Was Zane buffed or nerfed with the recent changes?

Do you think Zane was buffed or nerfed? I would say buffed overall considering that many of the damage increasing skills were buffed. The two big nerfs as I see it were the increased cooldown on SNTNL to 60s and the decrease of effect from Death Follows Close (40% to 25%). Very interesting also that DFC and Seein Red swapped places.

What do you think, buff or nerf? Which change was best/worst according to you?

1 Like

In my opinion, Zane was significantly nerfed when they switched formerly tier 3 Seein’ Red with tier 6 Death Follows Close. Seein’ Red is now tier 6 and Death Follows Close is now tier 3. Seein’ Red is one of the few skills that synergizes with so many other kill skills, augments, and simply action skills. Now you do not get that skill until 15 levels later in a game that is capped at level 50 (basically toward the end of the game). In addition, they nerfed the damage of the SNTNL drone when it uses the Winter’s Drone augment. Also, they nerfed the life steal % of Salvation in half. Obvious to say Gearbox went overkill on nerfing Zane. Hope they don’t keep Zane in the dog house/ non-playable state for too long. Comparatively, FL4K at a very low level can stay cloaked and get auto crits, boosted with ricochet shots with Jakobs weapons while still sending a pet out to fight. Currently, no contest that FL4K is a stronger character than the nerfed Zane. Likewise, Moze can still decimate mini-bosses with her Rocket pod hard point at a fairly low level.

1 Like

Very true what you say about the switch between Death Follows Close and Seein’ Red. Have not thought about it in that perspective, only from endgame perspective and then it doesn’t matter that much. I also still feel that Zane is still the weakest character…

Salvation I feel was a reasonable nerf since I think it was too much before. Grog nozzle was broken in BL2 and Salvation would almost had half of that

I personally think Zane here got a very notable buff. Most of the problems with prior Zane was that a lot of the percentages were quite low.

For example, cool hand, which is tier 2, used to only add up to 25% total reload speed, passive plus the kill skill. While yes the numbers between the two games shouldnt be compared, Zero got that 25% reload passively along with 50% swap speed at tier one with many coms to boost it. Confident Competence, a game changer in the middle of a tree, used to only add 10% damage and 22% accuracy when your shield was full.

To add on more to that, many of his skills that boosted damage got buffed. Donnybrook went from 10% damage to 15, Double Barrel went from a measly 10% damage to 20%, his barrier went from a 20% damage amp to a 25% (which I assume is multiplicative due to the wording), Confident Competence went from a 10% damage buff to a 20% along with more accuracy, Synchronicity got double the damage buff, Boom Enhance got massively buffed and more.

Death Follows close was unfortunately nerfed, but most of the kill skills got buffed to the point where they matched what they would’ve been anyway, and then you get 25% more. Probably the biggest hit is that in the SNTNL cooldown being almost doubled. Fortunately, adrenaline got buffed from 20% cooldown rate to 35% cooldown rate to kind of counteract this, and he still has CCC to completely reset cooldowns. Finally, Salvation now only has half the life steal it used to have, and even less when you take into account DFC. However, this isnt too bad as Zane already has so many ways to mitigate and heal through damage that it wasnt all too necessary to begin with. Remember, Zane has a bunch of shield skills to keep enemies from getting to his health in the first place, an action skill that completely negates all frontal damage, two others that provide aggro relief, and probably most importantly a ton of mobility albeit from all his movement speed skills or being able to instantly switch places with his clone that doesnt appear to have a cooldown. This change seemed to mostly add on to what he had previously in my opinion

Edit: after watching Zane gameplay, I’ve noticed that there does appear to be a 1-2 second cooldown on switching places with his clone. When his clone is active and you switch places with it, you can see a small blue bar appear above the clones duration meter which ticks down and goes away after a second or two


