Is purple tree the worst borderlands skill tree ever?

I know the title is super hyperbolic, but hear me out. I’m honestly trying to find a single other skill tree that’s as bad as Fl4k’s purple tree.

I would rate a skill tree using three questions:

  1. Is it fun?

  2. Is it powerful?

  3. Does it create an interesting/new build?

I think we can almost all agree that the purple tree fails in all three categories. The skills within it are all very generic, with even the capstone just doubling your shield. The action skill is also just not that fun, as its unsatisfying and way less, well, fun then the other three. Obviously fun is subjective, so I’ll move on from this one. You can feel free to disagree with this one.

The purple tree is, objectively, not powerful at all. Yes, if you want to abuse a nova shield or fuzzy math, you can abuse the ■■■■ out of them. But I wouldn’t really classify that as the entire tree being powerful, just because it interacts well with a few random items. Fuzzy math is, to be fair, an incredible skill, but the rest of the tree is so weak that spending almost half your skill points for it is not worth it in most scenerios. Overall I think it’s an incredibly weak tree, even in normal mode. At least the loader bot is super powerful, but that’s more due to terrible mayhem scaling then anything.

Finally, interesting/new builds. I would argue that, as a pet build already existed before, that the tree does not introduce a new playstyle. Yes, it makes the pet build more powerful, but once again it requires abusing very specific items like the Faulty Star and Hunter Seeker. The pet on it’s own is just not that good. I would argue that this one fails too.

Now, looping back to my title. Is there a single worse skill tree in all of Borderlands? Hellborn krieg is pretty weak, especially compared to his other trees, and especially considering it requires moxxi weapons. Still, it creates a completely new build, which is more then can be said with this tree. Salvadors third survivability tree is pretty terrible in most respects, but at least the top half of it is powerful-ish. Bus that can’t slow down is also really fun. This might be one of the worst trees from a fun perspective though. Gaiges shock tree is also super terrible from a strength perspective, arguably the weakest skill tree ever, but at least it’s a new build. Pretty much all of Axton’s skill trees are equally bad, which I could definitely see an argument for one of them being the worse. Aurelia’s co-op tree is terrible, but it’s super unique which I can definitely respect. Finally, Nisha’s law and order tree is also pretty terrible, but it’s at least pretty interesting.

So, what do you all think? Any skills trees that are worse then Fl4k’s purple one?

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I agree completely. I usually find a good compromise between power and fun in my build, rarely going meta if I don’t find it funny. This tree doesn’t pique my interest… It’s not powerful, it’s not funny, it’s not cool (I find the loaders awesome as enemies but horrendous as pets…)

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Hmm I’m talking out of my butt rn but I think Zane’s green tree. At least fl4k purple knows what it wants to be. It’s not even just the bad skills, on launch it had potential for a rough rider build so your barrier would be your “shield” instead. But now the focus is on shield being up, making the rough rider practically useless.

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I’m going to nominate Wilhelm’s dreadnought tree as being worse; a lot of really mediocre to awful skills, some of its good skills just get outclassed by skills in his green tree anyways, and at best it sort of facilitates a playstyle in OC-chaining but that’s mostly just the capstone. In general trees too focused on survival tend to be problematic.

The Trapper tree really highlights how problematic Fl4k’s base pets and their damage formula are and the failings of the Master tree. Master should have always been doing for his pets what Trapper does, Fl4k shouldn’t have gotten another tree to “fix” that.

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Maybe as a raid boss killer he was weaker but my hellborn Krieg destroyed mobs. I don’t recall having Moxxi weapons either, an on level flame of the firehawk shield provided near infinite healing

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Wilhelm’s trees were balanced, it’s just that everyone else in TPS was way overpowered.
Nisha’s L&O tree had some of the best defensive skills for her - at one point cost.
Even Aurelia’s so called coop tree was way better than Flak’s purple one. People read the 3 coop-only skills and misinterpreted the rest. It had damage, fire rate, even defense for her servant.
Whatever purple tries to be, it misses. Whatever purple is designed to be, it is wrong at design level.

I really don’t want to flame Gbx but rather really, really, ridiculously serious want them to re-think it from scratch.
Fl4k has no life steal or shield skills but don’t need it anyway. Fl4k’s essence is damage and taunts. Keep it that way.

