Bl3 and pre-sequel skill trees. Which game had your fav skill trees and why?

I ask this because I feel the skill trees in BL3 are just not on the level of pre-sequel, and even some of the BL2 characters. The new ones were not that great IMO and I just feel skill trees in TPS were more exciting. Sometimes I wished that the TPS characters were just transported into BL3 even if it doesn’t make sense. Sure BL3 skill trees provide a lot more damage, but they’re not cool I guess? The worst part is I can’t even explain it into words why I thought TPS characters were way more exciting. Anyways, I’d love to hear anyone’s opinion on this, maybe I just got bored of the game.


TPS overall weaved personality, power, and interesting skills near perfectly. Zer0 and Krieg are good examples as well. They have some of the coolest capstones in the series. This was the peak in my opinion.

In BL3 I can never get a grasp on Moze’s character because her skills say nothing about her besides “soldier”. It does not help that the story does not make use of its own main characters. she ends up feeling the flattest VH ever. There are also just, a lot more bad skills in BL3. And the good ones are just boring stat sticks. You could argue Nisha was one, but her skills felt exciting to build towards and fit her character perfectly.

There is nothing exciting about dealing 18% more damage as elemental. 25% more effective kill skills. More shield capacity. Compare any of BL3’s capstones to Zer0’s Many Must Fall, Krieg’s Release the Beast, Nisha’s Once For Each of Ya, Athena’s Wrath of the Goddess. Skills in BL3, while (sometimes) effective, are very flat in design. I just dislike the approach they went with skill trees a lot.

There are a lot of reasons why BL is a successful franchise and one of them is definitely personality. That’s why I will never not be disappointed with these trees.

  • Love Zane’s
  • Amara is OK (though phasegrasp feels like Maya 2.0 which has done as bad as mayhem 2.0)
  • Fl4k… Not really a fan of pets because of AI and skills… Also not really that much of a fan
  • Moze… Disliked her from the start because it’s either her or iron bear… And then they put the tree that fixes this behind a paywall… Iron cub should be a standard tree instead.

I really only played Zane and Amara before I got bored with this game.

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TPS took a lot more risk with it’s skill trees.

Claptrap was a character that had an entire skill tree based around powerful RNG bonuses, Jack got loads of bonuses when constantly switching weapons and being a dick to teammates, Athena had to constantly swap between various elements to stack and maintain Maelstrom, Nisha’s entire survivability was based around RNG with Order, and Aurelia had a very coop focused skill tree (although it did work well in solo as well). Only Wilhelm didn’t have an “out there” gimmick.

I think the closest you get to that in BL3 is FL4K with Megavore, but even then Megavor is just a giant CDR decrease so you can spam action skills when you really strip it down. Very few capstones in BL3 are gameplay-changing like Sponsored By, High Five Guys, Custom Loads, or Blood Rush. It also doesn’t help that anointments contain more power than the entire skill tree of BL3 chars (mayhem scaling aside). A lot of the interesting, gameplay-changing anointments are horrifically weak and have been since launch, always losing to ASE anoints.

What BL3 misses in the skill trees it makes up for somewhat in the passive gear stats that tend to be very powerful bonuses, but unlike skill trees that everyone can experience, getting well rolled stats (not even god rolls, just 2 rolls that are good for your build) is extremely difficult and many players may never find a COM/Artifact with good rolls for their build.


Pre-sequel because it had useful action skills. I play moze in borderlands 3 and almost never use iron bear/cub.


BL:TPS because all of the skill trees had only 1 Action Skill and you could come close to maxing out all of the associated skills, which satisfies my desire for both progression and personality traits with regards to character.

As much as Borderlands is a Shooter-Looter, it is also a Role Play game. And in a Role Play game, I want to play a character, not choose from one of three (now four) versions of the same character.
Playstyles vary significantly depending on AS and help to define personality for the character. Multiple action skills then force multiple personalities on each character, and I hate that. I want to play Moze, not “a” Moze. I want to play Zane, not “a” Zane. If I want to play a different AS, then I want a whole new character, not a clone (or triplet/quadruplet) of the one I am already playing.

All other comparisons that I might make regarding gameplay mechanics like integration, balance, blah, blah, blah are really secondary for me. Even if I felt that the gameplay with BL3’s skill tree system was better (and I don’t), I would still trade it for a single AS and three trees that I hope to one day max out (at least two caps, and significant progression towards a third), and then give me more VHs to choose from for more variety.

Bottom line, I really couldn’t care less about any of the BL3 skill trees. Adding a fourth skill tree makes me like BL3’s system less because it is more of what I do not like. The details are irrelevant.


I “might” be OK with BL3’s system as a concept if the VHs were not named but simply actual generic classes (Gunner, Operative, etc.). So if I can name my own VH and customize the toon - head, face, eyes, body, race, etc. - like other games, then having multiple AS no longer creates a Role Play issue for me. In other words, GBX did not go far enough with customization. Either keep it simple - 1 AS and set of skill trees per Named Character, or allow full customization including name for each character class.

p.s. - thank you OP for providing me an opportunity to vent my frustration on this topic. I have always assumed that I was in the minority and so kept this particular opinion mostly to myself. :grin:


I agree most of the skills I chose for moze is useless filler for the 3 I wanted. In the blue tree grenades suck and so does irion bear instead of having many weapons to choose from for iron bear I would rather just spend time beefing up my mini guns. I thought moze would be like Salvador because Salvador was called gunzerker and moze was called gunner. Implying that she is an assault or heavy weapons character but no she gets a crap mech


She was originally called “Botjock”. They changed it a month before launch.

