I don't love Pandora the way I used to love it

This has been on my mind for a long time now and I feel that I have to get it out of my system. Apologies for the cheesiness of some parts, but I guess that’s just how I am. I also posted the same thing on Borderlands Confessions, so don’t be surprised if you see it there in a couple of weeks.

I don’t love Pandora like I used to love it. And I don’t think I ever will again.

When I first played the original game, I was captivated. The desolate wastes, filled with an environment that was as lethal as it was stunning, and a story of a world gone mad hidden between the lines for those who cared to slow down and read, take the world in one step at a time (though admittedly a little too vague for it’s own good). The sense of adventure, but not in a knight in shining armor way - it went for a much more grounded approach, you were just trying to get by, exploring the mesmerising Pandoran deserts, living on the edge not because someone had to save the world (at least that’s what you believed), but because such was your life.

And then Borderlands 2 came around.

Do not get me wrong: I will always respect Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel for what they were, but I will never be able to love them as much as the original. Borderlands 2 went for too much variety, tried to fit more Borderlands in Borderlands, but refused to acknowledge that the feeling was lost. You were no longer a sole survivor in the wastes, suddenly you were this over-glorified hero of the day. Your enemy wasn’t the unfriendly world, but an evil megacorp led by a megalomaniac leader (can’t help but love Jack as a character, no matter what my opinion on the game is). The humor of the world, while much more in-your-face and over-the-top, which is right up my alley, no longer reflected the planet’s reality. Pandora was no longer an arid, dangerous place, it’s like somebody dropped a terraformer gone haywire and decided to go with the results anyway. Diversity killed the mood. It wasn’t Pandora to me.

Perhaps this is also why I didn’t have that much of an issue with the Pre-Sequel - it literally was not Pandora anymore. Gearbox expanded their universe and went to Elpis - the moon of Pandora. The rules have changed, and so has the world, and I can’t blame them for that approach. Which leads to my next point…

…And that is, I think Gearbox should let go of Pandora. As much as I hate to admit it, I simply do not believe that they can recreate this feeling anymore. They’ve gone too far, and now they must expand or suffer the consequences of re-doing the same thing over again, losing substance more and more every time. Perhaps Borderlands 3 should take place on many different planets (Ratchet & Clank, anyone?), or maybe they could just move to a different world for now.

And the worst part about it? Pandora was doomed from the start. If Gearbox wanted to carry on with the game, they had to expand their boundaries, they HAD to include new things to avoid making the series stale. Pandora had to either change or be forgotten, moved on from into newer, more exciting adventures.

Pandora is dying. And I’m not in the slightest bit ashamed to say that I am crying a little right now. Perhaps I will one day get burnt out on the game, and leave it on the shelf for a couple of years. And then I will return, with a sad smile on my face, to relive those days. And mourn. Mourn for the loss of a beautiful world.


Well I respectfully disagree with how you feel, I can see why you think it ruins the feeling, and also respect how this was not a rant, but a clear understanding of what you are sad about and how calmly you put your thoughts out


[quote=“pixelkatana, post:1, topic:1545847”]Borderlands 2 went for too much variety[/quote]That’s crazy talk (although the project manager is probably still in a padded cell murmuring, “scope creep…”, but I’d say it was worth it). Compared to any other FPS game, BL2 has way more variety, but compared to BL1, only a bit more (and it’s in all the right places)? What are you thinking of specifically that you’d cut from BL2 to restore it to your vision?

Honestly, I agree that variety is a good thing in general, and that BL2 pulls that off alright. I’ll split my qualms into two parts.

The first is the environment itself. My problem is that Pandora became a lush, varied environment… for no real reason other than variety. How do you explain that a planet that was all arid wastes 6 years prior has suddenly become so filled with life that an area the size of, I dunno, maybe a small country, has multiple different biomes? Although that could be explained with a “Pandora was always like that, BL1 just took place in a particularly arid region” or “it’s Eridium, I ain’t gotta explain ■■■■”. Not sure how that explanation would sit with me, but it’s understandable. Hell, even BL1’s Jakobs Cove managed to be much more lively with the looming, decrepit plantlife everywhere without looking needlessly vibrant. While BL2 created an interesting world without a doubt, it was not the same as the original.

