The Seein Dead Problem - Zane Character Overhaul

Seein’ Dead is a bandaid. It’s just a fix. Instead of going through all of Zane’s skills, old class mods, and augments to fix them- You can just put on a seein’ dead instead.

So today I’ll be going through all of Zane’s skills, abilities, and augments - and trying to fix them. This post will be straightforward and organized.

Skill Name
Why I think this skill is bad.
My fix/change to this skill. All suggestions are assuming the skill is at max points. Also any % could be argued or change, I didn’t get to test these things.

So lets get started! We’re going to start in Zane’s Blue/Hitman tree. I do want to say I think the overall balance of this tree is fine, but I do have a few changes, and a couple things I’d like to talk about this tree.

Cold Bore
I honestly like this skill, but think it could just be buffed. This is a unique skill, that no one is taking advantage of because I don’t think it’s worth it.
Buff the values. 50% swap speed and at least 75% cryo damage.

Good Misfortune
Obviously this skill is really good. Now I’m not saying this skill necessarily needs changed, but I do want to point out a problem with this skill. There is a theme that a LOT of Zane’s skills fall into. This theme is action skill uptime. I’m not talking about borrowed time, I’m talking about skills that reset your uptime. Calm Cool and Collected, Good Misfortune, Techspert, Almighty Ordnance. These skills are very REDUNDANT. And that’s the problem. Since all of these skills are so redundant, people will naturally choose and play the best option. And kind of invalidates all other choices.
Instead of offering uptime, offer seconds off of cooldown. Like Headcount or Grizzled. Each kill gives you 2 to 3 seconds off of your cooldown. This will still be extremely powerful with the seein dead class mod, and won’t render calm cool and collected useless. It’ll also make you make choices in your build.

Seein’ Red
If you go back to my original Zane buff post (before seein dead came out). I believed this was not a great capstone. The actual effect of it is really only good for bossing. With Zane’s playstyles of keeping your action skills active forever, you never get value from this skill.(changing good misfortune could change this) It’s a good skill, but a bad capstone.
Take the 25% from Seein Dead, and put it onto Seein Red. Or, this skill allows you up to 4 stacks of kill skills. There are many small things you could add to this that would make it much better.

Those are all of my thoughts on the hitman tree. Overall I think the balance of it is actually decent now. I’m definitely not saying good misfortune should be changed, and I know that’s probably the most controversial change on this list. But overall the change to builds, meta, etc I think would be very interesting.

Lets move on to the red/double agent tree! I actually think this tree is overall pretty great too! However this tree is VERY top heavy. The first half of the skill tree up until supersonic man is great. After supersonic man it starts to SUCK.

Duct Tape Mod
This is a bad value skill. Very similar to Torgue Cross Promotion on Moze. It’s 5 points to maybe throw a grenade every 8 seconds. It’s not quite as meme as trainer, but it sure is not good value for our precious skill points.
Remove the cooldown. This skill could literally just remove the cooldown and it would be good. Maybe give 100% grenade damage lol. Just make this skill worth it, they did the same for torgue cross promotion.

Pocket Full of Grenades
Some of the best grenade regen in the game. I used this skill in one of my first Zane builds. But there is 0 synergy. WHY does the character who uses 2 action skills, have grenade regen. I would really like to see any explanation to this. This skill is also support to another skill, boom enhance. That’s the only skill that actually requires grenades. So we’re actually missing out on another skill that could be here instead.
Besides just changing it completely, or giving a complete overhaul. Please just make this rocket ammo, shotgun ammo, assault rifle ammo. If you like the idea of boom enhance, at least just give us ammo regen so we could actually use this skill somehow. Maybe pistol ammo since Zane players love spamming babymakers. But this makes no sense as grenades.
I would like to add a second note that a lot of people actually like the grenade theme for Zane. So seeing some more grenade support, maybe tacked onto duct tape mod, could make this skill very cool. Or make this skill increase all of Zane’s grenades so you can actually benefit more while using two action skills - which is the most common way to play.

Like a Ghost
I don’t really need to explain why this skill isn’t great. I’ve tried using this skill dozens of times, maxing it out with infiltrator, playing all the damage reduction. This skill does not work. And I’m not saying it’s broken, I’m saying you will feel no difference in gameplay if this skill is active or not.
I really don’t even have a change for this without changing it completely. The % is just utterly too low, and if you buff it maybe we’ll become immortal. I’m not convinced this skill could get buffed and ever feel useful. If anyone has suggestions for this, please comment.

