Full details about how damage buffs are being nerfed in Destiny 2 Year 3 are now available. Developer Bungie has previously said that in Year 3, damage buffs would no longer be allowed to stack, but in addition to that, many of the damage buffs in the game are having their effects reduced. These changes hope to address the amount of power that players have been able to amass over the last two years with various combinations of weapons, abilities, and perks to deal damage far beyond what Bungie had expected.
Bungie said that when it first implemented abilities that applied damage buffs or weakening effects to enemies in Destiny 2 at its launch, there were only a few available. But over time, with additions like new subclasses and abilities, players have been able to discover ways to stack buffs and apply multiple at a time to take a lot of the challenge out of the game.
This has led to what is known as "power creep" where abilities and weapons become more powerful over time as Bungie feels the need to create more and more powerful weapons to appeal to players. But, in turn, that creates an ever-growing balance issue that forces Bungie to make decisions like increasing the health pools of enemies or even intentionally breaking design rules just to combat the abilities the developer knows players will bring to the encounter, as was the case with The Reckoning activity.
Builds like the Liar's Handshake Arcstrider Melee build that has allowed players to solo the Riven fight in The Last Wish raid is just one of many examples of this in action. And if players want engaging and challenging content, especially in the endgame, some of these damage buffs need to balance out. No doubt the players who prefer to have as much power at their fingertips and aren't really looking for a challenge in Destiny 2 are likely to be disappointed with the changes.
As Destiny 2 enters its third year, Bungie is hitting a bit of a reset button with these damage buffs. As mentioned previously, damage buffs that apply to all weapons in a player's loadout will no longer stack. Individual weapon damage buffs like Rampage or Kill Clip can still stack with others. These changes affect Empowering Rift, Frontal Assault, Guiding Flame, Sun Warrior, Inertia Override, Well of Radiance, Lumina/Noble Rounds, and Weapons of Light (a perk returning to Titans' Ward of Dawn in Shadowkeep).
While the One-Eyed Mask exotic helmet is not getting a nerf, these other abilities are:
- Frontal Assault: Bonus damage is now +20% (Previously +25%)
- Sun Warrior: Bonus damage is now +20% (Previously +25%)
- Well of Radiance: Bonus damage is now +25% (Previously +35%)
- Weapons of Light: Bonus damage is now +35% (Previously +25%)
- Shadowshot: Incoming PvE damage is now +30% (Previously +35%), Incoming PvP damage is now +50% (Previously +55%), This effect no longer excludes power weapons
- Tractor Cannon (Repulsor Force): Incoming PvE damage is now +30% for all elements (Previously +33%/50% for Non-Void/Void damage respectively), Incoming PvP damage is now +50% for all elements (Previously +33%/50% for Non-Void/Void damage respectively)
- Hammer Strike: Incoming PvE damage is now +30% (Previously +50%), Duration increased from 6 to 10 seconds in PvE
- Shattering Strike: Incoming PvE damage is now +30% (Previously +50%), Duration increased from 6 to 10 seconds in PvE
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep releases October 1, 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with a Stadia version also in development.