This is an open letter of sorts.
First and foremost, let me begin that I sincerely appreciate all the work your developers and artists have put into this game. The artwork, effects, and level design is fantastic. The music is stellar. The voice acting is great. The basic gameplay mechanics, feel, gunplay, etc. all feel like a big improvement over previous BL titles. It feels so satisfactory to play. I love it all and have no regrets in having plopped down money for all this. I’ve had a ton of fun!
But I am very concerned with the state of the game right now.
Specifically, anointments and Mayhem mode. I’m going to be blunt, these two areas have made an absolute mess of the game; specifically and especially, the endgame.
Anointments. They are, by far, too much of a focus in builds. Before BL3’s release, I had the assumption that anointments would be in line with luneshine bonuses from the Pre-Sequel: minor bonuses that are nice to have, but nothing that would be 100% necessary, or anything gamebreaking. But in BL3, anointments have seemingly become the primary farm. Many anointment bonuses outshine class mod bonuses, they outshine skill tree bonuses. They outshine action skills themselves; players hit their action skills just to activate anointments, action skills themselves be damned. (Especially in the case of Moze; the act of getting in and quickly getting out of Iron Bear becomes nothing more than an annoyance to be endured to activate chosen anointments.)
This may be hard to swallow for developers and players alike, but I emphatically recommend taking a very hard and critical look at anointments and their place in the game, and just nerf the hell out of the overpowered ones. Take the focus off them. Put some focus back on the gear itself, put some focus back on action skills themselves. Put some focus back on skill tree bonuses. Take the focus off making the endgame all about activating the right anointments. There’s no build diversity there.
And now, Mayhem Mode 2.0. Whatever managers mandated that this be released need to be finding new employment. I’m being very harsh here, but it seems clear to me that this was released in a half-baked state simply to meet a deadline. It’s a mess. I won’t play it. I very much understand it’s in the process of being tweaked and fixed, but it never should have been served up like this in the first place. “When it’s done” has some bad historical connotations in the gaming universe, but I think a little more of this needs to be mixed in to your release philosophy.
I don’t even know where to begin with this really, as far as fixing it. Many genies are out of the bottle here and I don’t know how viable it would be to try to stuff them all back in. But what I can say for sure is, the Pre-Sequel seemed to have gotten it right (again) with its mutator arena. My advice, for what it’s worth? Review what was done there.
I still have fun playing BL3. But I leave Mayhem turned off, and I no longer go into farming sessions looking for a specific anointment for a weapon.
It’s still fun, but if I want to increase the challenge of the game (and I do!), I will hit all these showstoppers I’ve outlined above. I still have faith that there can be an endgame mode that increases the challenge to the player without breaking the game or reducing it to a meta that has a very limited scope. You all have the talent, and I hope the willpower.