Set The Anger Aside & Let's Really Look At The Writing Of Borderlands 3 *SPOILERS*


Pal, I got ya beat there!
Go to youtube and search for the music video “Slayer- Repentless” (you have to log-in, it’s age restricted), It’s one of the most bloody videos ever created outside a slasher flick! (They even got Danny Trejo to apear in it and other horror movie actors!)

Only other video that comes close to it is Cannibal Corpse’s video for “Kill or Become” (also age restricted)

That’s probably going to be Krieg’s reaction!

Anything short of the unrelenting bludgeoning of those two videos and I’m shoving my head in the oven. (And the oven is f******g electric.)

One problem is they’re trying to pull off satire of a genre (live streaming) that’s already seen as a joke by many people. Not only this, but it seems Gearbox tried their absolute hardest in making them as annoying and unbearable to listen to as possible. And when these two characters are your main villains who appear quite often… that’s a problem. I absolutely hated them by the time I got to Eden-6, and not in the “love to hate them” kind of way, but in the “wow please just stop talking immediately before I shut off my game” way.

Just because the writers can accurately depict Jake and Logan Paul as characters doesn’t automatically make them good. I think the fan blowback alone is enough to show Gearbox failed at making good villains.

Regarding Ava. I don’t think the community hates her for simply being the annoying, rebellious and impulsive teenager trope. It has more to do with that specific trope being the successor to both Lilith AND Maya, while at the same time providing no reasons why this is. At no point in the story did she show any knowledge or intellect when it comes to strategy, leading a Resistance, commanding, etc. Instead, we’re supposed to believe an impulsive teenager who likes to steal stuff is now supposed to lead the Resistance that took down Handsome Jack AND the Children of Vault.

That’s the problem here. She was completely shoehorned into the main cast, and got no serious character development throughout the main story to justify the push she’s getting by Gearbox. When asked about this, the lead story guy (I think) just said it’s our fault for not understanding Ava, and that doing ALL the side missions would help. Meanwhile the only, uh… character developing side mission we get is her losing her sh*t because Beans took her diary. Nice :+1:


Another thing I didn’t like was the humor.
I felt like the pacing was completely obliterated at points to focus on unfunny jokes! I do not remember this happening in 1 and 2. It was like we couldn’t get ANY serious moments, everything was so foofoo! Like when the Atlas headquarters is being sieged and Lorellei is like “Hang on, what’s that on your face?”
“It’s a siiiiiege moustache,-”
Like BRO sometimes I just want to see the story unfold with atleast some urgency. BL2, going to fight the warrior and traveling through eridium blight, Handsome Jack calls you up, talking about the electricity in the air.
I got chills in that moment that BL3 never gave me. I understand borderlands never been a serious game, but it was just a tad ridiculous in this one.
However, DLC 2 felt like the story telling came back to its roots. I really enjoyed DLC 2’s dialogue and pacing.


And let’s not forget the worst violation of bad pacing: Maya’s unfortunate and mishandled death.

What should’ve been a very serious and tragic moment in that point of the story (and for fans especially) was turned into the butt-end of a stupid joke by Tannis, followed up by Lilith’s half-assed 3 second speech. Then within a minute the story moves on like nothing happens. Like, wait what? How the hell did we go from tragic, to “comedy”, back to tragic then the story just forgets all about in a span of mere minutes? Absolute failure at sending off a fan favorite, setting tone, emotion, and any urgency.

Like you said, Borderlands isn’t known for being a serious game, but even Borderlands 2 knew when to be serious. After the death of Roland and Angel, the tone changes for the rest of the story. Crimson Raiders become unsure of themselves without their leader, and Handsome Jack (mostly) abandons his jokey persona and becomes deadset on killing you and the CR. That line he says when you entire Eridium Blight is the prime example of that.


Someone pointed out what your talking about last year, they even added a killer line in the end.

Man, I haven’t laughed that hard since Oderus Urungus read a beedtime story for Loudwire with hillarious results! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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Let’s REALLY look at the writing. Warning : spoilers for the main story of BL2 and 3.

