[Suggestions] Borderlands 3

Pvp should probably not be a thing, nor should a mmo style of game, just doesnt fit with borderlands gamestyle. As to the info that half the staff at Gearbox has been let go, wheres the proof of that?

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I loved BL1 and played it to death. And when BL2 came out I put hours and hours into it. It’s a great game, but all the while I was playing it I felt there was something missing. And recently I went back to BL1 and found out what it was.

BL2 is polished, with a huge, colourful world and some really great gameplay. But for all the enjoyment I got out of it it was missing the essential fun factor that BL1 provided. The last few weeks have been an absolute hoot and I’ve had trouble putting the game down in a way that I never did with the sequel. I’ve had a grin on my face a mile wide!

The main difference for me lies in the weapons and scaling systems. BL1 was really about the loot. And when you found a good gun you could get hours of fun with it, instead of the system in BL2 where a great gun is rendered virtually useless after just one or two levels. That wouldn’t be so bad on its own, but in BL2 it takes forever and a day to find a decent weapon, whereas in BL1 you would find one pretty much every day. I went through a whole game in BL2 - right through to UVHM - and got exactly one golden gun, a Thunderball Fists, which was fantastic but which lasted me just a couple of levels and which I obtained right at the beginning of Playthrough 1 after defeating Captain Flynt. Contrast that with BL1, where I must have had more than a dozen golden guns by the time I completed the story, and I could hang onto some of them for several levels. Why make them so rare, especially when they don’t last long? If you have to change weapons every two or three levels, then surely it would make sense to make getting decent ones less of a lottery?

I don’t understand what was wrong with the original weapons system that they felt it needed changing. Exploring was immense fun, with every chest giving an opportunity for a purple or orange weapon. But in BL2, you may as well not bother. And often I don’t anymore. It’s largely not worth the effort so I end up just charging through levels where in BL1 I would take the time to explore.

The emphasis on brands is a backward step, too. In BL1 I would test various different weapons and as a result would come up with surprises on a regular basis. In BL2 there are some manufacturers I don’t bother with any more because I don’t find their guns any fun to use. Hyperion snipers have too much sway, while Dahl ones use too much ammo. And I don’t bother with Tediore weapons of any kind because I like to reload after getting a kill and that gets quite expensive with ammo in BL2. And I don’t get why they completely destroyed assault rifles. With very few exceptions, they aren’t worth bothering with in BL2, which gets rid of an entire class of weapons. In BL1 they were my go to weapon of choice. Shotguns, too, feel much less impressive in the second game.

BL2 also forces the player down a much more limited path with regards to when to use particular weapons. In BL1, the default choice against Atlas soldiers was acid, and it worked very well. But I have a Level 67 Pearl Havoc with 408 damage, 12.5 ROF and 91.3 accuracy. With Rolands’s Assault Rifle buffs It takes down even Badasses quicker than a Pestilent Defiler can and is immensely fun to use. Even turrets are no match. In BL2, you just have to use Slag for some of the more impressive enemies, which gets boring really quick. There’s actually less variety of gameplay than the original game.

The grinding system in BL2, where to get a specific gun you had to fight the same boss for, like, ever, is one of the worst things in the game. It got boring so very, very quickly. Let the weapon finds be truly random again.

One feature I’d like to see would be a reward to players who have invested in the series. In the Ratchet and Clank series, if you had a save from a previous game on your HDD it would allow you to unlock some old favourites from those games. I would have loved to use my old Peal Ogre in BL2!

Sorry for the long post, but in summary, I’d like to see a return to the old weapons system (not necessarily the same weapons, but the same system) and the ability to keep a weapon longer than a couple of levels. I’d like the frequency of weapon finds to be on a par with the original game, and less emphasis on brands and more on the weapons themselves. Rare guns shouldn’t be that rare, either. I think the balance in BL1 was much better.

