I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and this thread seems like the right place to put my thoughts down.
My view is that I don’t mind an element of RNG in the mods and I don’t mind that they add fewer skill points than BL2 COMs. But a) too many of the legendary COMs are near-useless and there is virtually no reason to use non-legendaries; b) the current system is too random - the affixes are a total crapshoot and often don’t in any way augment the COM itself. Sometimes they even conflict with the COM! (reload speed on Blast Master… )
As a result, the COMs don’t promote particular play-styles.
More on point A):
Some Coms are almost never used for various reasons. Zane is by far the worst in this respect.
Amara almost never uses Dragon (by far the worst) Elementalist, Golden Rule, or Nimbus (rare exceptions and extreme-niche uses exist of course). Ever since Driver arrived with M4 and the ninja-nerf, Phasezerker is only used by those who really don’t like Driver (me!). Breaker is only used by melee builds but at least it is obviously for that play style.
Moze - Bear Trooper is an inferior version of Raging Bear. Totally redundant. Rocketeer’s special ability comes at a major cost, so maybe some people use it, but I’ve never even considered it and I haven’t seen too many builds that focus on or use it.
Mind Sweeper and Blast Master are fine but have overlapping skill buffs and do similar things. Partially redundant. Thus many (of course not all) builds that use one can be easily changed to the other. So neither really promotes a play style, they’re both essentially splash damage COMs.
Green Monster has respectable uses I guess, but is not considered “meta,” so my impression is it is thought of as a workable but niche item. I’m open to being convinced I’m wrong about that.
Can’t say enough good things about Bloodletter, 1HP Moze builds are fun and this COM definitely produces a unique feel.
Zane: Does anyone use any COM other than Seein Dead? For anything? I really wanted to make Infiltrator and Executor builds work but they are just too underpowered compared to Seein Dead.
Fl4k: Rakk Commander is basically a bad version of Rakk Pack, and Friend-Bot is at best a niche item. And the problems with Fl4k pet builds are well-known.
Stackbot is debilitatingly broken - the bonus could be powerful, but given that you lose the stacks for all non-critical damage, it’s way too restrictive.
Deadeye is admittedly very good for snipers…but not so much for anything else. Needs very specific affixes, of which there are few. So, this one really needs good RNG.
Have 1 (perhaps 2) of the currently random bonuses always be specific affixes that fit the intended play style of the COM. E.g. Sniper Damage on deadeye; mag size or maybe Torgue weapon Dmg on Blast Master; Melee Dmg on Breaker; Weapon critical Dmg on Executor; etc.
Improve bonuses to the currently underpowered Coms, perhaps by adding new features.
Examples: add major Dmg reduction while shield depleted to Infiltrator (and fix the bug so it works with Rough Rider!); add +action skill Dmg to Rakk Commander; increase the Pet Dmg buff on Friend-Bot (and the bonus increases over time since last pet revive); add a +Heavy Weapon Dmg while Autobear is active feature to Rocketeer; add a major bonus to status effect Dmg for a few seconds after using Phasegrasp to Elementalist.
Completely re-work the Dragon COM and maybe some of Zane’s COMs.
Make the blue and purple COMs always be 1/4 and 1/1/3 respectively, and give all non-legendary COMs at most 1 random affix and at least one non-random affix.
If the affixes on blues and purples are desirable, non-random, and hard to replicate on legendaries, they will get more use. We know this is true from the way that non-legendaries like Survivor, Crunch, Trickster, and several others continued to be used reasonably often in BL2, even late in the life cycle of the game.
If build diversity is desirable - and I for one think it is - this is one way to do it.