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Dev Insights: Season 22 Weapons Preview

There's so many changes coming to so much here, and some surprise crafting changes at the end as a bonus!

Summary
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Andy
Andy
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Mid-Season Balance Pass Commentary

  • There's a long section dedicated to looking at the graphs showing how weapons have been performing before and after the changes in the mid-season balance patch, it's very informative and I'd recommend checking it out, it's too dense to summarize so I'll just like the blog post here

General Changes

  • PvE kills with two Special weapons now generate Heavy ammo at the same rate as two primaries, or one primary and one special
    • This bug appeared when infinite Primary ammo was added.
    • They find double Special to be interesting, but some builds with special weapons that have unique ammo economies like trace rifles and Forerunner had too much benefit from the improved ammo drops, negating the tradeoff of running double special.
  • Reticles
    • Replaced the perk active hipfire reticle element, the new one will work better at different field-of-view settings.
    • Added a perk active indicator to Symmetry
    • Moved Grand Overture's charge meter further down the screen so reticle elements overlap less

Zoom and Damage Falloff

  • They are making major changes to how zoom and damage falloff interact
    • Their goals are the following:
    • Decrease the variance between optimal engagement ranges of mid-range weapons, to reduce the instances of one weapon or another being the clearly advantaged choice due to slight differences in engagement distance
    • Slightly reduce the average engagement range in Crucible by pulling in the maximum damage faloff distances of many weapons
    • Prevent individual weapons from overstepping their intended ranges because of multiplicative scaling zoom provided to damage falloff, thus allowing them to buff weapon archetypes directly, since they can be unconcerned with top-end outliers
  • They are enforcing something called Range Compression, where the highest achievable damage falloff range on almost all weapons has been reduced somewhat, but in many cases the lower edges of damage falloff have also been brought up.
  • Currently, the zoom stat scales the damage falloff distance, aim assist falloff distance, accuracy, and recoil of a weapon.
  • In Season 22, they are removing the first affect from that list, and instead have a base "ADS Damage Falloff Scalar" that is set per-weapon-archetype that will replace it. This results in the damage falloff range being disconnected from zoom, and instead set statically per-weapon-type. Each weapon's base zoom, base zoom with rangefinder, and new ADS Damage Falloff Scalar is listed below:
    • Sidearms: 1.2 base, 1.32 with rangefinder, 1.2 new scalar
    • SMGs: 1.4 base, 1.54 with rangefinder, 1.4 new scalar
    • Hand Cannons: 1.4 base, 1.54 with rangefinder, 1.5 new scalar (higher than current base)
    • Auto Rifles: 1.5 base, 1.76 with rangefinder, 1.7 new scalar (higher than current base)
    • Pulse Rifles (lightweight, rapid-fire, adaptive): 1.7 base, 1.87 with rangefinder, 1.7 new scalar
    • Pulse Rifles (high-impact, aggressive): 1.8 base, 1.98 with rangefinder, 1.7 new scalar (lower than current base)
    • Bows: 1.8 base, 1.98 with rangefinder, 1.8 new scalar
    • Scout Rifles: 2.0 base, 2.2 with rangefinder, 2.0 new scalar.
  • After making this change, they went through and changed how range can affect the base damage falloff start distance on many weapon types. Range as a stat is much easier to acquire on most weapons than zoom, so more weapons will be able to get closer to maximum values than was possible before, but none of them will be able to reach or exceed what the previous maximums were.
  • The changes to damage falloff due to range are listed below:
    • Sidearms: Increased at 100 range by 1.2m
    • SMGs: Increased at 0 range by 1.3m, and at 100 range by 0.8m
    • Auto Rifles: Increased at 100 range by 2.5m
    • Aggressive Hand Cannons: Decreased at 100 range by 1.0m
      • With the new changes, these Hand Cannons ended up being much too range-ey, necessitating a nerf to their maximum possible range.
    • Pulse Rifles: Increased at 100 range by 0.5m
  • Below is a list of the following values: The current possible damage falloff start values for ranges 0-100, those values as they are affected by Rangefinder currently, and the new possible damage falloff start values in the new system for 0-100 range:
    • Sidearms: 13.20m - 16.80m base, 14.30m - 18.20m with rangefinder, 13.20m - 18.00m in Season 22
    • SMGs: 12.60m - 22.40m base, 13.86m - 24.64m with rangefinder, 14.42m - 23.52m in Season 22
    • Auto Rifles: 17.20m - 33.20m base, 18.92m - 36.52m with rangefinder, 18.28m - 39.53m in Season 22
    • Hand Cannons: 22.40m - 35.00m base, 24.64m - 38.50m with rangefinder, 24.00m - 37.50m in Season 22
    • Pulse Rifles: 25.50m - 39.10m base, 28.05m - 43.01m with rangefinder, 25.50m - 39.95m in Season 22
    • Aggressive Hand Cannons: 25.20m - 39.20m base, 27.72m - 43.12m with rangefinder, 27.00m - 40.50m in Season 22
    • Scout Rifles: 60.00m - 90.00m base, 66.00m - 99.00m, with rangefinder, 60.00m - 90.00m in Season 22
  • Finally, you can see the base zoom scalar and the new damage falloff scalar for each special weapon archetype:
    • Pellet Shotguns: 1.2 base zoom, 1.0 falloff scalar
      • Pellet Shotguns also had special tuning to prevent damage falloff from increasing when ADS, which has now been removed.
    • Slug Shotguns: 1.2 base zoom, 1.2 falloff scalar
    • Fusion Rifles: 1.5 base zoom, 1.3 falloff scalar
      • Fusion Rifles had special tuning to reduce all effects of zoom, which have now been removed. This means the above change effectively results in a small damage falloff range nerf
    • Trace Rifles: 1.6 base zoom, 1.6 falloff scalar
    • Linear Fusions: 2.5 base zoom, 2.5 falloff scalar
    • Sniper Rifles: 4.5 base zoom, 4.5 falloff scalar
      • Zoom values for sniper rifles were mostly irrelevant to damage falloff, except at very low values on large maps
  • The following exotics are also receiving the following changes:
    • Ace of Spades, when Memento Mori is active, had a 10% damage falloff range penalty. This penalty has been increased to 15%, to offset the buffs it is getting in its neutral state.
    • Devil's Ruin's laser previously had a 20% damage falloff range bonus. This is being reduced to 10% to offset the buffs it's getting to its neutral state
    • Revision Zero, while Hunter's Trace is active, now has a 4.5x ADS Damage Falloff Scalar
    • The Last Word now has a 1.1x ADS damage falloff scalar
    • Crimson now has a 1.3x ADS Damage Falloff Scalar (previously it had an intrinsic 5% falloff penalty, which has now been removed)
    • Vex Mythoclast now has a 1.5x ADS Damage Falloff Scalar
    • Forerunner now has a 2.0x ADS Damage Falloff Scalar
    • Eriana's Vow now has a 2.4x ADS Damage Falloff Scalar

