Home Gaming Gjallarhorn, Thorn and other exotics are getting nerfed in the next Destiny weapon update

Gjallarhorn, Thorn and other exotics are getting nerfed in the next Destiny weapon update

6 min read


Cha-cha-changes! We mentioned earlier this week that Destiny would be implementing another rare round of weapon fine-tuning ahead of the release of The Taken King in September.

Well saddle up partners, because this ain’t no mere hotfix. Destiny will be massively overhauling its arsenal, with a particular focus on Exotics such as the mighty Gjallahorn. Hoo boy, Gally-only groups are going to be pissed off.

Gjallahorn will be getting a damage reduction to its target-seeking Wolfpack rounds, in an attempt to open the game up to other players.

“We definitely intended to have a high damage Heavy Weapon that was ideal for PvE destruction,” sandbox designer Jon Weisnewski wrote in a new blog post.

What we did not intend, and what we unfortunately saw, was pick up Raid and Nightfall groups gating participation based on whether or not players had this weapon.

Gjallarhorn was so strong that for many people it had become the only answer to getting through tough encounters, and therefore they were less willing to spend time with other players that didn’t have it.

We strive for Destiny to be a place where a single weapon or strategy does not dictate how, or with whom, you spend your time. In the new world Gjallarhorn is still worthy of its legacy as an exotic Heavy Weapon, but we hope it promotes inclusive behavior rather than exclusivity.

For an idea of just how heavy Gjallahorn usage was in the game, check this graph:




Gjallarhorn’s nerf is just one of a huge pile of changes, and Weisnewski likened fixing outliers like Gjallarhorn and Thorn to “plucking a few meatballs out of this massive plate of spaghetti”.

“These changes are all very dependent upon each other to be successful, and after careful consideration we decided the best road ahead was to present them all together as a full update,” Weisnewski wrote of other Exotics that were getting re-adjusted.

Hand cannons such as Thorn, The Last Word and Hawkmoon will see various changes which will have a big impact on PvP. Thorn for example will have reduced damage of Mark of the Devourer DoT (Damage over Time), to roughly 1/3 of what it was in PVP and PVE.

These changes will be seen across most weapons in Destiny. Here’s the changelog:


Destiny auto


  • Auto Rifle is optimal at close to medium range
  • Damage, Stability, and Range are tuned such that players desire Stability for reliable close quarters damage, or Range for better accuracy and increased damage at a distance
  • Elevate Auto Rifles so they are a more competitive option in PVP, and simultaneously more satisfying to use in PVE


  • Increase base damage
  • Start damage falloff closer to the player to emphasize its role as a close to medium range weapon
  • Small reduction in base stability. Landing shots at optimal range is unaffected, but repeated precision hits require more weapon control to land consistently
  • Boost damage by 10% against AI combatants

Pulse Rifles

Destiny (6)


  • Pulse Rifle is optimal at medium range, but can still effectively engage enemies at close or medium-long range
  • Rate of Fire sets a pace for players to track moving targets, and then deliver precision damage in bursts
  • Pulse Rifles should feel strong in PVP, but don’t become the only competitive option
  • Additionally increase their efficiency as a PVE weapon


  • Reduce base damage of the mediumRoF by about 2.5%
    • PVP: Bursts-to-kill (all precision hits) is 2 or 3, depending on victim’s Armor stat
  • Small reduction in base stability. A burst should still land all shots at optimal range, but three precision hits will require more weapon control to land consistently
  • Increase magazine size on for all base inventory stats

Scout Rifles

Destiny (7)


  • Scout Rifles are the best Primary Weapon for long range engagements
  • Scout Rifles perform best when landing paced precision shots
  • Rate of Fire and Optics are tuned so that Scout Rifles are a little harder to use effectively close in


  • Increase base damage for medium to high Rate of Fire Scout Rifles
    • PVP: Does not affect TTK in PVP on a Guardian with full health
  • Increase magazine size for all base inventory stats
  • Reduce Final Accuracy when firing from hip
    • Fast firing outside of ADS will be less accurate
  • Boost damage by 5% against AI combatants

Hand Cannons

Destiny (1)


  • Hand Cannons are optimal at close to medium range
  • Hand Cannons are optimal when shots are paced, but become less effective when fired quickly
  • Rewards agility under fire, precision targeting, and snap shots
  • Hand Cannons cannot reliably compete with Scout Rifles at long range


  • Start damage falloff closer to the player to limit long range lethality
  • Small reduction in ADS accuracy, targeted at making long range snap-shooting less reliable
  • Reduce final accuracy when firing from hip
    • Fast firing from hip is less reliable
  • Reduce magazine size for all base inventory stats
  • Reduce base Optics (zoom) for all Hand Cannons
    • ADS now grants more width in favor of depth


Destiny (4)


  • Shotgun is most effective at very close range
  • Complements melee attacks and other close-quarters class builds
  • Offensively closing on an enemy with a Shotgun is a risk/reward timing game
  • Curb Shotgun effectiveness in PVE slightly to reintroduce some risk when closing on a powerful enemy


