Destiny's Newest Update - Patch 2.0: Starving Guardians

Pondering the universe in the blinding light of the Sun.

            Somewhere, beyond the safety of our solar system, there is a dreadful god that seeks after his son’s murderers – his dreadnought approaches, and his armies ready themselves for war with humanity. His name is Oryx, and he is closing in for the kill.                                                            
            Thankfully, his dreadnought moves pretty slowly, so while we wait, we can hone our combat skills, strengthen our armor, and forge alliances – all for the inevitable war we will wage with the Hive.
            Two months from now is when we can expect him to arrive, which is actually a long time when there is little else to do in the universe besides serving as prison guards for a prophetic Kell, and enduring intense elimination matches for an all-expenses-paid trip to Mercury.
            The enjoyment I had in doing these activities is wearing thin; if I am to stay in this universe, something needs to entice me into doing so.
            Yesterday, an announcement came from Bungie which spelled out upcoming changes to Destiny – an announcement that will come to fruition two months from now. Will it have what I'm looking for?

Crucible's deadliest contender.

           The Taken King will come with the long-awaited Patch 2.0, which will be another attempt on Bungie’s part to bring better balance to the game’s various weapons. It’s clear that there are weapons which outperform others, but there are a few which have gone beyond being better than other guns, and now tread in over-powered territory. From the godly Gjallarhorn to the lethal Thorn, almost every single weapon in this game will be affected by the update coming in September – some for better, and others for worse.
            The list of changes is long, and although it’s important to acknowledge what we can expect, I think it’s more important that we focus on how these changes will affect us, the players.
            The community’s calls for balance have been heard, and Bungie will be delivering a bouquet of changes, but there are some that just don’t sit well with the players, myself included, and one has to wonder why Bungie plans to implement some of these things.
            There are, of course, going to be changes made to the dominant Hand Cannons in Crucible – namely, The Last Word and Thorn. The weapon tuning will weaken these weapons within reason, they won’t be run into the ground as Auto Rifles were; they will still very much be viable choices for Crucible.
            Hopefully, the Crucible will see some real weapon diversity after this update is implemented - the battlefields become a very boring place when every Guardian is almost guaranteed to have one of these two weapons in hand.
            If you’re lucky enough to avoid Thorn or The Last Word users, which is most likely an impossible feat, you’ll probably run into the Crucible’s other infamous weapon: Felwinter’s Lie. Yep, the shotgun that can be shaped into a mid-range sniper will be receiving a reduction in its Rangefinder and Shot Package abilities. We can only hope that the reduction is enough to deter Guardians from using shotguns as their primary weapons, as is a common sight in the Crucible right now.
            I suppose I forgot to mention Final Round on those high Impact snipers, didn’t I? Well, their bonus damage will now only apply to precision shots – there won’t be any more deaths on account of a toe taken off by a Final Round sniper. I’ve never used a Final Round sniper, and even I have to wonder why Bungie thought it best to do this. It makes it a redundancy in the Crucible, and will effectively have no impact, pun intended, on player versus enemy activities. I’m absolutely appreciative that players will no longer be able to dump two rounds to abuse Final Round, but this change makes it an almost inconsequential perk.
            That isn’t the end of it - Gjallarhorn will go to the chopping block this September. The god gun, Gjallarhorn itself will become the victim of Bungie’s attempts at balancing the game – although, I have to ask: for whom? Why weaken the most powerful weapon in the game? What do you hope to achieve by doing so? The gun is only so significant because the enemies in the game have so much health! If each enemy in the game weren’t the bullet sponges that they are, then Gjallarhorn wouldn’t be so sought after, and players would have more freedom in choosing their Exotics. In fact, some end-game bosses have such high health that having Gjallarhorn is a prerequisite to joining the activity! By reducing Gjallarhorn’s lethality, Bungie is only increasing the demand this weapon will have, and those players without it will be excluded even more! Posts on LFG sites asking only for players with Gjallarhorn are common enough already, yet that will only become more commonplace once this patch goes through.
            Another beloved Exotic that will be heavily hampered is the one, the only: Icebreaker. Along with the announcement came a very tongue-in-cheek account of the grind that is Destiny. Prepare your picnic blankets, unpack your ham sandwich, and whip out your favorite mobile game, because Icebreaker’s iconic ammo regen just took a nosedive. Each time you pull that trigger, you will have to wait eight seconds before the round returns, so get comfortable, because these Strikes you’re grinding out just got longer.
The author cites that the team’s motivation behind this change was to introduce a greater level of tension to Destiny’s battles – a word that has very little application in this game. The only tension you will find is in the Trials of Osiris, and when a teammate has been infected with Skolas’ devouring essence. Outside of those two activities, you will not find any tension in Destiny – the endless hordes of enemies are predictable, unintelligent, and pose little threat to even the least experienced of Guardians. There is no strategy in dealing with these artificial enemies – they simply spawn, and you shoot them – it is a very perfunctory routine, and so there is no tension born of the situation. Using this as reason to hamper Icebreaker seems flat-out ridiculous.
            Along with these heavy-hitters, there will also come a number of changes which will affect less prevalent weapons like Necrochasm and Hard Light - goodness knows they’ve needed help - Black Hammer, No Land Beyond, and more.

Oryx is out there, and each passing day he gets closer.

            Some of these will be welcomed eagerly by players everywhere, but other changes just don’t seem to make sense. What doesn’t help, either, is Bungie’s lack of communication with the players – the community manager’s morsels don’t cut it. We need someone to open a direct line with Bungie, and if this newest community manager, Cozmo, doesn’t manage to do it, who’s to say the players will stay? Two months is a long time to enjoy the same activities over, and over again, and I don’t see anything enticing enough to keep playing.
            This doesn’t mean it’s over, but my Destiny journey seems as tedious as ever, and if this is the pattern I can expect come September, I’m not sure I want to go on.



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