Weapon bal­anc­ing is a huge chal­lenge in any online shooter, but in a game like Des­tiny, where char­ac­ters and their gear per­sist across PVE and PVP, it’s even harder. In sin­gle­player, you want a power fan­tasy; in com­pet­i­tive mul­ti­player, you need fair­ness. Bungie has gone back and forth on var­i­ous weapon types over

Des­tiny’s life, and is mak­ing sweep­ing changes to ex­ist­ing guns in a Septem­ber patch.

Auto ri­fles will be im­proved and shot­gun range turned down, but if you’re a Cru­cible player then the only gun you care about is Thorn, a hand cannon with en­ven­omed bul­lets that is both the most de­spised, and pop­u­lar, gun in mul­ti­player matches.

“Thorn is a prob­lem, we all agree,” says sand­box de­signer

Jon Weis­newski. “It’s frus­trat­ing to know you’re go­ing to die [from poi­son] and not be able to do any­thing about it. But it’s been in the game a long time, and has only re­cently been a prob­lem. Ev­ery­one who gets shot by it goes, ‘Well, I need to get that thing,’ so they get it, they go dom­i­nate, and it gets big­ger and big­ger.”

Post-patch, Thorn will be re­tuned to re­move its most frus­trat­ing ap­pli­ca­tion – when some­one shoots you twice then turns away and leaves you to die. Hope­fully, that will be enough to bring its pop­u­lar­ity in line with other weapons. “When peo­ple drop into the Cru­cible, we want them to see di­ver­sity,” ex­plains se­nior de­sign lead Sage Mer­rill. “The com­mu­nity re­sponse is in­ter­est­ing: when­ever we touch stuff they’re like, ‘Why are you mak­ing me the way you want me to play?’ Our goal is the re­verse of that. The goal is to give you as many vi­able op­tions as we can.”

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