Storytelling design

Borderlands 3 has a major issue in how it develops the story, and how story checkpoints are designed. There are plenty of those moments when you’re forced to stay still, listening to characters dialogues. That may not be an issue the first time, but it gets boring really fast to stay still on NPC talk on the second playthrough, and all the others after that.

Presence and representation

The Twins are not only against you, they are everywhere. One would believe a “god” would stay in his temple and command his troops from there, but the Calypso run around everywhere, and talk to you a lot.

  • you meet both at the end of an early section of Pandora, when they steal Lilith’s powers, allowing them and their followers to teleport anywhere. NO VEHICULES appear around, so I guess they walked from their fortress to Sanctuary III landing site ? And if they did not had firehawk powers, they would have walked back ?
  • you meet both again on Promethea, when they steal Maya’s powers, hence giving them the possibility to open Pandora’s great vault. How would they have done without Maya’s phaselock ?
  • you meet Troy again on Eden-6, where he set a trap specifically for you at Amelia’s.
  • both twins regularly register or stream public messages directly adressed to you or Lilith’s crew.

As a comparison, you met Handsome Jack only twice, first at Angel’s fortress, and last at the vault. In between, he would send bots at you (and on the entire planet) from his satellite, set traps with his lieutenants like Whilelm, and regularly make private phonecalls to mock you. His “public” communication is always the same though : “all bandits shall surrender or be killed”.

It would have made more sense to make the Calypsos talk to their psycho-fans and ignore you, leaving the messages adressed to your team to a secondary NPC like the screamer. Gods don’t talk to non-believers.

Causes and consequences

The most powerful abilities of the twins seem stolen from your team. Formerly, their main Siren ability was to drain lifeforce, not to teleport anyone anywhere or phaselock giant objects.
How come life-drain was so impressive that they raised an army ?

Maya’s phaselock seems absolutely necessary to open the great vault, but at no point she is a target. Just a side-consequence that makes everything possible. Why isn’t it assumed ? It would have made more sense to tell the Calypsos are chasing both vaults AND sirens.

You then learn that Troy can “Annoint” anyone, making them super strong and fast, on Eden-6.
If they knew it from the start, why didn’t they send all these infused psychos to you before ? And why didn’t they advert about it in their streaming ? Making someone super-strong seems much more appealing than life-draining tinks.

Each time you go to a new planet, enemy presence is already there, but you do manage to open the vault before them, on Promethea AND Eden-6. You then kill the vault guardian to prevent the Calypsos from absorbing more power, and collecting vault keys in the process. Each time, the Calypsos DO steal something from your team instead of from the vault.

Once arrived in Nekrotafeyo, you learn that you need 4 vault keys (which you almost already have - how convenient) to stop the great vault opening process. The Calypsos knew about Nekrotafeyo’s vault, but never heard about the key hidden in they own mother’s tomb ? And they never figured out that their father had it as he opened the vault, and that it would be convenient to have a vault key on their trip to open all the galaxy’s vaults ?

Ultimately, Lilith sacrifices to stop the great vault opening, making your trip to collect vault keys useless as a result.

As a comparison, Handsome Jack is a corporate manager somehow in charge of Hyperion’s affairs on Pandora. He hires you as a vault hunter and tries to kill you, so you may ask for revenge. You then learn this was a bigger plan to lure the Crimson Lance and kill you all. You get to disable Angel’s connection in an attempt to delay or stop the vault opening, killing Jack’s daughter in the process, which makes him really want to personnaly kill you. You ultimately get to the vault once Jack open it, and kill both him and the vault guardian.

BL2’s story may not be an award-winning plot, but at least you can see there is a consistent plan. I wouldn’t say so for BL3.

