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Destiny 2 Season 17 sandbox changes - Desperado nerfs, Lion Rampant buffs, more

Bungie is preparing massive changes to shift the balance of play in both PvP and PvE in Destiny 2 with Season 17 sandbox changes.
Destiny 2 Season 17 sandbox changes - Desperado nerfs, Lion Rampant buffs, more

Thursday means only one thing for Destiny 2 fans, a new This Week at Bungie, the developers' weekly blog posts updating people on the state of the action MMO.

The 21st April TWAB is perhaps one of the biggest Bungie has ever posted, tackling multiple aspects and changes coming to Destiny 2 in the coming months, particularly when Season 17 starts.

While Season 16, also known as Season of the Risen, still has a ways to go, with Guardian Games debuting in the coming weeks to close out the season, Bungie is known for giving players a heads up when balance updates are scheduled to hit the live servers of Destiny 2.

There are several factors taken into consideration for the massive Season 17 sandbox changes hitting Destiny 2 in the near future. The most important ones are:

  • Buff Glaives, as they ended up being an underwhelming new type of weapon.
  • Flinch and airborne gameplay.
  • Tuning one-hit kills in the Crucible.
  • General tuning for Special ammo, Exotic weaponry, Legendary archetypes, and a slew of weapon perks.

Destiny 2 Season 17 balance changes

season 17 sandbox changes
Season 17 will feel like a brand-new game. (Picture Bungie)

Glaive changes

  • Increased melee damage vs PvE enemies (except for bosses and vehicles) by 25%. 
  • Reduced energy drain speed while shielded by 30%. 
  • Increased projectile speed dependent on the range stat: 
    • At 0 stat: increased from 30 to 60 m/s. 
    • At 100 stat: increased from 80 to 100 m/s.
  • Titan Glaive, Edge of Action: players now gain a Void overshield while inside the bubble, Helm of Saint-14 now applies to this bubble as it does for Ward of Dawn. 
  • Warlock Glaive, Edge of Intent: increased speed and acceleration of the healing turret projectiles. 
  • Hunter Glaive, Edge of Concurrence: tripled the damage of the wave detonation, increased the number of enemies it can chain to from 4 to 8. 

Global changes

  • 25%: Autorifle, Submachine Gun, Bow 
  • 20%: Pulse Rifle, Scout Rifle, Sidearm, Machine Gun 
  • 15%: Hand Cannon, Trace Rifle 
  • 10%: Fusion Rifle, Shotgun, Sniper Rifle, Grenade Launcher (both Breech and Drum), Linear Fusion Rifle (both Special and Heavy versions), Rocket Launcher
  • The Resilience character stat now grants flinch resistance of 0% at 0 stat, and 10% at 100 stat.

Airborne Gunplay 

Added a new weapon stat, "Airborne Effectiveness," which is present on all weapons (except those where being airborne doesn’t have an effect, Swords for example), which maps onto aspects of airborne gunplay using these guidelines: 

  • With little to no investment (0-30 airborne stat), a character will have a smaller accuracy penalty than retail but will have significantly lower aim assist.  
  • With minimal investment (31-50 airborne stat), a character will have around the same in-air accuracy as Icarus-equipped weapons do currently, but with noticeably lower aim assist. 
  • With substantial investment (51-70 airborne stat), a character will have better accuracy than retail weapons with Icarus, with fewer misses due to randomness, but with reduced aim assist.  
  • With specialized investment (71-99 airborne stat), a character will have no airborne accuracy penalty, with very slightly less aim assist.  
  • With full investment (100 airborne stat), a character will have no airborne accuracy penalty, and the same aim assist. 

This stat has been hand-tuned on all Exotic weapons, everything that shipped in Season 16 or 17, and everything that's ever shipped as Trials of Osiris or Nightfall loot. Older Legendary weapons have a default value, set per weapon archetype to a value just below the middle of the allowed stat range.

Note: This will be a hidden stat at Season 17 launch, similar to aim assist and recoil direction. You'll be able to check the stat on a specific weapon through the API, and in Season 18 several previously hidden stats will be visible on the weapon inspection screen. 


