‘Destiny’ Weapon Balance Patch To Nerf Shotguns And Pulse Rifles Hard

Destiny players will finally see balance changes to weapons for the first time in quite a while. Bungie outlined the changes coming to the PS4 and Xbox One shooter next week during a Twitch livestream broadcast Wednesday featuring two of the game’s developers. Shotguns and Pulse Rifles will get hit hard with nerfs while Auto Rifles get a much-needed boost and there will be changes to PVP and Guardian classes.

Bungie is taking a more focused scalpel to weapon balance with the patch planned for Tuesday, February 14. Heavy Weapons are almost completely untouched while Sidearms will see no changes. Nothing was mentioned about Sniper Rifle or Fusion Rifle changes either.

While Destiny fans should expect full details on every weapon change around the time the patch is released, here is what the developers at Bungie shared so far.


Shotguns take possibly the biggest hit with this upcoming Destiny patch. Statistics shared during the Bungie livestream showed they are by far the favored weapon to use in Crucible PVP matches and the developers are attempting to even things out.

For starters, Shotguns will see the aim magnetism reduced significantly and all aim assistance disappear when firing from the hip. This is to force players to aim the shotgun.

Shotun slide in Destiny: The Taken King.
[Image by Bungie / Activision]

Additionally, Bungie will reduce the accuracy of the shotgun when firing while in the air and completely remove bonus precision damage. To compensate in PVE, Bungie has added 20 percent overall damage to shotguns. The exception to this is the Chaperone, which fires a single slug that will still do precision damage. Universal Remote will also support precision damage while aiming down sights.

Another significant nerf to the Shotgun hits the popular Rangefinder perk. It will now take 25 percent longer to aim down sights when this perk is active.

Destiny players who enjoy jumping around and shotgunning opponents will be disappointed to hear the weapon class’ in-air accuracy is being significantly reduced. On the plus side, the hit to agility when wielding a shotgun is going away.

Pulse Rifles

Pulse Rifles are another target of Bungie’s nerf hammer. The low impact versions of the rifle, such as The Clever Dragon and Grasp of Malok, are extremely popular in PVP and will see their rate of fire reduced by 7.7 percent, or exactly one frame.

Additionally, Clever Dragon and Grasp of Malok rifles with the “god roll” Braced Frame perk should get used to reloading more often. The magazine size will be reduced by six rounds when the perk is active.

Bungie appears to be moving Pulse Rifles back toward the high impact, low rate of fire archetypes. It is increasing the rate of fire for weapons like The Messenger and Spare Change by 5.3 percent.

Auto Rifles

Auto Rifles got perhaps the best news for the upcoming Destiny weapon balance patch. The SUROS Regime and Shadow Price low rate of fire archetypes will see an increase to their base damage. Additionally, all Auto Rifles will receive increased critical multipliers from 1.25 to 1.3.

The Last Exit map in Destiny: Rise of Iron.
[Image by Bungie / Activision]

Hand Cannons

Meanwhile, Hand Cannons will get hit with a mix of positive and negative changes. The first shot accuracy will return to Year One values, but has its base range reduced by 5 meters, which will affect aim assistance and damage drop-off. That’s not all. Shots that land past the reduced max range will do only 33 percent of the base damage going forward versus the current 50 percent of base damage.

General Changes

Pulse Rifles, Auto Rifles, and Scout Rifles all had their in-air accuracy increased. Not quite to the level of Hand Cannon, but better than they are today. Also, High Caliber Rounds will begin to affect Hand Cannons and Scout Rifles.

Changes to Exotics like Truth and Shinobu’s Vow are also on the way, but Bungie did not detail those yet. The developers did say that Young Wolf’s Howl won’t burn through ammo as much, though.

Special Ammo

How Special Weapon ammos is handled in PVP is going through yet another permutation. Players will start matches with special ammo, but lose it all upon death. The exception to the rule is Sidearms will always spawn with ammo upon death and the Elimination gametype will only start players with special ammo during the first round.

Special Weapon ammo crates will also behave slightly differently. They will now spawn every 60 seconds, but their ammo drop radius for teammates is getting reduced from 100 meters to just 75.


There are some Guardian class changes coming down the pipe with this Destiny patch as well. Hunter’s Throwing Knife will now do solar damage while the Hungering Blade super will give health immediately versus regenerating health. However, shields will no longer regenerate on kills.

Stormcaller Warlocks take a bit of a hit. Their melee range is being reduced an unspecified amount while the Landfall perk for the Stormtrance super will reduce the total amount of time the super is active.

Similarly, Striker Titans will need to adjust to the Juggernaut perk changes. It will no longer activate while in the air and will deactivate quicker while in the air. This appears to be to address Titans “skating” around maps with the extra shielding available.

What do you think of the weapon and class balance changes to Destiny shared by Bungie so far? Sound off in the comments below.

[Featured Image by Bungie / Activision]