(Written by Jack Carson)
It’s been well over a month since Destiny 2 released its well celebrated The Witch Queen expansion, and in that time, players have been able to grasp the changes made to the Void element and Subclasses. On the whole, Void 3.0 has been a massive success and has allowed for an elevation in build crafting, player expression, and just overall fun in the game. I’m currently having a blast playing on Voidlock with a scatter grenade build focused around explosions and more explosions.
However, now we look to the horizon. With season 17 fast approaching, Destiny players are now thinking about what changes could be coming to the remaining two elements, Solar and Arc. We know that we will be getting changes to each of these, one per season for the next two seasons, but we are yet to know which one is coming next. Mounting evidence seems to point to Solar, but until we get confirmation from a TWAB or a Bungie employee, we simply must speculate.
So, speculate we shall!
Based on the Void 3.0 reworks and several changes to Exotic weapons and gear coming in the next season we may be able to paint a clearer picture of what we can expect from Solar and Arc 3.0 in the upcoming seasons.
BACK TO SCHOOL: ELEMENTAL ‘VERBS’
The ‘verbs’ of Stasis: Slow, Freeze, and Shatter. Destiny 2, Bungie
With both Stasis in Beyond Light and Void 3.0 in The Witch Queen, Bungie has set out to make the role of each element crystal clear to players, and one way of doing that was by adding unique ‘verbs’ attributed to each element.
For Stasis: Slow, Freeze, and Shatter.
Void is slightly more complicated: Suppression, Volatile, and Weaken for debuffs, and Invisibility, Devour, and Overshield for player buffs. (see the ‘Closer Look At Void 3.0′ article on Bungie.net for more information)
These different verbs allow for abilities and Exotics to specifically play into one or many of these features, enhancing the build crafting potential of numerous parts of the game: a Void Titan looking to spec heavily into the Overshield buff can now select the Bastion Void aspect, Exotics like the No Backup Plans and even gun perks such as Turnabout to keep that Overshield alive and well-fed.
Solar and Arc will be getting similar verbs and keywords added to their repertoire once they get their 3.0 updates, but we already have a few ideas on what those could be.
BURN, BURN, BURN…
Solar Subclasses. Destiny 2, Bungie
Let’s start with Solar, which is easier to dissect out of the two.
Potential Solar verbs include Ignite, Burn, Explosion, and Heal.
These phrases all already exist in various places around the game about Solar, but we can expect them to be enhanced when they move over to the 3.0 system.
The best example of how these verbs may work comes from the Warlock. Bottom-tree Dawnblade has the melee ability ‘Igniting Touch’ which does the following: ‘Strike a combatant with this melee ability to burn them. Defeating burning combatants causes them to explode.’
Here, Burn and Explode are explicitly mentioned whereas Ignite is only linked by the abilities name.
Ignite could function similarly to how Slow acts on Stasis: a debuff that stacks up to 100, which would then inflict Burn upon the target at max stacks. If this is how Ignite may work, then it will have to do something alongside the stack (just as Slow, well, slows the targets it inflicts) — perhaps it could stop health regeneration while the stacks remain or give the one who inflicted Ignite ability energy.
Burn is simple: it burns, inflicting damage over time onto whatever enemy is being burned. This is how it functions in the game already, with several Exotics including the Dawn Chorus and the new buff to Prometheus Lens working around this system. Not much needs to be changed on this front, as it is already a unique debuff when compared to Void or Stasis.
Explode is similarly obvious: when an enemy is killed, they explode, dealing damage to any other enemies around them. This makes Solar viable as an add clearing tool similar to Stasis: the difference being that Stasis would be crowd control, whereas Solar would simply be crowd clearing.
Stasis and Solar as supposed to be opposing forces, so having them act towards the same goal but in different ways (Stasis with Freeze and Slow, while Solar causes Explosions and chaos) is thematically appropriate.
But what of Heal? It seems off to include it on this list, but its inclusion can be seen in the ‘Bungie Vidoc: Light in the Darkness’ released just before The Witch Queen launched. Design lead Kevin Yannes says (regarding future subclass revisions) at 12:17:
“Solar obviously is going to be about burning, but there’s this other component to Solar, and that’s healing.”
Solar is currently the only class with a dedicated Heal in the form of Well of Radiance, and the entire middle-tree Solar Warlock. Exotics such as Lumina and the new Exotic glaive Edge of Intent also factor into this healing fantasy, so the ability to build craft into a support-type player is already there.
