Bungie are overhauling every Destiny 2 ability ahead of Witch Queen release

Brad Norton

Almost every single Destiny 2 ability is set to change ahead of the Witch Queen expansion. From PVP-dominant Warlocks to PVE-centric Hunters, here’s how the most overpowered and underappreciated subclasses are evolving.

The Witch Queen expansion is shaping up to be one of the biggest in Destiny history. Not only is Savathun drawing near with one of the game’s most anticipated stories, but so too is a heap of new content.

While a major reveal event is set to unveil said content, Bungie has already begun teasing many of the upcoming balance changes. From sweeping PVP overhauls to weapon and armor tweaks, there’s plenty to look forward to.

For now though, the devs revealed an early look at many of the major ability changes on the way. No subclass is safe and we’ve got the full rundown on everything planned for Season 15.

destiny 2 crucible
Bungie are looking to ‘reset’ Destiny 2 heading into the Witch Queen expansion.

General ability changes in Destiny 2

When it comes to general ability changes, Stasis is once again on the chopping block. After months of reeling back the Beyond Light element, even more nerfs are on the way. Namely, breakout animations will be shorter, and players will also be able to breakout when airborne.

Speaking on movement abilities, sliding will feel rather different in the Witch Queen era. When sliding, weapons will be slightly less accurate and flinch will be even more noticeable. Specifically, Shotguns will also have further downsides while sliding.

There’s also a new optional feature that allows you to bind charged melee attacks to separate inputs. This should prevent you from ever accidentally wasting an ability or lunging in for a quick melee when you wanted to throw a knife, for instance.

Below is a look at all of the general ability changes on the way to Destiny 2.

Destiny 2 gameplay
Sliding will actually hold you back in The Witch Queen.

General abilities

Auto-melee is the new name for the melee action that you’re used to. Your melee is context-sensitive and its behavior will change based on your equipped ability and your proximity to enemies. It usually does its job well but will occasionally betray player intent.
Charged melee is a new action that will always activate your charged melee ability upon button press, regardless of whether an enemy is in lunge range. Pressing the input when your melee ability is not fully charged will perform no action and cause the melee-ability icon to flash red, similar to how the grenade ability works.
Uncharged melee is a new action that will always activate your uncharged melee, even when your charged melee ability is fully charged.

Stasis Freeze

  • Frozen players can now initiate breakout while airborne.
  • Shortened breakout animation and camera transition.
      • This means that once you decide to break out, you’ll be able to fight back sooner.
  • Differentiated long freeze and short freeze visual treatment to make each status easier to identify.


  • While sliding, players now incur the following weapon penalties:
      •  -20 stability
      • +15% shotgun pellet spread
      • 1.5x flinch

Titan changes in Destiny 2

Destiny 2 gameplay
Titans should be a little more powerful in Season 15.

For Titan mains, a wide assortment of changes are on the way to many staple abilities. On the positive side, Rally Barricade should be much more impactful as an offensive pick as weapons gain unique stat boosts when standing behind the shield.

Moreover, enemies running at full speed through your barrier will now take damage as well. 

Also receiving buffs are Throwing Hammers, Fists of Havoc, and even Shiver Strike. For the most part, Titans should feel slightly more powerful with only a few key downsides impacting cooldowns and ability durations.

Titan’s can expect all of the following changes in Destiny 2 once the Witch Queen arrives.

Rally Barricade

  • Standing behind the Rally Barricade now also provides the following weapon buffs:
      • +30 stability
      • +10% range
      • -50% flinch

All Barricades

  • Players moving at high velocity now take more damage when moving through hostile Titan Barricades.
  • Barricades now slightly protrude into the ground to better protect the Titan’s feet on uneven ground.
      • This should reduce instances where explosions and projectiles are able to sneak through the bottom of the Barricade and hit the Titan.


  • Cryoclasm 
      • While equipped, base slide now shatters crystals and frozen enemies.
      • Increased duration of screen FX notifying players that Cryoclasm long slide is ready from 1 second to ~4.5 seconds.
  • Shiver Strike 
      • Increased movement speed by 25%.
  • Whisper of Rime 
      • Fixed a bug where the overshield provided by Whisper of Rime was not scaling precision damage correctly.

Middle Tree Sunbreaker

  • Throwing Hammer 
      • Increased time before hammer explodes after hitting the ground from 6.5s to 10s.
      • Increased damage vs. powerful PvE combatants by ~50%.

Top and Bottom Tree Striker

  • Fists of Havoc 
      • Increased slam detonation radius by 14%.
      • Reduced slam damage falloff.
      • Reduced slam attack activation cost from 21% to 18%.

Middle Tree Striker

  • Inertia Override 
      • Increased duration from 4 seconds to 6 seconds.
      • Sliding over an ammo brick now grants 20% melee energy.

Top Tree Sentinel

  • Ward of Dawn 
      • Increased damage taken from bosses from 0.25x -> 7x (at 0 Resilience).
      • Damage taken can scale down to 0.25x based on the owner’s Resilience stat.

Hunter changes in Destiny 2

Destiny 2 gameplay
Hunters may not be the PVE beasts they’re known as in The Witch Queen.

Next up, Hunters are in store for perhaps the least changes in the Witch Queen altogether, though the few changes mentioned are still quite significant. Revenant, Gunslinger, Arcstrider, and Nightstalker are all being tweaked to some degree.

