The following are my casual observations – I’m open to hearing what my fellow guardians have experienced since update 220.127.116.11 went live.
Sidearm usage has skyrocketed – many players sound surprised when they talk about how deadly sidearms are. The Last Word vs. Sidearm is a 50/50 trade, with sidearms edging out The Last Word in a startling number of situations. It’s tough times for my go-to hand cannon, and I’ve begun running meta loadouts to increase my individual lethality in firefights.
Had Bungie been more conservative with their experimentation, they could have collected clearer data on how the shotgun nerf affected special weapon selection. We probably would not have seen such an expedient rise in the proportion of sidearm kills relative to other weapons had Bungie opted against introducing such drastic changes to special ammo behavior (removing all special ammo from players between rounds, with the glaring exception of sidearms) between rounds of Elimination.
I suspect that Bungie will eat their liver on this recent change to special ammo behavior. The present state of special ammo allows players to use sidearms as they would primary weapons. In essence, everyone and their grandmother is running around with a pocket The Last Word, only with more rounds and greater potency.
I would be pleased to see a reduction to sidearm base range – we’ll see, in time.