Destiny 2 nerfs auto rifles in PvP only 2 weeks after massive sandbox updates

Destiny 2’s Update 7.3.5 on March 5 brought with it a complete overhaul to the Crucible experience. Since then, auto rifles have swiftly become the most popular weapon of choice across all game modes. In fact, they’ve oversaturated the meta to the point Bungie has already announced nerfs.

The Destiny 2 PvP Strike Team broke down the details in a This Week in Destiny blog released today, March 21. The developers are already in the process of “fine tuning” the new sandbox ready for the upcoming Update 7.3.6, and the biggest talking point was one specific weapon archetype. “It’s very clear that some auto rifles are outperforming the competition in the mid-range, with Precision auto rifles in general being outliers,” the blog reads.

Two Guardians face off against an enemy Titan and Warlock in a match of the Crucible.
Destiny 2 wants to curb the strength of auto rifles before a meta can form around them. Image via Bungie

But Bungie isn’t just hitting the Precision Frame with a nerf and calling it a day. Simultaneously, almost every other Primary weapon type, except submachine guns, is getting buffed. In the Strike Team’s eyes, the balance changes are about “providing more competition” for auto rifles in mid-range engagements as opposed to outright reducing their efficacy. Buffing the other weapons in the player’s arsenal does this best, but they still aim to decrease the “forgiveness” that has made Precision auto rifles so prominent.

Starting in Update 7.3.6, Precision Frame auto rifles are getting their base damage decreased by five percent. At the same time, hand cannons, pulse rifles, bows, and scout rifles are all getting base damage buffs ranging from one percent to six percent depending on the archetype. Before any Guardians get concerned about what this could mean for Wish-Ender and Le Monarque, which only just got nerfed out of the strangehold they had on the Crucible, Bungie noted neither bow will be affected by these changes.

Two Exotic hand cannons, Sunshot and The Last Word, are also getting buffed in the Crucible. Sunshot’s critical hit damage is being increased by 11 percent, while The Last Word’s base damage is being increased by six percent. Both changes have been engineered to allow the two weapons to potentially kill an opponent in just three critical hits.

Last but not least, the Strike Team reduced the flinch players take from all Primary weapons by 15 percent. As they noted, the overhaul to PvP balancing that was released on March 5 made critical hits even more important than ever. This is good to widen the skill gap and encourage players to aim more carefully but made flinch feel far more punishing than it used to be in fights. It’s a smaller quality-of-life change but one that should make the Crucible gameplay loop feel a lot fairer. It also makes scoring a drop of The Summoner, which has High-Caliber Rounds on it, even more important than it already is.

Bungie didn’t say when players can expect Update 7.3.6 to release for Destiny 2, but there’s a good chance it will launch alongside Into The Light on April 9. Until then, auto rifle usage will undoubtedly continue to reach new heights now that both The Summoner and Prosecutor are out in the wild.


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