Destiny 2 Needs to Make Machine Guns Viable Again
Destiny 2’s weapons are definitely something that sets it apart from other shooters. There are hand cannons, machine guns, sidearms, bows, fusion rifles, swords, rocket launchers and more, each coming with different variants that use either primary, special, or heavy ammo. With so many weapons to choose from, it becomes really difficult for players to be able to use all of them, considering most end up using the ones that are part of the ‘current meta’. Unfortunately, this has completely sidelined machine guns, and Bungie needs to do something about it.
All the activities in Destiny 2 can be broadly categorized as either PvP or PvE activities, except for Gambit which is a PvPvE mode. The loadouts that Guardians equip change based on what they are playing. However, across PvP and PvE game modes, there is hardly any place where you will find yourself, or your opponents, using a machine gun.
In PvP modes like Control or Trials of Osiris, one can still find some use for a machine gun if the stats and perks on the weapon are good. However, you still need to land multiple shots with precision to get any kills. On the contrary, if you use any other heavy weapon, like linear fusion rifles or grenade launchers, it is almost always a one hit kill. Here, rocket launchers are in a league of their own considering they also deal AOE damage and are capable of wiping multiple enemies. Despite exotic machine guns like Xenophage and Grand Overture, which basically fire mini rockets, they still require you to hit opponents accurately enough to get a kill. Moreover, they also take up an exotic slot, so your primary and special ammo weapon options are limited. Naturally, no player would want a machine gun in the power slot when so many better options are out there.
On the PvE side of things, I’ll go out on a limb and say that no one uses a machine gun in raids, strikes, Grand Master Nightfalls, higher-level lost sectors, or even the seasonal missions. This isn’t because there are so many weapons available to choose from, but the sheer uselessness of them. Any PvP activity in Destiny 2 will usually have a final boss at the end that you need to melt as quickly as possible. With weapons like Storm Chaser (burst-fire linear fusion rifle), Gjallarhorn (Exotic rocket launcher), or literally any other rocket launcher with a decent roll, you can take down any boss within seconds. A machine gun, on the other hand, will take far longer to deal that much damage, despite having more ammo than the aforementioned weapons. There are multiple good machine guns available in the game with great perks as well, but there is simply no activity where you would ever opt to use one.
Currently, there are four exotic machine guns in Destiny 2: Xenophage (Solar), Grand Overture (Arc), Thunderlord (Arc), and Heir Apparent (Solar). Out of these, Xenophage is still the only one you’ll find players using because it destroys Oracles in the second encounter of the Vault of Glass raid in one hit. That is how niche its use has become; it can be easily replaced in every other scenario. There were also a couple of weeks when Heir Apparent’s overshield was almost impenetrable, so everyone started using it in Crucible. However, even that became history since the gun was nerfed shortly after. As for the other two exotics, there is no reason to use any of them in the game as even if they might be useful in clearing hordes of enemies, the damage output is simply not up to the mark to see any encounter through to the end.
The problem with machine guns right now isn’t that they don’t do enough damage, or that the perks aren’t good enough, but how easily they can be replaced. Be it crowd control or boss damage, there is always a better alternative available. Even an exotic like Outbreak Perfected, which uses primary ammo, ends up dealing more boss damage than an exotic machine gun, which uses heavy ammo. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
My clanmates and I discussed this at length, and could not think of a single season since Beyond Light where we used any machine gun in the game, extensively or even for a short while. I don’t know how exactly Bungie plans on bringing machine guns back into the meta, but it needs to happen soon, because an entire weapon archetype is sitting in our vaults without being used for anything other than bounties.
Maybe a blanket buff in overall machine gun damage might help, or even introducing a Machine Gun-specific artifact mod could be an option. We saw how ‘Breach and Clear’, and ‘Particle Deconstruction’ made grenade launchers and fusion/ linear fusion rifles DPS kings in all activities. But even that would be a temporary fix and still won’t solve the problem at large. Since Bungie is making more sandbox changes next season, it might be a good idea for it to have a serious think about the sorry state of machine guns in the game.
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