Thoughts on the current character balance of PVP

This post contains my thoughts on the balance of the cast, including suggestions for changes that I would make for the sake of balance. I have decided to post this for 2 reasons.

The first is for discussion, since there are some significant points that I feel are necessary to be discussed.

The second reason is to provide feedback. I know that Gearbox appreciates this sort of feedback, so this should be very constructive for them and the community. @JoeKGBX

For those who would like to know, I have put about 600 hours into the game, and I have mastered every character in terms of lore/level (except for Kid Ultra). Unfortunately this does not mean that I have become proficient with every character to the same degree. I am significantly better with the characters I put the most time into, much like anyone would expect. Fortunately, I do understand the cast quite well, and can play the majority of them well enough to fulfill their role. I also understand the cast well enough to fight against them effectively, so I do feel that this is worth posting.

Just letting you all know now that this is a very long post and I will not be addressing glitches for the most part.


I will be referring to 1 second stuns as “disruption stuns” and 2 second stuns as “assassin stuns.”

I labeled them as such because 1 second stuns (disruption stuns) are quite useful for disrupting enemies. It’s particularly effective for interrupting an opponent’s skill (forcing it into cooldown) and / or momentum, although it can also help with closely coordinated attacks.

The 2 second stuns I refer to as “assassin” stuns, as they are extremely helpful in securing kills. It is significantly easier to coordinate kills with assassin stuns especially if they are stacked, although a single assassin stun is usually all it takes to secure a kill (sometimes even for a solo kill).


Brief thoughts on each character + changes I would suggest:

Characters I feel are at a good spot in terms of balance:

Alani

Alani has come a long way since release, and I’d say she’s in a good spot right now. She is fun, effective, and offers a unique (and interesting) set of skills. I do agree that the second helix option could maybe use some work, but everything feels rather functional otherwise.

Caldarius

Unlike Mellka, Caldarius’s secondary attack is actually useful due to the 2 second wound and its decent damage (significantly more than Mellka’s). He feels rather complete and well balanced.

Ghalt

Ghalt now feels much more like a shotgun character, instead of a hook instant death assassin character. All of his tools feel effective, and he is a lot more fun to play as and against.

Isic

Although Isic is a very strong character, I don’t see anything that should be changed as of now.

Kelvin

Now that Kelvin has his 2 second stun back, he is very solid. I have seen only a few good Kelvin players, but good teams with good Kelvin players can be quite effective and difficult to deal with.

Oscar Mike

I don’t really have anything to say about this character. He is rather balanced.

Pendles

Pendles is the perfect example of an assassin. Fast, sneaky, and deadly. Although he may be countered rather harshly by Marquis, I don’t feel that Pendles should be changed since he can deal with every other character’s reveal option, and is a rather balanced character in general. Thus Marquis’s reveal should instead be addressed.

Phoebe

Of all the assassins, Phoebe is by far the most threatening. Her presence on the battlefield makes a huge difference, and I feel threatened by her (when good players use her) like I should feel when going against assassins. She is fast, she does a lot of damage, and she is difficult to deal with (in a fair way).

Reyna

Reyna is the perfect example of a good support character (in terms of both balance and design). She is not outdamaging DPS characters or bursting down targets like an assassin, yet she offers solid support options, all of which are effective and some which are quite unique.


Characters I feel require some minor changes:

Galilea

  • Vortex is swapped with the Black Wind Howls helix option.

There has been much discussion concerning Galilea, although Desecrate appears to be the main subject of discussion from my understanding. Although Galilea isn’t OP, I feel that this would be the perfect way to balance out that aspect of Galilea that I’d like to think Gearbox was aiming for.

By swapping these two helix options, the strongest Desecrate options will have to compete for each other on a very late helix, while still allowing her to remain effective as a Territorial Brawler.

Montana

  • Lumberjack Blast now no longer does extra damage.

Montana is a really good character with the right team comp. He does have significant weaknesses to compensate for his strengths, but there is no justification for Lumberjack Blast being able to OHKO enemies.

I find no reason for the skill itself to do any extra damage. All three competing options allow Lumberjack Dash to interact with the opponent differently, and each have their own advantage (not including the extra damage on Lumberjack Blast). Hence, I see no need for any of the options to also give extra damage. It already starts with assassin level damage (200) and can inflict a 2 second stun. Lumberjack Dash as an option is strong enough as it is.

Shayne

  • Tag Team now has its cooldown reduced from 65 → 50.

Shayne is very strong in this iteration (which is mainly due to her utility / versatility) but still a character I would consider relatively balanced.

Nevertheless, Shayne is known for having a “lackluster” Ult. Although it has its uses, I don’t believe that it currently merits a 65 second cooldown. Considering how much it limits Shayne, and due to the appropriate nerf of the lvl 10 helix option, I think it would be fair to lower its cooldown so that it is more fitting of an attack of its current utility. Alternatively, any single change to its utility that would merit a 65 cooldown would be fine.

Thorn

  • HP is reduced by 150.

Thorn is a very strong character choice. Her potential as an assassin, a wave clearer, and sniper is very high. She does well at all ranges, due to being very thin and mobile (making her difficult to hit at a range), while having options that make her very effective at all ranges (including melee range). There is no reason why she should have more health than Mellka. Thorn should be the squishiest character in the game.

El Dragon

  • Dragon Splash stun is reverted back from 1 → 2 seconds.

  • Undisputed Champ bonuses now only stack at a maximum of 5 times. All bonuses are doubled so that the values are the same as before.

