Bungie has given Destiny 2 players a sneak peek into the sweeping weapon changes they have planned for Shadowkeep, with many aimed at improving under-performing weapon types as well as curtailing some of the more rampant ones in the new expansion.

For months, Pulse Rifles and Hand Cannons have reigned supreme in both PvE and PvP, dwarfing the use of Auto Rifles, Bows, and Scouts, due to the power of their extended range.

With the upcoming release of Shadowkeep, Bungie plans to take some of the range away from these weapons in order to allow Scout Rifles and Auto Rifles to really shine within their effective ranges, according to recently revealed information in the latest TWAB.

Another very interesting change that is being made with the Shadowkeep patch is a large increase of damage to PvE enemies for all weapons. This increase ranges from a small increase of 16% for Sidearms to a hefty 47% increase for Sniper Rifles. At first glance, this may seem like a pretty clear cut net increase in damage but there is a note at the top of the patch notes that has some alarming implications.

The note reads:

Combatants - General

  • Minor enemies (Rank-and-File) no longer take more precision damage than other enemies.

  • These enemies previously took twice as much damage to their precision hit locations than enemies of higher ranks.

  • You will still deal precision damage, but this is now entirely dependent on the weapon, as it is for higher-ranked enemies.”

It was with some quick testing that the scale of this seemingly small change came to light. Reddit user Zenthon127 in collaboration with /r/DTG Discord user ‘Zdav’ were able to provide a comprehensive data spreadsheet of the damage changes coming in Shadowkeep along with a summary post.

To simplify the math, Zdav shrunk down each weapons damage value to a base value of 10 and then multiplied by the current/updated precision hit multipliers. Further examples below:

Before Shadowkeep - No Perks: (10 x 3.2) = 32 - Rampage 1x: (10 x 3.2) x 1.21 = 38.72

In Shadowkeep - No Perks: (10 x 1.3) x 1.6 = 20.8 - Rampage 3x: (10 x 1.3) x 1.6 x 1.65 = 34.32

Currently, an Adaptive-Frame Auto Rifle has a total precision hit damage value of 32. This number was acquired by multiplying the base damage of 10 by the soon to be fixed precision hit multiplier of 3.2. Bungie has explained that this multiplier is incorrect and should be half its current value.

Once the Shadowkeep patch hits, this multiplier will be reduced to 1.6 but auto rifles will also be getting a 30% damage buff (1.3 in the equation). After all this, Adaptive-Frame Auto Rifles will have a total precision hit damage value of 20.8, a major reduction in overall damage.

As with Auto Rifles, every other primary weapon type fared similarly with many receiving a greater than 30% reduction in damage. One of the only weapons to have seen an increase in damage is the Crucible Pinnacle Submachine Gun - The Recluse.

The Recluse’s signature ‘Master of Arms’ gives it a large damage boost after a kill with any weapon but what the perk doesn't tell you is that the increase to precision damage is only 50% while its body shot damage is increased by 150%.

The Recluse is a weapon that relies on dealing body shot damage so it will not be as heavily affected by the precision damage reduction. Combine this with Submachine Guns receiving a 22.5% damage buff and The Recluse will continue to be a meta powerhouse in Destiny 2.

With this data, it becomes clear that the changes that were disguised as an increase to weapon damage were actually significant decreases in damage for a major portion of Destiny 2’s weapons. These patch notes are subject to change but as it stands, with the release of Shadowkeep, Guardians will have a tougher time dealing with rank-and-file enemies when aiming for the head.

Read the full patch notes, as well as some changes to under-performing exotics, here.