[Feedback] Suggestions for FL4K's 4th skill tree and COM

Anyone hanging around Borderlands social media (Twitch, Reddit, YT, these forums) has seen the FL4K’s new skill tree is receiving mixed reactions from the community. While the increases to survivability and pet damage have been long requested additions for some players, other feel that the lack of FL4K damage makes the tree unappealing to spec into or that too many skills are redundant.

I’d like to use this thread as a platform to offer concentrated feedback and suggestions for this content (Trapper skill tree and the Cmdl3t class mod). I’ve been very negative about this content and recognize that continuing the conversation in that manner will not be productive in the long run, so I apologize for my tone thus far and would request that we do our best to keep this thread constructive. Also, keep in mind that wholesale reworks of the skill tree are not likely. What was shown is mostly what we will get.

To start, I feel that while the shield tanking and pet damage themes of the tree were both meant to address long standing criticisms about FL4K’s survival and pet damage, I think the the current meshing of the two together is very problematic. As the tree is currently designed, you need to give up FL4K’s damage in order to gain more survivability (through shield tanking) and pet damage. This is an issue because:

  1. Shield capacity does not scale with Mayhem while enemy damage does, meaning this skill loses effectiveness as you go up the mayhem ladder.
  2. The pet damage in this tree is gated behind 2 skills: Take This and Throatripper. However, for the non-loader pets, most of their damage will come from Mayhem scaling shield effects and not their own attacks. The shields that will increase their damage the most will be things like nova shields, spike, etc…These shields will buff the pet’s damage, but do nothing for FL4K. Likewise, if you equip your pet with something like a booster shield, that won’t help most of the pets at all. So you need to choose between having a shield that doesn’t work for you, or doesn’t work for the pet.
  3. The only shields that benefit FL4K and the pets from being constantly full are amp shields (only for gun pets).

So if you want to play into this tree’s strength of buffing your shields and pet damage, you are pushed towards using the Loaders with amp shields only. On top of that, in order for the pet and your shield to be full for constant amp for the both of you, you’d need a taunt. Blind with Anger provides one, however because it stops enemies from attacking you, it outperforms any of the shield related survivability skills (after all, not getting hit at all is better than healing through damage). So you’ve gone down the whole Trapper tree and picked up various shield related skills, and most of them can be made redundant by an action skill augment. I believe that the tree needs a thematic tie between shield tanking and damage for both FL4K and the pet. My suggestion to achieve this would be…
Change Wooly Armor into a 75% Damage increase for FL4K and the pet while FL4K’s shield is full.

With this change, there is an incentive for FL4K to keep their shields full, regardless of the shield type. It ties together the themes of shield tanking and pet damage, and the FL4K damage portion of the skill would allow it to synergize with other trees and play styles. Fade Away + Not My Circus, the reworked Dominance/Red Fang, Gravity Snare, and ASS shields on Rakk builds would all benefit from the high shield damage mechanic.

What are some of your thoughts on how to change the tree and/or COM?

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My changes, are to just ensure that go for the eyes actually interacts with throat ripper to boost all crit damage.

Swap the place of take this, to put it on the first row where it should be, exchange it for the reload speed bonus skill on the right corner.

Buff the critical chance of throatripper - at least for now i think it needs it based on how slow most pets attack.
I’m thinking about a 50% increase, so instead of 5% interval its more like 7, and the skill caps at a little over 20% crit chance.
Change Not even a challenge to work on both fl4k & pet kills.

Remove the 0.5 retrigger delay (or whatever the amount is) from fuzzy math.

And either completely remove the cooldown from Capacitance (the capstone) or shorten it to 3 seconds, without changing the duration. That will make rakk attack better as well.

Also I agree with OP that the new skill trees, not only fl4k’s need damage if we don’t get more skill points, just especially fl4k.

2 Likes

Ima throw a link for the skill tree here so people don’t have to spend time searching for it https://borderlands.com/en-US/characters/fl4k/#t=“as__696695617___cb__2759216193___p__980913177-1”

Also is it just me or is combat veterinarian kinda redundant because Fl4k has who rescued who which serves the same purpose. I’d replace it with everytime Fl4k’s shield breaks they and their pet gets a stacking buff that increase their true critical damage.