El Dragon seems like he should be just fine with a small but significant change that allows his playstyle to thrive. I believe that the stun being reverted would be that change. There is no reason why a squishy melee character that has to use an ult and a normal skill to stun enemies (which has plenty of counterplay) can’t be allowed to have an assassin stun.

As for the stack change, I believe it would be fair to normalize these types of abilities. I don’t see any reason for certain characters to require 5 kills to receive max stacks and others requiring 10. El Dragon is quite squishy, and he shouldn’t have to take so long to get back to full stacks after dying, which may happen more often than other melee characters.

Toby

  • Sorry I Broke Your Wrists’ stun duration is reduced from 2 → 1 seconds.

  • Arc Vortex now only pull enemies in one time after it launches (similar to Galilea’s Vortex).

If left unchecked, I would consider Toby to be the biggest threat in any match (generally speaking). His damage output and range allow him to demolish the enemy incredibly efficiently. I do think that this fits the character, as he is operating a death machine.

What doesn’t quite make sense is his ability to deal with melee characters, which is supposed to be a ranged character’s (especially a sniper’s) weakness. Aside from having a good quick melee, he starts with three escape “skills” that can be increased to 4 (boosters), and has an assassin stun. Yes, ranged characters do well against him and limit his effect on the battlefield, but Toby is still good enough to greatly impact the match. He should not be able to deal with close range attackers as well as he can currently.

The last change might seem weird, but Arc Vortex is currently ridiculous as an option. It can juggle your character indefinitely, and there is little you can do about it. Unlike other options, there isn’t much that can be done about it. This option isn’t chosen as often as the other two, because the other two have more utility in general (as of now), and its results are more consistent. However, with these changes it should not only be a solid option, but a more balanced one that fits well with Toby’s design.

Whiskey Foxtrot

  • Sticky Bomb launch speed is increased by 40%.

  • Speed Burst is increased from 20% → 30%.

Whiskey is one of the few characters that I have heard such mixed reviews from. Some players claim that he is underpowered, while others claim that he is almost overpowered. Whiskey is a versatile character so he can perform at least decently in many roles.

Players who are finding him to be underpowered are probably seeing him as such because of two things. The first is that without solid accuracy (especially with the Ult and Sticky Bomb) Whiskey is just not effective. Then he is compared to other characters who are easier to use and more effective at whatever role they are trying to use Whiskey for.

The second reason is that although Whiskey is versatile, players aren’t playing him to his biggest strengths. Aside from being exceptional at taking down large targets at a range, Whiskey is an assassin. If Sticky Bombs aren’t being used with slow, and drain damage, then Whiskey players are losing out on a big portion of his damage. If players aren’t using Swiss Cheese, then that’s another 25% massive damage boost that is being missed out on. Whiskey’s damage output is quite high especially with the Ult, but if his accuracy isn’t on point then he just isn’t effective at assassinating targets, and thus seems like a weak character.

That being said, I can agree that Sticky Bomb is a little too slow (making it more difficult to hit than it should be) for being such an essential part of his kit. As for Speed Boost; there is no justification for it being 20% over 30%. It could be a more viable option if it was 30% like every other assassin, and definitely one that could suit his playstyle well.

Attikus

  • Attikus no longer expends charges when using a skill while having full charges. Some ideas that could work: 1. Attikus now has to press a skill twice upon activation in order to use his charges. 2. Attikus now has to press reload before using a skill to activate his charges.

  • Pounce’s fully charged effect is replaced with the following: When fully charged, Pounce deals 150 more damage.

  • Chain Breaker’s helix is replaced with another helix that has the following effect: Reduce the cooldown of Pounce by 20%.

Attikus is a very high damage character and can be particularly troublesome at late game. Nevertheless, I feel that players should be able to choose when to use charges (instead of being forced to use them when full) which would help smooth out some aspects of his gameplay.

As for the change to Chain Breaker: Chain Breaker allows Attikus to perform an action similar to an assassin or skirmisher, (granting an ability to “dash” in for a quick kill and “dash” out) that you wouldn’t expect of a tank, brawler type of character. Obviously, the helix is heavily limited and rarely sees use for that reason. I think it would be much better if the helix granted Attikus something a bit more useful in general that fits with the character.

Deande

  • Sprint speed is increased so that it is now average.

  • Beast of Momentum’s effect is changed. Now causes movement speed to increase by 4% for every hit up to 5 stacks. Lasts 5 seconds.

  • Escape Plan’s duration is increased from 5 → 8.

I have already made a large post about Deande’s movement speed, so I’ll just post a link to that post here:

Miko

  • Heal Thyself augment’s health regeneration is decreased from 100% → 25%.

  • Sporeshock’s Stun duration is decreased from 2 → 1.

  • Ult disappears if Miko is killed.

There are two huge issues that I find with Miko. The first is that unlike every healer, Miko doesn’t suffer the same weakness of significantly limited self sustain options. The second issue is that there should be no ranged character (in general), but especially not a healer that has an assassin stun. Healers are supposed to be weak against assassin characters by design, and ranged characters are supposed to be weaker at close range as well.

Miko being both of those, should be particularly weak against melee assassins (when they are in close range). But it is not, because it can just stun and kill melee assassin characters (or any character) who get close very easily, (with coordinated attacks off of Miko’s stun). For how good Miko is as a support character (arguably the best), it should not have these two aspects in its design.

The last change is to normalize death’s effect on every character. Every character that dies should have all of their “destroyable effects” (such as Rifts) removed from battle.

Rath

  • Genetic Syphon’s health steal on his melee attacks are increased from 8% → 15%.

  • Swordman’s Salve effect is changed to the following: Increases Genetic Syphon life-stealing properties for both melee and skill damage by 10%.

