Fixing the loot tiers

So, I think most people can agree that the loot tier mechanic we currently have (white, green, blue, purple, orange - each increase in colour is equal to +2 levels) isn’t working any more.
The biggest problems are that:

  • Once you pass a certain point in the game, you never touch whites or greens again, rarely even look at blues and only sometimes use purples.
  • Items in the same tier feel wildly different in power (especially orange). It’s supposed to be 2 levels better than purples and some do several times more damage/DPS.
  • The “rare” tiers are now far too common (to deal with the ridiculous RNG caused by anointments) and make the “common” tiers even worse.

So, looking at how the gear is arranged, I’d like to propose a new loot tier system, with some colour changes. Ignore anointments for now, as they just mess things up. Let me know what you think.

  1. White - base level loot. Normal stats, no special effects.
  2. Green - better loot. Stats are 2 levels better than White gear, but still no special effects.
  3. Red - alien loot. Stats are 2 levels better than Green gear. All items have special effects that consume extra ammo (like consuming an extra ammo per shot for a huge splash radius).
  4. Blue - after-market loot. Stats are the same as Red tier, but items have a part from a different manufacturer, which adds that company’s “gimmick” as well as the base item.
    (So, for guns: Jacobs=ricochet, Hyperion=gunshield, Vladof=underbarrel, COV=backpackmags, Dahl=altfire, Tediore=throwreload, Maliwan=elementalswap, Atlas=homingbullets, Torgue=stickies.)
  5. Purple - unique loot. Stats are 2 levels better than Red or Blue gear. Contains red text and gear has some special effect (like projectiles that travel in a weird pattern).
  6. Orange - Legendary loot. Stats are 2 levels better than Purple gear. Contains red text and the most powerful special effects.

So, all the alien barrelled guns (like the Carbuncle) become their own tier. You can get unique or legendary versions of these guns, but you can’t get white or green versions.
The crappy legendaries we have (like the woodblocker and handsome jackhammer) which just feel like a mix of two manufacturers, get dropped down to make the blue tier feel interesting again. Again, you can get unique or legendary versions, but not white or green versions.
The weak orange gear drops down to merge with the purple tier, making for something like how orange gear felt in previous games. Crucially, this tier would be made RARE, to feel like a great reward.
And the best legendaries (Kaoson, Monarch, Lightshow, Flipper, etc) get their own tier, where they’re allowed to feel special. This tier - importantly - can only drop under certain conditions, such as higher mayhem levels or maybe even only in TVHM. It’s more like the pearlescent tier from previous games and offers a powerful reward for those who want to push themselves to the highest level. This tier should NEVER drop under normal conditions, as it would feel too powerful against base game enemies.


Obviously, we’d need a new mnemonic to remember them. Instead of “when grandma burps, patrick obeys”, we have WGRBPO.
So, maybe “when grappling raging bears, proceed outside”?

Any suggestions? :laughing:

If you move crappy legendaries down to blue rarity I’m still not using them. I always go for legendaries no matter what level I am.

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I personally liked how we had Seraphs and Pearlecents as they they gave more of an identity to certain gear. Seraphs were about raids, either as a direct drop or bought with raid currency. Pearls were more about Loot Midgets, Tubbies and Digipeak with gen2 pearls being purely about Tubbies. I wouldn’t have minded uniques (blues with red text) being their own rarity as well to really set them apart from regular blues; there’s really no reason why they are blue, not in BL2 nor in BL3 IMO. I think BL3’s approach of making everything legendary while also introducing a lot more legendaries per manufacturer and category, while it didn’t sound too bad to begin with, has ended up being more annoying than I would’ve though just because it feels like the decision is making the weapons lack identity. Meanwhile Loot enemies and Tubbies which made random mobbing more enticing just feel like useless trash in BL3.

As for the base rarities I guess this is a good place to plant my idea for how to deal with rarities in the next game. It’s a 2 parter having to do with drop slots for each enemy and using rarities themselves as improvement of loot while leveling up. As a matter of fact this idea could be used to take levels out of gear completely, though obviously I haven’t fine tuned it to absolute perfection or anything.

