A Visual Guide to Scoring with PvE Enemies

I recently I did a write up of information I data mined in an effort to learn more about the Quick Kill Bonus mechanic that the 2K folks talked about in their awesome write up of scoring in story mode last week. The goal was to come up with an infographic that would allow high score runners to quickly see which enemies they should focus on (and shouldn’t focus on) to maximize their high score in any given mission.

I’ll keep things simple here, but if you want to read deeper, do check out my other post.

Enemies can be broken into 5 different tiers where more challenging enemies are worth more score. Popcorn, Basic, Elite, Champion and Unique/Boss.

Popcorns will not reward you any bonus score no matter how fast you kill them and can be killed without any time penalty.

Unique or Boss tier enemies for the most part will be very challenging to kill within the 25 second time limit given most boss fights play out in phases which you cannot speed up or skip. I don’t know if the Quick Kill timer pauses during such phases but it doesn’t feel like that is the case meaning there is very little point in trying to kill them quickly unless they are something like Warlord Nix who doesn’t have any damage blocking phases.

All other tiers have the potential to be killed within a certain amount of time to earn a Quick Kill bonus which adds to the base score you get from killing an enemy. Once the time limit runs out, the amount of bonus score you get starts to decay very quickly but you can still get a portion of the bonus if you kill them quick enough.

I highly recommend investing in shield penetration and using a character/build that is able to land critical hits in quick succession (Marquis) or do massive damage (Montana) if you want to get a high score (especially if playing solo or with fewer players).

The values on the infographic are for Normal and Advanced (playing on hardscore won’t affect these values). So for instance, a Popcorn enemy gives you 25 score on Normal and 31.25 score on Advanced.

[edit] Uploaded this to my website so you guys can search it and stuff.

There are several Elite tier enemies which can be one-shot without the need of a special build, being MX.Deadeye, Guardians with their chests exposed (ie Galactic Emperor fight) and possibly others. These guys are worth up to 500 score which is 5x their base score of 100. Champions are also worth 5x their base score but are much harder to kill. These 2 tiers are where most of your Quick Kill bonus (and mission score) is going to come from.

There’s also a Varelsi Skulk Menagerie (which as far as I know only spawns once on The Saboteur, but might show up in DLC missions) which has Skulks on its back. Apparently each of these can receive a Quick Kill bonus so taking the time to kill them one by one will net you more score than simply killing it outright.

There’s a variant of Skulks that moves a lot faster than your standard Skulk, internally known as a Skulk Runner. These guys are also apparently eligible for a Quick Kill bonus (extra 100 points, so nothing too much though).


Letting an NPC kill an enemy you have damaged will result in only getting half the score you would normally get from them :open_mouth: So definitely make sure you don’t let them steal your kills (push them off the edge if you have too ;))


Those time limits are either wrong or a joke, right?? RIGHT??

Who the hell thought those were acceptable time frames to kill the different enemy types/tiers. 25 seconds for a boss? :scream:

I’ve been testing these out in game and have only really succeeeded with some Elite/Champion enemies, in some case I can only just kill them quick enough to get a small bit of the bonus score back. I reckon it is definitely meant to be challenging but also also easier with a team rather than going solo.

Honestly I think it’s just another stupid mechanic to add to an already stupid scoring system. Chest/box looting for blue orbs, running around in circles for yellow bonus score orbs, and now ridiculously low kill times to try for even more extra scores. At least the kill times actually line in with player skill and don’t detract from the actual gameplay and immersion :sweat: the decisions made with this game get more confusing with every passing day.

All that aside, this is a great guide you’ve put together. As much as I disagree with the scoring, I appreciate the effort you’ve gone to to put this together :acmaffirmative:


Well before it was called Quick Kill bonus, everyone recommended you go for critical hit kills to max out that score. The short time limits to get the maximum bonus actually line up with that kind of advice. Personally, I am keen to try out new builds based on this information to see which enemies I can actually kill solo to trigger the max bonus.

This is the build I want to get and try to see how much of a difference it makes particularly against shielded enemies which normally take 2 shots from Marquis to kill un-upgraded:

Synthetic Gentleman’s Bourgeois Bypasser (+21% ShieldPen and +10.50% ShieldPen with full shield)

Phasing QuikCash™ Miner (+2.10 Bonus Shards and 10.50% ShieldPen)

And maybe a Hostile_Takeover.exe (+10.50% Critical Hit Damage, +10.50% ShieldPen)

Or maybe a build that focuses heavily on Critical Hit Damage.

