Every Single Popular Destiny Gun Is Getting Nerfed

Every Single Popular Destiny Gun Is Getting Nerfed

Tonight, Bungie announced some crazy news in the world of Destiny, a video game where players fight against vile, disgusting enemies like the Cabal, the Vex, and Red Bull.

You know all those weapons that everyone uses? Gjallarhorn? Thorn? The Last Word? Hawkmoon? They're all getting nerfed. Every damn one.

Thanks to a massive weapon overhaul that will arrive as part of Destiny patch 2.0 — which should go live this September — it appears that in the near future we'll have a new host of weapons to complain about not getting. Auto-rifles are getting buffed; Hand cannons are getting nerfed. Goodbye, Ice Breaker; hello, Necrochasm. Trials of Osiris players will be pleased to hear that Final Round sniper rifles are getting nerfed, too.

You can read all the granular details here, but let me give you some excerpts.

First, the auto-rifle changes, which could help those pea-shooters feel more worthwhile:

  • Increase base damage

  • Start damage falloff closer to the player to emphasise its role as a close to medium range weapon

  • Small reduction in base stability. Landing shots at optimal range is unaffected, but repeated precision hits require more weapon control to land consistently

  • Boost damage by 10% against AI combatants

And the hand cannon changes, which might make them a little less deadly:

  • Start damage falloff closer to the player to limit long range lethality

  • Small reduction in ADS accuracy, targeted at making long range snap-shooting less reliable

  • Reduce final accuracy when firing from hip

    • Fast firing from hip is less reliable
  • Reduce magazine size for all base inventory stats

  • Reduce base Optics (zoom) for all Hand Cannons

    • ADS now grants more width in favour of depth

All the other weapon types are getting tweaked, too. You can read them all on Bungie's page. For now I have to get to news about the exotics, which will surely both please and disappoint many, many people.

Some of the changes:

The Last Word

The Last Word is our fastest time-to-kill (TTK) primary in the game. The intent of this weapon was always to deal lethal damage up close and in style while shooting from the hip. Right now the Stability and Range of this weapon has players reliably getting ranged kills while aiming down sights, so we want to try and push this weapon into more of its intended role.

  • Changes:Reduce Range stat to 10 (was 20), reduce Stability to 20 (was 30).
  • Reduce effective range while in ADS.Increase accuracy and precision damage aim assist scale when firing from the hip. "Get three coffins ready."Fixed bugs with Hipfire damage bonus applying incorrectly


Thorn has had an interesting journey. It started as a weapon that was perceived as an unworthy reward for one of the most contentious exotic bounties in the game, and has slowly dug its way into players' flesh as one of the most popular exotics among the Destiny population.

We want to preserve the functionality that makes Thorn such a compelling weapon, but its effective range and lethality are one of the most hotly contended items by the PVP player base. The base changes to Hand Cannons and weapon stats address Thorn's range.

  • Changes:

    • Reduce base damage of Thorn's Mark of the Devourer DoT (Damage over Time) to roughly 1/3 of what it was in PVP and PVE
    • Allow DoT to stack up to 5x across multiple landed projectiles
      • This is a net buff for Thorn's DoT, but reduces the lethality of the weapon in PVP

Ice Breaker

We've all done it. Hunker down in the back of the map with your lunch box, picnic table, a sci-fi paperback, and Ice Breaker. Kill all the enemies, wait for more to show up, kill those ones too, put a few shots on the boss, make a sandwich, finish the strike, and then collect your reward-that-isn't-Hawkmoon and move on. The recharging ammo of Ice Breaker has become a staple for the PvE game. We don't want to completely destroy that, because a really great thing happens when all of a sudden you need Ice Breaker and you're still waiting on that next round to show up. In that moment there is an interesting tension at play; you need to think about how you spend your next few seconds while it recharges. We are going to amplify that tension by increasing the recharge duration by a few seconds.