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Here’s some articles as to why it was done:

http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/community/articles/1087

http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/community/articles/1092/inside-the-box-evolution-of-loot

Thanks for the links. They do shed light on why they changed the drop rates and scaling, but all I can say to that is that it was exceptionally poorly thought out and they got it very badly wrong. Decent loot is now so rare in BL2 that it’s pretty much a surprise when you do get something. And restricting drop rates and making the guns worthless a few levels later is nothing short of idiotic. In BL1 golden guns were rare but not so rare that you began to suspect they didn’t even exist. But my experience in BL2 is that golden guns are almost a myth. And that eureka moment of finding something halfway decent is tempered by the knowledge that it will be worthless before you can get too comfortable with it. I stopped at OP2 on one character because I finally got a couple of decent guns at OP1 and I really didn’t have the will to risk losing them and not finding any decent replacements if I tried to power up any further. Which kind of defeats the whole point of a loot-based game.

I find BL2 frustrating as by and large the majority of weapons you use are pretty much rubbish. You simply have to get certain weapons in order to ensure you have something halfway decent (e.g. Pimpernel, Sand Hawk), but since these are location or mission specific then there’s no wow element to getting them, either. It’s just a precaution you have to take.

I don’t see what was wrong with using e.g a Combustion Hellfire for 20 levels. If you liked using it, then why not? Where’s the harm? But the fact that you had a reasonably sized backpack meant you would invariably carry a variety of weapons to try out, so just because you had a favourite to fall back on doesn’t mean that you didn’t use anything else. And eventually you would find a better weapon, but you wouldn’t have to discard the one you had before you were ready. Now, the game forces you to do so before you have an adequate alternative. It’s like it’s trying to sour the experience!

I haven’t had nearly as much fun with BL2 as I did with BL1, and I haven’t even bothered buying TPS, since it uses the same loot system as BL2. The fun factor is severely diminished IMO. Like I said, I’ve started playing BL1 again and rediscovered the fun factor that I feel is sorely missing from the second game. I think it’s a shame they ruined a great formula when it was wholly unnecessary to do so. If they had the BL1 loot system in BL2, the game would be awesome. As it is, it’s OK, but not great. The first one was.

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Before I even say hello, I would like to say thank you to the teams that put together Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2. BL1 helped me keep my sanity in grad school and BL2 helped me stay in touch with the good friends I made long after we went our separate ways. I think you’ve put together two of the best first person shooters I’ve ever played and I’ve been an FPS addict since MIDI maze was a thing. Again, thank you!

With that said… Hello!

This is my first post. I’ve enjoyed reading your ideas.

@Mr_Sandman, I like your description of Prothethia (?Promethea?). I don’t know how it’s spelled but you’re painting a picture of a place where I would love to go… see the sights, explore the ruins and shoot people.

@hites_05, @ACNAero and @steelmonkey… yes. That should happen. I don’t know where and I don’t know how but it should happen. Maybe on some remote planet and only when its two moons align just right so they look like a giant rack, who knows. That grabs me as an idea that smacks of genuine Borderlands.

I have a pretty well developed idea of what I would like Borderlands 3 to look like. To be honest I’ve caught myself thinking about it too often. I thought it high time I present my ideas to all of you so that they can be turned into something of value or, more likely, called rubbish. If I get a positive reaction, I will keep throwing them out. If things go south… I really should be using this time to do other things anyway.

First things first. Does anyone else like the idea of hunting down the vault hunters? I would be pretty happy if Gearbox made Borderlands 3 their “The Empire Strikes Back”. If “Grand Theft Auto IV” taught me anything it’s that no one is as good at being bad as we are. I kinda wana be on the wrong side this time.

I have the idea stuck in my head that some of the big weapons manufacturers (DAHL, Maliwan, Vladof, Jakobson) should be a bit put off by a pack of nobodies running around the outer planets popping open vaults chalk full of patentable technologies. It would be a nuisance. It might not make it to the top of the to-do list, though. It could be one of those topics that keeps coming up at the end of every one of DAHL’s monthly board meetings. The item they never have time for. That thing they will take care of next time.

