Solving the Gun Balance Issues faced by Mayhem 2.0

Mayhem 2.0 was released in Apr 2020. While initially released with many scaling and balanced issues, the GB team worked hard in fixing these issues over several hotfixes and patches, and now the game is in a much better place. However, there still remain some balance issues which plague the game, which I think if fixed, would result in a much more enjoyable, polished and refined product. I hope @Noelle_GBX and team will take these suggestions to heart and work with the community in improving the game.

The Problem

Gun balance and diversity remains a huge problem at M10. While the many buffs introduced at M10 which greatly introduced the range of viable guns, these buffs were introduced in a relatively haphazard fashion, focusing on specific legendaries rather than gun manufacturers and types. This creates a big gap between the legendaries that managed to receive substantial buffs (Kaos, Maggie, Hellwalker, Hellshock, Maliwan Snipers etc.) or those introduced in DLC3/4 (Lightshow, Contained Blast etc.) and everything else - especially the non-uniques.

Given one of the selling points of BL3 is its diverse array of guns, so having 90% of guns being unviable at M10 is not a very good look. It is also not very good design - Legendaries should be balanced around their non-unique counterparts so as to not completely invalidate them and distort game balance - the like of the Kaos, Maggie, Lightshow and Krakatoa far outdamage their non-unique counterparts not accounting for their red-text effect, with little to no drawbacks. This also reduces the essence of player choice - I may love using a Companion or Proton Rifle, but not only do these weapons massively underperform at M10, a Maggie or Krakatoa outdamage them by such a massive margin it becomes superfluous to use them.

And most of all, I think such haphazard buffing focused on specific legendaries is a discredit to the work done by the BL3 team. BL3 has such a rich and complex weapon generation system - the gun parting system by manufacturer was ingenious, and created the most diverse array of guns in the game. And this uniqueness is exemplified by your purples and non-uniques. Torgue sticky shotguns, the Carbuncle, Vladof underbarrel launchers and ARs, the brilliant array of Maliwan snipers, pistols and shotties - all this gets lost when these weapons underperform.

A Potential Solution

A better way to buff the weapons would have been to do so by weapon type and manufacturer, and then taking effort to buff and nerf any remaining outliers. Below, I have listed out all the weapon types by manufacturer and recommended a approximate buff to them. You will also notice on the right most column there are ‘Outliers’. These are weapons that already perform at a top level at M10 and obviously do not require further buffs. Hence I have recommended a ‘nerf’, which when taking into account the universal buff, would result in approximately no net-change to these damage of these weapons. Hope this makes sense.

Manufacturer Gun Type Recommended Buff Outliers
Atlas Assault Rifles 50% OPQ System (-33%)
Atlas Pistols 75% Multi-Tap (-40%)
Atlas Launchers 15% Plumage, Ruby’s Wrath (-10%)
COV Assault Rifles 30% NoPewPew, Rebound, Sawbar (-25%)
COV Pistols 40% Gargoyle, Tizzy (-30%)
COV Launchers 60% Yellowcake, Major Kong (-40%)
Dahl Assault Rifles 20% Kaos, Breath of the Dying, Good Juju (-20%)
Dahl Pistols 30% Nemesis, Hornet (-25%)
Dahl SMGs 40% , +50% mag size Sleeping Giant (-30%)
Dahl Snipers 50% Sandhawk (-33%)
Hyperion SMGs 100% Smog, Oldridian (-50%)
Hyperion Shotguns 80% Reflux, Convergence, Fearmonger (-45%)
Hyperion Snipers 60% Masterwork Crossbow (-40%)
Jakobs Assault Rifles 40% Clairvoyance (-30%)
Jakobs Pistols 70% Maggie, Bloom, Flood, Companion, Trickshot (-40%)
Jakobs Shotguns 70% Hellwalker, Garcia (-50%)
Jakobs Snipers 50% Skullmasher (-33%)
Maliwan Pistols - -
Maliwan SMGs 40% Flipper, Ion Laser, Plasma Coil(-30%)
Maliwan Shotguns 20% Trevanator (-15%)
Maliwan Snipers 120% Krakatoa, Fire Storm, Storm, ASMD, Complex Root (-55%)
Tediore Pistols 20% -
Tediore SMGs 20% Pat Mk-III, Dark Army (-15%)
Tediore Shotguns 30% Anarchy, Horizon (-25%)
Torgue Assault Rifles 40% Contained Blast, Lovable Rogue (-30%)
Torgue Pistols 30% (Sticky Dmg 13% - 20%) Prompt Critical, Craps (-25%)
Torgue Shotguns 40% (Sticky Dmg 4% - 8% ) The Lob, Redline, Flakker, Thug (-30%)
Torgue Launchers 25% Plaguebearer (-20%)
Vladof Assault Rifles 100% (150% to underbarrels) Monarch, Sickle, Damned, Ogre, Shredifier, Faisor (-50%)
Vladof Pistols 80% (80% to underbarrels) Lightshow (increase ammo cost), Miscreant, Infinity , Firefly(-45%)
Vladof Snipers 80% (150% to underbarrels) Septimator Prime, Boogey Man (-40%)
Vladof Launchers 75% (75% to underbarrels) Ion Cannon, Backburner (-40%)

