Bungie has a long list of changes planned for Destiny's weapons. The changes, coming in Update 1.1.1, will reduce the power of many of the most popular guns in the game.
For starters, Auto Rifles are being weakened. Bungie looked over player data and noticed that this weapon type racks up the most kills in the Crucible as well as Story content like Strikes or Raids. Six of the ten most lethal guns in December were Auto Rifles. The top weapon on the list was the Auto Rifle SUROS Regime, obtainable from the merchant Xur or Vault of Glass among other places.
"It’s extremely effective in most combat scenarios and engagement distances. In fact, it is so effective that it’s intended role in the Primary family is being partially obscured," said sandbox designer Jon Weisnewski on Bungie.net. "We want you to be able to deliver a steady stream of precision damage with an Auto Rifle, and you still can, but you’ll need to get a little bit closer."
Bungie plans to make auto rifles less dominant by reducing their base damage by an average of 2.5%, with high rate-of-fire guns like Necrochasm taking less of a hit than slower guns. Their effective range has been reduced as well, making the Range stat for an auto rifle far more important in determing long-range accuracy.
The Pulse Rifle has the opposite problem. It's far and away the least popular type of gun across all activities in the game. To make Pulse Rifles more attractive to players, they're buffing their base damage by 9.7%.
Hand Cannons, like Auto Rifles, are currently too precise at long range for Bungie's tastes. They've noticed many players have been using them like sniper rifles. The patch will lower their effective range and increase the damage falloff. Furthermore, follow-up shots will be less accurate.
"With these new changes, you can still hit targets at long range, but the shots need to be paced out and the damage will be lower until you close in on your target."
The patch also cements Shotguns and Fusion rifles' role as close-quarters weapons. The Fusion Rifle's shots have a wider cone so one-hit kills at a high distance are much tougher, while Shotguns' damage falloff has been increased. Players will have reduced ammo for both types in Crucible matches. On the bright side, Shotguns' damage against aliens has been increased to encourage you to actually use those weapons outside of the Crucible.
Update 1.1.1 won't make any sweeping changes to Scout Rifles, Sniper Rifles, Heavy Machineguns or Rocket Launchers. As Weisnewski points out, though, you may find new use for them now that other weapon types have been changed or weakened. For example, some of you Hand Cannon sharpshooters might want to switch over to a Scout Rifle or join the hordes of people trying to get Icebreaker.
The patch, which will also fix the heavy ammo bug plaguing many players, should arrive sometime this month.