THIS POST CONTAINS TOO MANY SYLLABLES. APOLOGIES.
Imagine if you didn’t have weapon equip slots. Instead, on the
inventory screen you can pick up little icons representing your
Weapon-Equip SDUs and move them to any equipment, including shields,
coms, grenade mods, etc.
There would be five flavors of WESDUs, one for each dpad button and
one for triangle (or whatnot on your controller). Pressing the
corresponding button equips that item… if it’s a gun, it replaces
your wielded gun. If it’s a shield, it replaces your current shield,
and so on.
Next, imagine if each flavor of WESDU comes in stages. So you could
apply both a stage-0 triangle WESDU and a stage-1 triangle WESDU.
Let’s say you wield a gun attached to the stage-0 triangle WESDU by
pressing triangle. Then you press triangle again. This would wield
the equipment attached to the stage-1 triangle WESDU.
Now, assuming you do not also have a stage-2 or higher triangle WESDU
applied, pressing triangle again would loop back around to the stage-0
triangle WESDU. On the other hand, suppose you do have a stage-2 triangle
WESDU applied, and you want to get back to the stage-0 WESDU from the
stage-1 WESDU… for this, you hold the triangle instead of pressing it,
which will bring you back to the lowest stage which you have applied.
This is the basic idea of the system. And might be worth pondering
a bit before we get into the weeds.
A few extra features complete the system:
The stage-0 dpad WESDUs and the stage-0 through stage-3 triangle
WESDUs are fused together. This is to emulate BL2’s behavior. So,
if you don’t like this system just don’t apply any but these SDUs,
and only apply them to guns, and you have BL2-style behavior. Also,
if you do like this system, you can unapply these SDUs and only apply
stage-1 and over dpad WESDUs and stage 4 and over triangle WESDUs
too bypass the fusing… but you have to earn your WESDUs first.
In addition to the system described above, you would also have a menu
option on the inventory to do a “quick-wield” on an item you have focused.
Pressing the quick-wield button closes inventory immediately and equips
the focused item. This lets you wield an item for an opening salvo and then
put it away for the rest of a combat. This is also how you equip, say,
a grenade mod, if you do not want to burn a WESDU on grenade mods.
A feature that BL3 could add is secondary item modes, for example an
underbarrel launcher, a rapid burst fire, or an overshield. In this system,
secondary item abilities could be toggled on/off whenever a wielded weapon
is re-wielded. Optionally, this could only happen if no other wielding
actions ave occurred between the initial wield and the second wield…
whichever works better in playtesting.
To intentionally empty slots, each category (gun, shield, com, etc.)
would have a special inventory item, for example. a “naked” item for going
without a shield. These would all have equipment cards explaining what
they do. There could be different flavors of these: one which
prevents you from auto-wielding items you pick up, one that allows
auto-wielding, and one “sticky fingers” one that picks up and wields items
of that category just by walking over them. Certain character classes may
have extra-special, or lack, certain of these – a loot hound might have a
legendary-only “sticky-fingers” that only picks up legendary weapons.
They can be attached to WESDUs just like any other inventory item, so
you could have triangle wield a bazooka for a death blow, then a second
click on triangle wield “sticky fingers” for ninja looting.
So, what does the inventory screen look like?
Probably two columns of items, each with their own sort order, and a sidebar
where unused WESDUs can be kept. The default sort order on the left column
is to show all wielded weapons first… there would be one gun followed by
shield, com, mod, relic.
The default sort order on the second column is a thread-like view sorted
by assigned WESDUs. Note that equipment in this sort order can appear twice,
so some highlighting/shading logic needs to be employed to make this obvious.
WESDUs would appear as small markers on the corners of equipment, bearing the
symbol of their button with a number over it. If a WESDU is in the unused
sidebar, focusing on it displays a card explaining WESDUs.
You would be able to pick up WESDUs from an equipment slot where they are
assigned, or from the unused sidebar, and move them to other equipment. You
would also be able to swap equipment, keeping the WE-SDUs as is, just changing
which peice of equipment occupies that place in WESDU chains.
Truly complicated stuff:
BL has always tucked some little glitches into the game for players to
discover, and allowing this leaves a lot of little crevases in which to
Note that more than one WESDU can be assigned to the same item (up to some
reaonable limit on the number of WESDUs assigned per item.)
If you have a weapon assigned to more than one flavor, and press that
other flavor’s button, it will pick up in that other flavor from a
point where that weapon is in the loop. There are some finagly bits
to that… for example, what happens if an item is in two places in
the d-pad-up flavor, and also is in the d-pad-down flavor. If the
item is wielded from the d-pad-down flavor, and the d-pad-up is pressed,
Another example: what if a zerker selects the same weapon with both left and
right hand WESDUs.
The answers to these questions should probably be kept a surprise… it’s
where you hide the cheeze people need to beat the game when the difficulty
is notched up to impossible.
Anyway, I think this system would lead to more interesting buildouts and
really keep the game replayable.