Destiny December Update Includes Lots of Weapon Tuning, More Exotics

In the latest Weekly Update, Bungie looked ahead to the December update for Destiny, which will launch at an unannounced time next month.

With Bungie looking the weapons you carry and energies you wield under a microscope right now, Senior Designer Jon Weisnewski previewed all the changes to weapons in the December update.

The full list of changes based on external and internal feedback is over here, with some highlights below:

Auto Rifles

The 2.0 update brought Auto Rifles back into the competitive PvP space as an option. However, we find they are still occasionally losing to Pulse Rifles at close range. Based on that data, Autos are coming up a tiny bit to help them fulfill their intended role.


  • Auto Rifles are optimal at close to medium range
  • Auto Rifles can effectively compete against Pulse Rifles in PvP

Pulse Rifles

Pulse Rifles are some of the most adaptive and efficient Primaries right now. The base damage forgives enough thumb skill up close that they can compete with Auto Rifles. The effective range keeps Scout Rifles in check at extended ranges, and the burst cadence forces a grueling pace for even the most adept Hand Cannon users. We like that they’re “having a moment”, but they need a few limitations in their raw utility.


  • Pulse Rifle is optimal at medium range, but can still effectively engage enemies at close or medium-long range
  • Pulse Rifles should feel strong in PvP, but don’t become the only competitive option

Hand Cannons

For 2.0.1, we’ve increased ADS Accuracy for another pass at the goals outlined below.


  • Hand Cannons are optimal at close to medium range
  • Rewards agility under fire, precision targeting, and snap shots
  • Hand Cannons cannot reliably compete with Scout Rifles at long range


Our last few attempts at curbing the lethal range of shotguns have made some dents in the legacy of The Felwinter Times, but currently there are still weapon builds that can kill at surprisingly long range (albeit less reliably). We are hitting range again in the form of damage falloff, but we’re also turning the focus to other ways in which shotguns can be lethal. Long range shotgun builds now call for more challenging sacrifices on other weapon stats: Stability, Rate of Fire, Reload, and Handling.


  • Shotguns are most effective at very close range
  • Complements melee attacks and other close-quarters class builds
  • Offensively closing on an enemy with a Shotgun is a risk/reward timing game
  • Reduce weapon agility so that CQ combat is more deliberate.

Fusion Rifles

Our hope in this patch is to make these player facing decisions easier to answer. Slow charging Fusions like the Omolon Thesan FR4 can push the effective range of fusions to the max. Faster charging Fusions like Split Shifter Pro will allow players to be reactive to close range threats.


  • Fusion Rifles are optimal at mid-range, where targets are easier to track but they’re not close enough to attack while charging up
  • Requires combat foresight and the ability to predict a target’s movement to use successfully
  • Accentuate close range/medium range effectiveness by tuning charge speed and stability
  • Make players feel more judicious about spending ammo

Sniper Rifles

Damage falloff on Sniper Rifles is here to stay! [ducks] But, we’re pushing it out a bit further to ensure that a precision head shot is consistently rewarded. With the new values Sniper lethality should only be affected at really, really long combat distances.

Speaking of rewarding precision head shots, Luck in the Chamber will now only grant a precision damage bonus when the perk rolls on a Sniper Rifle.


Sidearms are the multi-purpose support weapon for close range edge cases. Suppress a nearby flank route, gun down a rushing attacker, or swap to it when you just need a few more rounds to finish off a weak target.

As for Exotic Weapon Tuning, you’ll see changes to The First Curse, Hawkmoon, The Chaperone, Fabian Strategy, Black Spindle, and Sleeper Stimulant.

Sticking with the December update, Bungie adds, “Sage has been thinking a lot about Titans, and he’ll share some thoughts on the matter before the update goes live. We might even learn more about promises to create a use for those vast stores of Etheric Light and Wormspore.”

On top of that, more Exotics are coming after the December update goes live. Two are exclusive to Year Two, while others are upgraded weapons and armor from Year One. You’ll “start earning them in the places where Exotics get earned.”

Meanwhile, the previously mentioned Refer-A-Friend program kicks off on Monday, November 23. The official announcement and page on are coming soon, with Destiny Player Support adding:

To participate, you’ll need to find the Tango to your Cash. Currently active Guardians will be considered Veterans, and people purchasing/playing Destiny: The Taken King for the first time will be considered Referral candidates. If you already have a Riggs to your Murtaugh lined up, you can hand them the New Player Guide to help them maximize their time fighting against the Darkness.

If you’re experiencing an increased audio issue after installing update 2.0.2, Bungie says they’re investigating it right now, but in the meantime, they suggest lowering the in-game audio in the Settings menu as a workaround.

[Source: Bungie (1), (2), (3)]