As someone who likes playing healing classes, the possibility of becoming a dedicated healer in Trials of Osiris or endgame Nightfalls is so endlessly appealing that I cannot wait to see how they expand the Heal verb with Solar 3.0.
An additional thing to note is that several of the abilities of the Hunter buff weapon stats: Golden Gun accuracy with ‘Deadshot’, ‘Chain of Woe’ buffs reload speed, and ‘Knock ’Em Down’ grants both stability and handling. While these may all stay exclusively on Hunter, they may also come to other classes to act as additional buffs alongside Heal: Void 3.0 has 3 buffs and 3 debuffs, so maybe Solar will follow that as well and introduce 2 new buffs in addition to Heal? On the other hand, it may also follow Stasis, which only has 3 debuffs for its ability, without any specific debuffs so we will just have to wait and see.
Solar is already one of the most expanded upon elements in all of Destiny, with Exotic weaponry and armour both allowing for an immense amount of build craft and synergy. As a result, seeing how they can open it up and make it even better as Void 3.0 has for that element, is such an exciting prospect.
STRIKE LIKE LIGHTNING
Arc Subclasses. Destiny 2, Bungie
Arc, on the other hand, is a lot harder to quantify.
Potential Arc verbs could include Recharge, Disorient, Ionic Trace, and Chaining.
At current, the majority of these do not feed into each other as nicely as Void or even Solar keywords do, but that is highly likely to be amended come Arc 3.0. Nevertheless, we shall work with what we have at our disposal.
Recharge is more of a stand-in for any form of ability regeneration. Arc subclasses all have some form of ability to regen baked deep into their makeup, whether it be the Hunter’s ‘Combat Flow’ which recharges dodge on melee kills, or the Warlocks’ ‘Rising Storm’ which recharges all your ability’s energy on a melee hit. Ability regen is a core part of the Arc kit, so expect to see some form of it in one or more of the 3.0 verbs.
Disorient is currently available from a few Arc sources: the Gemini Jester Exotics, the Titan’s Flash Grenades, and the Hunter’s ‘Disorienting Blow’. Currently, Disorient limits the movement of the affected target, while also impairing their vision. All classes will likely gain access to Flash Grenades when Arc gets its 3.0 treatment, so seeing Disorient be expanded as a universal debuff would make a lot of sense.
Ionic Trace is currently the only ability on the Warlock’s middle tree Stormcaller, but it is making its way to the Exotic trace rifle Coldheart next season as an additional perk. An Ionic Trace is a small bead of light that travels on the ground after defeating enemies, which then grants ability energy once collected. With Bungie giving Coldheart this ability, it seems that they may be gearing up to allow more classes access to this source of energy recharge.
Finally, we have Chaining. While not a buff or debuff like the other verbs we have mentioned, chaining is still a massive part of the Arc subclasses. Arcbolt grenades and several abilities of the Stormcaller rely on chaining lightning between different enemies to weaken many targets at once. Opening this up to Titans and Hunters may open up new, more reliable ways to clear lots of adds at close range.
Like Solar, some Arc abilities do add to weapons, specifically damage with the Titan’s ‘Inertia Override’. To compliment a potential new buff from weapon stats in Solar, perhaps Arc may get a specific weapon or player damage buff. Alternatively, a buff that increases damage resistance may also work, seeing as Arc is about CQC so granting all classes some form of resistance buff may promote this style of play.
The identity of Arc is about speed and quickness, with Kevin Yannes having mentioned on Twitter that the Synaptic Spear seasonal item in the new PsiOps Battlegrounds is meant as a test for Arc 3.0. The Spear allows the user enhanced mobility, jump height, and even a short-range teleport similar to Blink, so speed and mobility are still at the forefront of the element.
Arc is arguably the hardest element to figure out, as its identity as CQC means that it currently struggles in hard endgame content and is usually outclassed by safer damage options. Hopefully, the Arc 3.0 update manages to help it out.
Whatever the case, the changes Bungie has with Void 3.0 are some of the best the game has ever received. If Solar and Arc get even close to where Void has landed, we will be in a very good spot indeed.
The next season of Destiny 2, alongside the new Arc or Solar 3.0 element changes, launches on the 24th of May. Destiny 2 is available on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC for free.