Exposed secondary characters

Ava is formerly described as a chosen one that will one day become a siren. She doesn’t seem aware of that, even when Maya tells this to Lilith on Sanctuary III’s main deck. From what we know, her life is peaceful in a monastery, she holds on girly stuff like her journal, and we never see her holding a gun. Her only help is opening 3 doors while searching for eridium on Athenas. She then follows you to Promethea’s vault, and interferes in your confrontation with Troy.

Assuming Ava would not have followed you to Promethea’s vault, Maya wouldn’t have to care about her, and may not have died. From that point Ava should feel guilty rather than vengeful. As the events are depicted, Ava is just a kid that did not follow clear orders and made things worse.

As a comparison, the only other noticeable kid in BL2 was Tiny Tina, a crazed bomb-maker living in deadly traps and pink explosive fur toys, that is just here to help you open the path, and succeeds first try. Claptrap also may open doors … in his way, not efficient, but at least somehow funny.

People can’t like Ava because she is a poor support compared to all the other NPCs, and as described, she can’t have comical side to outweight that uselessness.

Tannis’ behavior is not often mentionned, but I feel there is a big issue with her. She has Angel’s powers from the start and keeps them secret. She also follows you on Sanctuary III, thus replacing Dr Ned as the medic of the crew.

  • at the end of BL2, there was some kind of love affair between Ned and Tannis. Ned is absent from BL3, but we never hear about him. What happenned ?
  • Such machines control powers would have been great to stop the Maliwans by… taking control of their ships ? Why, with the possibility to control machines, would she limit herself to disable a few turrets ?
  • classic turrets can be disabled by Claptrap, why send the last siren on your side risk her life for that ?

IMO, Tannis having siren powers is totally underused, and misused. It would have made more sense to assume she is a tech expert and able to hack machines than give her superpowers.

The writing of Borderlands 3

Could be better. Way better.


Hit the nail on the head, x10.

Good point. I hadn’t thought about this. Guess they found out about the Sanctuary 3 landing site and walked there to set a trap, as they needed firehawk powers.

Tyreen actually says at one point that the plan was for her to leech enough vault monsters to do it herself, but since Troy can use eridium (guess Tyreen can’t?) to boost his phaselock, he can do it himself.

In B2, there’s a cult built around the firehawk, and when you kill some of them, they start worshipping you, so it’s not impossible that they could build a cult around life-drain siren powers, but yeah, it’s hard to believe it would be as big as it’s supposed to be.

I’ve argued this. As soon as they realise draining a siren gives them that siren’s powers, they should be trying to drain as many as possible.
The problem is that it would mean playing as a siren makes no sense. Amara should get drained by Tyreen the moment she gets close.
Tyreen has opportunities to drain Maya, Ava, Tannis, and Amara during the story, but doesn’t. Given that she can teleport to them, grab them and teleport away, to drain them and steal their powers, there’s literally NO REASON not to drain them all. Except plot armour.

Pretty sure he’s using Maya’s power to do this. Maybe Maya could anoint people but didn’t relaise, or maybe it’s because Troy took some of the Vault Monster’s power from Tyreen. It really doesn’t get explained very well, though.

Yeah, would have been good to see tons of adverts around this, appearing later in the game.

She uses a pistol to help you to athenas, plus pulls out a SMG to shoot Troy while he drains Maya, but Tyreen slaps it out of her hand. Not sure why she waited so long to pull her weapon out, though.

It seems obvious that Tannis SHOULD have been a really useful ally, even if she’s trying to hide being a siren. For some reason, after years of training, she seems unable to use her powers to do anything. Because gearbox realised she’d be too powerful, so nerfed her like crazy (as they do).
They really should have given Angel’s powers to someone else and used Claptrap’s hacking plus Tannis’s science to achieve the same things.
I guess they needed someone to charge the keys for you, after Lilith lost her powers. Easy solution? Bring Maya back earlier and let her do it. Don’t kill her off until she’s charged all the keys, and then you don’t need a siren. When Ava needs to charge a key, let Lilith talk her through it.