However, should that same bunch of nobodies knock over Hyperion, sow the seed of a government and start bringing stability to the region… well. Then, they would have proven themselves a threat and, worse still, begun pacifying a part of space to which a LOT of weapons get shipped. It might be time to respond. It might be time to send someone in to nip this problem in the bud.

Shouldn’t that someone be us?

Almost everything I’ve got is based on the above. If it gets an overwhelming BOOOOOO, then I can be done with this. If you guys like the idea, I have more… way too much more. Please let me know what you think. Thanks for reading.

Cheers

Wazzup guys! I’ve started to make suggestions at my art thread. Check out last six messages! :Щ

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Not_Shure, yes.
I would love to see Lilith become a/the villain.
She’s become downright arrogant and self-absorbed, and we’ve seen what that can do to people (ie. Jack) already.
Idk, I just wouldn’t mind if they really mixed it up with BL3 and explored how life changing events can truly change people.
It’s hard to stick with a character that’s just the same character throughout the entire story… except for Krieg… because Krieg.
Also, Moxxi should be a villain as well, because she may have led to the creation of Handsome Jack, and Werewhores are scary.

I’ll quote an older conversation as to why I think you’re wrong:

[quote= ACNAero]She’s not power hungry.

Jack manipulated the BL1 VHs to open the vault so that he could get the eridium inside of it. Lilith has never manipulated anyone to further herself. And before you bring up the Firehawk Cult, she never intended the cult to start, it just kinda happened.

Jack acts purely selfishly. When the Elpis was being attacked, he doesn’t want to save the moon to help people. He saves the moon because he wants the vault, and he wants everyone to worship him as a hero. Lilith helps save the moon because she wants civilians to be safe, and is not thinking about herself at all. When Lilith sends you to investigate the cult, she wants to make sure that they’re keeping the body burning among themselves, and away from civilians. When the cult is about to sacrifice Sanctuary civilians to her, she appears to save them, and has you kill them to keep them from being a future threat to civilians.

Jack kills anyone who doesn’t agree with him. If you listen to the echos in Opportunity, he kills someone for disagreeing about how Hyperion’s guns should be named. If Lilith were becoming Jack, she would have killed Brick and Mordecai for telling her not to execute Athena.

Her ordering Athena’s execution was an emotional outburst. Nothing else. Having an emotional outburst does not make one evil. Also, Athena’s still alive.

@SpiderTeo Anything I missed or that you want to add?[/quote]

[quote=15wongnh1]
After all she’s done for the Vault Hunters in BL2, I wouldn’t say that she’s “evil”. Just over in her head.

Evil is when you massacre a train full of hundreds of civilians, moonshot a town and kill an architect’s children when he pointed out that your poorly-planned city was in the worst location possible.

Evil is NOT when you project your guilt onto Athena, but take your time to listen to her story. Jack would have her killed right away.

Mull it over, Slaytah. Mull it over.[/quote]

[quote=ACNAero]
I do agree that she’s not mentally stable enough to lead by herself, though. It needs to be more of a collective between her, Mordecai, and possibly Brick or Athena.[/quote]

[quote=SpiderTeo]
@ACNAero, dude, why you got to call me out like that?

Heheh, I do appreciate the nod, though.

You pretty much have it right there. I would add that Athena also hasn’t been doing herself any favors. The more I play TPS, the more I’m starting to dislike Athena. Back in the General Knoxx DLC, Athena appeals to the Vault Hunters with a sense of moral outrage over what Atlas has done, not just to herself but to Pandora as well. In TPS, she completely lacks that moral outrage. In fact, she stays on the job to the very end, for the sake of her professionalism, and also over a little grudge with Lilith because she sided with Moxxi when Moxxi tried to kill Jack (which would have inadvertently killed the TPS Vault Hunters as well).

