Crazy Earl, Allegiance Builds & Weapon Proficiency in Borderlands 3

So, we all know how fun allegiance builds are, the idea was initially there in BL1, in forms of class mod. Remember those Loyalty class mods? The Bad Ass “Torgue” Loyalty, Common Man “Tediore”, heck the game even had non-weapon manufacturer loyalty class mods e.g. Tank (Pangolin) Loyalty class mod.

I liked the idea, and the system played off the character’s skill and buff those that would make sense for that manufacturer.

For example, Brick had the Torgue Loyalty, Mordecai had Jakobs, Lilith had Maliwan and so on. Torgue’s loyalty would boost Brick’s explosive damage, Maliwan would give Lilith better rate of fire, Jakobs with more headshot damage for Mordecai.

I think each class had 2-3 loyalty class mods, can’t remember them all now but you get the idea.

I think it took a little step back in BL2, however the benefit to the BL2 allegiance relic gave you the flexibility to use any manufacturer for any character. It felt like I as the player had some what you can say “RPG” controls over my character. If I wanted a Siren with Jakobs Allegiance then you cannot stop me, even though with the BL1 system it would probably have made that exclusive to Zer0 or something.

In TPS they were gone, completely. :cry:

Now I don’t want to go back to either of these scenarios, I am not here to get all nostalgic on you and tell you why the old ways are better or worst. But rather there is an idea there that is worth exploring.

Gearbox can make allegiance as big of a deal as they want to, or just a fly in the wind and do relics again. It is up to them on how they proceed.

Now there was a concept (not sure from whom) where the player would equip these relics and activate a 4th tree (allegiance), where you can go and pick out points. I love this idea but two issues need to be resolved.

  • For balance purposes, I don’t think skill points should be used on this 4th tree, use something else. Also, when the player swap out to another allegiance relic what then? Do this player have to invest points again? So, there are some complications there.

  • It is also strange design choice to have, why would some relic give me a 4th tree while some do not? It’s like having weapons that a player can equip mods on (muzzle, mag, grip, scope)…while with other weapons they cannot.

So perhaps Gearbox can move this “Allegiance” thing out of the scope of Class Mod and Relic slot completely and make it part of a bigger game mechanic in BL3. But before we do this, it needs to be able to solve other issues, in doing so it won’t feel like some extra bulk added to the game.

  • So, we need more Eridium (or end game currency) sink, that is clear.
  • And we know a lot of people liked the weapon proficiency from BL1.

So here goes: (please bear with me as this will be just a stream of ideas, nothing set to stone, let’s have a discussion).

  • Let Crazy Earl do more than SKU upgrades, let the player use Eridium (or whatever the end game currency in BL3 is) to invest in an Allegiance tree.

  • Allegiance tree can have Tier 1-5 skills, like a character tree. But it would cost a lot of Eridium to work down the tree. This will give us a Eridium sink and a sort of “End Game” tree for us to work on.

  • So I can buy skills in the Jakobs tree and work towards my Jakobs Allegiance Character.

  • I can also invest into Hyperion Tree, but only one tree can be activated at a time, and I would need to talk to Earl in order to change my Allegiance (which also will have a Eridium cost associated).

  • This is where you can bring back weapon proficiency. So just by buying the Jakob’s tree, it will trigger a kill count monitoring my character. For every kill with a Jakobs, all my Jakobs get slightly better overtime, like per kill we get 0.1% base damage, crit bonus and reload speed.

  • As far as the actual skills in a Allegiance tree goes, they can be a bit more creative than just weapon stats boost. So for Tier 1 and 2 you can give the simple stuff like mag size, reload, gun damage, fire rate….but Tier 3 and below can add more interesting stuff.

  • Tier 3 can be a use to unlock additional gimmick for the manufacturer? I don’t have anything exciting right now but here is a one idea…perhaps all Jakobs can now have built in penetration.

  • Tier 4 can even be a kill skill, “killing with a Jakobs will increase movement speed and reload by 30%”

  • Tier 5 can be something special, maybe a weakness of the manufacturer can be addressed so something pretty rad.

