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More Infinite Ammo, Please

Destiny 2 is getting rid of primary ammo, and more games should follow suit

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Destiny's Cayde-6 points his hand cannon.
Screenshot: Bungie

Primary ammo has been a pain-in-the-ass in Destiny 2 since the game came out. Players almost never run out, except for the rare exceptions when they do and the mechanics’ uselessness boils over into frustration. Thankfully, Bungie has finally made the radical decision to get rid of it altogether. More shooters should feel emboldened to do the same.

“Running out of primary ammo has never been tactically interesting,” Chris Proctor, weapons feature lead, wrote in the latest This Week At Bungie post. “Running out in hard PvE content or because you were on a tear in PvP was a weird and sometimes frustrating experience that we would like to not subject anyone to in the future.”

Primary ammo in Destiny 2 sees you slowly eat through reserves while mowing down hordes of aliens. Rarely do you run out, however, because just about every third or fourth kill drops more primary ammo. But when you run out of targets, you’re shit out of luck. The game knows this, so you’ll eventually restock primary and secondary ammo reserves after a long enough wait.

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There was never any real strategy around ammo scarcity. Instead, it feels like an obsolete vestige from how shooters used to do things that doesn’t fit the actual pacing and what’s fun about Destiny’s combat. When Season 15 goes live next week on August 24, players will finally be able to keep shooting to their hearts’ content just as the Traveler intended. (Related: Bungie confirmed this morning that the next season will focus on the return of Awoken queen and the Crow’s sister, Mara Sov).

I can fully respect, and very much enjoy, when shooters lean into ammo scarcity to change the way people handle combat. But I’m also all for developers ditching it when it’s not really adding anything. Infinite ammo was one of my favorite aspects of Remedy’s 2019 paranormal hit Control. Its constantly regenerating ammo encouraged players to be more aggressive and focus on experimenting with their supernatural arsenal rather than hoarding clips or cowering behind cover. It’s also something I loved about the original Mass Effect, which utilized an overheating mechanic rather than strict limits on ammo reserves. It made combat less repetitive and felt more sci-fi. Too bad BioWare ditched it for the Legendary Trilogy remaster.

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In fact, infinite ammo was the gimmick behind one of the original Destiny’s best weapons: Ice Breaker. The exotic sniper rifle wasn’t a primary gun, but it had ammo that regenerated over time. The thing hit like a truck, and every time you pulled it out in a pinch, it always had a few bullets left in it. It didn’t break the game either. It was actually responsible for many of my most memorable firefights in the first game. I pray Bungie one day decides to bring it back. But, for now, infinite primary ammo will be enough to tide me over.