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Hard, HARD disagree here.

I don’t disagree that Trapper is one of the worst trees in the franchise, but the power it provides for pets is absolutely transformative. The limp noodle Gamma Red Fang set-up that constituted pets builds before was nowhere close to the pet build pet enthusiasts wanted. Your pet didn’t matter for the Gamma build, it was a yellow blob on screen that enemies shot at and gave you damage for. The only time the pet was useful for anything other that getting bullet smacked was during these months of mayhem scaling enemy damage where He Bites actually dealt respectable damage to gun toting enemies. Otherwise, any pet damage build has either been incredibly weak or required a rain dance to make work semi-decently.

The game was out for over a year, yet NO ONE in that time posted a pet damage focused build taking on the raids (unless you count the 2 hours GTD pet run Quag did). Now, within the week purple has been out, we’ve had numerous attempts and successful completions of the Guardian Takedown. There is no comparison between the old Gamma build and this. They are absolutely not the same at all.

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Okay I’m just going to spitball a crazy idea:
Swap Master and Trapper trees Names and Action Skills, and we all pretend like the previous state of blue tree as the “pet” tree was just a collective fever dream and its always been an exclusive Crowd Control specialist tree.

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“Yes, it makes the pet build more powerful, but once again it requires abusing very specific items like the Faulty Star and Hunter Seeker.”

This is the part that kind of kills it for me. You just need absurdly specific gear to make it work. You are right though that there wasn’t a pet build before, but even now it still feels like there isn’t a pet build, just cheesing mayhem scaling on some random items.

This quality isn’t exclusive to Trapper though, I think all the 4th skill trees are being propped up by Mayhem scaling shenanigans to some extent–even Iron Cub with the most recent hotfix. It may be cheesy, but at least Trapper offers a new build that wasn’t available before.

Axton’s Survivalist might be the worst. That tree only had Grit and Gemini going for it, from what I remember. In general the survival-based trees have been pretty bad, I think Maya’s Harmony tree is the only good one in the series.

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Pretty much all the bl2 healing trees were all rendered most useless because of the moxxi weapons, though I think you forget how Gaige’s best friend forever was pretty damn good (or at least required to take because of how bad the shock tree was)

But yeah I really can’t think of another good surviability tree.

Sals brawn tree was always kinda useless.

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Bl1 survival trees were actually pretty decent, but there was a very different balance in skills, trees, and skill points and enemy damage output in that game.

This is probably why survival trees have fairly consistently been poorly balanced going forward in the series. The fundamental balance of trees has changed dramatically but the core idea behind defensive trees hasn’t.

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I did mention that yeah. Maybe if moxxi weapons weren’t so good in bl2 it would be better, but even then it’s pretty bad.

Faulty star and Messy Break up are nice, but Roid shields work just fine.


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Athena’s Phalanx tree is solid.

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Basically the general conclusion is tank trees = bad. Which makes sense - a class survivability is rarely a sum of many parts, but stems from one or 2 very strong aspects. 1 or 2 solid survivability skills is always gonna be superior than 10 mediocre ones. Which is why Thrill of the Kill or Life Tap exceeds the combined capabilities of Sal’s Brawn tree - which questions the need for an entire tree centered around it. Even Fl4k’s Trapper tree is strong evidence of this - Fuzzy Math is strong enough on its own, making the other 3 or 4 tank skills basically irrelevant.

The second reason is that for most players, survivability is merely a means to an end. Almost no one builds their class simply to be tanky as possible - there must be some incentive to it (generally DPS). Survivability is almost always support, not the focus, of a build. Which makes dedicating a tree to ‘tanking’ incredibly superfluous.

As for OP’s question, I don’t think Fl4k’s tree is the worst ever - it is the premier pet tree. Its just basically a very very bad tree for non-pet builds. I would argue Gaige’s LBT tree, which has probably 1 good skill (MiS) is worse. Zane’s Green Tree as well.

But from a design perspective, Fl4k’s tree is problematic - given the Beastmaster was clearly designed as a glass cannon, whose survivability stems from non-tank aspects such as stealth or aggro draw. He clearly isn’t meant to be played the same way as Moze or Amara, which makes giving him their strength problematic.

