There seems to be an impasse. Gearbox wanted to add some craziness and variety into the gameplay, so they made the new modifiers. But a large chunk of the community can’t stand them, and see them as mere annoyance.
Other players (myself included) quite like them, and the extra spice that they bring to the gameplay. But I suspect that even most people in this group tend to gravitate the the same few modifiers that we find acceptable, and avoid ones we’re averse to. For example, I’m personally ok with many of the modifiers, but flat out refuse to play with Floor is Lava or Freeze Tag.
Members of both camps can frequently be heard making one of two requests: Ditch the most annoying modifiers and let us choose our modifiers. Both of these requests are totally understandable, but in truth would probably end up corroding the whole point of the modifiers. The least unpopular modifiers are bound to be the ones that are the least noticeable, and introduce the least amount of difficulty…but also therefore the least amount of interesting gameplay change.
Case in point: Post Mortem. I personally believe that this is one of the best-designed modifiers…yet I almost always avoid it.
Why is it a good modifier? Because it genuinely changes the gameplay. It knocks me out of my autopilot complacence and raises my heart rate whenever I see one. I, the hunter, become the hunted. It forces me to change plans and multitask, and it genuinely makes the game more exciting.
Why do I avoid it most of the time? Because Dazed And Infused is just so much damned easier: when an enemy is immune to corrosive it’s usually irrelevant because I’m not using a corrosive gun - and if I am, I just switch guns. Simple. When I’m focused on a particular goal (farming, getting XP, completing a quest), I’m usually liable to take the path of least resistance and reroll until I get Dazed And Infised. …even though I’m aware that it makes the game not quite as interesting as Post Mortem does. The extra challenge and interesting gameplay twist that Post Mortem adds to the game is exactly why I don’t use it.
If either the ‘ditch the annoying modifiers’ people or the ‘let us choose our modifiers’ people get their way, then it’s almost certain that we’ll all be taking the lowest common denominator approach: going with the least intrusive modifiers that cause us the least friction, but don’t actually add much to the gameplay.
In the current system, I don’t see any good way out. Make the modifiers choosable, and 70% of them will never see the light of day again, including some of the legitimately more interesting ones. Make the modifiers all equally hard, and people will hate Mayhem even more than they do now. Make them all less intrusive, and people will complain less but the final experience will be more bland (eg. make the Post Morten skulls much easier to kill, then more people will use Post Mortem, but the point of it will be largely lost).
So, here’s my idea: let everyone choose their modifiers, but don’t let the Mayhem bonuses be tied exclusively to Mayhem level - instead tie them partially to the modifiers themselves. Does no one use Rogue Lite, because it’s more severe than the other modifiers? No problem: give Rogue Lite an extra 10% XP bonus. Anyone who hates it can happily avoid it. But anyone who wants to boost their XP to get extra guardian ranks can turn it on, and feel rewarded for their sacrifice.
Do players not use Floor Is Lava? Then give it a 20+ Luck bonus, and see players flock to it in droves…willingly and happily, and enjoying the experience of learning how to adjust their playstyle into a permanently mobile one at that. Or let it become a happy niche for those Zane players who already utilise a fast-movement build.
Anyway, just a thought.