  • Blademaster life steal is increased from 11% → 20%.

Rath is a simple and very straightforward character. He is quick and can be very effective.

However, Rath’s passive is a bit weaker than it should be. His DPS is significantly lower than Deande’s and his only passive is life steal, so it should be more effective in comparison. It doesn’t make sense that his main form of staying in the fight (his life steal) is as weak as it currently is, especially since Rath has no real escape options. It should at least be comparable (although it should be better than Deande’s at lvl 5).

Ambra

  • Scorching Strikes no longer lower the cooldown of sunspots.

  • Sunspotter’s effect is completely changed to the following: Sunspots can now stack its healing.

  • Agile Anomaly no longer reveals.

  • Ritual of Repulsion now deals 100 x 2 + 8 damage per lvl as a base (up to 140 x 2 at lvl 10).

Ambra is considered by many to be just a bit too strong. Although many people share this feeling, it just isn’t quite agreed upon why. The biggest issue I see with Ambra, is that the Sunspots as an option are too good. It should not be a ranged instantaneous AOE DOT Priority Target (damage amplification plus reveal) with a cooldown of 8 seconds (which can later be lowered to 6) that can be reset with secondary attacks while also being a strong AOE heal.

The removal of the priority target abilities make a lot of sense since she already has another reveal, and the AOE damage amplification on such an option is completely unwarranted (compare it to Reyna’s Priority Target).

Solar Wind doing more than assassin damage (200 damage) makes sense since its only a DOT of limited range (directly in front) that is only active throughout the animation. On the other hand, Ritual of Repulsion doing as much damage as it does (134 x 2 + 16 per lvl / 214 x 2 at lvl 10) makes no sense in comparison. The utility is greatly enhanced in comparison to Solar Wind, and its damage is currently higher than assassin damage (base assassin damage being 280 at lvl 10 in comparison to base Ritual of Repulsion damage which is 428 at lvl 10).

Just for the sake of reference, I have seen Ambra get to almost 180k damage given, and over 130k healing given (in Incursion). I have also seen over 260k damage given + healing given (combined value) in Incursion.

These changes should be a very good way to slightly tone down Ambra.

Marquis

  • Owls are now more visible to the enemy when Eyes are Everywhere is selected: Either the owls’ pulse is significantly more visible to the enemy so that it will reveal the location of the owls (and the area that is under the pulse) or owls are now highlighted even through walls.

  • Eyes are Everywhere’s pulse now has the range of a Sunspot (with the extended range).

  • Bullets now no longer randomly miss when visually the shot was a direct hit.

  • Primary shots are now more accurate.

Marquis is a good character (especially late game), but is often not picked over Thorn and Toby to cover the role as a Sniper. I think with minor changes (to all 3 characters), Marquis will be back as a more solid pick.

Marquis’s bullets randomly missing targets when directly hit is an issue that I as well as many players have experienced. I am unsure as to what causes this to happen, and I am unsure as to what the reasoning behind it is. Nevertheless it is an issue that doesn’t make sense for a sniper.

I don’t see why the primary shots should be as inaccurate as it is currently. Marquis only gets up to 8 shots with his pistol and its DPS isn’t very high. I think it would be a fair change.

There has been a lot of debate over “Eyes are Everywhere” being too strong of a counter to Pendles (or any stealth). The main issue I find with the option, is the lack of information. Every reveal option is reliably counterable since the player can see the opponents on the map and can reliably position themselves out of their reveal range as a result. The owls on the other hand are most of the time not visible (both on screen and on radar), nor is their area of effect well displayed to the player.

Having a permanent reveal option should also have a limited range in comparison to 1 time use options (such as Shadowfire Pillar, or Solar Wind, or Scrap Cannon), which justifies the range adjustment.

Orendi

  • Chaos Bolts secondary shot now travels 100% faster. Fire rate (and thus DPS) is unchanged.

  • Chaos Bolts secondary shot now always travel grouped together (acting as one shot).

  • Quick melee now only does one swipe with her right arms (at 50% damage). Pressing quick melee again will cause her to swing with her left arms. Essentially it will function like Marquis’s quick melee.

  • If Burned and Busted is selected, then there will now be an AOE visual effect surrounding Orendi that displays the actual range of its reveal effect.

Orendi is a really strong but a character I would consider balanced. All of these changes are quality of life changes. They shouldn’t impact Orendi’s gameplay much at all, but these tools would make more sense with these changes.


Characters I feel require significant change:

Kid Ultra

  • Reactive Capacitor, Pain Compliance, Reassembling Drones, Snare Spread, Heal-Splosion and Tranq Shot now have their helix placement moved to the following helix placements: Reactive Capacitor is now the lvl 1 right helix. Tranq Shot is now the lvl 4 left helix. Snare Spread is now the mutation of the 4th helix level. Heal-Splosion is now the lvl 6 right helix. Reassembling Drones is now the lvl 8 left helix. Pain Compliance is now the left lvl 9 right helix.

  • Bank Shot now only bounces 1 time.

  • Tranq Shot’s effect is slightly changed: Stun the first enemy that is directly hit with Bola Snare for 1 second. (It would still slow other characters effected).

  • Pain Compliance’s effect is changed to the following: Increase Bola Snare’s damage by 15%.

Kid Ultra is an awesome character (both design and gameplay). However, there is one thing that seriously needs to be addressed and that is Bola Snare (which is currently severely overpowered). Unlike every option in the game, there are no feasible counters to late game Bola Snare, and its effect on the match is profound.

