“Destiny” is about to get some major changes, and players aren’t happy about it.
In developer Bungie’s weekly Thursday night blog post, community manager David “DeeJ” Dague explained that most popular weapons will be “rebalanced” shortly before the launch of “The Taken King,” the next major game expansion launching in September.
Some weapons will be “buffed,” or made stronger, while other weapons will be “nerfed,” or made less powerful or effective. Of those weapons getting nerfed, the exotic rocket launcher Gjallarhorn, widely considered to be one of the best weapons in the entire game (it’s also the rarest, making its acquisition very YouTube reaction worthy), is getting a pretty severe reduction to its damage output.
The biggest perk of Gjallarhorn is something called “wolfpack rounds”: when your rocket hits an enemy, it splits into cluster missles that hit the enemy again, so you’re basically doing double damage. Soon, though, Bungie will reduce the damage from these wolfpack rounds. The extent of the damage reduction is unclear, but considering how it’s an overpowered, overused item in the game, many fear for the worst.
Here’s Bungie’s sandbox designer Jon Weisnewski explaining the changes to 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.
As Weisnewski points out, many current “Destiny” players are relying too much on Gjallarhorn to get them through missions and activities, and some players also refuse to let others play with them simply because they don’t own the weapon. Of course, that isn’t their fault; Gjallarhorn is one of the rarest weapons in “Destiny” — you can’t buy it right now, and it can only drop as a reward for completing certain activities.
In my opinion as a longtime “Destiny” player, nerfing Gjallarhorn a bit seems completely reasonable. As Bungie has repeatedly stated, “Destiny” has a 10-year game plan, where players will be able to play with these characters and weapons — with new content added on a consistent basis — for an entire decade. And when it comes time to balance weapons, Bungie needs to obviously address overpowered, overused weapons, Gjallarhorn included.
All weapons in “Destiny” will get their day in the sun. When the game first launched, the exotic auto rifle Suros Regime was probably the most powerful, overused item in the game. After some rounds of weapon rebalancing, considerably fewer people use Suros Regime, and they’re moving onto other weapons. Bungie wants this kind of fluidity, where players will regularly rotate their favourite weapons, in hopes to keep players interested over the next 10 years. It will be interesting to see the extent to which Gjallarhorn is actually affected by the time Bungie releases its patch, which should be shortly before “The Taken King” launches September 15.
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