Episode 41: Listener Q&A

This week we're focused on the community in a big way - you guys have been giving to us tremendously in so many ways, it was time that we took a break from the breakdowns and answered your questions directly! Tune in for the full discussion along with our Patron's Corner segment, or read below for a quick summary of our responses.

Note: This is a follow up to our post from yesterday linked here.

Hey Guardians, just wanted to share some quick hits from our recent Listener Q&A episode. You can listen to the entire discussion by clicking the link below, but feel free to just read if you prefer.

Massive Breakdown Podcast 41: Listener Q&A

About this post: This is the order we answered questions in during the episode, and questions were drawn from both Reddit and Twitter, as well as other sources. Unfortunately, because I am at work and have limited time, I am not able to provide timestamps for each question right now. If you want to comment below with the timestamps for your question, I'll try to add it to the post later in the day. Thank you!

Massive Breakdown Listener Q&A Answers

  1. Sliq - What does Hot Swap actually do? It doesn't reduce reticule size.

    No, it does not. We do know for a fact that Hot Swap speeds up the reset of your bloom in between shots - that is, the time before your weapon returns to its Initial Accuracy. Mercules theorizes that it may also affect that initial accuracy to some degree, but has not been able to demonstrate this in tests so far. Kyt suggests it may be a placebo effect as we expect Hot Swap to make the gun more accurate.

  2. Kazanerdi - If you would change sticky grenades what type of change would you make? Damage change? Tracking change?

    There are two big things that make stickies powerful right now. First, a lack of viable counters to aggressive sticky-play (the shotguns nerfs stand out here), and second, the strong aim assist, which has always been the way it is now. A small reduction in aim assist might level the playing field and reduce frustration with them, but reducing damage would destroy them.

  3. Hutch - Do you think D2 will dedicated servers? If not do you think it will be detrimental to the PvP experience?

    We really don't expect to see dedicated servers, although only Activision and Bungie know for now. The way we see it, they have three options. First, pay a ton to put servers everywhere, so even players in remote areas have good connection. Second, save a bit and put servers only in population centers, leaving some players with awful experiences and others with great ones. Third, use P2P and hope that most people have decent experiences and connections most of the time.

    We don't expect sticking with P2P to cause significant issues, and a high population at launch will certainly help that.

  4. Ben Virgo - Good gun skills and perks always seem to be the most talked about but are there any subclass load outs that can rival guns in effectiveness?

    Just a few options that come to mind: Sticky Grenades (any), Overshield Melees, Wombo Combo, Thunderstrike, Voidwalker with The Ram, Striker with Shoulder Charge and double Lightning.

  5. Primus Saul - What are looking forward to the most lore wise?

    We talk about a couple other things in the cast, but Merc's lore answer is learning more about the Cabal (finally!), and mine is finally getting a Warmind-themed DLC. Both are pieces of the story that have been left in the shadows for way too long! Also, in-game grimoire so we have something to read in our shacks in the wilderness, but that might be cheating.

  6. Brian Spectre - What is the least viable primary weapon? Pulse, Auto, Hand cannon, or Scout? Also, the least viable archetype.

    Short answer: We both agree that at lower skill levels Scouts are least viable, while at higher levels Auto Rifles suffer the most. That said, mid-RoF Pulse Rifles are definitely the worst overall archetype in PVP with a very poor time to kill and relatively high precision requirements to achieve even that.

  7. Destiny Flavor Text - What's the largest, fastest, most lethal thing you've ever stopped with your head?

    First off, it's a huge honor to have been asked this question. Merc's answer is that his squishy Hunter head usually only stops rockets, if that counts, but most other things go right through. I'm pretty sure I shoulder-charged a boss to death in Challenge of Elders last year, but I can't prove it now.

  8. Youre a Pickle - Do you have a spot right now about aim assist and how much it really matters for different archtypes? As in does 10 more aim assist make a difference or you really can't notice it until one gun have at least 20 more than another?

    This is very much dependent on the player. Some people can detect the difference with just 5 points of aim assist, while others don't seem to feel it or even prefer less aim assist.

  9. CTL7G - Honestly I'd love a quick flash recap. Not explained since it was so well covered but a quick list of this patch: best sub class perks, etc. I'll be listening either way! I loved your subclass breakdown, but with the current patch (say for instance) would you still recommend the defender-no backup plans-shotgun build? You talked about all the perks so I feel like I have a good knowledge of those, but what would your optimized perks tree and exotic be with the current (and seemingly last patch) for D1. Sort of how you did a quick summary of top 3 primaries for hand cannons, pulse, scout well after your first couple of episodes. I always kinda hoped you guys could do flash recommendations after each patch if it changed any of them.

