Gjallarhorn left behind in Destiny: The Taken King? Maybe not


Hey, I know I haven’t posted here in nearly a year, but long story put reductively short, I was busy putting about 2300 hours into Bungie’s Destiny, so I’ve got two cents to toss around.

In Bungie’s Thursday Weekly Update, it answered some FAQs from the community in regards to its Year Two Live Stream from earlier in the week leading up to Destiny: The Taken King.

One thing that dismayed many Destiny fans was the answer to whether or not the infamous Gjallarhorn exotic rocket launcher would be upgraded in power similar to some of the other exotic weapons in the game like the Suros Regime auto rifle that was detailed during the reveal stream. That answer was no.

Did you redesign Gjallarhorn?
  • Gjallarhorn will remain a Year One Exotic at Year One levels

But don’t worry, using some simple math and the information Bungie revealed this week, I’ll explain why this may not be as big a deal as some people believe.

New ways to calculate power through Light and Levels

In Year One Destiny, your Guardian’s power was set by their Light Level. This determined how much of a beating you could take and how much hurt your weapons could dish out. However, Defence stats on Year One armour were irrelevant. As long as you were at the capped Light Level of 34, you knew that you were mitigating damage to the best of your amour’s ability. Attack stats on Year One weapons were slightly more important, depending on the weapon type, you could see increase in power as you levelled the weapon up, but once it hit the 365 Attack cap, the amount of damage your guns put out was determined only by your skill with a controller.

In Year Two Destiny, things have changed. While some details are still murky, Bungie revealed some concrete facts this week.

  • Your Level is determined only by experience and will cap at 40.
  • Your Light Level is an average of the Attack and Defence stats on your three weapons, four armour pieces, ghost shell, class item, and relic.

How exactly the relationship between Level and Light will effect your Guardian’s power remains to be seen, but every new piece of legendary gear we saw in the reveal stream requires a Guardian Level of 40 in order to be equipped. Also, the level 40 legendary and exotic gear all had a base 280 Attack/Defence stat. (I say ‘base’, because that number can be increase on end-game Year Two gear by way of the new Infusion system.)

The Light Level 34 armour and 365 Attack weapons from House of Wolves that Bungie’s community manager DeeJ had equipped during the stream had a 190 Attack/Defence stat. This is how Bungie is translating the power of Year One gear into Year Two. When Year One exotic blueprints, like the one for Gjallarhorn were highlighted during the stream, they carried a 160 rating, presumably because these weapons still need to be levelled up in the traditional pre-House of Wolves way. The 280 on Year Two gear, and the 190 on fully levelled and Ascended Year One gear seem really far apart, but because of the way Light is calculated in Year Two, lugging around a 190 Gjallarhorn along side nine other 280+ items may be viable.

Will it be a difference of 280 vs. 271, or 280 vs. 190?

DeeJ’s Guardian from the stream had gear in every slot except for his Relic and his Light was 186. That’s nine items total. Eight of those nine items had 190 stats. His rare Ghost shell however, had a 170 rating. It looks like each piece of gear is equally weighted when calculating this average, so we can use this equation to calculate DeeJ’s approximate Light: (8*190+170)/9=187 Light.

If we were to apply that formula to a Guardian with 280 stat gear in each of his or her 10 slots except for one (with the 190 Year One exotic of your choice) the equation reads: (9*280+190)/10=271 Light.

Having 271 Light compared to the 280 a Guardian using that Year One exotic instead of a Year Two one would have, doesn’t seem like that big of a difference.

If Light sets a baseline for how much damage all of your guns do, then I wouldn’t worry about leaving Gjallarhorn behind anytime soon. But if Light is more like a gating mechanic, and the individual attack rating of each of your guns is the primary determinant for how much damage it will do — better start writing the obituary for ol’ Gjally now.

One way or the other, we’ll know for sure once Destiny: The Taken King launches on September 15.

Personally, I’ve always wished Gjallarhorn wasn’t so good. At least then I could justify never taking off my Hawkmoon.


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