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.
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!?
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.