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Bungie Hopes Destiny 2 Strand Subclass Won't Unbalance PvP, As Stasis Did

GINX sat down with Bungie in a roundtable interview to learn a little more about Strand, ahead of the launch of Destiny 2’s Lightfall expansion later this month.
Bungie Hopes Destiny 2 Strand Subclass Won't Unbalance PvP, As Stasis Did

For several years Destiny supers have broadly focused on three key areas: Arc, Solar, and Void. They've had different names, and forms, but it's really boiled down to 'fire', 'electricity' and a sort of 'space magic'. It was only with the launch of Destiny 2: Beyond Light that players got their first taste of a new super, in Stasis, and boy did it shake up the game.

Not only was Stasis the first instance of 'darkness' inspired powers entering the game, but it shook up the meta with such ferocity that it basically became the meta overnight.

Following the release of The Witch Queen last year, players were treated to a year of 'reworks' for the existing supers. New Aspects and several tweaks allowed Bungie to bring everything in line with 'Supers 3.0'.

But as the game continues to move forward, Bungie has yet another new super to introduce in 'Strand', which arrives alongside the next expansion, Destiny 2: Lightfall, later this month.

By now we're certain players have seen what Strand can do (and if not, there's a shiny new trailer underneath you should all watch). In the meantime, GINX was lucky enough to take part in a roundtable interview with some of the game’s development team, to dive deeper into how Strand might once again shake things up for our Guardians in PvP.

Avoiding PvP 'Pain Points' With Strand

Following the release of Beyond Light, the big memory most players have was predominantly just how OP Stasis seemed in PvP. As we touched on, it became the meta overnight. This wasn't lost on Bungie who has since admitted there were 'pain points' across the board, and that it would need to be nerfed 'three or four times' to get it just right.

"Stasis shipped with like a 5 seconds stun in PvP and it was like hard crowd control; you got frozen and you couldn't really fight back. says Destiny 2 Gameplay Feature Lead, Eric Smith.

"With Strand, we wanted to avoid that hard crowd control and give you a way to fight back. When you get suspended in PvP, you still have some movement control. You can still fight back by shooting and hip fire. It doesn't feel as helpless when you get hit with that debuff"

Destiny 2 Lightfall Strand screenshot
Strand will turn your enemies into puppets unable to move (Credit: Bungie)

What Bungie Learned From Shipping Stasis

Speaking with the team, it's clear there's been a lot of learning off the back of stasis, but part of that comes from shipping something brand new that had never been seen before.

"There was a lot of learnings from stasis' behavior and PvP that we wanted to try and smooth off," admits Kevin Yannis Design Lead at Bungie. "We were doing a new feature set, right? We were doing a new mechanical set to the combat loop, which was crowd control in a game where I can vaporize everything with my eyeballs" 

"You don't really know the truth until something ships. In the first hour, players have played your content more than you did in development. So Stasis became overtuned, because we didn't know how CC was going to behave, we were doing it over home, but I think we learned a lot philosophically about where we wanted our abilities to land moving forward."

Destiny 2 Lightfall Strand Screenshot
Stasis made a mess of PvP when Beyond Light launched, but Bungie are more confident that Strand is more balanced (Credit: Bungie)

How Will Strand Shape The PvP Meta At Launch?

Again, this is all great, but as most PvP players will want to know, what can we expect at launch when Strand hits PvP. For Bungie, it's all about ensuring it doesn't take over, even if some players can't help but try out the hot new super available to Guardians.

"Coming into Strand, I remember like across the board, one of the big things we paid attention to in every PvP play test was 'Is it as destabilizing as Stasis'" Yannis explained.

"We set a target that we wanted it to be as strong as any of the 3.0 Supers, which are fairly powerful, right?  But we want to make sure it wasn't the only dominant flavor at the release of Lightfall."

"It may still be just because it's new and people are excited, but we're pretty happy with how it's playing right now. Then again, ask us in four weeks and maybe that answer is different."

Destiny 2 Lightfall Strand Screenshot
Like Stasis, players will unlock Strand through the Destiny 2 Lightfall campaign (Credit: Bungie)

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