Bola Snare currently fires up to 3 instantaneous shots that bounce up to 3 times each, hitting multiple Battleborn, and stunning them for 2 seconds. A single Bola Snare skill can potentially do over 1,100 damage (the move by itself), and stun the opponent. The attack can also hit opponent’s about half the map distance away while not being in Kid Ultra’s field of view. The attack is impossible to avoid, does extremely high damage (more damage than ultimate attacks if done on a single target), stuns multiple enemies for 2 seconds, has a 15 second cooldown, and has absolutely no risk attached. This move is by far the single most overpowered skill that I have ever seen since launch.

This skill needs to be balanced appropriately and as soon as possible.

The first thing I find most appropriate is to place the two main options that increase Bola Snare’s ability to hit enemies (with ease) in one competing helix lvl. This would also compete with the disruption stun. So either Bola Snare can have 1 of 2 options that makes it easier to hit with, or it can be a precise shot that rewards you with a single target disruption stun. Many characters that have stun options added have it at their lvl 4 helix, and many characters that have options that allow skills to be easier to hit with are also lvl 4. This would make perfect sense.

At lvl 9, Kid Ultra would have the option to increase its area of effect (explosion) or increase the damage. These are normally competing options for other characters, especially at later levels. At lvl 6, Kid Ultra would have an option to make Support Drones either burst heal or give damage amplification similar to Reyna’s lvl 4 helix options.

The main reason why Pain Compliance should be changed is because it really doesn’t make any sense on this character. This character is a ranged healer / pusher, and he does his job quite well (I have already seen Kid Ultra do over 200 damage given in Incursion). He should not have an easy to hit with (and risk free) fast, accurate, ranged projectile that does significantly more damage than assassins (354 dmg at lvl 1).

Ernest

  • Grenades now only travel 1/2 of its current distance before exploding.

  • Power Egg’s attack speed increase is reduced from 25% → 15%.

  • Bomb Suit damage reduction is reduced from 35% → 20%.

  • HP is reduced by 300.

  • Ultimate disappears if Ernest is killed.

Ernest is a character that brings up a lot of hate, and for good reason. His playstyle is extremely effective for how “lame” it is. He sets himself up in a relatively safe spot away from any danger, yet completely destroys the enemy minions/ turrets with ease, while also having a significant impact on enemy Battleborn.

Ernest not only is a short character with about average HP, but has several defensive options that make him more difficult to kill, than he should be. The first is Concussive Charge which can not only blow the enemy far away (hindering formations from a range), but pop Ernest to safety. He has a slow field on his egg, which makes it difficult to attack him once you get in. He has a minefield that can be utilized defensively. Lastly, AOE being one of the biggest counters against this type of defensive campy character loses significant damage due to bomb suit, which is a permanent passive ability (hence no way to counter the helix option).

I really enjoy rocket launchers, and grenade launchers, but I found it to be quite unenjoyable playing as and against Ernest. The massive impact that I had against the enemy team, for my complete lack of effort was very unsettling.

With these changes, Ernest will be slightly less effective overall, and it will force Ernest players to have to do more things to be effective.

Boldur

  • Bleed damage increase from lvl 8 is fixed. It now increases the damage by 20% like it is supposed to instead of by 61%.

  • Boldurdash rune now no longer increases damage of Boldurdash, but still applies the bleed damage.

  • Hatchet Man’s bleed damage is reduced from 240 -> 120 over 3 seconds.

  • When Boldur is unarmed, Boldur’s movement speed increase is reduced from 30% -> 15%.

  • Deft Defender now no longer allows Boldur to shield quicker or sprint at full speed while guarding.

  • Death and Axes’ HP increase is reduced from 144 -> 96 per stack (max stacks: 720 -> 480 HP).

In order to understand the problem that Boldur poses, there are some things that need to be explained first. Before Boldur’s redesign, certain tools Boldur had didn’t make much sense, but (in Incursion) were relatively balanced (not necessarily good design) with the rest of Boldur’s design aside from the lvl 10 ults which were too good.

Boldur’s ult prepatch was a solid ult even before lvl 10. Unlike every other character that has an ult that gives a buff, Boldur’s buffs were permanent (until expelled with a skill), and Boldur’s cooldown started immediately while also having an extraordinarily low cooldown (30 seconds). The tradeoff for such design was that the buffs weren’t overwhelming, and that the two enhanced skills yielded normal ult lvl damage when combined. Now when both of the ult’s are combined, the damage output is significantly higher than that of normal characters. It is to the lvl of what you would expect from assassins. This is a huge problem because this combined with Boldur’s movement speed allows Boldur to function as an assassin without having any of the drawbacks of one while also having the strengths of a tank / brawler. This is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Boldur is only slightly faster than Kelvin but is still almost as fast as Rath, who is the fastest assassin in the game. However, unlike Kelvin (or any other character in the game for that matter), Boldur also has a 30% movement speed increase for the entire time Axe Toss is on cooldown (given that you don’t pick up the axe) which is for 15 seconds. Combined with Boldur’s lvl 5 helix, Boldur can get an additional 30% movement speed while in rage, giving Boldur a 60% movement speed increase. This makes Boldur the fastest character in the game.

This made more sense before when Boldurdash wasn’t as good as an offensive option or as useful as an escape option. Now Boldurdash is very fast, goes very far, is much easier to land, and deals significantly more damage. Since Boldurdash as an option is significantly better than before, Boldur needs to be balanced accordingly. Since Boldurdash is much more threatening (in terms of hitting the opponent) and stuns the opponent, it shouldn’t be doing such high damage (849 damage at lvl 10 with 1 common skill gear equipped). Axe Toss also shouldn’t be doing as much damage as it currently does (684 damage at lvl 10 with 1 common skill gear equiped) due to still being on a relatively low cooldown for an ult (50 seconds) and being very easy to land on multiple enemies (its very fast, large range / AOE, and has no callout) while also being only half of an ult.