Arcstriders will be happy to know their top and middle trees are receiving considerable buffs. Duration has been increased for Deadly Reach, damage has been improved for Lightning Weave, and the Arc Staff itself will also deal 33% more damage in PVE moving forward.

Below is the full list of Hunter changes locked in for the Witch Queen update.


  • Silence and Squall 
      • Increased Squall movement speed by 20%.
      • Squall storm now stops when it touches a boss.
  • Withering Blade
      • Increased projectile speed and tracking by 10%.

Middle Tree Gunslinger

  • Knife Trick 
      • Increased burning duration from 3s to 4s.

Top Tree Gunslinger

  • Six-Shooter 
      • Damage falloff now starts at 25m instead of 20m


  • Arc Staff 
      • Extended passive Super duration from 16 seconds to 20 seconds.
      • Increased heavy-slam detonation radius from 5m to 6m.
      • Increased damage vs PvE combatants by 33%.
  • Top-Tree Arcstrider 
      • Deadly Reach 
          • Increased duration from 8 seconds to 10 seconds.
  • Middle-Tree Arcstrider 
      • Lightning Weave 
          • Dealing damage with Tempest Strike now triggers Lightning Weave.
          • Timer can now be extended by dealing damage with any weapon.

Middle Tree Nightstalker

  • Spectral Blades 
    • Reduced damage reduction during Super from 52% to 47%.
    • Reduced additional DR when invisible from +5% to +3%.

Warlock changes in Destiny 2

Destiny 2 gameplay
Warlock’s received more changes than any other class.

Following on from the few Hunter changes, Warlock’s appear to be in line for the biggest overhaul yet.

“Top-tree Dawnblade is straight-up dominant in PVP,” the devs acknowledged. As a result, this particular subclass is being hit with a number of key nerfs. Icarus Dash now provides a dodge every four seconds, Celestial fire is less accurate and deals less damage, all while your location will be revealed on enemy radars.

Both middle and bottom Dawnblade treets have also been tweaked across PVP and PVE, as has just about every other Warlock subclass.

Below is the complete rundown on every planned Warlock change for the Witch Queen expansion.


  • Winter’s Wrath 
      • Reduced Shatterpulse damage vs. close-range Supers.
          • Warlock must now freeze and shatter twice to defeat players in Burning Maul, Fists of Havoc, Sentinel Shield, Nova Warp, Arc Staff or Spectral Blades (Glacial Quake still only requires one shatter to defeat).

Top Tree Dawnblade

  • Celestial Fire 
      • Reduced tracking cone angle.
      • Arming shape (proximity detonation) now shrinks over time.
      • Reduced detonation size by 1m.
      • Damage falloff increased at short distances.
  • Icarus Dash 
      • Now provides one air dodge every 4 seconds.
          • While under the effects of Heat Rises, increased to 2 dodges every 5 seconds.
  • Heat Rises 
      • Increased duration from 10 seconds to 15 seconds.
      • Increased the time extension awarded for air kills while Heat Rises is active. The extension duration differs based on the type of enemy killed.
      • Your location now appears on enemy radar when using Heat Rises.

Middle Tree Dawnblade

  • Well of Radiance 
      • Increased damage taken from bosses from 0.25x → 1.5x (at 0 Resilience).
          • Damage taken can scale down to 0.25x based on the owner’s Resilience stat.
          • Note: This refers to the Well of Radiance itself and not players inside the well.
      • Increased damage resistance buff vs. enemy players from 20% to 40%
          • Players inside Well of Radiance are now immune to Stasis freeze and slow.
          • Well Sword can now be frozen and shattered by Stasis.
  • Guiding Flame 
      • Increased duration from 7 seconds to 10 seconds.
      • Increased damage buff from 20% to 25%.

Bottom Tree Dawnblade

  • Phoenix Dive 
      • Reduced delay before dive starts.
      • Can now input a direction to dive in that direction.
  • Igniting Touch 
      • Ability Rework: Solar ability kills and kills on burning targets now cause targets to explode and burn other nearby enemies (who will also explode if they die while burning).

Middle Tree Stormcaller

  • Chaos Reach
      • Increased beam environment-collision size to better match collision size with damage size.
      • Reduced beam damage radius in PvP by 20%.
      • Reduced beam end-point-sphere radius in PvP by 33%.

Bottom Tree Stormcaller

  • Arc Soul 
      • Increased duration from 12 seconds to 13 seconds.
      • Increased fire rate by 10%.
  • Electrostatic Surge 
      • Now increases sprint speed when allies are near.
  • Landfall 
      • Now fires five arc ground projectiles on cast.

Middle Tree Voidwalker

  • Nova Warp 
      • Increased damage vs. PvE combatants by 73%.
      • No longer slows movement speed while charging/charged.
      • Now detonates on cast.
  • Handheld Supernova 
      • Increased damage vs. PvE combatants by 100%.
      • Increased hold time from 2.5 seconds to 3.2 seconds.

About The Author

Brad Norton is the Australian Managing Editor at Dexerto. He graduated from Swinburne University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and has been working full-time in the field for the past six years at the likes of Gamurs Group and now Dexerto. He loves all things single-player gaming (with Uncharted a personal favorite) but has a history on the competitive side having previously run Oceanic esports org Mindfreak. You can contact Brad at brad.norton@dexerto.com