Gearbox, we REALLY NEED to shore up pets now

We are coming up on the 1 year anniversary for Borderlands 3. The game has come a long way in many respects, and I do want to acknowledge the work that Gearbox has been doing lately to make the game more enjoyable for us, especially in the midst of the all the chaos of this year. That being said, there are numerous day 1 issues that have yet to be resolved with the game.

Those who know me on these forums know I am obsessed with FL4K’s pets, and in my boredom lately I’ve been re-reading threads on this forum and Reddit pertaining to FL4K’s pets. It struck me how many of the issues we were pointing out at launch have either just been fixed within the past month, or have yet to be resolved. I was also taken aback at how many people who chose the Beastmaster purely for their pets, and could not create an endgame viable build with the for months. I’m not going to pretend that we had a perfect understanding of pet mechanics then, but many of the issues that prevented them from being endgame viable are still present. While Randy Pitchford has hinted on Twitter that they MAY be considering content beyond the season 1 pass, I would appreciate using this time to finally shore up major character issues that have gone unaddressed thus far.

The primary issues that I’d BEG to see some action on for the 1 year anniversary are:

  1. Fixing the pet damage on the Friendbot class mod - I’m astounded that this bug hasn’t been fixed yet, especially now that Rage and Recover (which had an effect that wasn’t working for the pet as well) was fixed a few weeks ago. If Moze’s Green Monster COM did not provide bonus corrosive damage, I’m positive it would have been fixed by now. This is a very irritating bug because it should be so simple to fix. Either the pet damage is always on and working, or it isn’t. I just can’t see why this would take a year to fix. PLEASE let there be a fix for this come September.
  2. Cryo damage not working for pets - This is going to be a strong statement, but we would have been better off having not gotten the other buffs but having cryo instead. None of the buffs to pet damage that Gearbox has implemented, with the exception of scaling pet damage for Mayhem, outweigh the lack of cryo damage. This singular missing feature is all that is preventing the pet from being a viable damage source in the Guardian Takedown.
    • At launch, FL4K had 265% pet damage from 6 skills: Ferocity (50%), Frenzy (40%), Psycho Head on a Stick (10%), Pack Tactics (15%), Endurance (50%), and the Power Inside (50%).
      On November 19th, Gearbox added pet damage to Interplanetary Stalker (45% at max stacks), Most Dangerous Game (27%), Grim Harvest (35%), Furious Attack (30% at max stacks), Lick the Wounds (30%), and Fast & Furryous (30%), as well as adding an additional 10% to Psycho Head and 7% to Pack Tactics.
    • With these numbers in mind, assuming the max pet damage that you could get at launch vs now and Gamma Burst active, here is how the two compare with level 60 melee pet damage.
    • Launch with cryo bonus: 2998 * 2.65 * 3 + Gamma damage 5959 = 29,793
      
    • Present day with no cryo bonus: 2998 * 4.94 + Gamma Damage 11108 = 25,918
      

Even with half the pet damage we could possibly have, cryo would still beat our current pet damage set ups. Imagine adding it to what we have now. It would be a colossal boon for our pets.

Please @Noelle_Gbx, pass this along to the dev team. If we’re possibly looking at DLC 4 being the final DLC for this season pass, no official word on 4th skill trees, and level 65 being the final cap, we won’t have any additional sources of pet damage in the future. Wherever they end up power-wise at 65 cap will be the peak. There is still such a large well of potential to be tapped, and you’ll do far more to bring players back to the game by introducing new ways to play the characters we already have than just about anything else you can do with this game. Look no further than phases 1 and 2 of Mayhem 2.0 for proof.

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Great post as usual @boombumr. While I have not been here since the game released, I am a FL4K main completely agree that these issues being important to improve on FL4K.

If I was too add 1 other issue, it would be pet AI. I know that improving this may be a pipe dream, but a more responsive AI for Attack Commands, Not My Circus, and to a lesser extent Lick The Wounds would be phenomenal. There are obvious pathing issues that tend to occur with pets other than the Jabbers. Also the pets targeting enemies spawned by the Mayhem modifiers.

These issues are not about directly buffing pets, but improving what Gearbox has already implemented.

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Yeah, there is definitely a lot to do. I’m just afraid that, with this being the last planned cap increase, our pet damage will stagnate. I struggle immensely in scaled Guardian Takedown, and if GB releases another takedown with tankier mobs than that, then pet damage will be screwed in 2/3 raids.

I really don’t often read such long posts, except the one who posts absolutly knows bl3 and what he’s talking about.

GBX, you’ve got 3 things to do.

  1. Listen to this guy !
  2. Listen to this guy !!
  3. Listen to this guy !!!
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Yeah not sure what the pets would do on a tankier takedown. The pets are really only good for reviving FL4K or taunting with Gamma Burst on the Guardian Takedown. Though I have to say I do not have issues beating that takedown with FL4K.