Boldur is a tank / brawler so Boldur should be good at beating up Boldur’s enemies with Boldur’s normal attack (which Boldur is), but not bursting down opponents with skills like assassins do.

To address the unwarranted burst damage from the ult, I would look into doing the following:

Bleed damage increase from lvl 8 is fixed. It now increases the damage by 20% like it is supposed to, instead of by 61%.

Boldurdash rune power now no longer increases damage of Boldurdash, but still applies the bleed damage.

Axe Toss bleed damage is reduced from 240 -> 120.

This would effectively lower Boldurdash’s damage from 849 -> 583 damage (prepatch was 382 damage). Axe Toss would be lowered from 684 -> 564 damage (prepatch it was 484).
It should be higher than prepatch but lower than it is currently.

To address the balance due to the improved Boldurdash’s effect on Boldur’s gameplay I would look into doing the following:

When Boldur is unarmed, Boldur’s movement speed increase is reduced from 30% -> 15%.

Deft Defender now no longer allows Boldur to shield quicker and sprint at full speed while guarding.

To compensate the increased utility of Boldurdash (both offensively and defensively), Boldur’s speed should be addressed. I think this would be a good way to disallow Boldur from being too fast, and the speed penalty would also help balance out the strength of Boldur’s shield considering how good it is in comparison to Galilea’s and Isic’s.

Lastly, to address Boldur’s excessive tankiness:

Although Boldur is a tank, it can be argued that Boldur is a bit too difficult to kill given Boldur’s design (very small, very fast, very strong shield, high damage reduction, high HP). Even though Boldur’s base HP isn’t too high at lvl 10 (2,288), Boldur is still quite possibly the most difficult character to kill. What gives Boldur almost 3,918 HP (which is definitely too much) is the lvl 9 stacks that give 720 HP and the HP gear that gives 910 HP (together which yield an extra 71% HP increase).

I would consider a reduction from 720 -> 480 HP (from the stacks) to be fair, since the second highest HP helix increase is 360 HP. Since it is a lvl 9 helix and requires Axe Toss kills to get the 5 stacks, it is justifiable for it to be higher than the standard 360, but I’m finding it difficult to justify it being double that value. Somewhere in the middle seems relatively justifiable.

Kleese

  • Overloaded Mortars still depletes Kleese’s shield but the damage added is reduced from 100% → 50% of current shield (it will now be equivalent to Calculated Risk).

  • Bouncing Balls of Death will always disappear once it damages an enemy (instead of hitting multiple times per projectile).

  • Rift network is changed to the following: Synchronize the pulse of every rift in the rift network. Every pulse will have the same strength times how many rifts in the network, but they no longer overlap.

  • Rift’s now pulse every 2 seconds instead of 3.

  • Quick Pulse’s pulse increase is now changed from 33% to 50%.

  • Brawn Before Brains’ damage increase is reduced from 25% -> 18%.

Kleese is flawed as a support character. Support characters are labeled as such due to their role being one that supports their allies.

Every support character is designed in a way that allows them to be flexible, and respond to the enemy’s actions by supporting their allies as needed. Since Kleese is a shielder, his focus as a support character should be to heal his allies’ shield. Unlike every other support character though, Kleese is most effective when using his skills (Rifts generally being his only “support” option) for himself, and in one specific spot that doesn’t change.

The reason why this is, is because a single Rift outside the network is weak (as an option), and Kleese without his Rifts is also significantly weak. Having his Rifts spread out also weakens the network significantly in terms of damage and shield healing. Basically, Kleese currently just picks a spot and doesn’t move from it until he migrates to a new spot. If any allies want to get their shield recovered, they always need to go to the one spot that Kleese set his Rifts (which he spent a while to setup).

With these changes, single Rifts have a lot more utility, and can be used not only to spread the network with equal output, but to help shield allies in different spots (or damage enemies), similar to Ambra with her Sunspots.

Although there have been complaints about his HP, it does make sense in accordance to his size and mobility (+ the lack of escape options). Taser damage output also makes sense (in terms of balance, not necessarily design), since his ability to attack the opponent at the range required is limited, due to his size / lack of escape options. Basically, Kleese can’t just go up to the enemy and taser them, like how other characters would be able to, since he is a huge target without any form of escape options and he needs Rift networks to survive.

Aside from making Mortars’ damage a bit more reasonable (although still among the strongest attacks in the game), what I think would be most appropriate is for Kleese’s effectiveness as a support character to be increased. What these changes do is make Rifts more effective by itself (by 50%), and spread out Rift networks (non-overlapping) are also equally effective as non-overlapping networks. In turn, Rift networks would do 50% less damage in comparison to overlapped Rift networks as they are currently.

In essence, Kleese would still be effective when territorial, but not as dominating when inside his territory. In return Kleese would be a significantly more solid choice as a support character.

Benedict

  • Players affected by Hawkeye now receive a visual indicator to inform them that they have been hit by Hawkeye (just like if they were hit with any other status effect).

  • After firing Hawkeye, Benedict is now forced into a 1 second animation where he cannot fire a normal homing rocket. Hawkeye’s lockon duration is increased by 1 second as compensation (hence this does not change his damage potential).

  • Hawkeye’s homing effect now disappears the moment the enemy is no longer in Benedict’s field of view.

  • A Murder of Rockets now fires all 3 rockets at 50% damage.

  • Heavy Bombardment damage increase is reduced from 20% → 15%.

  • Danger Zone’s blast radius increase is reduced from 45% → 25%.