In the first playthrough, even Mordecai asked why didn’t she just leave Jack’s employ after Elpis was saved. Again, she cites “Charlie Mike” and her new grudge with Ro, Lil, and Mox. Even after everything she has seen, how Jack purposely killed people out of expediency, how Jack began to enjoy and indulge in his new hobby of murder, how Jack has coveted weaponry to further his own ends, how Jack’s lies have been made more and more transparent, Athena would continue working for this guy despite Jack becoming the embodiment of everything she hated about Atlas Corp. It just doesn’t make sense!

And that’s why Lilith wanted to execute Athena. The former Lance assassin traded Atlas for Jack, and all those reasons she made to the original four Vault Hunters were completely ignored when she was working for Jack. At worst, Jack could have made Athena the new Hyperion top wet-work agent, as she was in Atlas. At best, she was just a merc looking for her pay day. In both cases and everywhere inbetween, Athena ignored the plights of others who didn’t deserve to suffer at Jack’s hand. All their friends who had died or suffered loss in the years since then, could still be alive had Athena not ignore her conscience.

Also, this is a nitpicky part, but the ECHOs in Opportunity reveal that Jack kills an employee’s children because said employee questioned whether families would want to live in Opportunity.[/quote]

As for the arrogance… She’s always been arrogant, even in BL1. It’s who she is.

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TPS actually remedies a few of the loot down sides of BL2, but your critique is shared by a number of people. Tps is good enough to warrent a playthough, however.

I am well into endgame (op8) in bl2, and keep returning to the game for gameplay, mobs or raids, since I have about all the gear that is worth having. The nice thing about op8 is the gear grind is past for me. A bit of grind for a rare piece is nice for a questline, but gaming companies (bungie/gbx) use rng like crack, not thinking often that gamers may only have so many hours a week to play. Blizzard, of companies’ games that I play (ROS), is a great example of an outfit that upped drop rates on the way to making their game even more outstanding. They consistently make spot on improvements. I don’t think I’ve seen as WTF change in any of their patches. Gbx is in sad contrast; the company was suprised to find people wanted the games ported to ps4 to boot. Going forward, I hope some staff submit to a bit of humble pie and learn something.

I will be dissapoint if there is no Dr. Ted. I mean, he is a god among geneticists, his experiments and knowledge makes him very valuable, even working with atlas at one point in his career to make a certain assassin more superior than the others (fck what gearbox says, mine is better). I mean, who wouldn’t like Dr. Ted? Also i might have already posted this. Not sure cause i didn’t go back and read.

There needs to be a badass Bob Ross good-guy NPC. Bob Ross would pwn in this game. That is all that I want.

It might be useful for them to see new blood. Just a thought. I have no complaints about the teams that made BL1, 2 and TPS though. Even all the DLC. Not ALL the content was optimal in my opinion, but it was certainly fun. Some raid bosses were a little odd but generally I’ve been happy with any borderlands content.

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if the people who developed gbx’s reasoning for user choice behind their recent patches change out I won’t complain. more than a few patch changes really were badly thought out, either in concept or timing.

Still simply having people leave does not mean the sucessors are an improvement. it really comes down to the forces behind the changes,

@hites_05

Nice! I hadn’t given any thought to who could make what happen on the vault hunter side. Lilith took charge at the end of BL2, so I had the idea that she was the new leader lodged in my brain. However, like you pointed out, that need not be the case!

Here is my half-baked run down of who can and cannot lead the Sanctuary crew in BL3 in the most important order that exists… the order in which they came to mind.