Trick of the Light
I’m actually kind of a fan of this skill. The bonus is kind of low, but the main issue is it doesn’t feel good. When you test this skill you’ll never get it to consistently activate. Sometimes it’s active and working fine, sometimes it randomly doesn’t work.
Just let this skill be active while clone is active. Seem like a simple fix to me. The concept will still be there, if you’re deceiving your enemies you can get an extra cryo bonus on them. I actually liked when this was shock, but that’s a different conversation. Also buff the value dramatically, there’s no reason why 75% damage isn’t reasonable, especially when this skill only works half the time.

Boom Enhance and Double Barrel
Now gearbox already said they will address these skills, at least that’s what it looks like based on their phase 2 plan. I’m assuming Zane’s clone will see buffs. His main issues are his AI not shooting guns correctly, and his Damage. So I’m not going to be recommending changes besides fixing those things because it’s pretty straightforward. And gearbox already said they’re potentially fixing it anyway.
With that being said I do also want to point out the QoL fixes that could be made to clone. Taking away the swap timer, reducing doppelbangers cooldown. That would help clone become more mobile, and make him feel a lot better. Fractal frags, quickbreather, and old-u are A+ clone skills and make him good on a base level, give him that extra push and QoL :slight_smile:

That’s about it for the clone tree! Overall it’s pretty well put together, but REALLY suffers from being top heavy. The bottom skills are NOT worth spending points into. The opportunity cost is too high. Some good damage in the bottom of skill trees are not bad things. Add more power.

Moving onto the green/barrier tree! This is probably by far the worst skill tree! The only reason to go deep in this tree was calm cool and collected, but now that you can bypass that AND get all the damage from blue tree, what reason do we have going into green tree? Lets try to fix that.

Adrenaline
Now a lot of you might think this skill is decent. But the truth is with the way cooldown reduction stacks in this game, it is just not good for late game. If you have topped off guardian rank active, then this skill only actually gives 1 second cooldown to your action skills. Search up the cooldown reduction formula and do the math yourself. This overall just isn’t a great bonus.
Now I can see the argument for this skill early game and leveling. But that kind of doesn’t sit well with me considering borderlands is endgame, but every character has a bad cooldown skill, I think this could stay…

Hearty Stock
This is actually just a trap. You should NOT take this skill. It is anti synergy with Zane’s entire green tree. Adrenaline, confident competence, and calm cool and collected. These skills want you to have FULL shields. So trading 30% max shields, for skills working less consistently, is a BAD TRADE.
30% shield bonus effectiveness at 3 points. I’m talking about amp, bullet absorb, booster values, fleet. No one has a skill that actually buffs these effects. A skill like this would fit PERFECTLY into this skill tree, AND actually synergizes with the capstone. It would balance itself early game based on the fact that you don’t have access to these shields early on anyway.

Stiff Upper Lip
This skill is very similar to like a ghost. It’s underwhelming and made redundant by Zane’s own barrier. You won’t actually notice playing with or without this skill. At least I don’t.
After taking damage, Zane has 30% increased shield recharge rate and delay. This stays on theme of being defensive, and would end up being much more valuable. It also has synergy with the tree that wants you to have full shields.

Best Served Cold
This skill falls into the trap of flat damage bonuses. Flat damage bonuses can never be good. Early game it will be overpowered, late game underpowered, if we add more mayhem levels you just need to buff it again.
Add overkill to this skill. Just like amara’s remnant. This perfectly scales it into late game. Overkill is based on the damage your character can do, meaning this will be perfectly balanced pretty much all the time.

Futility Belt
This skill in my opinion is a net loss. If you go across the elements for your shields and health bar, you end up losing more resistances than gaining on your weaknesses. This skill also does not stop DoT, that’s what really expensive jacket does.
Change this skill to add a bit of damage. Green tree needs small strong damage bonuses in it later on. If enemies are affected by cryo (slowed or frozen) Zane gains 15% bonus damage against them. This would end up being a V2 multiplier, a nice balanced bonus deep in the tree that would make it worth going down.

Nerves of Steel
This skill has it’s issues. Not only is it not a huge benefit, only giving accuracy and handling, it can be very hard to actually keep up your stacks since they disappear completely if you take even just 1 damage.
The main fix is to add Crit damage. 50% crit damage at 3 points, especially with how this skill works, is not too much to ask for. This skill could also scale like confident competence instead of stacking, and it would feel much better.

