Swords 3.0, An In-Depth Player Suggestion


Given the recent nerfs to Fallen Guillotine and The Lament , now is better than ever to discuss a proper rework to Swords. Players finally have a viable non-exotic in the Heavy slot, and they keep receiving nerfs. We wish Bungie would consider buffing under performing/underused Legendary Heavies before issuing nerfs.

Recent changes to Swords imply that DPS is the only factor considered. Given the variety of Sword frames, this is a shame that only one Frame at a time has the highest DPS, therefore the only Frame Players use. We believe they should have different uses.


  • We used this damage spreadsheet. As well as our own in game testing to inform our reductions or increases in damage values. However, without a proper test room (a tribute hall 2.0 with more control/options please Bungie) or Bungie's sophisticated testing capabilities, all of the numbers we suggest should be treated as a guideline, showing roughly our intention.
  • As with all of our suggestions, It's not as simple as improving something's damage or reworking one part of the game. The entire game needs to be in synergy with itself. The perks, encounter design, boss design, class and subclass abilities, mod synergy and many more aspects of the game need to work together. It's hard to make changes to one aspect of the game, if others do not also change.
    • For example, After our proposed changes, certain Sword types will be less effective than others for single target DPS. However, if a new boss was introduced that had multiple damageable segments close to each other, it would change which Swords are optimal.


Bungie’s change to Sword energy (Patch 2.8.0) combined with the reintroduction of the Vortex and Caster Frames, were great steps towards making Swords more engaging weapons. However, we believe they can be taken a step further to make them a truly unique heavy weapon with diversity and give players more choice. If players discover that in certain encounters Swords excel, then great! It adds build diversity, so players do not use Anarchy or Xenophage for everything.

Here are some general changes that will affect all Swords:

  • Made the impact stat more accurate to each Frames actual damage.
  • All swords have been given a charge rate of 32 (Because of this change, new charge rate affecting perks/traits could be added).
  • Legendary Swords can now use their Charged Heavy Attack when they reach the minimum required energy for a Charged Heavy Attack for their respective archetype, similar to The Lament.
  • Improved target selection of Swords based on the movement direction players hold while attacking (wasd and left thumbstick).

Caster Frame

We believe this Frame’s identity should be that of a more safe, ranged option, but lower in the damage department. Possible niche applications with Champion mods.

  • Charged Heavy attack cost reduced from 8 to 4.
  • Charged Heavy attacks now consume 25% Sword energy.
  • Charged Heavy attack damage reduced by 10%.
  • Ammo reserves increased from 55 to 60.
  • Charged and Uncharged Heavy attacks now work while in the air, similar to Black Talon.
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Vortex Frame

Clearly designed for AoE, this should be ramped up even more, with middling damage.

  • Charged Heavy attack radius increased by 25%.
  • Charged Heavy attack damage reduced by 40%.
  • Charged Heavy attack cost reduced from 6 back to 4, reverting the recent nerf.
  • Charged Heavy attacks now consume 50% Sword energy.

Adaptive Frame (Suggested rename to Dueling Frame)

  • These Swords should be the king of single target DPS. With the Heavy Attack uppercut serving as a devastating attack.

  • Charged Heavy attacks still cost 100% Sword energy.

  • Charged Heavy attack damage increased by 10%.

  • Ammo reserves reduced from 58-62 to 48.

Class Swords

If these swords are to be re-introduced, they will require a large amount of tuning. These swords actually far outperform regular swords, including Fallen Guillotine. Quite a few big changes to their numbers need to be made to bring them in line with the other swords. Note, each Sword can only be used by its respective class.

Aggressive Frame (Suggested rename to Ravager Frame)

Titan’s unique Sword. Similar to the Vortex Frame, serving as an AoE monster, but with a slight twist.

  • Charged Heavy Attack radius increased by 20%.
  • Charged Heavy attacks leave behind cracked earth for 5seconds, damaging enemies. (Uncharged leaves a smaller, shorter lasting effect).
  • Charged Heavy attacks cost 50% Sword energy.
  • Charged Heavy attack damage reduced by 20%.
  • Light attack damage reduced by 30%.
  • Light attacks lunge range increased slightly.

Lightweight Frame

Hunter's signature sword. We believe this to be in an ok position in concept. A super fast swinging sword with high ammo reserves to act as a rank and file (red bar) enemy destroyer. It turns out this sword actually has higher Light Attack and Heavy Attack values than most swords, as well as a significantly faster swing speed. We want to solidify its role as a light attacker.

  • Charged Heavy attack damage reduced by 40%.
  • Charged Heavy attacks still cost 4 ammo.
  • Charged and Uncharged Heavy Attack kills grant the player the Assassin's Blade buff (See below for changes).
  • Reduced Light attack damage by 15% (This sword has faster swing speed).

NEW Warlock Frame (Incantation / Enchanter Frame)

We would like to totally rework the Warlock Sword which is currently an Adaptive Frame, but with Infinite Guard as its unique property. Our proposed idea could be tweaked and changed, to give differing results, but we hope you understand the concept behind it.

  • Charged Heavy Attack slams the sword into the ground (Similar to well of radiance cast animation) with a small AoE which does moderate damage (same as 2 Light Attacks).
  • Charged Heavy Attacks cost 8 ammo.
  • Total Ammo reserves of 60
  • The Charged Heavy Attack plants a healing rift + empowering rift which last for 7 seconds (half the time of a normal rift).
  • Uncharged Heavy Attacks, slams the sword (Reduced damage and AoE) but does not place any rifts.
  • Still has infinity guard.


