Any Moze player knows by now that Iron Bear is still in a bit of a sad state right now, even with the amazing buffs that we’ve seen (thanks, Gearbox!). There are only a few weapons worth using at Mayhem 4, and even then, you’re sort of stuck into speccing Demolition Woman to use Iron Bear effectively at all. I hope to start a conversation about how Moze’s skill trees could be changed to make Iron Bear an effective, fun choice for any Moze, regardless of build!
Table of Contents
Each of Moze’s skill trees already have a theme, so let’s just carry that theme over to Iron Bear! If we apply each skill that can be applied to Iron Bear, to Iron Bear, he would be much more fun and effective! So, for each tree, I’ll be going over each of Moze’s skills to see how it could be applied to Iron Bear to make that tree’s Iron Bear distinct from the other trees.
“Opening up a finely aged cask of whoop-ass.”
For the proposed changes that I give for this tree, keep in mind that a Shield of Retribution Moze doesn’t have the benefit of her Bloodletter Class mod while piloting Iron Bear, and might not have access to much (if any) points in Vampyr. And, in my opinion, you shouldn’t have to spec that heavily into only one tree to be able to sustain your Iron Bear.
Also, a lot of these changes rely on the assumption that Iron Bear’s shield strength should be displayed in the UI while Moze has Security Bear, and act like a shield that Moze would equip, with a recharge delay and recharge speed.
Selfless Vengeance - This skill just needs a straight overhaul, in my opinion. Moze’s entire kit revolves around NOT reloading, so this is a strange one. In its current state, I don’t think this would be a good skill to have apply to Iron Bear, since you can’t control when Iron Bear reloads, you start and stop reloading quite often (or not at all!) depending on which weapons you are using.
Security Bear - Already applies to Iron Bear, obviously. This should enable a shield meter that displays while inside Iron Bear.
Armored Infantry - The damage bonus and damage reduction should apply to Iron Bear while his shield is active. Easy peasy.
Drowning In Brass- This kill skill should still trigger when Moze is piloting Iron Bear. It would reinforce the frantic hunt to keep this skill fully stacked, even in Iron Bear.
Thin Red Line - This should apply to Iron Bear’s Armor and the shield supplied by Security Bear, as well. In combination with Security Bear, it would make Iron Bear solely reliant on his shield to protect him - just like his pilot.
VLADOF Ingenuity- Applying this to the Security Bear shield would make sure that Iron Bear’s shield is more able to protect Iron Bear, since the Shield of Retribution tree revolves around using shields, not health or armor, to protect Moze from her enemies.
Full Can of Whoop-Ass - I’d change this skill to give her allies a permanent 25% buff to their Shield Recharge Rate, also, while Moze is piloting Iron Bear.
Experimental Munitions - This should apply to Iron Bear’s Critical Hits as well, and additionally return fuel to Iron Bear when scoring a critical hit, with diminishing returns.
Behind the Iron Curtain - This skill should also reduce the time it takes for the Security Bear shield to recharge, and increase the recharge rate.
Desperate Measures - Already applies to Iron Bear’s Armor
Phalanx Doctrine - This kill skill should apply to Iron Bear, as well. Shield of Retribution is already made more interesting with this stacking, snowballing kill skill. It would be just as much fun if Iron Bear benefited from this, too!
Force Feedback - I have a lot of feelings about this skill. It’s objectively WORSE than the guardian rank perk that gives you the same effect, but doesn’t require a crit kill. I have a few ideas on how to change this skill to be more in line with the theme of the Shield of Retribution Tree:
At base, change Force Feedback to provide some form of shield regeneration that doesn’t stop when Moze or Iron Bear is hit. This could be implemented in a number of ways:
- On Crit Kill, Moze’s and Iron Bear’s shield recharges for X second(s), even if taking damage.
- On Crit Kill, Moze’s and Iron Bear’s shields recharge X% of their maximum capacity.
- On Crit Kill, Moze’s and Iron Bear’s shield recharges a set amount based off of the overkill damage done (this is my personal favorite).
Tenacious Defense - This is easily Moze’s worst capstone. The rest of the tree practically begs you to reserve all but 1 health to get the most out of Desperate Measures. Then, this thing comes along. If you are below 50% health, (3/3 Thin Red Line puts you at 40%), then any damage that broke your shield will probably put you in FFYL, and bypass this skill. It’s a very confusing design decision. I have an idea to fix this:
- Tenacious Defense should give something like healthgate to Moze’s shield in addition to what it does currently. Perhaps have Tenacious Defense trigger at a certain percentage of Moze’s and Iron Bear’s maximum shield, regardless of how much damage was done? It would also be interesting for Tenacious Defense to give Iron Bear a copy of Moze’s shield (only in conjunction with Security Bear), but that might end up being too much.
