Developer Insights: S21 Mid-Season Weapon Tuning

Lots of weapon changes coming next season.


Weapon Archetypes

  • Pulse Rifles: They feel generally that Pulse Rifles are in a good place, but Pulses with low base aim assist values (like High Impacts) are too forgiving.
    • Reduced auto aim angle at 0 aim assist by ~10%.
  • Bows: Lightweight bows have been one of the least used and least effective weapon frames in the game for a long time. Feedback indicates that they feel worse than Precision Bows at any range further than close range. They're making some changes now, and there will be more Bow changes in Season 22 that will improve how they are affected by reload perks and how well their shots register at longer ranges.
    • Increased fixed damage falloff start distance 15m -> 25m
    • Increased fixed damage falloff end distance from 20m -> 45m
    • Increased final accuracy by ~10%.
  • Submachine Guns: They heard feedback that the new dynamic reticle, while displaying interesting information, was too cluttered. They've made a second pass over the reticle aimed at reducing both the thickness of the lines, and their opacity. This should minimize clutter, while retaining the ability to show perks and other effects impact accuracy and aim assist.
    • Made improvements to Shayura's Wrath ADS dynamic reticle
  • Shotguns: Lightweight Shotguns have fallen behind Precisions and Aggressives in terms of effectiveness, largely due to the outermost pellets being too far apart to land the entire spread at point blank range.
    • Reduced the spread angle of the outer horizontal pellets for Lightweight shotguns by 15%.

Exotic Weapons

  • They like that Graviton Lance has returned to glory after being unpopular for so long, but currently the gun is too easy for how rewarding it can be. They feel that it reaches to close to a "primary ammo Cloudstrike" for their comfort. It also lags behind Revision Zero's two burst mode in PvE, which doesn't seem fair. They are making the following changes to adjust, and will keep an eye on it moving forward.
    • Increased PvE damage by 67%
    • Removed the extra aim assist from the catalyst
    • Reduced the damage dealt by the Cosmology explosion by 40% against players (PvE is unaffected).
  • No Time to Explain was somewhat overtaken by Graviton Lance, but now that they're nerfing Graviton they also want to nerf NTTE to make sure it doesn't immediately reclaim the pulse rifle throne.
    • Reduced range stat by 10
  • Fighting Lion had a bug where the perk wasn't applying the buffs to other weapons via the catalyst, this is getting fixed.


  • Gutshot Straight and Slickdraw were both made very cautiously, to avoid giving out substantial positive effects that had almost constant uptime for free, but they ended up leaning too hard on penalties such that they end up feeling more like punishments than a good trade off.
    • Reduced auto aim penalty on Gutshot Straight by 37.5%
    • Reduced auto aim penalty on Slickdraw by 33%
  • Target Lock made it too easy to get a large amount of damage for accurate players, making it too obvious of a choice for PvP. They're nerfing its strength in PvP, while leaving PvE unchanged.
    • Reduced maximum damage versus players 40% -> 25% (PvE is unchanged).


  • In Season 22, zoom changes will create a substantial shakeup for the weapon's sandbox. More details will come closer to release, but at a high level here are the goals:
    • Reduce the variance between optimal engagement ranges for mid-range weapons (Auto Rifles, Pulse Rifles, Hand Cannons)
    • Slightly reduce the average engagement range in Crucible by pulling in the maximum damage falloff distances of many weapon types.
  • The highest achievable falloff range on almost all weapon types will be reduced to some extent (some being reduced more than others), and in many cases the lower edge of falloff ranges will be coming up.
  • Bare in mind that even if falloff start values are similar between weapon types, the rate of falloff might vary between those weapons, leading to a unique feel.
  • Additionally, some Exotics and all Special Weapon archetypes will be adjusted to keep them roughly where they are relative to primaries currently.
  • The following is a table of the possible falloff start distances in the current system, and also in the new system. The range in each cell is the falloff start distance at 0 range, to the start distance at 100 range.

Screenshot 2023-07-06 134643.png

  • More Season 22 changes:
    • Hand Cannons will be receiving several buffs aimed at PvE, including base reload speed increase and damage increases to minor and major enemies.
    • Sword guard is getting a substantial rework.
    • Tuning to a handful of Exotics, including a balance pass for Le Monarque and some big buffs to Touch of Malice
    • Changes to weapon perks, including buffs to Bipod, Envious Assassin, and Under-Over.

Season 23

  • Changes for Season 23 are still in flux, but they know for sure that Glaives (including exotic glaives) will be getting substantial tuning. They'll be sharing more details on that as they get further along.
  • They're looking at ways to make them feel better to use without making them annoying to play against, so changes like reducing the delay after firing before you can melee, improving base projectile speed, and altering how shield energy is granted.


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