Episode 91: Armor Perks and Cooldown Effects Discussion
Let’s talk about Armor Perks that affect Ability Cooldowns! And also a little about some other Armor Perks. And also, let’s do it really fast because we totally had to scrap the first 45 minutes of audio…
Massive Breakdown of Forsaken Armor Ability Cooldown Perks
AKA Massive Perk Cooldown
Disclaimer: No testing system is perfect. There are a number of possible sources of error, which I have done my best to alleviate, but in the end mistakes happen. Please let me know if something doesn’t seem right, and we’ll figure it out.
Make a copy of this Google spreadsheet if you want to test the effects of various Mod and Perk combinations:
Also check out the accompanying guide to Armor Mods affecting Cooldowns:
All tests were conducted on my Hunter, but I have checked Ability cooldowns on Titan and Warlock as well.
All of these values have been validated in-game by myself or by another Guardian who followed my testing script and then provided me with footage to double-check method and timing. These Guardians are credited at the bottom.
In some cases, the numbers I have for cooldowns may disagree with your count or numbers found elsewhere by a few seconds. This occurs because we all start counting at different times. For reference, I attempt to start timing as close to ability activation as possible and stop as soon as the ability flashes, indicating it can be activated again. My times are typically a bit longer than others I have seen, when they differ at all.
I have given all times in seconds to account for variations in timing methods and because I didn’t see a benefit to counting frames given the long duration of cooldowns, the considerable margin of error, and the lack of any conceivable benefit to doing so.
I have not yet tested Armor perks / mods that don’t affect ability Cooldowns. I don’t know how much Aim Assist, Flinch Reduction, etc is given. However, all indications are that the in-game descriptions of those are relatively accurate.
I am aware of the controversy regarding Heavy Ammo Finder (and therefore possibly Special Ammo Finder), but I am leaving them in this guide as I am confident that Bungie will either fix them if broken, or else determine that the sample size was too small to consistently detect the randomness at play and possibly buff them in some way
How to Use This Guide
CTRL-F is your friend.
Perks are organized by Armor Type and Slot that they appear in.
Under each Perk, I will provide an explanation of the effect as well as any important notes on the testing method. Find your Perk’s name, and you’ll have everything you need to know about it right there.
Underneath each Perk’s entry I have listed Armor Mods and other Perks that synergize with it. I will separately publish a guide to Armor Mods that Affect Cooldowns (character limits are my enemy) for you to reference. Where there is an Enhanced and Regular version, I only list the Enhanced version in Synergies.
The Rating System is as follows:
S - Super, the best possible choice.
A - Awesome, a very strong choice.
B - Basic, a functional but not strong choice.
C - Crap, an ineffective choice.
Ability Cooldown Armor Perks
Ashes to Assets & Enhanced Ashes to Assets
Ashes to Assets is a solid choice in PVE, where grenades can kill 2-3 enemies or more with ease - I’d call it a PVE “A”. In PVP, it’s much less strong; getting grenade kills relies on precise aim, a predictable enemy, and a bit of luck. I’d call it a PVP “C”. Hence the overall B rating.
Base Perk: Gain 2x super energy on grenade kills.
Enhanced Perk: Gain 2.5x+ Super energy on grenade kills.
I put a + on the Enhanced because the bonus energy seems to increase with the difficulty of the enemy. Red Bars returned about 2.5% in PVE while a Yellow Bar Lost Sector boss returned 14%. For reference, a basic Red Bar enemy normally returns 1% Super Energy, and the Lost Sector boss I tested on (Devrim’s church) returned ~3.5% Super Energy with no perks. This is a big difference, and definitely demonstrates the high value of the Enhanced Perk in PVE.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Enhanced Impact Induction, Enhanced Momentum Transfer, Enhanced Bomber, Distribution, Absolution, Innervation, Ordnance Mod, Taken Repurposing, Taken Armaments
Hands On is a fine perk if you get a ton of Melee Kills, and in PVE builds/scenarios (Way of a Thousand Cuts - Playing with Fire comes to mind) it’s actually going to give you a lot of bang for your buck, which makes it a powerful choice in the wild. Plus, it can trigger off of both charged and uncharged melee kills, as well as Shoulder Charge and the like.
Gain 2x super energy on melee kills.
That can really add up if you’re stacking melee kills left and right, but in PVP you’re most likely better off with a perk that triggers off of weapon kills, giving this a generous “B” Rating in the Crucible for many builds (some Warlocks and Titans may disagree).
Perk/Mod Synergies: Enhanced Momentum Transfer, Enhanced Impact Induction, Distribution, Outreach, Absolution, Invigoration
Heavy Lifting & Enhanced Heavy Lifting
Gain bonus Super energy from Power weapon kills. This is pretty straightforward and super easy to take advantage of with basically anything that’s not a Sniper.