* List has been updated to include Hotfixes as of 11/10 and new weapons included in Arms Race

In addition, the following are some massively underperforming guns that would probably require a further buff on top of the above recommended one. This is less of a priority though - simply carrying out the buffs (and nerfs) in the above table would allow for a much more diverse and rich game.

Manufacturer Guns
Atlas -
COV Agonizer 1500, Hot Drop, Porta Pooper
Dahl Brashi’s Dedication, Kernulox
Hyperion TWO TIME
Jakobs Dead Chamber, Unforgiven, Finger Biter, TK’s Wave, Tidal Wave, Huntress/Hunted/Hunter, Ice Queen, Icebreaker
Maliwan Frozen Devil, Vosk’s Deathgrip, Trevonator, Soleki Protocol
Tediore Creeping Death, Elderblast
Torgue Breeder/Echo, Occultist, Amber Management, La Varlope, Chomper, Boring Gun, Quadomizer, Gettleburger, Satisfaction
Vladof Bone Shredder, Jericho

I sincerely believe this systematic way of buffing weapons will be far more healthy for endgame diversity and longevity, and hope GB would take these suggestions to heart.

20 Likes

Huge buff to some guns- many legendaries and uniques still can’t be annointed. Legendaries off the top of my head are the Linc and the Seventh Sense. Hanging Chadd and Peashooter are another two uniques that come to mind?

is this just a flat damage buff??

I recently started playing the game again because I was finally able to buy the season pass. I left when they introduced Mayhem 4 because of the terrible scaling and balance and was hoping they had fixed it in Mayhem 2.0.

Now that I’m seeing how they are buffing weapons trying to balance things, I am shaking my head in absolute disbelief.

Why on earth are they buffing certain weapons by insane amounts when all they had to do was fix enemy armor and health scaling? This is such a massive waste of time and it makes the game worse.

I started a new Fl4k playthrough and found a Hellwalker at level 12. I killed Tyreen with it and used it to level to 65. How is this balanced? Sure, the Hellwalker feels balanced and fun on Mayhem 10 now, but on every other setting it’s completely over the top overpowered. And it’s not just the Hellwalker. I also found a Dahl assault rifle (the Tri one, can’t remember the name…) at lvl 15 that oneshot pretty much everything and most of the buffed weapons feel like you’ve modded them in. It’s horrible.

I just don’t understand it. It’s such a massive waste of time and energy and it is doing the opposite of balancing. Some cherrypicked Legendaries are now fun on Mayhem 10, but are massively overpowered on any other difficulty, while other guns are good while leveling, but aren’t worth using on M10.

It boggles my mind. What on earth are they thinking?

If all they did was just tweak the enemy health a bit, we could have had fun with pretty much any weapon on any difficulty if we wanted to. But no, we’re now at this point where most guns are terrible at Mayhem 10, but are also not worth using on normal anymore, because the Legendary version does 900 times the damage.

I just…I don’t understand this.

8 Likes

I have suggested raising the % that weapons gain from one Mayhem level to the next. My theory was to have M10 weapons around 200-225% stronger than a M0 version as opposed to the ~130% that we have now

This would be a felt damage increase of around 50% for all weapons on M10.

Current top performing weapons would need some evaluation with this change though.

To me, this is the issue with these bonkers +300% base weapon damage buffs. Get a Lob, Star Helix, Hellwalker, Boom Sickle, Kaos, Breath of the Dying or even just a Maggie at low level and it can carry you until near endgame.