In light of @Lammas reply, we can even have a non-allegiance tree that players can invest into, so they are free to use whichever gear load-out, it just won’t be as specialized.

So, where does this leave Bad ass rank? I don’t know. Perhaps BAR can give different type of stat boost. Maybe more utility stuff so it doesn’t end up overlapping to much with the Allegiance tree stuff?
Utility stuff like

  • More storage space
  • Increased drop rate
  • More money drop
  • Kill skill last longer (little percentile increases)
  • More xp on kill, so you can level your alts faster

Anyways, have at it guys. Looking forward to this discussion.


Ehm, for me allegiance runs always just are something you can do for extra challenge and fun and not something that should to inherently be pushed by the game. I loathe the idea of being basically forced to an allegiance as that’s what the tree idea would be if could only choose one. If I had a max level character I would basically be forced to pick a manufacturer to boost as it would make no sense not to pick one. Would it force me to use weapons from them? No, it would not. Depending on how large or small the buffs are, at least. If they are large enough it would make sense I’d just start using them. It would in any case push me into making a choise I don’t want to have to make in BL games.

I would argue that most of the people (that is everyone who plays BL, not just these forums) don’t actually care about allegiances at all. We all have our favorites that we like, is that not enough?

And I might as well make myself sound like I hate everything as I also hated the proficiencies in BL1 as I played it after BL2. The progression in them is so damn slooooow. I played the game through twice as Mordy using a sniper probably over 90 % of the time. Anywhere near max? Nope, not even close. Oh hey, what a cool pistol COM, I’d like to try this out but I don’t wanna as my pistol proficiencies are non-existent (interesing thing for a character who apparently won a sniping competition with a revolver, BTW).

I thought the proficiencies were just very limiting. “What a cool masher. I don’t want to spend an eternity building up proficiency to see how it actually matches on my shotgun though” or “Nice SMG, I’ve used an AR’s sometimes already though so I guess I’ll just pass it” are actual thoughts I had while playing BL1. Having this allegiance idea tied to anything like that sends shivers down my spine.

Sorry if I sound negative but all of this is anything but something I’d like to see.

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I like it! But… It would HAVE TO be re-specable. Very expensive is OK. The perks in this skill tree must be worth the cost, but at the same time be balanced. The obvious suggestion is to go for more gun damage, or something like that. But that would mean a hell of a lot of gun damage to be worth the cost, so back to square one again.

One idea, off the top of my head, would be to gain access to a skill from one of the other characters. Not just any skill, but a selected few. Something that isn’t intimately tied to a characters action skill.

I also think that there should be some sort of buff from skins and heads. Something that’s tied to certain items. The manufacturer skins could boost the gimmick of the manufacturers when their products are used. Certain skins and heads could have connections to certain unique and legendary items, or they could make certain enemies weaker. An ugly appearance would make enemies turn their heads away from you, thus their accuracy would go down. Or something like that…

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Well I see what you are saying but on the flip side if you do happen to use a particular gun from a certain manufacturer quite often, then why not make it even better with Allegiance?

But in light of your concern we can have a bare non-Allegiance tree, that is more focus on having basic boost all manufacturers can benefit from.

Negative nancy here again. Please no.

Say Jacobs filigree gave a buff to Jacobs pistols and I happen to be using a Maggie as my main weapon but I don’t like how Jacobs filigree looks. I shouldn’t be pushed to change the way I like my character to look because of buffs that should have nothing to do with them. That kinda goes against the whole idea of being able to pick my looks from the hundreds of combinations. If there was a skin that buffed (Maliwan) sniper damage every single Pimpernel user would use that and nothing else.

Why should the way my character looks have anything to do with the rest of the gameplay? Keep customizations as they are please.


That’s way more than I would have hoped for on the allegiance front… I’m just hoping they don’t skip out on any allegiance-based gear.