Roland: Dead. Seems like an unlikely candidate.
Angel: Also dead.
Lilith: No! You’re right! She is much better at being awkwardly self-righteous than she is at leading anyone anywhere.
Athena: Might just be Lilith with a hoody.
Mordecai: Sniper, spy, functional alcoholic, friend of Brick. Mordecai is doing what he was made to do and he’s got his hands full with it.
Brick: Super violent and thick as… well… a brick. I think a small band of morons is about as big and complex an organization as he can effectively handle.
Marcus: Pseudo-criminal element.
Dr. Zed: Pseudo-criminal element.
Moxxi: Criminal element.
Captain Scarlett: … did she live? Can someone go check on that? I think she did. TBD.
Scooter: He can run a garage. Based on what I’ve seen, he even has some kind of crude storage system put together for his parts. I have friends like him, though. I think any semblance of structure in his life exists to support his need to work on cars. Beyond that… if a society can’t get built from a reclined position on a lawn chair, I don’t think Scooters going to be the one who makes it happen.
Patricia Tannis: A good dose of autism mixed with a generous measure of ego make for a great scientist, trust me on that, but I’m not sure it’s a solid list of ingredients when you’re looking to bake up a leader.
Tina: … Aaahhhhhhhhhhh… someday. The girl has potential, right? For now she has issues associated with ADHD that she needs to get under control… later.
Axton: Out with Moxxi or hitting on women at Moxxi’s bar while she is out with another guy.
Salvador: At the bar with Axton. Talking loudly. Trying, intermittently, to convince Axton to start a business with him that will definitely fail.
Gaige: Seems like she was doing a LOT of talking about how awesome she was. Thou didst protest too much, Gaige. You’re an insecure young lady with growing to do. I can envision her wandering into Scooter’s shop and just not leaving. Day after day, she blasts Scooter with self-aggrandizing story after self-aggrandizing story while Scooter does what he does best… not listen.
Zero: Only if comprehensive legislation can be effectively squeezed into haiku format.
Aurelia: Could be bad… could be great… never met the girl.
Let’s see. Who’s left?
Mr. Torgue: Is Mr. Torgue
Krieg: (I think you nailed this one) is Krieg.
None of the above strike me as people who could set up a government worth knocking over. Thankfully we are left with a few great candidates. First, our runner up.
Maya: That girl seems like she’s got some coffee in her. I don’t think she’s ready to take the reins, but I can see her working her way up an honest ladder.
I cannot seem to choose between my two finalists, Sir Hammerlock and Ellie. Hammerlock, I think everyone sees that coming. He would run a tight ship. Ellie, on the other hand, that is a pick I’m proud of. She seems like the kind of independent, responsible, got her junk together go getter that Pandora needs. I would work for her… if she were hiring… and real… or not real but somehow capable of distributing real money.
Boy did I just waste a lot of time doing this.
I blame you @hites_05! Thanks.
Cheers
P.S.
@Klopotinsha could you whip up a werewhore? I want to see what one looks like.

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Could simply be that those people need to grow and change. They’ve been there at gearbox for some time and maybe they want to live somewhere else in the country, or need a higher paying job, or their interests are changing.

She didn’t really take control, she’s more of the leader by default, since Brick and Mord probably didn’t want to lead.

Also, in the Son of Crawmerax headhunter, Mord quit drinking so that he could raise his new bird. You might want to factor that into your evaluations.

Another Also, through twitter messages, Axton hooked up with Ellie. I figured you would like to know that information

Thought this was a suggestion area for BL3 future things to consider implementing not why they changed a bit of the staffing around. anyway I was going to suggest weekly community events forit would be a great thing to have. Destiny has weekly things to do dont see why the future of BL franchise cant have some weekly things in it.

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Yes. I like Destiny’s bountys and weekly challenges.

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It does always have to be anything major, even things like the price of ammo bring half off or certain unique enemies have greater chances to drop this or that. Id also like to see more diversity in the skins, boots, jackets, being different colors shapes, maybe giving off different effects like goggles that act like a scope on a sniper rifle that allow you to naturally get regular headshots without having to change view. Things like that would be good.

I figure it’s time I give my thoughts about the future of Borderlands, since I’ve logged about 2500 hours in BL1 and about a 100 hrs. in BL2 (would be far more, but I’ve having technical issues with the game).

