To Gearbox: An Opposite Approach to Legendaries

(Is this what you’d like to see Gearbox do too? Please comment!)

How Gearbox has been approaching legendaries is the exact opposite of what they should have been doing, and I hope they read this. They have been having the legendaries start super strong to the point where they’re not comfortable with them as they think it throws off game balance, so they have been lowering their stats; this we all know. The affect has been making people mad as some miss the power they once held, and resent it being taken from them.

So instead, they should start the legendaries off as weak. I know, just wait. After they see how the weapon performs, then buff them how they see fit. This will instead be giving players more power instead of taking it away. They will instead be praised by all those that wish to feel that powerful, instead of being riduculed.

The odd thing is that, in the end, a legendary that Gearbox has nerfed could have the exact same stats as one that had originally been weak but was then buffed, and the only difference would be how people feel about it.

People don’t like being given something, and then having it taken away, Gearbox.

I mean yeah, but that’s easier said than done. As of right now, they’ve buffed far more legendaries than they’ve nerfed.


Then that just shows where a lot of people’s attention is: on the few nerds and not on the buffs.

Of course, and for exactly the reason you pointed out. Doesn’t mean nerfing the handful of outliers is necessarily the wrong decision.

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It’s not, but it’s also not what all the people that want to one hit bosses want either. Scroll through BL3 builds on YouTube, and most of them are all about creating the most obscene builds ever because the players are used to the game keeping them from doing that. Videos are titled “Insta-Kill Troy” or “1 Shot Moze build”, yet, they’ll rip on them for trying to balance the game.

I mean, this is a question that I don’t think either the playerbase or Gearbox has really figured out. Is Borderlands meant to be a wacky gear-based RPG where the focus is on farming and assembling the strongest build you can, or is it supposed to be a gritty FPS where the focus is on skillful gunplay? BL1 went for the latter, BL2 went for the former, and BL3 seems to be some kind of weird hybrid where it was designed as the former but is being balanced as if it’s the latter.

I can see it both ways. If I spend dozens of hours farming for just the right combination of items to unlock some crazy set of synergies, shouldn’t I be able to melt whole waves of mobs and one-clip bosses? It’s definitely really fun to imagine a build in your head, farm up all the items, assemble it, and find that it works exactly how you thought and is stupid powerful. But at the same time, stuff like that puts Gearbox in a tough spot for adding new content because now there are huge power differentials between players with different builds.

I think marrying the two can be done, but it’s a tall order, and so far Gearbox doesn’t seem like they’re approaching things the right way.

I think you’re right in that it is a hybrid, and that there is fun in trying to exploit the game to make ridiculous builds. But that’s the thing, it’s in trying to exploit it. Once you do get that one shot everything build… where do you go from there? What’s the point? There’s a point where you still struggle, but still keep the feeling having an awesome powerful build. Now, about approaches to balancing, I only suggest this for legendaries because so many people are fixated on them. It can be done for skills, but those should be tasted way, way before they are ever released. I know it is said that the dev’s do read these, and that’s why I thought to bring this up.

I don’t think it’s as easy to distinguish exploits from creative uses of game mechanics as you seem to think. The pipe bomb seemed like a clear exploit, spamming Phasegrasp into the ground to generate infinite Rush stacks with Phasezerker seems like a clear exploit, but what about things like immortal Stop-Gap builds? I’m sure Gearbox doesn’t intend for players to become literally invincible, but nothing about those builds seems like an exploit. Rather, Gearbox is just bad at creating mechanics that can’t be used to trivialize the game.

As for what you do after you’ve made a build that trivializes everything, I imagine most people that actively try to create builds like that would just go find another, and then another, and then another, until they’ve found all the broken OP builds that can be created. Kind of like catching all the Pokemon, it turns into a form of horizontal progression. There are actually a number of popular games that operate on that concept, such as Warframe.

And I think it’s great that you’ve brought this up, it’s super relevant to the state of the game right now.

Hm. I’m sure the devs would like to say they have some proper way the skills and stats should function, at least on a rudimentary level, but maybe it is just a lack of foresight into seeing how those skills can be used to totally imbalance the game. Examples could be Iron Bear and the other action skills they say they will be buffing soon. I think the community just needs to ride out this storm as we did with BL2.

And I guess we’ll see if they do read these forums with the next DLC, or, at least see if they took the advice.

Again, it’s just a tall order. There are tons of combinations, and they don’t have time to test everything. Certainly not as much as millions of players playing multiple hours a day for multiple weeks. I’m sure Gearbox would kill to have that kind of manpower for testing.

But yeah, they seem open to feedback. So we’ll see.

That is the absolute truth, and still people complain that the players caught something they didn’t. The big stuff, pretty hard to forgive, but smaller things are bound to happen.

I feel like the best chance for them to see it would be for it to be at the top as long as possible. I’m surprised more people dont have something to say about this approach, you’d think that with all of the controversy, more people would.

instead of having hundreds of mediocre legendaries we allready have I would prefer a smaller but really effective pool of weapons.

To eliminate the problem elevate other weapons but dont nerf the ones that are currently critical for the builds to work.

This guarantees build diversity.

my first thought was “so lets make legendaries weaker then whites…uh” :slight_smile:

The thing about legendaries is not that the stats are superior to regular purple or blues. Even now a whole lot of purple guns are “better” then legdanries stats. What makes most legendaries “useful” or “op” are their special abilities and I dont see how your approach could ve prevented this in the first place.

The idea about legendaries is that they provide a considerable “jump” in performance when used. The fact that many builds seem to be designed with specific legendaries in mind supports that. Why would people go to the hassle of specializing a whole build, farm for legendaries for hours or even days when the end result is a meager 25% up in performance?

Your end statement is true. And the current situation is because Gearbox didnt quality test or balance their own game before release. As such all the “whining” and “crying” and flak they receive is IMO justified…its the bed they made themselves…now they gonna lie in it too.

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You’re right, it’s both their better stats, and their unique abilities that make legendaries so special to some people. And though I would say a 25% percent jump is pretty big, like imagine doing a flat 25% more damage to everything or kill every boss 25% faster, that would still most likely only be temporary as other stats would most likely be adjusted.

And you’re also right that they should have done more testing, but at the same time, there’s no way their couple of game tester would have caught everything a few million dedicated would have. Especially with this one shot everything frenzy. And, at least they’re trying to shape the game according to both their view, and the community’s.

Of all the legendaries in the game, how many have they actually nerfed?
I don’t know the actual stats, but it seems like a very small percentage.
And haven’t they only nerfed a handful of items that were OP to the point of being broken?

Very good point there. I think there’s about 200 legendaries, and I’d say they’ve only nerfed about 10 of them, but that may be because the other ones are weak, or just not as broken. They may just not have gotten to them as their busy doing big fixes, patches, updates, AND the special event and the upcoming DLC.

I’m not sure if I already responded, but what you said would seem to work for what they’ve already done. I’m just looking to the future so this doesn’t happen everytime they release an update, hot fix or patch.