I can’t say that I’ve ever tried an Allegiance build due to the fact that I might lose access to some of my favorite gear- of course, the up side would be that it would force me to be more creative and to actually try something different. Having an Allegiance build tied to Crazy Earl might actually get me to try it at least once. As for weapon proficiency, I think I came close to maxing out at least one of them while using Lilith (I’d have to load up a save and check). Considering I tend to stick to mainly pistols, shotguns and SMG’s, I wouldn’t mind seeing some form of them return…

I’m against this idea as well. I think on paper, it sounds like something that would be really cool to do. I think in practice, however, we’d just end up with a bunch of characters who looked exactly the same once we figured out what the most powerful head/skin combo was for a given character. Keep cosmetics cosmetic, please.

Personally, I really liked proficiencies. I liked that as you used a weapon more, you got better with it. There wasn’t anything that you couldn’t kill with a weapon type that had 0 proficiency, so I don’t think that your argument holds much water. Plus, once you got to endgame, there was so much experience available that it didn’t take long to get any proficiencies you needed up to speed. Need to level Eridian proficiency? Go whittle down Rakk Hive with your Hellfire, and then switch to your Eridian weapon for the last shot. Boom, you’ve gone from level 0 to level 9 in 4 minutes.

In my ideal BL3 setup, there are both proficiencies and BAR. Proficiencies for different weapon types can take care of things such as gun damage, accuracy, reload speed, recoil, etc. BAR would then pick up some of the things it already does (elemental effect damage, shield boosts, grenade damage), but it would add a few things to take the place of the weapon stats that the proficiency system would take care of. Perhaps there could be a BAR stat to increase movement speed, or grenade radius, or kill skill duration, among other things. These are things we have seen added in skills, so we could feasibly put them into BAR if the proficiency system came back in some form.

I would argue that most people would care if it were an actual mechanic and not like this we got now.

On the subject, i am not sure bout 4th skill tree thing (probably harder to do), though would prob be cool as well. I would be happy with a mechanic similar to what diablo 3 haves with their set items. You pack your character full with hyperion gear, you get bonus +% critical damage and +%accuracy etc. Maybe some ultimate perk/skill for having a FULL set.

I would like Allegiance builds to be more fleshed out but not to the point they overpower mixing and matching equipment.

However instead of a skill tree I think having some form of relic being unlocked and usable would be a better alternative with less focused but just as powerful relics floating around for those that do not want to dedicate to a specific company. From here on it will be called the Relic System.

In order to unlock your class relic you have to beat the final boss on the highest difficulty available to you (is repeatable once the next difficulty is released) and are given a series of quests by whatever NPC to work towards said relic. The quest will be a series of missions that lead up to the player finally acquiring the relic and for the sake of time and writing I will use Jakobs for an example and Borderlands 2.

After beating the Warrior Dr. Tannis will ask the player to retrieve a certain relic from a certain region in the world and in the case of the Jakobs relic it is in Lynchwood (must complete Lynchwood story) however in the time between sacking Nisha and killing Handsome Jack a warlord has moved in and in order to get to him the player has to go through a series of tasks before finally fighting the boss who has the relic in their possession and is using a powerful Jakobs sniper rifle.

After the relic is acquired and returned it is discovered that in order to unlock the relics power the player must use weaponry appropriate with that relic. The more kills, bullets fired, and critical hits struck with Jakobs weaponry will unlock all five stats and upgrade the quality of the relic. With every upgrade the previous stats are improved as well. Each relic is different for each Vault Hunter.

I will use Axton for an example, shameless emphasis on my Leatherneck build:

Numbers will be somewhat random and may scale funny so bear with me.

Rank 1: Steady reduces Jakobs Recoil by 8%, Jakobs accuracy recovery increased 10% per rank.

Requirements to reach rank 2: Kill 500 enemies with Jakobs.

Rank: 2

Steady Jakobs Recoil 9%, Jakobs accuracy recovery increased +12% per rank.

Duty Calls increases the critical damage of Jakobs firearms by 4% per rank.

Requirements to reach rank 2: Kill 1,000 enemies with critical hits.

Rank 3: Steady reduces Jakobs recoil by 10% per rank, increases recoil recovery by 14% per rank.

Duty Calls increases the critical damage of Jakobs by 5% per rank.

Grit chance increased to 6% per rank, successful use of Grit grants 50% damage reduction for a few seconds.