The changes between BL1 and BL2 brought some major improvements to the franchise, but also lost some things that made the first a great game:

Improvements:

-Mob drops were actually good enough to make mobbing a worthwhile endgame farming activity, this is not the case in BL1, and imo, is one of BL1’s biggest flaws.

-Loot rarity communicated meaningful information about how good it was, unlike in BL1 where many purples and legendaries were worse than a good parts blue.

-Endgame difficulty is actually decent: Lets face it, 99% of BL1 is absurdly easy even in PT2.5, BL2 improved upon this a bit, and even more so with the OP levels (which were a good idea, btw).

-Elemental DoT damage potential: In BL1, elemental DoT was extremely powerful against many enemies, to the point that it was almost essential to being able to kill tougher enemies easily (try killing a badass alpha skag w/ a normal weapon, then w/ similar weapon that is incendiary or corrosive (and not same element as the given badass), and you’ll see what I mean. The skag will die in like 10 seconds or less to the elemental weapon and take FAR longer to die to normal weapon). In Borderlands 2, DoT is still strong enough to be very relevant, but not so much that it’s essential to have for many enemies.

-Skill Trees: Borderlands 1’s skill trees had a few incredibly powerful skills and a bunch of mediocre to downright terribad skills. This together with how many points you got versus total the tree could take meant there were generally enough points to get most if not all the really good skills and the better remaining skills to round out your build. This meant there was little real diversity in skill tree setups. Borderlands 2 improved that situation a lot, though it could still be better (more on that later).

-Weapon Type buffs: Borderlands 1’s characters usually had at least one skill devoted to a specific type of gun, if not several. This together with coms that were focused on powering up weapons of these types meant that certain weapon types were best on certain characters (e.g. Snipers/Pistols on Mordecai, Rocket Launchers on Brick, SMGs on Lilith, Shotguns and Combat Rifles on Roland). Borderlands 2 moved much of these types of buffs onto the new relics which meant any class could effectively specialize in any weapon type and become very effective with them. This helped build diversity by freeing the characters from being better with weapon types they had skills/coms for.

-Action Skill design: Borderlands 1 action skills feel very much as though they were designed in isolation from the game’s gunplay. Brick’s action skill in particular presented a major problem, you couldn’t use your guns at the same time as your action skill. All four action skills suffered from having damage scaling that did not keep up with your guns at all (and was, in endgame, generally outclassed by a considerable margin by your guns). Borderlands 2 made significant improvements in this department.

Things that were lost:

-Humor: Borderlands 1 had great humor, I was laughing my ass off many times when I played it through for the first time, and still find a fair amount of the humor in Borderlands 1 to be quite funny. Borderlands 2’s humor feels forced and, as a result, unnatural and hence not very funny. This is especially true of claptrap, he was hilarious from the first time you meet him onwards in BL1, the whole scene where the bandit runners attack Fyrestone is the first and one of the best bits of humor in the entire Borderlands franchise. In Borderlands 2, he comes off as kind of an ass…and everyone understandably hates him for it.

-Mood and Storyline: Borderlands 1 also feels like it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I really like that about it. Borderlands 2, apart from rather forced humor, feels like it’s serious business most the time. I feel like this is partly because of the goal to make Borderlands 2’s story more compelling than Borderlands 1’s, which was a worthy goal, but it came at a price that perhaps could’ve been avoided. I think the feeling that people didn’t like with Borderlands 1’s storyline comes from the fact that game ‘opens up’ once you reach the Rust Commons, with lots of stuff to do in various adjacent areas. Up to that point, there was only a modest amount of side-work per area and so it felt more like you were taking ‘jobs of opportunity’ for whomever had work they wanted done, as you worked toward the Vault. Once you hit the Rust Commons though, you suddenly had tons of side work, and the main story missions seemed to be almost like chasing ghosts at the same time (gotta do see this person that maybe heard that about some other thing that just MAYBE has to something to do with the Vault). Then once you beat Baron Flynt and realize you have been betrayed. Suddenly that hunt for the Vault you’d almost forgotten is now front and center again. I think this is the only real reason people felt the story wasn’t compelling in Borderlands 1. They key to fixing that kind of problem might have been as simple as having multiple story missions that could be completed in any order at that stage of the game. Now you’d have reasons to actually go to these places to get this or that and it feels like it matters in terms of your main story goals and the side missions feel like ‘work opportunities’ instead of just ‘work’ for the player character.

