A hot-button topic has recently arisen in the Destiny 2 community concerning a certain powerful Exotic: The Exotic Trace Rifle, Divinity. This has been a very popular and very potent addition to the game and a few days ago, some of the top Destiny 2 personalities began discussing the weapon. Specifically, whether the weapon needed a nerf.
As a result of this, people from all sides have been chiming in on the discourse (in helpful ways, and not-so-helpful ways). The original poster, Saltagreppo, made a well-constructed argument that has been met with honest discussion, as well as more harsh backlash.
Whatever side of the debate you find yourself on, Divinity has risen to the highest priority in many people’s minds. This begs the question: should something be done about Divinity in Destiny 2? And if so, what?
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What is Divinity?
In case you are a new Light or are simply unaware, let’s start by giving a brief overview of the weapon itself.
Divinity was introduced to the game in the Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Expansion alongside the Garden of Salvation Raid. This was the Raid weapon that players could unlock after a lengthy (and infamously despised) questline involving puzzles and tethers.
The special thing about Divinity is that it functions as a very powerful supportive tool. Divinity’s Exotic trait is that upon hitting a target it will create a bubble around said target. This bubble increases damage dealt by 30% as well as increasing the available area for critical precision hits.
In essence, Divinity makes the ease of use for all other players much higher. You not only get more damage, but you also get more forgiveness for how often you deal damage. For many, it was seen as a must-have and can make some encounters very forgiving.
Calls for it to be tuned or looked at have come up from time to time, but not like it has been this most recent time. So, what specifically are people upset about?
Why are we Discussing Divinity?
The primary reason why Divinity has been thrust into the spotlight once again is due to a Twitter post by the streamer Saltagreppo. He boasts of several World First Raids as well as being part of the team who cleared the revised King’s Fall first.
In a post, he meticulously outlined his reasonings for why Divinity should probably get a nerf of some kind, including his reasonings for it. The post was well constructed and even if you disagree with his take (like many have) it wasn’t worthy of vitriol – it was as plain as criticism could be.
Divinity nerf discussion:
Hey, this is gonna be a thread.
I’ve been thinking about a way to nerf Divinity for quite a bit. The gun is basically mandatory for most Boss encounters and it makes aiming a non factor, which is very unhealthy for the game for multiple reasons, such as:
— Saltagreppo (@SaltagreppoD2) September 8, 2022
The main pain points that Saltgreppo and other higher-skilled players seem to have been that Divinity has become a must-have pick. Pairing ease of use alongside a potent debuff makes the weapon simply too strong to not consider it for endgame PvE. For many, this makes the meta stale and predictable, while others view it as making the difficult content too easy.
On the opposing side, Divinity is a support weapon. If it isn’t potent in one-way shape or form (whether that be in ease of use, forgiveness, or supportive potential) it will be worthless. And it performs that role exceedingly well, effectively serving as the defacto support class seen in many other MMOs. Except, in Destiny, it is as a gun rather than a fully fleshed-out class.
Divinity is especially good in opening options for lesser-skilled players. People who maybe didn’t use Linear Fusions or Snipers now have an opportunity to use them, or for players who want to be more support oriented. To many, they see the slight against Divinity as a way of making the lives of casual players more difficult for the sake of the few.
While higher-skilled players will be seeking more challenges, it is difficult for them to be in tune with a more casual player base in terms of feedback. The vice-versa is also true, and so the two communities will always clash: especially over something as vital as Divinity. Unfortunately, Divinity is a very difficult gun to balance as one wrong move, or one thing tweaked, could send it to a state of uselessness. You want to preserve the fantasy and the ability to support other players, but perhaps without it being a must-have choice for every encounter.
What could we change about Divinity in Destiny 2, then?
Potential Solutions to Divinity
The way I see it, there are 3 main paths that Bungie could go with changing Divinity.
Keep it as is
For what seems like the majority of players, this is the ideal pick. Divinity is a strong option that opens up the game to many more people and many say that nerfing it would ultimately only harm those lower down the skill ladder.
The solution many have to players asking for a nerf is to simply not use it if you want the challenge. While the issue is a bit more complicated than that (especially in competitive situations like a world-first race), it is a valid point for runs outside of such restraints.
On the other hand, we don’t know how Bungie has to balance encounters with Divinity in mind. We’ve certainly seen them balance activities around certain Exotics or Supers before (such as the bridge in Reckoning) and so it isn’t out of the question to believe that maybe Divinity is hampering encounter design somewhat. This is purely speculation, however.
Remove the Crit bubble / shrink it down
In my eyes, this is arguably the worst solution. While it would work in making the gun feel like less of a ‘must-have’ pick, it simply robs the weapon of too much.
By removing the bubble, you go back to punishing lesser skilled players as well as those who want to play support. To the first point, now they don’t have that ease of use anymore and so may not be able to utilise certain weapons or tools. In the second point, it becomes a waste of an Exotic slot since other things in the game can debuff nearly as effectively with Weaken Grenades or Tether.
Divinity would also lose its identity. It aiding other players is part of what makes it so unique and special: it is a weapon where you sacrifice yourself for the betterment of a team. Leaving just a debuff wouldn’t fulfil that fantasy.
Remove the debuff
This is perhaps the most likely, and sensible option. As previously stated, other elements of the game such as Weaken Grenades and Tether act as debuffing tools that Guardians can wield. If Divinity lost its debuff, it could open the field for more variety in subclass choice.
The other crucial part is that it keeps its identity and ability to aid other Guardians. Lesser skilled players can still utilise the increased precision threshold while support players still get to feel useful. It doesn’t have that fantasy taken away from it – even with the debuff gone, it is still a gun about supporting your team and helping them up.
Saltagreppo proposed this idea but with the caveat that the Divinity bubble would negate any other form of the debuff. Unfortunately, I think this would only serve to harm the weapon and less knowledgeable players. One player is already sacrificing their damage output and if, on top of that, they were putting a penalty on their allies, it would just lead to a poor mentality when it comes to the weapon. It’s a different type of mentality to missing a shot or failing to debuff a boss on time: in this circumstance, you are actively crippling your team. Destiny 2 likely does need more high-risk, high-reward styles of play but I don’t think imposing a penalty on Divinity would solve this – only hurt those using the weapon.
Whatever the case, Bungie has hinted in previous discussions that they are watching Divinity with a keen eye. If the community understands how potent Divinity is, imagine how it much is to design encounters in Destiny 2 around it or factor it in when thinking of a new piece of content.
I don’t envy Bungie in this whatsoever. I believe that Divinity is pretty okay right now and doesn’t desperately need a nerf compared to other parts of the sandbox. Other conversations could potentially side-step many of these problems: more difficulty modes, a permanent contest mode, or more high-risk-high-reward tools for debuffing and damage. These all require their separate conversations and none of them truly solve the dilemma the community finds itself in.
However, I also acknowledge that it seems to be increasingly likely. Perhaps not soon, but in the future it is certainly a possibility. If Bungie does decide to go through with it, I only hope that it will not cripple Divinity and the fantasy it provides.
We cannot lose Divinity to the annuls of obscurity – it is too special of a weapon. Especially after all those Tether puzzles.