No offense Frozen Storm but I am not sure how you were going to play Zane. The small bonuses you mention that the revisions gave do not even measurably compare to the significant nerfs to the synergies these revisions made. Not to kick a dead horse, but another example skill significantly nerfed due to moving of See’ Red was the Zane Duct Tape mod skill in Zane’s other skill tree. Note, on top of that the Duct Tape mod skill itself was also significantly nerfed in the revisions. Previously, Zane’s tier 3 See’n Red trigger, on each action skill activation, triggered the added reload bonus of Cool Hand. Cool hand could give you up to a 20% reload speed bonus. In addition, a reload bonus that is almost always up synergizes great with Tediore weapons and guns with small magazines. The Duct tape mod skill used to synergize exactly with those same weapons. Previously, you could i) shoot one shot with a Tediore weapon and reload, or ii) shoot one shot to two shots with a small magazine shotgun and have a 25% chance to add a grenade to that damage. Especially at mid-levels and until you reached the end game level, this combo of using Duct tape mod, See’n Red and Cool hand was going to be a huge damage skill for Zane. In 8 seconds, a Zane character could pump out 2-3 additional grenades on top of all of the Tediore weapons or shotgun blasts that occurred in that 8 seconds. Gearbox has postponed the See’n Red trigger for 15 additional levels and then nerfed the grenade launching mechanic of Duct Tape mod with an internal 8 second cooldown.
Again, Moze at moderate levels can decimate mini-bosses with Rocket Pods in her mech. FL4K at level 20 can synergize Fade Away (all shots are automatically critical hits for x seconds), the Guerrillas augment (50% crit hit damage for an unlimited amount of shots), the Persistence Hunter skill (to extend Fade Away to 11.5 second), the Unblinking Eye augment (Critical Damage by +75% per hit, and reset every 3 hits) and combine that with a high fire rate Vladoff weapon or a ricochet Jakobs weapon to do automatic critical hits that do 125% to 275% critical hit damage on top of the Vladoff high rate of fire or Jakobs (2x damage on ricochets). Zane as a DPS damage character has been significantly nerfed, especially compared to other DPS characters.
Last point, someone at Gearbox originally did a nice job with Zane to make skills synergize from different skill trees along with different weapon types. The revisions went overkill to cut back on these synergizes especially in the early to mid-game. Synergized skills still exist, just a lot of the powerful synergizes were nerfed for Zane, while the other characters still have powerful synergizes at low and mid-levels.

1 Like

First of all, no offense taken. I appreciate the response. To explain how I plan to play Zane, I have focused him around kill skills, going all the way down the middle tree and down to “Old U” in his clone tree, and I did skip Duct Tape Mod in favor of Donny Brook.

With that said, I think people are over hyping the placement change between DFC and Seein Red. While yes, Seein Red being moved to a capstone is kind of unfortunate, it’s not all too bad as the only place where that is really needed would be in a tough boss fight or a raid fight where there is nothing else to kill besides the boss. Remember, DFC not only increases the effect of all kill skills you have, but basically doubles the duration of all his kill skills too, just go put a legendary reaper on krieg if you want perspective on how powerful that is.

Those two things combined I would say is more powerful during the earlier, leveling portions of the game than on-demand kill skills. And then once you do get to endgame and start fighting raid bosses, i had already figured that a kill skill build, one that allowed you on demand lifesteal, movement speed, and of course plenty of extra damage would have been the optimal choice anyway, so you’d still get the skill regardless. Perhaps if you wanted to raid with something besides the kill skill build, now you can put those points elsewhere instead of going partially down the middle tree in favor of other skills.