Regular: Gain 2x super energy on Power Weapon kills.
Enhanced: Gain 2.5x+ super energy on Power Weapon kills.
I marked a “+” after the multiplier because (like with Enhanced Ashes to Assets) Yellow Bar enemies return a larger multiplier - as much as 4-5x super energy on a kill. However, you won’t get that bonus very often and there are so many types of yellow bars out there that I can’t say exactly what the multiplier will be across the board. The important thing is that it’s going to be a minimum of what I have above.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Heavy Ammo Finder, any Heavy Weapon Reserves perk, any Heavy Weapon Scavenger perk, Taken Armaments
This is a great multi-purpose perk for generating loads of extra Super energy in any game mode, making it a solid “A” for me.
Gain 2x super energy on Fusion Rifle kills.
Telesto will let you go nuts, getting orbs and super energy left and right. Unfortunately, you cannot use this perk with Linear Fusion Rifles - it just doesn’t work. Regardless, this perk pays for itself over and over again (as long as you like using Fusion Rifles everywhere).
Perk/Mod Synergies: Special Ammo Finder, Fusion Rifle Reserves, Fusion Rifle Scavenger
Like Light Reactor, this is a general purpose perk that generates extra super energy no matter what mode you’re in, so long as you like using Shotguns.
Gain 2x super energy on Shotgun kills.
Shotguns are useful and easy to use in every game mode, so this perk should be a standard on at least one of your load-outs.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Special Ammo Finder, Shotgun Reserves, Shotgun Scavenger
For PVP Snipers, this seems like an easy choice, but unfortunately it’s competing with Targeting perks in the same slot, so I’m not sure it’s worth it unless you really don’t want the extra aim assist. In PVE, Snipers are primarily a boss DPS tool, rather than a weapon you use to clean up random red bars, so the Super return is very limited there.
Gain 2x super energy on Sniper Rifle kills.
Again, you can run multiple Snipers, but in most situations I wouldn’t suggest it. By and large, this perk is one you can ignore, although it’s not really “bad” per se. It just doesn’t fit with the way most people play.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Special Ammo Finder, Sniper Rifle Reserves, Sniper Rifle Scavenger
OTHER PERKS IN THIS SLOT
“X” Targeting: Increased Aim Assist for Specified Weapon.
Enhanced “X” Targeting: Greatly increased Aim Assist for Specified Weapon. (Hand Cannon, Bow, Sniper Rifle, Linear Fusion Rifle)
Kinetic/Energy/Power Targeting: Slightly increased Aim Assist for Specified Slot.
Precision Weapon Targeting: Increased Aim Assist for Hand Cannons, Scout Rifles, Bows, Trace Rifles, Linear Fusion Rifles, Sniper Rifles, and Slug Shotguns.
Scatter Projectile Targeting: Increased Aim Assist for Auto Rifles, Submachine Guns, Pulse Rifles, Sidearms, and Fusion Rifles.
Impact Induction & Enhanced Impact Induction
Causing damage with a melee attack reduces your grenade cooldown with this perk. What it doesn’t say is that this effect is actually on a cooldown itself - you can only gain the benefit once every 3 seconds or so. I tested this by punching as many dregs as I could as fast as I could for about 10 seconds and comparing that cooldown to punching just three dregs and counting to three-one-thousand in between each one. You guessed it: same cooldown time.
Regular: Causing damage with a melee attack reduces your grenade cooldown by 10%.
Enhanced: Causing damage with a melee attack reduces your grenade cooldown by 20%.
That aside, this perk is awesome, and the enhanced version is insanely good. Like, seriously nuts. It does compete with Reload perks in the same slot, which does mean a tough decision though. For PVP, I would generally take a strong Reload perk even over this. However, in PVE there’s no contest - this is far superior in every way.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Ordnance Mod, Distribution, Enhanced Bomber, Absolution, Innervation, Enhanced Ashes to Assets, Taken Armaments, Taken Repurposing
Momentum Transfer & Enhanced Momentum Transfer
Causing damage with a grenade reduces your melee cooldown - it’s the inverse of Impact Induction. It’s also nearly worthless unless you have an effect that lets you rain down grenades; in which case, is there anything left to punch?
Regular: Causing damage with a grenade reduces your melee cooldown by 3%.
Enhanced: Causing damage with a grenade reduces your melee cooldown by 7%.
