Bungie is changing the way swords work in Destiny 2 - and it sounds like it's going to have a big impact on speedrunners.
As outlined in its latest This Week at Bungie post, the developer wants to make swords, introduced into the world of Destiny five years ago with The Taken King expansion, "a bit more enticing", and to do that swords are receiving "a sort of tableflip" with the start of season 10.
"While you'll still rip and tear through opponents, as you would expect from a sword, most of what you know needs to be unlearned," Bungie warned.
Swords have been rebalanced and will soon get a new energy meter. Here's the official blurb:
"Swords now have their own reserve of energy that recharges naturally on its own, and is not to be confused with ammo capacity. This energy will overtake your melee slot while you're wielding a sword and is spent on various actions."
Guarding now uses sword energy instead of consuming ammo, Bungie explained. Heavy attacks also now consume sword energy, with heavy attacks stronger if you have full energy and weaker when you don't.
"In general, swords have also had some of the damage amounts for different attacks changed, and the various sword perks have been adjusted," Bungie explained. "So you'll want to experiment a bit after the changes hit. We do hope you'll enjoy the changes."
Destiny speedrunners use swords to "skate" across the map. This makes for much faster traversal. Coupled with certain swords, such as the exotic sword Worldline Zero, whose Tesseract ability lets you teleport forward after sprinting, sword skating is a speedrunner's go-to. The video below shows off how this works:
It's not clear exactly how this update will negatively impact Destiny speedrunning, but a tweet from Destiny raider ModernTryhard sparked a reply from Bungie community manager dmg04 that confirmed speedrunning via swords - or Worldline Zero at least - is done for.
"As I understand it, the speedrun community will need to find new ways to break the sound barrier next season," dmg04 said.
"I understand this will come as a disappointment to some. Hopefully, this will bring new techniques and serve as a challenge to refresh previously established records."
As I understand it, the speedrun community will need to find new ways to break the sound barrier next season.— dmg04 (@A_dmg04) February 6, 2020
I understand this will come as a disappointment to some. Hopefully, this will bring new techniques and serve as a challenge to refresh previously established records.
The concern, it seems, revolves around this new energy resource, which could mean that as the energy depletes, the effectiveness of sword abilities also reduces. If this is true, Worldline Zero's Tesseract ability could be significantly nerfed.
It's fair to say Destiny speedrunners and world first raiders are worried about this change. Three times Destiny world first raider Sweat took to Twitter to say "this almost seems like a final straw for speedrunners".
D2 had already stripped a lot of the core mechanics that established a skill gap from D1 speeds (titan skating, sparrow flying, etc) but now that worldline is being put into the ground this almost seems like a final straw for speedrunners (1/?)— Eli (@Sweatcicle) February 6, 2020
"We don't yet have confirmation if this applies to all swords/relics yet, but i would assume it might be likely at this point," Sweat continued. "Since relic skating/sword skating has been around for 5+ years this is going to hit the speedrunning community hard."
Sweat pointed out that this change to swords could mean already set Destiny speedrunning records and raid completion times can never be broken again in the future.
"It discourages speedrunners to continue unless some crazy new tech is found," Sweat continued. "I know D2 cannot and should not be patch oriented around speedrunning, but a little bit of a heads up would've been nice. I just feel like movement is going to feel super slow after this patch idk."
Countering this view, of course, is the feeling that Bungie should not update Destiny 2 with speedrunners as the priority - and as a live service game, something like this was bound to happen eventually.
I feel this change impacts all players, including the speedrun community. Like sticky nades, these stategies were growing in visibility and utility. Designing aspects of D2 around these strategies puts a hard limit on game design, whether it be activities or sword functionality.— dmg04 (@A_dmg04) February 6, 2020
We still don't know exactly how Destiny 2 sword skating will change, but it looks like whatever the case, Bungie's big update will put the brakes on speedrunners.