  • Reduce movement speed so that it is about average.

Benedict is a very strong character. His ability to burst down targets is very high due to how easy it is to land the shots and how much damage it does (late game he can burst down over 1,800 damage with Hawkeye + followup). I do agree that his damage should be threatening, but his ability to burst down an enemy should not be as easy as it currently is, nor as effective (especially when considering the low risk in comparison to melee characters and assassins). Benedict isn’t an assassin, so he shouldn’t be as threatening as one. He is a pusher, and is among the easiest of characters in the game to do well with.

Essentially, the counterplay for Benedict (specifically the skill “Hawkeye”) isn’t very good. When players can get bursted down so quickly (and easily) at a range, they should be warned when hit with Hawkeye. Players are generally warned when hit by threatening effects such as Priority Target.

However, being warned is not enough if there is no actual viable (and reliable) counterplay after getting hit by Hawkeye (aside from not getting hit by Hawkeye or tanking the hits). I think the best way to add fair counterplay would be for Hawkeye to lose its effect the moment Benedict loses sight of you (this includes getting behind him or anywhere that you are not visible on his screen).

Aside from the other changes that align his ability with the ability of other Battleborn (such as the 50% reduction in damage from triple skill shots that all Battleborn have), I feel that there is just one other thing that should be addressed, which is Benedict’s survivability.

It doesn’t really make sense that a skinny avian character who wields a large (and heavy looking) rocket launcher is faster on foot than the majority of the characters in the game, including all of the assassins who look like fast / agile characters.

Benedict having a more average movement speed is not only justifiable in terms of design but fair in terms of balance (rocket launchers usually give movement penalty in FPS games for good reason). Considering how his toolset works in general (mainly the AOE attacks and burst damage), I would expect him to be less agile and thus easier to kill.

Mellka

  • Secondary attack’s extra effects are changed: Now no longer pushes the enemy away on the last hit. Now no longer does extra damage on envenomed targets. Now applies venom by default.

  • Base DPS of the secondary attack is increased from 88 → 160: Damage of the secondary attack is increased by about 50%. Attack speed of the secondary attack should also be increased (seems to need to be increased by about 20%).

  • Blade Ejection’s damage is increased from 50 → 150. It is now a static value and does not increase per level.

  • Action Reload is swapped with Feral Strike.

  • Adrenalie Rush has its effect changed to the following: Increase health regeneration by +7. Increase health regeneration by an additional +7 when an enemy is affected by venom.

  • Eldrid Rhythm now only stacks up to a maximum of 5 times. Health stacks are doubled so that the max value is equivalent to before.

  • Thrill of the Hunt’s effect is slightly changed: Movement speed is increased by 30% for 5 seconds after envenoming a target (hence reapplying venom to the same target will reset the effect).

Although Mellka is currently an effective character, she feels by far the most incomplete. Her melee attack as an option is so bad that it is hardly if ever used (including all helix options effecting it). Many of her helix options are also not very useful.

Since Mellka is among the squishiest characters in the game (and an assassin), I find it to be quite fair for her to be deadly when up close. It would justify the risk, especially if Claw Lunge was used to initiate.


I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read all of this. This has taken quite a lot of time to make and I hope that it was worth it.

Please discuss.

7 Likes

Don’t you think deande needs less health, it is a little much for an assasin

Back on ernest though, he is fun to play with if you strategically lay down mines and grids and grenade richotets, but I think a big thing besides the egg damage side nerf (it does need a nerf) is to make the defense egg viable and giving it stuff too, cuz as of now there is no reason to pick it over offense which is depressing as each being needed for different reasons would make him a funner character

Your Mellka suggestions are obviously a huge early game buff and massive melee improvement, but with her inability to survive CC focus, she’d lose pretty much every melee match up - and she’s slow on foot, so trying to melee ranged characters will get her kited. Refined Canisters comes late, but it gives her so much late game punch that if she lost it, she’d lose her carry status.

I have a few very long topics about Mellka balance here and there, would welcome your specific input there :slight_smile:

A lot of good points but I disagree with the Miko changes you suggest and the change to Kid Ultra’s bolas. Miko needs that stun just to get away from most attackers and now that slows no longer slow attack speed Miko needs everything it can get to get away from melee attacks.

I agree KU’s bolas are strong I think what should happen is make it so that once someone is stunned by the bolas they can no longer stun anyone else. That way there wouldn’t be 3 bola’s bouncing all over the place that can stun but it can still apply the damage. It allows him to still have his stun but it wouldn’t drastically change an entire game like it does now. Alos fine with reducing the bounce to 2 instead of 3. Otherwise I find him balanced hes a big target and needs the drones to stay alive a lot of the time.

Okay, a few comments on your Toby suggestions. The key words you used are “if left unchecked”, because they make or break playing as Toby. You see, Toby’s strongest buffs come from his shield, which is extremely easy to take down with ANY ranged character, and he has a huge crit spot that those ranged characters can quickly use to kill him, or cause him to retreat. Toby also has quite a few more hard-counter characters than most Battleborn; such as Marquis, Whiskey, Mellka, Boldur (without The Double Hug), and Ernest (if the player knows how to aim well). Yes, he IS technically a “sniper”; but he is meant to be a “territorial” sniper, if that makes sense. Who usually has a hard time fighting territorial characters? Why, melee characters, of course! So taking away some of Toby’s Boosters and stun would completely destroy him as a character; outside of PVE, that is. Even his ultimate is more intended to protect him from Melee characters.