Finally, in comparison to other characters, Fl4k can do a lot of burst damage. Yes, their crit buffs are insane, but those only apply to criticals. They’ll have a lot of damage right off the start when it comes to huge bosses because fade away gives automatic critical hits, plus a 50% damage bonus if you go with The Power Inside, but that all goes away once your action skill runs out. A lot of their big buffs only apply when they’re in an action skill, which has a long cooldown, or after they get a kill which you cant get in raid fights (usually). They’ll likely be able to one-shot most mini bosses for sure, but raids wont go down so easy. Even with Megavore, only a 20% crit chance for something like a sniper isnt all that big, and if you use other weapons you wont get as much damage or as much synergy with Fl4k. As for Moze, she will likely be a monster in mobbing scenarios as her biggest buffs come from kill skills. However, every character can mob just fine. When it comes to raids and big bosses, she’ll have to rely on kill skills, her health being low, or her middle capstone. Of course, she’ll have her mech but that might not scale well late into the game, or at least for raid fights. It certainly could, but historically, it’s not on iron bear’s side. Zane on the other hand seems to have has just as much dps as the others, except he gets some health back from that dps and it’s more accessible to him. Plus, 2 action skills is nice.

  1. Thanks for playing Zane and giving Gearbox the test data that they’ll need to make adjustments. PS: I may play a Barrier based Zane if I coop with a bunch of glass cannon - Mozes or DPS FL4Ks.
  2. Even Donnybrook has effectively been nerfed by the moving of See’n Red to an end game skill.
    #1 - Previously, you could stagger activation of your action skills such as, Digi-Clone and SNTNL Drone, to keep the health regen via Donnybrook up reliably up much longer. Now Donnybrook is like all kill skills, i) not active in between battles, which could make sure Zane is fully healed in between battles, as well as ii) not active for the beginning of the battle until the game gives you an opportunity to kill a minion in a battle. Like you say, in boss battles, often the minions don’t show up until x portion into that battle. Thus, Donnybrook, like the other kill skills, has been nerfed because the bonuses do not trigger until later in the battle. DFC merely makes a kill skill better when the kill skill can be triggered. This is a monsterous nerf.
    #2 - In addition/ again, Donnybrook has been nerfed until Zane can use See’N Red. Zane was designed with 5 or so kill skills across his 3 skill trees. Donnybrook was a tier 2 skill and See’N Red was a Tier 3 skill, which allowed Donnybrook to be incorporated into many more builds than are now possible. You could spend 6 points to get to one point in Donnybrook and 11 points to get into See’N Red. Now, if you have spend enough points to get to an end point skill, 26 skill points, then at that point you are very limited in spending additional points to finish off a build. If Donnybrook can’t be used in as many builds as previously possible, then that skill had a significant nerf.
    Long story short - See’N Red was a central skill that effectively nerfed a lot of other Zane skills simply be being moved to the end of the skill tree, and the small incremental improvements to other skills do not compensate for that change. If they create a Zane character with a lot of kill skills in his skill trees, then giving us a mechanism to improve how those kill skills work, across a wide variety of builds, was a great game mechanic.
  3. Hope you have fun playing BL 3. Fun talking.

Lol. I’m very confused as to why you believe the skill placement change is signicant.

To be completely honest, all math points towards the barrier/clone combination to have so much more synergy, survivability, damage, etc. That nothing else really matters. And after the skill cap increase, after getting both the shield mod and gun copy capstones, you can still pick up DFC. See N’ Red led to some nice gimmicky stuff that you mentioned, but in the end its not that significant. And i’m a Jack main, so i’m aware of how helpful the skill can be, even though Jack had a bit of a better setup.

See N’ Red had poor synergy with the clone tree anyways, because its best use is alternating Action Skills. This contradicts the gameplan of the clone tree’s 3 or so skills that give buffs for having two skills out simultaneously. The drone cooldown nerf hurts this even further. I challenge you to fully explore the damage, setups, and synergy from the shield/clone tree. Imo its ridiculous. And then when you can equip a shield mod along with the gun copy? Its a no brainer winner for best combination.

I’m of the opinion Zane was nerfed in the recent update, given DfC and Duct Tape Mod were probably his most unique and breakable skills. DfC is still great and probably central to any kill skill build, but duct tape mod now seems absolutely worthless. I get they nerfed it because of infinity shenanigans, but tbh, infinity shenanigans was the only reason the skill was worth picking up.