2 Likes

hmm you mean instead of using the base formula of 200% damage on crit they could increase their innate/base crit damage value?!

So stack it a few times and all your crit bonuses are then being applied to a base crit that’s 250%.

If so…, that’s pretty freakin badass! but i think it should go on some other skill than that one. Doesn’t jive with the veterinary thing, maybe “not even a challenge” or maybe “monkey do”?

It fits better with the description of monkey do, but not even a challenge has a nice duration and is already built for stacking, so I like it on that one, provided both fl4k and pet kills can trigger it.

At this point I’d take anything but what was shown.
Doubt hotfixes alone can salvage the COM and Tree this late into the process. We’ll probably get this stuff unchanged next week when the Patch Drops (unless the patch drops this week in preparation for Tuesday? who knows). Either way, things aren’t looking good for our heroes.

Edit: Sticking with the idea of suggestions that could help salvage this content I’d say change some values around via hotfix to address the damage issue and redundancy and wait till next patch to rework a bunch of the skills into something usable.

As for the COM, I don’t even know where to begin on this. It’ll be a matter of changing the skills and effect and that might be beyond the help of a Hotfix.

For emphasis on the issue with the tree though, We have the Master Tree, which was THE pet tree for a year+. It had both a bunch of exclusively pet-related skills AND survivability. Yet it had;

Empathic Rage as a modifier for your Action skill: Pure Fl4k damage
Persistence Hunter: Pure Fl4k gun dmg and CD tier 1 skill.
Frenzy: Pet AND Fl4k dmg tier 2 skill.
Pack Tactics: Pet AND Fl4k dmg & health
Barbaric Yawp: w/ the pets in this tree, and some of the other pets, can greatly increase Fl4k dmg/dps.

So the Master Tree, the weakest of the initial 3, with its main focus on pets, still managed to include a whole bunch of damage and survivability for both Fl4k and his pets. Only issue with the tree was Dominance, but overall a solid tree with clear synergy and focus.

This new tree lacks the finesse of the Master Tree although it seems to be doing the exact same thing…yet worse, much much worse.

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I feel that they should add something like Violent Momentum but for Shields to this tree. Based on the amount of shield you have you get a porcentage of bonus gun damage (maybe even all type of damage outright). Maybe add this to Capacitance because of how powerful this could get with the Class Mod boosting it. Speaking of which, even though I don’t think any class mod has had a skill change in this game’s lifespan, I would still like to suggest to swap Better Toys for Throatripper or Monkey Do! (not along with my proposed Capacitance buff. That would be too much I think). As for the main effect of the COM I think its fine on its own, but FL4K doesn’t have too many sinergies by triggering AC. A few additions to existing skills in all the trees should probably be added to incentivize the use of AC in general.

Edit: I echo the idea of moving the skill that gives our pets shields to the top of the tree based around shields and pets. I also wouldn’t be opposed to giving Throatripper two more levels (For a max of 25% chance, maybe nerf to 4 per point for a max of 20%). In my opinion, most of the other skills at the top of the tree feel more like filler/waste of points just to get to Take This! Examples:

  1. Spending 2 points on Success inminent after spending the obligatory 3 on Throatripper just to fill the requiered 5 points.

  2. Better Toys is both (mostly) useless and awkward to take as a 3 pointer next to Throatripper.

  3. Combat Vet is so redundant its basically filler. Pets are for the most part immortal. It needs something else. Probably bonus damage on enemies the Pet has damaged (like Rakk Slag) or to the one its targeting.

  4. Agility Training. Like, at all. It’s a “Might as well take it to get something rather than nothing” like its predecessor Second Intention. Both of these skill need an extra incentive to use over the other skills in their trees.

2 Likes

Here are my suggestions. They might not be fully thought-through in conjunction with each other but to just get some of them would be nice.

Tier 1 is mostly ok. We’ll have to see how Success Imminent performs dmg-formula-wise and radius-wise. Rest is fine.