  • Changes:

  • Increase recharge time for Ice Breaker rounds to 1 every 8 seconds. Was 1 round every 5 seconds

Gjallarhorn :(

If Destiny had a nuke it would be the "Ballerhorn." We definitely intended to have a high damage Heavy Weapon that was ideal for PvE destruction. What we did not intend, and what we unfortunately saw, was pick up Raid and Nightfall groups gating participation based on whether or not players had this weapon. Gjallarhorn was so strong that for many people it had become the only answer to getting through tough encounters, and therefore they were less willing to spend time with other players that didn't have it.

We strive for Destiny to be a place where a single weapon or strategy does not dictate how, or with whom, you spend your time. In the new world Gjallarhorn is still worthy of its legacy as an exotic Heavy Weapon, but we hope it promotes inclusive behaviour rather than exclusivity.

  • Changes

  • Reduce damage of Wolfpack Rounds

Some guns — Hard Light, No Land Beyond, etc. — will get buffs that should make them more viable in both PvE and PvP. And although it will take a while before we really understand all of the effects of this overhaul, one thing's for sure: come September, Gjallarhorn will no longer be king.

If you're a hardcore Destiny fan and you want to slog through granular details about weapons, go read the full log of weapon changes. If you just want the short version? Well, everything's going to change. Big time.

You can reach the author of this post at [email protected]om or on Twitter at @jasonschreier.


    Oh man, can you imagine the buffs and nerfs Bungie would have done for Halo if they didn't have to spend 40,000 bucks to do so?

    I had fun playing the Destiny Beta. I was confused though as I already thought I played the beta but I had to pay for the privilege of testing the game out for a year the second time. Let me know when the final version is released and I'll look at picking it up again. A game to keep an eye on as development continues

    wait, that was the final version of it and they continue to fuck up the weapon balances?

      welcome to the world of competitive massively multiplayer.

        One of the reasons that PVP is cancer to PVE-focused players.

    Are they going to nerf the ridiculous amounts of HP and stop creating artificial difficulty by making the endgame bosses 1 level higher than players?

    Oh no, these nerfs only factor in the PvP aspect which is going to be horribly broken no matter what. Who even plays PvE, am I right? It's not like there's a story so who cares if all the useful weapons become junk for no practical reason.

    Last edited 17/07/15 2:14 pm

      The level disparity is the worst part of Destiny.

      That coupled with the lack of checkpoints in Prison of Elders made for the most maddening and wasted session of Destiny I've played.

        The fact I've heard even a good run of Skolas takes several hours, there's no checkpoints, and you're still at the mercy of extremely fickle connectivity issues makes me not even want to try.

        I've taken the last month off Destiny and it's been really pleasant. So pleasant I think I've going to extend this vacation indefinitely.

          I haven't played since Dark Below so I'm enjoying it, even though there's still massive issues.

          But yeah, Skolas can eat a plastic bag.

          Also, why does Varricks not let us kill him when he's weakened just so he can chuck him in the Prison and let us hunt him for sport?

          I'm telling you, Guardians are totally the bad guys.

          Several hours? Whoever has said that must suck at the game. I ran it a few nights ago and had a good run. It took about 70 mins.

            first 4 rounds have 3 sections each which take around 5 mins so thats an hour right there. Servitor boss is 15 - 20 min as he has a ridiculous amount of HP. Skolas is min 30 min fight. Add in a couple of wipes on skoli and your easily at 2 hours.

            Even 70mins. Who the heck has 70mins for uninterrupted gaming?

            I do. At midnight. But then I pay the next day. Lord do I pay...

          several hours!?!?!?!
          They must be running at lv 32 and have blue weapon coz if you cant beat it in under an hour there is something wrong
          there is a video on youtube where 3 titans use no weapons and punch him to death in under 2 hours
          My team does the whole thing in under an hour with 2 gallys

          Depends on how good your teamwork is.
          You can get the entire 35 PoE done in under an hour if you all work together, communicate, and play smart.
          Quite often I find the Skolas fight to not even be the hardest round.

