I was just thinking about how much I loved Borderlands 1 and 2. And i’ve thought a lot about what it seems to be lacking, and what it does well in spades. Being an avid gamer who is damn near jaded by most games lately, I came up with a wish list of exciting options that I think would reinvigorate me, let alone make borderlands the talk of the gaming world. GUNS. I’m not necessarily talking “more” guns. But I want variance. Having 1.5 bajillion guns doesn’t mean anything if 1.49 bajillion of them are identical, just a level higher, or with a slightly different scope, or with .0001% damage more or less than another. I want it over the top. After the first 4 or 5 levels, white guns are completely obsolete. Greens almost are too. Which they should be, but now all of a sudden, 1.25 bajillion of the guns just got put onto my “ignore picking these up” list.
I want fun and over the top VARIANCE. I want a sniper rifle that calls in air strikes. I want pistols that shoot electric nets that stun and shock, or slice my enemy into little cubes. I want alien weapons that create tiny black holes that alter space and time and deform my enemy, causing him to slowly cave into himself. I want a shotgun that shoots darts into a target, that then inflates balloons that lifts an enemy into the air, then when i reload it, they pop, releasing plasma on them. Or how about a rocket launcher that launches ME as the projectile, with my melee weapons a blazin’! I want to be able to have an assault rifle that causes a lightning storm to form at my target after i hit him enough times. Or guns that cause eruptions in pandora (or wherever), causing mini volcanos. I want to be able to freeze enemies solid then smash them to pieces. I want to shoot a fish into their midsection, that lures in a giant flaming phoenix that swoops down and tears him to shreds, to get the fish. I want an SMG that shoots mini rolling and exploding claptraps, that crack expletive jokes on route to the target, distracting him. I want an elephant rifle that actually blows a hole through my enemy. A tranq gun that causes the target to fall on his gun and shoot himself in the head. I want legendary guns to be considered legendary for a reason. They need to have a reason to be called the “MasterBaiter”(my cheesy name for the fish gun, get it? Cuz the fish is the bait! HA. don’t use this name, its terrible lol) There should be a reason the characters on pandora name, and fear the guns that are legendary.
Basically what i’m saying is I hope you can find a way to make the guns feel different, and like they were created by the insane NPC’s that inhabit worlds like pandora. Finding a legendary that just does slightly more damage or makes a funny noise, or the bullets move in an odd way feels cheap and not worth the “legendary” tag on them. Those are welcome additions, but they need to have useful effects too. Embracing the comical side of borderlands, you have the ability to create some insanely memorable moments, and can drastically change how a player plays your game. I can’t even imagine how excited i would be to use that fish launcher to watch a digistructed flaming phoenix swoop in and rip a bandit in half!
You came up with the “walmart” tediore reload, which makes no sense, but it works, and made for an interesting new mechanic on an old system. You tried torgue full auto rocket launchers. Debuffing slag weapons. But take it a few dozen steps further, and the possibilites are endless. You can digistruct anything! I can only imagine the excitement of getting weapons like the one’s i just came up with in a few minutes, and trying to adapt to them, to make me that much better and creative of a vault hunter.
PLEASE do away with the numbered leveling system. It’s overused, and has never made any sense. Yes, still have skill trees that require xp or kills or whatever. And have proficiences with weapons like the first game, and challenges like the second game. But finding a gun or item and not being able to use it, is the dumbest thing ever. (Is the character not smart enough to pull the trigger with the business end pointed away from himself?) Maybe do a reward system where the more you use a weapon, the better you get with it. Familiarity? Gun Lust? Almost more like leveling up the weapon, rather than the character. Level scaling other wise made no sense. ie: i’m level 3, and i run out of ammo before i can kill a level 4 guy. I go kill 3 more level 3 guys and DING level up. Turn around and 1 shot the level 4 guy with the same gun. This makes no sense. IF, however, i had to shoot the guy 10 times because my gun was level 3, or only 6 because the gun evolved and during this gun evolve, it gained X% damage, say, it at least then makes sense. Doing it this way creates a bond with a weapon, so i don’t just cast it aside when the level 5 equivalent drops. The effect of leveling and progression is still present, but if i find a new weapon I can use it. It may start as a small step backwards from my previous gun, but soon it will be much more powerful.
