Bungie to annihilate Starfire Protocol in Season 21
The Exotic Armor Tuning Preview shows the Warlock Exotic grenade energy gained being reduced to 2.5% from 20%.
Starfire Protocol is too strong. It has dominated end-game Warlock builds since the Solar 3.0 revamp in Season of the Haunted, and Bungie has said, “No more!” In a preview of the upcoming Exotic armor adjustments for Season 21, Bungie has outlined exactly how it will drag Starfire Protocol out back and go all Old Yeller on it.
The Season 21 Exotic Armor Tuning Preview, released on May 10, 2023, gives a lot of insight into the buffs and adjustments many Exotic armor pieces will be receiving in Season of the Deep. But right at the end, hidden away as almost a footnote, is an admission that Starfire Protocol is going to get a nerf that might have a similar effect to the one Whisper of the Worm always seems to receive:
Reduced the amount of energy gained per instance of damage from 20% to 2.5%. Empowered weapon kills now grant 20% grenade energy.
Many end-game builds would focus entirely on Starfire Protocol’s ability to quickly regenerate a Fusion Grenade, which can explode twice when using the Touch of Flame Aspect. Couple this with a damage-over-time weapon like Witherhoard and a Demolitionist Rocket Launcher, and Warlocks had the highest single-target damage possible.
This had the effect of most groups having at least one Solar Warlock rocking Starfire Protocol. In most cases, you could expect an entire team to be Warlocks, especially those going for speedruns.
The massive nerf coming with Season of the Deep will likely shake this up dramatically. Though still useful in neutral situations, it now means players will need to deal roughly eight times as much damage to get pre-nerf results. Bungie notes, “You still probably get an extra grenade or two per damage phase.”
What does this mean in terms of Warlocks and their builds? There’s a good chance we’ll see Warlocks break off to embrace other Exotics in a bid to find something that allows them to put out more damage. It also means Warlocks are no longer bound by Starfire Protocol, risking being booted if they use something suboptimal.
Those that still use Starfire Protocol will no doubt want to really focus in on the damage-over-time and the 20 percent grenade energy on Empowered weapon kills. If a boss has adds around it, defeating a few will mean gaining another grenade, but this is at the risk of not damaging the boss. Additionally, weapons with a higher RPM means more damage ticks, which should help get more instances of the 2.5 percent grenade energy. However, Starfire Protocol currently has a 0.4 second cooldown on how often this can active.
At the end of the day, Warlocks should likely take this opportunity to explore the other subclasses and Exotics on offer. Remember how much fun you had as a Voidwalker? Or maybe it’s time you slipped back into the Stormcaller. But while you’re enjoying another build, pour one out for Starfire Protocol. Maybe now we’ll finally get an ornament.
Sam Chandler posted a new article, Bungie to annihilate Starfire Protocol in Season 21