Elements are properties applied to various gameplay mechanics.
Every weapon, ability, and subclass in the game can be classified by its associated element. Elements have been referred to as either Light-based or Darkness-based in the game's story. Currently, aside from subclasses being divided into Light and Darkness subclasses, this distinction does not appear to be relevant to gameplay.
Weapons and abilities used by both Guardians and enemy combatants have different elemental damage types. Some activity modifiers can increase the damage dealt by specific elements. Armor Mods can be equipped to reduce elemental damage.
Some enemies will be protected by elemental energy shields, which can be identified by their color. Dealing matching elemental damage to an enemy's shield (e.g. using an Arc weapon to break an Arc shield) will be more effective, causing the shield to explode when broken and stunning the enemy. Currently, Arc, Solar, Strand, and Void are the only elemental shield types that appear. Guardian shields are not associated with a specific element.
Weapons of a specific element do not function inherently differently from weapons of other damage types. However, some perks may only appear on weapons of a specific element. For example, Incandescent only appears on Solar weapons, while Headstone only appears on Stasis, and Kinetic Tremors only appears on weapons using Kinetic damage type.
In the vast majority of cases, the element assigned to a specific weapon cannot be changed. However, there are some exceptions:
- Exotic weapons with The Fundamentals weapon perk can cycle through the Arc, Solar, and Void damage types. These weapons currently include: Borealis, Dead Messenger, and Hard Light.
- The Osmosis and Permeability weapon perks can temporarily change a weapon's damage type to match the player's equipped subclass element.
- The Adaptive Munitions weapon perk does not change the weapon's damage type, but causes it to deal increasingly greater damage to non-matching enemy shields with each hit.
- Tessellation will use the damage type matching the subclass currently equipped by the player.
Every armor item in the player's inventory has an elemental affinity, indicated by an icon, which determines which mods can be equipped to it. Most mods do not have an associated element, allowing them to be equipped to any armor item. However, mods with a specific element icon can only be equipped to armor that has the same elemental energy type. An armor item's affinity can be changed, but costs Glimmer and an Upgrade Module.
Types of Elements
- Main page: Kinetic
Kinetic refers to non-elemental effects.
- Main page: Arc
Arc is a Light-based element. Its effects are associated with motion.
- Main page: Solar
Solar is a Light-based element. Its effects are associated with energies harnessed from the Sun.
- Main page: Void
Void is a Light-based element. Its effects are associated with gravity and black holes.
- Main page: Stasis
Stasis is a Darkness-based element. Its effects are associated with the movement of particles.
- Main page: Strand
Strand is a Darkness-based element. Its effects are associated with psychic energy and threads of the mind.
- "This Week at Bungie – 8/19/2021" Bungie, posted by Cozmo_BNG, 19 Aug. 2021, https://www.bungie.net/en/Explore/Detail/News/50572.