First off I want to mention that I love this game and I think Gearbox has made improvements over the previous installations on so many levels, however, Class Mods to me is not one of them. In fact, Class Mods (COMs) drive me nuts in this game. But let’s start with the positives.
There’s a few things I love about COMs in BL3, for example the ability to boost 1/1 or 3/3 skills, being able to benefit from a skill without having to spec into it, or getting a skill boost on white COMs.
However, there is a ton that I don’t like about them, and my main problem with them is that they don’t feel as impactful as they did in previous BL games. In previous games, if I found a COM it affected my playstyle and my build in a significant way. Let’s take BL2 for example. Now a huge percentage of class mods were far from perfect even in BL2, but they didn’t have to be, because they were good enough to change how I played the game.
If I was playing Krieg and found a Crunch COM with boosted Strip the Flesh it incentivised me to build around explosive gear. Even though the other 2 skills were pretty much wasted on this COM, it still had a clear theme to it.
If I was playing Axton and found a Grenadier COM I wanted to make use of grenades and weapons that get boosted by grenade damage.
But BL3 handles COMs differently. It’s more involved.
Here are some things that I don’t like about Class Mods in Borderlands 3:
- The amount of total skill points on purple and legendary COMs:
You only get 5 total skill points on a purple COM, which is just too little to incentivise a different playstyle in my mind. Let’s say there is a 5/5 skill on there that changes the way you play and you want to boost it to 10/5. But then there’s also 2 other skills on that COM that support that same playstyle, but you can’t boost them. It’s hard to really go for a theme when you are so harshly limited.
Now you have your legendary COMs, the majority of which do have some interesting passives, but why do they have the same amount of skill points as your purple ones? They should have waaay more than just 5. And most of the time the skills they boost don’t even synergise with the passives, which is really really sad.
- There is wayyyy too many combinations of skills and passives:
So let’s say you’ve theorycrafted your perfect COM for the build you’re going for. Well good luck getting it. Most COMs can roll so many different combinations of skills that even getting the right combination is soooo damn hard. Then you add in the passives, which makes it exponentially more ridiculous. So more often than not you find yourself relying on good passives instead of skills, which is really boring and not at all what COMs should be about. At that point a Class Mod feels just like your Relic, but with even less impact on the game in a lot of cases, because chances are it doesn’t boost the skill(s) you want.
- Too many Class Mods boost the same skills:
Now because those passives are rolled from the same pool and a lot of COMs boost the same skills you can literally have 2 class mods with different names that boost the exact same skill and have the exact same passives. That’s just straight up horrible design. And then there is sooo many skills that get boosted by 2 or more different COMs.
Let’s take Amara for example. You can get:
+5 Arms Deal on Warrior and Brawler
+5 Infusion on Pilgrim, Stormbringer and Elementalist
+5 Do Harm on Pilgrim, Tiger and Dragon
+3 Fast Hands on Mantis and Artisan
+3 Personal Space on Brawler, Master and Breaker
+5 Conflux on Master, Phasezerker and Nimbus
+5 Tempest on Stormbringer and Nimbus
+5 Restless on Tiger and Dragon
+5 Violent Tapestry on Warrior, Elementalist and Nimbus
+5 Jab Cross on Warrior and Breaker
+5 Clarity on Pilgrim and Phasezerker
+5 Anima on Stormbringer and Phasezerker
Nearly half of all her skills (12/28 skills) that can be boosted are boosted by 2 COMs, some even by 3. Combine that with the shared passive pool and you have a severe decrease in Class Mod diversity.
- The passives often outweigh the skill boosts:
As I stated above, because most COMs are so poorly synergised and the right skill combination is so hard to find, you find yourself looking for fitting passives instead of fitting skills in a majority of situations. Which again, makes COMs kind of like a “Relic 2.0” more so than actually changing the way you build your character. But that’s not all. I think the numbers on some skills are too small to be made impactful by boosting them, especially seeing as a mere 5 points is the maximum total number a COM can boost. Most of the time you are way better off having a good passive stat on your Class Mod or Relic, or both.
To end this on a positive note, here are some Class Mods that I personally think have good synergy/fully embrace a certain playstyle:
Amara’s Breaker - Personal Space, Find Your Center and Jab Cross all encourage a melee-gun-hybrid in-your-face-playstyle and the COM-passive damage reduction further supports this
Amara’s Artisan - the boosts to Deep Well and Dread are very very solid for a general gun build and 6/3 Fast Hands is sweet too. The fact that it always comes with +3 Fast Hands +1 Deep Well and +1 Dread means you can mix and match your passives way easier than with other COMs and even if you get bad passives it’s still a really solid option
Moze’s Blast Master - The synergy between the 3 skills is perfect and the COM-passive further supports the theme of not having to reload
- I’m hoping we get more themed Class Mods like the ones I just mentioned with the release of DLCs
- I would like to see purples and legendaries be able to boost more than +5 (purples +8, legendaries +11 maybe?) Of course that’s easier said than done with the balancing and other things, but I don’t think they are in a good spot right now.
- Possibly have legendary COMs boost 4 or 5 skills instead of 3
- I think the numbers on some skills are just too low compared to the numbers on the passives. I don’t think the passives are too high, I would like to see the numbers on some skills more in-line with the passives
What do you guys think about COMs in BL3? Do you like what they did with them? Or would you agree with me, and if so, what would you change about them?