But I don’t think that is Zane’s biggest problem. Zane’s biggest issue is that for a kill skill class, his kill skills are really weak. Everywhere I read how Zane’s killskill build is gonna be really beast, and has crazy dps, but 4% FR per level and 3% Gun Damage are really really pathetic numbers. Even if the kill skills did stack, they would need at least 3 stacks to be worth a damn, and that’s merely to be competent. The only killskill with real potential is Playing Dirty - and that is provided it stacks.

Honestly, Zane’s biggest problem other than how weak his kill skills are is how all his reliable damage only come from 2 ends of the damage multiplier, Gun Damage and Fire Rate. And the numbers aren’t Blood Bath or Anarchy big. Conversely, people keep on saying how Amara’s skilltree is really underwhelming, but she has 5-6 different large multiplicatives, and if you know your Borderlands Math - this will really stack up.


While yes, I do think Gearbox has tried ‘over-balancing’ Zane (2 actions skills at a time meaning each individual is weaker, numbers being pretty low even for this games standards) I still think he’ll end up being quite strong. Not sure what you mean by only two ends of the damage multiplier, as he has plenty of indirect dps boosts. Things like cool hand for reload, violent speed so you can quickly position yourself in a way that’ll maximize your dps, 25% mag size at tier one for only 3 points, accuracy boosts to help you hit crits etc. So he has plenty of different boosts, and while the numbers are kind of unfairly low with his individual kill skills, once everything adds together they get well over 100% gun damage which is something Amara doesnt have and Moze doesnt get to that 100%+ as easily as Zane does. Zane basically just activates his clone in the final build and boom, you get all your buffs. Moze has to get a few kills, be on low health, have her shield broken for her strong buffs. And while Fl4k does get huge boosts to critical damage, it’s only in short bursts like when hes in his action skill and critical damage will always be an inferior stat to just straight up damage as damage boosts both non-crits and crits.

1 Like

Duct Tape Mod was made so much worse, especially if you just roll the math. Why didn’t they just rework it so that the first shot after reloading has the chance to fire a grenade? In addition to that, the cooldown is just too long. Make it 3 seconds at most. Right now, we have a free grenade maybe every 15-20 seconds at best, which doesn’t feel satisfying at all.


All I know is, I was 50/50 on maining either Zane or Amara.

Now, in the event that I DO decide to play BL3 at all, it shall be 0/100, Amara.

These Zane nerfs suck all the fun.

Please check out even Admiral Bahroo’s Zane build/review of the build. Shield/Clone is borderline OP

Not sure what you mean by only two ends of the damage multiplier,

In the Bl2/TPS damage formula, your dps is calculated as:
Gun Damage x 2 x Critical Damage x Fire Rate x Elemental Damage x Elemental Multiplier x SpecMult x Pure Multiplicatives

Zane only reliably has Gun Damage and Fire Rate, which massively disadvantages him compared to Amara or Fl4k who can benefit from other multipliers as well. Tellingly, both Fl4k and Amara have many pure multiplicative buffs (seen when skill description says it buffs ‘damage’ as opposed to ‘gun damage’), which will rack up their DPS very quickly.

So he has plenty of different boosts, and while the numbers are kind of unfairly low with his individual kill skills, once everything adds together they get well over 100% gun damage

Yeah once ALL the skills stack together. All of the 4 classes can theoretically hit 100% gun damage, and Moze can hit it really easily. Not to mention 100% gun damage aint nothing in the BL franchise. All I can say is Axton could hit 100+% gun damage and 120% Fire Rate, and his gun dps was kinda the worst in BL2 by a significant margin.

it’s only in short bursts like when hes in his action skill and critical damage will always be an inferior stat to just straight up damage as damage boosts both non-crits and crits.

Critical damage IS inferior to gun damage - IF 1 class only had crit damage and the other only gun damage. Well, Fl4k has both so… Also, if you have played BL2, crit damage IS better when paired with amp shields.

