Mayhem 2.0: HP and Gun Scaling Should Not Exist -- Greater Focus on Modifiers

Personally I have enjoyed the Mayhem Modifiers for the most part and believe they brought some good and exciting gameplay. But I think the HP and Gun scaling was not the right path. It leads to arbitrary difficulty increase and unnecessary redundancy in grinding. BUT we still need some form of HP scaling for enemies early on to handle the improved DPS that comes from optimizing gear–for example Mods and artifacts that have buffs that compliment certain weapons and Skills along with Anointments (and to be frank, Anointments are a whole nother topic but I don’t want to go into for now). For that, here is my idea:

Create 2 endgame modes that ends up being a combination of old with new: Normal Mode and Mayhem Mode.


Normal Mode

This is simply the same as the old M1 through M4 but without any modifiers. This in a form is simply “normalizing” Time to Kills based on player’s progression via optimized gear like mentioned earlier. As a player grows and finds gear that is more synergized, they have the opportunity to move from NM1 to NM2, NM2 to NM3, and eventually NM3 to NM4. So literally the same as before. But weapons no longer scale to Mayhem levels. Enemy HP scaling is strictly based on gear synergy. The whole concept here is easing the player into Mayhem mode. Not only that, but a player can stay in this mode to farm if they don’t want to deal with Modifiers. It’s a hell of a compromise right!?


Mayhem Mode

We will be keeping the same Easy through Very Hard design from Mayhem 2.0 but completely scrap HP and Gun scaling. Instead, Mayhem will have enemy HP locked at the same level as Normal Mode 4 (or whatever Normal Mode you are set at). Mayhem Mode is ALL about creating difficulty through unique gameplay experiences–such as the Invincibility Drones or Death or things like Melee enemies are 15% faster and Enemies dodge more frequently. These are perfect examples. Also, Modifiers will be freely chosen by the player. No longer random rolling–unless some special challenge set forth by GB in an event. You will have a single interface and will choose your modifiers based on the 4 difficulties they exist in. You will only ever be able to take 1 Easy modifier as this is actually a buff to the VH but you can mix and match Medium through Very Hard all you want up to a max of 4. Based on the combination, this will dictate the Mayhem Level for you, much like we see now–Note Mayhem Levels are simply arbitrary at the moment and just help give a sense of relative difficulty chosen. Example:

Mayhem 1 = Easy

Mayhem 2 = Easy, Medium

Mayhem 3 = Easy, Medium, Medium

Mayhem 4 = Easy, Medium, Medium, Medium

Mayhem XX = Very Hard, Very Hard, Very Hard, Very Hard

Yes, you can choose 4x Very Hard if your heart desires. Now, of course increasing difficulty has to come with it some reward, correct? Of course. But note that Loot Scaling will be much different. The reason being is technically we are not increasing Time To Kills in any way so efficiency should not be altered all that much–unless you literally choose a Modifier that directly harms certain elements and whatnot but thats up for choice! It more comes down to skill of the player and their build synergy. That being said, Luck will probably not scale as aggressively as what you see from Normal Modes. In the end, for the sake of making it easy, we could make it where Easy = -5% (yes it lowers it because you’re benefitting yourself duh lol), Medium = +10%, Hard = +15%, Very Hard = +25%. Very simple. So the max buff would be +100% and obviously this is assuming Luck increase actually worked lol. XP, Cash, and Eridium would follow suit on their own scaling.

EDIT: Something that could also be applied is having the ability use Mayhem mode at every level of Normal Mode. And Mayhem Modifiers are an extension of that level of difficulty. This further diversifies the difficulty so that if there are those who prefer Normal Mode 1, 2 or 3 level of HP for enemies but want to use some modifiers, then this gives them the opportunity. To some degree, this could complicate how Loot Luck should be segmented out for balance but that can be tweaked.


Now the benefits to this system are simple: It’s much easier to balance weapons at their core as we don’t have to consider a second variable of gun scaling but we are literally letting the player decide their builds based on the level of difficulty. No longer is their a ridiculous feeling of need to push the envelope. Plus, GB could create gear or cosmetics and lock them as challenges behind certain Mayhem levels/modifiers. They could be objective based and not RNG – A little like Wedding Invitation except we can keep doing objectives over and over if that’s how they want to do it. If there is ever a time when an additional buff is added–such as maybe a new, higher quality of Artifacts–this can easily be adjusted to through the scaling of Normal Mode since Mayhem is automatically tied to Normal Mode 4 for scaling. New gear does not need to worry so much about power creeping to be interesting but instead, just exist with unique perks for the sake of being interesting. We could even create gear that may help against specific modifiers (like Death) where if you destroy Death with a weapon, it creates a large explosion. You know, the usual fun ■■■■ that Borderlands brings to the table.

We can go a bit further and make Proving Grounds and Takedown into a Competitive arena for players through PvE by adding a point system where Mayhem Modifiers offer multipliers. This would simply be for fun (with maybe some cosmetic rewards every month) but could really spice up gameplay for the community. I’ve always loved stuff like this and when I first played a PG and saw the time limit, I thought this would have been perfect!