Going forward:

For Borderlands 3, here is what I would most like to say to Gearbox regarding the work they will do to bring us this game.

-First of all, thank you for making such an awesome franchise of games. I have gotten a great many hours of joy playing them, and I’ve only really gotten to play the first game thoroughly (and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played of the 2nd and want to get the DLCs for it and TPS w/ DLCs eventually). You’ve proven that you can make good games with great gameplay and excellent characters and story, so I’m not going to go into specifics too much with what I have to say, however, there are some things I want you to know and be thinking about as you make Borderlands 3, these include:

-Skill Tree design: You did much better with this in Borderlands 2 than in the first game, however, even in Borderlands 2, there are some problems with the way the trees are set up. I have observed that in Borderlands 2, there is still the phenomenon of certain skills being so good that their ‘must haves’ for almost any endgame build, and there are also still some, ‘why bother’ tier skills. This kind of problem is mostly a matter of poorly balanced numbers for the skills effects, or in some cases, underwhelming relevance of the mechanics of the skill. You have to not only think about how good the skill’s effect is in isolation, but how does it interact with the rest of the tree it’s in and even with skills from the character’s other trees as well. Some of the problems with Borderlands 2’s skills have more to do with some of the rather silly ‘under the hood’ stuff that was done with mechanics, such as Health-Gating and caps for health, shield capacity, weapon fire rate, etc. The thing that’s most bothered me in both games however, is a lack of clarity in skill descriptions: many skills in Borderlands don’t really do what they say they do, and even in Borderlands 2, the problem persists. Part of good game design is clarity of information. When a skill’s description says it does X, it should do exactly X, no ifs, no ands, no buts. Obviously, having technical terms like Gun Damage in Borderlands 2 is very helpful so that the descriptions can remain reasonably brief, and creating that kind of jargon for game mechanics is fine, and in fact, I’d recommend it.

-Loot mechanics: Both Borderlands games did some things better than the other were loot is concerned. Borderlands 2 improved on similarity in drop rates across game areas (so you don’t have the situation in BL1 where it’s Craw, Farmory, or good luck finding a decent amount of good loot), variety within gun types is much greater in BL2, particular among Purples (which are the best no red text effect guns). A lot of people have complained that BL2s drop rates were far worse than BL1, but as far as I can tell, this is mostly a placebo effect from the fact that Craw and the Farmory have spoiled us in BL1. If you actually go farm elsewhere in BL1, you’ll find out that its easy to go for over an hour of straight gameplay and not have a single item with a good barrel+body+magazine+accessory (main parts that determine how good an item is in BL1) drop. This is on par or worse than the endgame drop rates of good loot in BL2 from what I’ve heard. Beyond drop rates, the way guns are put together changed in BL2, and not entirely for the better. While loot colors were now very useful for judging at a glance if what you found was actually good or not, the manufacturer gimmicks were a major step backwards. In BL1, weapon manufacturers got their ‘personality’ from their stat adjustments, this was honestly a better system: It ensured that no one manufacturer was automatically significantly better or worse than the other, yet they all had a flavor their own (Vladof was all about high fire rates, Hyperion was about pinpoint accuracy, Torgue was about damage and fire rate, S&S was about high mag size and above par elemental effects, etc.). In BL2, Hyperion has their rather silly negative recoil gimmick that is only good on weapons that fire quickly and/or have decent or larger mag sizes, and even then, is highly situational, Jakobs new theme was also situational at best. Those kinds of gimmicks were like the Atlas Hydra shotgun and S&S Gemini pistol were in BL1, generally useless in practice (like the gun would be better if it just didn’t have that effect at all). Now I’m all for variety, as long as that variety has a meaningful purpose (more than just an edge case or two mind you), this plays into the notion of meaningful choice. Both Borderlands games have had problems with a few abusively good guns invalidating a lot of the choice that is otherwise present in them. Notable BL1 offenders include: Maliwan legendaries (invalid other weapons of the same type and element), Orion (best shock sniper), Bulldog (simply better than most other shotguns), Mashers (OP DPS, particularly Jakobs because of dmg buffs), and Hyperion (barrel5, PPZ) sniper rifles (invalidated other non-elemental snipers). In BL2 we have things like the Unkempt Harold, Pimpernel, Sandhawk, and Norfleet. These arise for two main reasons: Either they are just better from a numbers perspective, or they can abuse certain facts about game mechanics so they end up outscaling the competition. Going forward to BL3, I think you should go back to doing manufacturers more like how it was done in BL1, and save the gimmick effects for red text guns (though I would like to further suggest that you leave those on ‘uniques’ rather than true legendaries because then you run the risk of repeating the Atlas Hydra and S&S Gemini type problem, where a bunch of legendaries are just plain bad). BL2 Legendaries are apt to invalidate the equivalent purple because they’re just plain better, this too should be avoided in BL3 if possible. Instead, I think they should try to ‘play up’ the manufacturer’s theme more. The idea here, is that choosing between the legendary and the equivalent purple should be a meaningful choice.