Tier 2 is where the problems start:
Better Toys will do next to nothing as when the pet is the focus of your enemies, it will not recharge. Not even with the increase. So change it to sth. like increase pet dmg as is takes dmg. Maybe “pet dmg increases by 0,5% per hit taken” and make it last for several seconds after being hit.
Combat Vet: As already stated before - redundant with WRW? Change it, hell, even to “1% life steal for Fl4k when damaging the same enemy pet is attacking”. [Even though I’m not in the “give Fl4k life steal camp”]
Throat Ripper: At least it’s a Hunt Skill, even though one need Red tree/Cosmic Stalker to really benefit from that. And the new skill tree stretches your skill points in a hard way. But that skill is fine as is.

Tier 3:
Why are there only 2 skills with only 1 skill point in here, when the next tier is cramped? Gbx should balance that out. It would counter-act the skill point stretching by a lot.
Also, Take this! does not allow the pet per se to do more dmg. It just forces Fl4k to take a shield that their pet benefits the most from. As you, @Boombumr, already stated. Make it so that this skill does sth. for Fl4k as well. Maybe increase the shield stats by 50% (reflect, nova, spike etc. rolls)

Tier 4:
This tier is stuffed and has some good-ish skills in there.
Monkey Do! might be nice. Even though it just applies to one shot for Fl4k it might happen often enough depending on the shield we give the pet. If a Red Suit and Atomic Aroma is critting like crazy, we might be able to proc this skill a lot and therefore increase our dmg. The real question is: What is the dmg formula of this skill like? Will it be just gun dmg? Will it be a true 1.7 multiplier? Is it additive to any existing multiplier?
Wooly Armor: Pets have no issue staying alive, even outside Gamma Burst. More so with the added health regen of WRW or Combat Vet. Take @Boombumr suggestion and add dmg for Fl4k to it.
Not even a Challenge: That skill sounds nice utility-wise, for Gamma Burst, Fade Away/GITM setups. But it’s way to deep in the tree to be of any true value for those builds. Also, it is gated behind the fact that the pet needs to kill. As with this whole tree: too many restrictions that are not needed. Make it so that Fl4k kills count towards stacking it. And put in into Tier 3. There’s enough space. :slight_smile:

Tier 5:
Fuzzy Math: Whether or not the pet can bypass the internal, hidden cooldown, this skill invalidates its neighbor and most likely Combat vet and maybe Wooly Armor as well. Again, this skill could pair nicely with Not even a challenge and Fade setups but it is too deep into the tree to allow for interesting builds. Keept it and let’s watch how it performs in the field.
Keep them safe: Idk what to suggest here. It is a cooldown skill that gates a function that already has a cooldown. This needs the Dominance treatment right off the bat. Some crazy ideas:

  • Whenever your shield is half or less full, reset the Attack Command cooldown.
  • Whenever your shield is half or less full, instantly refill it. This has a 10 second cooldown.
  • When your pet hits an enemy it has a 5%/10% chance to refill your shield completely.

Tier 6:
Capacitance: This has been said A LOT: Shields are no adequate defense in any Borderlands game (maybe BL1, a bit, maybe). At least not in any sort of “endgame” or Mayhem levels.
So just go ahead and make it plain and boring life steal instead of shield increase. Keep the duration and cooldown. This would at least justify going down this tree this far. And since you give up a significant portion of your dmg formula to get this far, 10% life steal could outpace the loss of dmg. It would nullify the complaints of Fl4k being too squishy and incentive players to go full-on Trapper.

Edit:
Also make Keep them safe a Hunt Skill, make Combat Vet a Hunt Skill, make Agility Training a Hunt Skill.

And now on the new COM: Cmdl3t

I understand that Gbx wanted to eliminate the issues that according to Reddit plagued Fl4k the most: Survivability and “no viable pet builds”.
And at least we are getting one new class mod that seemingly tries to focus on the pet builds part. As @boombumr already stated this COM does next to nothing (sorry, if I exaggerate, Boom) for actual pet dmg.
In fact, in its current state all it does is it automates the press of the attack command button via red text. The rest of the skills are a wild mix of strange fashion.