Anyway, having watched some gameplay videos of Zane, I see none of Zane’s killskills except Violent Violence stack. Which kinda means they suck. I mean what’s the point of having an extended kill skill duration + the ability to automatically activate killskills, if your killskills don’t stack? If you can automatically activate your killskills, then an extended duration is of little benefit. Furthermore both Donnybrook and Cold Hand strike me as exceptionally weak as compared to precedents in the franchise. And the ironic thing was pre-changes to Zane, Donnybrook DID stack - which meant it was massively nerfed with the new changes in the skill tree. I mean I hope to be proven wrong, but I am fairly certain that outside of very niche builds, Killskill Zane’s DPS is gonna be really underwhelming.

I’m not sure what Zane gameplay you’ve seen but I watched a lot at E3 and the handful of Zane videos I could find from this week. At E3, the mechanic seemed to be that Violent Violence could stack without limit while Donnybrook could stack twice. In this week’s footage neither one stacks. You can see Mental Mars running Violent Violence here and someone who specced into Donnybrook here. And I guess it’s worth pointing out that nothing is said to stack in Zane’s skill trees

Most of the people this week were running Clone alongside one of the other action skills, and Clone was getting a lot of praise. Bahroo’s last Zane build video seemed to imply that he got to test some higher level builds, and that the clone was really strong. So maybe Double Agent will be the standout damage tree? Although I haven’t paid any attention to the math of how the barrier increases your damage, so maybe there could be something there.

You are right. Which means Kill Skill Zane is the weakest kill skill class in Borderlands history by a pretty ridiculous margin (as compared to Brick, Krieg and Jack). I really don’t know what the game designers are thinking. His killskills are the weakest in the franchise (including BL1) which doesnt make any sense for a kill skill class.

Bahroo’s last Zane build video seemed to imply that he got to test some higher level builds, and that the clone was really strong.

I wouldnt really consider level 30-50 to be indicative of the class strength. Its around this level where the classes tend to be strongest and steamroll the game with any build because enemy scaling hasn’t spiked (in UVHM/MVHM/OP levels) and classes are just gaining more skillpoints and getting stronger. Any close analysis of Double Agent would see it is decent but nothing special dps wise. Barrier is great defensively and has nice perks, but the dps wise the +25% amp is at best multiplicative and at worst additive gun damage - nothing gamechanging.

EDIT: And not allowing Zane’s killskills to stack also made Killskill Zane alot less fun. Stacking killskills were really a big step forward for the franchise and play perfectly with an extended killskill duration, and there was alot of ways to use it creatively to maximize DPS. Now the extended killskills and Seein’ Red just seems like an excuse for low-skill gameplay and to make your killskills passives.

For survivability the kill-skills are kind of interesting, if you think of Death Follows Close + Seeing Red as a way to give yourself 15 seconds of lifesteal, damage resistance, etc in a one-on-one boss fight for example. But outside of 1) survivability and 2) action skill uptime, I’m not sure what Zane will be better at than other characters. Even the cryo stuff, a cryo-focused Amara build seems like it would be crazy.

I don’t want to make assumptions about how well action skill damage scales though. We have a lot of abilities that do a chunk of damage this time around, more than previous games. They kinda have to make those abilities useful at all levels of play (thinking of Iron Bear, Drone and Clone, Fl4K’s pet attack commands, Amara’s skills that aren’t phaselock)

Hopefully I see some cool possibilities with Zane in the next few day’s of footage. The left capstone with some of legendary shields we’ve seen could be extremely interesting but I’m not sure how it will be solo.

You can just as easily spec into the Drone instead of the clone to have a more active experience. That way you have even more means to refresh your action skill, the drone at least. Also, just because Bahroo said it’s OP, doesn’t make it true. It will be a strong build, but you have very low margin for error as a single hit against Zane can screw up the entire cycle.