I may be prone to tangents a bit so bear with me for a short while. I’ll try to keep it short.
I don’t think random loot gear works for Player versus Player, nor does the current gearbox system it is implemented with.
There. I said it.
Random Loot, even as minimally random as Battleborn gets, is always problematic in a PvP environment, whether for scaling, getting counterintuitive/overly situational gear (greens and blues, I’m looking at you), or simply from not getting the pieces you need to be effective or counter play. Like the enemy team’s full sets of legendaries.
Locked in loadouts, while useful for quick access and dropping into the action, also severely limit counter play, usually forcing you to double down on a build that’s probably just going to get killed again.
Counter play (or more particularly, the lack thereof) is probably the biggest issue in Battleborn at the moment. It drives five minute surrenders, AFKers, and one sided stomps alike. Admittedly some of it stems from random groups not coordinating anything, matchmaking setting <20s vs 70+ players, or certain characters being a bit over kitted or statted, but a lot of it also comes from things like ‘oh, that Orendi has a Voxis Core, I can’t do anything about it’, something I was unaware of until about an hour ago, but seems relevant.
Having XP come from spending shards on world objects instead of gear is a good system, and 1800 shards worth of xp feels like a fair price for the tide turning ridiculousness of most legendary gear. In fact gear in general usually feels decently priced for effect. But how do you counter someone else’s legendary picks once you’re in a match? How do you counter people’s Battleborn choice after a match has started? This is where a loadout+random gear setup falls apart.
I think what PvP needs is a proper Shop system.
Battleborn is a skill game, yes. Precision mechanics, headshots, the whole nine yards. But it also runs MOBA* mechanics for two of its three game modes. There is a reason MOBAs frequently use a shop system, and its not just for stat scaling throughout a match. Its there for counterplay. You can pick the gear you get based on both who you are playing AND what everyone else is doing, as needed.
*(I am referring to games like League of Legends, DOTA, and Heroes of the Storm, where you push minion waves toward the enemy base to wreck things for you)
Considering the limited nature of the gear types and faction modifiers**, making a soft loadout/shop system might be the solution.
**(there are, what, something like ~750 pieces of gear? Between base types, faction variants per quality, flawed variants, and legendary pieces)
Let players build some premade gearbox loadouts via a shop interface akin to how we already do gearbox loadouts, but for PvP. these are the toys they can buy out in the field as normal. But let them open the shop interface and search for/buy something specific if they are in the base, taking one of their gearbox slots. Imagine being able to pick up an Alamo-7 or Burning Sunset to counter that Voxis.
However, do not let them SELL gear they have purchased. Gear choices should be meaningful and impactful. If you choose to take that flawed white for free at the start, you’re STICKING to it.
This would also eliminate most of the frustrations of the PvP players spending coins endlessly on packs and getting the same thing over and over with slight scaling differences. Leave the randomized time played scaling for the PvE Dungeon wrecking crews (of which i frequently am one of, so don’t think I’m dissing storymode players)
Aaaand I think I’ve exceeded the length i was gonna make this already.
TL;DR Have you considered Base Shops for PvP?
edit: I probably should have paid attention and placed this thread in the PvP forum. Also grammar fixes.