Sandbox insights and previews for future seasons!
- Bungie has a blog post talking about what Pride month means to them and their players, check that out here
- Claim a rainbow emote with the redeem code TK7-D3P-FDF
- Claim last year's rainbow transmat effect with the redeem code R9J-79M-J6C
- Redeem codes can be claimed at https://bungie.net/redeem
- Most of this will be copied and pasted verbatim from the blog (with some underlines to highlight actual changes) because hearing dev insights directly from the devs is important and not worth summarizing.
- Question: In PvE, ability uptime is very high and has increased despite global changes to base cooldowns. What are the current thoughts on the ability energy economy?
- The ability-energy economy is something we’re always evaluating and adjusting. With the massive number of sources that can grant ability energy, it’s always an area of concern. While we don’t have any sweeping changes to announce today, this is a continual area of focus for us. Destiny’s identity is fundamentally rooted in space-magic power fantasies, but we don’t want ability uptime to balloon to a point where the power spike from active abilities ceases to become a spike and becomes the norm.
- Question: With aspects, armor mods, and artifact perks that rely on players being able to throw or destroy their created Tangles, the cooldown can feel frustrating. What is the intent behind the Tangle creation cooldown time and are there any plans to revisit it?
- During Strand development, we experimented with a significantly lower Tangle-creation cooldown time. When the Tangle cooldown was too low, combat became extremely chaotic, with random explosions going off all over the battlefield. We don’t have any plans to go back to that level of uptime, but we agree that competition around Tangles can be frustrating. In Season 22, we’re currently planning on reducing the Tangle cooldown time from 15 seconds to 12 seconds.
- Question: Broodweavers were intended to be the minion masters of Strand, but Threadlings can feel underwhelming in high-end content, especially with the potency of suspend. Are there any plans to adjust this relationship going forward?
- We’re working on a two-pronged approach to this problem for Season 22. We agree that it can be hard for Threadlings to feel valuable as combatant health increases in high-difficulty PvE content. We also believe that suspend is currently too strong in PvE. For Season 22, we’re implementing a sizable increase in Threadling damage against PvE targets and reducing the duration and uptime of suspend sources in PvE. In addition, we’re making a change to the Broodweaver’s newest Strand aspect, The Wanderer, to address community feedback regarding its potency.
- Question: How does the team feel about the current suite of grenades?
- While we want all grenades to feel viable, some grenades are fundamentally better suited to specific situations or modes. We don’t expect perfect equalization as a result, but we want to avoid situations where a single option is clearly the best across many different combat roles. For Season 22, we’re making some small adjustments to the uptime of a few underperforming grenade options. As we move forward, we’ll continue to evaluate and adjust both overperforming and underperforming options as needed for the health of the sandbox.
- Question: Can/will Hand Cannons get a buff, not quite to Shadowkeep levels, but at least something?
- Note that Hand Cannons have been touched several times over the past few years, and the current PvE damage numbers mean that compared to Shadowkeep they currently deal roughly the same damage per crit, and almost double the body damage. Reverting to Shadowkeep numbers would be a substantial nerf for anyone who ever misses a crit, which we’re not planning to do. The overall balance of PvE has changed substantially over the last few years though, and some weapons have suffered as a result.
- We agree though, which is why Hand Cannons got an extra 20% damage in the Season 20 mid-season update. This didn’t move the needle as much as we’d like, hand cannons still struggle to find a niche in PvE. Their damage output is comparable to other weapon types, but reload speed and a small-ish magazine make it painful to run out of ammo. There’s some room to bump them up a little more against minor enemies, but what if they did what they looked like and became a primary ammo option for chunking down tougher single enemies? Here’s what we’re currently playtesting for a future season (numbers may still change), along with a quick preview of specific Hand Cannons that we felt languished more than most:
- Increased reload speed at 0 stat by 15%, this benefit scales down at increasing stat, with 100 stat being unchanged – this is a substantial benefit to Hand Cannons with low reload stat, which includes several Aggressive and Precision Hand Cannons.
- Increased damage against minors (red bars) by 20%.
- Increased damage against majors (orange bars) by 75%.
Heavy Burst Hand Cannons
- Changed the Warden's Law Legendary Hand Cannon to be the first member of a new subfamily, Heavy Burst Hand Cannon. This fires a two-round burst, and is overall much more satisfying to use than the previous version, while still benefiting from some of the unique properties of the original.
- Question: Kinetic weapons seem to be falling behind as builds get more intricate. Are there any plans or ideas to make them more interesting to help integrate them into builds?
- We’ve also noticed this. We’ve poked at the issue a little, with the damage increase vs. unshielded enemies, and the Kinetic Tremors perk, but we’ve also prioritized shipping more Strand and Stasis weapons in the Kinetic slot to equalize those numbers a little and ensure that all slots can tie into buildcrafting. We’re continuing to look at Kinetic and have something planned on a year-of-The-Final-Shape timeline that may make them a little more unique, but maybe it’s time for that Kinetic subclass? Probably not.
- Question: How’s the team feeling about the current state of Glaives? What about the Exotics?
- We’ve got a substantial Glaive tuning pass coming in a future season (currently this is on Season 23), aiming to make them more satisfying to use, particularly in PvP.
