Brainstorming Ideas to Improve Arms Race

Full disclosure, I do not own Season Pass 2 and have never played Arms Race, nor am I interested in the mode as it is currently described.

So from what little I am seeing on recent threads, some people enjoy the new mode, but think it will be short lived. Some people can’t stand it based on its core concept and design (i.e. lack of skills and higher end gear, set in an enclosed, timed theatre, etc.). Many have not even bothered to buy/try it (myself included).

But what I find interesting are the suggestions that there may be a core idea here that could be built on and once I thought about in that light, my mind started taking off in different directions with possibilities, some of which I will share here and will hopefully spark some creative ideas from the community that GBX could make use of.

What if they took the “Game Show” idea and expanded on it, really ran with it, making it the focal point of the DLC? Think American Ninja Warrior or American Gladiators or even Holey Moley (the mini golf show). Keep the two VH as hosts (maybe have guest appearances from other NPC’s or even the hosts of The Borderlands Show). Then every month, or three months or whatever, they change up the maps and the game theme by releasing a new “Episode” (these could be limited run “events” or re-playable “missions” - I prefer re-playable missions myself).

For example:

Galactic Vault Hunters

  • The Pilot Show / first mode presented is Arms Race as is (or with a few tweaks on the rewards side, but still stripped down, low level gear centric and timed).
  • The next “episode” could then be a vehicle race, with all kinds of whacky obstacles or whatever. Again, with loot appropriate incentives to play.
  • The next episode could be puzzle challenges, with vaulting, sliding, jumping, sharp-shooting, melee, etc. contests.
  • The next one could be… [fill in the blank].

The point of my idea is to take the core concept of a Game Show with Vault Hunter contestants and run in a different direction with it while still maintaining the integrity of the original Arms Race concept (that someone on the dev team or upper management apparently thinks is fun/cool). The original “Arms Race Mode” would then stay as simply one of the many different “episodes” / game modes that the overall “Game Show” would make available. These could be rotating like events or part of an overall re-playable package with a grand prize to all who complete all of the challenges in all of the modes. Lots of opportunity here for jokes from the commentators and plenty of varying challenges for players with a little something for everyone .

As I provide these examples, I realize that each mode could actually showcase a different part of gameplay - guns/gear, vehicles, common physical skills, etc.). One mode could even highlight skills themselves. Maybe a final mode then combines all of them in some massive X-athlon.

And if this core idea takes off, GBX could turn it into some sort of E-sports where you watch and root for your favorite VH Player, with ladders, etc. Or maybe open to all players during a “season” and have a special ladder match at the end for the top standing players that can be watched. Or whatever makes sense. Not something that I particularly care for mind you, but some might like it and it could interest the GBX execs.

Anywho, that is my basic idea - expand Arms Race into a full-blown game show and add all kinds of different modes as “episodes” to give it variety and increase content while salvaging the core concept.

Thank you for reading through this (novella). I now invite you to present your ideas of what some future version of Arms Race could look like (bonus kudos to those who can do it while maintaining the integrity of the original concept). I am looking for honest brainstorming here from the BL community, whether you have bought/played it or not and whether you are a fan of it or not.

Please keep the following in mind when responding:

  • What part(s) of the current Arms Race concept do you like? This includes other people’s ideas (like mine) presented here.
  • How would you expand on the current concept to make it better? Again, including other people’s ideas if you are commenting on them.

Thank you.


Sounds like Director’s Cut material to me :wink:


Shhh… don’t give them ideas :grinning:


@BaconianOne - Thank you for your suggestions. I am liking the idea of an Arcade Mode revision, but I am unclear on some of the details. Could you please expand a little more on the concept or provide a few examples of what you are envisioning?

For instance, I presume that the purpose of the points is to keep track of who is doing better during a given run, yes? And that this would then provide a means to build a ladder system with the winner collecting the most points. Also, you mention air drops, are they a part of the current mode (remember, I have not played it)? If so, what are they? If not, then what are you picturing (my mind flashes back to Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot and air drops of ammo).

You also mention that the main fun of the mode isn’t being presented enough. What do you consider this to be (and how does it relate to the suggested improvements)? Thx. :smiley:

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Without skills it’s just remarkably unexciting to me. Find a way to put them back. Take a leaf (or two) from Gunfire Reborn’s book: in that game, you periodically get upgrade juice that grants a three-way choice between skills. With a bit of luck, you can get to the fully upgraded, powerful stuff at the end, and no two runs are the same. The worry of a stale meta is also mitigated due to the RNG.

Here’s my suggestion from another thread:


@Feculator - Thanks for participating. So what I am hearing is allowing the introduction of skills into the mix in a limited form during play by way of earning skill points in some manner. And one example you provide is from your suggestion in another thread to have Badasses drop “skill orbs” that provide skill points that the players can then use to partially fill their trees.

Sounds interesting. I agree that one of the biggest hurdles would be how to allocate the points during play without slowing down the pace (especially in a timed environment).

