‘Destiny’ 2.0 Weapon Changes Are Massive, Gjallarhorn And Thorn Nerfed

Destiny players on PlayStation and Xbox consoles have been anticipating a weapons balance update to the shooter since it was last addressed in February of this year. Update 2.0 is coming with The Taken King and will deliver a massive overhaul of weapon classes and provide weapon-specific buffs and nerfs. Bungie detailed the coming changes as part of the Weekly Update on Thursday.

Those that have played Crucible in Destiny can attest to the fact that it feels like Thorn has overrun the preferred primary weapon in multiplayer along with The Last Word and Red Death. Bungie’s stats back that up as stats from the last Iron Banner event show that 25 percent of players ran with Thorn. Meanwhile, Red Death and The Last Word followed at around 11 percent each. No other weapon reached over 5 percent use.

As a result, Thorn and The Last Word are being nerved, specifically to make them less deadly in PVP. Red Death’s nerf is coming as part of the overall nerf to Pulse Rifles.

Here are the changes to Thorn that primarily debuffs the game’s primary perk:

  • Reduce base damage of Thorn’s Mark of the Devourer DoT (Damage over Time) to roughly 1/3 of what it was in PVP and PVE.
  • Allow DoT to stack up to five times across multiple landed projectiles.
  • This is a net buff for Thorn’s DoT, but reduces the lethality of the weapon in PVP.

The Last Word is getting a serious range reduction after Bungie says its current effectiveness at range was never the intention with the weapon.

  • Reduce Range stat to 10 (was 20), reduce Stability to 20 (was 30).
  • Reduce effective range while in ADS.
  • Increase accuracy and precision damage aim assist scale when firing from the hip. “Get three coffins ready.”
  • Fixed bugs with Hipfire damage bonus applying incorrectly.

PlayStation owners familiar with the Hawkmoon will have changes to the way its perks stack. Xbox owners will get their first sniff of the Hand Cannon when The Taken King releases.

  • Add a stack limit to Luck in the Chamber and Holding Aces so that only two of the bonus perks will ever stack on one round. This should prevent Hawkmoon from one-hit killing full health players in PVP.
  • Add two rounds to Hawkmoon’s magazine when Holding Aces is unlocked.
  • Luck in the Chamber damage bonus reduced by 3 percent.

There are a number of other specific weapon changes. The most eyebrow-raising ones are how the Gjallarhorn, Ice Breaker, and Black Hammer are all being nerfed. Bungie appears to be disappointed at how some people are being excluded from group activities simply because they don’t possess a Gjallarhorn. Meanwhile, the primary perks on both the Ice Breaker and Black Hammer are being reduced in order to reduce dependency on those sniper rifles.


  • Reduce damage of Wolfpack Rounds.

Ice Breaker

  • Increase recharge time for Ice Breaker rounds to one every eight seconds. Was one round every five seconds.

Black Hammer

  • Increase ammo inventory to 18 rounds.
  • White Nail perk now pulls ammo from your inventory.

There are a few specific weapons that are getting buffs, however. Hard Light, Necrochasm, No Land Beyond, and Lord of Wolves are all being made more effective.

Hard Light

  • Increase base Stability to 80 (was 65)
  • Increase bounce count for Hard Light projectiles
  • Hard Light projectiles are not affected by Damage Falloff


  • Increase base Stability to 60 (was 40)
  • Increase magazine size
  • Cursebringer perk will always trigger on a precision kill
  • Cursebringer explosion has increased radius and deals more damage

No Land Beyond

  • Increase weapon handling speed for faster time to aim, ready, and stow.
  • Adjust sights to fix overlap/parallax issue while aimed.
  • Increase time decay of The Master to eight seconds.
  • Add an additional 20 percent Precision Damage bonus while The Master is active.

Lord of Wolves

  • Tripled recovery boost bonus for allies granted by Lord of Wolves.

The class-wide changes are fascinating and address the concerns that the community has had about the various weapons types. Auto Rifles not only have had their base damage increased after being nerfed last February, but they also get a 10 damage buff against AI combatants. Hand Cannon damage falloff is being increased while the perks that have turned Shotguns into ranged monsters are being reduced. Meanwhile, Fusion Rifles are being buffed back up while the “Grenades and Horseshoes” perk for Rocket Launchers is having its range reduced.

It will take some time to digest all of these changes coming to weapons in Destiny. More importantly, it will take time to see how this update combined with all the new weapons in The Taken King affects the multiplayer meta game.

Here’s the full list of weapon class changes.

Auto Rifles

  • Increase base damage.
  • Start damage falloff closer to the player to emphasize its role as a close to medium range weapon.
  • Small reduction in base stability. Landing shots at optimal range is unaffected, but repeated precision hits require more weapon control to land consistently.
  • Boost damage by 10 percent against AI combatants.

Pulse Rifles

  • Reduce base damage of the medium RoF by about 2.5 percent.
  • PVP: Bursts-to-kill (all precision hits) is two or three, depending on victim’s Armor stat
  • Small reduction in base stability. A burst should still land all shots at optimal range, but three precision hits will require more weapon control to land consistently.
  • Increase magazine size on for all base inventory stats.

Scout Rifles

  • Increase base damage for medium to high Rate of Fire Scout Rifles.
  • PVP: Does not affect TTK in PVP on a Guardian with full health.
  • Increase magazine size for all base inventory stats.
  • Reduce Final Accuracy when firing from hip.
  • Fast firing outside of ADS will be less accurate.
  • Boost damage by 5 percent against AI combatants.

Hand Cannons

  • Start damage falloff closer to the player to limit long range lethality.
  • Small reduction in ADS accuracy, targeted at making long range snap-shooting less reliable.
  • Reduce final accuracy when firing from hip.
  • Fast firing from hip is less reliable.
  • Reduce magazine size for all base inventory stats.
  • Reduce base Optics (zoom) for all Hand Cannons.
  • ADS now grants more width in favor of depth.


  • Shotgun perks that enhance lethality at range should be less effective when combined with a high initial Range stat.
  • Reduce Shot Package Accuracy buff by 30 percent.
  • Rangefinder adds a 5 percent base Range increase on ADS (was 20 percent).
  • Reduce Precision Damage multiplier on Shotguns by 10 percent.
  • Reduce damage against AI combatants by 10 percent.

Fusion Rifles

  • Slow charging, high-impact Fusion Rifles have decreased Range values.
  • Makes it more difficult to max out Range for these weapons.
  • Projectile Speed for Fusion Rifles is slightly reduced.
  • Emphasizes the need to lead a targets outside medium range.
  • Improve Accuracy for short range Fusion Rifles.
  • Reduce Accuracy for long range Fusion Rifles.

Sniper Rifles

  • Final Round on Sniper Rifles buffs precision damage only, not base damage.
  • This change only affects this perk when combined with Sniper Rifles.

Rocket Launchers

  • Slight increase in base Blast Radius.
  • Grenades and Horseshoes proximity detonation reduced.

[Images via Bungie]