Weapon Types

Hand Cannons

  • They've heard the complaints about Hand Cannons being underpowered in PvE.
  • They're improving this by making Hand Cannons "big game hunters", doing more damage to major combatants.
  • They're also buffing the base reload speed, because missing shots or running out of ammo felt too punishing.
  • Warden's Law comes with a new Hand Cannon frame "Heavy Burst", which will deal increased precision damage, but have the challenge of needing to land two bullets on a target instead of one, giving extra reward to those with good aim.
  • Changes:
    • Increased reload speed at 0 stat by 15%
    • Increased damage against minor combatants (red bars) by 20%
    • Increased damage against major combatants (orange bars) by 75%
    • Changed Warden's Law to be the first member of a new sub-family, "Heavy Burst", which fires a 2-round burst

Bows

  • Bows have had issues with hit registration at long ranges due to the velocity of the projectiles.
  • They're increasing the base velocity of precision bows and brought lightweights up to match, making them feel much better at range.
  • They're also increasing the maximum speed that the reload animation can play out, so reload perks and scalars will continue to have an effect even at high stat levels.
  • Changes:
    • Reduced the minimum reload animation duration from 0.5 seconds to 0.3 seconds (this means that applying reload speed scalars on top of a high reload stat will still have an effect)
    • Increased the projectile velocity at full draw, so projectiles continue to perform as hitscan at longer distances at higher framerates.
    • Equalized the full draw projectile velocity of Lightweight Bows with Precision Bows

SMGs

  • Fixing a longstanding visual bug that prevented the RPM stat from displaying correctly (as 720rpm) on aggressive SMGs. This does not change the actual RPM of the weapons, they've always fired at 720rpm.