Distributed Denial
This skill is top tier with the skills it works with. Booster shields and the Stop Gap. The issue is it doesn’t work with almost everything else. With depleted shield effects it works when the barrier goes down, which isn’t happening often with calm cool and collected.
Go shield by shield, and make this skill work better with most of them. I actually am a huge fan of this skill, but your options are very limited.

And that’s the green tree! I think the green tree’s main issue is it is EXTREMELY REDUNDANT. I understand having defensive skills, and I’m happy with that, but Zane’s Barrier is the most powerful protection (besides lifesteal) that he has. Everything else is made redundant by this. Green tree also NEEDS small multiplicative damage bonuses, this is balanced, but also gives you a reason to go down this tree.

Now this post needs to be continues talking about Zane’s augments. I would really like to see his action skill augments become usable. So I’m just going to briefly mention what I would like to see changed about each skill overall, and also some ideas for changing a few.

Clone - This guy mainly needs DAMAGE and QoL. Besides damage, I think this guy needs faster swap speed and faster doppelbanger. Which one is real needs to work better too, it has a small radius, and enemies stop focusing clone very fast. These are the top changes I see people ask for, and I agree.

Barrier - This one’s actually kind of simple. The 3 augments on the left DON’T work when you pickup your barrier. This means that 95% of barrier users, don’t pick these. Why do I have to keep my barrier stationary and stand still, while violent momentum gives me damage for moving. It’s just blatant anti-synergy. Give them reduced bonuses while I pick up the barrier, give me ANYTHING. I would like some options besides all rounder and static field.

Drone - I always tell people drone is the worst action skill. The best augment is drone delivery, and this isn’t actually an augment, it’s a skill. Static field is good. But besides that they all need buffed/changed. The main two augments I’ll call out are the bottom two. These fall into the same trap that best served cold does, flat damage bonuses, buffing these will make them OP at low levels, and if they add more mayhem, they will need buffed again. I would REALLY like to see almighty ordnance become a kill skill (because currently it falls into the good misfortune trap of being redundant) and also drone doesn’t go down. Activating this once per drone uptime means you literally get this once per fight. Because zane’s drone doesn’t go down. I would also like to see almighty ordnance throw two to three copies of your grenade mod. This adds utility, customization, each player will be able to pick their favorite nade. You could even use this with fish slap and cutpurse. It could be very cool. Also speed up the animation time a bit :wink:

Also QoL to allow us to throw action skills in quick succession would be nicer.

Old class mods
I don’t even want to write this part. All of Zane’s non seein dead class mods need absolutely buffed. The best zane class mod that isn’t seein dead, is antifreeze - so I’ll just tell you why this class mod is actually just bad, meaning every other mod needs dramatically buffed.

So antifreeze is great because it has violent momentum on it. Violent momentum is zane’s best damage skill, and this class mod buffs it. That’s why it’s good. But, the actual effect of antifreeze offers almost nothing. The speed buff you get from being cryo’d isn’t enough to counter it. The class mod called antifreeze should just give cryo immunity. The 40% damage from sliding and shooting is gun damage. Meaning it’s additive with all of zane’s other gun damage, especially violent momentum - the largest gun damage boost. Meaning it suffers hard diminishing returns. Everything good about antifreeze is just because of violent momentum, it’s not because of the effect of antifreeze.

Finally, Seein Dead.
What would I change to seein dead after all of this? Well I’m under the impression that Seein Dead isn’t actually that overpowered. Zane is underpowered. Making Zane’s skill trees work better, would fundamentally make all of the old class mods better. I don’t think the ‘seein dead build’ should be nerfed. But I would like to see a small rebalance. Take the 25% from seein dead, and put it onto seein red. This would mean that your seein dead build ultimately won’t really lose power, you’re usually spending enough points to get to seein red anyway. And it would also buff seein red + all old class mods.

Anyways that’s my input on all this stuff. I’ve talked to lots of other people and some of these ideas are from others, so shout out to you guys! Thanks for taking the time to read this :slight_smile:

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I can agree with all of this.

Zane is full of anti-synergy that honestly should be adjusted. Boosting SNTL Cryo anoint and giving players the Seein’ Dead COM has only really cornered a lot of Zane builds.

