Various classes and subclasses in Destiny 2
Image via Bungie

Destiny 2’s struggling Crucible mode set to undergo a complete sandbox overhaul next month

Destiny 2 takes its first steps toward an improved PvP experience.

Ever since the introduction of initiatives like the Crucible Labs, it’s felt inevitable that Destiny 2’s PvP would one day receive a comprehensive rework. The first step on that journey arrives with Update 7.3.5 on March 5, where everything from player health to the ammo economy is getting changed.

Recommended Videos

The Crucible’s upcoming sandbox overhaul was unveiled in the This Week in Destiny blog on Feb. 15, where the PvP Strike Team—itself only formed last year—outlined a suite of updates built to address “a handful of root causes” that were contributing to a PvP experience that they admitted currently faces “a number of issues.”

The Crucible logo from Destiny 2 against a red background.
The Crucible has been struggling for many years, but these changes could be the start of its road to recovery. Image via Bungie

“The symptoms of these issues affect players across the skill spectrum, from 2,000-hour veterans to New Lights, so it’s important that we begin to address them as best we can,” Bungie said. With that in mind, the Strike Team listed three goals for the updates coming next month.

First up is the goal to help players better understand the sequence of events that led to their death in a match. As power creep has infected the Crucible and the average skill of the Destiny 2 player base has improved, it’s led to a greater frequency of “unreadable kills” that make it difficult to know where to improve. Similarly, the team plans to alter the weapon sandbox to account for this same improvement in overall player skill. Not only do they want to reduce the amount of “high-reward low-risk” options players have available but also make mastery of primary weapons something of an aspirational pursuit.

One of the biggest changes this has prompted is a flat increase to player health, which is going up to 100 from 70—a 30 HP increase.

“We have two goals with the following increase to player health,” Bungie said. “It gives us far more granularity to balance our current and future sandbox elements and it lets us decrease the relative lethality of multiple sandbox elements (e.g., grenades and body shot damage) all at once and universally.”

Ability cooldowns are getting hit with a PvP-specific penalty, too. Starting with Update 7.3.5, melee, grenade, and class ability cooldowns will all have a 15 percent penalty applied in the Crucible. Super cooldowns are getting hit even harder, with a 20 percent penalty. It isn’t all bad news, though, as both melee and Super abilities are receiving 16 percent and 31 percent damage buffs respectively to compensate for the increased player health and reduced uptime.

It’s therefore telling that grenades are not receiving a similar damage increase, except the Arc Flux Grenade, which is getting a 16 percent damage buff. A lot of go-to picks are going to feel a lot weaker once this overhaul drops.

Primary weapons are getting a variety of tweaks to re-balance their skill ceilings. With the exception of bows, the critical hit damage of all primary weapons will be increased. This way, optimal time-to-kill rates will remain roughly the same, but players will be punished significantly more for body shots, something only further emphasized by the fact hand cannons and SMGs are getting their body shot damage reduced as well.

Special and Heavy weapons are also getting updated due to the changes coming to player health, with the base damage of trace rifles, shotguns, fusion rifles, and glaives all getting increased. The projectile damage of glaives is getting the same 20 percent buff the other Special weapons listed are getting, but its melee damage will receive a slightly smaller 16 percent buff. Meanwhile, machine guns receive a similar 20 percent damage increase in the Heavy slot, while heavy grenade launchers—an archetype that’s long been meta in PvP—will be hit with a five percent nerf to their detonation damage.

A Warlock activates their Dawnblade super next to a Titan in their Void super, dowsing them in orange and purple glows respectively.
Bungie wants less of a focus on abilities and more of a focus on gunplay in its envisioned future for Destiny 2 PvP. Image via Bungie

Yet perhaps the biggest change that players will feel on March 5 is to the Special ammo economy. “After a lengthy test period in Crucible Labs, we are ready to move the Special ammo meter system into the wider Crucible,” Bungie said.

For those who didn’t test out the changes, you’ll still start every match with two kills worth of Special ammo, but you’ll no longer respawn with more throughout the match. Instead, Special ammo is awarded through a points-based system—once you reach 100 points, accrued through kills, assists, and objective play, you’ll receive more ammo.

There are a few caveats to keep in mind. Special and Heavy weapon kills won’t contribute to the meter, and Special ammo is no longer dropped on death. Once you’ve earned Special ammo, it’s yours to keep between lives and between rounds until you use it. It’s a significant shift from the way ammo currently works, inevitably transferring power back into gunplay and away from abilities, altering match pacing across the board.

It’s a macro pass Destiny 2’s PvP Strike Team intends to follow up with a number of smaller tweaks as the sandbox overhaul is put into players’ hands and feedback starts to roll in. It’s a lot in and of itself, but the team additionally teased that even more announcements surrounding rewards, game mode tuning, and matchmaking are coming in the following weeks.

With this coming on March 5 alongside specific balancing updates that hit some of the biggest outliers in the current Crucible meta, next month is shaping up to be a great time to be a fan of Destiny 2’s PvP after years of uncertainty.


Dot Esports is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Where to find Archie in the Tower in Destiny 2
A guardian stands next to a robotic dog's pawprints in the Tower in Destiny 2.
Read Article Destiny 2 players hope Bungie “keeps cooking with Onslaught”
Three Guardians square off against Eliksni enemies in Midtown during a match of Onslaught.
Read Article How to complete Where in the System is Archie quest in Destiny 2
A guardian pets Archie the Exo dog in Destiny 2.
Related Content
Read Article Where to find Archie in the Tower in Destiny 2
A guardian stands next to a robotic dog's pawprints in the Tower in Destiny 2.
Read Article Destiny 2 players hope Bungie “keeps cooking with Onslaught”
Three Guardians square off against Eliksni enemies in Midtown during a match of Onslaught.
Read Article How to complete Where in the System is Archie quest in Destiny 2
A guardian pets Archie the Exo dog in Destiny 2.
Author
Alexis Walker
Alexis is a freelance journalist hailing from the UK. After a number of years competing on international esports stages, she transitioned into writing about the industry in 2021 and quickly found a home to call her own within the vibrant communities of the looter shooter genre. Now she provides coverage for games such as Destiny 2, Halo Infinite and Apex Legends.