Destiny 2 is handling its weapon slots much differently than Destiny 1, and while the change stands to remedy many of the issues in PvP that fans have complained about over the past three years, it has the potential to harm (or at the very least, drastically change) how players use weapons in PvE activities, like the Raid.
In Destiny 1, players have their Primary, Special, and Heavy weapon slots. But in Destiny 2, those slots have been changed to Kinetic, Energy, and Power weapons. The biggest change that experienced players will notice immediately is that sniper rifles, shotguns, and fusion rifles have been completely removed from that middle slot and put into the Power weapons slot where they join rocket launchers, grenade launchers, and heavy machine guns. Sidearms remain behind in the Kinetic and Energy slots and are joined by the new submachine gun class.
This is actually a really great change for PvP. In Destiny 1, Special weapons have been a constant source of balancing, which has led to entire weapon classes being nerfed into the ground or serious restrictions on how Special Ammo works in the Crucible. Destiny 2 looks to avoid that by, in effect, giving players two Primary weapons. It opens up a whole new possibility of loadouts and weapon pairings, like equipping a scout rifle for long range engagements and having a hand cannon or submachine gun for when fights come too close.
It also solves the problem of players running around the map with powerful weapons like shotguns and sniper rifles, rarely ever having to use their Primary weapon. With those one-hit-kill weapons all grouped into the Power weapon slot and requiring the pickup of Heavy ammo to use, the frequency of those weapons being used is bound to go down drastically in Destiny 2.
The new weapon slots also have their benefits for PvE as well. For one, players will now always have an elemental primary at their disposal. That opens up the chance to strip an enemy’s shields using an elemental weapon and then quickly switch to a kinetic weapon to apply straight damage. It will also be useful, like PvP, to be able to have a long-range and short-range weapon, both getting generous amounts of ammo.
However, the change to the Power slot creates a lot of competition for use between weapon types. Where there was already a decision to make between rocket launchers, heavy machine guns, swords, and even unique weapons like the Sleeper Simulant, in Destiny 2 that choice will be even harder with the addition of sniper rifles, shotguns, fusion rifles, and grenade launchers vying to be equipped in that slot.
Gone will be the days of being able to have a Special utility weapon for dealing out heavier, but not massive, damage to mid-tier enemies. Being able to pull out a shotgun or a sniper to deal with a major enemy in a shot or two while also having a weapon like a rocket launcher available will no longer be an option in Destiny 2. Fights like Oryx, which very much relies on a sniper rifle to take out the Knights quickly and a machine gun to stun Oryx, would function very differently under this new system.
Not only that, but it seriously changes what Destiny 1 players have come to understand as a “damage phase” in an activity like a Raid. A damage phase typically consists of players using a Heavy weapon then switching straight to a sniper rifle to keep up the maximum level of DPS. That is a well-known technique that has become second nature to Destiny veterans, and is the go-to strategy for bosses from virtually every raid.
It will be interesting to see how Bungie handles bosses and Raid encounters that have been so reliant on the Primary, Special, and Heavy weapon system and how they could change to better reflect the new Kinetic, Energy, and Power weapon slots of Destiny 2.
Destiny 2 will launch September 8, 2017 on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will come to PC at a later unannounced date.