          I find the Skolas fight really enjoyable, cause it does throw a lot at you but it never seems unmanageable.
          Good communication, teamwork, and playing smart is key.

          Did a Skolas run on Saturday night, as a friend wanted his first Skolas kill for the triumphs thing. Took us a little under 2.5 hours overall, the second half of which was just Skolas. With the right team, it's a super-fun encounter, preceded by five rounds of tedium and frustration.

          Haven't had much of an issue with connectivity in Prison runs - I know a couple of people who've DC'd at Skolas, but the worst I've had is getting DC'd and reconnected within 20 seconds during Urrox in a 32. That said, they really need checkpoints for challenge prisons, even if it's just before the last round. Hell, Crota's End has checkpoints, and it can be done with a small group in less time than the fastest team running a 35 Prison.

          Last edited 17/07/15 5:32 pm

          I did it in 3 and a half minutes. When I was ten. While I was on fire. Thus it could never possibly be broken in any way and it's 100% your fault for sucking.

            I did it like that too but all my fingers were broken and I was walking to school in 10 feet of snow.

            And I was blind. So those guys are just the worst. They should give up now because they're not as good at us.

          Same here. Been relaxing playing other games.

      I've always thought the school of "Add more HP!" encounter design was cheap and lazy... And Bungie could teach a master class on it if Destiny is anything to go by.

    I had an enforced Destiny lay off over the launch of the two expansions, now that I'm back into it, Im loving it. I was over it before I left, but I'm happy I'm back, my wife isn't so happy.

    The point of a hand cannon was if you can aim you get more damage because you will shoot slower then an auto which teaches people to learn to aim and not just hold down fire and hope for the best.
    This is why it got a buff in the first place and now your taking back what you said... idiots
    lucky its not until September when the DLC comes out because anyone in Australia that pays $70 for one DLC is out of there mind (yes in Australia the DLC cost $70 on its own).
    The destiny community is amazingly very kind people and always helps each other out so saying that people dont help other players because they dont have a gally is BS
    Make crota and vog harder by making them harder not by nerf
    had fun with destiny but I'm out

    I took a break from Destiny in December and only picked it back up again this week. So far it's been fun. Don't get me wrong, there's still a LOT wrong with the game, but it's gotten (slightly) better. Ascension, reducing the need for 3000 different currencies and so on have been good. I'll never grind it out like I did before, but it's been fun to play a little bit with my mates.

    As for these changes, good (mostly). TLW and Thorn were ridiculously overpowered in PvP.

    Gjallarhorn made even the hardest encounters relatively trivial, to the extent people on Destiny LFG won't even look at you if you don't have a maxed Ballerhorn.

    Black Hammer made bosses with large crit areas absolutely stupid. You could literally just sit there and stun lock them until they died.

    Even Ice Breaker. I love mine, but it's hard to convince myself to try other exotics/secondaries when that ammo regen is just SO good. This might encourage a bit more diversity.

      I never had Gjallarhorn, never got Ice Breaker. Black Hammer was the closest thing to a killer weapon I had. Taking down Fallen Walkers in no time at all was the most satisfying part. And I loved that boss killing tactic, it made me feel powerful in a game that constantly moves the target just as you get to it.

      That said, I understand why they had to change it.

      Last edited 18/07/15 9:04 pm

        That's fair enough, and I can partly see the argument behind having Exotic weapons be as powerful as say Black Hammer. They're the rarest guns in the game, they should be good. Maybe that could have been a solution, making Black Hammer an Exotic rather than Legendary. That way you'd have to choose between it and other good weapons, rather than rocking both it and a Jellyhorn, for example.