In conclusion, It is simply TOO EASY to shut him down as a ranged character, for Gearbox to remove his melee counters; they know this, and that is why they left his stun alone. Now… If Gearbox wants to triple his shield health, or give it temporary invulnerability to help give him an edge against ranged characters, than i’d be okay with your suggestions; because, as i said, his shield is his most important assest.

6 Likes

@cadecampbell

Don’t you think deande needs less health, it is a little much for an assasin

I don’t think it is too much. Deande is primarily a melee character, and unlike other assassins or skirmishers, she does not have the ability to both initiate and escape with her skills. On top of that, Deande’s skills also have high risk in comparison to other characters (Calculated Risk, and her Ult).

I think it is well justified for her to have an average base HP.

As for Ernest:

The defense egg can be a viable option if it has the slow attached. The slow field can be effective against enemies (especially melee characters) that try and get close (even it just being active controls space indefinitely) and even more so if the egg is placed in areas that can’t be hit directly. I have seen it pose quite a threat in several matches before, but obviously was only used when necessary.

@EdenSophia
You are quite right. I found that Mellka was by far one of the most difficult challenges in terms of trying to balance. I have actually read your posts before, and decided to post what I have as of now, hoping that you would give me some feedback about this. I will amend that point.

Aside from that, what did you think? Can you also post me all of the relevant threads, so that I may post them within my OP?

Great post. I agree with most of it. Here are my thoughts on a few things.

Galilea - I like your idea but another option would be to decrease he dmg output even further. Gal players complain that she already has one of the lowest damages in the game… but when you’re hitting multiple BB + all the minions at the same time with max health and max Corruption such that nothing can retaliate against your for 5-6seconds, it’s really not low at all, relativistically speaking. I like her kit she just personally has way too much punch to back it up when she can already face-tank the wave and stay in lane like no other. Either fix works: either make her way less controlly or do even less damage.

Montana - Push It Push It Push It is already generally the best option but Blast has its uses. If they got rid of Blast, this would become a very one-dimensional helix choice. He’s already perfectly balanced imo.

Thorn - Aye, Thorn is a hard target to hit so I think a slight HP reduction is in order.

El Dragon - Like the stack idea, also feel you should only lose 1-2 stacks. I did a big write-up in the El Dragon thread with pretty much the same ideas as you but I also added that a) he should be able to activate Clothesline mid-air as he’s already extremely vulnerable as it is and every other character can initiate dash/tele while airborne b) His Splash and En Fuego animations need to be sped up and have the silence effect that follows them removed. He’s agile af but turns into a clunky slow dinosaur for 3s anytime you activate either of those abilities. Also, his mid-ability hitboxes need to be reevaluated as it’s pretty much impossible to not him with CC right now, even accidentally. Mid-game, when ppl unlock knock up/back/in/out/pull crap all over the place, it’s a pain in the ass getting cheesed out of Splash by ppl who don’t even know you’re there yet.

Whiskey Foxtrot - Good assessment and on stuff I never considered. I feel like he’s already, overall, extremely well balanced so iunno if the Sticky Bomb speed buff would be appropriate. However, the Speed Burst change would make all three Lv 5 helices pretty viable.

Attikus - I feel he’s working as intended. The gauntlet, despite its power, doesn’t have any interface. When they gave it to him, he didn’t have much intelligence yet so it’s unlikely they’d design it so he’d need to do anything other than punch. The way he is now is perfectly appropriate for his brutish playstyle and there’s generally not much need or value in trying to stockpile charges. It’s icing on the cake when you’re full in some situations, but it’s mostly only good for a lil boost against the shields you’re already going to take down in less than a second anyways. His ult is the obvious exception here. When I started playing him I played him very badly because I spent too much time worrying about my charges and not enough time spamming my abilities like a two-ton bovine abatoir hate furnace with an iron fist. Working as intended, imo.

Miko - Unlike the other healers, he’s pretty defenseless in that he has a massive crit and cant hurt ppl for ■■■■. His stun’s good but easy to play around + a skill shot.

Toby - He’s only like that in pub where ppl ignore him, let him do whatever he wants, and completely ignore his shield. He’s pretty balanced imo, His ability to deal with melee makes sense when you consider his left hand is a massive wrecking ball mine-launcher. The only real issue here is Double Hugs, cuz… yeah… 4 s of stun on an easy to land shot’s a lil op. That being said, he takes more skill to use than most characters so iunno if it’s worth changing much.

Rath - Agree his passive is weak af, not sure if intentional.

Ambra - She’s extremely versatile which is why no one can agree on which aspect of her versatility is too strong. Personally, I think she’s perfectly balanced mechanically and that she merely needs a potency tweak. Adjusting any one or two things would just upset her mechanics balance but if they could just like… tone her down by mebbe 5% in every category it’d prolly fix her right up.

Ernest - I think he’s fine and that people don’t know how to deal with his nades.

Benedict - Pretty sure we do get an indicator. I don’t like these suggestions personally as I don’t see him as being very unbalanced, just that he seems that way at times in pub.

2 Likes

Some of these make little to no sense to me lol. Also, post is super long, most people won’t read it all.

This post does make a lot of sense, and is probably why Toby hasn’t seen such significant changes. However I do not agree that being labeled as “territorial” should enable a character to counter melee characters within close range, especially when he counters melee characters so hard at a range already. Marquis is also a territoral sniper and he is far from being able to counter melee characters when they are up close.

I also don’t see Toby being “destroyed” if such changes were made. The slow is still quite effective at dealing with melee characters, although it won’t guarantee kills like he does currently if slow was used instead. I do understand that the boosters change might have been a bit too significant, without compensation. I will amend that.

