A little while ago I posted the Beginner’s Guide that you can now find stickied at the top of the General Discussion subforum and the response to that was so overwhelmingly positive that I decided to keep it going! Just like in the previous guide, if I’ve missed anything or gotten information wrong, let me know and I’ll update the guide.
In the previous guide I wrote I went over the bare bones basics of the game, but there’s so much to talk about that it’s impossible to put it all in one place without making it big enough to get published. If you haven’t read that yet, I highly recommend you do so before continuing with this one.
If you have, or you’re comfortable enough with the game to delve into the nitty gritty about gear, keep going! It is one of the aspects of the game that allows you to truly shape your character in the way you want to, and as a result is pretty comprehensive. But there is also a lot to get lost in, and it’s not always obvious how gear works, what it does and how big the pay-off is for the activation cost. All things I’m striving to help you with!
Let’s start with the most important thing about gear: the stats! Each piece of gear modifies one of your character’s attributes, usually for the better, and alters their performance in different areas. These modifications can make your character more durable, faster or deadlier.
However, not every character is affected by every stat and this can be used to your benefit by using pieces of gear with negative stats, also known as flawed gear, to lower the price while not reducing performance. This can give you an incredible bang for your buck and give you a major edge early in the game.
But before I delve into gear itself, I need to go over the stats and what they actually do for your character.
- Attack Damage. Increases the damage your character does with their primary (and secondary) attacks by a percentage.
- Attack Speed. Increases the speed of your character’s primary (and secondary) attacks by a percentage.
- Bonus Shards per Second. Grants your character a set amount of shards each second.
- Buildable Cost. Decreases the cost to but buildables.
- CC Duration. Decrases the amount of time you are affected by crowd control abilities by a percentage.
- Cooldown Time. Reduces the time it takes for your character’s skills become available again by a percentage.
- Critical Hit Damage. Increases the damage your character does with critical hits (headshots0 by a percentage.
- Damage Reduction. Reduces all damage received by a percentage.
- Heal Power. Increases all healing output of your character by a percentage.
- Healing Received. Increases most healing your character receives by a percentage.
- Health Regeneration per second. Restores a set number of health points to your character every second.
- Maximum Health. Increases your character’s maximum health by a set amount.
- Maximum Shield Strength. Increases your character’s maximum shield capacity by a set number.
- Movement Speed. Increases your character’s base walking speed by a percentage.
- Recoil. Reduces the amount of kickback of your character’s weapon when firing by a percentage.
- Reload Speed. Decreases the time it takes for your character to reload their weapon by a percentage.
- Shield Penetration. A percentage of your character’s damage (both skills and regular attacks) ignore shields.
- Shield Recharge Delay. Reduces the time it takes for your character’s shield to start recharging by a set amount of time.
- Shield Recharge per Second. Increases the amount by which your character’s shield recharges each second once it starts recharging.
- Skill Damage. Increases the damage of your character’s skills by a percentage.
- Sprint Speed. Increase your character’s speed when sprinting by a percentage.
As you can see, the list is absolutely ridiculous! Luckily, most are pretty self explanatory and with a few notable exceptions, like Attack Speed on Thorn for example as that does not increase her rate of fire, work as expected.
####Negative stats (Flawed gear)
With the exception of Shield Penetration and Shard Generation, each of the aforementioned stats can appear as a negative modifier, indicated by red text, instead of a positive one. While it might be tempting to sell them immediately, as they are flawed, some of these flaws don’t affect your character at all while at the same time reducing the cost to activate the item.
Some flaws to keep your eye out for are:
- Heal Power. Healers are a small subset of characters, so the vast majority are completely untouched by this.
- Recoil & Reload Speed. No gun, no reload or recoil! Some ranged characters are unaffected by these as well, for example Thorn, or one of them, like Miko (no recoil).
- Shield Modifiers. The Eldrid do not have shields, so negative shield effects do not affect them. One thing to keep in mind is that negative Maximum Shield also affects Overshields, which can reduce the support characters like Reyna can provide.
The numbers on the pieces of gear are not set, but have a variance between (I believe) 50% and 100%. Luckily the cost reduces proportionally to the quality of the gear. This means that if a piece of gear has 80% of the maximum possible stats, it will also cost 80% of the full activation cost, or MSAC (Max Stat Activation Cost). Negative stats also scale with the same amount, so if the item in the example has a negative stat, it will be scaled ‘down’ to 80% as well.
This also means that you can rate a piece of gear based on its shard cost by using the following formula:
AC x 100 / MSAC
Negative stats on an item lower the MSAC to that of the next lower rarity tier. A piece of Epic gear, for example, has the MSAC of a Rare.
If you’ve played the game for a couple of hours you should have noticed that gear comes in 5 colors: white, green, blue, purple and orange. Each color corresponds with the rarity of that item and affects mechanics, activation costs and chance of finding it in the first place. Let’s start with an overview of these and dive deeper into them further down.
