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If you were anywhere near the Destiny community in the last 24 hours, you probably heard a collective explosion of outrage, anger, confusion, and a whole bunch of other feelings that people can’t even seem to put into words. Ahead of the June 4 Season of Opulence update, Bungie let everyone know that they would be nerfing some Exotic gear that has become too powerful and makes designing new challenging content a, well, challenge. Yup, Bungie mentioned the dreaded “nerf” word, which makes players go ballistic. The response to the Destiny 2 Exotic nerfs is a kneejerk response, one that doesn’t largely understand the bigger goal outside of not wanting to lose unlimited ammo capabilities on their sniper or literal constant supers that trivialize any challenge.
As a Destiny player myself, I don’t agree with the overblown response from the community. There’s a certain entitlement that everyone seems to have to “their power fantasy” with no regard for the game development side of things and the difficulties that come up when players can literally have infinite powerful ammo or infinite supers that deal extra damage and heal in the process. Power weapons are designed to be spikes in the gameplay, not the sole source of DPS (damage per second). Supers are designed the same way, special moments that either deal a lot of damage or save the team. Bypassing the economy of occasional power spikes for God Mode might be a rush, but there are a lot of problems with taking on that kind of power.
Let’s take a look at a few of the individual nerfs mentioned.
Whisper of the Worm Nerf
So Whisper of the Worm is getting its unlimited ammo perk taken away. Instead of generating ammo from thin air, the White Nail perk will now pull from reserves instead, bypassing reload time for optimal DPS. So no more infinite ammo if you are hitting all of those crits, but you still get 21 total shots of DPS from the gun, and if you can land all crits, you bypass your reload times too.
“But we have rally barricades and Lunafaction rifts for that!” That’s true, but that requires certain classes, certain loadouts, and Whisper can do it without. Don’t have a Titan or your Warlock wants to run something else? No problem. Whisper can still output optimal DPS on its own. So yes, it can be matched by other guns, but it requires other gear and loadout considerations to match it. Plus 21 shots is plenty.
All in all, I think the sheer idea of this nerf is scaring people more than the practical application, and outside of encounters that were rendered trivial and boring by this gun anyway, it really won’t be felt at all.
I’ve also heard the argument that the time spent getting this gun and its catalyst is now wasted. I don’t know about anyone else, but I had fun getting the gun. It was about the challenge. The content. The time with friends. The powerful gun at the end was a bonus to the whole thing. Not to mention that the catalyst isn’t changing at all. Whispered Breathing is still a great perk that outclasses other guns.
I feel like all people are seeing is “Whisper of the Worm nerf,” and they aren’t even looking at how Whisper still excels, just on a more balanced level now. It’s no longer head and shoulders above everything else, which created an awkward moment of comparing every new Exotic to Whisper. When a weapon is this powerful, every other Exotic just doesn’t feel as good. But you can’t bring everything up to Whisper levels, or you’d just break the game. Superman has to have his kryptonite.
Super Regen Exotic Armor Nerf
Here we get a lot less in the way of specifics. We know that there will be diminishing returns so that it’s not as easy to get a full super back anymore using Exotics like Phoenix Protocol, Skull of Dire Ahamkara, or Orpheus Rigs. I mean, yeah that seems pretty tragic. A bunch of strategies in the game rely on using these Exotics specifically for constant super uptime. When you combine that with the mass orb generation, a full fireteam can easily have near unlimited super energy. Now players will actually have to play the content instead of just spamming super abilities.
Truth here is we don’t actually know just how nerfed these are going to be. Sure, Super probably isn’t going to have instant returns, but we’ll probably still get a good chunk back. From Bungie: “making it rarer to get a full Super back.” They didn’t say it was going to be impossible. There’s no hard cap, players will just have to work for that super a little more. That’s still a pretty powerful Exotic, to be able to get to your super more quickly than you otherwise would. It was just tuned a little high previously.
Season of Opulence Update
These nerfs are a small window into the Season of Opulence update, so we have no idea how they fit in context with other sandbox changes. By themselves, I really don’t think they are that bad, and I’m excited to let the attention shift to something else. That’s how meta balances should work anyway. We could be seeing some buffs to other underused Exotics. New Exotic Catalysts are coming, which will bring other weapons up. Boss fights won’t just be Super and Whisper spam anymore. There’s a lot to look forward to and a lot that Bungie has been doing right. It’s not worth being this upset right now without knowing how it fits into the wider game. My Destiny experience doesn’t hinge on one single gun or piece of armor.
I would be more upset with them if they didn’t change the meta and we just stayed stagnant. It’s really not worth being as mad as the community is right now, and I think people will find that the nerfs are barely noticed. They’ll latch onto other strategies and ways of playing. If this helps Bungie develop better encounters by removing these spikes that trivialize content, I am all for it. There are 123 Exotic weapons and armor pieces in the game, plus more to come, and I am looking forward to getting to know some of those other ones.
If you are mad about the nerfs, I’m not going to say you’re wrong for feeling that way, but to me it just doesn’t feel like it’s something worth being mad about.
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