The second, much more subjective problem is the feel of the game itself, partially derived from said environment. You don’t feel like a survivor of the wastes, partly because you’re not a survivor, but a hero, and partly because there are no wastes. And the latter wouldn’t be that much of a problem if the story was handled differently. I guess what I’m trying to say is that plot got into the way. Again, do not get me wrong, I like the plot of BL2, and see it’s ambitiousness, but if you ask me, it just made Pandora feel much different. Like I said: Pandora was doomed from the start. Gearbox had to expand, had to mix things up. So I can’t really say what I would remove from Borderlands 2, because, truth be told, I don’t think anything should. It’s just something that had to happen. I just wish it didn’t.


I understand and agree with you. It was interesting to read your thoughts.

Maybe 2019 will be the year of “Borderlands Classic Remastered”, who knows… I think that devs analysed what made these games work and will apply the knowledge in BL3/Remastered/whatever.

I really appreciate when people share their thougths is such manner (not the same “bla bla bla … Tiny Tina … playable character … bla bla bla”).


I couldn’t agree more with you about how Pandora changed between BL1 and BL2.
And how my feelings when playing them changed too.

I LOVED playing BL1 AND BL2, don’t get me wrong, I even played BL2 more than BL1.

But my feelings are different when playing one or the other. Just as you described it.

And I totally agree with you about the reasons you think Gbx was some kind of forced to make Pandora evolve…


I would honestly love that to happen. Not because I in particular want a remaster (my PC likely wouldn’t be able to handle it anyways), I’m fine with the original, but because fans who never got to play the original will be able to experience it like the old-timers did, in crisper quality, and possibly learn to love the old Pandora as well. And that makes me happy.


I tend to agree with the OP. While I actually have FAR more hours played in BL2 and enjoy that game immensely obviously, the feeling and atmosphere of BL1’s Pandora is much more to my liking, That feeling of fighting (almost) alone in a desolate, planetwide desert (barring the snowy mountains). When I first played BL1 I got the impression that Pandora was basically Mad Max on Tattooine. Turns out, there are grassy highlands, swamps, and tropical isles too. More Earthlike than Tattooine-like.

It probably can be explained away though by saying BL1’s playing area is centered in an arid area of Pandora near the Dust, Sawtooth Cauldron, and Eridium Blight from BL2 (going by geographic features as well as the obvious direct travel between the Blight and the Arid Nexus (BL1 redux) areas.

(Which means the Warrior and the Destroyer were both kept in Vaults not too far from each other, as it turns out.)

Edit: a thought did occur to me, is that Pandora apparently does go through periods of drastic, sudden climate change: T-Bone Junction was obviously built at a time when there was an ocean surrounding it. There are also the narratives from BL1 about the local fauna suddenly coming out of hibernation to terrorize the workers/colonists. The “flash freeze” Clappy mentions at the beginning of BL2, and Captain Flynt’s stranded fleet of ships in the ice, and the other stranded boats in Three Horns.


As I recall, one of the most frequent criticisms of the original was the lack of environmental variety. (This isn’t something I agree with by the way, I still love old Pandora.)

Gearbox were aware of this, and during development of BL2 they joked about how their environmental designers had discovered colours other than brown. A lot of people liked the more dynamic palette, it would seem.


As for the sudden climate change… that actually never occured to me. That is a very interesting find. Though I think I recall someone in the Knoxx DLC explicitly stating that the area surrounding T-Bone Junction used to be an ancient sea, so who knows how long ago it dried up.

Also, the proximity of the Vaults makes you wonder if Eridians went extinct because they got bored on a Saturday night and decided to organize a fight between the two. That would’ve been so stupid, it’d be funny.


To be fair, the color palette was indeed rather limited. Variety was instead applied to environment types, with differing results. Comparing Tetanus Warrens to Old Haven, for example, is pointless, but The Lost Cave and Tetanus Warrens are much closer (they even feature identical quests to pick up crystals, just with different colors, and they’re both overrun by bandits and skags/spiderants respectively).

