Ava's Character

There are several dynamics that go into writing a character. What they look like, how they act, what their backstory is, etc etc. But what arguably is most important is how all these factors meld together to create “texture”. Perhaps the most obvious flop in creating texture with Borderlands 3’s story is the character Ava.

Now Ava has been getting a ton of hate since her introduction, and quite frankly its not much of a surprise. She’s this edgy unstable teen that gets thrown into the spotlight despite not really doing anything. She doesn’t have any special character traits other than the fact Maya took her in, and she doesn’t really grow as a character. That said, all the components for her to become a good character WERE all there.

Immediately after Ava comes to Sanctuary 3 she offers a sidequest. In this sidequest her backstory is fleshed out. The key notes are her family was (likely violently) killed in some fashion, traumatizing her and forcing her to flee her home; she had to steal to feed herself and lived miserably in a “fart cave”; and she has horrible connection issues, betraying the first person to show her compassion by stealing his stuff. Now compare this to her initial introduction where she is shown to be snarky and itching for action, and a conclusion can be made: Her bravado is a facade. Behind her tough act is a terrified broken child… and there was a prime opportunity to show that off.

After opening Atlas’ vault, Maya and Ava are confronted by the Calypso Twins. These are the same people that nearly killed Lilith, one of Ava’s heroes, and have clear murderous intent. If Ava was anything like her established character, she should have been terrified and wanted to run and hide. Instead she tries to pick a fight with the Twins like an utter idiot. That whole scene and the following interactions could have been a prime means to truly flesh out her character by breaking her down to her core and then setting her on a path of growth. Instead she just gets flopped around like a sandbag, yells at Lilith, and runs to her room in a huff like she just got dumped by her boyfriend. And to add icing on the cake, she doesn’t really contribute much to the story until after inheriting Maya’s powers. She’s kinda just… there.

Now if Ava had shown some weakness it would have been an excellent starting point for a story of redemption. She could have reflected upon herself and grown into a more mature person, making her more likable and more worthy of inheriting Maya’s Siren power. It is the fact that humans are ever growing that makes stories entertaining. Having a largely static character get put into the spotlight and even being made into a main heroine is frankly an insult to the viewer’s intelligence. I mean even Piston in Borderlands 2 had more development, and he was just a DLC villain that never gets mentioned again. So really I hope going forward there won’t be any more of these one-note characters getting shoved into the game; and I really hope Ava gets a proper redemption, if at all possible.


You make a lot of good points SolAce.

From your POV, do you think they could redeem her?

Her bravado seems to be rather cemented as quite real given that her introduction is that she sought out a fight with multiple enemies and apparently won said fight. This is not a terrified child (though almost certainly broken, or at least damaged), it’s a child who has some skill and thinks she’s ready to be a Vault Hunter.

It’s also a child who believes Vault Hunters - and her mentor - are heroes that always win the day. So, given all that, of course she’d not back down from TnT in the presence of the aforementioned VHs and Maya.

The end scene where Ava just knows what Lilith is doing and knows how she feels, more so than Tannis… it is gross to me. She’s been there 10 minutes. It sums up a poor character derived from poor writing. The story is extremely lazy. Good thing i’m here for the gunplay


It would be difficult at this point, as she has already been dealt some heavy damage. If she gets a dedicated story in a DLC, then perhaps she can be made more likable; but that largely comes down to if the writers are willing to admit her weaknesses.

You are half right. She did bravely fight off the Maliwan peons alongside the Vault Hunters; but they were just that, peons. Faceless bad guys that were expected to be slaughtered with haste. She had no reason to fear them because they didn’t pose any sort of logical threat. The Twins however are a different story.
As stated before, Tyreen nearly killed Lilith and stole her powers. This means that not only was she stronger than Lilith (whom we can assume is on a similar level to Maya) but also got a serious level boost after the fight. On top of that, she’s been going on a murder spree leaching whoever she wants. Even with Maya by her side she should have had some serious doubts about confronting them. At the very least she shouldn’t be trying to rush at them like she’ll just instantly win.

interesting. I didn’t take the introduction to mean she won that fight. she looked like she was just looting corpses.

I imagine we would have seen her land the killing blow if the intent was to show her as a capable you lady.

the bravado she shows immediately after when opening a fence doesn’t support a real confidence. She wouldn’t feel the need to talk big to a fence had she just murdered some maliwan forces.

Though it would make the part with the giant ratch funnier. Spend some time really showing Ava has the chops to fight, but is afraid of bigger creatures. That would be a great juxtaposition.


Before you run into her at the fence, you either hear what’s likely supposed to be the start of that fight or you believe her assertion that books sound like gunfire. Those troops certainly weren’t killed by the passive monks.

And when you run into the little ratch (ratches?) in one of the tombs she indicates that she has a thing about the creepy little buggers in general. Understandable. They’re a wee bit nightmarish. Especially when they have huge ears and a ridiculous moustache.

She had no reason to fear TnT because their threat wasn’t real to her yet. Kids often rush into things fearlessly for this reason.

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so. The one thing you’re missing is that her new bravado comes from the fact that Maya told her she’s gonna be a Siren. She just assumes that any moment now, she’s gonna become the ultimate badass

I personally really like her. Even if a couple beats weren’t great

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I probably had the sound too far down to hear.

Too bad. It might have helped.

Thats a fair point, I’m worried that they may try to do a tiny Tina dragon keep sort of story. IMHO I believe that only way to redeem her as a character would be admitting guilt for Maya death (maybe telling Krieg) and possibly sacrificing her life for the crimson raiders.

But then that creates another flaw: Maya being an idiot and not explaining its an inheritance. Maya is probably one of the smartest characters in the series outright due to her constant reading and study, so it would be dumb for her to leave out the fact that she has to lose her powers before Ava can gain them.
Really how they handled Maya’s character was also subpar. They made her die by going full moron and drag someone, that was clearly leeching lifeforce right in front of her, into arm’s reach. Its like she learned nothing from fighting cursed pirates. If the fight/encounter played out differently with Ava being too scared to help Maya while she got overwhelmed, then that would have been a much better all around scene. It would have better established just how deadly the Twins are, showed Ava’s true colors, and made Maya’s death more heartfelt.