthy on so many levels.
First off, it’s bad obviously for those that don’t have Gjallarhorn that are forced to have to find other, more difficult avenues to get things accomplished. More subtly, it’s bad for Gjallarhorn users too, because instead of enjoying Destiny’s excellent weapon variety, they are shoehorned into using Gjallarhorn if they want the path of least resistance.
Most importantly, Gjallarhorn’s power is bad for everyone from a design standpoint as well. I’m no developer, but logically it’s safe to assume that when creating activities and bosses, Bungie developers need to account for the power of Gjallarhorn. Make a boss a little too easy and Gjallarhorn users will make a mockery of it. Create a difficult boss and Gjallarhorn will become a requirement for many fireteams. Neither of these scenarios are fun.
It might seem scary at first, but a post Gjallarhorn nerf world could actually be a pretty happy place. Imagine being able to vary your playstyle by using different exotics without making things harder for yourself. Both non owners and owners alike will have an easier time finding parties as more people become accepting of the help of any Guardian willing to join a fight. Bungie can get more bold and creative with their new activities. Instead of measuring something’s difficulty by how many Gjallarhorn shots it takes, skill and weapon choice will factor more into the picture.
And one last thing to consider, Gjallarhorn will still probably be a beast.