Your rarity levels could be maybe how fast a gun evolves, how high it can evolve, and what potential traits it might get. Maybe white can have 3 levels of upgrades. Each time it levels, it’s a random trait. Maybe you get reload speed, then damage, then elemental type. Try again with the same starting gun, this time it roll’s 3 damage boosts. Or 3 reload speeds. Or on the 3rd roll, it up’s in rarity, becoming green, and gaining a 4th rollable upgrade. Maybe even a have a decreasingly small chance of evolving a gun from white-green-blue and so on. Maybe legendaries have no gun lust/familiarity/proficiency level cap? Maybe finding a white gun at the start of the game and fully leveling it turns it into a legendary. Maybe whatever gun you level get’s scratched, bloodied, and adds decals or paint to it from defeating certain enemies with it. I want to be proud not just that I “randomly” found a gun, but what I’ve done and who I’ve killed with it. All of this can be done while keeping your gun manufacturers in mind.
Basically make the legendaries something worth talking to your friends about. Something that can create laughter, and slaughter at the same time. I write all this saying that borderlands is in the top 3 of my gameplay experiences of all time, probably is my favorite. It is also the only game I’ve purchased the collectors edition for, and was happy to do so, because you had created an excellent product. The world and ideas are there, i just think the loot needs that next big boost.
Also consider doing realistic damage, at least on certain enemies. It still has yet to be done properly. Shooting a guy in the foot 40 times isn’t going to kill him, but will really screw up his movement, maybe then he stumbles out of cover. Shooting him in the arm he might drop his gun, or switch to his off hand, making him miss a lot. Or even hit his own guys. Again, small things that completely changes the game play tactics, and immerses you that much more.
Only one major grievance. The raid Bosses. I get that you want teams of 4 to take these guys down. But for a lot of people, getting 3 friends together and then actually having the firepower and know how to take one down was hard. The enemy should be hard, trying to actually play the game, shouldn’t be. I refer to destiny in this regard. I completely stopped playing that game because I spent more time waiting for a random party then actually playing the raid. In borderlands, I should at least stand a chance fighting solo or with 1 friend. Maybe a selectable difficulty with increasing rewards? Works very well in diablo 3 currently, with increased rewards chances at higher difficulties. Means you can find good gear on easy, but it’ll take longer. Maybe make an online raid that is far tougher? But not being able to experience the raid bosses solo or with a friend(without exploiting glitches), and not wanting to play with randoms,(due to the way loot drops, and cheaters) left a huge hole in the experience and seemingly wasted content. I played for HUNDREDS of hours, and don’t have any pink guns because of this. And had to use an exploit to get the pearls. Which brings me to my next point:
Loot has to be separate for each player. Something else Diablo 3 did greatly(i swear i’m not that huge of a diablo fan, it just provides ideas that work). I see what i can pick up. He see’s what he can pick up. If a legendary drops for me, a legendary should also drop for him(barring bonuses to individual drop rates, if you go that route). Just make it a random item, so its not identical. The rewards shouldn’t go to whoever is closest to where the loot dropped. (which is why no one wants to play with randoms). I can really see no possible negative to having my loot only drop for me. Trading after the fact already exists, so why not just make it so we each get our own loot to begin with.
At the end of the day, i want the option of playing solo or with 1 or 2 close friends, managing to squeak out a kill of a giant boss by the skin of our teeth, actually pick up the legendary that drops, without fighting over it, because my friend got something completely unique and legendary as well. And have that gun make me laugh, while completely changing my tactics and abilities in a meaningful way. All the while making me feel legendary. That’s all I want!