Borderlands 3 Difficulty - An anecdotal comparison

Ok, so I’ve seen a few topics on here about difficulty of BL3, and rather coincidentally I’ve stopped playing BL3 for a bit to play and eventually finish BL TPS.

So my gaming credentials. Been playing games for over 30 year, I’ve played a mix of games of all difficulties, but Im not a masochist, so you wont find me doing a soulsborne 0-hit run. Have completed BL2 with 2 chars @ lvl 80, BL3 with 5 chars @ 53.

So don’t call on me to be an expert witness at your borderlands debate trial, but I know some stuff.

Summary - BL3 is a quantifiably easier game than both BL2 and TPS in NVHM.

Case in point, I’m rushing through the campaign on TPS, and perhaps 1/2 way (don’t know as I’ve never completed it) just installed Felicity into the constructor.

I’ve only done story missions and currently I’m vastly underlevelled for the current mission. I’m 20 and its punting level 24 enemies at me.
And i’m getting spanked. I find myself pingponging between fight for life and some life.
The enemies all have skulls on, demonstrating they are too powerful for me and is acknowledged by the spanking.

Contrast that with BL3 , whereby I was able to do story only and smash Tyreen at about level 30-32. Only had a difficulty with Agoniser 9000, but that was more to do with my gun setup, beyond that it was smooth sailing, no overlevelled characters no regular pinch points of death.

So yeah BL3 seems to be the easiest of the lot.


I agree that the game, in general, is much easier than the others. Most notably, in my opinion, 2. I haven’t played a lot of TPS (I… I just can’t. >.>) But I did play several hundred hours of one and two and I remember trying to be over-leveled so I wouldn’t have such a problem handling mobs.

In 3 though, I found myself pushing for TVHM early because enemies were too easy.

Then I started playing with Mayhem and I don’t feel that way anymore. T.T

But in NVHM the game is definitely laughably easier.

Have you tried mayhem 4? Mayhem 4 is harder than anything in borderlands 2, even perhaps op8. Mayhem 4 could be considered artificial difficulty however, considering that every enemy acts the same except for the fact they have 1000% more health and shield.

I have to disagree with your OP8 comparison because at OP5 and above the game devolved into managing health gate. So everybody needed a Grog Nozzle or transfusion grenades or other major source of life steal. In BL3 at least, so far, passive health regen is good enough most of the time, even in M4 (story stuff mostly though). There are exceptions of course, but on balance BL3 health and damage systems are far more forgiving than BL2 UVHM/OverPowerLevels were.

This just popped into my head :grin:. Another example of how much better BL3 is compared to BL2 is that in BL3 damage reduction skills actually work. In BL2 you could stack all the DR in the world on your VH and still be health gated by everything.

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I see what you are saying, but I would still argue that bl3 gets harder. Even though the health gate thing is true, its worth pointing out that the grog is so OP that once you get it, the game becomes insanely easy. Meanwhile, BL3 can be made easy in mayhem 4 with complex builds combined with ideal anointed weapons. So M4 without a perfect build is much harder than OP8 without a perfect build. At least thats what I think, but perhaps I am missing something.

TPS is an odd one. I ended up going through most of the game up to Felicity consistently under-levelled by 2 or 3 on my first character/play-through, which was a very different experience to BL2 or BL1. The scaling is generally a lot smoother through NVHM and TVHM in TPS than BL2, but there are a couple of points where you hit a serious bump.

For me, BL3 main story at least feels similar in scaling/levelling to TPS in normal mode. Definitely on the easier side than BL2, although - just like TPS - there are certain points where you’ll either be saying ‘Now that was fun!’ or $RAGEQUIT (see September forum posts regarding Traunt and Killavolt or TPS release Deadlift and RK5)

I think overall I’d rank TPS and BL3 at about the same difficulty in NVHM in terms of levelling and story bosses. What’s different is the skill trees - I had a much easier time figuring out my progression through those on TPS for all characters than I am with BL3. Which in practice means I had less issues playing through the story because of poor build choices; and that in turn probably made TPS overall a little easier.

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It’s a fair point - but I thought UVHM in BL2 was comparable. OP levels I can’t comment on as I never got that high.

M4 is a challengeto BL3 (personally I think M3 is harder) - but M4 to BL3 is not Op to BL2.

I find the baseline of difficulty is higher in BL3 than in any other game due to the higher enemy mobility, but that evens out and in the end, BL3 is probably around the same difficulty as The Pre-Sequel, which means that BL2 is still harder in the OP levels. But we haven’t experienced Mayhem 2.0 yet, so who knows how BL3 evolves.

Right now for me it goes like this (from easiest to hardest and on a 1-10 scale):
Tales: 0
BL 1 (Level 69 TVHM): 3
TPS (Level 70 UVHM): 5
BL3 (Level 53, Mayhem 4): 6-7
BL2 (Level 80, OP10): 8-9