“Freakin’ multi-kill, yeah!”
I think we can all agree that being able to carry over the “Never let go of the trigger” play to Iron Bear would be a blast. Also, I see this tree as having Iron Bear be a little bit of a glass cannon - not being able to repair his armor (or shield) without investment into either Shield of Retribution or Demolition Woman. Let’s see how we can do that.
Cloud of Lead - Already applies to Iron Bear
Dakka Bear - I really think this should just come with Iron Bear as a default. I really could not imagine myself spending a point here, when my allies would probably prefer to use their own guns rather than the lackluster turret on top of Iron Bear. If we are going to keep Dakka Bear, though, I think it should also be changed to be a third hard point slot (with augment) that requires another player to use.
Matched Set - This should 100% apply to Iron Bear’s weapons as well. With Specialist Bear, it seems like Gearbox wants us to use two of the same weapon when piloting Iron Bear as a Bottomless Mags Moze. This should apply to two weapons of the same class regardless of Augment: Minigun, Railgun, Flamethrower, Grenade Launcher, Rocket Launcher (but not Hammerdown Protocol).
Stoke the Embers - Already applies to Iron Bear
Redistribution - This would apply to Iron Bear in the best way. Iron Bear’s reloading is a pain point for me, since you can’t control when Iron Bear reloads, and there are no buffs available to his reload time. It should also cool or prevent heat generation on Moze or Iron Bear’s weapons for 3 seconds when scoring a critical hit.
Scrappy - I don’t see how this could apply to Iron Bear. Suggestions?
Rushin’ Offensive - I don’t see how this could apply to Iron Bear. Suggestions? Iron Bear movement speed? Higher Iron Bear boost strength?
Scorching RPMs - Having Iron Bear’s weapons fire faster fits fully with Bottomless Mags.
The Iron Bank - More magazine size and heat capacity for Iron Bear’s weapons would be a great thing. Maybe it should also increase Iron Bear’s Maximum Fuel?
Specialist Bear - Already applies to Iron Bear, and is great as-is.
Some for the Road - I don’t think this should apply to Iron Bear, given that it’s a bonus for getting OUT.
Click, Click - This is another one of those skills that I see as confusing. If you’re speccing this fully into Bottomless Mags, your magazines should be… bottomless. Meaning you’ll never trigger the bonus weapon damage for this skill. I wouldn’t be upset if this skill was removed in favor of a skill that gave you a percentage bonus to damage with the equipped weapon based on how large the magazine is (or how much bonus magazine size you have), to really emphasize the theme of the tree. However, in its current implementation I could see it being applied to Iron Bear with great effect!
Forge - This should apply to Iron Bear, as well as constantly cooling weapons at a (very) slow rate for Moze and Iron Bear. I should be able to fire CoV or other heat-gauge weapons infinitely as well - it seems like an afterthought with only a few skills modifying CoV or heat-gauge weapons.
“USE MORE F-CKING EXPLOSIONS THIS TIME! MORE F-CKING EXPLOSIONS!”
This is the current “I want to use Iron Bear” tree, and it is great for that. Let’s make it even better. I’m going to skip the Iron Bear specific skills on this one.
Fire in the Skag Den - This is just a shoe-in. Why doesn’t this already say it applies to Iron Bear?
Means of Destruction - This would really fit with Iron Bear’s weapons in this tree.
TORGUE Cross-Promotion - This is another skill I have a lot of feelings about. I thought this skill was awesome when I first started the game. Then I started using it. And by ‘using it’, I mean dying. A lot. This should apply to Iron Bear’s weapons, and reduce the splash damage that Moze and Iron Bear take, as well.
Pull the Holy Pin - This should allow all the splash damage dealt by Iron Bear to crit regardless of where it hits, at half the rate (15% at 3/3)
Vampyr - Already applies to Iron Bear. Yay!
Why Can’t I Carry All These Grenades? - This should increase the mag size of the V-35 Grenade Launcher and the Vanquisher Rocket Pods. Maybe the Hammerdown Protocol as well, but reduce Hammerdown Protocol’s reload speed?
Explosive Punctuation - This skill should grant Iron Bear’s splash damage a chance to knock enemies into the air at a small rate (if it doesn’t already, I can’t remember. Will test). Perhaps 5% chance at 5/5?
Short Fuse - Of course this should apply to Iron Bear’s weapons! MORE F-CKING EXPLOSIONS!
If I’ve left something out, or have suggestions, please speak up! We can help Gearbox build a better bear!