So there’s a lot I enjoy about the game, and a lot that I feel needs improving upon… But what I’d like to take the time to do is recommend a new feature be added into the game. A race against other vault hunters, and sorry but I don’t mean PvP.
Some of the things I really like about the game are a few of the boss fights, the characters that actually have depth to them, and the fact that options exist regarding what to play once you reach the highest level. Increasing the number of options couldn’t possibly be a bad thing, as more game modes means more enjoyment you know.
So this idea can kind of be considered an expansion on the proving grounds concept, but really at the same time it’s not. The challenge is greater, rewards (while honestly not on par with farming M3 graveward) would be meaningful, content would be more randomly generated, optional objectives would feel like something worth doing, and the interaction with npcs involved could definitely feel enhanced. So without further ado, here’s how I see the concept:
The race itself pits our character(s) against other well known loot hoarders - former vault hunters (or even ones we have yet to meet). At the start of the challenge, the race is ON to reach a weapons cache before the NPC (team) gets the loot. The contestants don’t use the same road to reach it, however the paths intertwine in ways to allow optional objectives to affect each other’s progress. For example, the team on the high ground can start a rock slide changing the path to require mantling for their opponents - or break a slag pipeline causing the skagg ahead of the enemy team to become enlarged or irradiated and harder to deal with. A team on the lower path could blow up some pillars of a bridge causing the other team to either jump across or take a detour, smoke out a varkid stack to create additional enemies - you get the picture. All matter of obstacles could be created by either the player or the npcs to cause an advantage on their behalf, making the players choose between looting everything on the way or keeping just enough ammo to maybe safely progress while striving to not be caught behind a trap.
Reaching the end gains access to a loot cache, a series of 3 rooms. Each successive room is locked until all chests in a room have been opened, and the deeper in you go the better the loot. Reaching the first room before the opposition gets there pretty much just ensures you have ammo for the fight. No matter how quick the player(s) can be… The NPC team should always arrive before the third room can be accessed - because it should be (while about 20% the scale) reminiscent of general knoxs armory.
So regarding the fights, if someone is attempting to solo the run they might find themselves up against a Zero or Axton, while co op runs could see fights against a team of Brick, Mordecai, and Tina… Or even a group like Clay and his smugglers. The point I want to make here is that a lot of the boss fights in BL3 weren’t that engaging… And fighting Aurelia could be a challenge anywhere while enemies like Mouthpiece and Killavolt relied too much on location-based mechanics. But why would the NPCs I suggested not just cooperate with the players, you might ask… Who else in the series has gone inside FIVE vaults? I think a little jealousy/envy could easily warrant such a friendly competition…
So how do we make this a challenge? Introduce a failure mechanic, the new-u stations are great and all but as main characters we never really fail. So; if the npcs beat you to the cache the first room is empty when you arrive. IF when fighting the NPCs you die, after respawn the next room has been looted. IF you can’t beat them before they loot the third room, the quest is simply over and you can try again from scratch. And what about teams - co op doesn’t all wipe at the same time… this mechanic works similarly to Circles of Slaughter - team mates who die cannot rejoin the fray until all have wiped (and obviously there’s one less room to loot).
Not tough enough for you? Want better loot? Here’s the best part… Forget mayhem modifiers! Enter Lootsplosion mode where, after the fight against the opposing team starts, respawn is locked outside of the cache and additional chances to beat them are not available. Rewards are increased at the start when you choose to beat them the first time or sacrifice the loot - and each (NPC) VH gets a unique buff as a result. Maybe Zero got a transformer shield this time, perhaps Tina gets the vampyr effect from YOUR splash damage too? You won’t know until you get there! Is it worth the risk?!