COLOR RARITY CHARACTERISTICS MSAC White Common Single primary stat 420 Green Uncommon Secondary stat has a condition 714 Blue Rare Condition to strengthen primary stat 924 Purple Epic Primary and secondary stats always active 1050 Orange Legendary As Epic and has a unique tertiary effect 1800
There are two mnemonic devices that help you with remembering the order of rarities and their proper names (though you can easily get away with just referring to the color).
- When Grandma Burps, Patrick Obeys - White Green Blue Purple Orange (#BL2Throwback)
- CURE Legendaries! - Common Uncommon Rare Epic Legendary (because legendaries are sick, y’know)
Color and rarity are fairly self explanatory: it’s the color that corresponds with that specific rarity. Characteristics is a (really) short summary of the traits that all items of that rarity share (with maybe one or two exceptions). MSAC stands for Max Stats Activation Cost and represents the number of shards it costs to activate an item that has the maximum possible stats of this rarity. These costs are not set in stone and are affected by sub-maximum stats and negative stats.
Common gear is the most plentiful in the game and the easiest to acquire. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re less valuable than the higher rarities. Their low activation costs make them exceptionally suited for loadouts that focus on roaming around the map and building buildables. They’re also really important in Capture, as those maps are starved for shards and higher rarity gear rarely gets activated.
The most important reason that common gear is so valuable is that if they have a negative stat their activation cost is reduced to 0 shards. This means you can activate these pieces of gear the moment you spawn in the map for an immediate boost in your performance. The most widely used pieces of flawed gear is the shards per seconds item, or shard generator. These boost your shard income tremendously and are almost required in the more expensive loadouts, especially those that feature one or more legendaries.
The drawback of Common gear is that they have no secondary stats, so while you can activate them early, higher rarity gear has a greater impact when they finally do come online.
The next tier of rarity is, in my humble opinion, very underrated. The core mechanic of this tier is that each piece has a secondary stat that only activates after a certain condition is met. While this might not seem very appealing, some naturally flow from playing your character and result in you having the bonus stat when you need it without needing to pay the premium cost of an Epic.
The most common of these is probably +Stat after landing a Melee hit. Melee characters naturally fulfill this condition just by playing so the condition is not a concern. Other notable ones are +Stat after surviving for 180 seconds, +Stat after killing a major/minor enemy and +(Restorative) Stat after taking health damage. These are all relatively easy to pull of consistently and can effectively replace Epic gear with the same stats.
A large number of triggers are utterly useless though, or hard to pull off consistently. In these cases it’s usually better to run a Common if you want the early power, or an Epic if you want the greater effectiveness overall.
Rare gear is a bit of an oddball if you ask me. Where Uncommons have a secondary stat with a condition, on Rares the primary and secondary stats are the same, but the secondary stat has a condition before it activates. While this can lead to incredible increases packed in a single item, it can also relatively easily be replaced by Uncommons or Epics, especially if you’re running two Rares in your loadout.
If the conditions are no concern for you, two pieces of mirrored Uncommon gear achieve the same end at a lower price (210 shards a piece, for 420 total). For example: an Uncommon Attack Damage with secondary Attack Speed and an Uncommon Attack Speed with secondary Attack Damage achieve the same numbers as two Rares of the same type. On the other hand, two Epics give you the stats permanently for just 126 shards a piece (252 total) more.
As a result, running one Rare can greatly increase your effectiveness in one particular field, but it’s often better to go for two Uncommons/Epics than two Rares.
If you’re willing to pay for cold, hard reliability and consistency, Epics are the way to go. Once activated, nothing can take your gains away. While on the higher end cost wise, it’s generally considered worth it for the stability Epics provide.
There’s not much else to say about Epics in general. They’re probably the simplest rarity tier in the game. The only thing to keep in mind is that they do cost quite a fair bit, so running three in your loadout might make you scrambling for shards more than you’d like to.
Aaaaaah, the virtual gold of the Battleborn universe and source of a lot of frustration for a lot of players. Farming for legendaries can be quite a chore, one temporarily resolved by the Lootpocalypse event that runs until July 25th. What makes Legendary gear so desired are their unique effects, allowing you to do something you could never do before.
These effects are immensely diverse and vary greatly in usefulness. Some are must haves, like the Vow of Zealous Fury, while others will gather dust in your bank, like the Sentinel Reset Switch. However, while some are considered top tier or broken by the community as a whole (looking at you Boots of the Brute), this doesn’t mean that lesser used Legendaries are useless. You can create some incredibly creative builds that surprise your opponents with these.
The big drawback about Legendary gear is that they’re extremely cost prohibitive at a whopping 1800 shards. And unlike the other tiers their price does not scale down based on the stats! You can get a horribly statted Legendary and it’ll still cost you 1800 to activate. Because of this high cost, Legendary heavy loadouts often run a Flawed Shard Generator to help them get the shards to activate them relatively soon in the match.