This stat influences several aspects of airborne gunplay: 

  • Aim Assist cone penalty angles (i.e. auto-aim angle, reticle friction/adhesion angle) - a high penalty to this angle at 0 stat, and a low or zero penalty at 100 stat. 
  • Accuracy cone penalty angle for Primary weapons: a lower penalty than currently at 0 stat, zero penalty at 60-100 stat. 
  • Accuracy cone penalty for Special weapons: a slightly lower penalty than currently at 0 stat, zero penalty at 100 stat. 
  • Headshot aim assistance: 0 at 0 stat, 1 degree at 100-stat on Primary weapons, Slug Shotguns, Linear Fusion Rifles, and Machine Guns, 0.5 degrees on Sniper Rifles. 
  • This controls how forgiving headshots are while airborne - if this is zero, you must be pinpoint aiming precisely at the head to get the headshot, otherwise, you'll get a body shot even if your aim assist cone overlaps the head. 
  • Previously while airborne, players would get full aim assistance for headshots provided their aim assist cone overlapped the head at all
  • Pellet Shotgun spread angle - +25% at 0 stat, 0 at 100-stat (i.e., more Shotgun spread at low Airborne Effectiveness stat). 
  • What this means overall is that you'll get fewer misses due to randomness from the accuracy cone while airborne, but reliance on aiming is much higher at low stat. To make this easier you will need to build into airborne. With a decent aim, you will land more body shots instead of crits. 

The Airborne Effectiveness stat comes from three sources: weapon, subclass, and armor.


  • The weapon's base Airborne Effectiveness stat, with ranges varying from 0 to 10, and 0 to 30 depending on the weapon archetype. 

Exotic weapons typically get bumped up, i.e., higher stat than Legendary weapons in that archetype (unless they're already extremely strong). 

  • The Icarus Grip/Adept Icarus weapon mod: +15. 
  • Certain weapon perks, such as the redesigned Air Assault. 
  • Valid stat ranges for Legendary weapons (Exotics sometimes exceed these). 
  • Hand Cannon: 0-25 
  • Sidearm: 0-30 
  • Auto Rifle: 0-25 
  • Pulse Rifle: 0-25 
  • Scout Rifle: 0-20 
  • Submachine Gun: 0-30 
  • Bow: 0-20 
  • Sniper Rifle: 0-5 
  • Shotgun: 0-5 
  • Fusion Rifle: 0-10 
  • Breech Grenade Launcher: 0-5 
  • Trace Rifle: 0-15 
  • Rocket Launcher: 0-10 
  • Machine Gun: 0-20 
  • Linear Fusion Rifle: 0-15 
  • Drum Grenade Launcher: 0-20 
  • Glaive: 0-15 

Higher tiers of Legendary weapons (Trials, raid, Nightfall) use the upper end of these ranges, as with other stats.


  • The Heat Rises ability: +70 while Heat Rises is active (i.e., on consuming your grenade)
  • The Tempered Metal ability: +20 after getting a Solar weapon kill
  • The Whisper of Hedrons Stasis Fragment: +20 after freezing a target

Exotic armor: armor that revolves around being airborne, or works on specific weapons, grants a bonus or penalty in the -50 to +40 range (or higher if conditional)

  • Foetracer: +20 to all 
  • Mechaneer's Tricksleeves: +50 to Sidearms 
  • Oathkeeper: +40 to Bows 
  • Sealed Ahamkara Grasps: +50 to all for 5 seconds after a melee hit 
  • Lucky Pants: +20 to Hand Cannons after readying a Hand Cannon 
  • ST0MP-EE5: -50 to all 
  • No Backup Plans: +30 to Shotguns 
  • Actium War Rig: +30 to Auto Rifles and Machine Guns 
  • Hallowfire Heart: +20 to all 
  • Lion Rampant: +50 hipfire only 
  • Peacekeepers: +40 to Submachine Guns 
  • Peregrine Greaves: +20 to all 
  • Eye of Another World: +15 to all 
  • Astrocyte Verse: +30 to all 
  • Ophidian Aspect: +10 to all 
  • Necrotic Grips: +30 to Weapons of Sorrow 
  • Wings of Sacred Dawn: +50 to all 
  • Boots of the Assembler: +30 to Lumina 
  • [redacted]: +30 to Fusion Rifles and Linear Fusion Rifles