BTW, when was the last time you played Moze? IB has been one of the most powerful action skills in the game since phase 2 scaling. I understand that Bear replacing Moze is still a sticking point for some people, but in terms of power it is a potent action skill, and if you do have DLC 5 Iron Cub avoids the pitfall of Bear replacing Moze.


I only play moze. I only use iron cub with the blue rocket thing for more dmg every hour or so when I remember my action skill is a thing. When I played Salvador or Wilhelm I never forgot I had an action skill. If I had more points to spend like if the Max level was 80 like in bl2 I would invest more skill points into iron bear potentially. Or should the level cap be 100+ because we have 4 instead of 3 skill trees now.

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TPS’s. They really went the extra mile with those skill trees. It was fun seeing Wilhelm’s voice and appearance change when you selected certain capstones. Timothy had a skill that did nothing, but unlocked extra voice lines. Each character had fun and rewarding mechanics that made the game more interactive. My favorite was Wilhelm’s Laser Guided. Although SNTNL can similarly attack a marked target, it’s just not the same. BL3’s isn’t necessarily bad. A lot of it works well. However, stuff like Digi-Jacks resummoning when Timothy moves around and with Leadership, they counted as kills or getting a free Wolf and Saint from Scramble impressed me.


I do have to say that BL3’s skills lack some QoL stuff…

For example Zane’s clone, you can’t just reposition it
And on the shield, would be nice to carry instead of drop.

Both are minor

Same for Moze actually… Like I said before, iron cub should be a standard skilltree or autobear should have been activated instead of jump in and out (my reasoning for not playing moze past level 50 seeing I never actually used iron bear)


Was going to say something similar as well - in my most recent experience IB is way too powerful on M11, trivializing both mobbing and most of bosses.

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I get the whole game balance challenges from a pure Game Play perspective. But Borderlands is a hybrid RPG Shooter-Looter and from a Role Play perspective, a Mech should always be fairly OP compared to most if not all foot soldiers (i.e. most enemies), and definitely on par with or better than most vehicles and large, mutated monsters. Otherwise, what is the point of having it? Why would any professional foot soldier ever bother to climb into a Mech if it doesn’t wipe the battlefield?

I would put forth that if the power level of a real Iron Bear Mecha breaks the game, then it should be removed as an Action Skill completely. And yes, that means revising Moze. But honestly, Moze was my main character back when I was still playing BL3 and I rarely used IB because back then it sucked. So for me, getting rid of IB completely would not be an issue. Replace it with some other action skill that is not OP, but makes sense from a role play perspective and I will be a happy camper. Or don’t provide any action skill but tweak more of the passive skills to compensate and I will be just fine.

Sorry for the mini, psuedo-rant, but this is one of my pet peeves, along with certain types of weapons and vehicles, as evidenced by a recent post in another thread. Why do grenades suck 99% of the time in this game? - Borderlands 3 / Loot and Weapons - The Official Gearbox Software Forums


Claptrap was my fav character by far. Not only were his skill trees were cool, but his action skills were as well. They were so random and so graphically pleasing. And all of them somehow had something that changed mechanically. Nisha has two pistols, wilhelm got augments to himself, claptrap’s subroutines, Aurelia froze ■■■■ and got healing novas, Jack’s manufacturer bonuses, Athena becomes a crazy elemental wizard. Amara wasn’t as elemental as I hoped she’d be, Flak isn’t really a beastmaster most of the time, Moze always has to go blue tree, when I first saw her, I thougt I’d be filling people with lead doing increasing damage the longer I fired, nope, no synergy. Just damage. That’s why the BL3 characters are so flat, they’re just damage with nothing cool to add to them


I have played all skill trees with all action skills in both franchises with the singular exception of Aurelia’s Contractual Aristocracy.

I love them all, but Pirate Ship mode from Claptrap’s Vaulthunter.exe action skill is why I choose TPS. Nothing in any other video I’ve ever played was as exciting as rolling that skill for a two-point reversal against an enemy that was hitting you pretty hard. You see the name come up, brace yourself with some proper distance, the song starts up, and when the horns start in the third stanza IT IS ■■■■■■■ ON!


They should just turn IB into Salvador since she would still be in a mech as to her lore and IB would actually be useful because let’s be honest if you are a god in IB you’re a vergin outside of it if you’re a vergin in IB you have the power of 3 gods outside doesn’t seem far to me. My plasma coil flipper lyuda ect builds are op af the only reason I picked up iron bear and grenade skills was to get the last perk in the blue skill tree.

Like maybe make it a bit like Salvador where you could go akimbo but instead with super big versions of the guns you have to adjust for the size of the mech arms.

Definitely agree that TPS had the best. The trees synergised better, the capstones and mid-tier skills made huge differences and the way you played changed way more. (plus pirate ship for awesome and rubber ducky for humour)
In B3, a skill tree might change what kind of weapons you pick (splash/elemental/critical/firerate), but in TPS a skill tree would totally change HOW you used weapons and how you play (BL2 did, too, but I prefer TPS ), like having to keep swapping weapons or throwing grenades or how close you got to enemies or whether you slam or stay airborne and even what types you used (although claptrap wasn’t 100% random, I always found if I swapped to a different weapon type just before running out of stacks there was a 50%+ chance of it picking that type).


I don’t get how moze mech not being able to kill a tink on m11 lv 65 is trivial. Isn’t it ironic how a “micro” grenade I spawn from crits is more op then a big mech and also my shots sometimes do over 6mill damage.


That’s not my experience at all - these guys die with 2-3 hits from a tracking Vanquisher pod. And since I think single volley from a Vanquisher shoots 6 rounds, and you can equip 2 of them… I kill 3 guys in a single trigger pull if I tagged all of them at once.

I did not particularly tweak my build or farm for COM/relics either. Just invested some points into IB stats (mostly damage/health ones), found Bear Trooper COM and was on my way.