Action skills doing very little damage?

Is it just me? Watching all the gamecons streams but it just seems a little concerning.

Moze was killing enemies 3x as fast with regular guns than with iron bear, even amaras downfall(strongest phase slam and longest cooldown) would only do like 30-40% of an enemies health bar that would just die to 3 assualt rifle bullets after?

Only thing that did damage was the clone with the doubled barrel capstone. What is going on?

Did anyone else notice this?


I wasn’t paying very close attention but most of the footage I’ve seen used pretty hodge-podge builds. Amara has a stack-building mechanic for action skill damage, for example - I wonder if the players even knew to use it (one guy I saw playing didn’t know how atlas homing worked, for instance…).

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Yeah I get that but you you’d be force into mystical assault tree to utilize rush stacks properly so requiring a whole skill tree for an action skill in a different tree to do damage is very iffy

Amara looked fine to me, when you consider that speccing all the way down Brawl or Mystical assault gives you access to new abilities that are quite strong (Blitz and Remnant are the two I’m thinking of). I also haven’t seen anyone go all in on rush stacks yet. In bahroo’s level 50 melee video his action skill was one-hitting trash mobs

Iron Bear is interesting. I think it’s slower and will require more attention & precision than people were expecting based on rampage action skills in previous games. Missing your shots is punishing because it costs fuel. The Railgun and the bearfist are slow and it seems like you have to go for crits. Element matching is important - I saw a lot of people excited to try double nuke but it killed your effectiveness against enemies that resisted radiation. Basically, I’m not sure anyone used it as well as it could have been used. There’s also some potential in ejecting early and taking advantage of autobear and some for the road. Ejecting early refunds cooldown

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Eh… I really dont like builds that focus on action skills anyway. For its…

  1. Damage with guns
  2. Survivability
  3. Action Skill Utility

Example: Amara…

  1. Fist of the Elements for damage and Health steal
  2. Then spec into Brawl for HP regen and damage reduction.
  3. Regular Phasgrasp for the lowest cooldown possible to have as much uptime on Helping Hands.

I would probably spec more into Mystical Assault amd action skills when.they increase.the level cap. Cooldowns are way too long for what you get in my opinion.

It’s why I think Zane is going to be really strong, especially builds that focus on the digi-clone and shield, both allowing you to augment your gun damage instead of being removed from your guns like iron bear, Amara skills, or Flak pets.

I also wonder if some of the thoughts of low damage from people are due to playing endgame BL2 for so long that you expect everything to do 98271K damage. Still not quite as bad as Diablo 3 though where I’ve hit something for 171B. I am glad they appear to have dropped the number bloat this time around.


I find it kind of strange that people are this concerned about Action Skill damage. There weren’t even that many ways to increase Action Skill damage in BL2, only skills could. And there were only 2 actions skills whose purpose could have been for damage, Axton and Gaige.

Now Action Skills have their own damage modifier specific to them, and some characters can almost double their action skill damage under the right circumstances. And we don’t even know if there will be relics or COMs that increase AS damage. Lastly, most of the builds we’ve seen so far may aren’t optimized. We can’t tell if the build was good or bad because we haven’t played the game yet. Most of the people posting videos are fairly new to Borderlands, and thus probably haven’t come up with the best specs.


@boombumr That’s the issue in BL2 most of the action skills were designed for support or some sort of dps increase or utility (phaselock, gunzerker, deception). When you have action skills that have a cool down almost as long as gunzerking with amaras downfall for example that is struggling to one shot a single non badass red health enemy that’s concerning. Axtons turret and deathtrap( one death trap melee swipe one shots any normal enemy) would still easily mow down enemies. Amara gets a one click action skill that’s struggling to kill a single enemy. If I’m using Moze what exactly is the benefit of even using my action skill? She was killing a lot faster without it and skill points might as well be utilized to buff her instead of the iron bear which aren’t doing much.

@UkyoSonoda it’s not the numbers I’m talking about it’s their usefulness. As I’ve said Moze consistently kills faster with guns than iron bear so iron bear doesn’t give you much use at all

Someone also referenced bahroos video with level 50 Amara to show that action skill can one shot base enemies. However look at the boss fight. Even basic none blitz melees did almost double the damage as her action skill against the boss.

It’s just concerning when you have characters who’s action skills are based on damaging enemies that do no damage. Iron bear and phaseslam and cast didn’t even do 20% of a healthbar to the trial skag boss yet flak pops fade away and completely melts the entire bosses health bar in literally 3 seconds. Where is the balance?


I’d argue that Iron Bear is also a defensive action skill as it appears to prevent Moze from taking damage while she is in it. Amara’s skills also offer crowd control elements. There are more factors to look at than damage numbers. Your DPS is 0 when you’re face down on the floor.

Also the gameplay vids don’t really show the gear being used. However I feel like the gear used is probably more all purpose/jack of all trades meant to be useful to people playing the demo sessions regardless of the skills they spec into. Or it could be gear towards a preferred play style by someone at gearbox that setup the demo making some skills/builds more effective. As such we won’t get a feel of the actual balance or usefulness of skills until we have a chance to play the final game itself.

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I can agree with having to wait until the full game to come out before making a final verdict with this matter but…

Aside from phasegrasp which does no damages so thus doesn’t apply to this discussion how exactly is amaras action skill crowd control? Slam and cast are advertised as long cooldown burst damage skills except they don’t do just that. Why do I have to have a maxed out end game build for my slam to kill a single BASE HEALTH NON BADASS enemy that’s dying from 3 Smg bullets?

You have no problem racking up kills at low level with turret, death trap, wolf, handsome jacks clones ect. But a skill with a longer cooldown than most of those that’s advertised as a single hit burst damage attack can’t do that? Heck even in outdated bl1 you can just throw out bloodwing or Roland’s turret and watch them face roll everything

At the end of the day it is what it is. It’s just disappointing.