Sidearms

  • After the last buff to Sidearm range values, it became apparent that aggressive frames were performing significantly out of band, due to forgiving body shot TTK.
  • They're reducing their base damage so they no longer kill in three bursts of body shots, so they are less forgiving in exchange for the increased damage falloff distance.
  • Changes:
    • Reduced base (bodyshot) damage of aggressive frames from 32 to 30

Pulse Rifles

  • Now that zoom is disconnected from range, they are undoing the nerf to BxR Battler's zoom, as it never felt right with the reduced zoom.
  • Changes:
    • BxR Battler zoom back to 20.

Shotguns

  • Fixed a visual bug that caused the impact stat of The Comedian to display incorrectly, the bug was purely cosmetic, the actual damage per pellet is unchanged.

Fusion Rifles

  • Players have reported that Enhanced Intrinsic perks and Adept Masterworks felt like they were making fusions worse by reducing damage per bolt. This was unintended, and now the damage per bolt will be unchanged when enhanced.

Wave Frame Heavy Grenade Launchers

  • These weapon frames were a bit too lethal to their users, so they're reducing the size and damage of the self-damage AOE

Swords

  • Currently, swords don't give much value to players, though they are easy to use and ammo rich, because they force players to enter harm's way.
  • Sword guard could mitigate this, but the guard duration is hard to predict with incoming fire, and disables the sword's primary means of offense (the full charge heavy attack)
  • The guard also doesn't mitigate much damage when compared to glaives.
  • There are also many sword guard related perks in game, but none see much use.
  • They're reworking sword guard to increase viability of blocking to advance on enemies, increase value of sword guard perks, and let guardians use the fully charged heavy attacks more often.
  • They hope that swords will now occupy a niche providing better staying power and survival
  • Changes(sword guard):
    • Energy now recharges after a short delay after use, but recharges must faster
      • The delay, and rate of recharge, is governed by the guard charge rate stat.
      • The delay ranges from 2.7s - 1.05s as per the charge rate stat.
      • Rate of recharge is massively increased at base, and increases even higher with high charge rate stats.
      • Even with the delay, swords now return to fell energy faster than before.
    • Full-power heavy attacks can now be used with any non-zero amount of sword energy, rather than requiring full energy.
    • Massively increasing sword guard damage resistance, between 82.5% and 95% damage reduction depending on the guard resistance stat.
      • This is sharply reduced against other players, like glaives. Against players, it will be 52.5% - 65%.
    • Sword guard no longer loses energy on taking damage, and so guard efficiency has been removed as a stat.
    • Sword guard duration is now increased across every guard type, with the shortest durations benefiting the most.
    • Sword guard perks had their stats squished down.
      • Even with this nerf, with the above changes, all guard stats are increased across the board. This will allow origin traits and other sword perks more room to increase the stats and go beyond the previous maximum.
    • Sword guard perks now visually affect the "charge rate" bar on the inspection screen when you hover over or select them, like other stat-effecting nodes.
    • Sword movement speed while blocking is increased from a 0.75x reduction to a 0.85x reduction.
    • The Lament has been special cased so that its charge rate and delay are unaffected, but it will still benefit from the guard damage reduction and duration changes.

Exotic Weapons

Monte Carlo

  • See a preview of the changes here.
  • This was the most complex catalyst they've ever done, requiring a host of custom animation work, and doing things they've never done to a weapon before.
  • Hard to figure out exactly what the catalyst does gameplay wise, but it's clear that you are able to (maybe only at 5x Markov Chain) enable the knife on the front of the gun, letting you melee enemies with it, for presumably increased melee damage.

Quicksilver Storm

  • There was a misalignment with when the ammo is reloaded into the mag, and when the animation showed the ammo being inserted. This has been fixed.

Dead Man's Tale

  • There was an issue with how the impact stat was shown in UI, this has been fixed. The actual impact damage is unchanged.

Two-Tailed Fox

  • The performance of the weapon was just a bit off, so they're changing the catalyst to fire the third rocket in an extra burst after the second rocket, instead of firing two rockets at once. This helps it lean into the Three Tail fantasy.
  • Changes:
    • Now fires a three shot burst with catalyst, instead of a two shot burst with the second shot firing two rockets.