        It might have been a better idea to a) buff other Exotics to match, rather than nerfing BH/IB/Jellyhorn, or b) give the bosses/strikes more interesting mechanics than being bullet sponges. That way, sure, you've got a powerful weapon. But you still need to do other things than simply burn down their masses of HP as quickly as possible. PoE showed SOME potential there, and the PS4-exclusive Taken King Strike is certainly going down that path, so fingers crossed.

          Yeah I mean, Exotics though, are they really the rarest guns in the game? There are actually purple pulse rifles in random drops that less people have. The biggest problem Destiny has right now is that the Exotic weapons can just be bought from Xur every week. That doesn't give them the scarcity they need, nor the importance they deserve. Couple that with the fact that purples are generally pretty rubbish minus the raid ones. Making the raid weapons exotics would mean we've got a whole bunch of crappy purple options for our other two weapons, no energy damage on the primaries, no interesting perks.

          I think this is more a problem with, like you said, every other weapon not being up to snuff, rather than the exotics needing to be cut down. It's especially a problem with purples though, how many House Of Wolves purple weapons did anyone actually use? By then we had our favourites (raid weapons, exotics, etc) and these new purples did NOTHING to change our mind.

    So... instead of making the less enjoyable weapons more satisfying to use, they are rather making the more satisfying weapons worse. Logic.

    This game is so full of crappy limitations that seem to force you to play it the way Bungie want you too. Put that with the arbitrary caps and ridiculous scaling makes me question: Do they actually play their game, and make improvements to get it to play better, or just adjust these things according to statistics?

    Last edited 18/07/15 2:14 pm

      if you read the whole theoretical background/justifications Bungie gave and not what is shown here it is very obvious your first line is actually incorrect.

        Not really.

        As someone who has played the game before and after it's nerfs and buffs, my experience with it points to that line being correct, regardless of given background justifications (Edit: BTW, I have read their entire post on the matter out of interest yesterday). Which feeds into my other point, that they seem to adjust the weapons in accordance to statistics instead of by playing their own damn game and making it PLAY better instead of THEORETICALLY better on paper. But I digress.

        The guns that are unsatisfying to use have remained that way since launch. Bungie try to make them more compelling by making the more satisfying guns worse, instead of making the unsatisfying guns better. They are literally making the more compelling weapons less compelling so that the less compelling weapons don't seem as bad. It's the same stuff over and over with Destiny. 'You're not 'supposed' to like playing like that, we're going to make that worse so that you play it the way we want you too.'

        In the end we'll be left with every gun being less satisfying in a half arsed attempt to make everything equally compelling. At least they would have succeeded at that point.

        Edit: I also want to say: I'm all for the PvP buffs for some of these weapons. But you have to realise how crap it gets when you're shooting bosses for absolute ages (or even players and it takes a clip or more with some weapons!). I'd prefer for them to fix that first rather than make more of the weapons paper weights.

        Last edited 18/07/15 2:14 pm

          Well that new Strike was a huge improvement. A boss that you fight throughout the strike, and a final confrontation that's relatively brief as far as boss battles go. They are slowly learning about that boss bullet sponge stuff.

            I have to agree with you there. Lots of tough but not spongy enemies are making their way into the DLC which is much better.

          Yeah i'm with you on this one. Games should always be balanced up.

          Instead of bringing the OP weapons down, they should have bought the less used weapons up and made a base increase in HP so the TTK remained the same.

            Well, put it this way, I wouldn't mind them nerfing every gun for a more balanced PVP but then they HAVE to nerf the bullet spongy enemies in PVE.

    Also gave destiny a break before "The Dark Below". Reached Max Level & Full Raid Gear VOG, Now I'm Back & I'm addicted & loving it more than eve! Also hit level 34 rather quickly. The changes hopefully wont affect to much going forward.. Hopefully Xur actually drops something decent this week (already got a maxxed Gjallarhorn :P )..

    I haven't seen one single person complain about Black Hammer. NOT ONE. And yet, they're nerfing it too. White Nail now takes ammo from your stock. WTF? Why???

