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Destiny: Clarifying All Misconceptions About Aim Assist & What It Really Does for Sniper Rifles

There has been a lot of nonsense about snipers being OP and aim assist getting kills for you that you shouldn't have got ever since Trials 2.0 began last weekend.

So, to clear all those misconception, here's an article which explains what Aim Assist and what it does for sniper rifles

[PVP] Aim assist - what it really does. There are two main parts to aim assist, one we will call our reticle slowdown, and the other we will call our bullet magnetism. These names are easy enough to understand.

Let's start with reticle slowdown. This is a pretty obvious one, aim assist means that your reticle movement speed will slow whilst passing over a target - this is in many FPS games, it adds to a better feel for the game. You can test this for yourself in patrol, move your reticle at a constant speed horizontally over an enemy and see clearly a decrease is reticle movement speed.

We know that HIDDEN HAND, a perk introduced in HoW can increase this aim assist stat, as well as a multitude of scopes available for your sniper rifle. So, due to an increase in aim assist on your sniper rifle from hidden hand, you can expect a fractional increase in the length of time your reticle will slow. We are talking about fractions of a second here guys, it's almost nothing in a fast paced game of crucible, literally, nothing.

Snipers do not actually gain much from the other half of the aim assist stat, bullet magnetism. This is the big one in which people accuse you of using a high aim assist sniper rifle to get kills you otherwise wouldn't - it doesn't work like that.

A demonstration of bullet magnetism can be found by positioning your reticle over the hand of a cabal phalanx crouched behind its shield, and not being able to hit its hand, your bullet is almost being pulled towards the shield itself - this is primarily noticeable in primary weapons.

A sniper rifle will actually register a headshot when the reticle itself is not touching the head of your target (it is still detected by the hit box), but the same applies to most weapons found in Destiny. A sniper rifle will not gain anything from bullet magnetism like other weapons, if they do it is so minuscule you wouldn't notice.

So in conclusion, a higher aim assist stat will simply allow you to track moving targets better, but WILL NOT magically pulls bullets into people's skulls (which seems to be the thought process for many individuals on this forum).

With regards to the hidden hand perk, primary weapons will benefit from the FULL hidden hand perk, the reticle slowdown AND the bullet magnetism - shots registering when they actually shouldn't. However, sniper rifles essentially will only benefit from HALF of the hidden hand perk, the reticle will slow but the 'hit box' is NOT increased. Hidden hand will simply help you steady your aim onto your target easier than would be possible without the perk.

YT user Vraethx nicely demonstrates reticle slowdown and bullet magnetism with sniper rifles in a short video, which I will link at the bottom. NOTE, his video demonstrates these effects before patch 2.0.

Within the video it is explained that there is almost no noticeable difference with and without the perk hidden hand with regards to reticle slowdown (basically with a lower or higher aim assist value). He shows that there IS a noticeable difference in bullet magnetism with an increase in 30-50%, but this is with a very high zoom scope, so the actual difference is like previously mentioned, almost unnoticeable.

Here's some base aim assist values on popular sniper rifles along with some scopes and their zooms below.

Sniper Rifles
  • Weyloran's March - 79
  • Hereafter - 75
  • Antinomy XVI - 69
  • Shadow of Veils - 69
  • Defiance of Yasmin - 69
  • Eye of Sol - 61
  • Prudence II - 59
  • 1000 Yard Stare - 56
  • Glass Promontory - 54
  • Longbow Synthesis - 53
  • Stillpiercer - 51
  • LDR 5001 - 49
  • Ice Breaker - 40
  • Her Benevolence - 40
  • Black Spindle - 39
  • Extrasolar RR4 - 36
  • Tao Hua Yuan - 36
  • Uzume RR4 - 31
  • Eirene RR4 - 21
  • Praedyth's Revenge - 20
  • Efrideet's Spear - 10
  • Sightsys - +35 (8x)
  • Longview SLR10 - +30 (5x)
  • Shortgaze - +20 (4.5x)
  • Tacsys - +15 (6x)
  • Ambush - -10(4.5x)
  • Longview SLR20 - (no data?) (7x)
In conclusion, aim assist has not changed since Y1, yet many individuals are beginning to complain about the likes of 1000 Yard Stare for having "too much" aim assist. If you want to point the finger, point it at those running the raid sniper.

A Little Comparison In Y1, a popular sniper was Her Benevolence rerolled with hidden hand and shortgaze, this totals approx. +80 aim assist.

The most common 1000 Yard Stare received as a reward from a quest has firefly, last resort and shortgaze. This totals approx +76 aim assist (this is my current go-to sniper rifle)

As you can see, the aim assist is almost the same. Nothing has changed since Y1, aim assist has not been ninja buffed. So with that being said, WHY are people complaining about sniping taking no skill because the gun "pretty much aims for you", it simply does not. If someone has killed you, they have simply aligned their reticle onto your head and pulled the trigger, they have not performed the famous stunt of bullet curving from the movie Wanted. These bullets are not heat seeker missiles.

The real reason 1000 Yard Stare is so popular in Trials is because it is so easy to obtain, obviously being given out as a quest reward, and being the perfect archetype with 31 impact to snipe off revives, which is ideal for a competitive game mode. It is also one of four 31+ impact snipers introduced with The Taken King.

If you would still like to complain about sniper rifles being too easy, pick one up, record some clips and share it to us guardians.

If you would also like to complain about being sniped after being revived - they increased the immune timer slightly to make it that little harder to snipe a revive in update 2.0. You also deserve to die again for dying in the first place. I have pre-2.0 crucible video evidence in my game recordings if this is such an issue for you.

Note: If you just got sniped in the head and start claiming aim assist does all the work for you, then get out of here.

Here's a video which explains target acquisition/aim assist for further information:

Note: Anyone who claims bullets can bend around walls or cover should be looking to blame latency not Aim Assist.

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Credits: Special thanks to Vraethx for the video and to vShakey for the guide.