So this perk sucks for a few reason. First, you’re not going to be able to throw more than 2 grenades during a given Melee cooldown in 90% of situations. With a specialized build and some luck, maybe you get to 3 or 4, but most of the time it’s giving you a very small bump once during your melee cooldown. Second, even if you hit a whole bunch of enemies or actually CAN rain down grenades, the effect has the same 3 second cooldown as Impact Induction - that’s right, even if your grenade hits 3 enemies it will only trigger Momentum Transfer once. Third, it does NOT work with Grenade Launchers (did I read your mind?) although maybe it should - that would at least make it worth considering. Fourth, it gives a much smaller effect than Impact Induction, which can be used much more often. Fifth and finally, it’s competing with Reload perks - almost any of which is more useful.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Impact Mod, Distribution, Outreach, Absolution, Invigoration, Hands On, Leviathan “Hand” mods
OTHER PERKS IN THIS SLOT
“X” Loader: Increases Reload Speed of Specified Weapon.
Enhanced “X” Loader: Greatly increases Reload Speed of Specified Weapon. (Hand Cannon, Shotgun, Rocket Launcher, Grenade Launcher)
Kinetic/Energy/Power Loader: Slightly increases Reload Speed of specified Slot.
Large Weapon Loader: Faster reloads for Rocket Launchers, Grenade Launchers, and Shotguns.
Light Arms Loader: Faster reloads for Hand Cannons, Sidearms, Submachine Guns, and Bows.
Rifle Loader: Increases Reload Speed of any Rifle-class Weapon.
Fastball: Increases grenade throw distance.
There are no perks on Chest armor that affect Ability Cooldowns. Just flinch and ammo. Sorry!
OTHER PERKS IN THIS SLOT
Enhanced Unflinching “X” Aim: Greatly reduces flinching from incoming fire while aiming Specified Weapon. (Scout Rifle, Bow, Sniper Rifle, Linear Fusion Rifle)
Unflinching “X” Aim: Reduces flinching from incoming fire while aiming Specified Weapon.
Unflinching Kinetic/Energy/Power Aim: Slightly reduces flinching from incoming fire while aiming for specified Slot.
Unflinching Large Arms Aim: Slightly reduces flinching from incoming fire while aiming Rocket Launchers, Grenade Launchers, and Shotguns.
Unflinching Light Arms Aim: Slightly reduces flinching from incoming fire while aiming Hand Cannons, Sidearms, Bows, and Submachine Guns.
Unflinching Rifle Arms Aim: Slightly reduces flinching from incoming fire while aiming any Rifle-class Weapon.
Bomber & Enhanced Bomber
The Bomber perks reduce your grenade cooldown when using your class ability. The Enhanced version is a super solid A-level perk, while the regular version is only a B.
Regular: Reduces your grenade cooldown by 5% when using your class ability.
Enhanced: Reduces your grenade cooldown by 15% when using your class ability.
So you can see, Enhanced Bomber is really powerful. With no other effects, you’re taking 12 seconds off of your grenade recharge with a single class ability use. Especially for Hunters & Titans, this can add up very quickly. Either version of the perk is very useful, but especially so in PVE where grenades can be very effective at clearing aggressive groups of adds.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Ordnance Mod, Enhanced Impact Induction, Absolution, Innervation, Enhanced Momentum Transfer, Enhanced Ashes to Assets, Taken Armaments, Taken Repurposing
This perk is the bee’s knees, as everyone knows. Here’s why:
When using your Class Ability, reduces Super cooldown by 5% and all other cooldowns by 10%.
Uh, yeah. It’s huge, especially if you’re a Hunter or Titan. This is obviously less useful for Warlocks - but if they pile on the Paragon Mods it’s still a good choice. Seriously though, sorry Warlocks. You might consider a Dexterity perk or Traction instead. For everyone else, you know what to do: use this perk!
Perk/Mod Synergies: Paragon Mod, Taken Invigoration, Absolution, Insulation, pretty much anything involving Ability use
Dynamo reduces super cooldown when using your Class Ability, which makes it very powerful when combined with Paragon Mods on a Hunter or Titan (or even without Paragon Mods, although they help a ton). It’s not the only viable choice, but it’s definitely a very strong one in every single game mode.
Reduces super cooldown by 2.5% when using your Class Ability.
This seems like a small number, but that’s 7.5 seconds off of your base Super cooldown every time, which is roughly the equivalent of 2 Guardian kills in the Crucible, or several red bar kills in PVE. Using your class ability just 3 times during your Super is the equivalent of having one Super Mod equipped. So yeah, it adds up fast.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Paragon Mod, Taken Invigoration, Absolution, Insulation, pretty much anything involving Super use
Outreach reduces your melee cooldown when using your Class Ability. Unfortunately, there’s not an Enhanced version, which seems strange given there is an Enhanced Bomber - but then again, you can punch things even without a Melee Ability charge. Either way, this perk doesn’t do enough.
Reduces melee cooldown by 5% when using your Class Ability.