So, to be more constructive, here are some suggestions for red text as well as skill allocations:

Red Text variants:

  • Whenever Fl4k issues an attack command, Fl4k and their pet gain 5% life steal for 10 seconds. (lame!)
  • Whenever Fl4ks pets are being hit, Fl4k gains 0,5% gun dmg. This caps @ 50/100 stacks."
  • Whenever Fl4k is going into FFYL, their pets instantly revives them. This skill has a cooldown of 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Whenever Fl4ks pet is a low health (<30) Fl4k and their pet gain dmg immunity for 5 seconds. The pet has to fully heal for the effect to reset.
  • Whenever Fl4k issues an Attack Command, the pet taunts all enemies in a large radius.
  • Whenever Fl4k crits an enemy, the pet gains increased dmg or crit dmg.
  • Whenever Fl4k attacks the same enemy has their pet, Fl4ks shots ricochet off of that enemy.
  • Whenever Fl4k crits an enemy, their action skill cooldown and duration are refreshed. THis skill has diminishing returns.

Skill allocations:
Barbaric Yawp + Throat Ripper + Monkey do!:
This would be a very nice combo, equivalent to some of what other classes will get.
The pet bonuses of, say, the War Loader (36% fire rate) paired with increased crit chance of the bot and an increased chance to have increased dmg for Fl4k after the pet crits. Still, its just one shot after pet crit but it would happen quite often.

Big Game + Throat Ripper + Sic Em:
Since I already suggested that some skills could be changed to Hunt Skills, this would increase their effectiveness and still allow for some damage in the Trapper tree without forcing players to go deep into the red tree.

The already over-used Pack Tactics + Take this! + Throat Ripper:
This would also allow for some dmg formula in Fl4ks end while also buffing the pet. And it wouldn’t force the player to go this far into Master tree.
Also, one could take some of the good skills of the Trapper tree without investing too much into it. The shield skill and a chance to have the pet crit, even when going for Master tree and a little bit of Stalker/Hunter.

The Power Inside + Head count + Not even a challenge:
Since Gbx already went ahead and allowed for a capstone to be overcharged, make it a relevant one: TPI. This would give Fl4k and their pet 25-50% dmg even when not specced into the Stalker tree or up the dmg quite a bit to 50-100% v1 dmg when going down this far.
Together with the Gravity snare this would secure Fl4k to have dmg, crowd control and some form of pet dmg while disallowing for going down red or blue tree to become absurd.
Also, cooldown skills ensure that players can utilize TPI more often.

Throat Ripper + Frenzy + He bites!:
If the pet is the focus of the enemies or at least right in the middle of them, make it so the pet contributes in a large way.
It is stacking Frenzy for both of us, it is reflecting dmg and it can reliably crit with it. If this had some sort of taunt it would be fantastic. See above my Red Text suggestions.

2 Likes

Nah, you’re fine.

I just want to expand upon the reason WHY this COM is so unimpactful, since that may help direct the devs towards solving the issue.

As I mentioned in this post, the attack commands deal so little damage in comparison to basic attacks that even having them activate passively just doesn’t add that much damage overall. And most of the attack commands have very limited CC capabilities so it’s not as if they have that much utility. That isn’t even getting into the slow response time of Scorcher, Eridian, and Beefcake; the self damage of Gunslinger; and the AI of Countess getting stuck underground which this COM can’t address.

The main synergy of this COM is that it can activate Keep Them Safe by shooting enemies, but the COM has a cool down to activate another skill with a cool down that on its own is dependent on an attack with another cool down, and both the COM and Keep Them Safe don’t interact with Eager to Impress due to this. It just doesn’t feel good to have that many conditions on what Fuzzy Math does passively. It’s too much work for no reward.

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:slight_smile:

Absolutely right about the low reward, high effort part. And it’s especially true when there are neighboring skills that do better than what the COMs effect and another skill (Keep them safe) would do together.
I really think this COM needs to adress the fact that Fl4k themselves (?) loses a lot of damage and utility when going down Trapper tree. So Gbx should add some form of damage for Fl4k while adding an unique effect via Red Text as I and a lot of others suggested.
Maybe there are programming restrictions that don’t allow for some of the ideas pushed forward. But I don’t get why Gbx tries so hard so use the Attack Command mechanic when it is clearly just bad. Damage-wise and mechanicly.
So, either add damage or some form of survivability as stated above: life steal (ouch) or instant revives (like Guardian Angel) …

Gravity Snare: Not a terrible AS, but unlike Iron Cub/MNTIS/Ball, it doesn’t really bring anything to the table for Fl4k. I think this would have alot more utility if it had multiple charges per cooldown (as in within the 16s duration you can deploy and recall several snares, maybe 2-3). Still this isn’t really a priority compared to changes within the actual skill tree.