    Ehh, the quoted Exotic changes are pretty well thought out imo. Have not dug into the others tho.
    But nerfing cannons overall? How about you buff the other weapon types instead of handicapping the one that is fun to use?

    Not that I'll boot it up again anyway.

    edit: now I think on it, things would probably be more balanced with a cannon range nerf, in theory. But in practice, without making scouts and pulse's better, it'll just make things a bit meh.

    Last edited 17/07/15 5:20 pm

      Auto rifles need a boost to correct the over-nerfing. What do they do? Buff auto rifles and nerf everything else. Now autorifles will be OP, like last time.

      Maybe if they fixed one thing at a time more frequently they would get it right. Instead they put everything in a big box, shake it around, and go with whatever falls out.

        To be fair, the range nerfs on the auto rifles and handcannons are a good thing IF they work this time. The last time they promised that it solved nothing. When I did play I loved my MIDA Multi Tool and I could hold my own well enough in crucible with it, but I was still frustrated at being beaten at long ranges by auto rifles and hand cannons having unerring accuracy. But oh well, too little too late for me to return to it any time soon

    Bungie will claims this is them listening to their community. The community asked them to fix ARs and Thorn. This is total over kill. Considering all their recent PR disasters this is a big mistake.

    I think these are all welcome changes.
    I stopped playing Destiny a few weeks back now, but I'd been begging for a Gjallahorn / Hand Cannon nerf for a while.
    When Hand Cannons can out perform Scout Rifles at range and when near every PvE tactic boils down to "just Gjallahorn it", you know you've got a problem.

    The only thing I'm a little iffy on is the Fusion Rifle changes, but I'll wait to see how it goes.

    Also, thank the lord my beloved No Land Beyond is getting buffed!
    It was already beastly (if used right), so now it'll be a real killer! :D

      Can I ask why the downvote, @zaning?
      I didn't think I said anything offensive or inheritely bad, just speaking my opinion.

        I think people seem to get disagreeing and downvoting mixed up.

        FYI Common sense always gets down-voted in a public forum.

    Not too psyched on what they've done to the black hammer, icebreaker and gjallarhorn tbh...

    oh good grief not sure what is worse all the comments here or the forums full of whiners over at the official forum or the "sky is falling" click bait title here.

    All games like this ALWAYS have rebalancing patches and all gamers ALWAYS react like it is the worse thing ever in the whole history of the universe. and you know what ALWAYS happens a month after the change comes and the sky (apparently) falls, people are still playing. Sure the more fickle go, to those types there will always be a 'last straw' they find. The rest of us change the way they play and we find a new favourite.

    some of us still remember the last rebalance, it did some great things, it did some bad things but the game keep going and it still going VERY strong.

    So I'll have until September to get the Gjallarhorn and enjoy it?

    Come on RNGESUS!!

    Won't last long. When the new weapon of the week gets too much play they'll use the nerf-hammer again.

    Until there is matchmaking for the raids I am completely out, but even then the repetitive nature of this game and a complete lack of a story will probably keep me away. Why would I play this stupid grind of a game with stuff like Witcher 3 and Arkham Knight floating about?

      Unless you have endless hours to spare, you don't want matchmaking on raids.

    Goes to show that Bungie clearly don't respect the people putting money in their pocket.
    That, and the future of online 'career' games is one where we will clearly be left with no choice but to demand 'warranties' be given for any items/weapons/vehicles we accrue before a game even releases- because no one likes nerfs and artificial crybabyism and robbing people of what they earned, and for all intents and purposes - wasting people's time by having them play a game that's a lie. People who invest/want to spend a lot of time doing something, need valuable ground to stand on.

    I am quite done with Destiny from the long drawn out grinding and bounties with the Easter egg hunt of items to increase your character a fraction to the constant fiddle with the weapons because people complain. The convoluted raids that draw out for hours with a gambling element at the end in the hope to obtain some weapon are tiring.