We’re at a stage now where you basically need to have a justification to not use the Seein’ Dead COM, rather than to use it (such as using Antifreeze for bossing).

Great write up.

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Completely agree!
~30% of Zane skills are weak/useless/broken, for that reason instead of wide variety of builds we are limited to only few, which is a very disappointing factor.

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I’m okay with changes to some of his other skills that would give other options and more playstyles, but I’m not cool with changes that would affect my current playstyle with Zane using Seeing Dead in ANY way unless it’s a buff.

Such as your idea for Good Misfortune, that would have the affect of making us tediously have to reactivate action skills all the time. One of the reasons I like Seein Dead Zane so much is how stress free it is for me to play but still very effective. He became my favorite vault hunter in this game surpassing Amara just because how much I like the feel of the Chain Zane build.

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Yah I agree this would be the more controversial change, and I’m not pushing this one as hard. I’m just pointing out the redundancy, and how it causes things to become useless.

With that being said, by fixing up green tree, you could still play the same way just with a different skill tree setup. You would actually play calm cool collected + blue tree. And your skills would not often go down. And if they do, good misfortune would bring them back fast.

Alternatively, it would create an alternating kill skill setup that would be very unique and fun.

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I agree with most of what is being said here. I would add a few things:
The possibility that cold bore could be merged with cool hands,
And the fact that deploying both action skills in succession takes a lot of time.

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Second thing definitely getting added lol. I think after playing seein dead and blue tree for so long, I think there’s a balance to blue tree and it’s okay. Everyone has some bad skills.

But QoL suggestions are always welcome haha.

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What about the targetting? I never use drone targetting by holding the button but I d love that on the clone

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Yeah that would be great on clone, but realistically I can see how this would be very hard to implement since pressing the clone button activates clone swap. Maybe an augment or an add to boom enhance where clone focuses whatever you’re looking at, kind of like how OPQ alt fire mode works.

Or just simple “Attack my target”

I actually think Zane’s tree would be a bit better off if you just cut one of the bad tier 1/2 Undercover tree skills and then moved Cold Bore to the first tier of that tree.

The tier 1/2 skills in the Hitman tree are all really strong. Cold Bore isn’t that bad, it’s just that it’s not as good as the stuff around it. Even if you buff it you would have to buff it a lot to make it something most people would consider and I don’t think that’s really necessary or a fit at tier 1. In the Undercover tree it’s much more competitive. Plus it’s cryo themed and not a kill skill so it kind of fits in Undercover.

Also I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. Even if the left hand augments in Undercover worked while holding the shield I don’t think anyone is passing up All Rounder for them. Retaliation in particular strikes me as not very good. (Is this multiplicative? Does it stack? Am I missing something here?) They need buffs.

Yes all rounder will always be chosen, its great. But currently my only second option is deterrence field. So if I don’t spend enough points, then I just don’t have a second augment, and if I do, I have no options.

I think it’d be interesting if running the barrier without All Rounder were more viable. It would encocurage you to be more careful about your positioning and aware of your surroundings, which is arguably more engaging than the current “just make sure your barrier is up and don’t step on anything” play style most use with the barrier (which would still be there for players who want that). You’d still get almost 180 degree protection which is pretty good, and if you paired it with a couple interesting augment choices that boosted DPS and health regen or something it might be worth doing.

And you know what lol there you go, if some of the augments worked while picking up the barrier, there could be an argument for taking two of the left options. Personally I would do it, I’ve been known to not always use all rounder all the time. But it’s clearly just the main issue surrounding the left augments. I can’t even really tell you if they’re good or not because in 99% of my playstyle, I pick up my barrier. So it’s just a QoL blocking us from furthering the conversation.

I personally do not anymore and only grab to reposition or trap. I use it with deterrence field and singularity/quasar(sticky lobbed) like a net. Group them together and lock them in with barrier, then stay on one side and shoot through, snag more enemies in and kill them too.

(yes M10, only saying because people will undoubtedly ask)

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Mobs can easy walk through deterrence field, even if it is boosted with rad (DD, Atom balm, Red Suit)

Most will stagger for a sec(or twice walking through both sides)(Note: buddy system prevents stagger)(plus it only takes that split sec to a mob anyway once they do stagger), with sticky q / singularity you keep them in longer, plus they can’t shoot out. Works for me rather well. You also don’t take splash.

You also take all damage from all other mobs outside your barrier

That is why you put it between you and threats and trap some in there,…