Stat Display Update 

destiny 2 weapons
Airborne effectiveness might change the meta in PvP. (Picture: Bungie)

One-hit Kills and Special Ammo

  • Reduced the damage bonus for Empowering Rift, High Energy Fire, and Inertia Override from 20% to 15% against players (no effect in PvE).
  • Disabled ammo scavenger armor mods in PvP. 
    • No matter how much ammo a player was carrying on death, if you pick up a Special brick you can only get one ammo for a Shotgun/Sniper Rifle (or "one kill's worth of ammo" for weapons that require more than one shot to kill, e.g., Forerunner, Trace Rifles) 
    • Retuned several Special weapon archetypes and Exotic weapons (see below), with the general goal of reducing the effectiveness and uptime of Special weapons. 

Special Weapons

  • Special Weapons have a slightly larger airborne accuracy penalty than Primary weapons at 0 Airborne Effectiveness stat, reduced to 0 at 100 stat. 
  • Special Weapons have a similar airborne aim assist cone penalty to other weapons (around 50% at 0 stat), and this penalty can be reduced but not entirely removed by investing in Airborne Effectiveness. 
  • Sniper Rifles are fairly slow to ready, stow, and aim down sights, which has made Snapshot feel mandatory for many players. 
  • Reduced Stow, Ready, and Aim Down Sights times by 10%, i.e., all snipers are now snappier (there's a matching change to Snapshot below).
  • Sniper Rifles have less access to ammo than Shotguns and Fusion Rifles (where kills drop ammo right in front of you), so we think ammo scarcity will prevent Sniper Rifles from spiking.
  • Reduced damage falloff start and end by 1m. 
  • Reduced aim assist and magnetism falloff start and end by 2m.
  • Reduced damage falloff near distance. 
  • 2m at 0 range (~2.7m when ADS with a 15-zoom stat) 
  • 1.3m at 100 range (~2.275m when ADS with a 15-zoom stat) 
  • Reduced damage falloff far distance. 
  • 1m at 0 range (~1.35m when ADS with a 15-zoom stat) 
  • 1.3m at 100 range (~1.75m when ADS with a 15-zoom stat) 
  • Reduced recoil scalar variance between 0 and 100 stability. 
  • 0 stability: unchanged at 0.750 
  • 100 stability: increased from 0.500 to 0.550 (i.e., increased the recoil penalty slightly)
  • High Impact: reduced unmodified High Impact charge time from 1.000 to 0.960s, increased damage per burst by 10. 
  • Precision: increased unmodified charge time from 0.740 to 0.780s. 
  • Rapid Fire: increased unmodified charge time from 0.460 to 0.500, decreased damage per burst by 20. 
  • New charge time and damage per burst for all Fusion Rifle subfamilies: 
  • High Impact: 0.960s, 330 damage 
  • Precision: 0.780s, 280 damage 
  • Adaptive: 0.660s, 270 damage 
  • Rapid Fire: 0.500s, 245 damage 
  • Increase Trace Rifle damage against non-red bar combatants by 20%. 
  • Increased ammo picked up per Special ammo brick from 18 to 30. 

Primary Weapons 

Primary weapons are the bread and butter of Destiny 2. (Picture: Bungie)

Auto Rifle 

  • Increased damage falloff near distance by 0.75m. 

Pulse Rifle 

  • Increased damage falloff near distance based on the range stat: 
  • 0 range: increased from 15 to 16m. 
  • 100 range: increased from 22.5 to 24m. 

(Note that this is the hip-fire falloff distance and is multiplied by the zoom value to get the aim down sights falloff distance). 

