In their weekly blog posts, Bungie has been handing the mic to the design team so that they detail impending changes to Destiny 2. A couple of weeks ago they gave Josh Hamrick the stage to talk about the “go fast update,” an update that will shift most everything in Destiny 2 to move and charge faster. This week’s post saw Senior Designer Jon Weisnewski discussing the coming Exotic pass, a balancing update that will reassess and rework nearly every Exotic weapon and armor piece in the game. The goal is to make Exotic items feel more exotic than they do, making each one a viable choice within its intended use.
These are the goals that they are targeting as they work through the Exotic tuning pass:
- Tuning pass on Exotic gear focused on adding and/or increasing player Power spikes.
- Focus on low-usage items, but all items are being considered.
- Lean into an item’s established gameplay and push it harder. Avoid catch-all improvements that dilute item identity.
While they have yet to detail the full extent of how each Exotic item will be changing, they gave Graviton Lance as an example of the kinds of radical changes they will be making. “The functional concept is a weapon that fires two Cosmic Void rounds that create a zero-air-resistance tunnel for a high-caliber precision shot to fire through. The first two rounds have almost no recoil and prime the air, and the third round does high damage with no falloff. A kill knocks the body back with considerable force, it tumbles, and then explodes.”
Players weren’t happy with how Graviton Lance performed though, giving a lot of feedback on the low damage of the first two shots, and issues with the death explosion. Weisnewski boils the feedback down to “all spectacle, not enough utility.” To adjust Graviton Lance, they reduced the recoil, added some aim assist, and reduced the burst from three rounds to two. It still follows the functional concept above, but offers better opportunity for players to deal damage effectively, while also maintaining a balance of not being overpowered (hence the burst reduction to two).
Then they adjusted the ragdoll physics of the defeated enemy, increased explosion size and damage, and added some void projectiles that will seek nearby enemies. These changes make Graviton Lance very similar to Outbreak Prime from Destiny 1, a hard to get and sought after Exotic Raid weapon.
Weisnewski points out that this is one of the more exaggerated examples. Every Exotic item won’t necessarily be getting a full rework of this scope, though they will mostly be getting changes ranging from a simple power increase, all the way up to this kind of full in-depth rework. Weapons that are not getting updated are Merciless, Telesto, Wardcliff Coil, MIDA Multi Tool, Colony, Legend of Acrius, and Vigilance Wing. Weisnewski says that these weapons either already perform well, or will be getting benefits in the general tuning update planned for update 1.1.4, so they aren’t part of the wider Exotic pass. Most notably, it doesn’t seem like any Exotic items will be getting nerfed. This is all about increasing player power.
He finished off his post by explaining why a balancing patch of this magnitude can take as long as it does.
We’ll be touching a lot of powerful gear with this update and to truly understand the impact for players requires a lot of design iteration and test time. It isn’t enough to crank up the damage and run one strike or Crucible match with a gun and helmet and move on. Dialing in the right amount of power, testing in all activities with all types of load outs, finding the bugs, fixing the bugs, updating the perk description text to reflect new behavior, and then handing that off to localization for translation—it’s a ton of work, but we’re up to it. We sincerely appreciate your patience. I believe it will be worth the wait.
Of course, he also had to tease that they will be returning to talk about Exotic Masterworks in the coming weeks, an update that has been hinted at, but has yet to be detailed by Bungie.
This is the latest in a new year of transparency and communication for Bungie as they seek to make good with their players. They’ve laid out a roadmap of monthly updates leading to May, when Destiny 2 Expansion 2 releases and Season 3 of content begins. All of these changes are being targeted and implemented long before a major expansion for Destiny 2 releases later this year, a strategy to ensure that Bungie isn’t selling the major Fall expansion on the idea of it bringing fixes.
Are you excited to see Exotic items in Destiny 2 becoming more exotic and powerful? What Exotic items do you hope they change in the Destiny 2 Exotic update to make more usable?