Well, guess I kinda killed the replay value unintentionally

If the issue is limitations, artificial and intentional, I would make the case that limiting one’s self to a single play style determined strictly by maximum DPS is an artificial limitation. It’s not the only way to play the game, and to call it the most effective way play the game implies, based on the dialogue here, that we are only meant to play as Moze in Iron Bear. I’m pretty sure that’s not the intention of the makers of the game.

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I have a max damage Plasma Coil, Kickcharger (w/splash anoint), etc. I have a Hustler with bonus Splash Radius. I have a x2 Amp Infernal Wish. I don’t use them all the time, because it’s boring.
I have a lot more fun trying to knock enemies off maps with Force and Singularity grenades, and my ASS Revengenader w/Safe Space, and No Way Out MNTIS. Or freezing them with my +600% cryo efficiency Frozen Devil, then laying into them with a Face-Puncher. Ugh, the Deterrence Field augment for the Barrier is awesome. But yeah, I guess there’s something wrong with me.:unamused:

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@Isthiswill My only problem with what you’ve said here is that the history of the Borderlands games kinda revolves around maximizing the effectiveness of your build. Yes, you can do the more niche stuff if you want to, but generally the Borderlands games as a whole have tended to emphasize maximizing your character’s abilities. I think the historical BL fanbase tends to focus around maximizing the tools that each character is given by the devs, and many players are not pleased that this seems to be much easier to do in BL3 than it has been in other games.

Personally, I tend to come down on this side of the argument. If you maximize your build in the way the devs appear to have “intended” in BL3, the game simply does not stand up to it.

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One of the things they have acknowledged, particularly with Tiny Tina’s voice lines when activating the Raid Boss version of the Sentinel, is that Raid level enemies will destroy you solo, and are intended to, but sometimes people find Over-powered builds that allow them to overcome the intended challenge. That tells me those approaches aren’t their intentions, they’re just possible because their play testing can’t account for everything players might do (and in many cases their own bugs and glitches in early iterations of the release). Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Mission The Bestest Story Ever Told - YouTube

Self referential jokes about Cheese Spots in the Son of Crawmerax Headhunter are a fun meta joke with the same angle.

Maybe we project intent, and they do their best to save face. Meanwhile the continue compiling player data that no doubt influences the buffs and nerfs that drove people up the wall. Their intent will always be compromised by the popular opinion of consumers. That aspect of commercial popular art makes speculation about authorial intent suspect. What moves are just reactionary?

I appreciate what you’re saying, but I mean, the Plasma Coil and Free Radical exist. Put those on any build, with any anointment, and they’re good. Certainly the devs on those weapons knew this, right? A near-zero amount of playtesting would tell you that. You can almost only look at the card itself to know. No glitches, bugs, or interactions needed. You can make them even more overpowered with builds, but you don’t have to.

It’s not like the Pimpernel, where it took good players 18 months to figure out that this was a cool weapon. Not intending to compare weapons, but there’s a case where we totally broke that weapon with every character by maximizing builds and gear. It took a while to sort it. I think that’s a good example of players trying to multiply unintended interactions.

It’s like BL3 has 5x the cool and interesting weapons (not just legendaries, not all legendaries are cool) and gear of all the other games combined (I mean seriously, if I am wrong, the numbers are close I bet), but nothing in the game itself to provide a real challenge. Sorry for all the parentheticals LOL, hopefully it makes sense. Not trying to be an elitist either, I believe BL3 endgame is objectively really easy compared to BL2 and TPS, and it might be easier than the limited endgame BL1 had.

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When you broach DLC weapons being overpowered it opens the conversation to the business practices influencing game development. For anyone who opts to not play with an optimized build that finds themself struggling with content like the Guardian Takedown or Mayhem 10, those weapons become a selling point of DLC. Especially when seasonal events and their overpowered gear was unavailable (now no longer the case). Word of mouth from the content creating community and journalists can sell product. It’s as much synergy as it is conflict of interest.

I came into the game after it was released on Steam and missed all the seasonal events before I started play, but just before Bounty of Blood game out, so when I came up against higher mayhem levels and the takedowns I didn’t have any of that gear. I didn’t follow any guides or watch any videos for farming. I just played the game tabula rasa, with all four vault hunters, and made note of what weapons actually worked for me, and where (better said with which mayhem modifiers) I did the best job of surviving. The only Vault Hunter I stood a chance with in higher Mayhem Levels was Moze initially, specifically because of Iron Bear’s damage output. The legendaries I had were ones mostly viewed as trash by most players then and now. The few I found to be effective weren’t up to the task. I wasn’t able to enjoy Mayhem 4 (of 10 at that point) until the Mayhem Made Mild Weekly event where they switched out some of the more severe modifiers. At that point I had been playing the game in my free time (I work FT and look in on a family member with health issues so i don’t have a whole lot of time to dedicate to playing) for about six weeks.

Eventually I got my hands on a Complex Root and its reputation was being well celebrated, and it was because of that weapon I was able to beat Wotan for the first time, in normal Takedown, with Mayhem turned off. I wasn’t able to solo Guardian takedown until they turned off the Crystal charging phases for a week in August. I also had a Pearl of Ineffable Knowledge, a DLC quest reward. Could I have been able to deal with the final boss of the Krieg DLC or Hemovorous without those weapons? Maybe? Are they reasonably challenging without the Pearls, Company Men, or other DLC legendaries? For me, yes. For others, I can’t say. Without those items it may have taken me way more time, or I may have left that content alone.

I didn’t even attempt most of the True Trials because I didn’t want to be bothered with immovable health bars (aka bullet sponges) given it takes more time and optimization of builds, but it’s not any more fun . Challenge without fun, in my opinion, isn’t a game, it’s a chore. You get rewarded for completing the chore, but I’d rather have fun. That’s why I understand all the complaints about how people feel the game is poorly balanced. They don’t want a cakewalk, but they don’t want boring chores either.

That’s probably why the Scholar Boss Battle in Love Guns and Tentacles is one of my favorites in the entire series. To be fair, I consider the Ratchet & Clank series were my favorite gaming mechanics for years. Having an immersive experience where you have to use the full range of movement and game play tactics to engage an enemy goes a long way for me.

That’s where I’m coming from, and I acknowledge that they didn’t achieve those type of enemy encounters in most of the boss fights in Borderlands 3, if only because they had limited ways of differentiating the feel of them. Increasing “difficulty” by opting for the alternative of cranking up the enemy HP and damage resistance requires some precise tuning of game balance to not be severely limiting.

As much as the previous games provided more challenging game play with Raids and certain mobbing scenarios (the Beatdown, Sawtooth Cauldron), they also pushed a lot of restrictions on gear and builds once you got to endgame. There may have been cool ways to unconventionally beat those bosses or run the peak, but it required a lot of luck and very narrow parameters that didn’t abide by the natural flow of playing the game as story mode would indicate it was meant to be played (pre-stacking of skills etc).

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eh, what’s the future addition (that literally is not here nor affecting anything now) has anything to do with your enjoyment now?

Besides, the complain is being too easy*, if you want to talk about the issue of disparity between different VH, sure, but that’s not even the topic of discussion.

I have no issue with IB being as strong as it is. I think the problem is how little investment is required for IB to steamroll the most difficult content in the game, and how generally unengaging the playstyle is. Iron Bear ON ITS OWN at Mayhem 10 steamrolls everything cept the raids, and throw in a few skill points/anointments and those become trivial as well. A Flame Class Mod makes cooldown completely irrelevant. Within Iron Bear, you are basically cannot die even if you actively try to play badly, and the playstyle is completely one-note.

Iron Bear should be weak at base - significant investment into boosting its skills and smart choice of gear should be critical at making it powerful. Optimizing Iron Bear’s Power should involve significant player involvement and/or circumstantial power boosts (Like the Flare for example).

I think the lack of an involved playstyle is a prevailing problem across BL3, but Iron Bear is really the poster boy for most of the game’s balancing issues.

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Maybe read it again through the eyes of a player that has been there on launch day:
Gearbox has made the game easier and easier throughout its lifecycle with additions such as M2.0 and power creep across the board.
But while some VHs virtually remain the same, FL4K, others increased in power to disengaging levels, Moze, Iron Bear and pay2win Zane.
With increasing power levels of some, not all, VHs the game becomes even easier for those VHs that got buffed.
So, it’s no wonder the game becomes boring for someone who played Moze in her current state first.
FL4K would be a way more involved Playstyle …

Difficulty, power creep and power disparity do impact a players experience based on the VH they choose.

I haven’t even said a single word about my enjoyment by the way. I still play the game and just shy away from stuff that’s mind-numbingly uninvolving.
But still, I get what those who dislike the easy difficulty complain about. Just because I can workaround it doesn’t disqualify the points made.

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Interesting discussion. I would sum up my attitude as follows:

BL2:

  • Much more driven by Challenge: UVHM, OP levels, scarce gear
  • Required much bigger time investment and effort. I did not max out a single character.
  • Stingy with drops in general, hates world drops, loves hiding gear behind obscure enemies/tough bosses. I never beat a single raid boss in BL2.

BL3:

  • Main focus is on Variety - 4 action skills per VH is one good example.
  • Easier and more accessible endgame - I have ~15 characters at max level now.
  • Generous - only few items are truly well hidden, and these are not overpowered/required. It has plenty of gear and lets you enjoy it

As far as this whole “too easy/why won’t you do self imposed challenges” debate - I’m in a camp that says “it’s a game, not a job, there are multiple ways to have fun with it, so it’s up to me to figure out how to have fun”. But, as a full disclosure, I’m more of a variety-oriented player, so BL3 is more of my cup of tea (together with BL1).

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Something I think we all need to keep in mind is that most of us on the boards are pretty invested in B3 and aren’t the typical players. We can view endgame as easy as we’ve put in the time and effort to build good characters and farm good gear. Most people don’t.

Have a buddy of mine that plays casually. He was interested in teaming up and trying M10/11 endgame content. He had a max level Moze, so I figured he’d be fine. I was very wrong! I spent most of Maliwan takedown resurrecting him.

I asked if I could take a look at his build and gear, and discovered his build was a mess! He had just thrown points into what sounded cool. His gear was M10, but he didn’t have usable annointments on anything.

We went back to Sanctuary and he reset his points. I discussed what he wanted to do with the Moze and Iron Bear, and helped him rebuild more cohesively. I dug in my bank for gear that fit his playstyle a bit better and had useful annointments.

He was able to play much more effectively thereafter. He enjoyed the endgame, but hasn’t gone back or made a new character. He had his fun playing through the game, but wasn’t interested in the gear farming or build considerations that most of us take for granted. In the end, Gearbox made a game that a casual player could enjoy and that a hardcore player could find some fun as well, even if they have to look for it.

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It remains hilarious to me that. In order for me to get Bear through Takedown, I created the most convuluted, absolutely ridiculous set of “giving up everything to make this work”

And now an un-touched Iron Bear is totally viable. Like. It just really shows you how different the game is from launch to today. And it was a see-saw all the way here. Over and over, they over tuned the enemies. So they over tuned the weapons. So they overtuned the enemies…so they overtuned the skills.

Now it’s a game where one or two things can play the game for you. And somehow, that’s what people go for. Because they…just wanna keep pulling the slot machine arm of a one shot boss kill for loot they don’t even wanna use.

Everyone in here is arguing about how to make the game enjoyable for what they want a game to be. But the fact is, if you have to work to figure out how to enjoy a game…you probably don’t enjoy the game. And that’s fine! But maybe we do need to stop kidding ourselves.

Self Challenges are great, but here’s the thing: if there’s nothing that challenges the top tier gear, getting the top tier gear is just some arbitrary goal, just the same as a self challenge…but the top tier gear? It’s not even, from when I was playing, difficult to get. And that’s the thing. People are generally upset by the effort/reward ratio, and then how even then…the stuff isn’t fun to them.

I don’t have a point. I never do. Oh! That’s an exclamation point. I guess I found one.

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@sammantixbb That’s a fair statement and so are some of the things other commenters have said. BL3 is definitely very accessible, and I think a lot of people like it for that reason. But after the initial “hype period” following release, which we have clearly gotten past and appear to be at least a year or so past now, hardcore players are the ones keeping the game alive.

Maybe the devs and management at GBX don’t care about having that long life on their game like prior BL games had - they just want to focus on the vast majority of their playerbase that beats the game once in normal mode and puts it down, or maybe also plays the DLCs. If so, that’s a choice and it may well be the one that is the most profitable. I guess I tend to think that making your game balanced, interesting, and playable for your hardcore fanbase for the long term also benefits more casual players, or at the very least doesn’t hurt the casual player’s experience.

BTW I looked at a website that shows concurrent players on all platforms the other day. I don’t know how they get their information, but I assume their data is at least ballpark accurate. BL3 was hovering around 200k concurrent players. Destiny 2 was 890k. That says a lot.

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Oh, how’s warframe look on that site…

Edit:
If I found the same site…50k. Hm. Oh well!

Here’s the site I used. No idea how accurate this is though.

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To be fair, that’s comparing a game that has a working and popular Co-Op and PvP player base. Comparing the number of people in Multiplayer vs. the number of people playing solo and it will still favor Destiny 2 I’m sure, but it won’t be as huge a disparity.

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These are things that I believe BL3 could have had, if some better decisions had been made. At least on the co-op front. I wouldn’t even want PvP in BL, period.

I believe Co-Op was the lifeblood of Borderlands 2 more so than the endgame. Someone wanting more friends to play Co-Op with is how I ended up being introduced to the game.

It’s very ironic that when they finally get a foothold in Console to PC cross-play, it’s when their offering has the worst Co-Op experience since when the Gamefly servers went offline for Borderlands 1 and I had to use a P2P LAN tool to play with the friend who brought me into the games.

Ok, and here’s a big aside I have been refraining from mentioning because of the stance on the boards regarding this subject:

For hardcore, truly hardcore players who have issues with the balancing and loot system in Borderlands 3, moving to the PC version of the game is the Meta. Before launch discussion of Player-curated rebalancing and customization was already well underway. And after a certain point those tools and rebalanced versions of the game have been available to anyone who was interested in playing them at no cost. More are on the way, and most seek to appease the desires of those looking for more of a challenge and less clutter in the loot system (no anointments, a pearlescent rarity, etc.)

The developer is well aware of this, and approved the Hotfix method of customizing modified versions of the game. The Hardcore community has created a space for like-minded players to go and get the kind of Borderlands they wanted to begin with, so why should they force than on other paying customers who aren’t in the least bit interested in that?

I, for one, felt that a lot of the Mayhem Modifiers were reminiscent of some of the custom gimmick weapons and game modes created in 2017-18. For the hardcore challenger seekers BYOB (Build Your Own Borderlands) is the default approach going forward.

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@Isthiswill I know how some players feel about mods but that personally doesn’t matter to me. I love BL and want the optimum experience that works the way I feel like the game ought to have been. I would use mods in a NY minute.

I don’t and have never played on PC though. My biggest issue with PC is that I don’t need a hobby (dealing with a PC) to support my hobby (Borderlands). I have absolutely nothing against it, I just like being able to turn on my Xbox and play. But I have been trying to convince myself to get a gaming PC anyway.

I agree with a lot of what you have said about BL3 mods. What continues to frustrate me about BL3 mods though, is that it is clearly possible to make BL3 more balanced, interesting, playable, and less buggy. It is mind-boggling to me why GBX doesn’t pursue some of these same balancing, QOL, and gameplay changes as part of the “authorized” game. I know that BL3 changes would require QA and whatnot - but let’s be honest, they clearly aren’t spending a ton of time on QA in the first place.

But :man_shrugging:t2:, that’s just me.

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Why pay someone to do that when you know that fans are going to do it for free eventually?