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But what about enemies like Geoff and the Sentinel that have a forced wait time in the middle of them?

How are you supposed to kill Geoff in 25 seconds when he hops to either side twice once he gets to a certain amount of health. Same for the Sentinel.

Lol seems impossible unless it’s each section of health gives you those bonus points.

Really cool information though. Thank you and great job on your hard work.

Agreed, a big thank you to Lowlines for putting all of this together and for suggesting new methods to test in this area…

I agree with you that the scoring mechanics are not ideal, the one that gets me the most is the headless chicken boss circle run… I just took down a boss, I want to catch my breath, but I have to remember to run around like an idiot… it’s just a terrible mechanic and there’s no need for it…

It’s an interesting choice for the game to incentivize quick killing as the major scoring mechanic… not sure how I feel about this, certainly not a ridiculous idea, doesn’t seem necessary, but then again why not, I wonder if the bosses are 25 seconds per phase instead of 25 sec overall, or else it would not be possible. Maybe it’s something they overlooked though…


just get 5 kleese’s together and spam energy rifts where the boss will spawn. thats one way to go anyway. great work in this infographic as well. will it be on the website when you roll it out?

@ChemicalConundrum I think once they’ve got enough data and adjusted the star ratings for each mission it won’t be as hard to get gold on most of them. ie I would like to think getting 80,000 in The Renegade on Normal for gold ends up being the Diamond tier threshold because I literally only just got gold in a 5-man matchmade game and I’ve been trying for weeks. We barely broke the 80,000 threshold too O.o
I do quite like having all these extra ways to max your score, but I dislike how the bonus score burst will toss the gold orbs all over the place and depending on where the boss dies, you could lost half your bonus thanks to pitfalls or hitbox collision issues (including the boss).

@Nemosis327 I’m still missing a few enemies that spawn in The Saboteur (maybe others, I don’t know), but eventually I would like to put this up along with an Enemy Search Guide, I just want to make sure everything is working as it should first.

…Thought so also but today I had two show side by side.
(I know, screen shot or it didn’t happen but I did not grab a screen.)

I’ve only played it on Normal with max 5 players. It might have more spawns in Advanced or can spawn more than one at a time.

Here’s 2 enemies I haven’t found in the data yet that are also in the same area as the Varelsi Skulk Menagerie in The Saboteur.

I hope to see rare enemies like these in future missions, seems like a waste to have them show up once in a single mission. The Varelsi Skulk Menagerie in particular reminds me of Bad Maw and his Merry Midgets from Borderlands 2 :slight_smile:

It also looks like NPC kills where you get an assist actually half the amount of score you get back :open_mouth: So make sure you don’t let your NPC buddies steal the kill!!

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Nice work!

It pains me to say it, but I no longer care enough about this game to get too worked up about the PVE scoring system. That being said, I feel the need to add my voice to @shinobido101 's and say that, as much as this aspect of the scoring system is better than the loot/orb system, it’s still really lacking from a design POV. I’d go on as to why, but at this point it’s pissing into the wind, I doubt most posters care, and it’s probably near the least of Gearbox’s worries, anyhow. (I’ll explain my thoughts if anybody wants though. Don’t wanna seem like I’m shooting down any and all aspects of the PVE score-system without reason).

Anyway, thanks again for the work done on this, OP.

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I’m partly writing these types of posts in preparation for a future when some of the significant problems players are having with the game are sorted and the player base starts bouncing back and asking questions like how a particular mechanic works. And of course for those that still care, even if it is just one person, that is more than enough reason for me to do it.

“Oh look! Here’s a post that explains all that! Carry on and enjoy the game!”

That’s my hope anyway.

Having backed Destiny consistently since it’s Open Beta (and I still am, I am just using the break in new content to play and support this game now that it has finally came out), I’m not unfamiliar with backing a horse that did not get off to a good start and copped a lot of flack from the sidelines (which even hardcore players knew, but we just liked playing the game too damn much to let it ruin the thing we had). I look back at it now and am astounded at some of the things we put up with, but in doing so, we were able to really appreciate just how far Destiny had evolved over the past 2 years (and still is evolving). I’m not saying Battleborn will be like that, I just have a fan’s hope that it will get better because I can see the same potential I saw in Destiny when I first played it (and not many games do that for me) and I want to see how it plays out right to the end, good or bad.

I am in no way trying to belittle or trample on anyone’s opinions or feelings for Battleborn. You have every right to your opinion and to feel angry or upset if that is how you feel.