We’re not done yet! Now that you’re a little more familiar with gear and how it works, it’s time to start making loadouts. And this is an entirely different beast to tame, as a good loadout can shoot you into the stratosphere while a bad one can result in a very painful experience.
There is only one person who can truly decide what a good or bad loadout is, and that is you. While your choice of character is a major influence on the loadout, your personal playstyle is just as major of a factor.
There are a couple of things to take into consideration when making a loadout:
- Are you aiming to complement your strengths or cover your weaknesses?
- Do you want an early boost or late game dominance?
- What is your goal?
- Are there enough resources to activate your gear?
####Strengths or Weaknesses
This is an age old debate in any game that allows for character customization, and it has no clear answer. Again, a lot of this falls on your playstyle and how you want to adapt your character to that. It also depends on how familiar you are with a character and how your learning process is. Some prefer to cover their weaknesses first before they want to push the character to their limits while others want to learn the weaknesses to their fullest first so they can play around them more effectively.
####Early or Late Game
Opinions are extremely polarized on this topic, as it basically translates into whether you’re making a cheap or expensive build. Each have their pros and cons and, once more, only you can decide what you prefer. Expensive loadouts supplemented by a Shard generator are just as viable as a very cheap set. You could also aim for a steady growth, implementing gear of varying rarities into your loadout.
Ask yourself what you want to do during the match and how you want to achieve that. If, for example, you want to be an absolute late game monster, you could go for high end gear and slowly work your way to the point you suddenly burst into flames and turn into Armageddon Incarnate. However, you could achieve the same goal by going for cheap items to get an early snowball going and keep rolling down the mountain and transforming into an unstoppable avalanche.
Each archetype requires a different approach, and your loadout needs to reflect that archetype. Roamer/Builders need cheap gear to conserve shards for buildables while a lot of healers are served well by a steady stream of improvements. Take some time to come up with something you strive to do while playing that character, and your loadouts will improve in quality.
This is mostly applicable to more expensive builds, but you need to take the amount of available shards into account. If the amount of shards are limited an expensive loadout will severely limit you, as you constantly need to choose betweem saving up for gear or building buildables to assist the team and level faster.
##Managing Bank Space
If you’re anything like me, you’re an obsessive hoarder of anything digital and shiny. This would be fine if we had enough space in our banks to hold each unique item, but this is (sadly) not the case. As a result, managing bank space can be a challenge.
Below are some of my thoughts on how to deal with this (First World) problem that may help you. I’ve written these from my perspective completely, as everyone values stats, rarities and usability differently.
####How I do things
I keep one max statted version of each type and any max statted flawed ones in which the flaw doesn’t affect a lot of characters. Anything else goes out the window immediately.
Again, max stats are a must. I also get rid of any conditions that are hard to meet, unreliable or just plain useless. Flawed versions are situational and need to be weighed on both the item’s primary/secondary stat and overall effect.
Some secondary effects are actually useful to have on a condition though, like increased Attack Speed on Melee hit for melees or Increased Healing Received after taking Health damage for tanks. These kinds of gear are must keeps for me.
I find very few Rares to be actually worth it to keep (though I have more than I like to admit). Where Uncommons have the benefit of flexibility for a condition, Rares have not. The only ones that are really worth it for me are those that tangibly increase their effects. However, this is subjective and requires some experimentation.
Here’s where I compare my Epics to my Uncommons. If I have an Uncommon that offers the same stats with a reliable, easy or naturally useful trigger, I sell the Epic version. The 336 shard drop in activation cost is too big to pass up. I also tend to get rid of secondary stats that are only useful in specific or niche situations. Movement Speed is always useful for example, CC Reduction I find lackluster at best.
I’m very simple with this: I keep the best statted version of each one that I find. Duplicates I sell and that’s it.
I’ve found I never use CC Reduction, so I tend to sell all of them. Same goes for Shield Recharge Delay, as I’ve found that the characters that rely on shields have ways to instantly trigger a recharge.
If you’re not interested in the complete breakdown, here’s his tl;dr:
"Recoil Reduction, Max Health, Max Shield and Movement Speed are good secondary stats.
Reload Speed, Shield Penetration, Heal Power, Healing Received, Damage Reduction and CC Duration are bad secondary stats.
Shield recharge gear and Shield Delay gear are rarely used and may not be the best, however…
Shield recharge gear might be worth considering on ISIC, Deande, Benedict, Caldarius, El Dragón, Orendi and Pendles.
Shield Delay gear might be worth considering on Ghalt, Phoebe, ISIC, Caldarius, Deande and Pendles. Possibly also Oscar Mike and tank characters."
Thank you for getting through all of this! It got a lot bigger than I initially expected, but I hope you guys find it useful! I’ll keep writing these over time, so if you like them keep an eye out!