Bungie Is Nerfing New Destiny 2 Exotics That Are Dominating The PvP Meta

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If you been playing recently in Destiny 2‘s PvP arena, the Crucible, you’ve almost certainly faced a lot of players tossing healing turrets and laying down a ton of fire with Khvostov-7G0X, the new and grindy-to-unlock Exotic auto rifle that can be earned in The Final Shape expansion. Khvostov has dominated PvP as of late, but Bungie is nerfing the gun in ways that are likely to reel in its Crucible supremacy.

It’s not just Khvostov that’s getting adjusted, either. In its latest This Week in Destiny blog post, Bungie addressed three Exotics that are currently seeing a ton of use in the Crucible, and particularly in high-stakes Trials of Osiris weekend multiplayer event. Those are Red Death Reformed, a pulse rifle players get from the current season pass, and Speaker’s Sight, an Exotic helmet for Warlocks. Khvostov and Speaker’s Sight work particularly well together for an easy-to-use strategy that boosts the gun’s power, while Red Death Reformed hits hard and heals its user when they score a kill, making it the go-to response to Khvostov.

A few things are going on with Khvostov to make it so strong. First off: It’s bugged. Khvostov’s Exotic perk makes its bullets occasionally ricochet, bouncing around and hitting multiple targets while dealing additional damage. Bungie said it wanted to reduce the recoil created by those ricochet bullets in particular, but the glitch in how the gun works caused all the bullets to receive that reduced recoil.

That means that Khvostov essentially gets maximum stability, reducing its kickback and making it extremely easy to use to land headshots. The gun also has very high aim assist, the stat that helps your bullets land where you want them. So taken together, both the low recoil and the high aim assist make Khvostov extremely easy to use well, and that’s before you even take the ricochet bullets into consideration.

Those ricochet bullets get a boost whenever you pick up an Orb of Light, and this is where the Speaker’s Sight Exotic helmet comes into play. That helmet allows Warlocks to turn their grenades into healing turrets, and whenever they drop one of those turrets, they generate an Orb of Power, instantly buffing Khvostov. So not only is the gun barely recoiling and making it easy to land headshots, but it’s also firing ricochet rounds that can hit multiple targets and are easily powered up for even more damage.

Bungie’s addressing those issues by fixing the recoil bug on Khvostov, but it’s trying not to make it too much worse. Players have been enjoying the low-recoil version of the gun, and Bungie wants to maintain that Exotic feel, so it’s lowering its overall Stability level to 72, down 30 points. That should make it pretty stable, but not incredibly stable.

As for the ricochet bullets, which deal damage both on initial impact and on their ricochet strikes, Bungie feels they’re too strong and too easy to activate in PvP, essentially giving a big damage buff to Khvostov users that’s similar to much harder-to-activate perks on other guns. The initial bonus damage of a ricochet round is being reduced, from 15% to 5%, while the bouncing bullets are being ratcheted down from 18.4 points of damage on a hit to 4.6 damage. Bungie says those changes will maintain how often ricochets are happening, but make them less overwhelmingly powerful. However, Bungie doesn’t want to alter how Khvostov feels in PvE activities, so those changes only apply to how the gun works in the Crucible.

As for Speaker’s Sight, as of right now, the Exotic helmet’s ability to generate Orbs of Power is being turned off in the Crucible altogether. Speaker’s Sight will still generate Orbs normally in PvE, however.

Bungie acknowledged that the helmet is making it too easy to generate a lot of Orbs of Power too easily in the Crucible, and that can give a big advantage for a lot of different player builds. While Bungie wants to maintain the fantasy the helmet facilitates–namely, of being a very focused healer–the developer says it needs to find a better balance between that function and how useful Orbs of Power can be in the Crucible.

Finally, there’s Red Death Reformed. Like Khvostov, it also benefits from high Stability and a tight recoil pattern that makes it very easy to use effectively in the Crucible, but unlike Khvostov, this is by design. Red Death has a special recoil pattern meant to make it fire tighter bursts than most pulse rifles, but Bungie says it has turned out to be too good at dealing out death against players, so the developer is bringing down the Stability stat a bit. The result should be that Red Death Reformed still has a specific feel when firing it and is still pretty effective, but with a little more kick that should balance it better against other pulse rifles.

As with all balancing changes when it comes to the Crucible, we’ll have to wait and see how these changes alter the state of the PvP meta and whether they’re enough to weaken Khvostov’s dominance, or go too far and wind up taking it out of the rotation entirely. Destiny 2’s Iron Banner kicks off next week, which should provide plenty of information on how the community receives the changes.