Exotics, something I have not gotten to discuss since game launch, but something I’ve talked about many times in the past. Many times, we’ve talked about buffing, nerfing, what exotics are supposed to be, what they’re not supposed to be, what we want them to be. Today’s video is gonna touch on some exotics that need a little bit of love and just some general opinions on the state of exotics. Been seeing some complaints about exotics, how they don’t really fill that power fantasy as much as they feel like they used to, how weak they feel, stuff like that, how D1 had all the best crazy exotics.
I’m not gonna sit here and pretend that every exotic in Destiny 1 was the most thrilling experience. There were plenty of not that good exotics, specifically armor, in Destiny 1. In Destiny 2 though, Bungie went a bit heavier on the unique gameplay aspect of exotics as opposed to the power fantasy. But certain exotics seem to be undertuned and I don’t think there’s a reason that exotics can’t fulfill the power fantasy AND the unique gameplay fantasy.
First of all, no, not every exotic weapon in the game is bad like some people are making it seem like. Sunshot, Riskrunner, Legend of Acrius, Wardcliff Coil, Borealis, Sweet Business, Merciless, MIDA, Coldheart, plenty of great exotic weapons there and they all fill a power fantasy to a degree. Merciless fills a power fantasy by just simply being really good. Wardcliff fills a power fantasy by being good and shooting a bunch of mini rockets everywhere.
Sweet Business is a minigun, haven’t had that before, Coldheart is a laser beam, etc, etc. Now, if we’re looking for that game-changing Gjallarhorn, Sleeper Sim style exotic, then I’d say yeah, we don’t have that, but I think that’s somewhat by design. If everyone is using the same thing, then that’s a balance problem, BUT I’ll agree that it’s fun having those kinds of weapons in the game, at least on the PvE side. I don’t think Destiny 2 falls outside of the range that Destiny 1 did with regards to its power level spread. You have some middle of the pack stuff and then you have some really not that great stuff; I think people are really getting caught up in the not great stuff and thinking that everything is bad as a result.\par I’ve already went on a little rant about Rat King about how difficult it is to even get a 6 stack to begin with and how the reward for doing so is just not there, so we’ll leave that out.
As a sidearm it’s… fine, but people aren’t picking Rat King because it’s an overpowered sidearm or anything. I think a good example of a weapon that needs a slightly better power fantasy experience is something like Graviton Lance. Is Graviton Lance as bad as a lot of people claim it to be? Probably not, it’s a bit more difficult to use than your average weapon, but that doesn’t really change the fact that the feeling that I feel like I should be getting out of the exotic isn’t there.
Graviton Lance is a pulse rifle that you kind of need to treat like a scout rifle, it’s 3rd shot deals significantly more damage with no range penalty, but WITH a penalty to your 1st 2 shots, so if you’re not hitting your crits, this gun isn’t gonna treat you that well. THAT’S the exotic perk. Then, we have the other perk, where whenever you kill something, you detonate the target. When you think detonate, you’re probably thinking something like Sunshot, where a target explodes in a big way. The effect isn’t as strong as Sunshot, which is disappointing because I think Sunshot basically sets the bar for that effect. What is the feeling I’m looking for with Graviton? Well, the theme of “black hole” is all over the weapon, it’s the name of the perk, it’s all over the lore… and yet, I don’t make a black hole when I shoot this gun. That’s the power fantasy I’m looking for with this gun: if I get a precision kill, a mini black hole should spawn that sucks up enemies for a short time and that black hole should deal damage over time or explode or something like that, then slap a cooldown on the effect.
That’s the feeling I’m looking for with this gun. Then you got something like Fighting Lion, which is another thing people think is really, overly bad. Much like your teenage daughter, Fighting Lion isn’t bad, it’s just misunderstood. The way you’re supposed to use this thing is to rip off an enemy’s shield with a grenade, swap to a kinetic weapon, get the kill, it refills your magazine, rinse repeat. It is not designed as anything more than that, but everyone thinks it’s completely useless, it’s not, but if they wanted to buff this thing anyway, I’d take it. We can talk more about Fighting Lion another time. Armor, however, is another story, yes, I hear you person yelling at the screen that weapons aren’t the problem. Armor seems to be much more passive this time around. Some armor just take subclass perks from Destiny 1 and throw them onto armor, see Skull of Dire Ahamkara, Hallowfire Heart, Wings of Sacred Dawn.
