Discussion about RNG mitigation

Generalities

Borderlands has, of course and since the beginning, really awesome gameplay mechanics. Those mechanics allow a lot of builds to be made, and tons of fun when looting weapons. But sometimes, RNG gets really annoying.
For example, when you don’t have much time to spend grinding and want to try out a particular build.
Borderlands isn’t only a grind game for sure, it has more to offer than doing the same boss 1000 times to get the perfect weapon with perfect anointment.
One of the main strengths of Borderlands series in my opinion is that the game is a mostly solo game, with no competitive PvP and not an extra strict balancing.
The goal of this thread is to open a discussion on how some players could be allowed to bypass RNG while trying as much as possible to allow players wanting to grind to…well, grind.
Let’s dig into few solutions I can offer. These could be used to create some specific game modes for example, to separate players wanting to grind from players not wanting to, in order to not pollute trading etc with deterministic loots. Of course they also can be combined together.

1. Deterministic cap

The first possible idea is to give players, after a reasonable number of clearing the same specific mob/boss, to fully get one item from the loot pool. The selection could be on the item, but also on parts/anointment. It can be done in a more “continuous” manner, giving player tokens each time he clears the ennemi (token are not inventory items, they stack indefinitely), and require a certain amount of tokens to set elements on a weapon. Example : select a legendary item = 10tk, select element = 3tk, select select a part = 1tk, select annointment = 5tk. This way a player is guaranteed to get the exact item he wants after at most 20-30runs.

2. Match-level option

Second is to allow players to level up their gears to their current progression so they don’t have to regrind for it after.

3. Save editor

It existed in the past for BL1, 2 and PS, but was unofficial. This is not a solution I would appreciate so much -even if it does the job- if it is unofficial, because there may be no way to differentiate an edited player from a non edited one after that, so it is dangerous for players liking to trade etc. However, an official version would be pretty cool, enabling both some players to skip parts of grinding and devs to not pollute other players.

4. Rare drops and quality rate modifiers

Simply allow players to choose at which rate they want to see specific stuff drop, from 0 to 1, same for quality of dropped items.

5. Deterministic challenges

This is fairly complicated to put together because demands a lot of investment from the devs. Add special challenges through the game, specific to each boss, each guaranteeing to loot corresponding item. Like for example “beat X with no shield” or “beat X under 15 minutes” or “beat X while not touching the ground longer than 3 seconds consecutively”.

6. Deconstructing/modifying weapons

As a save editor would be cool, being able to deconstruct old weapons to build new ones would be really fun in my opinions, as for example, let’s say I want a fire ION CANNON. I have a corrosive Ion Cannon and a fire pistol, I delete the pistol to get it’s fire attribute, and replace corrosive attribute on my IC with my fire pistol’s attribute.

Incentives concerns

Such modifications can change incentives given to the player through the game. I think that grinding players should still be rewarded for their grind. Adding non gameplay elements specific to grind, as skins, titles, achievements etc could be a solution to allow players grinding to differentiate themselves. Skins feel really cool in my opinion, because when playing online other players see it even more than weapons.

Let’s discuss

Of course, every ideas here are… well, ideas. Some even may be impossible (eg not reasonnable) to implement in the game depending on architecture of the game. Let’s be constructive and try to discuss about RNG in the progression throughout the game, and maybe Borderlands can become even funnier than it is right now.

Deconstruct and modify was an idea I’ve seen before and is my fav. I mean its been said that it is weird how you can go in and look at the parts of weapons but do nothing with it. I feel like some sort of weapon editor was going to be apart of the game but was thrown out at the last minute for some reason in favor of the current system.

There should be Dailies/weeklies don’t kmow why they aren’t a thing in this game and it should be. Maybe they can take all those cosmetics and future ones out of the loot pool and throw them into the dailies/weeklies as rewards. Maybe also can add a special crazy earl re-roll ticket as a reward for completing all the dailes or a weekly you take it to earl and he will re-roll an anointment for ya. Would this be asking for too much?I mean we have bounty boards already I don’t think it would take much and it would also incentives and reward active players.

