The follwoing is an excerpt from the Official Destiny Digital Guide:

The proper equipment can greatly enhance the power of your Guardian, and knowing what to look for in a weapon or piece of armor is important. There is an entire constellation of weapons available for you to find and earn out there in the solar system, and here we break down the core mechanics behind every weapon you can find in the game.

Over time, you assemble an arsenal of weapons and a literal locker filled with armor choices. No weapon or piece of armor is perfectly suited for every situation in Destiny, so learning what to use and when to use it is a vital skill for an aspiring Guardian.

A Quick Word about Balance

Destiny will change over time. This is a simple truth about the online world of Destiny. It is not a static place, so events will come and go, new content will be added, and old content will be polished. And when it comes to weapons in particular, your deadly tools of destruction on the battlefield in PvE and PvP conflict, you can expect outliers to be tuned, tweaked, and adjusted.

If a weapon is wildly powerful to the point where other choices don’t actually feel like truly viable options, expect it to get toned down a touch. Likewise, if a weapon you love consistently underperforms, expect it to be bumped up a notch or two. This is, of course, true across the entire game for all aspects of gameplay, but we’re mentioning weapons in particular because they are so critical to the gameplay experience.

When you’re playing an FPS, your gun is often the language you use to speak to the game. Speak loudly!

With a few notable exceptions for those weapons known as Exotic, the weapons in Destiny are somewhat fixed but somewhat randomly generated. Two weapons of the same name can have completely different mods. Weapons with different names have different basic stats.

However, while the stats and the mods change from weapon to weapon, all weapons in the game belong to basic templates called archetypes.

Essentially, for each different weapon class in the game (from auto rifles to machineguns), several different archetypes define how a weapon behaves in broad strokes. It doesn’t make every weapon of that class and archetype exactly the same, but it does mean that if you enjoy the way a particular archetype handles, you should look out for more weapons of that basic template.

These archetypes are not explicitly shown anywhere in the game, but the name of any given weapon is always a weapon of a certain archetype. This chapter includes tables showing the links between weapon names and their base archetypes.

Additionally, you can learn to recognize the ones you most enjoy using over time, and you can use the charts in this chapter to aid in spotting archetypes at a glance.

What this means as you hunt for the very best gear in the game is that you can search for specific auto rifles that have a fire rate, recoil pattern, and range that feels comfortable to you.

And a Word aboutDamage...

Before you freak out about the possibility of wildly powerful weapons destroying you in PvP, understand this: every weapon in the game has a tightly controlled damage range. The rule of thumb is that weapons with lower fire rates have higher damage, and vice versa, but overall, all weapons have carefully tuned damage values.

Player abilities and weapon mods can affect damage, but in PvE (and PvP where Level Advantages), your level and your Attack stat are usually the greatest influence on your damage output, rather than the random mods you can find on weapons.

In PvP outside matches where Level Advantages are enabled, level and Attack stats do not affect damage, so whether you are using a Level 5 Common weapon or a Level 20 Exotic, you will deal the same damage. In the case of normal Crucible PvP, temporary damage mods are one of the few ways you can increase damage on your weapon, and almost every such mod requires you to earn thedamage bonus.

It is also very likely that two or more of the archetypes for any given weapon class will suit your personal tastes. You may also find that you prefer some weapons for PvE and some for PvP.

Keep in mind that while the archetypes define a range of stat possibilities for a weapon, the combination of the extremes of those ranges and the random mods that appear on a weapon can make one weapon handle very differently from another within the same archetype.

Weapon Attributes

Take a breath, Guardian, it’s time to dive deep. This section delves into the specifics of how the weapons in Destiny are assembled. This isn’t simply a list of all the weapons that you can find. Instead, it is a look at the weapon DNA for every possible gun in the game.

For general PvE play and casual PvP, you do not need to know every detail about your weapons. But once you reach Level 20 and you begin exploring the upper reaches of PvE difficulty and competitive PvP, you’re going to want every edge you can get.

This information is intended to help you make decisions about your weapons for the long haul—what to equip, why to equip it, what to look for, and how to choose the weapons that best suit you (as well as how to find more of them). First, you should learn about the basic parts that make up a weapon.

