You’ve only got to pay a little attention in almost any activity in Destiny 2, whether it’s PvE or PvP, to notice that one subclass in particular is always under-represented. Since Destiny 2’s launch in 2017, Arc Hunters – or Arcstriders – have had it pretty rough. While Warlocks are all Force-lightning wizards and Titans are all punchy-smashy-electric-shocky (they are Titans, after all), Arc Hunters were given a stick to wave around and make zappy noises.
Even as a Hunter main, I never touch the Arc trees unless I have to for my Vanguard weeklies. It’s not that it’s a useless subclass either, really. It’s just that compared to the Void Nightstalker or Solar Gunslinger options, it pales. The ability to block gunfire with the Arc Staff makes it somewhat useful for gap-closing in PvP, but let’s be honest, we’ve all swatted plenty of buzzy Arc Hunters out of the air like wasps around a trifle.
The Arcade Man website has some pretty up-to-date stats on all the Destiny 2 subclasses, and the numbers are damning. Even though Hunter is the most-played class by a comfortable margin, Arcstrider is the least-played subclass of all nine. 20.8% of all Destiny 2 players use Gunslinger, compared to the next most popular, which is Nightstalker at 12.6%. Arcstrider sits forlornly at the bottom with just 4.3% of players bothering to ride the lightning. Stats don’t lie, people.
But with Arc 3.0, Bungie is dedicated to not only buffing the subclass in all areas, but specifically making Arcstrider a desirable and viable option for endgame activities. As detailed in the recent Bring the Thunder blog post, Arc 3.0 is set to do a lot for everyone’s favourite space emos.
With Arc 3.0, Hunters will still be able to block gunfire, but also perform a dodge that gives them super armour, potentially making them even more annoying for the other classes in Crucible, Trials of Osiris, and the new-look Iron Banner. In Season 18, Arcstriders will give Titans a run for their money in terms of melee combat, with abilities like Combination Blow that will not only trigger health regeneration but refund dodge energy, essentially creating a lightning-powered space ninja.
Not only this, but Blink is returning to the Hunter’s repertoire. This was a Crucible favourite in Vanilla Destiny, granting Hunters a short-range teleport move in place of a double or triple jump. It was removed in Destiny 2, but Arc 3.0 is bringing it back. Prepare to get very salty at Hunters who close gaps on you in the blink of an eye.
Melee is going to be the order of the day, with the new Arc 3.0 debuffs jolt and blind. These will apply to enemies struck by arc damage, either rendering them blind and disoriented or causing them to emit shocks of lightning that chain to nearby enemies. Add to this the new Amplified state that increases movement and reload speed as you build momentum with Arc attacks and it’s hard to see any subclass getting close enough to trouble a skilled Arcstrider.
After Solar 3.0 elevated Gunslingers to the top of the Crucible food chain, Arc 3.0 is set to cement that lead with a second Super, Gathering Storm. By slamming their Arc Staff into the ground, Arcstriders will generate a damage zone that jolts nearby enemies and will create arcs of lightning that damage any opponent unlucky enough to get too close.
Right now, Arcstriders might be the least popular subclass in all of Destiny 2, but Season 18 and Arc 3.0 are about to put a few-thousand volts through the meta. We can’t wait to start trying out new Destiny 2 Hunter builds with the best armor and best weapons to see just how powerful Arcstriders can get in Season 18.