Some exotics are literally just Destiny 1 exotics brought into Destiny 2. And some exotic armor pieces are pretty good. One that is getting a ton of flak is the ACD/0 Feedback Fence. This is an exotic that… really wasn’t used that much in Destiny 1, was brought into Destiny 2 and was somehow made worse. The perk on it now is where melee kills build energy in the arms and when you’re hit by something, you explode with arc energy.
To say the explosive effect is underwhelming would be to say… a correct statement, it is underwhelming. The most you can stock up is 3 melee charges, so let’s see what that does and… I’m sorry, did that say 20 damage? 20? Ok what about on a Fallen, maybe you gotta be really close. Nope, that is some terrible, terrible damage. Oh, wait, it’s the same damage as zero stacks. So… ok these aren’t bad, they’re just terribly broken. Not to mention the impracticality of trying to get this to trigger in difficult content, or even the desire to. Why would I willingly put myself in danger for such a terrible payout? I should be able to stock up like, 10 melee kills, get hit by something and then just have the entire area around me explode. THAT is a power fantasy.
THAT is doing something cool. Are there technical limits with that? I’m sure there are. But that’s how you’re going to fill that power fantasy with these gloves. What’s weird… maybe not weird, but nice, is that Winter’s Guile, the Warlock gauntlets, DO fill that melee power fantasy really well, stacking crazy melee damage bonuses, allowing you to just run around and punching everything to death. Some other exotics feel kinda bland, but that’s because they’re trying to do something really specific. Mechaneer’s Tricksleeves, the sidearm boosting gloves, they’re getting a lot of flak, but it’s not like they don’t do their job well. They just happen to do it for a playstyle that isn’t really that popular.
I have heard complaints that Hunter exotics are kinda bad and I don’t think that’s really true. Each subclass has a top tier exotic, Celestial Nighthawk, Raiden Flux and Orpheus Rig, and then you have 4 subclass neutral exotics that are all not too shabby for PvP. Knucklehead Radar, Stompies, Foetracer and Dragon’s Heart is ehh probably not as good as the others. But people look at Mechaneer’s and Lucky Pants and just go “man, Hunter exotics are so bad,” and I don’t think that’s true. What I CAN sympathize with is the fact that some of them just maybe aren’t very exciting or give an insane power fantasy.
They’re strong, but seeing the radar when aiming isn’t a power fantasy, having a longer super isn’t really a power fantasy, I think it’s more that Hunters want their exotics to do more unique things sort of like something like the Feedback Fences, where they can go charge themselves up and then give off a big explosion, something like that. I imagine it’s difficult to come with exotics that 1) are really good or feel powerful, 2) fulfill some sort of fantasy, 3) are balanced, and 4) are able to be engineered in the first place.
It’s not our job to be sympathetic to those plights, but it’s still something to keep in mind. I don’t think exotics were ever meant to be the game-shaping, game-defining guns that they ended up becoming in Destiny 1. It doesn’t feel like Bungie wanted them to be as impactful on the gameplay experience this time around and would rather just give people a neat toy to play with, as opposed to making items that felt integral to the gameplay experience. For some people, that’s a plus, I’m not locked to anything in particular, but if I want to use a certain exotic, it’ll influence how I play a little bit more than if I wasn’t wearing one. For some people, that’s a minus, I want to feel insanely strong with an exotic, I want it to be more of a driver of gameplay, I want it to fulfill a fantasy that I have.
I think it’s also partly that… there are only so many ideas that you can come up with for Destiny exotic perks. We’ve been through a LOT of perks. You can only come up with so many ways to make something explode or do a weird thing. Then you gotta engineer it and make sure it doesn’t break the game. Again, you don’t need to sympathize with that, it’s not your job to be sympathetic, it’s Bungie’s job to realize what we have an issue with and then come up with more ways to solve those issues. Anyway, those are some thoughts on exotics, overall, I don’t think we’re in a hugely terrible spot with exotics, but I think more can be done in terms of giving out some buffs and in terms of making things a little more exciting. People aren’t maybe getting that D1 sense of power and I think tossing some love to exotics could help relieve that a bit. If you enjoyed this video, a positive rating would be great, thanks for watching.
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