Weapon Class

A class is what the weapon actually is, such as an auto rifle, a sniper rifle, or a machinegun. All weapons of a given class and rarity have the same potential pool of weapon mods. Two weapons of the same name, rarity, and level have identical basic stats (though they still have random mods).

Weapon Classes

Primary

Special

Heavy

Auto Rifle Fusion Rifle Machinegun
Hand Cannon Shotgun Rocket Launcher
Pulse Rifle Sniper Rifle
Scout Rifle

Weapon Archetype

As the “heart” of the weapon, the archetype defines the stat ranges a weapon can have. There are many weapons of each archetype in the game. So, while two “Balanced” auto rifles possess similar attributes, within those ranges, one can have a minimum value for one stat and the maximum for another.

Check the archetype charts in this chapter to see all the various stat ranges for the different weapon classes in the game.

Use the archetype name tables to look up which weapons belong to which archetypes as you find them. Also, use the tables when shopping for weapons in the Tower, especially when you are considering spending limited currencies.

Use the mod stat charts to see how you can affect the stat ranges of a given archetype. The correct mods can push a weak stat to a strong one, but they might be wasted on a weapon that already has a good stat range.

Unlock the official Destiny Digital Guide  (also available in a Print Edition).

Primary Weapon Archetypes

Auto Rifle Archetypes

Description

Pulse Rifle Archetypes

Description

Scout Rifle Archetypes

Description

Hand Cannon Archetypes

Description

Balanced Well-balanced and usable. Balanced Well-balanced and usable. Balanced Well-balanced and usable. Balanced Well-balanced and usable.
Lightweight Quick handling and reload, smaller magazine, and weak range. Lightweight Quick handling and reload, smaller magazine, and weak range. Lightweight Quick handling and reload, smaller magazine, and weak range. Lightweight Quick firing finesse, quick reload, short range.
Stable Accurate, solid magazine, lower range. Stable Accurate, solid magazine, lower range. Precise Steady, accurate, improved range. Precise Steady, accurate, improved range.
Precise Slow firing, accurate, improved range. Precise Accurate, improved range, puts rounds on target. Rapid Rapid firing, short range. Powerful Slow firing, long range, big kick.
Rapid Spray bullets, poor range, harsh recoil. Rapid Fast firing, deep magazine, poor range. Marksman Slow firing, long range, big kick.
Marksman Long range, accurate.
Special Weapon Archetypes

Fusion Rifle Archetypes

Description

Shotgun Archetypes

Description

Sniper Rifle Archetypes

Description

Balanced Well-balanced and usable. Balanced Well-balanced and usable. Balanced Well-balanced and usable.
Lightweight Quick charge, short range, quick handling and reload. Lightweight Quick firing, short range, quick handling and reload. Lightweight Quick firing finesse, quick handling and reload.
Precise Stable, easy to keep on target, slow charge. Precise Slow firing, accurate, improved range. Precise Steady, improved range, reduced recoil.
Rapid Excellent charge, short range, deep magazine. Powerful Very slow firing, long range, big kick. Marksman Slow firing, long range, big kick.
Powerful Slow charge, long range, big kick.
Heavy Weapon Archetypes

Machinegun Archetypes

Description

Rocket Launcher Archetypes

Description

Balanced Well-balanced and usable. Balanced Well-balanced and usable.
Stable Accurate, lower range, reduced handling and reload. Precise Fast, accurate rockets with low blast radius.
Precise Long range, accurate, improved reload. Rapid Quick firing, small blasts, larger magazine.
Rapid Spray bullets, close range, harsh recoil. Powerful Powerful rockets, harsh recoil.
Powerful Ponderously slow, devastating bullets, long range. Heavy Powerful but slow rockets.

 

Destiny GuideMade for the ultimate Destiny fan, the Destiny Limited Edition Strategy Guide is a beautiful 400-page guide that comes with two exclusive lithographs, a gorgeous premium double-sided dust jacket (featuring a unique cover design on the exterior and additional artwork direct from Bungie on the interior), as well as one of Three Deluxe, Collectible Covers based on the Hunter, Warlock, or Titan. This Limited Edition book is a must-have collectible for Destiny fans.

The Destiny guide is also available as a Signature Series Guide and as a Digital Guide.