Inside of Destiny there are 4 distinct damage types. A damage type being a specific attribute of any given ability or weapon within the game that does some extra damage to a specific type of enemy’s shields. The different types are Kinetic, Solar, Arc, and Void. Now, the color of an enemy’s shield will indicate which specific damage type that it is going to be more vulnerable to.
If you use a damage type that isn’t set against its related shield then you’ll simply cause the default damage with no bonus given. When you play through the game on the higher difficulty levels you HAVE to use specific types of damage. If you use the wrong damage type you will cause absolutely zero damage and the shield will last forever.
Recognizing these is very simple. If you spot an enemy with an aura around them (blue, red, purple, and white) then this shows what sort of damage can break through their shield.
Playable Characters and Their Damage Types
All 3 characters that you can choose from start out with a base damage type and then have a subclass with a specific type of damage. The Hunter starts out with Solar damage and then gets Arc damage for his subclass. The Warlock beings with Void and then gets Solar as a subclass. Lastly, the Titan begins with Arc damage and then moves onto Void damage for his subclass.
How Specific Damage Types Relate to Specific Enemies
Base damage type within the game and generally thought of as physical damage. Except for some specific weapons, all of the primary weapons in the game have kinetic damage.
Fire damage that can potentially set fire to your foes. This is useful when fighting against those with orange shields such as Centurions, Shanks, and Wizards.
Gravity and dark energy based attack. This is useful when fighting against those with purple shields such as Psions and Minotaurs.
Electricity based and boasts a nice area of effect. This is useful when fighting against those with blue shields such as Captains, Harpies, and Knights.
Lastly, it should be mentioned that there are a couple hidden damage types on each weapon within Destiny. They are Precision Damage and Flinch Damage. Precision Damage is shown when you see yellow numbers showing up over an enemy that you’re shooting at, and are basically like critical hits. You can get them by shooting someone’s weak point (their head if you’re doing some PvP). Flinch Damage is basically just how much your weapon’s bullets are causing your enemy to actually flinch when they’re being shot. The larger the multiplier for this attribute then the greater amount of disruption they will experience when shot.