I have been a fan of Gearbox since Borderlands and have purchased the series and all the DLC and absolutely loved the first game, I enjoyed the second game up until the DLC and that’s when the rollercoaster ride has made me wary of anything in the future that I buy in this series.
There is so much creativity to laud in this franchise but this goes hand in hand with the grievances I have experienced on the roll out of each game. The first game had a scaling issue which was not fixed for a long time but I was not bothered by it so much, it was a new game and there were bound to be problems. The Moxxi DLC was not my thing so much, I did play it but prefer to get story DLC. I was not purturbed by the ending of the game nor lack of story, and I was impressed with the rest of the DLC from Borderlands and I became a superfan. Gearbox could do no wrong so I preordered BL2 and the season pass. The lead up to the release of BL2 was amazing, I remember the first time I saw the causic caverns and creatures they had come up with and I was hooked.
Then Borderlands 2 came out. It was different and at first refreshingly different. The story was big this time around and this annoyed me more as time went on as I preferred the abandonees feel of the first game. But whatever. The pre-release clips showing lootsplosions scattering an epic amount of gear looked amazing but when I first encountered it the main element of colour was from eridium which was quite a disappointment. The gear I found along the way was very uninspiring. I was expecting to find some cool unique items to use but in reality what I was encountering was small variations of a few basic weapon types. Most of them uninteresting. When I did get something really cool, my spirits perked up again and felt yes this is what it is all about. Trouble was that after a few levels it was no longer any good and I was back to the generic selection again. To get a taste of the fun gear and have it last only so briefly was very different to the first. I understand that the first game gear probably lasted to long as you levelled up and they fixed this but I didn’t expect that you would go so long before finding special items that made the game feel more fun.
I finished the first playthrough of Borderlands 2 and moved onto the TVHM. The game got a lot harder all of a sudden, and it felt punishing at times. I had to go back and do side missions to over level my character to make it through. I was not having as much fun as the first playthrough but I expected that just like in Borderlands your character doesn’t get really good until you can max out you abilities so I persisted. It was a slog but I got there. The I started the ultimate vault hunter mode and holy ■■■■ has this game changed. I was getting smashed so badly, there was nowhere I could go to level up like I did with the TVHM as everywhere was too hard. I was about to rage quit the game and throw it away but then I discovered a lot of people had been using after market tools to help out. This was frowned on by Gearbox, and definitely not to be talked about in the forums but the abuse of this was widely evident everywhere from the forums to youtube where everyone suddenly had everything. I had not done this for Borderlands and I never felt I had too, the game always provided me with a pleasant and challenging playing experience. I was revived. I continued on and made it to the end of the UVHM. I have a strong feeling the aftermarket tools are what is keeping the game so alive on Steam these days.
Now when the DLC started to arrive I was like WTF … Captain Scarlett? that was so dull overall but did manage to capture a few interesting moments. Overall I felt it was the most underwhelming DLC of the franchise yet (even below Moxxi). Mr Torgue… I hated this DLC. It felt so childish at every turn. I spent the least amount of time in the DLC of all the DLC’s. Hammerlock was dull but quite challenging with the Witchdoctors. This DLC was compared to the feel of Zombie Island of Dr Ned but I reality it was nothing like it and nowhere near as good. At this point I had 3 or the 4 DLC items and I was like WTF why did I buy this season pass. This game feels like it was intentionally designed to disappoint me as time goes on. Then TTAoDK came out and finaly Gearbox had their mojo. I really enjoyed the creativity that went into that DLC and it was an excellent addition to the main game. I bought the rest of the DLC as buy that time I was so invested in the game I had to see if there was enough that I would like in the game to keep me playing for as long as I did in Borderlands. I was not a fan of Mechromancer nor Psycho however I respect them for creating characters of different playstyles to suit a wider selection of players tastes.
So by the end of all the DLC and a full playthrough with one character I was basically done with the game. Every now and then I jumped in and replayed areas for fun but nothing like I did with Borderlands. I played every character and most of them twice in Borderlands but in BL2 I played one character through, tried out Mechro and Psycho but they didn’t take and I was so unimpressed with what I experienced along the way from the day I pre-ordered it to the day I finished it. There were so many patches and any fun weaknesses found within the game that gave a moment of pleasure in a world of pain were quickly removed. By the game I finally realised what was annoying me the most, the gear. The best stuff was inaccessible for the most part, it didn’t last long when you got it and I felt the golden keys were the cause of much of this despair as they were dolled out on social media and the lack of in game gear meant having to rely on shift system in order to get some modicum of useful gear to use.
I hated the BAR … oh how I hated the BAR. Please bring back Weapons proficiencies in the next game or the option to use it at least. The BAR felt like a tacky add on, was fraught with issues and felt like I was farming for buffs. I hate farming for anything but thankfully I no longer had to.
Then came the pre-sequel. I was quite sceptical of this game as it was leaked (intentionally?) and felt like it was rushed to be finished because of that. Anyway it looked quite interesting and I though it was more like the original Borderlands. I had a lot of fun with that game, it was also quite punishingly hard with gear and at one point I resorted back to my old methods to alleviate this problem and continued on to the end. If I had not done that I would not have finished the game. I found the DLC to be quite poor and not at all worth it. I am more inclined to use one player and would prefer additional area focused DLC rather than other characters. I have a feeling that quite a number of people have been burned by the rocky release of Borderlands 2 and its DLC and that is why we saw a considerably smaller adoption of TPS and also an embarrassingly small following for Battleborn.
So here I am, hearing about BL3 (or whatever) and following on from seeing so many similar issues within Battleborn (I held back to wait and see how Battleborn turns out and I am glad I did … I didn’t buy it). I realised that it is probably in my best interests to wait it out for BL3 and get it at the end in a GOTY edition once all the DLC and patches have been released. I don’t want to suffer the same rollout disappointments as I did with BL2 and TPS. I was a superfan but now I am just a casual fan.