Destiny PvE Class Comparison Guide

Destiny PvE Class Comparison Guide by cgmcnama

Update 9/10: Warlock got nerfed pretty hard for everything I liked about him. Became much more mobile with skill tree changes but I think Striker went up a major notch in my book. Still ran Voidwalker up to 22 rather easily.

Class Overview

I keep seeing this type of question pop up repeatedly on this game and I thought I would articulate my view especially on the playable classes in Beta. Each class can more or less match each other with Recovery/Armor/Agility but each class has a small starting bonus which I think doesn’t amount to much at max Skill tree. I place more focus on grenades, melee and Supers then I do on starting class stats.

I don’t consider myself an expert PvP player so I only refer to the top leaderboards and game sample size greater then 50. I just see Hunter as the dominant class. This isn’t likely to change with the introduction of other classes as the only other damage class we haven’t see also belongs to the Hunter (Bladedancer).

Use this chart to familiarize yourself with the classes as I will be jumping straight into analysis below. Look at the Class Calculator ) if you really want to dive into the details. These are generalizations and may include choose one and not the other. With that said, here are the acronyms used:

  • AOE = Area of Effect
  • CDR = Cooldown Reduction
  • DoT = Damage over time
  • CC = Crowd Control
ClassGrenadeJumpSuperMeleeAdditional Bonuses
Hunter(Gunslinger)Solar (Incendiary) grenade. Also swarm grenade and claymoreTriple Jump3 High Solar Damage pistol bulletsThrowing Knife in addition to meleeBesides CDR, Golden Gun can overpenetrate and precision kills increase accuracy for short while
Hunter(Bladedancer)Arc Grenade with DoT or chain lightningDouble or short teleportConsume enemies in melee lightning stormExtended melee with backstab bonusBesides CDR, gain invisibility during Super or crouching.
Titan (Striker)Lightning grenade that either blinds, DoT, or sticks to enemiesJump + LiftSmash the ground to create lightning stormEmpowered lightning fistBesides CDR, gain DoT on Super and Melee. Create dash attacks with shields.
Titan(Defender)Void grenade that silences, sticks, or DoT enemies.Jump + LiftCreate shield for you and your allies that protects and buffsKilling enemy with melee generates shieldBuff group shields or generate orbs of light for allies
Warlock(Voidwalker)Void grenade with VERY strong residual AOEGlide or Short TeleportThrow explosive ball of light with residual AOEKilling enemies with melee reduces cooldownsMostly damage and CDR focused. Can choose between lasting AOE or more precise/longer abilities.
Warlock(Sunsinger)Solar grenades that either AOE, tracks, or sticks to targets.Upgraded GlidingRadiate life to increase allies damage and reduce cooldownsSets enemies afire and inflicts status effect (damage reduction, knockback, or explosion)Mostly utility by increasing burn bonus, extra grenades, or aim control while jumping. Can revive beyond grave.


  • Gunslinger (Solar): High single target burst damage from range. For PvE their best grenade is probably incendiary but the burn damage seems rather low. You may be able to utilize Tripmines when you know exact mob spawn times but they have a timeout period and damage is unknown. Their jump mobility however may be the best if there are certain areas accessible only by triple jump or empowered double jump. This is yet to be seen. Their movement speed is useful on harder difficulties to kite enemies but it has its limits.

The biggest weakness is the lack of AOE and ineffectiveness against bosses with large health pools. Regarding AOE, many people argue that with overpentration (“Keyhole”) and enemies explode perks (“Combustion”) you can make up for the lack of AOE but that is very situational and relies on skill shots to get maybe the same effect as Titan or Warlocks. Besides leaving less orbs of light for allies, they can’t leave residual AOE damage like the other classes have. Regarding large health pool targets, we only have 2 Strike bosses to compare the Golden Gun with but it wasn’t particularly useful against the Spider Tank or Sepiks Prime. The reason is that their health pools were so big that Golden Gun wasn’t really doing that much. I would rather save time and ammo by using an AOE Super on the 2 support ships that came in then 3 buffed shots against a tanky boss. It may be useful against midrange bosses (Captains/Wizards/Centurions/etc)

  • Bladedancer (Arc): High single target melee damage with some AOE. We don’t know much about this class other then it’s abilities and it has Arc damage. I think it has a really good tradeoff of high damage for having to be in a high risk situation (melee). It seems comparable to the Titan Striker in this respect as it has to get close and deals Arc damage. The Bladedancer seems to rely on chaining individual kills to prolong it’s Super while the Titan can get guaranteed AOE damage after its Super.The Bladedancer appears to be single target focused with an option for weaker AOE.. And while the Striker has a Shield dash, the “Blink” may provide greater mobility with no cooldown. I’m really torn on this class because it seems ridiculously fun to play however, Striker still seems like an eqaully viable team role with more CC, and less damage.