In the end, this creates a lot less hassle and also doesn’t make 8 of the 10 Mayhem Levels absolutely useless (hell might be less to be honest lol). Because now, Mayhem “Levels” are secondary to the thought and is all about the unique perks that are given to enemies from Mayhem as a whole. If players want to make enemies immune to certain elements, that’s their choice. If they want to make enemies 50% tougher for the sake of having 25% increased Crit Damage, again, their choice. This is much like taking the Skulls idea from Halo and implementing into here.

Truthfully, I don’t expect to see another rework to ever occur. I think what we have now is what we are sticking to. But I figured I would share my thoughts.


P.S. - I think 1 missed opportunity was rather than having Anointments attached directly to guns to instead be of it’s own item that is applied to a slot. I saw an idea that I loved where Trinkets would actually be the holders of Anointments and then applied to a slot freely. If Trinkets were used as such, then this Mayhem Mode could have been a perfect opportunity to lock certain Trinkets/Anoints behind Challenges that revolve around Mayhem Mode. Plus it would help with RNG problems along with bringing back a greater focus on prefixes. Not only that, but balancing could have been tremendously better to control in my honest opinion. A tremenous amount more of data could have been collected based on build combinations due to it being easier to attach Anoints to specific gear. There’s just a lot in the balance world that could have been improved upon to say the least.

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This would be enough to bring me back to the game.

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It honestly wouldn’t even be that difficult for them to remove the weapon scaling from gear. Pretty sure the Mayhem level boosts on gear all come from a series of anointments they made that increase the damage. All they’d have to do is set the boost to none.

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Agreed, the mayhem gun scaling should not exist and the same thing goes for the enemy HP/shield/armor scaling (at least in its current form).

What I do want to see from enemies in higher difficulties however is them being more aggressive (and having a better A.I. in general).

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You might consider plopping this idea on the BL3 reddit. Maybe if this actually gets some traction Gearbox will at least notice it.

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Excellent idea, and why are you not employed by GB???

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This is the most fair suggestion I’ve seen. I like it!

To add to this, I’d like some modifiers to be changed to make them more fun. I’d like to see them alter enemy behaviour for example.

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Real quick and politely as i can put it as long as you are endorsing modifiers you are breaking multiplayer / builds / annointments/ playstyles and creativity. Please make kitchen sink builds at mayhem 10 that can handle all modifiers all the time before posting such things.

The benefit to this system is GB can literally dump a butt load of Modifiers on us (and change them if needed) because the choice would be ours for which modifier. So to a degree, we don’t need to worry too much about reworking modifiers unless seen completely useless to a degree if that makes sense. But yes, I do agree that maybe including Modifiers could alter Enemy behavior a bit could be interesting.

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Right, that’s a really good catch just in case any modifiers can get out of hand or broke before the devs can fix it. Streamlines the experience.

I’d rather the opposite, let us amp up the enemies but without modifiers that cripple certain builds or just exist to irritate me.

I, too, would like to see weapon damage scaling up in Mayhem removed.

  1. It’s an extra layer of weapon management that will get further complicated when they next raise the level cap. Will I farm for new weapons? Or maybe if the cap is moved to say, 61, I’ll just bump down to Mayhem 6. A level 57M10 gun will be equivalent to a 61M6 gun.

  2. Bullet spongy enemies is not the same as more difficult enemies. Giving enemies +12,500% stats to offset guns that are 10 levels higher has not made the game more enjoyable.

  3. The focus on weapon damage, and weapon damage only, scaling up to combat these +12,500% enemies has taken away the diversity that keeps Borderlands interesting. Every time I read some of the load screen dialogues, like the one about how great it is to have a monkey shoot your enemies while invisible, I just shake my head. That isn’t really a dynamic anymore.

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Agree that there should have been less scaling. I do like what, as best I can tell, they did making the dogs faster and jumpier. I would have preferred the HP scaling was more gradual while we added things to the baddies like:

  • Enemies are more likely to avoid shots
  • Enemies are more likely to stay in motion
  • Enemies are thinner/hit boxes are smaller

Plus just generally putting more effort into staying in cover for the bad guys.

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I ran M4 because, in the end, I found the bullet sponge nature less annoying than the “wacky fun” modifiers.

Irritating is the best descriptor of so many of these modifiers. They don’t change how I play. They don’t really change how the enemies behave. They just irritate the $&@# out of my while I am playing and remind me I am in a mayhem more than let me enjoy the game.

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By amping up, you mean make their AI tougher?

If I thought gearbox could do that without breaking the game, absolutely. But I’d settle for them doing and taking more damage to not have to deal with these modifiers

Enemies doing more damage is a bad idea. Borderlands 2’s endgame ended up revolving entirely around abusing health-gate because every enemy could kill you in two hits or less.

The more thought I give it, the more I realize using the trinket slot for annointments is sheer brilliance. The level of RNG that this would eliminate would be exponential.

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Well actually that could be implemented quite simply through a couple of forms: Modifiers that alter enemy behavior (more aggressive dodging where say enemies dodge at twice the rate, melee enemies move faster and hop faster, etc etc) or just extend the True VH mode to incorporate such behaviors. That’s the beauty of something like this. It literally takes on the ability to alter difficulty however you see fit.

I honestly just want a challenging gameplay without gimmick modifiers. If I could have M10 no modifiers I’d be happy, but I’d rather have more enemy damage than the modifiers if I had to choose.

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