Long story short, I've spent a lot of time testing and reading about the various stats in Destiny, and at certain points in time I've posted breakdowns on them. What I'd like to do now is offer a simple refresher on what we know about four of those stats: Range, accuracy, aim assist, and stability. Now, somewhat surprisingly, all of these stats are actually interrelated, and they work together to give us the feel of the weapons we love so much in Destiny. I'm going to breakdown each on individually, then discuss how exactly it is that they relate.
For those who prefer to listen, here is Massive Breakdown Podcast Episode 40: What Do Those Stats Mean, Anyways?
When you use a perk that directly affects range (like Rifled Barrel or Hammer Forged) there are three things that change
- Damage fall off distance - the distance and rate at which the gun longer does its maximum damage. Increasing range pushes this out farther.
- Aim assist fall off distance - the distance and rate at which the aim assist loses effectiveness. Increasing range pushes this out farther.
- Accuracy cone (error angle) - the physical size of the crosshairs when ADS (invisible in normal Destiny, but can be seen in the Last Rites mission). Determines the maximum angle a shot could deflect from center when leaving the barrel of the weapon. Increasing range narrows the crosshairs, thus decreasing the diameter of the accuracy cone and providing a lower possible error angle.
Perks like Persistence, Eye of the Storm, and Hot Swap affect this.
- Accuracy cone (error angle) - Exactly what we discussed before. The physical size of the accuracy cone grows as you maintain fire, which we refer to as bloom, and this means shots have a higher error angle, and thus are less accurate.
- Projectile accuracy - Likelihood of shot going dead center or receiving maximum aim assist deflection (I think). This one has been the hardest to test in game, but based on things Bungie has said in past updates we know it exists, and this is my hypothesis of what it does. I believe that weapons have a higher initial projectile accuracy and it decreases as you maintain fire or jump in the air, in conjunction with the accuracy cone (error angle) changes. So a weapon with high initial projectile accuracy and a wide initial accuracy cone (high error angle) like a hand cannon could have a fairly accurate first shot, but the likelihood of each following shot being accurate would decrease as both bloom increases, and projectile accuracy decreases. Alternatively, a weapon with a low projectile accuracy but relatively narrow accuracy cone (like auto rifles) tends to be be inaccurate on single shots, but the bloom is clamped, which keeps the bullets confined within a relatively tight diameter, perfect for close range battles where the opponent fills the diameter of the crosshairs.
Hidden Hand, and some scopes, sights, and barrels change aim assist.
- Reticle slow down - How much your reticle slows down when it nears a target.
- Reticle stickiness - Once your aim is on a target, how much the reticle wants to stick to or follow the target when it moves.
- Bullet magnetism - The amount that a bullet will alter its path out the end of the barrel to hit a target, even if the reticle or aim is slightly off target. The maximum deflection a bullet can take is given by the circular part of the reticle (not the crosshairs) that can be seen when ADS on Last Rites. The circle increases in diameter as the Aim Assist stat gets larger, due either to sights (SureShot), barrels (Smooth Ballistics), or perks that increase AA (Hidden Hand). Weapons with higher base AA will have larger circles than those with smaller base AA. As you fire the circle shrinks in size, so your maximum aim assist deflection degrades with sustained fire. Increasing the stability stat slows down this process and speeds up the reset to maximum deflection. Think of it like the opposite of bloom. This has a maximum distance where it is effective. Meaning at a certain distance, your bullets will no longer have their paths altered, and will instead be directed solely by the accuracy principles. Functionally, magnetism works the same way as a larger hitbox, in that it provides an area around a target that counts as a hit, even if technically the shot should miss. However, instead of the bullet passing through the empty space and registering as a hit, the bullet paths out of the barrel to the target, and can still be blocked by cover. Examples of this behavior can be seen when bullets impact a phalanx's shield, even though the player is clearly aiming at the exposed hand. Deflection can also be seen with any weapon that has a bullet trail, like Touch of Malice or Thorn.
Perks like Perfect Balance, Braced Frame, etc. affect stability.
- Barrel jump - How much the barrel and your aim moves with each shot fired. Recoil can be vertical, horizontal, or both. Increasing stability decreases the physical distance moved. Stability does not necessarily reset between shots, so your gun can actually come to rest in a different position if you do not correct for it. Stability and accuracy work together, but are separate mechanics. A gun with high accuracy but low stability will still be inaccurate, as, even with the bullets going straight out of the barrel, the barrel itself will move radically after each shot, thus spreading the bullets out even without individual deflections. Likewise, a gun with high stability and low accuracy will also be inaccurate because, even though the barrel doesn't jump around much, the high error angle will continue to make the bullets spread out from the barrel.
- Aim assist degradation - How much and how fast the circular reticle which defines maximum aim assist deflection degrades is dependent on stability. The higher the stability, the longer the circle will last before it shrinks too much and disappears, and the faster it will reset during the time between shots.
- Range affects damage drop off, aim assist fall off, and the crosshair size (aka the accuracy cone or error angle).
- Accuracy affects the crosshair size (accuracy cone or error angle) and projectile accuracy (how likely the shots are to go straight or receive maximum aim assist deflection).
- Aim Assist affects reticle slow down (speed decrease when near a target), reticle stickiness (how much the reticle wants to stick with a target it is already on), and bullet magnetism (how far the shot will deflect from the barrel to pull towards a target).
- Stability affects barrel and reticle movement while firing, and the degradation of the diameter around the reticle that bullet magnetism is effective in. Higher stability means slower degradation.