Requirements to reach rank 3: Kill 600 enemies with a Jakobs assault rifle, 600 enemies with a revolver, 600 with a shotgun, and 600 with a sniper rifle.

Rank 4: Steady reduces Jakobs recoil by 12%, Jakobs accuracy recovery by 16%, reduce weapon sway by 8% per rank.

Duty Calls increases Jakobs gun damage, reload speed, fire rate, and critical damage by 6% per rank.

Grit chance increased to 7% per rank, successful usage of Grit grants 75% damage reduction for a few seconds.

Jakobs firearms deal explosive damage.

Rank 5 upgrade requires 10,000 critical hit kills with Jakobs firearms.

Rank 5:

Steady reduces Jakobs recoil by 14%, increases accuracy recovery by 18% per rank, reduces weapon sway by 10% per rank.

Duty Calls increases ALL Jakobs stats by 8% per rank.

Grit chance increased to 8% per rank, successful usage of Grit grants 75% damage reduction. Grit now heals for 100% health and threshold is now 70% of total health.

Jakobs firearms deal explosive damage, splash radius increased by 50%.

The Sabre turret has been upgraded to the Reverent Turret; decreasing fire rate by 50%, increasing damage by 200%, health increased by 300%, and changing the way talents interact with it.

Scorched Earth now fires concentrated shotgun blasts (same spread as a Striker) in rapid succession at an enemy in its line of sight. Pellets ricochet to other enemies.

Double Up remains the same in terms of slag usage but instead of granting a second cannon the original cannon instead penetrates targets and causing an explosion of slag that has a high chance of slagging any nearby enemies.

Laser Sight increases the turrets turn speed.

Longbow remains the same.

Nukem remains the same.

Mag-lock remains the same.

Phalanx shield reflects bullets back at attackers with only melee, grenade, or rockets can destroy the shield.

Remember: What I wrote is just a SAMPLE of what I would see in a relic that can be upgraded from white quality all the way up to legendary. I did not make this to be balanced.

Another possibility is the relic boosting whatever skills are oriented towards your weapon, or whatever skills you have already selected. Or even have customizable COMs.


Sure, it would be hard not to care if it was a mechanic. Incentivizing players to use only specific manufacturers in a game that is about collecting all sorts of weapons and shooting things with them feels counter-intuitive. Doing an allegiance build has always been the players choise for challenging themselves for fun. If there was a system where you could slap an allegiance on top of everything else you got with no downsides then every character in the end is going to be tied to an allegiance. If the buffs offered are small then it makes little difference but it’s also not worth implementing. On the other hand if the buffs are great enough then end game builds will be very heavily tied to a manufacturer. I’m not sure if I’m phrasing my thoughts in a way that makes my point come through.

How about an improvement on the BL2 allegiance relics: slap Timothy’s Company man effect on them. Each manufacturer has a relic like now (or somehow improved, I dunno how good they are now. I’m no allegiance player.) but the buffs on it get better for each weapon of that manufacturer you have equipped. The first 3 add to the bonuses while the 4th also slaps on some unique effect (for example for Maliwan it could be to double the time of DOTs you are causing). Doesn’t take away from the rarity system either.
Your allegiances get stronger and people like me that don’t want it forced on me don’t have to nor would I gain an extra advantage on my main gun from basically having an allegiance slapped on me for no apparent reason.

EDIT: LOL, I just realized that I didn’t read your second paragrap and you actually suggested something similar right there. I was also thinking of a luneshine effect on guns where they would get more powerful for each other weapon of the same manufacturer you have equipped but then thought that it might be a bit powerful to just get that effect with no negative (which in my case would be taking your relic slot for the buffs and effect).

Hopefully they do a good job with this in BL3, because their most recent attempt at incorporating allegiance into one of their games was very lacking IMO. Which was Battleborn with the most recent DLC. They made the bonuses from the new allegiance gear waaay too stringent and most of the benefits were not worth it by any stretch of the imagination.

I’ve been thinking of adding a legendary relic to BL3 that would allow a character to switch to an allegiance build at the push of a button (or key or mouse)- no visiting a respec vendor. Having that as a constant effect combined with your ideas might work well together…