- We’re not happy with the current state of the class-specific Exotic Glaives and are making some major changes to them when we touch Glaives all up. This will likely take the form of adjusting how players activate the Exotic perk along with some other changes.
- Question: How do you determine what gets nerfed and what gets buffed. Do those parameters change season over season?
- Just to comment on the persistent “Bungie balances based on usage” narrative – this is not the case (see below!), but note that if something is wildly overused, in many cases that’s because it’s both strong and easy to use – players typically won’t flock to a specific weapon in droves if it’s perfectly balanced.
- When we’re deciding what to do for a balance pass, we look at five main sources of information to identify what we ought to look at:
- Internal feedback from playtesting (designers have ~10+ hours of playtests a week), or our own experiences playing the live game (designers typically play the game heavily, and we carve out a little time each week to fireteam up for raids and Trials).
- Live feedback sourced from players
- Weapon usage (typically we look at usage by owners, so as not to miss what’s going on with low-ownership weapons).
- Weapon effectiveness (e.g. kills per time equipped, win rate with the weapon equipped, and so forth).
- Design analysis of the implementation of a weapon (looking through weapon perks and other data to see if something is obviously wrong).
- Having pulled together a list of weapons, we’ll go through them and identify what’s contributing to the issues. In some cases, it’s innate to the weapon itself and we’ll adjust it, but in other cases it’s a specific perk/perk combo, the overall weapon type rather than a single weapon, or lack of competition, and we can address the issue without touching the weapon in question.
- Yes, some of the logic for which weapons get attention changes depending on the focus of the season. If we have high representation of a weapon type in the seasonal artifact, we’re shipping several new or reprised weapons of a specific type, or encounters that play well with specific weapon types, we’ll dig into the matching weapons to make sure they perform well with the seasonal focus from other teams. For example, in the past we’ve had seasons that revolved around high-density close-range encounters, with matching artifact unlocks, and revisited the tuning of Submachineguns and Grenade Launchers.
- Question: Any further Exotic tuning planned for the future and what's the thought process behind those planned changes?
- Just to give some context on timelines, we’ve just shipped Season 21, Season 22 is complete, Season 23 is in full production and The Final Shape is entering early production. We have a small set of changes to Exotic weapons coming in Season 22 that we’ve been playtesting for the last few months, including the long-awaited PvP nerf to Le Monarque, a buff to Touch of Malice, a couple of minor changes to other Exotics, and some tweaks to Legendary perks (such as Bipod, Shoot to Loot, and Under-Over). Also, bear in mind that the zoom-to-damage-falloff normalization and Sword guard rework are coming in S22 and affect Exotic weapons as well. We’ve pulled several well-tested changes from Season 22 into the Season 21 mid-season balance update, which we’ll talk about shortly before it ships. As usual, we’re making an Exotic catalyst for an older Exotic weapon in S22, and this is one that’s been heavily requested, and is likely the most complex catalyst we’ve ever made.
- The process for exotic tuning is looking at pain points around over or underperforming weapons, and honestly just looking at the 20 least-used exotic weapons, we poke at that list every season.
Exotic Armor and Buildcrafting
- Question: My favorite Exotic armor could use a buff! Any plans to continue balancing legacy Exotic armor?
- There are many existing Exotic armors that we want to see get more use in the sandbox, and a few that still feel a little too strong. It is our intention to continue to balance Exotic armor incrementally over time – you can look forward to the next batch of changes in Season 22.
- Question: Can you explain the recent St0mp-EE5 changes?
- St0mp-EE5 provides great neutral game benefits that excel in PvP and have the potential to make it very difficult to target a Hunter wearing them thanks to the unique nature of the Hunter jump, which allows for rapid direction changes in mid-air. Our goal was to make them a little less free, so that the wearer can still gain their benefit, but with a small amount of downtime each time the player uses their dodge – which, itself, provides numerous benefits since many armor mods key off of the use of your class ability. That being said, we will continue to monitor how St0mp-EE5 is performing and will make further changes as necessary.
- Question: Are there any plans for more Exotic armor interactions with Exotic weapons, like Necrotic Grip has with the Weapons of Sorrow?
- We feel these special connections between Exotics are best when they are rare and a little bit hidden. That being said, we would like to add more of them to the game, especially for Hunters and Titans. Keep an eye out for the future!
- Question: Will we ever see any of the pre-Lightfall armor mods come back?
- We are paying close attention to how the current armor mod system is performing, as well as how it is being received. It is our goal that the base armor mods are straightforward and approachable – they should be the behind-the-scenes foundation of your build, not the star elements. We do want to experiment with fun and novel ways to interact with Orbs of Power, Armor Charge, and other armor mod systems, and plan to do so via the seasonal artifact.
- Question: Can we favorite shaders soon, please?
- Rewards UIUX popping in here to answer this one! We’re hesitant to talk too much about complex features that aren’t far enough along to attach to a specific release, but are going to be sharing info some new features in this vein real soon.
- Question: Are there any details or confirmations regarding HUD/UI updates that were previously mentioned?
- We’ll talk more about this when we have something to show, closer to The Final Shape.