Since the launch of Destiny’s House of Wolves expansion there haven’t been too many reasons for players to get excited. Sure, there was that initial rush to beat Skolas in the Prison of Elders and to go flawless in Trials of Osiris, but by and large most players are simply biding their time. Or at least they were, until Xur showed up this weekend.
As most know by now, this weekend was a major game-changer for Destiny players. For only the second time ever, Xur sold Gjallarhorn, one of the most coveted and powerful weapons in all of Destiny.
The Best Gun in Destiny?
But with the sale of Gjallarhorn came a lot of questions, both about the future of Destiny and this extremely powerful exotic rocket launcher. Much like the actual act of selling Gjallarhorn sent reverberations through the Destiny community, we think that Bungie letting Xur sell Gjallarhorn hints at some significant effects on the game as well.
Only the most veteran players will remember the first time Xur sold Gjallarhorn, way back in week 2 of the game. At the time, Strange Coins were extremely scarce, so many talked themselves out of buying the rocket launcher. “Why would someone waste their exotic slot on a heavy weapon,” they said, without truly realizing how powerful Gjallarhorn is.
Once Destiny players did come to realize Gjallarhorn’s power and utility, it quickly became the most sought after gun in the game. Gjallarhorn not only made quick work of the toughest bosses, but it also created an elitist mentality among Destiny’s most seasoned players. If you wanted to join top tier groups you needed to have Gjallarhorn, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Because of Gjallarhorn’s perceived strength, there grew a theory that Bungie took the rocket launcher out of Xur’s loot table. Rather than solve gamers’ problems by giving everyone a Gjallarhorn, Bungie seemingly wanted to put the game in its own tier of rarity. If any players were walking around with Gjallarhorn, it would be because they earned it. Then something changed…
Xur Sells Gjallarhorn, Destiny Players Rejoice
Why exactly Gjallarhorn all of the sudden appeared isn’t entirely clear, but we have some theories. First it’s important to point out that it is possible that Gjallarhorn simply came up in Xur’s random number generator (Scenario 1), but that seems somewhat unlikely. If he can repeat nearly every other weapon twice (sometimes even more), then it stands to reason that Gjallarhorn would have at least appeared one other time. The more likely scenario is that Bungie used its powers to put Gjallarhorn in Xur’s inventory.
Scenario 2, and the one that seems the most likely, is that Bungie put Gjallarhorn in Xur’s inventory to let players experience the rocket launcher before its upcoming nerf. We know that Destiny Update 2.0 is supposed to decrease the damage of Gjallarhorn’s Wolfpack Rounds, but no one knows how severely that will impact the weapon’s utility. Many are fearing, though, that the nerf will be significant.
Life After Gjallarhorn
As of late, Bungie has made a concerted effort to focus on topics like “replacing Gjallarhorn” or at least enticing players away from the rocket launcher. The Sleeper Simulant, for example, is touted by Bungie as an exotic heavy weapon that could rival Gjally, not to mention the handful of other exotic heavies that are already in the game. If Update 2.0 works as intended, Bungie hopes that guns like Truth and Thunderlord will get just as much use, if not more.
However, if players have never used Gjallarhorn they might not realize how much stronger these new or old weapons are. So by giving everybody (theoretically) the gun, Bungie is using a little reverse psychology to get players to think forward.
The Taken King’s New Weapons
Although Bungie has made some questionable decisions when it comes to Destiny, it’s hard to imagine they would give every player a Gjallarhorn just so they could keep it locked in the heavy weapon spot for The Taken King. Bungie wants to give players options with the Taken King, but they also apparently want to give a nod to the king of exotics in Year 1.
Interestingly enough, much like Bungie is looking to get players to move past Gjallarhorn, it appears they are doing the same with all current legendary weapons. The developer is doing that directly by making it so Year 1 legendary weapons can’t be upgraded in The Taken King, but they are apparently also doing it with drops. According to Game Informer, who spent extensive time with the Destiny expansion pre-launch, even common green weapons rivaled the strength of current legendaries.
So, while selling Gjallarhorn was supposed to be an exciting event in the world of Destiny, it seems more likely that it was a sign. It’s time for players to begin thinking about the future of Bungie’s game, and not relying solely on one weapon to get the job done. Thorn won’t be the go-to PvP weapon, Gjallarhorn won’t be the boss killer, and shotguns won’t double as snipers. We may all have Gjallarhorns now, but that doesn’t mean they will get much use in The Taken King.
Destiny: The Taken King releases September 15, 2015 for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.