3 Likes

I agree with this. +12500% health at M10 was obviously way too much, and even tweaking it down to 10000% obviously wasn’t enough. A way better solution would have been to either increase weapon mayhem scaling as @vCarpeDiemv suggested or decrease the health buff to +6000% as you suggested.

Unfortunately, GB has already gone through months of haphazard buffing to scale guns to Mayhem 2.0, so short of reversing all those buffs, we are past the stage where reducing Mayhem scaling is the solution. So now the other way is to raise everything else up instead, at the cost of everything but the higher mayhem levels being inbalanced.

2 Likes

Is this real? I want to see a video of this.

I don’t question this at all, I used a level 25 X18 Bangstick until level 50 in the early stages of the game.

I don’t have a video, but let me see if I still have the lvl12 Hellwalker and maybe I can record a Tyreen kill.

1 Like

When something like the Lightshow has I think close to 20x the DPS of your average Vladof pistol, such an outcome isn’t too surprising lol

4 Likes

Agree on upscale disagree on percentages

So I still have the Hellwalker, but my Fl4k is now obviously level 65 (and I deleted the save, so I used my test save which has the same build and pretty much the same gear…the only difference is I had shotgun damage on my old stackbot and this one has crit and weapon damage. Shouldn’t make too much of a difference. EDIT: Oh, forgot my old stackbot was around level 20, so this one has more damage, but then again, Tyreen was lower level, so I guess it evens out. My snowdrift has mag size and cooldown, so no buffs to damage there.) and Tyreen is still level 38 on non-mayhem. So I decided to just kill her on Mayhem 1, which gives her 200% more health and 200% more armor, but I can still pretty much kill her without too much trouble.

Level 12? No problem.

10 Likes

This is not a counterpoint to your post as a whole, or to your suggestions, so apologies for snipping this out of a far larger post, but you’re wrong here.

Higher difficulties will always invalidate guns, gear and builds, in any game that revolves around such things. I cannot, in Torchlight 2, spam the same skills on Hard that I can on Easy (without dying).

I like pushing against this assumption wherever I see it because it takes the understandable “more gear should be M10-viable” and distorts it to imply all / most gear should be. The fact that Borderlands 3 has billions of guns should not be used as a cudgel against the difficulty of its (currently) highest endgame difficulty.

2 Likes

I agree not everything that is viable at NVHM should be viable at M10. Naturally weaker weapons and less synergistic builds would get outmoded. The question is where we draw the line. And the 90% of weapons I am referring to doesn’t refer to ALL weapons including whites, greens and blues, or poorly parted purples/legendaries. The 90% refers to well-parted purples, legendaries and uniques with good anointments which yet cannot perform well in an average COV map, even with a DPS-oriented build.

The Cutsman was the strongest weapon at M4’s release, so logic dictates it should still be very good at M10. Yet it struggles. The issue arises not because of organic difficulty scaling (to separate the wheat from the chaff as you say), but because only weapons released from Mayhem 2.0 and DLC3 onwards were balanced to the new difficulty - which is more of an issue of poor design.

9 Likes

Fair clarifications. Personally, I’d go a completely different approach (though there must be a reason Gearbox are doing flat buffs).

2 Likes

here is my solution
delete mayhem and the bonus hp scaling forever
you isntantly have every gun capable of doing dmg
even stuff that right now is more a joke

Oh jesus base game is alot more messed up then I thought. Rip new player experience

4 Likes

Yeah, it’s strange to say the least. I mean, in BL2 I killed the warrior with a lvl8 DPUH on Sal once, and obviously Fl4k has a lot of damage too, not to mention I had a stackbot on my old build as well and it had a shotgun damage passive, but still. (NVM, I just remembered my old stackbot was lvl 20-ish so the passive hardly did anything, but anyways…) If you have to scale a weapon so much that a level 12 version can kill the last boss on an endgame difficulty, you may want to look at the scaling of your game.

5 Likes

Frankly I wish they would fix the monster DMG mayhem scaling over anything else. It’s the most annoying thing in the game at the moment outside of not being able to choose mayhem modifiers. There is a good amount of guns that are good, and a lot more viable builds in comparison to BL2 and it having 6 VH.

2 Likes