I’d like to point out that, overall, I think the games balance right now is pretty good or at least above average. A few characters definitely need some more major adjustments and some need minor tweaks but in general it’s not too bad. Absolute perfect balance isn’t possible but as long as the characters are close enough that player skill is more important than anything else, balance is ideal.

Also I personally think Mellka is perfect the way she is but I haven’t logged much PVP time with her.

Wow is it just me or do you have something against supports? I find it funny that the only two supports that are actually a threat you want to nerf. Tanks are high health and high damage yet those are fine. This type of balancing is why all my friends have already stopped playing this game

I’d like to point out that, overall, I think the games balance right now is pretty good or at least above average. A few characters definitely need some more major adjustments and some need minor tweaks but in general it’s not too bad.

I agree with this.

I’m on my phone (sneakily, during a very dull meeting, haha), so I can’t do that now - it’s also why my response was a bit brief.

In practice, your changes would make Mellka much more lethal early to mid game, because 160DPS melee damage + 40DPS venom applied would make her one of the most damaging melee characters in the game. She’d be at Phoebe-levels basically. The health regen improvement would help too, though regen is less useful when you melee because you’re more likely to be taking sustained fire then when you’re ranged and mobile.

Unlike a squishy melee like El Dragon, however, Mell can’t build up DR stacks, can’t stun or knock up, and is very slow unless she slides (and continual sliding is great for escaping but not for sticking on a target as a melee.) As the game shifts post-5, Mell will find increasingly limited opportunities to melee. Meanwhile, other melee assassins, like Deande, are starting to bloom.

It’s stupid that one helix has that much impact as Refined Canisters, of course, and level 8 is a very late carry. So it’s far from an ideal situation as it is.

I feel like this game is challenging for glass cannons right now, because there are certain things (Hawkeye, Double Hug, Sublimate, Kleese taser, various other CC) that can shut that glass cannon down. Mellka is single target only, so she’s not likely to score the burst multi kills that makes someone like Orendi so useful. Even El Dragon is still more of a multi-killer than Mell.

I think Mell is still in a decent place, especially with her competitive wave clear. I’m generally less concerned by her melee nowadays than by her the fact that Benedict is in most games :cry:

i think the game is fine as it is, pretty much. And I don’t think we need even more nerfs. It’s best that if something is wrong with some less used characters - just buff them. With all those regen items improvements it’s even more difficult to kill characters mid-late game. So if we go with nerfs - our games will be just a ping pong without any kills and deaths.

The strongest character right now is Boldur. Even the less skilled players can get ~15 kills and no deaths without breaking a sweat. He has a quick escape as a skill and he has an escape as a shield, so if a player is good - he will very rarely see his death animation. I think that only Boldur needs some more changes. Either make him even more tanky, but with less damage, or make him less tanky and more as an assassin, then everything would be cool and nice.

You clearly have a handle on the game. My only complaint is that there are are few overly drastic changes. Mainly
Benedict
Rift network being a terrible helix choice, sacrificing safety in his base for long to set up burst heals
The 1/3 distance for Ernest’s shots. Feels like too short of an attack, to make him a mid range character, while also nerfing is survivability making mid range less viable.
For Deande, the speed increase or the slow would work imo, not both, as with beast of momentum and escape plan, with sprint speed and movement speed, she’d be insanely quick
Halve sunspotter. Let them stack on base. Nerf RoR. Leave the rest alone
Maybe more Boldur nerfs
Otherwise spot on good job

Marquis is more of an “assassin” sniper, because he can’t CONTROL territory; once a melee character rushes him, it’s run or die 80% or more of the time. Sure, Toby can hard-counter melee at both long and close range, that’s kind of his niche, and the point i was trying to make. Most RANGED characters hard-counter him in exchange. Also, Kleese is kind of the same way, if he has a rift network surrounding him. If a melee character ignores strategy, and attempt to blindly rush either Kleese OR Toby, they kind of deserve the death, in my opinion. I’d never ignore Toby’s ability to be easily countered by Whiskey or Marquis, by sitting still when my shield goes down.

As to the slow, it really ISN’T good enough to handle melee characters, because most of them have a projectile stun that they can land easily on Toby when slowed, due to his large size; this is why i switched to stun a month or so after getting good with Toby. If you take away Toby’s stun, or limit it to one second, then you can add Galilea, Attikus, and possibly Phoebe to his list of hard counters.

EDIT: A 1.5-second stun would probably be an acceptable balance, because it cuts The Double Hug down to 3 seconds, which is really the only unbalanced thing about Toby, other than his shield not scaling with level.

2 Likes

I really dislike the idea of messing with Toby’s boosters. And if we are going to consider making him weaker to melee then they need to unbug Toby’s shield so it actually blocks the advertised amount. As of now it only blocks half the damage it says it does

4 Likes

Yep, and i forgot to mention that AOE attacks, while weaker now, are still a good Toby counter, because they can keep him away from his shield. OM was on my list of Toby hard-counters until they nerfed him.

I understand the thing about her helixes potentially making her more squishy, but in the end she is an assasin with a small hitbox and stealth that has as much health as rath, good lifesteal, and damage

As for ernest, yes his slow is good but his defense egg is SEVERELY lacking, like why slow the enemy when you can just kill them quicker in offense, only a potential of 25%reduction is possible at late game, and it only has two upgrades, a slow and reduction in damage, how about giving it more like say with rotten egg the defense egg adds a big rumble effect but no damage while offense egg stays the same

1 Like

Yeah, offense-egg is just too strong to NOT use: Just strafe constantly with the movement speed buff; deal increased damage with the damage buff and one-bounce direct-hit helix; Increase survivability with the shield helix, and have your egg last forever with the extra health helix.