Errr…this is the spoiler section…so, spoiler warning is kind of redundant?
Either way, nice job! :+1:

So I’ve actually stated before that I liked BL3’s story fine. It had interesting concepts, a handful of welcome new additions, and some fun new environments and worldbuilding. A few parts that everyone else seemed to hate, I actually appreciated in some capacity. I still stand by the fact that I enjoyed it, and that the parts where it failed didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the game.

But just because it didn’t ruin my experience, doesn’t mean I don’t see problems, or that I don’t think it’s lacking compared to the previous installments.

I’ll avoid talking about things like Maya’s death scene- I would’ve tweaked a few things, but Maya dying was fine imo.

I think the minute Tyreen took center stage is where I noticed a dip in quality for me. Of the twins, she was the lesser of the two from a character standpoint. She was whiny, and I know it’s unfair to compare, but so was Jack. The difference was it was funny to listen to a grown ass man whine like a child when things didn’t go his way. Not so funny hearing she does it, because it’s not exactly unexpected to hear that kind of attitude from a college aged girl.

She was fun when she interacted with Troy. When she disdainfully called him a parasite, it immediately set her up as the bully. But they still had a sibling dynamic. They goofed off, they had stupid spats, she was a sore loser.

But after Troy’s death? She wasn’t so good. She hardly seemed to care about Troy dying, she held herself together just fine, and nothing about her demeanor changed. You’d think something as big as killing the one person who’s supported her through thick and thin would have an effect on her, but nope. It came up once, and it was in a “F-ck you Dad” setting. There was no grief.

I know a lot of people expected Troy to eventually turn on Tyreen after he got Phaselock- what with his little speech in the mansion. I… never got that impression. They were rude, but they both seemed to genuinely care about one another. I expected something else, and I thought that was what we were going to get during Troy’s fight.

Simply put, I thought Tyreen was gonna die, not Troy.

It seemed like a logical build up. She calls him a parasite in the beginning. He later leeches Maya without meaning to. He gets cocky and excited to no longer be looked down upon. He uses Tyreen as a power source and leeches her during the fight. She’s begging him to stop. He has little control over it because his powers are defective. He kills her.

After that, the story could have played out about the same. Because he’s leeching Tyreen, he gets Phasewalk from her and he still has Phaselock. But now it’s a story about Troy’s desperation. He killed his sister because he really was just a parasite. He’ll die without a siren or eridian power source to feed on. Only thing left he can do is finish what he and Ty started.

Like how Jack became serious after Angel’s death, Troy’s basically falling apart. Everything’s gone wrong, he’s now been forced into the spotlight in a way he never wanted, and he’s basically dying.

Troy’s powers being defective provides an explanation for fusing with the Destroyer instead of just absorbing its power. Plus it fits with what Tyreen the Destroyer looked like: she was missing her right arm, just like how Troy’s already missing his.

And the title card could’ve just called him the DesTroyer. Come on Gearbox, the pun was right there.



Roland’s death was significant to not only the player, but the NPCs and story as well. You felt the effect it had on the story till the credits rolled.

With Maya? Lol… Tannis, Lilith, and everyone else in that scene are still alive thanks to Maya taking down the Warrior and Handsome Jack. Tannis only rubs salt in the wound with ■■■■■■ written dialogue, while Lilith barely gives a proper farewell speech. What about everyone else? Why don’t we get to see their reaction and emotion to losing Maya? No, instead we’re just given the option to talk Ava after she throws a fit. Pathetic, Gearbox.

Also, love the extra line at the end lol. The Exploited profile pic is nice too :clap:


Yes, even if you aren’t particulary interested in the story or characters, it’s still better to do the extra legwork and do it with respect, just out of principle. It’s better for the long run.

The thing that pisses me off the most is, I didn’t come up with it!
I’m banging my head at the wall to figure a line that could top it.

Thanks for noticing and Beat the Bastards!

I felt more sad when Rose killed her pet on this new DLC at the beginning than when Maya died lol


I felt annoyed. Gearbox releases a DLC full of people riding dinosaurs and we aren’t allowed to ride them, but have to watch someone kill an injured one that we could easily rescue?
Salt in the wound, gearbox. Not cool. =[

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So, what’s the verdict on DLC3?