What if the players could choose ahead of time what skill path they would want and then it auto-populates as skill orbs (or whatever) are collected/earned? In other words, you pre-determine exactly which skill slots to fill and in what order before you start the race. This way there is no delay during any actual run.

And if you don’t want the run to be competitive, then maybe skill orbs count for the whole team - i.e. everybody gets one whenever any of the VHs pick one up. Or, since we are brainstorming here, maybe there are two sub-modes to chose from, one that is co-op with team based rewards and the other is head-to-head with individual rewards and players decide during matchmaking which one they want to participate in.

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It occurred to me as well, and it would be one way to do it, but it would lose the magic of unpredictability.
Part of the appeal of a roguelike is that you don’t know what you’ll get, and there’s an incentive to go with the flow, working with what you get, forming a different on-the-fly build in each run.

Another option they could do is that the “XP” pickups just straight up offer a random, 3-4 way choice between filled-out, individual skills. It would kind of work like as if you started with a blank classmod, that gets skillcards on it as you level it up. Maybe there could be a bit of a system in place so that X amount of same-colored skills are needed for capstones, one-point gamechangers, and higher-tier augments.
It could look something like this when a badass orb is picked up:

The skills on offer would be random. You might get another pickup that offers two blue skills and a green one, for instance.
They could also do a thing where cash can be spent on rerolling this choice once or twice.

And hey, while we’re “borrowing” Gunfire Reborn’s good ideas, why not add gunsmiths to random spots on the map, who improve your guns for cash, and vendors, who offer a selection of augments, legendary classmods, and relics alongside the nice guns.


Suggestions to improve this horrible game mode:

-Get rid of Murdercane

-Make the new skill trees available in the game

-Make new DLC gear available in the game to use instead of being locked out of the game .

-Get rid of the extractors. Once you discover a new DLC legendary(or any legendary) it’s yours to keep.

  • Get rid of the terrible final boss. Instead, let the Vault Hunter, or Vault Hunters, choose their boss fight and where it will take place. The tougher the boss and scenario, the greater the reward.

-Let us fight as Axton or Salvador in Arms Race with their skills from BL2 and your skill points from BL3. so your rewarded for reaching mayhem 10 LVL 65.

You get to use just one legendary from BL2 plus whatever you find in Arms Race.


Ever since launch I hoped they would do something with weapon parts…

Yet the gave us broken ■■■■■■ anointments…

Arms race would actually be a great way to procure weapon parts and do all kinds of things…

Atm legendary weapons are overtuned and they fix that by disabling EVERYTHING and call it new content…

Anointments broke the already broken weapons even more…

So much that they COULD have done with arms race… Yet they did pretty much… Nothing

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@emeryx - so you provided a number of items to consider, thank you. It sounds like you have some vision of what you would like to see that takes all of these into account, plus (I am guessing) a few more that you have not mentioned yet. If possible, could you please walk us through what a run might look like in your version of a revised Arms Race? I want to get a feel for the larger picture of your concept.

For example, would the run still start with getting dropped on a map with no gear? Would there still be a time limit? How would your concept differ from one of the existing Takedowns - or are you intending to create a more Takedown-like atmosphere here? My understanding is that the Murdercane is supposed to provide a sense of urgency and keep a fast pace. Are you looking to slow things down or do you envision another way to keep things moving?

You mentioned having the ability to choose your own boss and where it will take place. That is very interesting. Can you expand on that a little, maybe provide a few examples of what you mean? You also mention fighting as Axton or Salvador with their skill trees but using whatever skill points (i.e. total # of points accumulated for the character that you are currently logged in with). What would that look like? What about choosing from any of the BL2 VH (I am thinking for co-op runs here)? I presume that the justification for the BL2 transformation (and maybe even choosing the bosses/locations) is that you are entering some sort of Digistruct environment. If not, then what did you have in mind?

Thanks again.

@garfield1283 - I hear you. I have wanted BL3 to provide the ability to swap out parts on common stocks since before they announced it was in development (and have posted a few thoughts on the matter elsewhere). But to give justice to this idea I think it would require its own thread (and maybe there is already one out there. If not, feel free to start one and I will happily add my thoughts.). And to be honest, I also think that adding this functionality to the game is separate from any one DLC, including Arms Race (Designer’s Cut), as it changes the fundamental base game. Still, I want to acknowledge the concept and thank you for offering it.

For what it is worth, I do agree that if they were to add weapon parts to the game, Arms Race could be a great vehicle for showcasing aspects of it. Aside from weapon parts, were there any other ideas or overall concept changes that you had in mind for improving the current Arms Race mode that do not involve changes/fixes to the base game? If not, is there some other mode similar to what they offer (in that it is a mode that provides a different playing experience than what we already have available in the game) that you think might be fun?