So first off the drop slots. Each enemy has a slot for common drops, uncommon drops, rare drops and dedicated drops. What this means is that a named badass could at most drop 4 different pieces of gear as they’d have something on every slot. For a regular ol’ chump enemy they’d roll some common loot in the uncommon slot and have much rarer chance to drop rare loot (other slots would be just empty). What exactly is found on those slots would be determined by player level.

Then the rarities and the level scaling. The idea is that certain rarities only start spawning once you’ve hit certain level, meanwhile the old useless rarities would also start completely disappearing to remove the useless clutter. The start point is that you only see whites on lvl 1, the end point is that you only see purples and legendaries at max level. The thing is, both GBX and players want gear progression while leveling up so this is where I’d re-introduce material quality from BL1. I was never a big fan of it back then but it works here very well. If each of the regular rarities (white, green, blue, purple) were divided into 2 or 3 internal qualities you’d, for example see better whites as uncommon drops as you level up a bit before those better whites become the common drops and low quality greens become the uncommon drops as you level up a bit more. At max level a regular enemies uncommon drop could be high quality purples while a badasses regular and uncommon drop could both be high quality purples.

This would mean that at max level you simply would not see the lower, at that point completely useless, rarities anymore but the purples wouldn’t be quite as cluttery as they are now in BL3 either as a drop from regular enemy would be relatively rare, a drop from a badass quite common with a decent chance of them dropping 2 purples. The rare drop could be used purely for rolling world drop legendaries. Regular enemies obviously would have a very low chance while badasses and named enemies would have a higher one. Dedicated drop is quite self explanatory. Either the drop chance for both legendary slots could be fine tuned to increase based on player level or if we’d go with the idea of removing levels from weapons completely, then those slots could simply be empty before say lvl 45 or something (assuming 50 max) preventing players from getting legendaries and using them throughout the whole game. Removing the levels would quite handily solve the problem people have with level cap raises and their gear becoming obsolete.

This would

  1. Considerably reduce the amount of useless trash gear with basically everything dropping probably being worth checking out.
  2. Keep the numbers small throughout the game. At least I personally would be perfectly happy if the numbers started at somewhere ±100 and ended up several hundred instead of going from 10 to 10M. Lack of level scaling would make balancing a bit easier even if some sort of end game scaling would be introduced at the end of it.
  3. It would let people keep the gear they’ve farmed if a level cap raises. I’m fine with gearing for, say, peak climbing and getting through that challenge to the next level but having to farm gear because “lol here’s 3-5 more levels, have fun” is a bit less fine (especially with BL3 farming and common level cap raises).
  4. It would bring more meaning to the base rarities and using them for clear gear progression. Although I have to admit that it does take away from the word “rarity” as you’d just replace one tier of gear with the next one as you keep leveling up but then again there’s point 1. The lower rarities are nothing but useless clutter on higher levels so just eradicate them as we go.

I feel like I’m forgetting something but that’s the gist of it at least.


I play in tvhm without mayhem at lv65.
I can use pretty much every gun i want that is over blue rarity, and that’s great.
I don’t use the mayhem exclusive guns, as well as overpowered guns that are buffed for mayhem.
If you take the game without mayhem the balance is much better, you can see the game was designed without it in mind, and now they have to fix all of this by making the base game unbalanced.


heh, i’m doing the complete opposite on my current playthrough. i’ve set a rule, “if it’s gold it gets sold”. i’ve turned off GR entirely, and i intend to see how far i can climb the Mayhem levels as natural as possible. so far, i effing love it. so liberating to not care about annointments, or farming for specific legendaries etc. hell, it have become a slow paced cover shooter which work supprisingly well in this game and such a massive difference to the fast pace, face tank gameplay.


once in mayhem you’ll end up with anointments and scaling weapon.
I’d advise you go in tvhm and play without mayhem activated, it won’t be really hard but if you play withou op weapons it’ll be very fun :wink:


I wish they would add a cosmetics tier that has its own colors, or a way to filter what drops you can see.