Not finished it yet, but so far DLC3 feels lazy.
We get one new vehicle and it’s a copy of the one from BL2’s hammerlock hunt DLC, but updated. We don’t get to RIDE dinosaurs, in a story ABOUT riding dinosaurs - clearly gearbox have no idea what their players actually want. No new classmods (maybe they ran out of ideas?), no rare spawns, and no endgame areas (proving grounds, circle of slaughter, even a raid). Hardly any missions or side missions and even the trophies/achievements feel lacking (all they are is finishing the main missions and side missions and crew challenges, whereas both previous DLCs had trophies for going back and doing extra things, like killing the debt collector or killing the rare spawns).
They had a good idea about theme (east meets western) but it wasn’t done anywhere near as well as the first 2 DLCs. I like the crew challenges and some other stuff, but it’s my least favourite of the 3.
There’s a bunch of cool new legendaries and unique mission rewards, I guess, but most of them seem to rely on power creep to attract players, instead of new mechanics or anything interesting. And that just means players feel like they need the latest gearbox favourite gear, while also dreading the inevitable nerf-hammer coming crashing down on their newly farmed gear. Gearbox can’t balance anything, it seems, and players get stuck between going for the best stuff and not bothering because in a few weeks it’ll probably be useless.

TLDR - It’s OK, but not as good as the others. Could have been a lot better.


They killed one my female character of all time, Maya, without putting any emotion into it, and going to say it, her death was worst death I have ever seen. I hope they bring Maya back to life in next DLC or game, and I don’t care if they say “But Ava have her powers.” Or “she’s dead.”

A post was merged into an existing topic: Bad Posts (for individual posts not topics)

Just posted this elsewhere and thought I’d add it here:

"One of the biggest complaints I have around B3 is that it establishes that Tannis is a siren and has been for some time (up to 7 years, supposedly), but she is USELESS. She manages to charge the keys and drain the vault monster (which MIGHT have been using her powers), but otherwise never uses her ability to control anything electrical around her, even though this should be a massively useful power.
Ava and Troy each gain phaselock and within minutes to hours, they seem to have mastered it. Tyreen gains phasewalk and masters it instantly. Tannis has 7 years of practice and can’t do anything.

Troy uses phaselock to steal several turrets and turn them against the crimson raiders, even though this shouldn’t be possible, since phaselock doesn’t really work that way, but maybe he was using “thoughtlock” (though why this lasts more than a few seconds, I don’t know). But Tannis, who has the power to CONTROL MACHINES, needs an eridium boost to do just that. Why? Why can’t she just get close and take them over?
I seriously think gearbox decided to make Tannis a siren to solve the problem of who should charge the keys once Lilith loses her powers, but never thought about just how DUMB this is, and how many other plotholes it creates.

One of the biggest issues around this, is that Tannis is the only autistic character (asaik) in borderlands, and they have her unable to learn something in SEVEN YEARS, when other characters figure it out in HOURS. The implication being that the autistic character is dumb, which is really offensive to autistic people, especially since it’s pretty common for autistic people to be good with machines and technology, so it would make sense for Tannis to be BETTER with her powers than other sirens (it was practically perfect for her)."

Obviously, we can’t and shouldn’t have him back, especially as the villain. But I’m not glad at all with GBX supposedly “letting him go and moving on”, because much was left unanswered about him and his facts’n acts prior to BL1, between 1 and TPS and even between TPS and BL2.

I say “supposedly” because he’s still mentioned and referenced (Lilith mentions, posters on Meridian, Angel’s quest, Jackpot DLC, etc).

I was talking about these things in that other thread here on the forum, about plot hole and whatnot.

Thuth be told, I thinl that while we had enough of him as a MAIN character, we did not have anywhere near enough of him as a backgroud character (echo recorders and statements from other characters).

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