Solar subclass reworks and buffs revealed ahead of major Season of the Dawn update

Isaac McIntyre
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Guardians have been given a sneak peek at Season of the Dawn's upcoming subclass changes in December, including a multitude of reworks, and direct buffs for Solar subclasses like Gunslinger: Way of the Sharpshooter, Sunbreak: Code of the Devastator, and Dawnblade: Attunement of the Sky.

Over Destiny 2’s lifespan, there has been a small amount of power creep with the subclasses, meaning newer subclasses can feel more viable and powerful than the older ones. This isn't the case with every original subclass but there are still a few that have no real use within the game as they are simply outperformed by the newer subclasses.

Back in early April, Bungie did a similar balance pass over the Arc subclasses for ‘Arc Week’. Bungie released a large balance patch to the subclasses they felt deserved a little bit of a boost to their power or rework to how their abilities functioned.

At the time, these changes were met with much praise as because of these changes a few subclasses were able to find their niche within the Destiny sandbox. On top of this, Arc damage was boosted across many activities over the week which served to create a mini-event surrounding the balance patch.

It seems that there will be no ‘Solar Week’ this time around, but there are still some significant and exciting changes coming to the flame-themed subclasses.

Gunslinger - Way of the Sharpshooter

Way of the Sharpshooter is a class that has really only filled a single role within Destiny 2. It has been used as a burst DPS subclass against strike and raid bosses but to fulfil this role it also requires the exotic Celestial Nighthawk which meant that its overall damage became fairly pitiful if the player had yet to obtain this exotic.

About the Gunslinger subclass as a whole Bungie stated: “We wanted to move Way of the Sharpshooter to be something players want to choose more often and for a wider range of activities...For 3-shot we increased the auto-aim distance and reliability when aiming down sights, as it fulfills the role of long-range accuracy. For 6-shot, we shortened the damage falloff range to emphasize the short-range gunfighter role with a lot of kill potential.”

In addition to these range changes, some new perks have been added to Way of the Sharpshooter: 

‘Weighted Knife’ is a new melee ability that launches a high damage throwing knife that has a much longer wind-up animation than the regular throwing knife. The knife travels at high speeds, is able to bounce once off objects and does extra precision hit damage.

This knife is stated to be a one-shot precision final blow in PvP which is something that players have been asking for for a very long time. As a cherry on top, a precision hit final blow with instantly refill the player’s melee energy allowing another follow up throw.

‘Knock ‘em Down’ is another new perk that has some interesting interactions. Precision final blows increase weapon stability and ADS speed. The timer starts at 10 seconds but any additional final blow/assists can increase it up to 25 seconds. Casting your Super with this buff above 20 seconds consumes the buff and grants extra damage. (Does not stack with Celestial Nighthawk).

Sunbreaker - Code of the Devastator

The entire Solar subclass for Titan has often been underutilized. In Strikes and Raids, it’s only real use comes from its ‘Melting Point’ melee ability to weaken bosses so that the whole fireteam can cause extra damage during a boss damage phase. In Crucible, Code of the Fire-Forged sees a small amount of play but is constantly in the shadow of the infamous Arc subclass Code of the Juggernaut.

According to Bungie, the changes made specifically to the Code of the Devastator are more PvP orientated as they have said: “When our data indicated that this subclass was underperforming in PvP, we decided to make a few changes that should enable it to be more competitive.”

The perk ‘Roaring Flames’, which increases ability damage as you get kills with abilities, has had its stacking damage increased from 10% per stack to 25% perk stack in PvP. On top of this, the buff now lasts 25% longer before expiring, from 15 seconds to 20 seconds

The Super ‘Burning Maul’ will have its total time duration increased from 21.2 seconds to 28.5 seconds along with light attacks costing less energy.

The final change to the Code of the Devastator is a direct buff to the much-beloved Throwing Hammer. The melee ability is seeing an increase of damage from 100 to 120 and its pickup radius is also being increased from 2m to 3.5m.

Dawnblade - Attunement of Sky

The Attunement of Sky upgrade path for Dawnblade has long been lacking in player use, even since the original release of Destiny 2. The subclass path revolves around the player gliding through the air, with full control over their accuracy and weapons, to rain fire down on their enemies. The unfortunate thing is that there is absolutely zero cover in the air so using this strategy is practically a death sentence in PvP and in high-level PvE content. Players simply avoided this upgrade path as its weaknesses far outweigh its strengths.

Bungie has slated a series of reworks to almost all of the perks in Attunement of Sky, as well as one new perk, to try to give the player the boost in power they need to not feel like launching into the air will mean their immediate death. The reworked perks are as follows:

  • Celestial Fire, Melee (New): Send a spiral of three explosive Solar projectiles.
  • Heat Rises (Rework): Consume your grenade to extend Glide time and dramatically reduce the in-air accuracy penalties for weapons.
  • Winged Sun (Rework): Fire weapons, use Celestial Fire, and throw a grenade while gliding. Airborne final blows grant melee energy and extend the duration of Heat Rises.
  • Icarus Dash (Rework): Tap Crouch twice to dodge in midair. Dodging in Daybreak accelerates players farther and costs less Super energy while under the effects of Heat Rises.

According to Bungie, these above subclasses are not the only one receiving changes in December:

“There is a whole swath of changes we’re working on that extends beyond these three subclasses," the developers said in the latest This Week at Bungie. "Most Solar subclasses had some tuning and some non-Solar subclasses got a bit QoL love too. We hope that with these changes, you’ll feel energized playing any Solar subclass—regardless of activity.”

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