Destiny’s Weapon Updates Strengthen Pulse Rifles and Weaken Others

by Kyle Hanson
Destiny Weapon Changes

Bungie is looking to shake up the world of Destiny with a new update that will be balancing and changing the weapon types in the game. Every weapon looks to be impacted in some way, with the ultimate goal being a more even spread of weapon usage among players. The big focus is on the Pulse Rifle, which is usually seen as the least capable weapon type in Destiny. To accomplish this Bungie will be changing things around, so take a look at the planned updates:

Auto Rifles

Bungie wants the Auto-Rifle to be “a visceral, close-to-medium range chainsaw.” They want it to be rewarding for more accurate shooters, but long-range combat should rely on other weapons. However, it is currently the most powerful and most versatile weapon type in Destiny, so it’s gonna need to be toned down a bit.

  • Auto Rifle is optimal at close to medium range
  • Damage, Stability, and Range are tuned such that players desire Stability for reliable close quarters damage, or Range for better accuracy at a distance
  • Reduce base damage of Auto Rifles by 2.5% (averaged across Rate of Fire stats, higher RoF took less of a reduction than low RoF)
  • Reduce effective range values so that damage falloff and accuracy are a stronger factor in combat decisions
  • Range reduction is less severe in the higher stat values, so now your range stat is more critical to long distance engagements

Pulse Rifle

Meant to function as a middle ground between the full-auto experience and the more targeted sniper and scout rifle, the Pulse Rifle has ended up being a bit neglected by players. The new changes look to fix that though.

  • Pulse Rifle is optimal at medium range, but can still effectively harass enemies at close or long range distances
  • Rate of Fire sets a pace for players to both track moving targets, and then deliver precision damage in bursts
  • Increase base damage of Pulse Rifles by 9.7%. DPS is now more in line with other primaries

Hand Cannons

Precision players usually lean toward the Hand Cannon if they wish to keep mobile in Destiny. “Our goal is that they are ideal at close to medium range. They reward the calm hand that can pace shots under chaotic combat situations. The rounds hit like a truck so you shouldn’t need to fire fast to be effective.” Unfortunately the Hand Cannon is a little too effective as it currently stands, so Bungie is taking it down a notch.

  • Hand Cannon is optimal at medium range
  • Hand Cannon is optimal when shots are paced, becomes less effective when fired quickly
  • Rewards agility when under fire, precision targeting, and snap shots
  • Reduce effective range
  • Damage falloff starts closer to the shooter, and follow up shots are less accurate at long ranges
  • Slight reduction to initial accuracy
    • This is unnoticeable at close to medium range, but underscores the range intentions when used from far away

Fusion Rifles

The Crucible has made Fusion Rifles one of the most hated, yet most used weapon types in Destiny. Tough to learn and master, the Fusion Rifle can cause some big frustration for other players as it wipes them out in one shot. The changes look to balance the Fusion Rifle against other types to force some variety into the experience.

  • Fusion Rifles are optimal at mid-range, where targets are easier to track but they’re not close enough to attack while you charge up
  • Requires combat foresight and the ability to predict a target’s movement to use successfully
  • Blast pattern on a Fusion Rifle burst cone is a little wider
    • Close to medium range volleys are largely unaffected, but at a distance the projectiles are less likely to land hits on a single target
    • This reduces the reliability of landing a one hit kill at far range, and makes the weapon better at spreading damage into a group
  • Initial starting ammo is reduced across all ammo stats. This is change primarily affects The Crucible
    • Starting a Crucible match, you’ll have less Fusion Rifle ammo in reserve
    • In PvE activities we persistently track your ammo. We only use initial ammo values if you are logging in for the first time, or starting a Crucible match


Useless at range, but devastating in close-quarters. The Shotgun is everyone’s favorite secondary weapon. Sometimes you get killed a bit further away than feels fair though, so Bungie is looking to fix that. Also, in the non-Crucible environment the weapon can be slightly useless as it’s damage isn’t high enough to be effective.

  • Shotgun is the most optimal at very close range
  • Complements melee attacks and other close quarters class builds
  • Offensively closing on an enemy with a Shotgun is a risk/reward timing game
  • Increase damage by 2x (100%) against all non-Guardian combatants (aliens)
  • Reduce high end range values – damage falloff starts sooner, so Crucible players with long range shotguns need to be a little closer for successful one hit kills
  • (Like the Fusion Rifle) Initial starting ammo is reduced across all ammo stats in the Crucible:
    • Starting a Crucible match, you’ll have less Shotgun ammo in reserve
    • In PvE activities we persistently track your ammo
    • We only use initial ammo values if you are logging in for the first time, or starting a Crucible match

The rest of Destiny’s weapon types are largely unaffected by the updates that Bungie has planned. This update is planned to go live later this month, so keep an eye out and be ready to mix up your strategy.