Competing with the likes of Distribution, Dynamo, or Enhanced Bomber just isn’t possible for Outreach. it’s hopelessly outclassed and will never be your best choice for anything. Add in the various Dexterity perks in this slot, and there are simply too many better choices to ever recommend this perk. But you do you.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Impact Mod, Enhanced Momentum Transfer, Enhanced Impact Induction, Absolution, Invigoration, Hands On, Leviathan “Hand” mods
Perpetuation reduces your class ability cooldown when using your Class Ability - hence the name, one supposes. Unfortunately, while it actually have a fairly strong effect percentage-wise, it’s not going to be a good choice for most people. There are, as noted above, just too many good perks in this slot.
Reduces your class ability cooldown by 10% when using your Class Ability.
Distribution does the same thing, and so much more. Dynamo gives you Super, Enhanced Bomber gives you a ton of Grenade energy, and then you have the Dexterity perks to consider. it’s a crowded field, and this is just a bad Paragon Mod.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Paragon Mod, Taken Invigoration, Absolution, Insulation
OTHER PERKS IN THIS SLOT
“X” Dexterity: Faster ready and stow speed for Specified Weapon.
Enhanced “X” Dexterity: Greatly increased ready and stow speed for Specified Weapon.(Hand Cannon, Sniper Rifle, Shotgun, Rocket Launcher)
Kinetic/Energy/Power Dexterity: Slightly faster ready and stow speed for the specified Slot.
Light Arms Dexterity: Faster ready and stow speed for Hand Cannons, Sidearms, and Submachine Guns.
Oversize Weapon Dexterity: Faster ready and stow speed for Rocket Launchers, Grenade Launchers, Shotguns, and Bows.
Rifle Dexterity: Faster ready and stow speed for Rifle-class Weapons.
Class Item Perks
The Class item perks are all triggered by Orb pickup. Since they’re really easy and reliable to generate, I tested using small orbs generated by getting a double kill with a Masterwork weapon. I have not tested with big orbs, so I can’t say if you get the same or more back from them - treat these numbers as minimums.
Absolution reduces all Ability Cooldowns on Orb Pickup, giving a big chunk to Class Ability, Grenade, and Melee cooldowns while tacking on a little extra to your Super (since the orb of light is already reducing that by 5.5%).
Reduce all Ability Cooldowns by 6% on Orb Pickup instead of only reducing your Super cooldown by 5.5%.
Note that this isn’t an extra 6% Super cooldown - just an extra .5% for 6% total.
Okay, that said, this is easily the strongest cooldown perk you can pick on your Class Item. You’re practically guaranteed to be getting a benefit to at least two of your abilities at any given time, and often all four. It’s much more balanced than Distribution, but still very much worth having.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Masterwork Weapon (maybe the only weapon perk to synergize with Ability cooldowns), any perk or mod dealing with Ability cooldowns
Innervation reduces your Grenade Cooldown on Orb Pickup by a good chunk, making it useful if you throw a lot of grenades - and who doesn’t?
Reduce Grenade Cooldown by 10% on Orb Pickup.
The nice thing about this perk is that it’s somewhat balanced against Absolution, giving a bigger chunk for one ability instead of a smaller one for all. Unfortunately, that also makes it more hit-or-miss in terms of whether or not you’ll benefit from picking up an orb. Still, Guardians tend to throw grenades fairly often, so if you’re optimizing for that ability this could be a good choice.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Enhanced Ashes to Assets, Enhanced Impact Induction, Enhanced Momentum Transfer, Enhanced Bomber, Distribution, Ordnance Mod, Taken Armaments
Insulation reduce your Class Ability Cooldown on Orb Pickup, which at first sounds like it would go really well with certain combos discussed previously. Unfortunately, it gives an unexpectedly small bump, so it’s doing very little of value unless you’re a Warlock.
Reduce Class Ability Cooldown by 5% on Orb Pickup.
This is half the benefit given by Innervation or Invigoration to your other abilities, and also less than what Absolution provides for your Class Ability, making it basically the worst possible choice in this slot.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Paragon Mod, Taken Invigoration, Distribution, Dynamo, Outreach, Enhanced Bomber
Invigoration reduces your Melee Cooldown on Orb Pickup. It’s good for the same reason as Innervation (bigger bump than Absolution) and also bad for the same reason (affects only one Ability).
Reduce Melee Cooldown by 10% on Orb Pickup.
It is, at least, reasonably well balanced and somewhat useful, but most people will want Absolution or a health regen perk.
Perk/Mod Synergies: Impact Mod, Enhanced Momentum Transfer, Enhanced Impact Induction, Distribution, Outreach, Hands On, Leviathan “Hand” mods
OTHER PERKS IN THIS SLOT
Better Already: Start Health Regen on Orb Pickup.
Recuperation: Gain Health on Orb Pickup.
Testers: The Bloody lX, Van Holden, jenmc14, JessePB, tim_currys_beard, littleben4242, mygeekdaddy, thefortkeeper