An idea to implement Mayhem Mode properly

So right now, in my opinion, mayhem mode is a mixed bag. In one instance I can be having fun because I will get modifiers such as +70% elemental damage or +30% gun damage. On the other hand, sometimes my damage is nerfed by around 50% and enemies have 50% more health (on top of mayhem HP bonus). In the latter case, every normal enemy is a bullet sponge, and every badass enemy requires a ridiculous amount of time to kill.

Aside from nerfing the player, mayhem mode can be pretty un-fun in other ways. I had one mod where enemies had increased damage and increased explosion radius. Couple this with two badass rocket launcher guys, and I’d say I died around 10 times before killing a single enemy. Not too fun when simply entering a hallway spells instant death.

So to me, mayhem mode has pretty poor execution, but random modifiers to maps (along with additional loot) can be fun IF … and that’s a big if, they are implemented properly.

  • Don’t nerf the player or otherwise make enemies unkillable. At the end of the day, nobody wants their level 600 gun to feel like a modified garden hose. On top of that, making ALL guns deal significantly less damage on bullet sponge enemies makes the game borderline unplayable without some serious gear. These modifiers should be toned down, removed entirely, or reworked (see below)

  • Nerfing a type of gun/element in favor of ALL guns/elements. I’d much rather switch my playstyle from shotguns to snipers than from all guns to melee/grenades. The same applies to elements. Borderlands is a game about choice; choice in weapon, element, and build. Certain mods take that choice away entirely. You can’t switch from shotguns to snipers if there’s a 50% gun damage reduction across the board.

  • Fun but mechanically challenging modifiers vs stat changes. You know what gearbox did with the halloween event? That is fun (imo), changes like this could be implemented to mayhem mode to make the experience different instead of a giant slog through beefcake enemies. You could have random flame pillars spawn periodically. You could make enemies explode upon death, damaging the player as well as enemies. You could even take away health/shield regen in favor of % lifesteal. Each of these options forces us to change our gameplay without making the game boring/tedious. Games shouldn’t feel tedious; they should be fun.

  • Mayhem AI change? (possibly). You know those scary rocket guys who sit back and pepper you with rockets? Imagine if they actively seek you out. Imagine if every enemy actively seeks you out and explodes upon death! Now that would be difficult (probably imbalanced), but at least you have options for dealing with them in a timely manner. More importantly, this changes gameplay in a meaningful way.

So to finish, I think right now mayhem mode just makes the game extremely tedious and incentivizes re-rolling modifiers over and over to favor you. This is not a good design by any means as you’re basically rolling the dice to determine if your build is trash tier or not. There are much better ways to increase difficulty and encourage different styles of gameplay. However, these modifiers/changes should never exclude ALL gun players, or ALL elemental players in the process; that’s not difficulty, that’s tedium.