    Trying to justify this with statistics is nonsense whenever a new weapon is released guess what people are going to use it so the usage goes up, but in their mind it indicates this weapon is too powerful.

    That's why multiplayer should be a simple class system no perks, no attack helicopters, no nonsense kind of like ummm Halo, Call of Duty 2?

    You can fiddle all you want Bungie you will never stop fiddling to attempt to keep everyone happy and there will never be a level playing field.

    The moment you start adding new items you change the system and create a division of the have and have not.

    How about we all just chill and wait till the 2.0.0 is actually deployed.

    I really don't understand why this is such an atrocity.
    Gjally (unfortunately) needed to be nerfed. It's OP as fuck. When my friends and I are too lazy to do something properly we gjally burn it. That's a problem, because we're no longer playing the game the way the creator intended it. Sure that's not always a bad thing, but in this case it is.
    Black Hammer, I'm a little more upset about, but it needed to be done as well. The Devils Lair is a prime example of it's power. I ran a 32 Devils Lair last night in under 5 minutes, two black hammers and one guy on adds. Sure they gave us this gun...but I don't think they foresaw it being the tool to rape the game they created for us.
    The Last Word. Countless times will I be outgunned by this weapon. I've used the gun and I feel like a cheesy hack...average a 29/5 KD. With the gun I prefer to use (Ghelons Demise) I'm lucky to go 15/*heavily depends on the amount of Last Words, Thorns, Shotguns I come up against.
    Thorn. THANK YOU BUNGIE FOR ADDRESSING THIS. Honestly, the best thing since sliced bread. Similar problem to The Last Word, it's a bit over powered. Two headshots and walk away...dead easy to do at super long range...lots of bullets in the clip...bleed effect allows you to see enemies moving...who designed that? Once again, before the hate rolls in, I've used the gun. It's too easy to get heaps of kills on people that are actually good at the game that choose to delve into the fantastic variety of guns Destiny has available (well, sort of fantastic variety, mostly just Gun A with Gun B's skin and different perks).
    Shotguns (Felwinters Lie in particular) I'm a bit biased here...I use it...with shot package, luck in the chamber and reinforced barrel. It's a gorram boomstick that kills things with one bullet at a really far range. It's definitely not fair. Then if I get my lucky bullet it get worse. I'm sorry. You can take that one away from me because I ADMIT TO BEING PART OF THE PROBLEM.
    Snipers, nothing wrong with them tbh. Just that Final Round perk that people overuse in ToO...especially last week on Widows Court. Didn't get a win because I can't snipe to save my life...but it doesn't help that I'm getting one shot from everywhere.
    Fusion Rifles are something I can't seem to get a grip on...they're a short range charge up style gun...but shotguns at the moment seem to outgun them. Things like Queensbreakers Bow are a welcome addition, I just recently got mine and it's fun to use. Plan C is good for those 'oh fuck!' situations...but they need a little buff in the range department if they're to be considering an effective short-mid range weapon. Fun to use though.
    Rockets...oh my rockets, the bane of my existence. I sit and wait at the heavy for at least 3 people to arrive before pulling it generally to just get wiped out by an ill-aimed launcher with the grenades and horseshoes (GaH) perk (proximity detonation for those who don't know). I rock a Jolders Hammer and in the extremely rare occasion that I obtain Heavy Ammo and survive the onslaught of explosions that follow, I can generally get a 10 kill streak. I think that's fair honestly, it takes skill to evade rocket users...but it's damn near impossible if they're using something with GaH and Tripod.
    As for the rest of the buffs and nerfs...I'm not too miffed about it. We definitely needed a weapon tweak and we're getting one. I'm really keen to try out Hard Light again in the crucible without being the laughing stock of the match. I look forward to a different encounter every time I play a game of crucible, instead of the standard loadouts involving The Last Word, Thorn, Felwinters, Sniper with Last Round, Ash Factory.

    This comment is too long now.

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