Gotta Go Fast: Pretty decent Tier 1, but also the most natural place to slot in some passive damage for Fl4k. +5% damage and movement speed per level seems apt.

Better Toys: A skill that isn’t bad in theory, but in practice will always be pretty underwhelming. Still, it is pretty in line with other shield recharge skills - just that such skills are always vastly inferior to skills that bypass a shield’s natural mechanic (like Fuzzy Math).

Combat Veterinarian: Kinda a wasted skill, given 1 point in WRW, or even just giving the pet a shield with Take This renders them nigh invincible. I would recommend adding a damage bonus to this, such as +30% damage to Fl4k and their pet when they are targeting the same enemy.

Throatripper: One of the central skills in the tree, and made even better by being a Hunter Skill. However, it does seem abit out of place with Fl4k’s other Hunter Skills, given they are general stack-based and/or Kill Skills. Hence, to make it more of a true hunter skill, and to meet the general desire for more Fl4k DPS in the tree, an additional effect such as "When Fl4k or their pet scores a critical kill, Fl4k and their pet gain +12% damage on critical hit.

Monkey Do: For one of the more circumstantial damage skills in the game, the +14% Post-Add bonus is incredibly underwhelming. It needs to be far bigger for a skill that Fl4k needs to build around (like speccing into GFTE/TR, slowing down gameplay etc.). I recommend increasing the bonus to +40%% per level.

Wooly Armor: As many have pointed out, the pet, even without this skill tree, is far tankier than Fl4k. They really don’t need any more survivability. I agree with @boombumr that this could be changed to a damage bonus instead. Perhaps +50% damage to Fl4k and pets when Fl4k’s shield is full.

Not Even a Challenge: One of the best skills conceptually in the tree, but I predict it will be incredibly underwhelming in practice. The main problem is the duration, and the fact that only pets can proc it. Even for Moze, it is difficult to get more than 10 stacks of Phalanx Doctrine, and that skill has a 30s timer. I recommend allowing both Fl4k and pet kills to count towards stacks and increasing the duration to 20s. In addition, I think a small damage bonus of +4% per stack per level would further incentivize usage of the skill.

Keep Them Safe: As many have already pointed out, this skill is just gonna be really underwhelming. Issuing an AC already makes it circumstantial, and the additional conditions of being below 50% shield and 12s cooldown just kills it. I recommend removing the shield capacity condition and 12s cooldown. In addition, I think giving it a +9% damage boost to Attack Command would help make it more useful for the new COM.

Capacitance: Decent skill, but hampered by an really long cooldown. Reduce the cooldown to 6s and this should be alot better. In addition, giving it a +30% damage boost to Fl4k and their pet would help make the new COM more synergistic.

4 Likes

ok so an edit to my thoughts after seeing glitchqueens vid i believe the crit chance from throatripper is good where it is, plenty of crits going off everywhere, and i see it does work off of all damage, even the grenades the loader threw, and i think it worked for shield effects too.

So i’m just hoping go for the eyes works to boost that crit damage, she didn’t use it so i’m a bit worried about that. I’m really hoping this skill doesn’t become another dumb fake crit like fade away.

Well if it does go that route it can still be used the same way fade away is, by stacking fake crit with real crit, but unlike with fl4k hitting a crit is completely random so we can’t actively take advantage of it.

and i don’t remember does go for the eyes even work for gun pet shots?

My biggest issue here is why do the devs don’t see this in the development process and in the qa/user testing phases?

Or is the qa/testing phase is us? Lol

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A couple ideas I had were for Wooly Armor and Capacitance

Wooly Armor - When FL4K’s shields are full, their pet gains increased damage reduction. When FL4K’s pet is above 50% health, FL4K deals +75% damage as Radiation Damage

Capacitance - Whenever FL4K activates their Action Skill, they gain greatly increased shield capacity for a short time and
Immediately begin recharging their shields. This skill has a short cooldown.

Additionally, FL4K and their pet gain Damage depending on how full their shields are.

Shield Capacity- 100%
Damage - +7.5% per 10% shield
Duration - 16 Seconds
Cooldown - 16 Seconds

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