With Destiny 2's newest Exotic Rocket Launcher about to celebrate its two month birthday, it's a good time to check-in and see how the game's trio of Exotic Rocket Launchers are performing.
THE WARDCLIFF COIL
The Wardcliff Coil fires a volley of 8 mini-rockets for the low, low price of 1 unit of Power Ammo. It’s not particularly accurate without its Pinpoint Guidance Module Catalyst (which adds tracking) but once that's in place, the Coil will send a glowing swarm of exploding insects after your locked-on target. It’s also quite effective when fired from the hip, like a mini-rocket-shotgun.
THE TWO-TAILED FOX
The Two-Tailed Fox fires two, intertwining rockets per shot - one Void, One Solar. Both rockets track the same target and do full damage. The Void rocket suppresses targets and can knock a PvP opponent right out of their Super, or, prevent a PvE enemy from teleporting. The Solar rocket causes damage over time, 3 or 4 ‘blips’ worth.
A returning champion from the original Destiny, The Truth features two intrinsic Perks: ‘Trueseeker Prototype ‘ and ‘Grenades and Horseshoes'. Tracking and proximity detonation may not sound that exciting, but in Truth they are devastating. Truth has the strongest tracking of any weapon in Destiny 2, and when combined with proximity detonation (and a large blast radius) your rocket only has to come close to its target to be lethal.
1. ARE EXOTIC ROCKET LAUNCHERS ACTUALLY EXOTIC?
A lot of players consider Exotic weapons just another step up the rarity ladder from Legendary. I always thought Bungie chose the word 'Exotic' because of what it means: “Strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual." So, if that is the case, do our Exotic Rocket Launchers fit that description? This is actually an ongoing debate that dates back to the original Destiny. I personally prefer Exotics that try to do something a little different in form and function, as opposed to just taking the 'bigger and better' approach.
WARDCLIFF COIL: Many compare the Wardcliff Coil’s nozzle to a microphone. I think it looks more like a mechanized hive. Its volley of 8 mini-rockets is unique among projectiles, especially when tracking a target. The rockets move like a swarm of glowing insects, leaving behind a stream of blue contrails. While the Wardcliff Coil is certainly ‘bigger and better’, it is also 'exciting and unusually' exotic.
TWO TAILED FOX: I do believe this is the biggest Rocket Launcher in the game. Its design has clearly been influenced by anime and manga, right down to the fox on its sights that gets angry when you lock-on. It fires two different types of intertwining, almost dancing, rockets every time you pull the trigger. So yeah, I consider this an exotic Exotic.
TRUTH: There’s no doubt that Truth is a fantastic Rocket Launcher, but I just don’t see tracking and proximity damage as inherently exotic qualities. They’re perks you’d expect to find on a powerful Rocket Launcher. Unless you want to make the argument that the Lock-On tracking on all three of these Exotic Rocket Launchers makes them sort of exotic by default (I'd hear you out) Truth is simply bigger and better.
2. DO EXOTIC ROCKET LAUNCHERS COMPARE FAVORABLY AGAINST OTHER EXOTIC WEAPONS?
Since you can only equip one Exotic weapon at a time, is an Exotic Rocket Launcher your best choice? That all depends on what other Exotic weapons you have in your inventory.
Assessing Exotic Weapons like it's some kind of contest is difficult, because comparing weapon types is difficult. Comparing a Rocket Launcher to a Sword is apples to oranges. The only comparable weapon type to Rocket Launchers is Grenade Launchers, and they're not really that similar. They just both deliver explosive payloads. You may have an Exotic Fusion Rifle or Exotic Sniper Rifle that's your 'go to' long-range Power Weapon, but they do not serve the same function as a Rocket Launcher.
Still assess you must, because for all rewarding game content, your equipment gets locked upon insertion. In my experience, if a player is taking an Exotic Power Weapon, 9/10 they are going to take the weapon that does the highest DPS. That could be an Exotic Rocket Launcher (inventory dependent) but more likely, especially if they are higher Power Level players, it's probably not going to be.