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After watching some Amara gameplay at level 50… yea. Action skill damage seems lacking. The action skill did a rough total of around 12k. Compared to the shotgun they were wielding which dealt 8500 per shell/shot. 12k every 20-28 seconds vs 8.5k every 2… math checks out.

What I found truly hilarious though, the enemy was resistant to one of their melee strikes… the punch did 25k damage.

Maybe things are just wonky with the current demo they’re letting people play, but yea. Things don’t seem right.


I wouldn’t worry too much, Chris Brock, one of the producers mentioned the possibility to rebalance the Vault Hunters post-launch per hotfix or as he called it, micropatch.

From the 4 Vault Hunters, only Moze really has a problem:

  • Fl4k seems really strong and their Action Skills do really well
  • Zane seems fine damage-wise and has many dynamic bonuses regarding action skills
  • Amara has low base-damage, but massive potential to either build up the damage via Stacks/multi-use of her Action Skills, goes full-CC with Phasegrasp or goes melee and then uses the Action Skill as a catalyst more than a damage source

But I agree that Iron Bear could use quite a buff. The Rocket Pod seems fine more or less, but almost every other weapon needs a buff. The nukes are very efficient, but don’t do massive damage, just ok. The rest just eats up too much fuel. Also, it’s kinda ridiculous that an immobile mech like Iron Bear can be eclipsed by a tiny human, shield-wise. GamesCom gameplay had Moze go to over 5k shield with her shield skills where IB had around 4.7k armor.

My buffs to IB would be:

  • base-fuel +20%
  • base-armor +50%
  • turret damage +100% (right now, it’s kinda pathetic)
  • base-fuel drain by Minigun/Salamander -20%
  • Nuke damage +50% with 20% higher fuel-drain, make it feel massive!
  • Rocket damage +15%
  • V35 damage +25%
  • Bear Fist attack rate +30%
  • Railgun fuel-drain and reload time -20%

Addendum: I would still buff Amara’s Action Skills slightly. Give all Casts/Slams +30% base-damage

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@Jordangold527 Exactly! And if you look at the shotgun numbers there are two values of around 8 and 5-7k popping up each time so the build is Specced into infusion and the shotgun is doing a lot more than 8k

So yes something is definitely off with the action skills

@narfkeks yeah with regards to melee best use I’m seeing with current damage is the anointed buff of 200% more melee damage after using phaseslam

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Honestly on one-shot-like skills like Amara’s, they could easily overdo it with the damage and it still wouldn’t break the game. Sure, if all her damaging Action Skills now got a big buff of, say, 100% it would make those moments where you throw out your Skill great and potentially broken, but as it is just a shot of damage every 28-47 seconds (14-24 with Avatar and spacing out the activations), I don’t see much of a problem.

@DP_Unkemptharold or just skills like “Samsara” or “Helping Hands” that activate after you used the Action Skill. She can profit in many ways just from hitting something with her Action Skill, although she should still be able to reliably kill with them. Otherwise the second effect of “Avatar” goes to waste.

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That is exactly the Problem I had with Amara when they first revealed gameplay of her. I was hoping for a melee rampage AS like Brick or Krieg. But now that I saw her lvl 50 melee build I’m really Happy to see she is like Athena melee wise. Her Action skills don’t bother me at all because they look cool, give you Life steal, dots und aoe. Ok they could make them a little stronger yeah.

Moze seems to be the bigger problem. Ok IB is also some kind of shield for her but its lacking damage can only be solved to make it really OP at low level. Otherwise its a real damage downput against Raidbosses for example. And you are forced to pick this Action skill.

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IB is a defensive AS imo, so Im not really worried. Being able to damage while not being damaged seems good enough.

Also, you have good combinations like Cryo minigun + Rockets/Grenade launcher or Come over here + Flamethrower to amplify your damage.

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I believe Iron Bear will have decent damage output but it might not be able to compete with some crazy weapons or OP mechanics. However I want to point out that the role of Iron Bear is also to protect Moze in critical situations. And shooting enemies from Iron Bear doesn’t cost you any ammo but you can still regerate ammo inside. So Iron Bear in my opinion doesn’t necessary have to be temporal weapon upgrade but rather oportunity to finish the job and at the same time recover.

I also strongly believe that the game will offer mods or relics to enhance Iron Bear for those who want to specialize in it.

Ironic, being that one of my favorite builds so far specs down Mystic Assault, grabs Glamour from Brawl, and the base Phase Grasp from fists of the elements. Especially with Avatar Phase Grasp Glamour cheese is DELICIOUS.

I’m regards to buffing Amara: What might seem counterintuitive at first would be to increase the damage of her Action Skills (base damage that is) by a lot (50%) to create an early feeling of pay-off, but for balancing reducing the bonus “Do Harm” gives from 4,5% Action Skill damage to 3% at 5 points per Rush stack. Overall this would make her Action Skills stronger either way, but prevents overshooting early on by lowering the potential bonus from “Do Harm”.

Later on we could still get 60% Action Skill bonus damage which would result in a higher maximum as is possible right now (it’s 1,90 times the damage before vs. 2,40 times the damage after those changes, in relation to the base damage we have now (f: base Damage x Do Harm bonus with 20 stacks)).

Edit: Increasing the bonus from “Awakening” would make it better as well. From 10% to 16,6% per point so from 30% to 50% at 3 points would make it more worthwhile.

Also and that’s just my personal nitpick, but I would increase the gun damage bonus of “Jab Cross”. Yes, the original 50% bonus was too much, but 15% seems mediocre in comparison to the Action Skill damage. 25% should be a good middle ground.