Red Fang makes most of the takedown a joke when it comes to survival since the taunt works extremely well on this takedown.

Oh yeah, taunts are fine. But cryo is a mechanic for damage we should have had access to since launch. You can see in the example in the OP just how powerful it is. Pets wouldn’t only be good for revives if we had cryo from the beginning.

Just to play with the above example more, taking the pet damage from launch and cryo, even if we didn’t have Gamma active, you would still deal around 23k with full bonuses, which is just below what you hit presently with Gamma active. Having half of our current pet damage + cryo is almost equal to running our current pet damage with Gamma Burst.

Is pet damage currently in any way considered melee damage and if not, is it even possible to let pet damage be counted as multiple damage types at the same time without creating massive balance issues?

To circumvent that entirely instead of making pet damage melee damage as well I think that pets should gain 2 additional sections added to their damage formula:

  1. Critical hit bonus, just like the vault hunters have it. Make that bonus rather low or instead rework Go for the Eyes in a way that it grants a chance to for a critical hit, but that would also mean that said chance needs to be balanced around the fire rate of all pets with guns. In case they don’t want to rework GftE - which I would understand honestly - just grant the pets a sizable critical hit bonus, like +100%, which would make GftE worth it and boost the viability of Gamma Burst builds as well.
  2. Bonus damage against frozen enemies. This is literally in the game already as the Ice Breaker Artifact, so just fill that into the damage formula, but with a higher bonus.

Edit: When it comes to additional elements for the pets, this was somewhat of a wasted opportunity with the cryo Rakk augment. If that had given the pet just +20% damage added as cryo that could have been huge.

I agree. It is also a more fair way of boosting pet damage without making any changes to current skills. Assuming Gearbox does make this change, the Jabbers would not get boosted damage when not under Gamma Burst, which would be more than fair considering how consistently they can attack enemies.

I do not see it being an issue. Certain pet attacks and attack commands can already get bonus damage from bonuses to splash damage. It is part of how @boombumr queen build works. But even with that bonus, you still need to rely on a guardian perk, as well as hitting multiple enemies using specific pets to do good damage.

Even with all that, it is underwhelming on any of the takedowns. That being said I do not think anyone wants the pets to necessarily compete with Zane’s clone or Moze’s Iron Bear under normal circumstances when it comes to damage, however it should be able to come close to that damage if you invest heavily in pet damage and use Gamma Burst.

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Isn’t it sad that I can’t say for certain?

They definitely did scale with +melee damage modifiers in Mayhem 1.0, so I think we can say yes, albeit in some strange capacity.

While it’s only counted as so for one attack, Countess is still both splash and melee. I don’t see why it would create balancing issues when pet damage at base is still low compared to other abilities and summons.

Go for the Eyes is pseudo crit like Fade Away. It’s why the pet gets nerfed crit with both Holy Crit and Not the Face. Hitting a true crit would be a welcome change, but as you say I doubt large scale changes like that would happen at this point.

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One thing that annoys me since launch is that, except for that one Halloween anointment, we got very few Anointments that actually help the pets damage. For example Fl4k currently has very few uses for grenade anointments, so why not add a grenade Anointment that increases pet damage for a while after throwing a grenade. Something like “after throwing a grenade Fl4k gets granted +200% pet damage for 20 seconds” would do a lot for pets and wouldn’t disrupt the more important pieces of gear Fl4k uses regularly. It would also impact Fl4ks damage not all too much.

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The OTG anoint would’ve been a good spot for that. In all honesty they haven’t done a good job integrated the pet’s with FL4K’s gear. I can only hope the DLC 4 will rectify this somehow…

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Fl4k suffers from some absolutely miserable design decisions as a whole, the anointments being one of those. And I still don’t really understand how they could conclude that it would be fine to leave 1 of Fl4ks 3 pet categories out of the bonuses of Fl4ks primary pet damage action skill, Gamma Burst. How Gamma Burst isn’t just working with the Jabbers is still beyond me. I mean Gamma Burst objectively makes the Jabbers worse (edit: They could just make GB grant additional radiation damage to the Jabbers weapon damage and that would have been fine if the bonuses would have been high enough).

Yeah, OGT annoint would have been a fantastic place to add a working pet bonus outside of splash.

I would love to see the sneaky nerd to AC reverted from a few weeks ago. This would make Splash AC’s very potent(possibly a little ridiculous), but could allow other melee AC to deal some nice damage.

Do we have any kind of formula for how much pet damage we are looking at gaining from 60-65?

Essentially double whatever you’re doing now. At least if you’re following Killer Queen and putting the next 5 points into Ferocity.

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Great write-up as always. Would love to see FL4K and pets get tightened up. They’ve come a long way but there’s still a lot left to be desired.

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