TLDR; 7 BUFFS that ZANE NEEDS
“with zane, we’re looking at several improvements on zane, especially working on things with his cryo build, we’re looking at some improvements when he’s in his uptime with his action skill and you get combat bonuses and all that.” “the kill skills” “the kill skills is not as high as we want it to be, so I think zane’s gonna get a lift in the future, so no hard commitments on that…” - Randy Varnell Borderlands Show Episode 2
It’s a common view in the Borderlands community that Zane has been the weakest and most under performing vault hunter since the game launched. I personally do not always agree to the extent people claim how weak he is. I’ve been playing Zane since launch, and I play with him daily, and also showcase many unique builds that a lot of you in the community have come to know and love(for those of you who know me, this is ThiccFilA from YT I have different usernames through platforms). But, even I can agree that Zane definitely needs some buffs. These are 7 buffs that some of my community and I have put lots of thought into, that would not make him overpowered, and would also not change the identity of his character.
Violent Momentum Scaling
I listed this one very first on my list, because I truly believed if this option alone was implemented, it would fix MOST of the problems people have with Zane.
There is absolutely 0 incentive to spec into any sort of speed build with Zane besides just wanting to. The simple fact of the matter is, Zane needs more pure raw gun damage. Scaling would accomplish exactly that. It would not make early leveled characters overpowered, but would reward you nicely if you find a couple speed boosts early on. It would also make level 50 niche builds that are moving so fast you have to use Atlas guns, actually rewarded. Here is what the scaling is now vs a couple options of what it could look like.
Whatever level of scaling you choose, the original bonus of 30% damage when you are at 250% speed, is far too low. 250% speed is literally so fast you can only use atlas weapons.
I include this one the highest because Zane is supposed to be a “speedy” character, and there’s no actual practical application for it IMO. My graph kinda shows that.
2. Almighty Ordnance
This is an augment that really misses the mark. It lets out 3 missiles that ~2k damage each if I recall correctly. And if you get a kill, you reset your drone time. The issue is… once again this is not any damage at all, and you will never be able to time this to actually get a kill.
A great upgrade to this would be throwing 2 or 3 of your current grenade mod. And instead of resetting action skill duration, if you get a kill, you get to use this augment again. There is a COM plus CCC that lets you reset action skill duration. So not only is this redundant, but in it’s current form you can’t even get a kill with it. I actually think this is a really good suggestion - this just seems really fun to me to be able to chain nade kills potentially. This can be a really useful augment but right now it does nothing.
3. Small Skill upgrades
I am simply going to list some skills that could be upgraded and do some cool things.
Clone using duct tape mod
Best served Cold actually doing damage, right now at 5/5 it does about 1000 damage and I don’t need to explain how terrible that is…
Doppelbanger being set at 20k, and not scaling down for action skill time
Binary System, just like best served cold, would be much better if it did an actual amount of damage, buffing these two skills would also add some actual cryo damage zane can put out - right now it’s not much
Salvation buffed to 20% to make the non barrier builds viable - which they are currently not IMO
Bad Dose + Static Field actually doing damage, I think you see a trend here - these DOT’s do as low as 2dps. Which is ridiculous.
This augment is honestly pretty bad in general. There is definitely some utility for this, but it is usually useless, considering when you want your clone to tank some damage for you, it ends up not being a lot either way.
What I would love to have seen here instead would be something insanely cool, like spawning 2 clones instead of 1, even if they both had decreased health and bonuses from Boom. Enhance. That would make old-u better helping survivability which is what digital distribution is trying to do anyway, right? It would up your dps a little bit, when one clone gets destroyed, one would still be shooting. Before you say “well which clone would you swap with” just swap with both. Keep it simple. This would not only be really cool, but a definite upgrade.
Seein Red buff
This is a capstone that misses the mark by just a little bit. This is usually bad in most solo play because simply put - you are getting all the kills. Where this shines and is actually good, is in some Boss fights where there are no mobs until you pass certain thresholds, or during group play where you are not getting all the kills.
If this were buffed to include Swapping with Digiclone, or Dropping your barrier, I think it would give it an extra edge in the builds that want to use it. And it would not break the skill. Most kill skills last 15 seconds, and giving this buff would just let you keep up your kill skills for much longer period of time, which is what this Capstone is supposed to do right?
Playing Dirty lasting for a time period instead of 5 shots. I want to give credit to a user on Reddit named “EndlessArgument” I originally saw this post from him, and I believe this would be a nice upgrade to the skill without breaking it. Make it last for 15 seconds, or let it stack shots with kills. The 15 second, or even a 10 second rule would not be bad here, It would up the amount of guns that can get bonus damage from this skill. Plus maxxed out + death follows close only gives a 62.5% chance per shot, you have to wear a class mod to boost this to it’s fullest potential.
Some QOL changes.
The main thing I want to mention is: How come all of the augments on the left don’t work if you pick up your barrier. The blue tree and green tree clash so hard, Violent Momentum which is the damage skill in the blue tree requires you to run and jump and shoot to get the most effectiveness out of it, but if you’re using your barrier, you’re basically not able to use any of these augments on the left side, or your forced to keep your barrier still and stay underneath of it and not get full advantage of the skill.
