Item Score is...Confusing to Me

So…just killed Tyreen. True Vault Hunter Mode, mayhem 2. She drops an anointed King’s Call, item score 551. Then I go into the vault, open a chest, it coughs up an anointed blue weapon…item score 570. This…doesn’t make a lick of sense to me.

I also remember doing Circles of Slaughter on normal mode, mayhem 1, and was consistently getting legendaries with item scores of 580-591.

I think I liked it better when items just had a level.

There has probably been other threads like this so…apologies in advance.

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don’t bother with item score. it is rated because of the parts it has, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that higher rated parts is better.

like the increase in scope, people don’t want big scopes, it just add to screen pollution.


From what I have seen, the score is pretty useless. One of my worst weapons has the highest score:


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what’s wrong with that gun?

I agree though that item score seems to be some arbitrary calculation.

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i completely ignore item score but i think it’s meant for complete noobs like my gf who has no idea what to use

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Well, there is nothing horribly wrong with the gun, it’s just bad compared to the other ones I have in my inventory/safe.

Item score is a failed feature. It doesn’t accurately represent items and it’s not particularly useful when sorting items. I just look at the weapon card for stats and annointments that I want.


I usually do as well. I mean I have a 596 Lucian’s Call, not bad. But I have another assault rifle that is 581 that is better. And yet my 566 Brainbuster shotgun outperforms the both of them.

A high item score might not relate to your play style or preferences, which is something people tend to forget when talking about Borderlands weapons in general. I know there are some legendaries that people swear by that either don’t work for me or that I haven’t really figured out how to use.

Item score is based on the rarity level, number of elements, anointment (class > base), and number of total parts. The item score doesn’t reflect the weapon’s power, rather it reflects of how much “stuff” is packed into the weapon.

King’s/Queen’s have mostly fixed parts, and because they are pistols there are fewer part options for the stuff that can change. That means they will always have relatively low item scores since they lack parts. By comparison, snipers and AR’s can spawn with way more parts than pistols or shotguns, meaning there will always be a disparity of item score between snipers/AR’s and all other weapons.

This also means that if you have two identical weapons, the one with the higher item score will generally be superior, as it will have more “extra stuff” the other weapon doesn’t have.

Item scores over 620 are very rare. 641 is the official highest, while 647 is the unofficial highest (unofficial because lack of proof). This probably means the absolute highest item score possible is 650.

EDIT: I meant level not rarity. Rarity is basically item score without consideration for level or anointment.

That gun is actually pretty good. But yeah, item score isn’t really an indication of how good a piece of gear is.

I may be alone in this but I’ve never been a fan of the red text stuff. I don’t like having to look up online the cool things a gun can do. I get that maybe the idea was people would play with each to try and figure out what it does but in BL2 and this I usually just find myself googling whatever the hell that means.

I realize it might not fit on a card so I wish sanctuary had a book or something that showed the legendaries you found and the unique effects they have.

It’s not a huge deal as finding out takes 10 seconds but that’s just me…



Ahh, well…that makes a certain kind of sense. The blue I mentioned was a rocket launcher, I will hazard a guess that that is one of those with more parts to give it a higher score. Still…it’s blue…it still bugs me that it’s higher than a legendary at the same level.

I’m just a color snob that way I guess, lol.

The only thing its good for is that a 500 item si better then a 200 but using it to make a decision on what to use…waste of opportunity simply because of how its calculated

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I’m not 100% sure on this, but it seems like snipers, ARs and RLs all have higher base item scores than all other gear types. However it could be just because they can potentially spawn with more parts than other item types.

Chances are the legendary item you have just has bare bones parts. I noticed this with King’s/Queen’s and Flakker. There is almost no variation to these weapons. Compare that to a Lyuda, which can spawn withs tons of different part combinations and it makes sense why they would have such low item scores. It’s also the reason why shields, grenades, and class mods tend to have very low item scores comparatively, because they just have very few parts to begin with.

Also I meant level not rarity in my first post (I edited it). Level gives a baseline item score (hence why you will never see level 50 gear below 490 I think is the minimum), which makes sense when you look at a level 50 Infinity against a level 1 Infinity. They can be identical in every other way except level, and the scores difference will be huge. Rarity is kind of like item score but without consideration for level, or anointments (as from the Bloody Harvest event even white gear can spawn with anointments; if anointments changed rarity then this would be impossible as any white weapon that is anointed will become green rarity). The quality of parts also seems to affect rarity but not item score. If you get a shotgun with few parts but they are all high quality, it will be higher rarity. However if you have a shotgun with max parts of low quality, it will be lower rarity but higher item score, because item score only seems to consider the number of parts and not the quality of the parts.

Base damage is a part of score and base damage is typically highest with those so we can assume the highest possible item scores will usually be that way.

I believe annointments add to item score but I’m not 100%. I think I’ve had identical items with higher scores for one with annointment.

I’m not sure if base damage changes the score. More likely what is happening is that there is extra parts that boost the damage, so the added score comes from the parts not the damage. Otherwise RL would always have insanely high item scores because they do the most raw damage. But their item scores are more comparable to snipers and ARs, which suggests it’s something to do with the parts not the stats.

Anointments do add to item score, but NOT to rarity. If two weapons are identical but one has an anointment it will increase the item score. However, it will not boost the item to the next rarity tier. If it did, then white anointed weapons would be impossible but as you may have noticed during the Bloody Harvest event, white weapons do indeed come with anointments (which is IMO very funny to see).

Don’t even look at the score. The flakker has one of the lowest scores, but that thing used to shred better than anything else.

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For those with long memories, you may remember that BL1 had a score system. It was called “Price” :grinning: If you had two similar guns, a higher price usually indicated the better item. Of course, it wasn’t definitive. We all know the exceptional guns of BL1 whose performance outstripped both price and level. You have to keep your brain engaged :slightly_smiling_face: But for the 80%-90% of normal guns, it worked.

So it is with Score in BL3. When I want to decide what to keep from a backpack full of guns, Score is a useful additional statistic. I don’t use it mindlessly. I have preferences for types, styles and manufacturers but when there’s not much between guns, it’s a helpful indicator.