CROWD SOURCED BALANCING! Can we balance the guns?

Hi all. I wanted to do an experiment. Obviously, everyone here is a passionate Borderlands player. We want this game to the best it can be, and we want a massive variety of guns to be viable so that we can have fun making cool builds.

It got me wondering - can we, as a community, come up with general agreements on proper gun damage, particularly for underperforming weapons? I have a bastardized version of the amazing “community excel sheet” that I’ve shared out publicly. I’ve added 2 new columns, F and G: Current Average Damage, and Proposed Average Damage. DLC3 is new, so we won’t worry about it for now.

I’ll do my best to start filling this out myself in the next few days with at least the current average numbers that I’m seeing on my guns, but obviously more people is better. I’ll be checking this thread daily and making updates during my lunchbreak at work. If you can provide the gun, current average damage, and your proposal for a new average damage, it’s much appreciated, and will be hopefully create discussion which leads to consensus on what the damage should be.


  1. We are balancing solely for M10, so these should all be M10 numbers.
  2. We don’t need or want every gun to be overpowered - just viable.
  3. Assume neutral MM modifiers.
  4. Assume a solid build and good gear for the gun. For instance, I think the SoulRender is in a pretty good spot right now. I’m running it on my Moze with a Pearl, and a class mod with +dahl critical and +AR. It feels fair and fun without being totally broken.

Link to the sheet:


You’re starting this project from the wrong end. Don’t even look at legendary gear yet.

Start with basic weapon types. Give everything similar DPS on average between damage/fire rate/reload speed/mag size/pellet count so it’s the little quirks of each weapon type that influence playstyle. If something underperforms the others despite having the same average DPS, buff that weapon type until it starts working. (unfortunately, one reason that sniper rifles that actually function like sniper rifles underperform other types is that every single map in this game is a giant clusterfuck with enemies spawning constantly from all directions, so playing tactically and actually sniping bandit camps is impossible).

When the underlying stats are finally balanced, then you can start looking at the unique effect each gun has to see what needs to be done with it. For example, that shotgun that ups your damage with the number of simultaneous elements you shoot (Recursion?) - it should greatly underperform with only 1 element, be a little underperforming with 2, overperform with 3, and greatly overperform with 4 or 5.

Just my take. Maybe I’m wrong.

No, it’s a valid take. I’m not sure how the game is coded. I’m not sure if the legendary guns are based on the base damage of the plain weapons or not, or if they’re separate within the game files.

I just figured that, since legendaries are very common in this game and they’re basically the only guns that people use, that I’d concentrate on the legendary items.

It seems to be both - legendary guns are a base weapon type with some additional modifiers unique to the legendary. We can tell because hotfixes sometimes buff/debuff one or the other.

When we talk about underperforming guns, it’s really all just numbers, so seeing how there are so many underperforming guns in this game, I think we should work on the base guns and ignore the unique stuff until that’s all set.

I believe all the base guns perform well enough throughout 1-60 TVHM. When mayhem gets applied, I don’t see purples and blues being used unless they’re built around. Other than that, it’s all legendaries.

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yknow that legendary gear line, often seen in the wikis?
“increased damage compared to other weapons of its kind”

That sheit, has to be gone. I dont like using a legendary because it deals triple damage than their normal counterpart (im looking at you, Hellshock). I want to have both the option to kill stuff with a blue rarity just as good as a freakin’ OPQ System.

Buff the damage the normal drops get at endgame to match legendaries, or tone down the broken legendaries and annoints, and ALSO, enemy health and skill damage to match.


I definitely think that, at minimum, purple version of guns should have high damage. Probably AS high as a legendary weapon, considering it won’t have any of the special abilities like legendaries do.

