Low-level Loot: New Player facing old issues in BL3

I’ll keep this short.

Through my first few hours of BL3, I have been continuously frustrated by something I have always hated in BL, but somehow always manage to forget - mostly in the hope that it surely would not make it into the next iteration: the level-locks on areas and missions.

If you do all the side missions you quickly overlevel and thus only get crap loot. Even worse, some missions take place in areas with a lower level than the mission, like a lvl 13 mission in a lvl 9 area, making everything worthless, from chests to mid-mission rewards. Bosses scale to your level, yes, but half the time even those drop lower level loot.

After doing some research, I read that once you finish the campaign you can turn on mayhem mode to basically scale everything to your level. And then, apparently, you should go back and do all the things you just ran past before because doing it would overlevel you. Of course, you have to do that EVERY SINGLE TIME you play the campaign with a new character except for, maybe, True Vault Hunter Mode.

My question is: why? Why make side quests that overlevel you? Who thought it was a good idea to offer content that would lead to other content becoming meaningless? It reminds me painfully of Kingdoms of Amalur. Well, actually it reminds me of Borderlands. Of popping into a DLC area to check it out, then come back ten levels later to find I’m not ten levels to high for the loot to mean anything.

And I just can’t get my head around why this is still an issue. The whole game is geared towards getting loot. The whole game is also geared towards making loot obsolete by giving you more levels through side content than the main quests and mission areas account for.

Yes, maybe an Elder Scrolls-like complete scale-to-player-level has its issues, but you never ever get loot that is worthless by virtue of being so far beneath your level it doesn’t matter how rare it is.

Some kind of dynamic scaling would be very much appreciated. A minimum level and a maximum level for quests and side quests, with a range far enough for people only doing the main missions not to have to do too much grinding for levels, and for completionists and explorers to not inadvertently over-level themselves simply.by playing the content the game offers.

Seriously, how can you make a game where, if you want to experience all the game has to offer while also still getting relevant rewards, you first need to complete the campaign, then turn on a difficulty modifier, and then GO BACK to retrace old areas to do side missions and other things you intentionally had to make yourself walk past the first time?

How can this still be considered valid?

So it wasn’t that short. Sorry. I just don’t get it.

I just played a lvl 17 side mission in an area I had already visited. I am lvl 17. The rewards were a few guns stashed somewhere. They dropped at lvl. 15 from the cache.


Never understood why they not made it like in THVM tbh. Maybe Im not the best example but I can run the game very fast and I do not one single side mission during the playthrough. (OK one tbh… "kill the undertaker, since it’s a one kill mission and on your path) I just take sometimes a few other paths to collect the claptraps, Typhon logs or huntings for the exp. Never go for the Typhon chest, since there is nearly never a legendary inside and atm you get them out of vendor machines way faster.

Have one of total 6 vhs with side mission progress of maybe 80% or higher. All the other vhs have not done a lot of them. Fl4k has a few more, but on normal mode and I made THVM with him so no reason to run normal mode. He was also my first vh.

For me the game is dead anyway and I just hang here around until I may go back into the game. Right now Im back to the Kingdom Hearts series and enyoing the HD collection for the PS4 with NO loading screen. It goes black and one sec later you can play again. Not 70sec! No PS5 and also no good upgrades/fixes for BL3 insight. Also havent really heard something good about Arms Race except for streamers who live from the game.

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Here, I can only applaud what they did in Star Wars: The Old Republic a good while back. They had exactly the same problems as the OP described. Their solution:

They gave each region in the game a specific range of character levels. For example: Planet XYX would be from level 27 to 35. If you enter with a character lower than 27, you’ll have a hard time and get the beating of your lifetime. But if you enter with a character higher than 35, your character gets downscaled to level 35. Your stats, health and damage will be downscaled to offer you a good experience (and get 100% XP for each enemy). You keep perk points and skills you unlocked. Every quest gives XP and credits scaled to your actual level (so a lvl. 65 character would be rewarded for a level 65 quest), and every enemy drop is also scaled to your actual level. So you can and will get level 65 items on Planet XYZ if you are level 65.

This means you can stay inside the starter zone from level 1 to 75 if you absolutely like. A level 75 can team with a level 35 player for some heroic quests in the same area.

If they would scale the item quest rewards to your actual level, this system would be near perfect for my taste.

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In general, if you do all of the side missions then you might end up overleveled, yes. But in Normal mode it’s fine to use gun that is 2 or even more levels below. I think the function of side missions is to provide some variety - they are optional and are there in case you end up underleveled, so you don’t just grind XP by killing mobs. Not sure about BL3, but in BL2 one could almost always make a choice where to do side missions, as there would be 2-3 options at the same time which ones to do and in what area.


Played a new Zane up to the point of going to see Rhys in his office, did no sides and was 3 levels below the gear level - I grinded the power troopers just outside of atlas HQ and that was the only time I had to grind.

Its never said but COA could be a straight sprint to Tyreen on Normal, grind the troopers mid way, sprint TVH mode, hit lvl65 cap, do the sides quests of base game in TVHM, leave all dlc sides for…

I dunno actually still have a ton of Dlc side quest uncompleted

I never grind levels as I have a stock of low and mid level m10 weapons on mules. I can use a lvl 1 m10 dakota all the way to sanctuary. Then as I level up in the playthrough I just swap these for new ones as needed.

This way I can complete the main campaign despite being underlevelled at any point.

I’m playing BL3 for the first time. As such, I like to explore, and the side missions are often the more quirky and funny missions. I just don’t like the notion of giving you content to do - sometimes literally situated next to or right on your way when doing story missions - but by virtue of the additional XP gain consistently getting stuff that’s below your level.
What’s worse is revisiting an area that you had already visited at a lower level on a higher level mission, then getting lower level Loot.
It’s a flawed design, in my opinion.
Give people a choice to have all content scale to them if they want from the very beginning, not after finishing the campaign missions. And my God, level locking areas to when you first enter them… That’s just bad.

If you make a game and offer optional content that earns the player additional XP, you have to account for that regarding subsequent missions and rewards.

What if someone buys the complete edition and decides after the first few story missions to get to Sanctuary to go try some DLC?
Let’s say you do two DLC campaigns, including all side content, and end up gaining 10 levels. When you return to the campaign, you’ll be overleveled for quite some time.
Or the other way around, like it was in BL2 (not sure if this has changed): you jump into a DLC, just to take a quick look at a new area, then go back to the campaign. After finishing that, many level-ups later, you return to the DLC only to find that it and all its content was locked to the level you had when you first entered.

I mean, let’s be real, Borderlands story is fun, but what keeps most people playing, I’d say, is the loot that gets better and better, crazier and crazier. Imagine DLC, a whole campaign, being 20 lvls below your character. All the loot, all the Mission rewards, except for, maybe, drops from bosses… Would you still play it?

Borderlands needs to finally stop forcing people to play the game in a specific way and make allowances for people who like to play any type of available content at any time.


I would point out that the Hammerlock hunts scale with you in normal mode.