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That’s what i’m planning to do!

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To be fair the first two points are valid in all BL games. Every time I start a fresh playthrough in any BL game, it’s white and green gear at first (of course) and as soon as blues and purples start showing up I hardly touch them unless I need 'em to sell for cash.

There are plenty of underperforming oranges in all the games… actually what was kinda cool about BL1 was that there are three levels of legendaries: yellow, orange, and dark orange depending on the quality of parts, though that wasn’t necessarily an indicator of true power or usefulness (kinda like the item score in BL3, which is pretty much useless.)

Anyway, I always kinda thought the M4 and M6 exclusive gear in BL3 should have been pearlescent rarity. Like pearls in the other BL games, sure a few of them underperform, but I think it would kinda increase the draw factor of playing in those mayhem levels. It was always cool to see that cyan loot beam pop in BL1 and BL2.


They should think about this sort of thing for BL4, but in BL3 that ship has sailed.

The color system works just fine during your first playthrough, and then becomes obsolete once the deluge of legendaries arrives after that. And there’s no stopping the deluge now.

So changing the system is unnecessary for the first playthrough, because it already works great. And it’s unnecessary for after the first playthrough because no matter how you try and reshuffle and add spice, 95% of people will continue to ignore anything that’s not orange. As long as they keep making powerful legendaries with bespoke special effects, almost no one is going to bother with the randomised loot from purple and below.

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None of your “biggest problems” are actually problems. It’s not a problem that you never touch whites or greens again. Moving on to better quality gear and not looking back is an RPG standard. It’s not a problem that some things are better than others. And it’s the opposite of a problem that the interesting stuff is actually attainable without having to flense a virgin mooncalf during the dark solstice.

But, if you’re not using them now, it won’t make any difference.
But if those are the best you can get in the base game, you’d use them until you reached the endgame.

So, since gearbox have said we won’t get new rarities, that explains the lack of BL3 raid bosses? Lol.
It was nice to have specific loot tied to specific endgame stuff, though.

Definitely agree. That was why I wanted to push them into their own thing.

Yeah, I’m enjoying replaying the game without oranges.

Yeah. I would have thought by the fourth game, they’d have thought of some way to improve it. That was why I wanted to suggest something.

Yeah, I didn’t realise at first, but this was really cool once you figured it out.

Exactly. These are more powerful items, available in the endgame, so they should be a higher rarity.
Like the dictator and the monarch, which are basically the same but the monarch is better and requires a higher difficulty. It really should be a higher tier, with a different colour, but gearbox stayed they wouldn’t add another one, so it sits in the same tier as the dictator, even though it’s better.

Oh, yeah. I’d love for them to fix the anointment and mayhem systems, but I doubt they’d redo the loot tier system within an existing game. But, for future games, I’d love to see an improvement like this, to make different tiers feel better.

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You can get legendaries pretty much from the beginning. How about instead of moving crappy weapons around the loot tiers just give us better weapons.

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It’s not a problem that after ~level 5, you ignore 90% of the rewards you get?
Once you pick up your first green, you’ll probably never touch whites again, and the same when you get a blue, then a purple. Even if you level up several times, you don’t tend to drop a tier, which you should be able to, since the loot should be better, but the rare tiers are so common you just wait for one of them.
When they jumped the level cap up 5 levels, did anyone drop down to blues and greens? Or did they stick to purples and oranges?
The low tiers don’t get used after the first few levels because they add nothing. But, if they actually felt different, they’d be more worthwhile. You’d still progress up through the tiers, but if you jumped up a few levels and found a lower tier it could still feel interesting and usable.

Fairly sure you’re joking but just in case you aren’t; I never said that. Just that it was an identity of that rarity instead of it all being orange.

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TBH BL3 isn’t the only loot game like this. Lost count of how much I’ve simply scrapped or left behind in FO4 after a certain point on each of my characters. And as @Rumplebunny said, you end up in the same situation in all the BL games sooner or later.

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