That’s also what I thought when seeing the weapon explorer UI ^^

Dailies/weeklies would be cool, they could even give custom ones each week or each months, funny quests or challenges. However for the re rolling… THB that’s not that bad but this thread is about mitigating RNG, so wouldn’t just selecting the anointment be better than re rolling ?

One problem I can see with dailies/weeklies is that they delay the play and thus are not that much “burst friendly”, like when you play like one week straight and then stop. I think that Borderlands was good until now partly because it was “event free” (that’s a solo game, so shouldn’t is be playable independently from outside ?), maybe dailies/weekly would be cool, but if there are sufficiently to reroll several items in a busrt.

I said re-roll as an alternative since because deconstruct and modify might be asking a bit much of gbx to implement since its an entirely new system of mechanics. While re-rolling can be tacked on to the current system and it does help allevate some of the rng but just not completely mitigate it maybe add purchasable re-rolls as well from crazy earl for eridium so people who can’t always complete the dailes/weeklies can have a chance and so people can re-roll more often since eridium is free unused currency in the late game.

Oh, right ! re roll makes sense … However, it would not add much complexity to make a deconstruction system I think, this is more an UI problem than a mechanic one :
Since guns are already made of parts, because of RNG gun generation, deconstruction is trivial to implement. Only need to attach a list to the player to remember each part he has. But reconstruction is a bit more complex, because it would need an UI where you can select each parts, and an UI to browse parts. Eventually something to return errors when gun is invalid, but it could as well just be discarded and players would have to find out which parts combinations are allowed by themself.
Well I guess we will have to wait for BL4 to get that x)

Actually none of those, i think the only interesting idea would be to make the extra effort of balancing ALL weapon in the game so that ALL of them are viable.

This way you might not drop THE perfect weapon, but a lot of potentially very good weapon, and you have to build with what you have.

The problem currently is that weapon are so unbalanced that 95% of the drop pool is trash (without even looking at actual roll or annointement).

If all legendaries were good (Even if some of them won’t fit your build) you could have a roll playing with what come your way.

That’s what I liked about diablo before looting became too easy : You had to do with what you could scrap together.

I don’t think balance is achievable there is always something better then the other. I wouldn’t even know where they would begin to try to achieve it espically as new gear gets released along side there bazillion guns.

There is nothing easier than balancing guns actually. You boost of nerf DPS until all perform more or less as well.

There is other way to balance by tinkering with other stats '(amno consumption …) but the most basic damage boost can bring any weapon in the game.

Sure they’re will be weapon that are still objectively better, but if you narrow the gap to the point where you can use either and clean the content in a similar time more or less, then there isn’t crappy loot anymore

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My biggest problem accompanies balance. The TITANIC amount of USELESS legendaries you get are absolutely beyond absurd. Even good guns that drop without the right anointment are basically useless in Mayhem 4. Why not allow me to do something with the upwards of 60+ legendaries that drop in any slaughtershaft or cistern of slaughter run that are completely horrible to get something that is well… not so horrible? It feels great to get tons of legendary drops, but then IMMEDIATELY after you look through them you realize how terrible the RNG depth in this game actually is. Out of every 60 you MIGHT get 1-2 curious weapons to mess around with and even then those 1-2 will almost certainly not be of the HIGHER TIER of weaponry you need to truly decimate M4. TLDR just seems like far too much waste when it comes to drops in this game IMHO. Wish you could put at least some value in getting guns that aren’t particularly great since the balance team on BL3 just isn’t cutting it.

I love the idea of de/reconstructing weapons, though I’d like it to be fairly hard to do. Like maybe you could spend 1 token to change 1 part of a gun, but you’d need to sacrifice 10 legendary weapons into a token machine to get 1 token.

Or maybe you could modify a gun only by sacrificing a gun(s) with higher scores. So if you want to add the cryo element to a shotgun with a score of 578, you first have to find a cryo weapon with a score of 579+. And every time you modified a weapon in any way, its score would go up, which would make it increasingly difficult to keep upgrading parts. Also, you could only sacrifice ‘virgin’ weapons, so you couldn’t just repeatedly modify a weak gun to artificially increase its score for the purpose of upgrading something else.

