Destiny 2 has had a ton of great, overpowered guns over the years, but Ruinous Effigy, the latest exotic weapon to get added to the game, already feels head and shoulders above most of them.
Introduced on Tuesday as part of Season of Arrivals’ new exotic quest line, Ruinous Effigy is actually pretty straightforward to get, especially compared to some of the more recent seasonal exotics. First you need to run the weekly Interference mission, than you need to collect a bunch of light fragments, and finally you need to defeat enemies with void damage. The whole thing only takes a couple of hours, and in return you get one of Destiny 2's most unique weapons to-date.
Ruinous Effigy is a trace rifle that sits in the special ammo slot, which is all well and good, but the thing that really sets it apart is a wild perk called Transmutation that turns the enemies killed with it into void spheres. These spheres—glowing purple orbs of void energy—can then be picked up and used to bash other enemies with or slam it into the ground to deal area-of-effect damage. Other players can pick up the orbs as well, completely changing the normal flow of combat. Wilder still, the orbs can also be used to briefly create a protective force field that actually heals you by draining life from any nearby enemies. Get the trace rifle’s catalyst by defeating 5000 enemies or destroying all 50 Eyes of Savathûn and it’ll deal bonus damage against any enemy that’s recently been hit by a void orb.
Some Destiny 2 guns are fun because of the way they sound. Others are fun because of the satisfying weight of their recoil and impact. And then there are those that are a blast because of how overpowered they feel. Ruinous Effigy is certainly powerful, with more than a few players using it to breeze through this season’s Prophecy Dungeon, but what really makes it stand out so much is the way it changes how enemy encounters play out and opens up new roles for players to step into.
Instead of unloading your highest DPS weapons from afar, the void orbs encourage people to get up close, weaving in and out of hordes of enemies. The catalyst also encourages teamwork with some players making the orbs while others smash them into enemies to buff Ruinous Effigy’s damage output. And as Forbes writer Paul Tassi points out, the void orb force field effectively mitigates enemy stomps, one of the most annoying and over-used mechanics in the game, thereby effectively creating a new tank subclass for those willing to aggro bosses and create openings for their teammates to strike.
Destiny 2 has always occupied a weird middle-ground between technical, role-based MMORPGs and traditional shooters. There’s lots of room for customization around the edges, but at bottom everyone who plays Destiny 2 is some version of the same powerful space wizard. Bungie’s tried to get a bit deeper into the RPG weeds recently with things like seasonal mod builds. Unique guns like Ruinous Effigy feel like another way to help break up some of that monotony without undercutting the approachable and satisfying straightforward first-person shooter at Destiny 2's core.
Many of Destiny’s most memorable moments have come from parts of the game that were broken, like bugs that make it easy to cheese raid bosses or guns like the Prometheus Lens that made killing stuff too easy. Ruinous Effigy already feels like one of those moments, not because it’s broken and offers a brief respite from Destiny 2's grind, but because the gun’s creative design offers new ways to approach it.