Has anyone else noticed their need for defensive skills/gear diminishing?

I’ve recently noticed that as I and my vault hunters have gotten better at the game (better gear, guardian perks, longer FFYL etc.) I’ve been finding myself less and less concerned about dying, even as the enemies around me have become more and more bullet spongy (mayhem 10, guardian takedown, DLC4 bosses etc.).

I used to invest a lot of my build into the defensive side of things. 6 months ago, I was speccing many points into health/shield-related skills. My favourite Amara com for a while was Stone (a very defensive com), and I favoured the “temporary invulnerability” artifacts and very defensive shields (eg. the ones that gave you extra resistance in an element, or had very short recharge delay).

Nowadays, I’m choosing my coms, artifacts and shields with offense in mind, and I’m barely bothering to put any skills at all into defence.

My Amara has one or two points into health regeneration, and that’s it. I don’t have any life steal at all. And yet the Guardian Takedown is a cakewalk… That is, until some #@$&% knocks me off the edge. But dying is no longer much of a threat at all. My FFYL is much longer than it used to be (I haven’t even got the final defensive perk yet which will extend it even further), my damage potential bigger, and thanks to mayhem, there’s a plethora of mobs/spinners/drones to get second winds from. I assume I’m not the only one who’s finding this.

Ultimately, it makes the game less exciting. You still get the dopamine hit from defeating powerful mobs, but there’s no longer the adrenaline hit from feeling like you’re in any kind of danger.

I also think that it’s another form of build diversity narrowing. Whereas I used to have 50ish skill points to distribute between offence and survivability, I now have 65 that can go almost exclusively into offence. And I no longer need to carefully juggle survivability and offence when I choose coms/shields/anointments/artifacts. Whether I had 60, 65 or 70 points probably wouldn’t make much difference at all to my build.

Since the “difficulty” setting (normal/easy) decreases enemy damage, I wouldn’t mind a harder difficulty level. Or for the new mode to somehow or other increase the danger that enemies pose to you. Give us the ability to feel a little of that adrenaline thrill again.

Anyone else feel this way?

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You made me remember when I watched some of Derch builds in BL2 explaining why he picked this defensive skill or why this defensive skill is very good for OP8: “Because dots are very dangerous in OP8”, really cool memories.


But back on topic, yeah, the thing is, the meta of this game is kill before you get killed. Our VH can deal absurd amounts of damage in a short period of time, and if go go into FFYL, it’s not a big deal, because you have damage.

And all of the VH have a very overpowered defensive skill, that is the only thing they need to get to survive (Amara with sustainment, Zane with Salvation/Barrier, Moze with Vampyr, and Fl4k with pet taunts or ASS Stop Gap). Why spec in defensive skills, if, for example, Amara with 1 shot she can get all her HP back, spending points in the green tree for defense it’s a waste of points. The more damage you deal, the more you heal.

That’s also why the URAD builds (the 150% rad damage while under 50% health) that leaves you without health gate, can have success, you can kill so quickly that enemies don’t even have a chance to shoot you.

In BL2, encounters lasted a lot more, and enemies dealt a lot of damage, so, beefy enemies with a lot of damage, you either needed a ton of damage, or a mix between survival and damage (or the Grog, lol).

So, idk, I loved the green and red build for Amara back in Mayhem 3 lvl 50, very tanky and good damage, until people discovered that it was a lot better going all in with damage with blue and red builds. I think the only solution is to remove life steal (which it would trigger a lot of people) or make our VH deal less damage, so fights take longer and we need defensive stills to resist the hits (which it would trigger a lot of people, like when Mayhem 10 enemies had 12,5k bonus health).
So, I would consider that the glass cannon gameplay of BL3 is here to stay, I guess.

Tl;Dr: The VH deal so much damage that it’s worthless to spec into defensive skills, and they have one OP skill that keeps them alive.

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The name of that is partial scaling, it just ruins everything.
It is just not worth it to spend points and slots for defense if you’ll not be able to finish any fight because you won’t have enough damage.
What would you prefer, be able to take 10 shots instead of 5 or kill a boss that would take 30 minutes in 15?

Can’t get killed if you kill the enemies first.

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It just means you are getting better. I have a goto Moze build that wrecks M10. So I thought either the game got easier or just the new stuff are OP. If this was true, I could create any Moze build and use standard stuff on M10.

Well, I’d say it’s more challenging to survive with mediocre gear in M10. So my conclusion is yeah I am mowing down M10 with my goto Moze. It’s not because things got easier but because that one has really good setup ( a product of experience, reading, and patches)

The post-Cartels changes to Mayhem did make the game noticably easier though, no?

Yeah, I acknowledged it was partly because I’ve gotten better. But it’s definitely more than that. A big one is the much longer FFYL time once you have some guardian perks. Another is the many sources of second wins in mayhem. And more skill points and better gear translates to higher relative damage, more options for crowd control, etc.

You’re starting to realize that the endgame goal for any borderlands game is glass cannon. That’s what the scaling of these games always dictate.

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I don’t agree with those statements. You can’t do DPS when you are dead.

In BL2 there were plenty of great shield skills that I always took and that were very justifiable. Inertia and Followthrough are two really good examples but Gaige and Axton had worthwhile shield skills too.

The biggest issue in BL3 is that, as @Volny pointed out above, the GR Perks mitigate - or in some cases completely obviate, depending on the VH you are playing - the need for defensive skills. If you can recharge your shield with every kill via Shield Reboot, regain full shields and health via Resilient, and have increased shield recharge rate and delay via Emergency Response, you really don’t need as many shield skills and are more free to take DPS skills.

BL3 just has more of an emphasis on DPS and less of an emphasis on shield and health skills because GR Perks make these somewhat available to all characters. This was not so much the case in BL2, BL1, or TPS.

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There are a few philosophies on this. One being : the faster you can kill things, the easier it is to survive. Remember we’re talking about enemies that can health gate you regardless of what your gear is. We’re not quite there with bl3, but we’re getting there. At that point, the only survivability will be getting above health gate.

@jc415 I definitely agree with the general statement that the faster you can kill, the better off you are - in BL3. But I don’t think it has been that way in all the BL games, which is what I was trying to point out. GR Perks make shield skills somewhat more redundant in BL3, which is why people are not so jazzed about Moze’s SOR tree these days or Fl4k’s new shield skills tree.

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With my first Moze run I invested heavily into shield of retribution tree even capstoning it, tho in second splash damage build I barely touched that tree instead added a sapper class mod and run and gun tactics which helped me run mayhem 10.

This is part of the reason I made a topic suggesting GR perks should be limited instead of everything on at all times. The current system is IMO quite absurd.

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I feel like outside really weird interactions, like low hp + stop gap + bloodletter mod type shenanigans, the game generally discourages you from trying to build defensively in a true sense anyway because the end result of that is you don’t do enough damage and certain enemies or situations seem designed to just bypass or obliterate your defenses.

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It’s a bit of a mixed bag with Borderlands endgame. BL1 and TPS had a pretty heavy emphasis on tankiness since the scaling tended to be a bit flatter between us and the enemies.

BL3 and BL2 tend towards glass cannon set ups since we essentially face enemies 10 levels over us. Most tanking skills in these games can’t sustain you in the face of that much damage.

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I agree with that with respect to BL3, but in BL2 you had strong shield skills like Inertia and Followthrough that could out-regen DOTs and keep you alive. This is just not so much the case in BL3. The only skills that do this in BL3 are Sustainment and perhaps Salvation, but those are health regen skills, as opposed to shield skills. Shield skills just are not as relevant because of the way GR Perks work and as fast as you can kill. Just IMO.

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