    Addressing the No Backup Plans builds specifically, it can still be fun in 6v6, but lost a ton of effectiveness in the nerfs. Going much deeper probably needs its own episode.

    As far as weapon updates, there were actually very few changes that had any effect on primary meta, so that's largely unchanged, except that Genesis Chain is now definitely on the Auto Rifle list. We would also probably drop the Grasp/Clever Dragon from the Pulse Rifle list and replace it with a high impact Pulse, while keeping Hawksaw/PDX-45 on the list as well.

  10. Landiske - I'm curious to see you and kyt's opinions on what you think the best/most underused archetypes of guns are? I.e guns that are typically trash but with the right perk synergy and/or class build could be monsters.

    To be honest, good guns typically are not underused - Destiny players as a community are pretty good at figuring this stuff out and getting hold of the roll they need. That said, Genesis Chain probably deserves more play.

  11. Idiotic Virtue - Is there any weapon that you inexplicably love to use but other people would consider bad/terrible(maybe due to bad roll, poor stats etc.)? In terms of the multitude of balance patches over the last few years what do you think Bungie have got right and what do you think they have tripped up on?

    Merc: Lyudmila without Counterbalance. He loves it. Kyt: Judith-D with Crowd Control, Reactive Reload, and Explosive Rounds. It's awful, but sometimes hilarious.

  12. RNG Baby - In ToO...what is something you think is important that not enough people/teams do? Something less obvious/overlooked that is key to winning? Great work on the breakdowns btw, both posts and podcasts...you guys are my guide for the Destiny life. Ha

    Communication is the biggest thing that can never be stressed enough here. Not only being specific with call outs, but also staying focused under adversity and continuing to make calls when killed or losing.

  13. DaBozz88 - You use ideal TTK a lot for hand cannons and sidearms, but that doesn't take into account the 'Bloom' features. Have you looked into an analysis of the practical ttk for those weapons are?

    There are two things to say here. First, assesing the "practical" TTK given miss & precision percentages and so forth is just not one of the things we're interested in working on, although the data is all out there. Kyt actually wrote up an analysis of this last year (it's a but out of date on the numbers now, sorry!) but looking back, it mostly confirmed that meta weapons are both effective and easy to use, while some other weapons are just very easy to use. Those conclusions can still be drawn with no real adjustments.

  14. Silly Bulanston - I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the value of "uptime" in various game modes (Trials, 3v3 respawn, 6v6, Rumble). When I say "uptime" I am referring to perks or builds that promote your ability to be able to enter an engagement at optimal conditions (i.e. gun reloaded, health at full, abilities charged, etc.). Some build decisions I make involve weighing the importance of uptime versus other priorities (armor/survivability, specific weapon perks). For instance, I tend to choose Vortex Mastery in 3v3 modes whereas in 6v6 I prefer to have Embrace the Void. I also tend to spec more strongly into Recovery in 6v6 and Rumble than in 3v3 as I find the time lapse between engagements tends to be shorter in these modes. The concept can apply to reloading as well. An example of this might be a preference for an Outlaw/Rifled/RF Palindrome in 6v6 but an Icarus/Rifled/RF Palindrome in 3v3. I'd be curious to hear whether you guys put much stock into this concept or whether your builds tend to be standardized irrespective of game mode. Definitely one of my favourite Destiny podcasts, keep up the great work guys!

    Toughness/Recovery is definitely our recommendation for pretty much all PVP situations, but in general we run static builds so that we don't have to think about when our abilities will be up. As far as abilities go, we do spec to the strengths of each subclass, for sure, we just don't tend to change that up once set.

    That said, there is probably some benefit to speccing for particular game modes at the competitive level where you may have time to practice extensively with more than one build.