Verglas Curve

  • There was an issue where if Whisper of Fissures gets a kill, it doesn't count the Hail Barrage stacks. They're also buffing the weapon in PvP when using Hail Barrage
  • Changes
    • Whisper of Fissures detonations now generate Hail Barrage stacks if the Stasis crystal was made by this weapon
    • Shiver Quiver now activates when slowing enemies
    • Increased the slow stacks from 40 to 60 when hitting players directly from Hail Barrage arrows

Le Monarque

  • Le Monarque has been a thorn in the side of many high-end pvp players for a long time.
  • The chunk damage hits hard, and the long DoT duration kept you out of the fight for too long.
  • Both of these facets are being addressed at the same time by shifting the bow's damage profile to a lightweight bow.
  • These changes should result in a slight DPS increase, with the reduced impact damage being offset by the faster draw time and increased DoT
  • Changes
    • Reduced draw time from 684ms to 612ms
    • Reduced body shot damage from 100 to 85
    • Increased critical hit multiplier from 1.5x to 1.6x (crit damage to players goes from 150 to 136)
    • Reduced poison DoT duration from 3s to 1.75s
    • Moved from 8 damage ticks to 6, but deals the same total damage.
    • Poison damage increased in PvE by 50%

Vex Mythoclast

  • Mythoclast has been strong in PvP for some time, secretly benefitting from a number of buffs to auto rifles that have increased its usability
  • With Auto Rifles getting another range buff in Season 22, they felt it was pushed up too far in playtests.
  • Changes
    • RPM reduced from 390 to 360 to match other high-impact Auto Rifles
    • Increased damage against red bars and orange bars by 25%

Tommy's Matchbook

  • New scorch values, from 14 + 7 with Ember of Ashes, to 15 + 5 with Ember of Ashes

Touch of Malice

  • Touch of Malice is strong, but usability of the gun is too low in content where it matters.
  • This is partly due to how easy it was to accidentally kill yourself.
  • When Touch of Malice was brought back, they increased the amount of self-damage the final round deals to the user because self-heal is far more available in Destiny 2 than Destiny 1.
  • They think this has gone too far though.
  • Changes
    • Increased final round damage in PvE by 20%
    • Decreased self damage from the final round from 10 to 7
    • The final round can no longer kill the user
    • Increased the health awarded by the Touch of Mercy perk from 30 to 75.
    • Touch of Mercy now works like Unrelenting (Guardians and majors give more points to activation, and increased the time allowed between kills)
    • Ball of Darkness now appropriately deals Arc damage, blinding combatants and stunning unstoppable champions

Malfeasance

  • Fixed an issue where the Vorpal Weapon catalyst wasn't displaying the status buff text

Cloudstrike

  • Cloudstrike has been very strong, but flying under the radar for quite some time.
  • Recently it's become more prevalent, but getting killed by the lightning because your teammate chose the wrong lane to peek feels bad
  • They want to maintain the exotic fantasy of the weapon, and its core strength, but they felt the lethal distance of the lightning could come down a bit.
  • Players in the radius will still take damage, so in the hands of a skilled player it will be a highly effective tool, but you'll be much less likely to die if you aren't within a much smaller radius of the player being killed.
  • Changes
    • Reduced the lethal kill distance of the lightning strike against players.

Wicked Implement

  • They were conservative with the scout rifle at launch, they wanted to avoid creating a lousy experience for those on the receiving end of the exotic in PvP.
  • Now that it's been out for a while, they feel confident giving the intrinsic perk more uptime by making it easier to keep active.
  • They hope the changes will let you keep your mag full and power up your melee more easily, although shard generation will still have a brief cooldown as with all shard sources.
  • Changes
    • The timing window for Creeping Attrition has been increased from 3.5s to 4.5s
    • You can now activate Tithing Harvest by destroying Stasis crystals
    • The catalyst now also includes the Headstone perk

Perks

Bipod

  • They were overcautious with the perk at launch, they wanted to see how people were able to combine it with other perks in the live game to improve their DPS.
  • After review, they believe they can safely reduce the damage penalty by a substantial amount
  • Changes
    • Reduced damage penalty from 40% to 25%

Envious Assassin

  • This perk is already strong, but the mental overhead of remembering to swap your weapon before the invisible time limit expires was not fun, especially when combined with it no longer working once the magazine is overflowed by a certain amount.
  • These changes should retain all the strength of the perk, while making it easier to use.
  • Changes
    • There is no longer a time limit after kills within which you must activate the perk or get another kill
    • The perk will now activate even if the magazine is overflowed (it will stop activating once you hit the maximum mag size of 2.5x or greater)
    • Enhanced Envious Assassin now provides a bit more ammo per kill, instead of a longer window of time after the kill

Under-Over

  • This perk was a little too niche for its own good. It was strong, but opportunities to utilize the perk were too few and far between
  • They hope these changes can help the perk find more of a place in the endgame PvE builds, particularly for activities with Dark Cabal and Lucent Moths.
  • Changes
    • Now provides bonus body shot damage against players with Woven Mail
    • Increased the bonus damage against combatant shields
    • Deals significantly increased damage to enemies who are enhanced by Dark Cabal overshields in addition to enemies shielded by Lucent Moths.