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More of a QoL thing, but having to travel to another area every few runs because you are running low on ammo is a little annoying. I’d love a change that makes it so dropping in fully refills all of your ammo so every run starts with you being full ammo and health.
I also feel like that the Arms Race items that aren’t guns, that is the grenade, the three shields and the two artifacts should be usable without having to extract them first. I understand that the guns themselves would be too powerful but I think having access to the remaining gear wouldn’t be unbalanced. Besides, some of the stuff looks like you wouldn’t use it outside of arms race to begin with.

Having a bit more variety would also be neat. Remember how in the Cartels Event you had different bandit clans with every run, sometimes bandits and sometimes Maliwan troopers and sometimes tinks? I’d like to see a theme like that, maybe with having a few other bosses as well (next to Harker maybe another Traunt on one hand and some kind of pure bandit boss on another hand).


@Feculator - So in summary, it sounds like you are leaning towards making a mode that is more Rogue-like. Thanks again for the input.

I also see that there is a whole thread on the Arms Race as Rogue-like topic for anyone reading this thread who would like to explore that idea so I will not ask for any further details (though feel free to continue if you like).

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for them to actualy sell me the arms race it should have a couple of more maps to start with :slight_smile:

when i first heard the “game show” type of “story” they tacked onto it i wanted them to have sponsored runs :smiley:

you remember the items they mail you in the main game? i for one never used a single one of them ever (forgot about them when playing the main game and when i botherd looking at them, legendaries where dropping left and right)

what if the arms race gave you an option to pick a sponsor (weapon manufacturer) and when you manage to kill the boss you receive a legendary weapon from that manufacturer.
though this idea will only warant a single run for every manufacurer. but that’s where gun parts could come in :smiley: (given they remove anointment and replace them with weapon parts -> maybe keep shield and grenade anointments? as they don’t bother gun balance)
just think of the possibilities :smiley:

also make it that you can play arms race with skills active :slight_smile: (for zane it should be only 1 skill for balance though) in this mode you could farm classmods and shields for example (again, why not make it sponsored? like pangolin and anshin are shield only manufacturers and give them some time in the spotlights)

but anything is better then the current arms race… i stand by my opinion of it being a stripped down mode (disable everything so normal guns actualy mean something)


Let us fast travel back to Stormblind Complex after we kill boss so we can start another run. How did they released Arms race without THIS?!


This mode just isnt for me… I play borderlands because I love over the top action and …EXPLOSIONS?!.. I think thats the main strong suit and driving point of this franchise…

If I would want to play call of duty, Id play that game… so I dont want call of duty in my borderlands… its boring, its just shooty shooty shooty and maybe get some looty…

also I find it a bit weird to say… " HEY here are 4 awesome new skill trees!!! and here is a brand new gamemode where you can actually use NON of it!!! yaaaaaay!!"

as I posted in my thread that was linked here, this mode could have been awesome… it could have been the endgame for borderlands even… combining the awesome loot and skill system, within a balanced evoirment to then unleash even more mayhem and chaos around the map and get even more crazy and over the top action… it should have been the exact other way around…

like isaac, risk of rain… making you start out weak, and then become increasingly faster and stronger and combine it all with huge rng and variance to make every new run a new experience.

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I personally am having a lot of fun with this new mode but can think of some fun improvements.
I’ll start with what I like:

  • It brings back the excitement of leveling, seeing new gear and trying it all out.
  • I like how fast it can go with either dying and respawning or getting a legendary and going to wreck the boss
  • The constant pressure and worry of the murdercane keeps me on my feet and moving. Checking the map constantly and planning out if I have enough time to grab just one more chest room
  • The chest rooms are marked on the map and have dedicated loot at each so they can be farmed

Things that could be improved:

  • Once I get the new loot I want, why go back? Might be nice to have a rotation of all in-game loot to the dedicated drops (similar to Division 2’s targeted loot cycles)
  • Even though the action skills would be way overpowered in this mode, it would be nice to have some passive one’s unlock as you go (Zane feels like he’s running through mud lol). I like the idea of completing certain tasks being tied to this. Instead of the full skill trees it would interesting to see Battleborn type skill trees where each VH has some core skills to choose from on the fly
  • More maps would be great, either on rotation or random. Another option could be embrace the rougelite so that you beat one, move to the next “floor” and keep going
  • Refilling ammo/health when you enter the arena or respawn seems like a necessary QoL change. Vending machines are pointless when you have no cash to start

Yep, definitely refill at least life. If you have Deathless equipped you start with 1 hp. Talents that convert life to shield also leave you with lower life at the start.

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Was playing digistruct peak yesterday…

An other great way to make arms race fun…

It keeps getting harder but the rewards keep getting better.

You fight mini bosses after a few waves (arenas) and end up fighting a big boss

for example maliwan peak…
You fight some maliwan dudes, first miniboss are 2 super badass maliwan jerks (the ones with the backpack haha)

Fight some more arenas filled with maliwan dudes and next you fight gigamind with some more maliwan dudes…

Go on to fight even more maliwan dudes and at the end you go up again the traunts :blush:

You start this one off with white maliwan guns (with your skilltree build off course)

And each mini boss increases the weapon quality