Explore the remarkable reversal of fortune currently being enjoyed by Bungie's gift to a more eloquent PvP user base. No Land Beyond does not suck.
"With a decent shotgun as backup and rocket-launcher heavy in reserve, No Land Beyond truly gives anyone the potential to be a menace in PvP"
No Land Beyond is an exotic special weapon that decided to be a primary weapon, but is resolutely ignored owing to a poor reputation of legendary proportions. Guardians have been known to vomit in their mouths at the sight of NLB being 'rewarded' at the end of a raid or Nightfall Strike. It is the laughing lock, stock and barrel of the Destiny community. Thousands are being dismantled even as we speak.
Just as hard mode for Crota's End put the spotlight on exotic pulse rifle Red Death, the hardcore new PvP mode dubbed Inferno which debuted on March 3 gave this unsightly sniper stick reason to be. The absence of radar blips in Inferno got broader minded Guardians thinking of the possibilities. Videos were made and a new breed of PvP player has been born to challenge those SOBs wielding Thorn, Vex and VG247 favourite Red Death.
Unlike Red Death, which enjoyed a favourable rep before its time came to shine, sniper rifle No Land Beyond has never been liked – no not at all – since being introduced alongside similarly dubious Dragon's Breath (rocket launcher) and The 4th Horsemen (shotgun) in The Dark Below DLC. Reddit comments have been classic, and include: "Fixed a bug where No Land Beyond did damage."
NLB has a frankly ridiculous bolt-action reload that takes an eternity before it's upgraded. The thing seems to take an extraordinarily long time to upgrade too, devouring 5,000 Experience bounties that barely tickle progression. The Mulligan perk (chance of returned ammo from a missed shot) is a slap in the face to begin with, because accuracy generally sucks. When you finally unlock The Master perk, increasing damage with every kill, the task of staying alive to achieve more than one clean shot has been beyond the capabilities of most players. The problem is that you're such an easy target.
Lately though, you're likely to hear murmurings of how No Land Beyond is "a beast" in PvP. In a game mode without any radar that allows other players to stumble upon your vantage point, the element of surprise is in your hands to one-shot with your primary. Find yourself an advantageous spot on the map (remembering not to poke your arse out) and the kills start coming – thunk (reload), krack (reload), thwack (reload). Smile.
Get into the rhythm of move and shoot while keeping an eye on your buddies' positions relative to yours, and you start to feel like a hunter. With a decent shotgun as backup and rocket-launcher heavy in reserve, No Land Beyond truly gives anyone the potential to be a menace in PvP, and a valuable team player thanks to learning how to read the flow of the game. Though you're not awarded points for assists in Inferno, winning the match is still satisfactory. NLB really does bite into the other team's health bars allowing teammates to finish them off closer to the fray.
We cannot pretend that No Land Beyond revolutionised our PvP experience in the same way that Red Death did a short while back. The lack of visibility on the map during Inferno bouts is a bonus, not a gift of invincibility. What we have enjoyed from our early forays into hardcore Destiny PvP with NLB by our side is an enhanced understanding of line-of-sight, more focus on listening out for foes, and trusting our own nerve to place that headshot while the second poison Thorn bullet is landing.
If you have The Dark Below DLC No Land Beyond is not at all hard to come by. If you've more than one character on the go, regularly raiding and completing the weekly Nightfall and Heroic Strikes, it's likely that you'll be scrapping more than you'll ever want to keep. Also, Xur has a nasty habit of putting this thing on sale to troll the unenlightened still out there.
You can still laugh about how ugly NLB is, and how many you've been given when all you want is Gjallarhorn, Hawkmoon, Suros Regime or whatever exotic you feel that you deserve most. You'll die a lot if you've grown accustomed to spray and pray with your favourite auto rifle, but NLB is the shit.
This article was originally published in April.