Destiny Community Hates Bungie's Exotic Nerfs, And They Should

Jeff Kotuby,

May 17, 2019 2:03 PM

The latest This Week at Bungie revealed a number of questionable changes coming to Exotic items in Destiny 2. Suffice to say, the community was none pleased.

One of the things that originally drew me to Destiny was the idea of “Exotic” items - items so powerful, players could only use one at a time. They all had different niches, and some were inherently better than others because of it. Every time we used an Exotic in Destiny 1 it felt powerful. Destiny 2 has been incredibly inconsistent with the idea of feeling “powerful.” I mean, we’re undead killing machines - we should feel like it, right? Bungie originally vowed to power us up a few seasons ago in their “move fast” update, but is doing an about-face on that concept in the next patch. The community is not thrilled, and this move could go down as one that causes more harm than good for the long-term success of the Destiny franchise.

If you’re new to the outrage, then welcome - there’s punch and pie. In the latest “This Week At Bungie,” D2 community leader Cozmo outlined a ton of changes coming in the next few weeks. You can read the full article on "This Week At Bungie", but we’re only going to focus on what’s got everyone in a tizzy - the changes to Exotic weapons and armor pieces. In Layman’s terms, Bungie is looking to reduce the effectiveness on some of the high-end Exotics to increase the diversity of items in use, but is actually making us weaker overall.

Image Courtesy Bungie

According to the This Week At Bungie post:

Destiny Dev Team: For Season of Opulence, several notable weapons are being adjusted.  We want to ensure that encounters—raids and other endgame content, for example—remain a challenge. Some of these weapons have been overwhelming that challenge. Our first choice is to buff underused weapons, but if we continue to push every weapon up higher and higher, it will be impossible to maintain challenging experiences. This is not a full list of changes, but some of the most impactful.

Exotic Weapons

Whisper of the Worm

Whisper of the Worm was already adjusted in Season of the Drifter, but an Exotic that can generate an infinite amount of Heavy ammo is still a gigantic outlier and renders many weapons irrelevant for certain encounters. While Exotics are intended to be powerful and novel, bypassing the ammo economy can tend to force us to adjust enemies to compensate. This effectively results in Sniper Rifles as a whole being punished because of Whisper’s unique ammo ability. As a result, we’re removing the ammo generation ability so that we can increase the effectiveness of all other Snipers that don’t have an endless ammo supply.

  • White Nail pulls ammo from reserves rather than creating it
  • Reserve ammunition increased to 18 (without ammo reserve perks)

Sleeper Simulant

The reduction of bounced shot damage for Sleeper Simulant is already present on several important enemies. We are now making this reduction part of the weapon. The difference in damage is too large between a single precision shot of Sleeper Simulant and an angled shot that pierces the target and then also hits the target again with the bounced projectiles. Much like Whisper, we’ve had to adjust enemies around that potential. By making these changes a permanent part of the weapon, we can get it into a more balanced position.

  • Reduced ricochet/bounce damage on boss combatants
  • Modified precision behavior—total damage is unchanged, but non-precision shots are significantly more forgiving

Lord of Wolves

Lord of Wolves received a massive increase in damage with the full benefits of the Shotgun changes in Season of the Drifter. This made it a lot more popular, but we got a significant amount of feedback that Release the Wolves activating on every kill made it difficult to control the weapon’s ammo consumption. As a result, we’re allowing you to swap between the two states to control the output, while also reducing its output slightly.

  • PvE damage reduced by 20%
  • Release the Wolves perk has been reworked:
  • No longer triggers automatically on kill
  • This effect is now triggered by holding reload, similar to “The Fundamentals” on Hard Light and Borealis
  • PvE damage and range bonuses on this effect has been removed and replaced with a universal damage bonus instead

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is pretty hot in the Crucible, and has been since its inclusion in Destiny 2: Forsaken. The number of perks on the weapon, combined with the semi-permanent effect of Memento Mori gives the weapon too many advantages compared to other weapons. Now that Memento Mori ends when you stow the weapon, you’ll need to make a decision on whether or not you’ll keep the weapon drawn to retain the bonus.

