My Amazing Destiny Helmet Is A Test For Bungie

“They’re totally gonna nerf this,” I said into my headset mic. The words just spilled out before I even realised what I was saying. I added a hasty follow-up: “I mean, I hope they don’t!”

With the launch of the Forsaken expansion, weapon balance in Destiny 2 has shifted significantly in favour of making players more powerful. When the base game launched a year ago, players had far fewer ways to feel deadly and powerful, no matter which game mode they were playing.

That changed with the recent 2.0 patch. The overwhelming majority of the changes Bungie made to gun damage, ability damage, weapon perks, armour perks, and loadouts have been in favour of making players do more damage, move faster, and kill enemies quicker.

Whether you’re using new gear introduced in the expansion or weapons carried over from last year, everything you own is now dramatically more deadly. The question now is: will things stay this way?

Here’s a story about a helmet. It’s called the Insurmountable Skullfort. Last night, I finished Forsaken’s campaign and began to plumb the depths of its considerable post-story endgame. In the process I finally “infused” some of my best pre-Forsaken gear, bringing it up to a level that makes it relevant to the new areas and enemies.

One of the armour pieces I brought up was the Skullfort, an exotic-tier Titan helmet that’s designed to synergise with the Arc Striker subclass. Guess what: it really, really does.

In Forsaken, all subclasses have gotten a new ability tree built around a new super. The Titan Striker’s new tree is called “Way of the Missile,” and it’s all about launching yourself around the map and destroying everything in your path. The melee ability, Ballistic Slam, works almost like a mini-super.

It lets you build up momentum, jump, then launch yourself back into the ground for massive damage. It doesn’t kill as many enemies as a super-strike could, but it can clear out a surprising number of foes in a single blast. It’s a lot more powerful than I initially realised, and is a hell of a lot of fun to use.

Here’s what it looks like:

To be clear, this is a melee ability, not a super.

With the Skullfort equipped, Ballistic Slam is enhanced to the point that it’s dramatically changed how I play the game. The Skullfort has a couple of unique exotic perks that you can’t find on any other armour. If you’re wearing it, killing an enemy with an arc melee ability immediately starts health regeneration, and it also immediately refills your melee ability.

That means that, as long as I get at least one kill each time I use Ballistic Slam, I can keep doing more mini-Titan smashes with essentially no cooldown. The result is that I spend most of my time careening around with a shotgun, using Ballistic Slam as my primary mode of attack.

aahahaha it’s so fun

The Skullfort is amazing in the competitive Crucible, too. It doesn’t just work with the Ballistic Slam dive-bomb— it works with any Striker melee ability, including the tried and true “Seismic Strike” shoulder-charge. Thanks to the 2.0 balance update, Titan shoulder-charges are now a one-hit kill in Crucible, which synergizes perfectly with the Skullfort.

Provided you land your attacks, the Skullfort will give you an endless supply of them, as ably demonstrated over the weekend by the always-entertaining Mr. Fruit in a video titled “The MOST BROKEN LOADOUT in Destiny 2.”

The incredible synergy between the Insurmountable Skullfort and the Striker’s melee abilities has led to some of the most fun Destiny playing I can remember. During public events and missions, I’m running around like a maniac, blasting from sky to earth and back again while cackling into my mic.

I’m having so much fun that, naturally, my first thought is a fiercely protective one. This is too fun, isn’t it? Bungie is going to nerf this, aren’t they?

I can just picture it: in a week or so, players would wake up to a post on the Bungie blog. Among dozens of other bullet-points would be something along the lines of “Ballistic Strike damage radius reduced,” or “Insurmountable Skullfort will now only refresh a portion of melee energy on a kill.” And a million Titan hearts would break, if only just a little bit.

Over the years, Destiny players have been conditioned to expect Bungie to act as the fun police, swooping in to nerf overpowered weapons and abilities for the sake of balance.

If we’re the kids, throwing toys around the playroom and seeing what mayhem we can cause, then Bungie is the parent, periodically shooing us away, surveying the mess, and setting new ground rules.

It’s a thankless task but, of course, a necessary one. If every weapon in Destiny 2 destroyed every enemy with a single hit, the game wouldn’t actually be very fun. If players could output enough damage to end every boss fight before it began, no one would actually get to experience fights as they were designed to be played. If players could kill too quickly in the Crucible, every gunfight would be mostly decided based on who saw whom first.

Some form of balance is important for any online game, particularly one with such wild sci-fi weaponry and outsized magical abilities.

Over the past year, the general consensus among Destiny 2 players has been that Bungie was overzealous in its pursuit of balance.

That overzealousness was best exemplified by the studio’s approach to remaking the Crucible as a more grounded, team-oriented affair. At launch, Destiny 2 crucible was unusually well-balanced, but it was also boring.

Teams were small, and weapon loadouts were limited. Special abilities didn’t do much damage, and ammunition for the best weapons was scarce. Many players hated it, or at least disliked it. As it turned out, in Destiny 2’s universe of alien laser technology and fantasy space magic, too much balance was boring.

A year and a total overhaul later, “boring” is at the bottom of the list of words I’d use to describe Destiny. The question now is, will the developers at Bungie decide they’ve overcorrected? In the next week or month, will these outrageously powerful and entertaining new toys we’ve been using be made a little less powerful, a little less entertaining?

The Insurmountable Skullfort is just one of many new or newly improved items in Destiny 2. I’m willing to guess that a number of players are currently having similar revelations about other gear and other abilities.