So these were 7 buffs I think Zane needs that would not be overpowered. Some of these would just make him much easier to play for most people. And I think that’s the main issue people have with him. He doesn’t get the same straight damage % buff that a lot of the other characters have, you have to jump through hoops with him, and I think some of the hoops you have to jump through don’t give enough of a reward at the end. You don’t have to agree with all of these on my list, but if you agree with any of them, please comment which ones, and what you would like to see. I worked hard coming up with a lot of these ideas, and I think they would overall be really good for him.
I made a similar suggestion about this, but then some guy went apeshit insane on me, saying it would kill his build, blah blah blah… and I have NO IDEA how this would kill his build, because it would just make the skill more reliable to use with high RoF weapons.
I also would like to add that I think the drone needs to automatically target enemies out of sight, just like how Wolf worked with Wilhelm, and have an increased travel range/speed, because after all, it’s a freaking drone, and not a turret.
Idk how to change this exactly, but one of the things that disappointed me about Zane is how much the drone pales in comparison to Wolf. Like if we look at Laser Guided + Rolling Thunder, those two skills made Wolf a) a super important part of your playstyle, b) a fantastic damage dealer. It’s weird that we have the same targeting ability as Wolf without any real reward for using it, and we have a ton of ways to extend duration on the drone without much to gain besides Synchronicity. And the closest thing to a drone class mod, Techspert, just doesn’t make any sense. The drone anointment is pretty sweet but I wish there was a bona fide drone build, instead of just builds that use the drone. Or maybe I just played Wilhelm too much…
The problem with this is that that chance is effectively the amount of damage increase during the time it’s active for certain weapons, anf if you make this time based then it’s a lot of extra damage for that time. So much that it may pass every other Zane damage boost together, which is not a good way of building a tree.
Now there are ways around this, such as decreasing the second shot chance, but that comes at the price of making the skill unreliable, killing the builds that use it and making it too close to Violent Violence.
If anything, the only thing I would change about this skill is to change the DFC text and effect to increase the number or instances and change to double shots instead of one extra shot.
This is why stacking the skill is probably the best option. The reason buffing this is a good thing is because of how good this skill is. Other vault hunter’s have this damage buff in other ways. In all reality though if most of the things I mentioned were implemented and not this one, I’d be very happy. (not saying that all my ideas should be implemented lol just giving an example). Plus when it comes down to it, people are gonna play what they’re gonna play.
I think I agree with or at least am not opposed to any of the things on this list.
Most pressing I think he needs at least ONE unconditional damage buff somewhere in his kit. If it was “damage” in general that’d be great and open up more builds, but I’d settle for “gun damage” or “weapon damage.”
It would also be cool if Praemuntis and Cool Hands were slightly stronger.
I’d like if all of his kill skills were designed similarly to Cool Hands where you get a small benefit normally, but once you get a kill you get a bigger benefit. Then if you go down Hitman you can get Death Follows Close to get even more of a benefit.
Also always felt Supersonic Man and Violent Speed were redundant with SSM being better because you get a larger % speed boost and don’t need to kill anything to use it.
The main thing I’d like to see is the ability to deploy the Barrier directly as personal/held by holding the button when activating the Action Skill. Having to toss it down then pick it up is annoying.
A lot of great suggestions. I am a Zane guy, love the versatility in the number of builds people come up with him, but he does always seem to fall behind his fellow Vault hunters for damage and survivability.
Also delete Cold Warrior and Techspert and replace them with something better.
Leave Shockerator the way it is but increase it’s damage by like 10 times. Right now it does like a 2k nova, but knocks enemies that hit the clone down. It is GREAT for crowd control but the damage is absolutely pathetic. If that nova did 20k, that’d encourage a lot more players to use nova builds.
Basically. What I hope to see are more QoL changes and some damage buffs.
A few Barrier and Clone mechanics contradict Zane’s theme of momentum.
Picking up Barrier doesn’t provide some of the benefits, as you stated.
Activating Barrier, then having to wait to pick it up.
Activating Barrier, while moving at full speed, it ends up behind your character.
Procing CCC, finishing a fight, and heading to the next one, you can pick up Barrier and the drone will follow you, but the Clone doesn’t have that liberty. Your options are waiting out the entire duration, swapping and running back to your original position, or using Doppelbanger to refund the cooldown.
Doppelbanger’s channel time is too long.
Double Barrel’s buff duration is a couple of seconds too short.
Swapping causes your character to face whichever direction Clone was previously facing before the swap.
I’d like to see the barrier and skill points behave more like Athena the Gladiator’s Aspis. As it is now it’s only marginally useful. Imagine my surprise when an enemy walked through it as if it wasn’t there.
And the SNTL would be nice if it behaved more like Axton’s turret.
Both skills seem really weak in comparison. I would gladly give up the ability to have two skills activer if one of the above was a little more useful.
Some of the skills don’t seem to do anything, or much of anything. Not very straightforward what they do.
Other than that I enjoy playing Zane, but am a bit underwhelmed. Most times I just hang back with a sniper rifle until the herd is culled enough to jump in.
Zanes weakness is damage. I like the momentum idea be it kill skills or freeze chains. However if you are maintaining your momentum you still do garbage damage. So why bother right? Just give him damage buffs.