While passive gear bonuses aren’t the star of the loot show, they’re some of the background actors that make the whole thing run smoothly. I’ll be covering what parts can spawn on what gear (complete with handy info-graphics) and some tips on getting the most out of them.
With millions of potential combinations, it’s a challenge trying to remember what can spawn on what and how powerful the effects can be. I’ve condensed this information regarding most shields here:
While this covers 95% of shields, there are a few shields that buck the trend. Some shields (typically unique shields) will always spawn with the same parts, while others have a limited pool of parts they can potentially spawn with.
Deluxe Badass Combustor
Faulty Star (Epic)
Loop of 4N631
Plus Ultra (Epic)
Scream of Terror
- Band of Sitorak can only spawn with Fleet, Health, Nova, Safe-Space, and Trigger-Happy parts.
- Messy Breakup can only spawn with Absorb, Projected, and Reflect parts.
- Red Suit can only spawn with Amp, Power Charge, Nova, Roid, Safe-Space, Spike, and Trigger-Happy parts.
- Plus Ultra (Legendary) cannot spawn with Absorb, Safe Space, or Trigger-Happy parts.
- Rerouter can only spawn with Capacity or Health parts.
- Rough Rider can only spawn with Adrenaline, Fleet, and Roid parts.
- Stinger can only spawn with the Spike part.
- Version 0.m can only spawn with Capacity and Nova parts.
- Ward can only spawn with Roid parts.
The Old God is able to spawn with three shield parts instead of two, unlike most Legendary shields.
Manufacturers and You - What you need depends on your character’s build. If they’re pretty strong but have trouble taking hits, Hyperion shields will typically last the longest before enemies start digging into your health bar. If you want your shield to be at 100% as often as possible to trigger certain effects, Pangolin is your best bet.
Increasing returns from matching parts - The more matching parts you have on your shield, the stronger the effect tends to be. Amp damage is a fine example of this, going from a mere 20% damage boost with a 30% drain when your shield has one Amp part, to a whopping 100% damage with only 20% drain if all three parts are Amp.
Sometimes one is enough - Generally speaking it is better to match as many parts as you can, but a few of them are generally better off just having one part and then using the other remaining slots on your shield for a different effect. Brimming is an example of this, as you would usually use it between fights to patch your health back up. 5% health per second will top you off between many fights. Unless you plan on running cross-country, one instance of Fleet or Vagabond is often enough, there is only a 14% difference between one part and three.
Vault Hunter-specific tips
Moze - Absorb can help maintain your magazine in an infintie ammo build. Brimming gives Moze some means of recovery between fights given her lack of passive recovery. Capacity and Turtle are handy in a Shield of Retribution build for cranking your capacity through the roof, while Shield Charges help keep you trucking through the fight. Vagabond helps Moze keep up with the speedier Vault Hunters during a jog.
Zane - If you’re running his Barrier skill, you can consider running Pangolin shields to maintain Confident Competence and other effects that activate when your shield is full. Zane has plenty of means of refilling his health, so consider going for a more offensively-oriented shield. If you’re using Distributed Denial, try give booster shields a shot to effectively give yourself double the amount of boosters.
Fl4k - Fl4k’s a glass cannon, and their means of recovering health is largely passive. Hyperion shields help keep the rust off his metal hide, but if you’re running a build focused on dealing big damage per shot, Amp or Power Charge shields are something nice to keep an eye out for.
Amara - Amara doesn’t lack for means of survival between Sustainment and Mindfulness, so consider going for something that’ll support or augment your other capabilities. If you’re looking for punchy potential, Roid is the way to go.
Less direct than the abilities provided by shields but arguably just as important, the stat bonuses provided by these two item slots help realize your Vault Hunter’s full potential. With a total of up to six potential slots between artifacts and class mods, it is important to know what can spawn where so you aren’t trying to chase non-existent pieces of gear:
Other than a select few artifacts that spawn with the same two or three effects, it is fair game to try to find whatever passive bonuses on the gear you want.