Exotic Swords have almost never been used apart from the niche use of worldline for speedrunning and of course, now the use of The Lament. We want to make Exotics Sword feel unique, rather than just upgraded versions of their Legendary counterparts (Black Talon > Caster Frames).

  • All Exotic Swords now have Infinite Guard (Apart from Lament and any future sword that acts similarly to Lament)
  • All exotic Swords now have a choice between Tireless blade or Relentless Strikes.
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Black Talon

This weapon has lost most of its identity. With the re-introduction of Caster Frame swords, as well as the catalyst simply being the “Counter attack” trait, which other Swords can roll with. We want to keep its throwing nature, but give it a more unique identity.

  • Charged Heavy Attack cost reduced from 8, to 4.
  • Charged Heavy Attacks now consume 25% Sword energy.
  • Charged Heavy Attack damage reduced by 40%.
  • Exotic Trait: Crow’s Wings – Every Heavy attack fires 2 projectiles (Each projectile does 50% of the overall Heavy Attacks damage).
  • Exotic Catalyst: Crow’s Redemption – Charged Heavy Attacks no longer consume Sword Energy (This will allow the Sword to throw an insane amount of projectiles but will chew through ammo very quickly. Possibly great for burst DPS, but bad for sustained, think Fourth Horseman).

Worldline Zero

Only remembered for speedrunning. We want to lean into that aspect, and not have the Sword be another DPS Heavy Attack Sword. The removal of the “skating” mechanic with Worldline Zero we believe to be a very Anti-Destiny change. We would love for Bungie to embrace its unique movement mechanics.

  • Add back in the skating mechanic.
  • Every Charged Heavy Attack is “Tesseract Blink”, and no longer requires sprinting to activate.
  • Exotic Catalyst: Zero to 100 – Kills grant 33% sword energy.

The Lament

This sword is great. it serves its purpose of a short window burst DPS weapon. Bungie's overreaction to it being used with great success in the Deep Stone Crypt Raid, more specifically, 1 encounter in the DSC raid, is confusing. The Atraks encounter is clearly designed for burst weapons, so The Lament is an obvious choice. We have seen lots of discussion around why the recent nerf was justified and suffice to say, we do not agree. The weapon is fine, it serves a particular purpose, it has its uses.

  • Revert the 16% damage nerf.
  • If it really needs to be tuned. Nerf a specific aspect of it, such as its normal light attack. So you can keep what makes it great, its unique Heavy Attack combo, while still lowering its overall power. A blanket damage nerf is simply lazy.


Sword traits are extremely lacking in diversity, with Whirlwind Blade being the clear choice for 99% of content. Some traits were actually made worse after the Sword rework, further pushing Whirlwind Blade as the only good option. Here are our suggestions on how current traits can be improved, as well as some new, unique to sword traits. There are many traits in the game currently that are not used on swords, that could easily be added (unrelenting, demolitionist, rampage, high impact reserves) just to name a few.

  • En Garde – Increase activation time from 1s to 2s. Increase damage bonus from 30% to 50%
  • Assassin’s Blade – Removed damage bonus. Doubled effectiveness of the move speed boost on kill.
  • Hardened Carapace – Kills grant the player maximised resilience.
  • Counterattack – Now boosts only light attack damage by 100% for 1.5seconds after blocking any attack.
  • Flash Counter – Any attack blocked (not only melee) now disorients the attacker briefly. (applies blind for 1-2s on enemy. No longer requires you to block an attack IMMEDIATELY after blocking).
  • Shattering Blade – Damage increased from 67% to 250%, but requires reaching at least 50% of the swords total reserves before being able to be reactivated.
  • Energy Transfer – Now functions similarly to the Wellspring trait. Gaining 7.5% ability energy spread across any uncharged abilities after blocking damage.
  • Perpetual Energy – Sword energy recharges even when holstered. (This Trait should be cautiously used with our proposed changes to Adaptive Swords. It would make for a great pinnacle / curated Trait for a Raid Sword).
  • Focused Feedback – Sword kills grant a buff (stacks up to x3) that increases the next shot(s) of your Kinetic weapon by 15%.
  • Radagast’s memory – Guarding reflects projectiles.
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Edges and Guards are unique to Swords and are quite hard to change without a total rework. All that springs to mind would be to slightly increase the effectiveness of Guard Resistance, Guard Efficiency and Guard Endurance. This would allow for better synergy with traits.


It would be great to have Guard Resistance, Guard Efficiency, Guard Endurance, Charge Rate and possibly even Swing Speed as Masterwork options alongside Impact. However, only if in the future there is some way to reroll masterworks and/or the 3 Guard options have increased efficacy.

Honourable mentions

  • Change the edge perks, to barrier edge, overload edge, unstoppable edge, etc. Also fire edge that applies burn, or a stasis edge that applies slow etc. (ideally visually changing the sword). Instead of the current system where only the edge that provides the most damage is considered.
  • You could argue that all swords could have the exact same dps, so you then have a choice of which sword type you personally prefer to use. However we believe each sword type should have a different use, and not all be designed for single target dps.
  • More focus should be put on the perks/traits and elements of swords so that the “same sword” isn’t constantly re-released. Other types of melee weapons. Battle axes (Iron Banner), spears, rapiers etc. Even if they have the same animations (though they should be unique), visually “Swords” could be more interesting.


  • Swords could do with a mini rework. We tried to give all swords a different use/identity – Caster = Safe range, Vortex = AoE, Adaptive = Single target. This way each sword isn't judged solely on its DPS.
  • It's hard to make changes to one aspect of the game, if others do not also change, i.e. encounter/boss design.


m_wray, Parscral & gingerwarpig


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