Its one of the better ones, but generally 3 points in Conduit obliterates anything that tree is capable of. Or just Aspis and its frontal invincibility. But generally TPS trees are more balanced, as they generally weren’t as hung up on making trees explicitly DPS or tank focused.

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Eh, I don’t know about that one. Electrical Burn and Evil Enchantress were both pretty amazing skills solely for enabling a DOT based play style in the OP levels. The tree had dead weight, but the combined power of make it sparkle and the DOT related skills make it salvageable tree.

I actually find Gaige’s BFF tree to be worse. It’s not full of terrible skills, but I find most of them to either be conditional or low impact. Aside from Close Enough, Unstopabble force for the move speed, Upshot Rbotot, 20% Cooler, and SiC, there aren’t any other skills the tree that feel like they are anything more than a way to move down the tree.

Even compared to that tree though, I still find Trapper worse solely because of the combination of the boring action skill and just how horrible some of the skills are. If the tree is about increasing pet survival and damage, why is there a skill that makes them instantly die? When pet health is so high and they have shields + fuzzy math, what use is Wooly armor? Why does Keep them Safe even exist, let alone in the same tier as Fuzzy Math? It’s bad skills are just worse than any other tree’s bad skills imo.

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The worst? Nah. Throatripper, Take This and Fuzzy Math save it from being it. It is however pretty bad, redundant and unfocused. Zane’s Green Tree is probably the worst BL3 has right now. I would like to say that CCC and Brainfreeze prove me wrong… but the devs decided to create the madness that is Purple Tree (Mostly Commitment). I would say Moze’s Purple comes close second for being the worse, since it doesn’t really bring anything new to Moze’s kit. Iron Cub is separate from the tree, lets be honest, it was made with anointments in mind not the skill tree. As for the WORST tree in the franchise? Claptrap’s “Fragmented Fragtrap” tree. Subrutines ruin anything it has going for it. Nuff said.

Termination Protocols though :smirk:. I get where you’re coming from, but Wilhelm trees are far from the worse. He is considered worst in TPS mainly by method of elimination. All his trees are rather good, but they all contain skills that held him down. As for Dreadnought, aside from the already mentioned TP, its (amazing) capstone “Overcharge” I believe cements the tree as mostly support rather than survival. Saint is Wilhelm’s survival asset and it does it efficiently.

I wouldn’t say the survival/healing trees were rendered useless by Moxxi weapons, but rather inneffective. Seeing how the trees themselves aren’t that bad in a vaccum. Problem was, and kind of still is in BL3, that enemies just say “lol no” to your survivability and the only way to survive is to abuse health gate (Seriously, what’s the point of shields?). Maybe if BL2 and BL3 had endgame scaling similar to TPS these trees wouldn’t be regarded as underpowered as they are.

That’s the thing. The “survival” trees mostly rely on 1 or 2 skills, but they also give a benefit for surviving. Sal’s Brawn might not be as strong as the skills you mentioned, but it gives some pretty good bonuses for taking damage and staying alive in the brink of death. It has a clear design of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Also, you can flip the double bird and uppercut psychos of cliffs (How I miss melee overrides. No. The buggy mess that is Blitz doesn’t come close). Anyways, my point is that, unlike Sal’s Brawn, FL4K’s Trapper doesn’t have a proper gameplay loop (at least not on its own. Shield spamming is…something else). Just like you said, Purple’s “survivavility” is basically just Fuzzy Math. The other skills just let you facetank and not much else. FL4K doesn’t get benefits from just standing in front of the enemy regenerating shields and not being able to kill them.

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LBT is decent in UVHM, but kinda gets screwed by OP levels. EB is incredibly strong pre OP levels, because it double dips into many multipliers, most crucially slag. But its strength becomes its weakness in OP levels, as it also double dips into enemy damage reduction, which by OP10 almost cancels out the slag debuff.

The only way I know to make an EB build work in OP levels is with a 400A Storm, but even then its the Storm chains rather than its DOTs doing most of the work. Chain Lightning can kill trash mobs, but TBH the most effective DOT build at OP levels was Krieg with a Fire Burst.

I would say the LBT tree has a better design concept, but Trapper is definitely more impactful, if poorly designed.

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