Mutually Exclusive Passives (No more than one of these passives can appear on an artifact)
Assault Rifle Damage
Elemental Resistance (not the specific resistances for each element)
- Electric Banjo can only spawn with Shock Damage, Shock DoT Chance, or Shock Resistance.
- Grave can only spawn with Max Health, Action Skill Cooldown, Fight-For-Your-Life Duration, or Fight-For-Your-Life Duration Movement Speed.
- Lunacy can only spawn with Action Skill Cooldown, Area-of-Effect Damage, Health Regen, Movement Speed, Experience gained, and the various elemental resistances.
- The Pearl of Ineffable Knowledge can only spawn with Health Regeneration, Maximum Health, Experience Gained, Fire Rate, Magazine Size, or Reload Speed.
- Phoenix Tears can only spawn with Max Health, Fight-For-Your-Life Duration, Fight-For-Your-Life Duration Movement Speed, Fire Damage, or Incendiary Resistance.
- Road Warrior can only spawn with Movement Speed, Melee Damage, or Radiation Resistance.
- Unleash the Dragon can only spawn with Melee Damage, Fire Damage, or Incendiary Resistance.
- Vengeance does not spawn with passive bonuses at all.
Passive Bonuses that can potentially spawn twice on one artifact
These passives will only display once on the item card but with double the bonus a single instance would have.
- Cryo Damage
- Incendiary Damage
- Melee Damage
- Movement Speed
- Radiation Damage
Weapon Damage vs. (Type) Damage - If you don’t have one particular weapon or element archetype you stick to and use often during combat, the Weapon Damage passive is serviceable. But if you tend to use one particular element or weapon type during combat it is preferable to use the respective bonuses instead. Due to how damage calculation works in the game, you will most likely get more effect out of the focused damage boosters. Avoid manufacturer-specific damage boosts as they fit in the formula the same as base Weapon Damage does and are therefore inferior to it.
Managing your gear boosts to get the most effect - If you’ve looked at the artifact/com chart above, you can see that certain bonuses (when available on both artifacts and class mods) are stronger on one over the other. If you’re gunning for increased Magazine Size for example and want more room for other bonuses, you’ll get a considerably bigger boost from an Artifact than you would from a Class Mod. For bonuses that don’t appear on both artifacts and class mods, take into account you only have so many slots for passive bonuses to work with and plan accordingly.
Health regen vs. percentage-based health regeneration - The health regen bonus you can find on gear is roughly equivalent to 2.5% of the standard maximum health of a Vault Hunter at the same level. It becomes more effective the lower your maximum health is and less effective the higher your maximum health is.
Vault Hunter-specific tips
Moze - She appreciates Magazine Size, Splash Damage, Action Skill Cooldown, and Health Regen. Magazine size helps to keep her Bottomless Mags bottomless, Splash Damage boosts Moze’s favorite source of damage, Action Skill Cooldown helps chop Iron Bear’s lengthy cooldown down to size, and health regen keeps her in fighting shape.
Zane - Zane enjoys Cryo Efficiency on artifacts to make turning chumps into popsicles that much easier. Beyond that, Zane is pretty versatile with what he wants. Grab Action Skill Cooldown if you aren’t using a build that keeps them active perpetually.
Fl4k - If you’re running the Rakk, Splash Damage and Grenade Damage will boost the damage your Rakk do. If you’re going in heavily with Gamma Burst, Radiation damage is a fair choice for bolstering certain anointments and effects. Basic Fade Away appreciates anything you can do to crack the damage of the three shots as high as possible, while Guerillas in the Mist would enjoy fire rate and magazine size boosts to make the most out of the limited duration it has.
Amara - Amara is quite versatile with no glaring issues, so feel free to use just about anything you want. Action Skill Cooldown and Magazine Size are always safe bonuses to go for if nothing else.