If there's a general consensus on the Destiny 2 beta, it's this: Player vs. Player (PvP) makes you feel great; Player vs. Environment (PvE) makes you feel underpowered. Bungie is hearing all of those complaints. The studio says to expect changes when the game launches for real in September.
Over the past three years, one of the core tenets of Destiny has been that weapons and gear have the same functions no matter where you play. Whether you're in the competitive Crucible or blasting aliens in story missions, your pulse rifles and shotguns will have the same damage, perks, and rates of fire. This has led to all sorts of gripes throughout the years, as whenever Bungie tweaks Destiny's weapon balance for PvP, it can have a negative impact on PvE and vice versa.
The issue is again rearing its head with Destiny 2, which overhauls the traditional "primary/secondary/heavy" weapon loadout in favour of a setup that limits you to one "power" weapon — a shotgun, a sniper rifle, a rocket launcher and so on — and gives you two slots for primary weapons such as auto-rifles and handcannons. This makes PvP feel more fair and pleasant to play, but it's led to a whole lot of concern about PvE, especially after the beta. How will it feel to have to pick a sniper rifle or a rocket launcher rather than being able to equip both at once? Will bosses be even worse bullet sponges when we're mostly stuck with primaries? And why do all of the ability charge rates feel so slow?
On Bungie's website yesterday, the company was quick to explain that the Destiny 2 build we're playing is pretty old, and that the design team has already made big changes. Wrote the beta's lead designer, Rob Engeln:
The PVE game tuning has changed pretty significantly since the Beta build was deployed. The nature of a Beta of this scale requires that it's based off a build of the game that is now months old. So, in many cases, your feedback is helping us validate changes that were previously made based on internal feedback and playtesting. For example, we too felt that ammo (especially power ammo) was too scarce in PvE. In addition to retuning the drop rates, we built a system that guarantees power ammo drops for you and your Fireteam from certain enemies, giving power weapons a more reliable and predictable role in your arsenal. Other areas where we've made significant tuning changes include grenade effectiveness in PvE, Boss vitality, and weapon damage against non-player combatants.
Burning questions still remain — such as "why did they nerf hunters so much?" and "will hunters get a better class ability?" and "who the fuck is going to play hunter now?" — but it's helpful to know that Bungie is already aware of many of these problems. Meanwhile, you can hear Kirk and I talking about our impressions of the Destiny 2 beta here: