This is something I’m looking forward to in Outriders, the ability to craft and re-mod your gear. I don’t mind that BL requires extensive farming, I just want to have some reasonable chance at progress.
For example, say it takes 1000 runs for me to get he perfect drop (mathematically it’s probably several magnitudes higher, but assume I only care about anoint, element, and fire-mode.
I could do those 1000 runs, it might drop on the first run, it might not drop until after another 1000 runs or more.
If there were a crafting system in place, then I could break down all the “bad rolls” for components that I could then use to craft the item I want. Sure I might have to still farm 1000 items to get the materials, but I’d be making progress. Every bad drop is still a step closer to being able to craft what I want. I don’t mind putting in the effort. But there’s so much randomization that it’s improbable to get the item I want.
What does this have to do with balance? If the pool of items that require minimal “good stats” is small and the pool of “good skills” is small, then there’s only a limited number of solid builds for the end game. By having better options for customizing our gear, we can open up more build options because we’re not limited to just OP gear from the latest DLC.
If every weapon were equivalently effective (within a scale of 1 to 3) then the end-game content could be made more linearly, allowing a more balanced progression in difficulty. Instead it’s just “hit the damage cap sooner” with every DLC release.
The first one, Rangers (depending on their section ID) could get one of their best CC tools with a 50% chance from a rare enemy in Forest (the first map in the game). Also, all you realistically needed to mow down the endgame was a (non rare) berserk TMG with 50% hit. But yeah, hiding some of the endgame gear in a mob that only spawns 1-3 times in a 30-45 min run and giving it a drop chance of 1/131072 was questionable to say the least…
Of course it would, it would address your criticism that no one would have an incentive to do the content in question (aside from the challenge of doing so). People want to try out new builds and we don’t need to power creep the game in order for people to go after new items.
“beating the game” was never the argument. Also, I’m pretty sure similar things can also be said about both BL3 and PSO2.
(Davin Dittrich - the one and only Narf)
It was about item design, not Balance. Good design, in terms of power or utility, has nothing attached to it that is even measurable beyond personal taste, except for exploit-proofing or intensional exploitation of interactions with each other. It’s literally meaningless until someone adds mathematical values to it. Design would only give an item function, not functionality. For example the Pimpernel had the basic design idea of forming a flower pattern with it’s pellets. Without both the base stats to back it up as well as the dozens of beneficial interactions with other items and skills it would not have been used for it’s idea alone.
Design is really just the idea, the numbers that get attached to that are what matters in practicable terms, at least in 95% of the cases. And the numbers are the problem with BL3, not the design. BL3 has probably the best selection of creative and interesting item effects, but many of those were and are not widely used because they lack effectiveness, especially on higher Mayhem levels where effectiveness is of the highest priority.
And please don’t misunderstand that as me dismissing the fantastic design work that is behind so many items of the franchise. Without those the franchise would have never taken off as it did. But without the numbers to back it up a design is nothing but an idea, as great as it may be. Until fully executed properly a design cannot be judged, cannot show it’s true potential and won’t come to life (at least not if we’re talking about item design in video games).
Design and balance are not mutually exclusive, if you make all items that drop outside of “difficult content” weak and all items that drop from “difficult content” strong then items which drop from “difficult content” would overpower those that don’t and thus we would have an imbalance here but this would still be “by design”. “design” is more of an overarching term, what you’re talking about here in specific is gameplay.
(Davin Dittrich - the one and only Narf)
What you’re talking about isn’t even design, it’s the basic idea of progression and growth. Also, obviously design and balancing aren’t exclusive, but they aren’t done by the same people most of the time when it comes to in-game items and equipment. And no, there isn’t just “weak” or “strong” items in a game. BL3 right now goes more and more towards having as many items as possible on the 8-9/10 range of power. At least if we want to break it down like that, which I would to make the conversation easier. When I say that harder content should bring better loot I don’t mean that exclusively, as if everything that’s not endgame couldn’t drop anything above a 5/10. But you have to give an incentive to do endgame activities or people keep hitting the Graveward pinata because it’s more efficient or they just take a 30 minute detour to get a Flipper in DLC 3. Or they just tip Moxxy!
The best guns do not all have to come from the hardest content, that’s true, but for BL3 the exact opposite is true 9 times out of 10. Almost all of the best 10% of items come from easy to farm enemies while neither the CoS nor the Proving Grounds have any great gear to them (except for some class mods). The CoS at least grant loot in raw masses, which makes it rewarding that way, but also potentially exhausting if you don’t want to look through dozens of legendaries at a time to maybe find 2 or 3 good ones.
The Maliwan Takedown was originally rewarding, but powercreep wasn’t kind to most of those items unfortunately. The Guardian Takedown is better, but also at least 3 times longer and much harder.
Now the ideal path for Borderlands 3 would probably be (assuming that they don’t want to make more items exclusive to endgame content) to at least guarantee that the bosses of CoS and Proving Grounds drop something from their loot pool, ideally even multiple items each run.
Gearbox could go as far as to rotate items into those lootpools according to what the community sees as good items. For example, I for sure would run a Proving Ground that guarantees me multiple Trevonator and Hellwalker drops from the boss each time.
Overall there should be better items coming from harder content or else you have just no reason to run that content besides boredom. But as it is you’re still better off just gunning down your favorite story boss of choice to get loot in masses. There are enough decent guns in the game that you won’t have to wait long until you get something good that way.
Honestly, and yes it’s a weird idea, I would already just like to have bosses that drop specific anointments more often. Or some that can only drop legendaries of one category, like, for example if the Rampager could only drop Rocket Launchers. Stuff that rewards farming specific spots and enemies.
I completely agree with this and it is exactly what I was referring to when I said the reason they had to make the highest tiered content so easy is largely due to the high RNG for finding specific items.
I also totally agree that they need some way to make you feel like you’re making progress towards a specific item even if you don’t find it as a world drop. What you discribed is exactly what D3 does in regards to Bloodshards and Kanai’s Cube. I have no idea why BL3 did not take some of these ideas. It would be great if, for example, I go run a Slaughtershaft, don’t get any of the items I am looking for, but can take (for example) 10 legendaries and mash them together in a Grinder-type machine which then lets me change the properties on one of my guns. There needs to be some additional methods to finding gear, outside of just world drops, to help mitigate the horrible world-drop RNG.
The problem is that the step GBX took toward an “additional method” like was given to us in TPS (i.e., the grinder), also was plagued by basically horrible world-drop RNG. So although the grinder gave us an alternative method to farm items via recipes, it also was still subject to the same RNG that makes farming an annoyance sometimes. Just allowing players to modify parts would be a better idea. But something about the Unreal engine, or the way BL is optimized for the UE, must prevent that. Otherwise you would have to figure they would have done it already.
TPS was made by 2k AUS, before they went bankrupt due to losing AUS Gov subsidies, instead of GBX. Its a decision to not have crafting in Borderlands. It seems like they want individual drops to matter much more than slowly grinding toward a goal. They also kind of get around not having a crafting system in game by allowing third party editing of items, which already can be moved onto the consoles.
I think the concept of the Grinder was a great idea, it was just poorly implemented. I would love to see it come back and be used to instead re-roll Anointments or upgrade weapons to higher levels or something similar. Honestly this game desperately needs something like Kanai’s cube from Diablo 3 and a new type of Grinder would be the perfect way to implement it. For example, if you could toss in 3 legendaries with the same Anointment and “extract” that Anointment to apply it to another weapon that would be awesome. There’s so many cool things they could be doing with the loot system which makes the fact that it is so lack luster and barebones all the more frustrating.
Purple and blue rarity guns were relevant in BL2. Hell, they were relevant in BL3 up until Mayhem 2.0–off the top of my head, Q-System, Carbuncle, Protuberance, Host, Stagecoach, Masher variants on some Jakobs, shields and grenades with triple rolls in desirable effects…all of these were worth looking for. If anything, BL3’s gear diversity pre-Mayhem 2.0 was probably the best in the series. Having a very wide pool of viable gear has never hurt Borderlands and I’m frankly annoyed by anyone suggesting otherwise, especially when the reasoning is “other games do this and they’re more popular.”
Well, this, and also because the number bloat introduced was so obscene it makes sustained DPS the most important stat, to the exclusion of almost every other consideration you might have when designing a build. And instead of lowering the HP increase on enemies GBX decided to increase a random assortment of factors by equally random amounts.
So now what works in BL3’s endgame is “whatever has the biggest numbers” not the player’s ability to think about gear/skill interaction to create an effect that exceeds the sum of its parts. Moze and Zane being incredibly powerful is just a symptom of GBX’s wider approach to the game, which is that power at this point is something assigned to you arbitrarily.
It’s why I think focusing on one-shotting is kind of a red-herring, quite frankly in an RPG if you come up with a killer build you should be obliterating content. Like, we’ve got people in here saying “this isn’t Dark Souls!!!” but like. If you really grind at Dark Souls you can get so good it looks like beating bosses is effortless. Moze waltzing through a Takedown with Iron Bear evaporating everything in sight is not an issue if the reason she’s that powerful is because of distinct choices that a player made to reach that point. It is a problem when Mayhem scaling gives you so much innate damage output that it is literally impossible to ■■■■ it up.
So while I agree with your general idea that having accessible, endgame adequate gear is good for a game, I think citing specific examples from other games muddies the waters. Like, I love every single game in the PSO series, but I also firmly believe that every single PSO game has atrocious gear progression/crafting systems that should never ever be considered as a point of positive reference. Cherry picking systems from another game to address problems can sometimes work out, but it might also turn out like, idk, Arms Race.
But, to get back to your point about accessible endgame gear: giving people lots of gear options isn’t an issue with Borderlands, but not giving content that requires the level of firepower players are packing at endgame is. Aside from number bloat and weirdo scaling/buff choices, the sheer lack of new stuff to run through is why BL3 feels so boring atm. And tbh routinely adding new content can power through all kinds other terrible design decisions; even given BL3’s current state, I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy Director’s Cut, simply because I’ve enjoyed the majority of new maps and bosses that have been added post-game.
So even if GBX’s approach to endgame wasn’t a bunch of incomprehensible stat-altering choices, it ultimately wouldn’t address the OTHER issue of people reaching a point where they don’t know what else to do but shoot the same things on the same maps but with different guns.
I can understand that criticism in regards to PSU (destroys your gear) and PSO2 (extremely convoluted for no reason) but PSO was literally just “get grinder and throw it at [insert weapon here]” (no RNG involved except for getting the grinders which wasn’t really an issue either) and that’s not even something I want to see here. The slot system in PSO was literally what I wished the anointment system to be like (imagine anointments being farmable (as in they drop as an item instead of something pre attached to a weapon) you can equip (/ deequip) your weapon / gear with).
But aside from that the basic structure of the gear progression in PSO was pretty much the same as the one they use for the Borderlands games: mostly horizontal with gear dropping from dedicated loot sources which are not just limited to boss type enemies. The main difference here was that BL games make you refarm all your gear based on character / OP / mayhem level and that drop tables in PSO were based on your character name + that some items had truly horrendous drop rates which I would agree is something BL shouldn’t try to mimic.
I never said that there shouldn’t be difficult content or even just “tanky” enemies, my issue was that they overly rely on tankiness in order to create “difficulty” while making me fight what essentially feels like “reskinned stormtroopers”.
IMO this is the biggest problem with Mayhem, the HP/Armor/shield bloat. You can genuinely tell that when you reach M6 and above and start getting crazy stuff like 3000% Health to enemies, there is A LOT of stuff that simply doesn’t work anymore.
If they cut down Mayhem levels percentages by half (or at least M5 and above need a reduction like what they did when 12.500% was M10) and then lowered the power of anointments to something less powerful and adjusted mayhem scaling on skills like Moze to compensate, the game would be in a better state.
I do like buffs, there are some weapons that are still kinda mediocre or bad since the game started, but I just feel this change alone would’ve solved the last year of constant rebalancing, buffs, mayhem scaling, etc.
imo just because PSO has some broad similarities with Borderlands’ gear progression and is easy to understand doesn’t mean there is much worth to it as a whole. The Section ID system in particular sucked massively if you got the wrong one for your class, and that was also the feature most uniquely…“PSO” like. The rest of it was generic MMO stuff.
Yes, Gearbox does lean way too heavily on enemy tankiness to the exclusion of other factors. I would love it if new content came out with a focus on map design (which I generally thing GBX is good at) and enemy placement/behavior instead of slapping 10,000% HP on everything. At the same time, it’s not possible to simply “design” around enemies getting vaporized when player DPS can get so high. I think some nerfing is inevitable, but it should be entirely possible to nerf things player-side without putting them in the trash bin. Is GBX capable of pulling that off? tbh, probably not.
lol i remember when Mayhem 2.0 first came out, I thought “M6 is the absolute highest enemy HP should go” but of course it SKYROCKETS after that point. thanks GBX
The awful thing about the months long, random approach to buffing different sources of player damage is that “reduce enemy health and Mayhem scaling in tandem” is not as simple a solution as it SHOULD be. but here we are