Must we covet our mighty treasures while we have them, cherishing these fleeting moments when Destiny is so wild, ridiculous, and fun? Will this period be fondly remembered as a rambunctious deviation, or is this the new normal? Only time, and a few sets of patch notes, will tell.


Comments

    *yawn*

    Destiny is still a thing?

      Yes.... yes it is.

      Can’t believe it took as long as 40 mins for this post.

      You’re slipping, Internet.

      You seem interested enough to click the article then comment?

      Whiners still complaining about Destiny, that's STILL a thing? After like five years, you would think people would learn to build a bridge in that time frame

        Maybe they should have built a better game?

          just because you dont like the type of game it is, that doesnt make it a bad game. it just makes it a game you dont like.

        I whine about the game not because i hate it and want it to fail

        I whine because i want the game to do better, I want it to succeed. I like destiny. I dont like Bungie repeating the same mistakes. I want Bungie to do better. Bungie cant do that without being told what they are doing wrong.

          oh yeah that type of thing is okay... I was referring to the lame "Destiny is still a thing?" type of trolling, that has been going on for years now. it has nothing to do with the game, just sad people who just troll about it.

            His posts are quite obvious bait and trolling.

            Don't fuel the fire.

              my defence rest as this...
              The multitude of articles as of late - written by nigh on everyone regarding destiny 2 - have been how the base game was so horrific that the majority of the player base had a mass exodus.

              It has taken 2 or so years for them to fix the glaring errors of the previous release enough so that the community rallied and returned.

              There is no denying that the mechanics of the game leverage on the repetitive unique item drop game play.

              Diablo did the same - game was great for a run through, but I fail to understand how and why it attracts players to just grind out gear. Not enough of the base game has changed enough to warrant such love - IMO hate or not.

              The trolling commenced once the carrying on started - albeit childish, but you cannot deny that the game is a grind.

                Destiny 2 came out this time last year - 6 Sep 2017. Couple of months later for PC players.

                I didn't like how they hid features that should have been there at launch behind expansions released mere weeks later, but that doesn't mean the basic game wasn't good. It was, and still is, one of the better examples of this sort of game. Not 'horrific' as you claim.

                Being a persistent online game, of course theres a grind. Every online game has a grind, stop trying to represent this is any different. CoD, Battlefield, Diablo, WoW... All have a grind somewhere.

                If you're failing to see why people play that way, or Diablo games, the problem is you, not those games. You either have a bias that refuses to understand why people play these games, or and mentally set up so you cant see it. Which happens, that's not insulting your intelligence - I cant see the fun in CCG's for example.

                  Pardon me for having an opinion that the game is a grind - to which you agreed...
                  Pretty sure i also drew the comparison and through in diablo as a reference to said grind.
                  I didnt think it necessary to list every online game release in the past 10 years to strengthen my point.

    Been too long since I played to remember specifics, but my titan had a build or two based around punching my way to glory, or shoulder charging with almost no cooldown. A crit punch to the face would one shot pretty much any mob, it was insane.

    That was just the meta at the time, and how items synergised so well with specific abilities. This really doesn't seem much different to that, only using different abilities. Given the increase to damage overall and that prior history, I doubt it'll be nerfed.

    I fired up Destiny 2 up again a couple months ago.

    To be honest it really felt the same as day 1.

      That’s because not much had changed “a couple of months ago”.

      Try patch 2.0.1 for the good juicy stuff.

      Yeah a couple months ago the game was virtually the same except for having 2 new zones, 2 new mini raids and just added items. Last week though, patch 2.0 came out and definitely brought power moments into the game again.

      You can now equip different types of weapons in your primary and secondary slots (pulse/scout/auto rifles, hand cannons, sidearms, submachine guns, shotguns, snipers and fusion rifles), and also carry your heavy weapons (sword, rocket/grenade launchers). So you can roll with any style of loadout.

      Also all supers have been buffed, timers on cooldowns for abilities have reduced, and exotic armour and weapons have been buffed. Exotic weapons even have these catalyst which can buff them even more.

      Finally all legendary quality weapons in the game come with random roll perks, which makes the hunt for the perfect weapon come back (which I loved in D1, especially because comparing weapons with friends was great for bragging rights).

      Careful dude, you'll upset the die hards who disagree.

    I still remember getting the Mythoclast pre Nerf in the first Destiny.
    I took it to the crucible and caused most of the other team to rage quit.

    I sucked at crucible so it was hard not to agree with it being slightly OP when I was going 10-15/1

    I used Skullfort with Better Devils and the 'reload on melee kill' spec... Utter insanity never having to reload a handcannon.

      Could never get the hang of hand cannons. Could see the appeal, don't get me wrong, but they just didn't do it for me or my playstyle.

        Yeah I was the same. I unlocked the catalyst for Crimson, and since grinding it out for masterwork, I started to really enjoy using them. Best thing I love about this new update is I definitely tried pairing handcannons with other weapons, favourite is HC, Sniper, Rocket/Sword.

    I was really worried when they said they nerfed the Orpheus Rigs and was reading all these people losing their minds over on reddit, only to get into game and swear I can barely see the difference. I am still never without a super.

    In some ways i wish they had got nerfed, now I still feel like i need to wear them all time, hehe.

      Haha just realised this post is from a month ago. Dunno how I missed it but was probably playing destiny 2 actually. Guy in the raid at shuro chi said the tether acts a little weird sometimes, like not tethering what he wants it to or not working at all occasionally. I read they're not as good but r still great.
      Meanwhile crown of tempests and storm caller are just so much fun for adds....did a tier 3 blind well yesterday and due to the harmony buff and others orbs I don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say I was using my super for around 80% of it. So much bloody fun

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