  • Damage falloff far distance remains 40m regardless of the range stat. 
  • Increased Lightweight (450RPM) Pulse Rifle damage per bullet from 15 to 16 (with a 1.65x precision scalar this will increase precision damage from 24.75 to 26.4).
  • Increased damage falloff by 1.5m 
  • Adjusted zoom values on most viable Legendary Submachine Guns and one Exotic. 
  • Shayura's Wrath: 17 to 16 
  • Multimach: With max zoom scope: 17 to 15 (second highest zoom will bring this to 14 instead) 
  • Stochastic Variable: 13 to 14 
  • Ikelos (just noting the change from The Witch Queen here): 13 to 14 
  • Seventh Seraph: 13 to 14 
  • Every Waking Moment: 13 to 14 
  • The Huckleberry: 13 to 15
  • Decreased body damage from 12 to 11.25 
  • Increased precision multiplier from 1.35 to 1.44
  • Intrinsic switched from a 75% airborne accuracy penalty reduction to +25 Airborne Effectiveness stat (this means that if you had a Frontier's Cry with an Icarus Grip mod in it, you would be at 19 + 25 + 15 = 59 before factoring in armor or subclass). 

Heavy Weapons 

season weapons
A good heavy weapon is key in high-end activities. (Picture: Bungie)
  • Increased damage by 40% against PvE enemies (20% vs bosses). 
  • Xenophage and Grand Overture receive this buff, except for the bonus vs bosses. 
  • Sword stats have been inconsistent for a while now, so we've tidied all of these up (mostly cosmetic) 
  • Fixed several inconsistencies in stat display between different Swords (this has no gameplay impact). 
  • Increased the charge rate stat of Sola's Scar from 20 to 50 to match Temptation's hook.
  • Rocket Launcher subfamilies weren’t differentiated enough by the previous change, so we’ve made the differences more extreme. With this change we expect there to be a more marked tradeoff for the intrinsic tracking on precisions, and a greater benefit for the other subfamilies. Specified relative to the baseline, i.e. High Impact Rocket Launchers
  • Precision: -10% damage (both impact and detonation)
  • High Impact: no change (this subfamily has the highest blast radius)
  • Adaptive and Aggressive: +10% damage


