Regarding Vault Hunter Balance

Disclaimer: All ideas expressed here are my own opinions and suggestions of what I’d like to see as a player.

I’m trying to approach this in an unbiased way, given that my main Vault Hunter (Zane) is largely unaffected by recent changes, but I do play all the Vault Hunters outside of FL4K currently.

First off, I’ve having a hard time trying to follow the logic Gearbox is following with these nerfs. I’m seeing nerfs to builds that are essentially specialized into doing one thing. To me as a player, this is fine. This is what these builds are designed to do, when you’re re-specing points into the build, you’re saying to yourself you want to do this one specific thing until you re-spec again and are okay with being less effective at other areas of performance.

Case 1: FL4K

He’s gotten multiple hits to his Fade Away build, without getting anything to really boosting other builds up by a noticeable degree. The recent change did boost Rakk Attack, but with my limited understanding of the character, I can’t reasonable say whether that does anything for that play style. I can however say that it doesn’t sound impressive, since most status effects tend to be weaker than the initial hit.

Now, I do know that the Fade Away build is designed for one thing, Bossing. While it has some albeit, weak mobbing potential with weapons like Rowan’s Call or Lucian’s Call, it doesn’t really have it in abundance. Anything pertaining to mobbing, you definitely have to pick your engagements carefully, especially in thing like Slaughter Shaft.

Yet this build has been hit twice now, with nothing to show in terms of other real options. I have yet to really play or experience FL4K, but seeing the path this is going makes me want to stay even further away.

Regarding the recent changes which basically made the skill “Leave No Trace” more or less a waste of points, I see what the goal was, but I think it was tackled the wrong way. So here’s my own suggestion, from someone on the outside looking in.The change should have taken 1 of the two following options.

Option 1: Chance Route

Leave No Trace remains a chance; but move to per shot, instead of per hit with and increased chance. So instead of ~36% chance, it moves to ~40-50%, but can only proc once per shot or instance of damage. Shotguns and other weapons that make heavy use of multi-hit or high pellet count attacks can still proc it decently well, but not be theoretically infinite. But rapid-fire weapons, like an assault rifle can still make great use of it without it being entirely free.

The general idea to to keep it a Chance, but reduce how frequently it can proc with certain weapons, removing most need for cooldown.

Option 2: Cooldown Route

The other option is a variation of the current implementation, however with the “chance” connotation removed. The chance becomes 100%, but is instead limited by the cooldown. In this context the 2 second cooldown would make more sense, but still could be reduced to 1 - 1.5 seconds to not limit the weapons that could or would use it nearly as much.

The idea here is to just make it purely a cooldown gated thing, rather than having two gates to get past before triggering. Similar to the other idea, but taken in the direction of the recent changes.

Case 2: Moze

This is a less extensive thing as she’s only been hit once, and arguably this really does nothing, but encourage more controlled use of grenades, and to some degree limit her incoming ammo. The particular build hit in these changes is focused on Mobbing. While it does have the ability to boss, depending on the boss chosen to farm it’s not as reliable for that as a Bottomless Mags Build would be.

Now, this change (lightly) blanket nerfs her ability to use explosives/AoE in general. Ideally, I think it’d be better to make the Hex and Storm Front Grenades work a certain way. The change I have in mind doesn’t make them unable to be used with the build, but won’t allow them to rapidly restore Ammo/Grenades while active.

Basically, the beams from these two grenades shouldn’t count as Area of Effect, or at the very least should not be able to proc Means of Destruction with every tick of damage. Since both beams select a target and stick to that target until dead or out of range, they have no need to be considered AoE until the actual grenade homes in and explodes. I do understand this may need some heavy tweaking on your end to get it to this state, but this makes it a fairer change to the build over all, which would probably instill a little more variety/choice into the build.

Now, this is just my take as a player. I agree what I mention for FL4K specifically may not be the best, but I do think it presents a couple fair middle ground options. I do encourage anyone that plays FL4K to chime in as to what they think of those proposals.

While I do play Moze, and specifcally the build that was hit, I just simply think it was hit in the wrong way. I’d like to just see more encouragement towards using a variety of grenades, rather than having 1-2 that are just “Best in Slot” with little to no contest. Granted even my change suggestion doesn’t entirely fix that, it does alleviate the biggest problem with the build and the amount of spam/visual clutter it can create through grenades and launchers.

I’d personally like to see greater build diversity before any singular build gets hit too hard for any Vault Hunter, as most feel like they have 1 solid specialized build, and 1-2 others that are okay, but less specialized. Making less options useful, or harder to use without having alternatives properly setup doesn’t feel the greatest.

It’s all just my opinions and suggestions. I just wanted to express in detail, the approach with some changes might be a little off target . Gearbox is free to consider these idea, throw them away, implement them or what have you.

Thanks for reading this lengthy post,


1 Like

So the simplest thing, which is what they should’ve done if anything, was to reduce the proc chance. If I’m correctly understanding your case 1, sounds difficult to implement as a per round basis and doesn’t fit well defined Borderlands proc chance criteria. Proc chance in Borderlands has always been per damage instance not per round regarding modifiers. If a cooldown was the best course of action for LNT, after less than 3 weeks, then yes replacement effect only. Proc chance plus cooldown has been used way too much at a 100% failure rate across many games. The issue here is that higher fire rate benefits proc chance and higher damage benefits cooldown. Both get hosed currently.

That’s more or less the point I’m trying to bring to attention with FL4K. More potential for harm than good from my perspective. I get what they’re trying to do, but regardless of the approach the cooldown makes it harder for weapons that could benefit the most to benefit at all, while not even helping edge cases like say the Monocle.

While I do appreciate the balancing going out, there’s also still deliberate and planned trade offs to any given spec you use on any Vault Hunter. I feel as if those are also largely being ignored as well. If you build to melt bosses, you’re gonna do it one way or another if you’re setting your self up to do so. You’ll still likely lack mobbing potential though.

1 Like