Destiny is first and foremost a multiplayer game but Bungie wants to accommodate the lone wolves out there who would rather play by themselves. They announced this week that balance changes are on the way to help these players out.
The focus of their attention are Strikes, the occasional three-player missions found throughout Destiny. Strikes support public matchmaking because Bungie wanted players to team up for this content. However, they noticed players doing just the opposite in the early days of the game.
"Since launch, we’ve noticed that, for some players, a partner was the last thing you wanted on a Strike. People were kicking their friends out of parties for better chances of surviving," Bungie communty manager David Dague said in the new Weekly Update.
They explained that this was due to how damage was scaling with additional players. Enemies were hitting much harder during three-player runs - too hard. Bungie decided to tweak the damage to make Strikes more survivable with two teammates.
"Then, we normalized these damage values across all group sizes so that players wouldn’t feel that additional Guardians joining their Strike made things harder," said designer James Tsai. "Players can now be certain that people joining their team are helping their progress, not hindering it."
These changes resulted in an unintended side effect, though: playing Strikes solo is now harder. That won't be the case forever, though. Tsai notes that the current state of solo Strikes is "undesirable for many players" and that they're now mulling over solutions. Bungie is also looking at long-term ways to keep accommodating solo players.
Speaking of balance changes, Bungie pushed out a bunch with Patch 1.0.3 this week. Not all of the tweaks were deliberate, though. For example, Exotic pistol Thorn was unexpectedly nerfed.
"The best I can understand it as a player is that lots of math gets added to even more existing math," Dague said. "That sounds like a nightmare to these gunfire deafened ears. When that many numbers collide on the super-highway, some of ‘em get lost – or just plain old smashed. This week, something happened to weaken Thorn’s capacity to inflict Damage Over Time with its Mark of the Devourer perk. That poisoned barb that lodges in your armor and pecks away at you is now two points weaker (seen below, measured with a 3, down from 5). Oops!"
Dague added that Bungie is working on a fix for the Thorn so it will be restored to its former state "and then some." The team investigated other ninja-nerfs that players claim struck their weapons and said that they weren't true.
Patch 1.0.3 also expanded voice chat and laid the ground work for The Dark Below, Destiny's first expansion. Dark Below is scheduled to launch early next month.