  15. Lord Slick Rick - What do you feel about HCR on pulse rifles post nerf. I feel like it doesn't do a thing anymore, might as well pick a different perk if you can. What do you think about bungie's balance philosophy and how they have largely ignored archetypes of weapons. Low impact HC, low impact snipers, fastest ROF fusions, low impact shotguns. Many of these weapons never saw a competitive space in pve and pvp or lost the competitive space as time went on, but things were never changed to help them. I think that the biggest issue to crucible balance was the starting point of the guns. So much was so far from being in a good state, that nerfs, and heavy ones at that were inevitable. The code also was not in a state where fixes could be made. NLB for example they admitted was hard to fix, and ended up just being a visual nerf not an actual nerf. DO you think the initial state of D2 crucible will be an indication for the rest of the D2 lifetime?

    HCR on pulse rifles basically takes them back to their pre-nerf base flinch (without HCR). It's not a dead perk, but it's also probably not the #1 choice, depending on the gun.

    Regarding many of those weapons, a number of them actually were pretty good at points in Year 1, but some, like high RoF hand cannons, were never really "discovered" before getting nerfed. The starting points for many weapons could certainly have been better, and the Special weapon balance has never really felt right at all - that point we both agree on. For D2, we expect the starting point to give us an idea of the overall shape of the weapon ecosystem, but Bungie has shown a willingness to make major course corrections, and that seems likely to continue.

  16. Fluffy Fingers MD - With the vendor pali dropping this week I see lots of talk about the Truesight vs QuickDraw scopes. I know the numbers.... Usually I would take Truesight or SureShot on hand cannon scopes.... However, I would like to hear some insight on AA vs Handling for a HC like this. VoidWalker Main w/ OA Gloves. Thanks for all you guys do.

    This can be a bit player dependent, but keeping in mind you are also running Ophidian Aspects, you don't really need to worry about handling that much. Unless you're someone who, like we mentioned above, doesn't put much stock in AA, Truesight is a clear choice here. For my money (Kyt), Sureshot is hands-down the best sight on any Hand Cannon since it checks both of these boxes (I know it's not an option this week).

  17. BatVanVaiych - Not necessarily in terms of balancing, but what is one thing that makes you each go "Yea... this just isn't working" in terms of the sandbox? Conversely, what do you think is something Destiny really got right that we haven't seen much of, or at all previously in a major FPS release?

    Merc: The Special Weapon balance/ammo situation is just not working. That said, Supers in Destiny really define the experience, and didn't have any real analogues in FPS games when D1 launched (Titans in Titanfall 1 might have been the closest we could think of). The feeling of going on a rampage with them, or shutting one down, is really amazing.

    Kyt: The landslide of shotgun nerfs was excessive and overly punishing the weapons without addressing the real problems with shotguns, which we've dug into in past balance patch episodes. Otherwise, I 100% agree about the supers.

  18. Flexed Purrito - What do you think the most effective ability+gun combo is for a 1-2 KO punch? With abilities playing such a significant role in this game it is always great to hear how others use them. Some examples that come to mind: HC shot/throwing knife(different archetypes?), Tracking 'nades/shots, sidearm/various melee,...etc...

    First off, shout out to you for Banshee's Bench! Very cool. Second, you definitely hit Merc's favorite with Throwing Knife/HC, although he does it with a Scout Rifle. Aside from that, Thunderstrike is the best follow up to basically anything. Accurate, long range, high damage - can't argue with that.

  19. Flatulent Monkeys - I'd like to hear you guys talk about the competitive game modes in PvP and what you hope for/expect in D2. Are you okay with the 3v3 TDM type game mode, or would you like an objective game mode to take over as the "competitive" game mode? Compare the elimination game type in Trials with something like SnD from Call of Duty. Also, what will it take to grow the GameBattles scene?

    Merc: I really want to see bigger team modes and objective-based games enter the competitive sphere. Some people don't like the chaos, but it makes it more exciting. I find Trials to be far more stressful, but wouldn't really consider it a "competitive" mode at this point. And GameBattles is a toxic cesspool that I think is beyond saving. Something new is needed for Destiny PVP Competition.

    Kyt: I like what I've seen of 4v4 play, but I think what Destiny really needs is proper support for spectating matches that aren't tied to a single player's POV the entire time. This would also allow for bigger team & objective games without the chaos on the ground overwhelming viewers. I don't like COD (sue me), so I can't comment on that, and I also don't spend any time on GameBattles, but I think that Bungie actually supporting competitive play with code in the game is the thing that competitive Destiny 2 play will need the most.


Another week, another episode, Guardians! We're counting the hours to the gameplay reveal on the 18th, but in the meantime there is always more to learn and do in Destiny! We'll see you out there.

-kyt_kutcha, mercules904