Hell, I actually remember playing the game as a kid and wishing there was a more urban area. Why? I dunno. Guess I didn’'t fully appreciate the climate of the game back then.

This is a fantastic approach, and while I agree with much of it, my response would have been something along the lines of -

Not only that, but the impact Hyperion have had since arriving on Pandora, they’ve built a lot and destroyed a lot, forcing us to move to other areas. I get the idea of no longer being a survivor, but it’s because of the survivors that we are there in the first place, BL2 merely tells the tale of the second wave but against adversity you’re still a survivor in a way. I didn’t like the way Vault Hunters were treated like Lords though and I’ve brought this up before, when you arrive to Sanctuary you’re shown a lot of respect and Roland personally wants to meet with you and have you on his war council. Why? Because I chose to hunt a vault? None of the BL2 Vault Hunters have any sort of training bar Axton and one is just a kid, why should a paramilitary unit show me such respect based on my decisions alone? Axton is the only one who deserves any immediate respect, and perhaps Maya because she’s a Siren, but I’d think that the rest would need to prove themselves. So In that regard, I can understand your point about survivors v heroes.

The rapid climate change theory is valid here as well I think, just look at Oasis. It seems that the canyons and gorges were a sea or large river not so long ago, only a generation ago if that, and now it’s a desolate waste much like BL1. Yet another area of the planet snap froze, and another yet is a luscious swamp. I’d like some more explanation about the erratic climate and geography of Pandora honestly, what caused it, how far away from its sun is Pandora, how large is the planet, how many hours in a day and days in a year, how much of Pandora is covered in ocean etc.

Also, where the hell did the Scythids go, and why are Rakks so common but there are no more Rakk Hives?! Stalkers have been discovered, but two species vanished? Are they extinct, or were they wiped out from the suburban areas?


A reason a Vault Hunter could be treated with more respect in BL2 is that at that point, people know the Vaults are real. In BL1, the Vault is almost mythological and seemingly most people don’t believe it even exists (in New Haven, Zed even calls the vault hunters idiots for wasting their time on it.) Also, maybe the Crimson Raiders treat Vault Hunters with so much respect simply because they’re devoted to Roland who was also one… who knows? It does seem funny that you can apparently get yourself some instant cred by simply stating that you’re a Vault Hunter. :wink: The BL plot gets a little thin sometimes :wink: but it’s still fun to speculate.


Surviving Jack’s train ambush appears to be one of the main reasons everyone respects the Vault Hunters so much.

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Oh Lord, don’t remind me of the Scythids. I hate the buggers. It’s like a slug, a facehugger and nightmares had a threesome. I think you can briefly see one of them in Tales from the Borderlands, actually.


I can agree with you on the fact that we need to move further. But Pandora is still part of the Borderlands universe. I really feel you on the transition from 1 through 2. Totally love Handsome Jack, but that part aside. Gearbox experimented a lot with the environments in BL2 and in a succesfull way. I really hope BL3 carries us towards different planets ( I hate to say this, but kinda like Destiny ), but still keeps Pandora alive in a way. Make an improved Sanctuary hub planet with a few surrounding areas and then go towards other worlds. 20 planets which each having 10 fast travels will do, thanks Gearbox xD


Have to agree with you still love the original game hope the originals come back for 3 in a big way :joy:

Original characters I mean.

This is an extremely well layed-out post, and you do have some good points. But I’m gonna go ahead and politely disagree, especially with the words “Too much variety”. BL1’s style was admittedly very different to 2 and TPS, but Gearbox have well and truly settled into their style now and vibrancy is going to be very much a thing. Look at Battleborn - half the time during combat I feel like somebody melted a pack of crayons all over my screen, and it’s great.

BL1 is more representative of Gearbox’s older, more tentative style, and BL2 is their current in-your-face loud style. Both are great, if you ask me.

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Agreed on the quality of Gearbox’s new style: it’s some good stuff. I just don’t feel like it’s very representative of Pandora.