PvE needs more love; in terms of content

PvP has received a lot of attention with new content (rightfully so, to some extent), but PvE has largely been untouched by free updates; save for Hardmode Spotlight. The neglect of more content or reworks to PvE tends to leave PvE players in the dust, as unless they buy the new Story Operations, there isn’t anything new to experience or work towards. There could be additions to PvE that make it more worthwhile, while also keeping things fresh for people who may primarily - or only - enjoy PvE. Understand that what I’m getting ready to lay out isn’t necessarily a means of attracting new players, but a means of retaining those who enjoy PvE:

In-game Challenges

These already exist in the game, but the rewards they offer are mostly afterthoughts. 25 credits earned? That’s not much of a reward. In-game challenges can also be frustrating to complete. For instance, in “The Renegade” you could be given the challenge of killing X amount of those insect looking enemies. However, by the time the challenge pops up, you may have already killed to many for your team to be able to complete the challenge; as you’d have to wait 15 seconds for more of that same enemy to drop in the next wave. So how about both expanding, and refining, the process by making the goals more engaging? Have a menu available at the start menu (or back menu) that has three in-game challenge types: Individual, Team, and Badass challenges.

  • Individual Challenges would deal with your characters abilities, as well as your own personal performance. As an example: Get X amount of kills with Oscar Mikes Frag Grenade; Deal X amount of damage; Do not consume a life (or Do not die); Give X amount of healing as Miko. Completing individual parts of these challenges would reward you a small amount of character XP and credits, or a free in-game level.

Completing all your Individual Challenges would give you a pack of your characters respective faction and a sizable amount character XP.

  • Team Challenges would be centered around the teams performance while completing the mission. These would encompass many challengess that are already associated with the current bonus challenge system. As an example: Kill enemy X, Y amount of times; Deal X amount of damage as a team; Score X amount of points as a team. Completing individual parts of this type of challenge would reward a small amount of command XP and credits.

Completing all Team Challenges would reward your team with an Epic Loot Pack (with the chance of a faction loot pack), and a sizable amount of Command XP and credits.

  • Badass Challenges would be centered around completing difficult tasks that require a great deal of teamwork and skill. These challenges would in some parts encompass the teams performance, but would largely be centered upon map and objective specific challenges. To give an example, I will use The Void’s Edge: Kill Warlord Nix within X minutes; Keep the Wolf units health above 70%; Kill the Varelsi Conservator in X minutes; Do not have one single death on the team; Find all hidden chests in this map.

Completing each individual challenge would reward an uncommon gear item, character XP, and command XP. Completing all the challenges rewards a large some of credits, character, and command XP, and will give the team three random loot packs, and either a moderate chance of a LLegendary associated with that mission, or a small chance of a Legendary Loot pack.

Outside of that, it would also be nice if some of the new enemy types introduced with the story operations could be introduced within PvE missions; where it makes sense. So if there are new Jennerit enemies being introduced with The Thrall Rebellion, then maybe have them mixed in every once in a while with the Jennerit pool for “The Renegade” mission.

Lastly, and this might be costly do pull off (but it’s a suggestion), maybe it would be worth structuring the existing missions somewhat differently. By this, I mean we have a different set of objectives than what we’re used to, but the geometry of the map is unchanged. To give a scenario, let me bring up “The Voids Edge” again. After the Warlord Nix fight, the door leading to the next area will eventually open on its own; and no Wolf Sentry drops from the sky (because the LLC doesn’t want to spend money on one). Entering the next area starts a cutscene showing an enemy Sentry that’s much larger than typical Sentries. Players would fight this sentry periodically, as reducing his health to a set percentage would cause him retreat to another area of the map. So if you force him to retreat in the initial encounter, he won’t show up again until you make it to the large temple steps, where you’ll have to force him to retreat again (he’ll bash through the temple doors the same way Wolf would). You’d then fight him one last time in the area where the Conservator would be. Once you defeat him, he would drop the same loot the Conservator would. You would then initiate his self destruct sequence and launch him (via the jump pad) into the Varelsi portal; in order to close it.

…I really tried with that last one :sweat:

Either way, PvE just needs more love and I hope it gets it in the future; and not just in terms of something we have to pay for. I understand fully well that your team is relatively small on this, and probably doesn’t have as much funds as you’d like to see pull off such a thing. But I think if the idea is to not only bring in new players, but keep them playing, then having these incentives to keep them playing would be a boon to an important mode within your product.

10 Likes

I really like these ideas. The only caveat is that it’s hard to see how the game can supply any rewards that compensate for the chore.

For my part, I cannot play PVE anymore. I told myself I would for the Lootocalypse. That I wanted a perfect roll Bola’s, a perfect Symbiotic Gauntlet, and by hell I was going to get them.

Played four missions. Got a middling Gauntlet and an awful Bola’s. And called it quits. I just can’t do it anymore: not these missions, not again.