  • Striker (Arc): A Crowd Control (CC) beast. Has the second best damage grenades with possibly the best status effects. Offers more CC then the other classes. Particularly for PvE, the “Blind” effect shuts down entire mobs for a few seconds but I never tested on bosses. Their mobility seems average with the Double Jump and enough to get around. They focus on one empowered melee strike which seems to do decent damage and recharges. Their best attribute is the highest base armor rating in the game.

They naturally fill the “tank role” by drawing fire and fighting close but their biggest weakness is they have to be close to do damage. For bosses like the Spider Tank or S. Prime, you didn’t want to use your Super and get close as you would likely risk death. It was far better to use it on mobs and fire from afar. The higher armor rating did allow you some more leeway making mistakes without dying though. You are also presented with an interesting option for a dash melee which offers better mobility or a self generated shield for tankieness. Lastly, your Super won’t do the same Arc damage as a Bladedancer but it does knockback enemies helping your team from being overrun.

  • Defender (Void): Focuses on buffing and shielding teammates then doing damage A true support. The only Void damage you will generate is from your grenades which seems to emphasize a sticking effect. Your mobility is average but the major emphasis is shields. You melee generates a shield for you on kills and other perks allow you to create orbs of light for your allies. Your Super protects allies and can even buff their weapon damage. As opposed to the damage Striker Titan, which knocks enemies back, the Defender makes a Last Stand shielding and buffing his allies. The weapon damage buff (“Weapons of Light”) could be extremely strong especially with short burst damage weapons like Machine Guns.


  • Voidwalker (Void): Pure Damage. They have the highest damage grenade when you factor in the Vortex it creates after explosion. Their glide causes a split between people as some actually prefer it to the double jump. The one thing we don’t know is how effective their (and Bladedancer’s) “Blink” ability is. We’ve seen a snippet of it against a Spider Tank on IGN but that is about it. Their Super can be thrown to create a giant AOE effect which I think is the best Super we have seen yet. Not only can you aim it, and keep distance, but the damage is huge and can leave residual AOE. This means not only can it clear out large targets but it can hit a slower target (like a Spider Tank) in multiple areas simultaneously for exponential damage.

The weakness of the Voidwalker is that it is pure damage. It suffers from the low armor and low agility (which perks can compensate for). Because I don’t mind trading off Recovery or Agility for Armor, and there is no damage tradeoff, I don’t consider these major weaknesses.

  • Sunsinger (Solar): Buff myself first and then teammates. The solar grenade options seem better then the Hunter (if it is like a Voidwalker) but there is no “Blink” upgrading (like Voidwalker) leaving you with only a Glide for movement. The real path seems to be upgrading your grenade capacity and ignite effects if you are going for damage. The Super (“Fireborn”) can be used to save a reckless team from restating the level (cough) Strike matchmaking (cough) or reducing allies cooldowns. What we don’t know is the base effect of “dramatically increasing the effectiveness of your abilities” amounts to. We have seen it in a PvP match take out an enemy and a speeder in one melee strike so it could be huge when you factor in grenade buffs.

The weakness is your buffs are significantly less then the Defender when it comes to Allies and only reduces cooldowns. The emphasis seems to be on grenades and burn damage but I’m not sure the scope of “enhanced ability effectiveness” your Super will cover. This is a class I’ll really have to play around with before I issue a judgement.


I don’t think I need to spend much time on this. Despite some people’s views on capes they simply look amazing and everyone can see how amazing you look. Loin cloths are still noticeable but don’t really catch the eye as much. Armbands, even if they show a hologram, are just so subdued that people don’t even notice it. Some might call it traditional or ceremonial but I call it boring.

  1. Frabjous Hunter Capes
  2. Usually laundered Titan Loincloths
  3. …armbands.


Overall, for a team composition, I think the Hunter class is weakest for PvE and it is really up to choosing the Warlock (Damage) or Titan (Support) for teams. Besides looking at individual classes, Hunter just doesn’t offer the synergy that other classes have. For instance, a Sunsinger and Defender can stack their Supers creating a shield and enhance allies weapon damage and reduce their cooldowns. Or creating an even more powerful shield by having the Sunsinger create their own, weaker, shield in addition to Defender. The strength of the Hunter is varying types of damage but I beleive the other classes can fill those roles AND have support options.

If your looking for damage the Voidwalker is even more effective from afar then the Gunslinger and the Striker seems at least on par with the Bladedancer. However, both suffer from having to be melee to deal damage which I don’t view as a plus in high level Raids. The biggest question in my mind is the Bladedancer versus Striker but I still believe the Voidwalker trumps both when it comes to damage.

Misc: Tutorial Vids and Links

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