  • Shotgun perks that enhance lethality at rangeshould be less effective when combined with a highinitial Range stat:
    • Reduce Shot Package Accuracy buff by 30%
    • Rangefinder adds a 5% base Range increase on ADS (was 20%)
  • Reduce Precision Damage multiplier on Shotguns by 10%
  • Reduce damage against AI combatants by 10%

Fusion Rifles

Destiny (2)


  • Fusion Rifles are optimal at mid-range, where targets are easier to track but they’re not close enough to attack while charging up
  • Requires combat foresight and the ability to predict a target’s movement to use successfully
  • It should not be easy to find and build a Fusion Rifle that can achieve maximum Range


  • Slow charging, high Impact Fusion Rifles have decreased Range values
    • Makes it more difficult to max out Range for these weapons
  • Projectile Speed for Fusion Rifles is slightly reduced
    • Emphasizes the need to lead a targets outside medium range
  • Improve Accuracy for short range Fusion Rifles
  • Reduce Accuracy for long range Fusion Rifles

Rocket Launchers

Destiny RL


  • Rocket Launchers deal massive AoE damage from a distance
  • Rockets are optimal when placed in the middle of a group


  • Slight increase in base Blast Radius.
  • Grenades and Horseshoes proximity detonation reduced.

Sniper Rifles

Destiny (5)


  • Sniper Rifles are optimal at long range, and difficult to use for medium to short range combat
  • Sniper Rifles reward thumb skill with high damage against precision targets
  • The Final Round perk on Sniper Rifles should still require precision shots


  • Final Round on Sniper Rifles buffs precision damage only, not base damage
    • This change only affects this perk when combined with Sniper Rifles

Like I’ve said, expect many a Destiny fan to bust the caps-lock on their keyboards when this news sinks in. It’s actually going to benefit me right now however, as I’m busy with the Bad Juju exotic, and don’t own the coveted Gjallahorn, opting instead for Dragon’s Breath.

Erm, hopefully Xur has a decent sale on today then, to take the sting out of this. Just like Bungie have done to Thorn. HEYO!

Last Updated: July 17, 2015


  1. I wouldn’t mind getting one of these to use today. So people are just pressing the wrong buttons today.


    • The D

      July 17, 2015 at 10:19

      It’s Xur day. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!


      • Francois Knoetze

        July 17, 2015 at 10:22

        I need strange coins!?!?!


        • The D

          July 17, 2015 at 10:37

          And motes of light for the random exotic engrams.


          • Francois Knoetze

            July 17, 2015 at 11:01

            What is that Lassie? Timmy set the house on fire?! gasp!! leaves work to climb in car.

  2. Francois Knoetze

    July 17, 2015 at 10:20

    haven’t obtained any of those exotics so it doesn’t bother me. was a bit pissed that after leaving destiny for months my armour is worth shit, my favourite auto rifle does jack damage after the first nerfing now it feels like I am starting from scratch. just going to purchase new gear and begin again.


  3. Rock789

    July 17, 2015 at 10:47

    I’m assuming there will be quite a few upset peeps when this nerf update goes live…


  4. Sean Carbutt

    July 17, 2015 at 11:23

    I have all of them weapons on all three of my characters, no boasting, but I have put in plenty of time. have stopped playing Destiny as the masturbating COD wankers bitch and moan about everything in this game. The fact that Craptavision owns Bunged Gee has made matters worse as they are listening to the kids who bitch and moan about everything as these self same little wankers are to effing stupid to play the game properly nor get the weapons that they need. Heck most of these wankers have not even done a raid yet and they walk around the tower in their level 32 to 34 armour without having done anything. Destiny is a great concept but it is being ruined by a under age infantile community and of course craptavision effing it up for dolla’s. Ok vent off now.


    • Hammersteyn

      July 17, 2015 at 11:41



  5. Jonah Cash

    July 17, 2015 at 13:35

    Liewe bliksem!!! Ek is nou so negatief ek bekak myself en Bungie sommer!! Uiteindelik het ek Thorn en daar kak hy. En ek het Invective en Gjallarhorn wat altwee ook nou minder beteken… wow na maande se gemoan nerf hulle Thorn net na ek die bliksemse ding kry…
    Sorry English speaking people but we am really angry I have to go back to Afrikaans…


    • Ir0nseraph

      July 17, 2015 at 13:54

      Kom speel saam ons in GTA, dis baie meer pret.


      • Jonah Cash

        July 17, 2015 at 16:24

        Ek is nie ‘n groot fan van GTA nie… Ek weet… En ja daar is rerig mense soos ek… Hahahaha


  6. Allykhat

    July 20, 2015 at 08:47

    This is typical of Bungie though.
    The only way to keep Destiny challenging is NOT scaling or releasing new content. They just make the weapons do less damage, reduce range, decrease DoT etc. I can understand the nerfs for PVP, but for PVE, really? Thorn is not the greatest in PVE situations and now the only real reason to use it is being nerfed? Hmmm :/


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