Thing is, though, I did really enjoy the scaled-up PVE early on. It was fun tearing through massive waves of enemies while listening to Ambra prattle on (“Come along! Much to do!”) And I’m actually a little bit fond of grinding under ordinary circumstances: I cut my teeth on unforgiving MMOs - I played Everquest from launch - and sunk inordinate amounts of time into Diablo 1 and 2.

In those games, though, the grind was satisfying either because it gave tangible power gains (Everquest) or because the multiplayer mechanics were fun (Diablo.) Like the MMOs that followed it, Everquest sugar-coated its grind through a sense of major progression: sure you had to kill a zillion wolf pups to get to the point you could slay dragons, but what a leap in power that was! Diablo, meanwhile, had its incomparable Gothic aesthetic and gameplay that was (at the time) uniquely tense and visceral.

Battleborn PVE doesn’t stand out in either aspect. You can’t grind for progression: there’s no major gains to be made from repeatedly playing this game. The ultimate goal is Legendaries, which are almost universally awful. Even the good ones are arguably not worth the time investment. You could sink MMO-levels of time into getting the Doomsday Key, and you’d still not really have an edge over someone using basic blues and purples.

And as far as quality goes, while the mechanics are decent and the characters are a delight, it’s pretty widely agreed that story missions themselves are half-baked. The bosses are lackluster; there’s way too many repetitious defense points; there’s not nearly enough interaction with the environment; beyond a rare few tailored lines of dialogue, mapsplay the same for every character; there’s very little enemy variety and there’s no interesting AI types (like healers, supporters, crowd controllers). Sure, you have your kamikazes, there’s a “summoner” enemy in the Beastmaster, but nothing that inspires strategy beyond “blow it all up.”

Frankly, I think the game even plays better in PVP. In PVP, using a skill feels like an impactful decision; in PVE, most skills are just more particle effects thrown into an enormous psychedelic destruction cloud. It’s just wave clear, wave clear, wave clear, burst the boss, move on. No memorable fights, no stand-out skirmishes, just numbing repetition. In the grindy games I mentioned above (Diablo, Everquest), boss fights and particularly challenging monsters switched up the dynamics: you had to adjust your pace, swap your weapons, abandon your old method and try something new. Here, a boss feels like something to bombard in pretty much the same way you bombarded everything preceding it. (Sure, there’s “shield Varelsei” on Void’s Edge, and Geoff needs to be gassed, but it’s all very rote.)

On a more positive note, though, I think Gearbox know all this, and that’s why the new DLC is taking so long. I’m heartened that the new Operation sounds so heavily tweaked and mechanically diverse; relieved that it offers its own internal form of progression and rewards that people care about (skins, taunts) instead of more dubious legendaries and loot packs. I’m optimistic about the DLC packs for this game. But (speaking purely for myself) I’m not sure there’s any reward that could bring me to play the base story missions again.

7 Likes

They should make a New difficulty. You start on Level 10 with 5400 Shards to start at max stats, but the level will contain almost only Mayor enemies.

Like the Algorithm, gets a lot more Shield Drones and Shepards, but playing this mode gives you more Epic loot.

I Think it would be fun.

1 Like

We’ll be getting the first of five Story Operations, Attikus and the Thrall Rebellion, on October 13th

I hope they’re as dynamic and have as high a replayability as they claim. They sound awesome in theory

Well for starters every character is gonna have two unlockable skins and an unlockable taunt so, there’s definitely that to look forward to

Holy bagebus this post is long. And it’s really late so I don’t feel like writing the rest, but I can’t bring myself to erase what I’ve already written. So no one needs to read my unfinished thoughts, but just know I’m posting them anyway. TL;DR PvP is to blame for PvE being so mind numbing-ly un-interactive, and the proof is in the patches.


I think your issue with PvE (which you may already know) is the fact that this game is for better or worse highly focused around PvP. There are too many mechanics that are left behind (and some that should have been left behind) simply because it would become impossible to balance PvP, and all engagements would eventually end up looking like OP8 duels in BL2.

