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For some time now in Destiny 2, “pinnacle weapons” have numbered among the game’s ultimate prizes. These weapons were obtained through lengthy, often frustrating quests that involved copious amounts of grinding, required plenty of skill, and even needed a little luck in most cases. The rewards were generally worth it–from Luna’s Howl to Mountaintop to Recluse and beyond, Destiny 2’s pinnacle weapons have almost all been top-tier guns for any activity in the game. But with Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, the looming expansion that will kick off Destiny 2’s Season of the Undying, pinnacle weapons are going away.
Of course, if you’ve already earned an existing pinnacle weapon, you’ll be able to continue using it. But Bungie confirmed in today’s “This Week at Bungie” post–the last before Shadowkeep’s launch on October 1–that Destiny 2 won’t feature any new pinnacle weapons going forward. This is a big change, as previously, each new season (roughly every three months) brought with it new pinnacle weapon quests for Strikes, the Crucible, and/or Gambit.
Instead, beginning on October 1 with the Season of the Undying, players will be able to earn new “ritual weapons.” These guns won’t have the unique perks associated with pinnacles, and the quests to obtain them will be less involved, according to Bungie. The studio provided screenshots and names for all three: Edgewise, a Vanguard heavy machine gun; Exit Strategy, a Gambit submachine gun; and the hilariously named Randy’s Throwing Knife, a Crucible scout rifle.
Bungie said that although these guns won’t have unique pinnacle-style perks, they will instead be “curated rolls.” Typically, a “curated” version of a gun might drop from certain activities–raids, for example–and come fully masterworked (leveled up to have one chosen stat increased) and with a pre-selected set of perks “curated” by Bungie’s designers. As such, these ritual weapons may turn out to be valuable still–although it’s not clear whether, like other weapons with “curated” versions currently in the game, non-curated versions with randomized perks will also be earnable in these weapons’ respective activities (for example, can you get an Edgewise with random perks in Vanguard strikes? We don’t currently know).
Bungie said they made this “difficult decision” due to the simple fact that pinnacle weapons had become too powerful. Pinnacles from Crucible (Redrix’s Claymore/Broadsword, Luna’s Howl, Not Forgotten, Mountaintop, Recluse, and Revoker), Gambit (Breakneck, 21% Delirium, and Hush), and Vanguard (Loaded Question, Oxygen SR3, and Wendigo) tended to dominate every game mode, no matter where they came from (with a few exceptions, cough, Oxygen).
The developers said these weapons have generally far exceeded how powerful they should have been, which forced players to obtain them if they wanted to succeed across the board, even if that meant playing game modes where they weren’t comfortable. Anyone who grinded through the Recluse and/or Mountaintop quests despite not being particularly fond of PVP game modes understands that struggle well.
“Even the title of ‘pinnacle’ set a variety of unrealistic expectations,” Bungie’s blog post says. “Rather than being the absolute height of Legendary power, they were supposed to be interesting novelties to chase. These problems became more pronounced the more of them we produced.
“In the end, we decided to move away from pinnacle weapons. If you managed to collect them all, we hope you enjoy them!”
That last line had us slightly concerned–the past-tense phrasing there seemed to suggest that existing pinnacle weapons would no longer be obtainable after Shadowkeep launches, which would be a massive disappointment for anyone who hasn’t earned them yet. However, we confirmed with Bungie that existing pinnacle weapons will still be obtainable in Season of the Undying and beyond, provided you complete the requisite quest steps.
In related news, Shadowkeep will also alter Destiny’s gameplay in major ways–including reductions to the efficacy of various damage-increasing weapon perks. These include the perks Rampage, Kill Clip, Swashbuckler, Multikill Clip, Desperado, Surrounded, Master of Arms, and Onslaught–some of which are present on existing pinnacle weapons, most notably Recluse’s Master of Arms perk. Most players agree that Recluse is currently overpowered (as much as those who’ve obtained it love to use it), so it will be interesting to see just how these and the many other changes coming with Shadowkeep affect how we play the game–and how players will feel about them once the dust settles.