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One of the problems is that there seem to be 10 tiers of weapons, white-purple and 6 tiers of legendaries. My ideas to improve balance:

  1. Nerf OP weapons to hell.
  2. Nerf OP guardian perks like Topped Off and Too Angry to Die to hell.
  3. Nerf OP skills like TTB to hell. Yes, I’m an Amara main and I want the ■■■■ nerfed out of TTB.
  4. Delete Mayhem modifiers.
  5. Delete anointments.
  6. Delete Mayhem level increases on gear.
  7. Bring enemy HP back to something like old M4 levels.

Just my few starting ideas.


To balance you have to agree on which performers are balanced from then on you adjust over and underpeforming gear.

To me maggie has always been a gold standard for where a gun should be but there smartasses who want every pistol to do emg of lightshow and beacon so what is that line that is balanced.

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Thanks doc xd

Were you around for the BL2 UCP? I never tried it myself but by all accounts the fourth (?) and final iteration did a fairly good job of balancing certain gear and skills but it took ages to get there. It also took the work of the most experienced and mining-savvy minds in the game (I don’t mean anything disparaging by that, just that it’s a daunting task that requires massive knowledge of the game - both on and under the surface).

I often wonder how much GBX paid attention to the BL2 UCP and applied it to 3. “Not much” would be the obvious sarcastic answer.

I realize this is more of a wish list to GBX and not an attempt to wrestle control from them - especially since the UCP came once people were sure the game wouldn’t be altered any more by GBX. Turns out they were wrong :rofl:


Yup, this would solve so many aspects of this game.

This would be the good starting point.
I believe a baseline needs to be set for each class (AR, Pistol, SMG, Sniper, Shotgun, Heavy). Once the baselines are set, then you can start breaking them down by similar weapon types, including purples with the legendaries.

Just getting the baselines will be alot of work though …

good old days when i was running around with purple plasma casters in bl2
that should be a thing
but i think they are heading in the right direction
i was kinda testing out ax-88 with my moze and it was actually “doing damage” on mayhem 10
it seems like with the pistol buff hotfix, they actually made some “basic weapons” viable
but there are still examples like



good point
since most shotguns will basically make you run out of ammo after 2 enemies

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If we balance the guns for MM10, where do players looking for a difficult fight go? (I mean, I’ll be the first to say that they can just farm and use vastly underleveled gear) but balancing around the hardest difficulty sort of throws the entire concept of having a difficulty slider out the window, no? MM10 should be insanely difficult because it’s currently the most difficult offering the game has (we’ll assume they aren’t adding more difficulty later).

I agree - red text just makes weapons do something unique (sometimes good, sometimes bad). When they’re good, they’re good, so when looking at what should otherwise be normal entries in that category that do average or worse damage, the entire rarity level is considered broken. Including these red-texted things in this balancing act will just contaminate this effort.

For a baseline (per class, which I like too), should we look some set damage per second metric? Like a green-rarity pistol should throw x DPS? This would sort of cancel the ammo consumption, reload speed, and other variables, making this easier? If we said the DPS should be 10, for example, a pistol could throw one shot for 10 and spend the rest of the second reloading. Alternately, it could throw 100 shots over half a second and spend half a second reloading, throw nine shots fired very slowly with a super fast reload speed… you get the idea. It’ll be up to the manufacturer gimmick and part rolls to decide how it throws that DPS, but this way, we can ignore that for simplicity.

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yea kinda
i would not take the current DLC 3 weapons as a base line
more like currenty boomsickle, kaoson, medi performing guns with suboptimal classmods etc.

Objection to some nice purple, non-Unique specimens as standard weapons? Are we skipping bonus damage from other sources for this (COMs, Guardian Ranks, character skills, active anointments), or should we, say, double the stock damage of the weapon and call it good (so we’re not farting around with trying to account for all those variables)?

Maybe we should take like a purple base weapon of each weapon type with at least neutral modifiers and decide what it should be able to do
Like, killing graveward in under 5 minutes
I don’t know
I still think that stuff should be hard to kill on mayhem 10, at least with suboptimal stats
But still doable

I like it. I’m about to hit the ground here in a moment… if I find a good purple thing, I’ll post it for consideration.