-Defensive skills: I noticed that in BL2, characters have relatively few defensive skills and lot of offensive skills, and that the numbers on the defensive skills they do have are generally unimpressive. This contributes the massive asymmetry in player offensive stat growth vrs. defensive stat growth. On it’s own, that isn’t necessarily a problem, but what it ends up leading to, is the notion that it’s best to just spec damage in order to clear faster when farming. This invalidates the meaningful choices between offense and defense. A character that specs into pure damage should feel like glass even with excellent gear, and conversely, the character that specs full tank should feel like a juggernaut, that doesn’t cause much damage. Those extremes, and the more moderate middle ground are difficult to create if the scaling and availability of offensive and defensive stats is so skewed in favor of choosing offense.

-General game mechanics: A lot of the above can only be worked out after decided how the mechanics themselves will play together, there’s plenty of precedent from the previous BL games to work from here, but its very important to think ahead about how those interactions will impact the way skill effects scale in order to preserve meaningful choice. The number one thing that I see game developers mess up in regards to game balance and changes thereof, is that they often fail to recognize that the choices/changes they make always have unintended consequences. It’s been quite entertaining to watch Riot Games make this particular kind of mistake again and again as they try to balance League of Legends (and to their credit, it is FAR better off now than it was when I started playing it back about 5 years ago). They make a change that makes perfect sense given the problem they correctly identified and it does in fact solve that problem, but it also suddenly ruins the balance of some other thing. In short, the lesson they have struggled to learn/apply effectively is that you can’t make balance/design decisions in isolation, you have to think carefully about what else it impacts, and in what way. (Speaking of Riot Games, they’ve posted stuff about game design that honestly is worth reading/watching for any game developer, the two terms I italicized above are from their stuff about game design, and they put simple words/phrases to ideas I had already noted as a avid gamer with an interested in how game design impacts gameplay)

-Use your community: This is my last bit of advice, and its good advice for any game developer. The community surrounding your title/franchise is a resource that you can and absolutely should take advantage of. We love your game(s), and want more of that good stuff we love, and we are totally willing to help out in what ways we can, so give us that chance as often as you can. You’d be surprised what people will do for you for free because they like doing it or want the game to benefit from it. Someone above suggested that you guys open the BL3 forums ASAP, and I think that’s actually a great idea, it would give us fans of the franchise a place to share our ideas with you and you’re bound to find some ideas that are ‘diamonds in the rough’ in a place like that.

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