Under Pressure

  • This perk has always offered a lot of upside for very little risk in PvP, and often triggers neutrally during combat, and sees nearly 100% uptime on special ammo weapons (especially potent on fusion rifles)
  • Changes
    • Reduced the maximum accuracy cone scalar from 0.5 to 0.75
    • Stability bonus is unaffected

Shoot to Loot

  • It was a shame that Shoot to Loot couldn't pair with perks like Explosive Payload or Kinetic Tremors for orb collecting, so they did some custom tuning to make it happen.
  • Changes
    • No longer triggers the reload when shooting a special brick that could not be picked up while also having an overflowed reapon equipped
    • Explosive damage now interacts with Orbs of Power.

Valiant Charge

  • Now deactivates after the initial sword swing (as intended)

Ambush

  • No longer deactivates from healing, fall damage, or being shot by allies

Explosive Light

  • Fixed a bug where the enhanced version of the perk was granting two stacks on first orb pickup.

Chill Clip

  • This perk has become a bit of a must-have multitool, it's too easy to deal with all three types of champions at once.
  • By making it more difficult to get the full freeze effect, they hope it moves back to being closer to in-line with other options.
  • Changes
    • Reduced the slow stacks from 60 to 40
    • Wolfpack Rounds no longer trigger this perk

Crafting Changes

Weapon Progression

  • They don't like Shuro Chi weapon farming, but instead of nerfing it and taking away the option, they're buffing the weapon level progression obtained through things like activity completions and PvP kills.
  • They're also adding a currency driven method of directly advancing a weapon's level
  • Activity completion progression is boosted for: Crucible, Trials of Osiris, Dares of Eternity, Wellspring, Gambit, and Platinum score completions of Legend and Master solo lost sectors.
  • They're also fixing a bug that didn't let level progress roll over to the next level
    • This took a while because the particular system is very fragile, and led in part to the issues with the API when Revision Zero was launched.
    • They deprioritized the work to focus on other Deepsight changes through the year, but it's finally coming this season.
    • This change should let activity completions as a source of levels be a lot more efficient, even outside of the activities getting a boost next season.
  • They're also adding the ability to increase weapon level directly
    • Crafted and enhanced weapons will both receive a new mod slot where you can spend glimmer and enhancement cores to boost the level of the weapon. This system will increment the level directly, leaving current level progression untouched
    • There is no cap, but costs increase relative to the level of the weapon.
    • Weapon usage is still meant to be the main path for increasing a weapon's level, but with the restrictions of how many weapons you can level at a time (and the number of weapons to level), they want to give another option for jumpstarting a crafted weapon and level a stockpile of weapons you might have.

Economy Changes

  • Resonant and Harmonic alloys will be deprecated, and no longer be obtained on dismantle. They will be removed from the game completely at some point in the future, but for now can be exchanged for glimmer at Rahool.

Neomuna Pattern Acquisition

  • Despite changes to how these weapons are rewarded, they still remain elusive even for people who are highly engaged.
  • In Season 22:
    • The weekly pinnacle mission score challenge will provide guaranteed weapon pattern progress the first time it's completed each week
    • The Neomuna vendor upgrade will increase the drop chance of Deepsight Neomuna weapons. This is retroactive if you already have it
    • The Throne World vendor engram will also receive the same behavior for Throne World deepsight weapons, and will also be retroactive.
    • They will also be fixing a bug introduced in Lightfall that could decrease the deepsight drop rate as you neared the completion of a pattern set. This would normally have a low impact on deepsight behavior, but was exacerbated when coupled with the lack of deterministic sources for Neomuna weapons.

Reflection

  • They feel that crafting is more in line with their original vision since Witch Queen, but are still making necessary changes to the system, and are in the middle of a large crafting related feature targeting The Final Shape year.

 

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