Just a few days ago Bungie released the newest Hunter themed Destiny update and the reception from the Destiny community has been mixed. While sometimes the ire Bungie gets is justified, this update addresses some glaring issues for a variety of classes outside of just Hunters. Keeping balance in a game like Destiny is important. Whether it’s a gun like Thorn running rampant in the Crucible, or a certain Guardian’s super performing differently than the development team intended.
Sometimes updates can end up causing a ripple effect and making dormant problems far more known and worse. We saw this with the update to how special ammo dropped in the Elimination playlist, which pretty much caused Icebreaker and Invective to rise above all other choices.
The benefits of this update aren’t necessarily clear when looking at the current state of Destiny. Instead, when considering the changes that can come out of it, it becomes clear that this may be one of the most integral updates in the game to date.
Hunter’s PvE Capability Increased
Outside of using the Nightstalker sub-class in PvE the Hunter has always felt lackluster compared to the other classes abilities. Bladedancer and Golden Gun just never felt as if they could output a significant amount of damage to the A.I. and it became really difficult to justify picking them over a more powerful bow. If a super doesn’t offer the team utility, such as the Defender’s bubble, it needs to be able to output a ton of damage to enemies.
Supers like Golden Gun, which only has three shots, could barely take out a yellow mob with two rounds from your fiery hand cannon. With this new 100% damage increase, it feels like an ultimate that rewards precision by being able to melt incredibly powerful enemies. Golden Gun has always been a super that shouldn’t be used to just clean up a group of foes such as Nova Bomb, but to directly deal an intense amount of damage to single targets.
With this new update, almost every super received a fairly significant buff in some way or another that has increased their capabilities in PvE. While there have been some nerfs, most of which are not nearly as bad as they could have been, the idea is to make not one class dominant over the other. We shouldn’t feel like we have to pick a certain sub-class in a Raid or Prison of Elders because that removes any real sense of freedom.
Though, prior to this buff, classes like Golden Gun were not nearly as strong in PvE and dare we say borderline useless to what they brought to a Fireteam. Given that almost every super outside of Sunsinger basically killed a player in one shot, these buffs to their general power is not going to effect Crucible in almost any way. They already were incredibly deadly, so by buffing their overall damage capabilities it won’t hinder nor cause them to be viewed as overpowered.
Brought Certain Abilities in Line
Rolling around via Shadestep was incredibly fun, but honestly, it did need to get pulled back a bit. The ability was too easy to spam and was used less tactically than it really was supposed to be. Most of the time players, including myself, would end up just rolling out of any danger or disengage from a battle with little to no consequence. It became a kneejerk reaction in most cases and Shadestep needed to be realigned so it can be used more thoughtfully.
This also goes for the Titan chest piece Twilight Garrison, which was being abused quite a lot. However, in regards to the TG a cooldown of three seconds seemed too harsh and honestly might make the gear not nearly as effective. While this is too early to tell, it’s clear Titan’s won’t be clearing across maps with impeccable grace anytime soon.
Grenades also went through a lot of changes this time around, with the Trip Mine being the most obvious. Removing their ability to stick onto an actual person was a problem that I really didn’t feel existed too prominently. Removing the ability to directly stick opponents isn’t going to be a major game changer, but a reduction of damage to stuck opponents would have been a better option.That way it doesn’t one-shot someone like traditional sticky grenades should, but still offers a bit more utility outside of “throw it on a wall and hope someone is dumb enough to walk through.” Thankfully Skip Grenades and Smoke received some much-needed love, but there is clearly one more balance we need to discuss at length, Sunsingers.
Setting The World On Fire
The fact that this hadn’t happened sooner is honestly the most surprising aspect of this clear sub-class restructure. Out of every grenade available to not just SunSingers, but in the game itself, Firebolt was arguably the single most powerful one. When boosted by the two different nodes, Firebolt had the capability to just burn opponents out before they could even round the corner and fight.
Once you were struck by it, the only real options were to just hide and hope you either stop burning before you die or can wait it out and recover. Both of which aren’t really ideal and made these grenades pretty much required if you were playing the Sunsinger class. One grenade or ability shouldn’t dominate the others, especially in Crucible, so reigning it back just enough was a needed change.
However, the fact that damage is now increased on targets with Ignite effects is something that could be very powerful. It could easily justify the use of Solar grenades since they have a far wider damage radius and would cause anyone who gets near them to become weakened. Sunsinger is one of the best mid-game classes that has a ton of utility at its disposal, but could easily swing into either complete uselessness or absolute dominance if the wrong buff or nerf is made. While it’s too early to tell, there is little doubt in my mind that Sunsinger still won’t be one of the more dominant PvP classes.
On The Other Hand
If any update highlighted one of Destiny’s biggest problems it has to be this one. During the April update stream, Bungie addressed how they do not wish to separate the PvE and PvP changes as they want your Guardian to feel the same between activities. On paper that makes complete sense, however in practice it has caused a ton of issues. See, a lot of the main nerfs to gear such as grenades/melee/supers have been in response to PvP complaints or the need to have some semblance of balance between the classes.
However, Destiny is a game that will never be truly balanced in competitive modes due to the sheer amount of different perks, gear types, abilities, and the various combinations the community comes up with. The game, by design alone, will always be shifting and moving so while trying to always update and balance the new meta makes sense it also hinders PvE.
See, most of these nerfs have only hurt the PvE community and for the majority of these big updates, this side of the game is largely ignored. This update is exactly what PvE players have needed, but it only helps highlight how much this game needs to separate the variety of nerfs and buffs. Even if our Guardian doesn’t function the same across both modes, this is a topic that needs to be addressed because at some point the nerfs and buffs are going to make one side far weaker than the other. That being said, this is one of the first updates in recent memory that balances both PvE and PvP quite evenly and doesn’t feel like a massive shift in the favor of one side or another.
Bungie needs to always consider the ramifications these updates could have on not just the section of the game they’re trying to adjust. While this update has certainly done far more good than harm, there are no promises that these adjustments will stick. For now, we will have to just enjoy being able to critical hit Omnigul with so much Golden Gun damage Oryx feels it in the afterlife.