When Destiny 2 introduced Whisper of the Worm last summer, it was undoubtedly the most powerful Power weapon in the game. It was also a nostalgic celebration of sorts for longtime fans because the exotic sniper rifle functioned just as Destiny 1's original Black Hammer sniper rifle that drew infinite ammo out of thin air. But just as Bungie did to Black Hammer back in the original game, eventually Whisper of the Worm received major nerfs entirely taking the weapon out of top-tier PvE builds from then on out even to today's current sandbox.
In a blog post from Destiny 2's franchise director Luke Smith looking back at the lessons learned by Bungie over the past six months, Smith detailed why the nerf to Whisper of the Worm was necessary. He actually started by saying that, in hindsight, the developer probably should never have designed Whisper of the Worm with its infinite ammo ability. But when the weapon released during a time where players were feeling less powerful than ever in the franchise, giving them a surge of power in the form of Whisper of the Worm was the choice that Bungie went with.
But as time went on, Smith says it became clear that the exotic was an "outlier" that let players circumvent many of the mechanics of the game, most notably having to move around an environment to collect more ammo and completely avoiding reload animations:
"Whisper [...] lets you stand still at a safe distance, in a pool that makes you borderline invulnerable, never having to reload or relocate for ammo, and allow players to deal piles and piles of damage on giant bosses who aren't threatening."
To account for the presence of weapons like Whisper of the Worm, Smith explains that Bungie made encounters like the Reckoning, which he said broke multiple design rules for Destiny 2. Specifically, the high health pool of the bridge bosses was a direct result of Bungie knowing the damage players with Whisper of the Worm would be able to dish out. The Reckoning often felt frustrating for players, with the activity becoming extremely hard if they did not have some of the extremely powered exotic weapons and armor that the activity was specifically designed to counter.
To avoid a continuation of Bungie feeling the need to design overly difficult and frustrating activities as the game moves forward into the Shadowkeep expansion and Year 3, Smith explains that balance needed to be regained. And Whisper of the Worm was one of those exotics that had to be lowered in its effectiveness.
Destiny 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.