  • Fighting Lion needed a bit more of a buff, so we improved its reload speed when Thin the Herd is active a couple of releases back, and now we're increasing its blast radius and damage. With this change it should be easier to get the damage you need to trigger its perk. 
  • Reverted the Season 15 Breech Grenade Launcher blast radius reduction, but just for Fighting Lion, i.e., increased blast radius by 0.4m. 
  • Increased damage by 5%. 
  • Eyes of Tomorrow as a raid Exotic ought to be better against tough PvE enemies - with this change it's a solid option in this role, particularly with the Adaptive Ordnance perk active. 
  • Increased damage vs bosses and Champions by 30%. 
  • Leviathan's Breath always felt like it should absolutely wreck Champions, and using its first shot to stun an Unstoppable Champion without it doing much damage felt bad. Archer's Tempo from its catalyst is significant on paper but in practice that draw speed buff isn't as noticeable as we'd like. Overall, we hope these changes make it feel a bit better against all types of Champions and other tough enemies in hard content. 
  • The Archer's Tempo perk from the catalyst now has increased effect (just on this weapon). 
  • The standard draw time scalar for Archer's Tempo is 0.75x, it is now 0.5625x on Leviathan's Breath. 
  • Added a small delay before detonation on Champions, minibosses, and bosses - this allows the impact to stun an Unstoppable Champion and the detonation to deal bonus damage against the stunned Champion. 
  • Damage changed to be more of an even split between impact and detonation, and increased damage across the board by ~50%. 
  • Overall damage vs Champions is roughly doubled (even more compared to shooting an un-stunned unstoppable Champion). 
  • The Huckleberry had an underwhelming engagement range, updated zoom based on the change to baseline Submachine Gun zoom. 
  • Increased zoom stat from 13 to 15. 
  • Our experiment with pushing Xenophage into harder-hitting but slower-firing didn't pan out, so we're increasing the rate of fire and adjusting damage back to what it was. 
  • Increased rate of fire from 100RPM to 120RPM. 
  • Reduced damage per bullet to match the previous. 
  • Doesn't benefit from the Season 17 Machine Gun damage buff vs bosses. 
  • Le Monarque is too oppressive when combined with external damage buffs, but we felt that it could be stronger in PvE - with this change combined with the damage buff change above we've introduced a 60-resilience gate on killing a Guardian in PvP with a crit while in an Empowering Rift or similar. 
  • Reduced poison tick damage vs players by 25%. 
  • Changed poison damage type from burn to poison (this is largely housekeeping, not gameplay-significant). 
  • Increased poison tick damage vs AI by 50%. 
  • Lorentz Driver can be difficult to fight against in PvP, in part because it does very high body shot damage. With this change, getting left super weak by a body shot should be less common, though we're keeping an eye on how this change lands and may revisit it later.  
  • Reduced body shot damage against players by 20% (this will also prevent it from being a one-hit kill with a body shot while in an Empowering Rift, combined with that change). 
  • Body damage reverts to old behavior when in the weapon's damage mode. 
  • Precision damage in any mode unchanged. 
  • Skyburner's Oath felt like it didn't have a niche, except for airborne memes, so we've made a bunch of changes aiming to improve its ease of use, give it some more utility and really push it into that airborne role. 
  • Increased ADS projectile speed to 9999 (i.e., this projectile is now hitscan). 
  • Both ADS and hip-fire are now 150 RPM. 
  • Hip-fire projectile no longer tracks, but arcs similar to a Grenade Launcher and has a larger detonation size than ADS. 
  • The hip-fire detonation also applies a burn to targets. 
  • The bonus range from the Masterwork has been rolled into the base stats of the weapon. The Masterwork now grants bonus reload speed instead. 
  • Has the highest Airborne Effectiveness stat of any weapon in the game (35). 
  • The Last Word plays very differently on mouse and keyboard than it does on controller, but the disparity doesn't need to be that large. We're keeping an eye on this one too. 
  • Reduced mouse and keyboard recoil penalty from 33% to 22%. 
  • Arbalest is more dominant than intended in hard PvE content, able to fill the anti-barrier role as well as shield breaking and boss damage. We've made a fairly small adjustment here but may need to look at it again in a future Season. 
  • Reduced damage vs Champions by 25% (will still break barriers in one hit). 
  • Graviton Lance's catalyst didn't help the weapon enough, and we wanted to give it a bit of a boost. This change gives it some interesting utility in PvE and PvP, particularly with the buff to Exotic Primary weapons in The Witch Queen. 
  • Catalyst changed from granting Hidden Hand to granting Vorpal Weapon and Turnabout. 
  • Grand Overture's most recent adjustment switched the missiles to fire in bursts of 5, which allows for more granularity in unloading that damage, but sometimes you just want them all to fly out at once. 
  • Reduced time between bursts when in missile mode. Holding the trigger will now fire all missiles in a continuous burst, tapping will fire 5-round bursts. 
  • Coldheart: Arc damage type update, and Coldheart's Exotic trait more or less being "is a Trace Rifle" no longer fits in a world with Legendary Trace Rifles. The ease of use on sustained damage was also pretty low. 
  • Sustained damage creates an Ionic Trace and collecting an Ionic Trace grants energy to all your abilities. 
  • Increased grace time before the damage ramp clears from 0.113s to 1.0s. 
  • Prometheus Lens: Solar damage type update, and generally this needed some tweaks to be viable 
  • Sustained damage applies a more useful burn to targets. 
  • Wavesplitter: Void damage type update, and the power-cycling mechanic was interesting but ultimately hard to capitalize on. 
  • Power level no longer cycles randomly, the default damage output is the same as the old middle tier. 
  • Picking up an Orb of Power now grants 10s of maximum power and caps at 20s, up from 5 and 10. 
  • Now suppresses targets while granted this mode by picking up an Orb. 
  • Osteo Striga's projectile somehow shipped rotated by 90 degrees, looks a bit weird. 
  • Corrected rotation on the projectile model. 
  • Lord of Wolves is kind of a Shotgun, but has its own custom tuning. It wasn't impacted by the previous Shotgun change, and was much too strong with Shotguns and Fusion Rifles getting reduced range, this brings it more in line.  
  • Reduced damage falloff start and end by 25%. 


