I see a lot of comments and misinformation around the net regarding Explosive Rounds in Destiny. I set out to answer the question of “how does explosive damage work?” and the results of my testing show evidence strictly disagreeing with¬†the below points:

  • You deal less damage overall with explosive rounds enabled to compensate for the fact that you’re dealing AoE damage.
  • The damage is split 50/50 into the base damage of the gun and a made-up damage type called “explosive damage.”

I decided to test this in such a way where the difference in damage might actually be important. In other words, will using explosive rounds cost me kills versus if I weren’t using it? I decided to use what is probably the most commonly-used weapon with explosive rounds, that being the Fatebringer. I also decided to only test it against enemies that I could not kill in one shot. I chose to do this to avoid the case that exists in some games where you cannot overkill enemies. Furthermore, the actual amount of damage you’re dealing doesn’t really matter if you kill an enemy with a single shot as at a certain point, your damage stops being a number and starts being “enough to one-shot.”

So, I found an enemy that I couldn’t one-shot. I tested this out on the “Fist of Crota” mission on earth against a level 28 Blade of Crota with my 300 attack Fatebringer on my level 31 titan. The damage amounts obtained were consistent throughout all testing at mid/close range. Since I was hunting for Husk of the Pit, the testing was exhaustive.

Test 1: Explosive rounds enabled

  • Precision damage with explosive rounds: 419
  • Bonus explosive damage: 209
  • TOTAL DAMAGE: 627

Test 2: Single-point sling or field scout enabled

  • Precision damage without explosive rounds: 627

Interestingly enough, I also tested this against a level 12 Hive Knight during the “Chamber of Night” quest on the moon and noticed that I actually dealt MORE damage overall with a crit due to what I assume is a rounding error. The damage amounts obtained were consistent throughout all testing at mid/close range.

Test 1: Explosive rounds enabled

  • Precision damage with explosive rounds: 244
  • Bonus explosive damage: 122
  • TOTAL DAMAGE: 366

Test 2: Single-point sling or field scout enabled

  • Precision damage without explosive rounds: 365

I also took the gun for a quick spin in the nightfall AND weekly just to confirm my belief that the explosive round and firefly perk take on the elemental damage of the gun from which the rounds are fired. Can confirm just based on the fact that firefly deals at best 25-50% of the life of nearby dregs/vandals caught in the explosion without arc burn active, while it mercilessly slays nearby enemies during an arc burn. Furthermore, explosive rounds allowing my Fatebringer to take down 2-3 shanks at a time with a single bullet (shanks cannot be crit, so firefly is not a factor here) is strong evidence that the explosive rounds perk does not split any damage in any way.

In summary from my testing:

  • Explosive rounds do not lower your overall damage output, precision or otherwise.
  • The explosion damage (as well as damage dealt by the firefly perk) deal the same damage type as the gun itself does. This means that Fatebringer’s explosive rounds and firefly effects deal arc damage.

Do you use explosive rounds on your weapons? Why or why not? Comment below.

via Reddit