  • Memento Mori now ends if the weapon is stowed
  • The PvP damage bonus of Memento Mori was slightly reduced to prevent two-tapping Guardians while Vengeance (One-Eyed Mask) was active
  • Specifically, you need four resilience to survive this
  • Memento Mori is active for six shots again (up from five)

Exotic Armor

Along with the weapons above, we will also be making some changes to some Exotic armor pieces. Primarily, we’re paying attention to pieces of Exotic armor that grant back Super energy. We felt they are increasingly becoming “must-pick” gear choices. Orb generation from teammates is meant to be the best way to accelerate your Super generation. These Exotics are allowing players to bypass this teamwork mechanic by generating a large amount of Super energy without relying on other players’ orbs.

Also, because these items are so overwhelmingly strong in situations where players face off against large numbers of enemies, some activities were designed considering the use of armor such as Orpheus Rigs, Phoenix Protocol, Skull of Dire Ahamkara, etc. This means if someone in your fireteam doesn't have these Super Exotics equipped, the activity becomes far more difficult.

We are making some changes to these armor pieces to try to preserve their power fantasy and still leave them as viable choices for difficult activities without making players feel like they must have them equipped or be at a huge disadvantage.

Image Courtesy Bungie

Super-Generating Exotic Armor Changes

  • Skull of Dire Ahamkara, Orpheus Rigs, and Phoenix Protocol now receive Super energy back with diminishing returns, making it rarer to get a full Super back
  • Shards of Galanor and Ursa Furiosa had their Super gain caps reduced to be in parity with other

Super Exotic changes

  • Gwisin Vest had its energy reduced from 15% to 8% for killing one to two Guardians
  • Still scales up similar to before when killing three or more Guardians
  • PvE energy return remains similar to before”

TL;DR - all the fun and powerful Exotics are getting nerfed, and we’re going to back to hitting like dead fish. Those Whisper of the Worms and Sleeper Stimulants we worked so hard to get our hands on are not only losing power, they’re losing what made them unique - and that’s the biggest issue of them all. Bungie is losing touch on what makes Exotics, well, exotic.

The GOAT, in all its glory (Image Courtesy Destiny Wikia)

The selling point of Exotics in Destiny 1 was not just that these items were powerful tools of destruction, but they actively affected the way we approached situations in both PvE and PvP environments due to their unique abilities.

Universal Remote gave us the opportunity to use a Shotgun in our primary slot, something we couldn’t do in D1, allowing us to run Shotgun/Sniper or even dual Shotguns if we were feeling particularly devious (or if there were a lot of Thrall to kill.) Thorn was the most powerful weapon in the game with a damage over time (DoT) effect - and it became a staple in PvP. Invective and Black Spindle gave us the ability to never worry about ammo as long as we were good at standing still or hitting precision shots. And off course, I have to bring up my beloved Gjallarhorn, which made us feel like cosmic forces that could tackle any challenge as long as we had it in our inventory. We really don’t have a weapon like that anymore.

The only weapon that elicits the same feeling as a D1 Exotic is the newly-released Outbreak Prime, an interesting weapon that will no doubt get nerfed into the floor at some point. It’s too good, it’s unique, and it’s too much fun to use, why should we be able to have both of those things in our lives? 

I’m not the only one who feels this way, according to this r/DestinyTheGame Reddit post:

Dear Bungie, there are over 45.000 upvotes on critical posts about your planned nerfs from r/DestinyTheGame

All the Destiny-themed subreddits are ablaze and there’s been very little Bungie feedback other than “we’ll share your feedback with the team,” but are the players really going to be heard here? Also, Bungie mentioned that there were more changes incoming, but are the changes going to be that impactful in the long run? It doesn’t seem like it. As Redditor Stevo182 said in the TWAB megathread, “Nerfing exotics I already don't use isn't going to make me use Stronghold or Eternal Warrior." As I always say, buff the weak, tweak the strong, but don't nerf anything into oblivion. 

Community feedback has done some amazing things in the past few years, most recently seen when fan backlash caused the Sonic the Hedgehog movie creators to head back to the drawing board. Will Bungie do the same? Who knows, but you might as well grab the new meta-defining Exotic while you can. Here’s where to find Xur and how to get your hands on D.A.R.C.I., the new best boss-killer in the game.


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