trials weapons
The loot pool will be refreshed in Season 17. (Picture: Bungie)
  • Snapshot Sights has felt mandatory on Sniper Rifles forever, with this change a Sniper Rifle with Snapshot will feel about the same, but one without Snapshot will feel a lot snappier. 
  • Increased ADS animation speed scalar from 0.5 to 0.75 for Special ammo weapons, Primary ammo weapons are unchanged. 
  • Opening Shot has felt mandatory on Shotguns forever, in large part because it gives part of its buff as a damage falloff scalar - this isn't something we like on short-range weapons. You can still feel the range bump with this change unless range is already capped, but it won't let weapons push completely outside their intended engagement ranges. 
  • Removed damage falloff scalar. 
  • Increased range stat bonus from +20 to +25. 
  • Other stats from this perk are unchanged (+20 aim assist stat, 5% reduced accuracy cone angle, 10% reduced accuracy cone growth). 
  • Full Choke has been the go-to magazine perk forever (justified or not) - with this change other magazine options should be competitive. 
  • Increased spread angle scale from 0.95 to 0.9625 (i.e., narrows the spread a little less). 
  • Smoothbore has always felt like an awkward magazine perk, so we're buffing it a little. 
  • Reduced spread angle scale from 1.1 to 1.075 (i.e., widens the spread a little less). 
  • Desperado is a strong perk in its current form, but we'd like to be able to put it on more weapons without breaking PvP. With this adjustment it's still strong, has more PvE utility, and can be applied to Pulse Rifle subfamilies aside from High Impact if desired. 
  • Increased fire recovery scalar from 0.415 to 0.7 (i.e., doesn't fire as fast with the perk active). 
  • Reduced duration from 7s to 6s, added a timer to the buff text. 
  • Removed the PvE damage penalty. 
  • Air Assault was shelved a long time ago, but adding the Airborne Effectiveness stat gave us the opportunity to turn it into a perk that actually does what it says on the description. With this change, airborne gunplay while wounded will be much more effective. 
  • Rebuilt now grants up to +60 Airborne Effectiveness stat when wounded (same trigger conditions as Eye of the Storm). 
  • Mulligan was never quite strong enough to warrant a pick previously, but buffing it would have been risky on Special weapons. With this change, it's useful on rapid-fire Primary weapons where you don't expect every shot to hit, occupying a similar role to Triple Tap (but inverted). 
  • Increased chance to return ammo on a miss from 20% to 35% on Primary ammo weapons. 
  • Unchanged on Special and Heavy ammo weapons. 
  • Compulsive Reloader shipped a little weak, with this change you can really feel the reload speed bump. 
  • Increased reload stat buff from +40 to +50. 
  • Added a 0.95x reload animation scalar. 
  • Adagio was allowing for a one-hit body shot kill with slug Shotguns. While this is possible with other perks such as Swashbuckler, the investment required to trigger the perk is much too low for that power bump. With this change a slug Shotgun with Adagio will be less of a monster in PvP, but will still be able to get headshot kills at greater ranges with the perk active. 
  • Reduced the damage bonus for Shotguns from 30% to 20%. 


  • Icarus Grip will now grant the Airborne Effectiveness stat instead of its previous airborne accuracy penalty scalar. 
  • Removed airborne accuracy scalar, now grants +15 Airborne Effectiveness stat. 
  • Adept Icarus Grip now grants +15 Airborne Effectiveness stat and +5 Handling.

That covers everything you'll need to be caught up on for the Destiny 2 Season 17 sandbox changes, make sure to check out the rest of our exclusive Destiny 2 section for more.


Featured image courtesy of Bungie.

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