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Destiny 2 is finally getting a special melee fix, and it's buffing the pants off many Light subclasses

Destiny 2 Forsaken
(Image credit: Bungie)

Bungie has outlined a raft of Destiny 2 balance changes coming August 24 with the launch of season 15, and almost every popular and unpopular subclass is getting adjustments. 

Before we get out into the weeds of Light and Stasis, let's first appreciate a highly requested, long-awaited quality of life feature that's also coming next season: the option to map your special melee to a different button than your normal melee. No more unwittingly teleporting in for a normal melee against an explosive enemy that you meant to hit with a throwing knife. By enabling and remapping the new charged and uncharged melee options in the control settings, you can guarantee that you always use the right flavor of punch. You can still keep the old auto-melee system if you want, but for a lot of players, this will be a welcome change. 

Destiny 2 season 15 nerfs  

Right, onto the nerfs. Firstly, two fundamental aspects are getting changed. One, the Stasis freeze effect will now be easier to break out of thanks to shortened animations, and you'll get to start the breakout animation instantly if you get frozen mid-air. Two, sliding will now come with substantial penalties: reduced stability, increased flinch, and – hilariously – reduced accuracy on shotguns specifically, because Bungie knows those shotgun apes love to pretend they're on a slip-n-slide. 

The subclass-specific nerfs are more granular, so we'll go through them class by class. 

  • Top-tree Sentinel (Ward of Dawn): Ward of Dawn will now take increased damage from bosses, but you can reduce incoming damage by stacking Resilience. 
  • Middle-tree Nightstalker (Spectral Blades): damage reduction during Super decreased from 52% to 47%, and the additional reduction gained in stealth mode has been decreased from 5% to 3%. 
  • Stasis Warlock (Winter's Wrath): reduced Super damage to close-range Supers including Burning Maul, Fists of Havoc, Sentinel Shield, Nova Warp, Arc Staff, and Spectral Blades. 
  • Top-tree Dawnblade (Daybreak): reduced tracking and detonation size on Celestial Fire melee projectiles, and Icarus Dash now provides one air dodge every four seconds rather than two. However, the duration of the Heat Rises buff has been extended and you'll gain a second Icarus Dash while it's active. (Bungie described this subclass as "straight-up dominant in PvP", hence the heavy changes.) 
  • Middle-tree Dawnblade (Well of Radiance): the sword that anchors the Well of Radiance will now take increased damage from bosses, but like with the Ward of Dawn, you can reduce the damage it takes by boosting your Resilience. On the upside, the Guiding Flame buff will now last longer, provide a 25% damage boost instead of 20%, and the Well of Radiance itself will make you immune to Stasis slow and freezing effects while also granting increased damage reduction against players in PvP. 
  • Middle-tree Stormcaller (Chaos Reach): improved Chaos Reach collision detection and reduced beam damage radius in PvP to make it less likely to kill through cover or walls.

Destiny 2 season 15 buffs 

Destiny 2

(Image credit: Bungie)

There are a few positive changes slipped into the tweaks above, but overall those subclasses have been toned down. On the other end of the spectrum, Bungie's elevating almost every other class, including two which grew notoriously unpopular after being nerfed into the pavement. 

  • Stasis Titan (Glacial Quake): base Cryoclasm slide will shatter crystals and enemies again, but the long slide will still take a few seconds to spool up. Movement speed on  Shiver Strike melee increased by 25% to offset the previous nerf. 
  • Middle-tree Sunbreaker (Burning Maul): throwing hammer will deal more damage to powerful PvE enemies, and you'll have a few extra seconds to pick it up after throwing it.
  • Top- and bottom-tree Striker (Fists of Havoc): slam detonation increased, and slam energy cost reduced from 21% to 18%. 
  • Middle-tree Striker (Thundercrash): Inertia Override will last six seconds instead of four and you'll gain 20% melee energy when you slide over ammo. (Bungie says this change "will be balanced out by something we haven't mentioned yet", so don't get too excited just yet.) 
  • Stasis Hunter (Silence and Squall): Squall AoE movement increased by 20%, and this ice storm will now stick to bosses to improve single-target damage. Withering Blade projectile speed and tracking increased by 10% to offset a previous nerf.
  • Middle-tree Gunslinger (Blade Barrage): Knife Trick burning duration increased from three seconds to four. 
  • Top-tree Gunslinger (Golden Gun): Six-Shooter damage falloff now starts at 25 meters instead of 20, making it easier to one-hit with Golden Gun in PvP. 
  • Arc Hunter (Arc Staff): every subclass that uses the Arc Staff Super will enjoy a longer duration, a bigger radius on the Super slam attack, and 33% more damage in PvE. 
  • Top-tree Arcstrider (Arc Staff): Deadly Reach duration increased by two seconds.
  • Middle-tree Arcstrider (Arc Staff): Lightning Weave can be triggered by dealing damage with Tempest Strike melee, and extended by dealing damage with any weapon.
  • Bottom-tree Dawnblade (Daybreak): Phoenix Dive animation delay reduced, and you can now dive in a specific direction like the Hunter's Shatterdive. Igniting Touch melee replaced with a passive that causes any solar ability kills, or kills on burning enemies, to explode and burn nearby enemies – picture the Exotic hand cannon Sunshot, but on a subclass. 
  • Bottom-tree Stormcaller (Stormtrance): Arc Soul duration extended and firing rate improved. Electrostatic Surge will increase movement speed when allies are nearby. Landfall will now launch arc projectiles when you cast your Super. 
  • Middle-tree Voidwalker (Nova Warp): increased Nova Warp PvE damage by 73% and Handheld Supernova PvE damage by 100%. Nova Warp no longer slows you while charging, and you'll get a free instantaneous detonation when you cast your Super. Handheld Supernova can also be held for a longer duration to make it easier to line up. 

That's a whole lot of changes, and we're still not done. Titan is getting a general class ability buff next season: all barricades will now deal more damage to enemies that move quickly through them, and they'll stick into the ground a bit more to better protect your feet. Not only that, the smaller rally barricade will grant stability, range, and flinch bonuses when you're standing behind it. 

With all that out of the way, there's one more bit of good news. The process of unlocking and upgrading Stasis subclasses will be streamlined going forward. "Many of the pre-requirements for obtaining and completing the 'Born in Darkness' quest chain will be reduced or removed," Bungie says, and the path to unlock different Stasis Fragments will be more visible and straightforward. This is especially good news for newer players. May they never know the pain of grinding the week-one Fragment quests. 

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.