A THORNY ISSUE
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.”