Destiny 2 is Secretly Nerfing Grenade Launchers in Shadowkeep
It is no secret that grenade launchers are currently extremely powerful in Destiny 2. Receiving a major PvE damage buff in the Season of the Drifter, grenade launchers have become a staple weapon choice when it comes to dealing boss damage. Weapons like The Mountaintop, Season 5’s Crucible pinnacle weapon, have become a top-tier weapon for Destiny 2‘s PvE content because of its ability to dish out damage.
Because of how dominant grenade launchers have become, even kicking Cluster Bomb rocket launchers out of their previously-held spot as the go-to heavy weapon, the majority of players were expecting the weapon class to get majorly nerfed going into Year 3 and the Shadowkeep expansion. Developer Bungie confirmed that grenade launchers will not be getting nerfed whatsoever in the game update that will accompany Shadowkeep. But that does not mean grenade launchers will not be affected by nerfs coming in Year 3. They certainly will, but indirectly.
The damage potential of grenade launchers is just one part of the equation of what makes them so good. The other half of that equation is getting dealt a major nerf coming in Year 3, which will absolutely directly affect the damage-dealing capability of grenade launchers in the boss DPS scenarios that have made grenade launchers so dominant. Specifically, the nerf to auto-reloading mechanics are likely to make grenade launchers instantly less appealing to use in this kind of scenario. Auto-reload abilities tied to Lunafaction Boots and Rally Barricade have allowed players to circumvent the intrinsically low magazine size.
In the case of The Mountaintop, for example, the weapon only holds one round in its magazine at a time, requiring a reload after every shot. It is very intentionally designed for grenade launchers to have low magazines, usually ranging from 1 to 6 rounds, to require players to reload to slow down their DPS. But standing in a Rift with a Warlock with Lunafaction Boots or behind a Titan’s Rally Barricade takes that purposefully-designed limitation out of the equation and allows grenade launchers to put up some insane DPS numbers.
The nerf to Lunafaction Boots and Rally Barricade will completely remove auto-reload mechanics from Destiny 2 and replace them with granting faster reloads, and weapons across the board that took advantage of this will be affected as a result. Looking back, that’s also why Cluster Bomb rocket launchers were so dominant in Season 4 and The Last Wish raid when it first launched. The damage was high on those rocket launchers and auto-reload mechanics removed the need to reload them. Back then, the Cluster Bomb perk itself got a major nerf. But this time around, grenade launchers will not get any adjustments while the mechanic that made them so good is being removed from the game completely.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep releases October 1, 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with a Stadia version also in development.