With a system like this, you could have a realistic chance of constructing your dream weapon, but it would still be a rewarding and challenging experience, requiring you to acquire (and sacrifice) increasingly rare gear.

As others have said, the game drowns us with legendaries, most of which are mediocre. And then Gearbox does mini-events that stuff even more legendaries into vending machines or slot machines. Legendaries should feel rewarding, but this all just makes them feel even less rewarding.

At the moment, legendaries feel very all or nothing: A few are keepers, and the rest are trash, either because their stats are poor or because they don’t suit your playstyle. But a system like this would improve that. Many of the legendaries that were previously trash would now be potentially useful.

Getting a really high stat gun that doesn’t suit your playstyle would no longer be a cruel irony, as you could use it to upgrade your favourite gun. Nor would a so-so gun with the wrong annointment or element necessarily be trash anymore, as you’d now have options to tailor it it.

I’m very much in favor of some kind of system to reroll various aspects of gear. Whether it’s sacrificing other legendary gear, duplicate gear, eridium, cash, or all of the above would be welcome. People are drowning in cash, have tens of thousands of eridium, and legendaries that just never get picked up because they are bad or have no desired anointment/stats/wrong element.

If you could use all the “trash” you get to make something desirable it wouldn’t feel like your time is wasted by the game, because everything you loot could help push toward achieving your end goal.

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To be honest, if GB doesn’t want us to modify our gear, and the only way to get what we want is by getting the drop, at least they need to re introduce the Seraph Vendor/Torgue vending machine or similar. A vending machine with exclusive red text gear.
At least in BL2 if my luck was really bad, after some kills I could buy some upgrades from the vendor, like the Antagonist or Lead Storm and with that I could keep farming. It’s not a fix, but save quitting and looking the shop there are 2 or 3 variants of the weapon I’m looking for, at least you’re not going to feel that bad. Just keep trying until you see what you like and buy it.

But yeah, we need some type of safety net for RNG in this game, something that make us feel we’re making progress, instead of “making progress” is a synonym of “getting lucky”

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I think balance in this game is fairly impossible to achieve, as there are way too many combinations possible for builds. It is not simply a matter of DPS, but also of additional effects that can trigger skills, specific weapons effects, reliability, consistency etc. For exemple that’s pretty logic for a shotgun to have much higher DPS than an AR, because AR is -supposedly- much more accurate at long range and thus is not the same playstyle. However, as R3f1cul said, there is certainly a problem of balance between gears, as some gears or bonuses are simply not suitable, or some others are completely OP. Like some handling and fire rate anointments for example that are completely useless.
So a perfect balance isn’t forcibly the best, but indeed having a up of ■■■■■■ stuffs would be already really nice ^^

I agree with the idea of “deconstruction shall be hard”, but not in the farming way. That’s only my opinion, but I think there is already too much farming in Borderlands to not add other things to farm. The score idea is not bad, but I would more imagine doing it the other way, so we can sacrifice green and blue guns to upgrade legendary ones.

The idea I had behind deconstruction was to introduce a “knowledge based” system more than a farming one. Some parts combinations are forbidden in the game, like some parts are fixed on certain weapons or there can’t be elemental effect etc. It would be really cool -in my opinion- to have a system allowing to recover parts from weapons (one, two or all, i don’t know) to then allow player to forge weapons from scratch. The difficulty would be that if your weapon is invalid, it is destroyed and parts are lost. For first people exploring the system, it would be a hassle but also a great challenge each time new weapons/stuff comes in the game to discover which modifications are allowed or not, while on the other hand “casual players” could benefit from this system after some time, when each weapon is documented enough to be reconstructed artificially.

The weapon modeling system of Borderlands (I assume BL3 has same kind of system BL1,2&PS had) is really interesting i think, and I feel really sad they don’t explose it to players.