Negatives

  • Resistances - This was implemented in the Borderlands franchise through many different means. Bullet reflection, elemental resistance, melee resistance, debuff resistance, ect… Which was fine in a game as dynamic as Borderlands, if a boss resist an element simply switch to a different one. Battleborn for whatever reason implemented at least 2 of these. The first of which was was debuff resistance, which works for Battleborn. They took all forms of true movement based CC and made all characters in-able to apply them to bosses, which gave all bosses pseudo difficulty and more or less affected everyone equally. But then there is damage specific resistance in the form of Thrall Brute, Guardians, and most bosses taking varying degrees of reduced damage to all explosive damage. Which in a game where you can’t change anything is a horrible idea. For example Ernest’s grenade launcher, explosive charge, Rotten Egg, and Ult are all considered explosive damage. So you are literally better off quick meleeing Geoff and all Guardians because the rest of your damage is resisted by an absurd amount.
  • PvE is balanced around critical damage - The one saving grace Battleborn get is that NPCs take 3x critical damage as apposed to enemy Battleborn whom only take 1.5x critical damage. But this again creates disparity between who is actually good at PvE. Most range now by default have a leg up on melee Battleborn, as their already pin point accuracy gets even better when the enemy doesn’t dodge your fire. But again Ernest just get’s kicked in the teeth (beak?) as being the only Battleborn whom can not crit with either their primary or secondary, which lowers his potential damage output by 200%. In total making him one of the worst, if not the worst boss killer in the game.
  • Advanced, criticals, and you - Advanced created a new issue in this regard. Content once balanced around critical damage is now buffed to almost absurd levels. This is because shields prevent critical damage allowing interesting potential choices in PvP to either have 140-98 effective health that regens after 5 seconds and blocks criticals, or 280-210 health that can be restored through many different means. But in PvE the shields are buffed to crazy levels preventing the 200% damage increase you are accustomed to on an even more lethal and healthy enemy for the sake of a mechanic that adds the different thought invoking content you want to see in PvE. If you thought Ronin were scary in normal…
  • Unused mechanics - Despite a third of the cast now bolstering a wound, no enemy in the game is effected by that mechanic. Which in reality is probably a good thing, but still. And to my knowledge silences prevent things like Thrall Brute Grenades, but something like Attikus’ 1.5 second silence literally means nothing and if you could boost it to 15 seconds of denying enemies their special abilities would be great. But that could never happen because of PvP, where people just flipped their shit when Galilea had an 8 second silence. Imagine one twice as long that you couldn’t walk out of. Making helix choices like Bleak Quiet, Calamity, Mark of the Feeble, Stopping Power ;), Upper Cut, Preparation, Disruptor Blades, ect… worthless choices that could have been as game changing as some are in PvP.
  • Gear - As Gearbox has stated, gear is and was meant to be hardly noticeable. Legendaries that actually made an impact on the game like the Chrono Key, Leechsteel Brooch, Viligance Link, (potentially Ambra’s in the future), Voxis Core have been made shadows of their former selfs. And after the outliers where brought down, most legendaries stayed in the realm of never being worth their cost minus a handful that for the most part just give more of the same stats like the Symbiotic Gauntlet. And it shows in all rarities, not just legendaries.
  • Survivability - Characters are designed to “stay in lane” a specific amount of time. You are
  • Mobility

Kleese is the one exception, where PvP balance causes him to be a PvE god. Where enemies are too dumb to focus rifts and simply run right into a network of 4 stacked on top of one another. Mission design allows you to “spawn camp” and set up an impenetrable defenses like he is never suppose to achieve in PvP. His somewhat gimmicky anti-shield abilities are now the stars of the show in Advanced. The fact he is so easy to mow down in PvP convinced them to raise his health to where it was suppose to be, giving the already unkillable Kleese the ability to not rely on his network and take more offensive helix choices like Overloaded Mortars. As losing 200 health no longer meant losing over a 1/4 of your health. Bouncy Balls of Death can now be used to their full effectiveness, as again enemies are idiots that purposefully get close to you. Ect…

4 Likes

…Totally, I’m at the point or rage over the *junk system in this game.
(Not calling it a ‘Loot system’ any longer)

Thank you for the well-thought-out post! As a PvE only player (tried PvP, really gave it a chance), I’d really like to see some love for PvE as well. I truly hope the Story Ops have as much replayability as advertised.

However, as @EdenSophia pointed out, PvE just can’t hold up on its own forever. I know I fully quit the game about 2 weeks ago and will only return to check out the Story Ops, but I’m afraid Battleborn PvE is largely done for.

Maybe the game will survive in the PvP sphere, but I know I won’t be part of it. If Battleborn has taught me anything, it’s to never buy a game for full price and never buy a game on Day 1. Never again.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the PvE to a decent extent and have replayed those missions quite a few times. The characters are the strongest part of this game and they made replaying those story missions possible. So, I appreciate the time and enjoyment I’ve gotten out of BB, but it just doesn’t have the longevity I had hoped it would based off CTT and Beta experiences. And no part of my experience would have changed if I had waited for the first patch and the first price drop, but that’s on me. Hindsight and all that.

Regardless, thank you for coming up with constructive ideas and sharing them with us all, @Biggy_DX. I hope we’ll see some more PvE love beyond the Story Ops so that maybe, just maybe, PvE won’t die alone in the dark.

2 Likes

Part of the reason I got this instead of overwatch was pve. I knew it probably wouldn’t be amazing but just having a pve option meant I could take my time with it more. The other reason was heroes. Don’t care what anyone says the heroes in this game are great personality and complexity wise. There is multiple ways to play different heroes and always still hear new lines out of them from time to time. The variety and intrigue of heroes is the only reason I still grind the pve missions. The missions themselves are not that great but I enjoy the different experiences I got from trying them with different heroes (to a point. Some melee guys are just not meant for certain missions). The loot is mostly an after thought I have so much now but only use a small percentage so a lot feels worthless for pve. Would be cool if the new story ops have as much replayability as they are touting.