What I will say is, all things being equal, I'm of the opinion that these Exotic Rocket Launchers can stand toe to toe with 90% of all Exotic weapons in Destiny 2. Rocket Launchers have uses that no other weapon can substitute for and these three Exotics are the best of their weapon type. They cannot be beat in PvP. They play an important role in PvE. The may not be my current top picks, but I'd still place Wardcliff Coil in my Top 10, Two-Tailed Fox in my Top 20 and Truth, well it's already Top 10 PvP material. We'll wait and see on the PvE side of things.
There will always be new Exotics released alongside new content that players will go crazy over because they're the new shiny toy or new DPS king. But Exotic Rocket Launchers have stood the test of time and remained relevant and viable every step of Destiny 2's journey. I believe they'll continue to do so for a long time to come.
3. ARE THERE ANY COMPARABLE LEGENDARY ROCKET LAUNCHERS?
Legendary Rocket Launchers come with two intrinsic Perks and two random ones. Players can re-acquire and thus ‘re-roll’ the random Perks as many times as they want to grind. Perks include increased damage, increased velocity, faster reloads, larger reserves, more damage from direct hits and cluster bomb payloads.
The concern became: what if these ‘God Roll’ Legendary Rocket Launchers got so good that, even if the Exotic Rocket Launchers are superior, they aren't superior enough to justify the Exotic spot.
I've gotten some great Perk 'rolls' on Legendary Rocket Launchers like Bad Omens, and they can be extremely effective. Just because you don't have an Exotic Rocket Launcher is no reason to not use a Rocket Launcher.
Having said that, I don't think Exotic Rocket Launchers have anything to worry about. Especially now the cluster bomb Perk has been nerfed. The bottom line is that 8 tracking mini-rockets are better than 1. 2 tracking, suppressing and burning rockets are better than 1. 1 insanely-competent-tracking, proximity-detonating rocket is better than 1. They may have less ammo but 9/10 times they hit their target and they do a lot more damage.
4. EXOTIC ROCKET LAUNCHERS IN THE JULY META
So let's just remember that all these Launchers have strong lock-on tracking, with Truth possessing incredible lock-on tracking. They have it, others don't.
WARDCLIFF COIL: The Wardcliff Coil has always been an effective weapon in PvP (particularly with its Catalyst) though the 'one rocket limit' stings. However, Season of the Drifter came baring gifts for The Coil: a 115% damage buff against boss combatants, that scales up to a 160% buff against weaker combatants. So now PvE is back on the table. In Gambit it's not just great weapon for invading or repelling invaders, it's great for melting Primevals. It’s rare to recommend an Exotic Rocket Launcher for both PvP and PvE, but here we are. Unless you're grinding Crown of Sorrow, it's viable for pretty much everything.
TWO TAILED FOX: Still a viable option for PvP. Delivering 2 rockets for the price of 1 can't be beat and suppressing an opponent’s Super never gets old. Like the Coil it got a PvE boost for Season of the Drifter (26%) but I wouldn't call it a top tier PvE weapon, except for possibly Gambit. It’s got great team killer potential while invading. It's not on any meta charts but don't let that stop you from using it, if you've got one. It's good, just maybe not great.
TRUTH: Truth is barely two months old but it’s gotten a lot of attention. Unfair tracking makes it the gift that keeps on giving in PvP and Gambit. However it's got some weird glitches in PvE right now (assuming they're glitches), resulting in low damage for direct hits. The running theory is that the Grenades and Horseshoes Perk is somehow detonating rockets too early and the only damage targets are receiving is proximity damage. We'll see.
What’s always interesting about taking a look at where an Exotic weapon is post-patch, isn’t just what’s going on with them, but how what's going on with everything else effects them.
The actual clusters in the cluster bomb Perk got an 80% damage nerf recently (the damage got transferred to direct damage) and suddenly Legendary Launchers are even further behind Exotic Rocket Launchers. Whisper of the Worm’s ammo capacity got nerfed from 20 to 9 and now, with Wardcliff Coil's PvE boost, it might just be a good replacement. Bungie are constantly juggling all these moving parts to maintain game-wide balance and sometimes the ripple effect has unexpected consequences.
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