What Borderlands 3 can learn from The Presequel

I’ve written a blog on this subject and will be writing a lot more blogs regarding Borderlands 3 as I follow its development. Borderlands is a franchise I fell in love with, and it means a lot to me for it to succeed and for people to enjoy it, because those are my co-op partners. My secret finders. My easter egg recorders. My loot drop confirmers. Basically, you guys rock and the support you give means an awful amount of the success of Borderlands.

Without further adieu, here’s my list of things Borderlands 3 can learn from the Presequel. Let me know what you think and lets have a discussion!

Respawnable bosses; Once you had killed most bosses in the Presequel, that’s it. They were done. This undermined the farming for equipment mechanic that made Borderlands 2 and 1 so very replayable. I killed Doc Mercy about 800 times for my full set of infinite pistols.Although Presequel eventually patched this, it was several months in before it came. Causing a lot of players to become less interested in the game.

Raid bosses; Such a key feature of Borderlands 2, every DLC came with at least one, some with two. Terramorphous, Vermivorous, Master Gee, Hyperius, Pete, Dex, Voracidous and Son of Crawmerax. A huge selection of bosses to fight against, all dropping unique and amazing loot, that you could use to tool up and hit others with.Presequel neglected this feature, leaving you with nothing to do at the end of the game, until the final DLC had been released. Finally including some end game features, albeit, not exactly raid bosses. Sorry, nothing to do except fight a slightly tougher version of the main game boss, who was so easy it hurt.

If you include a mechanic, don’t just turn it off for half of the game; This one might seem obvious to anyone designing a game, except for the devs over at 2k Australia. A really cool set of features were included in Presequel. Low gravity jumping, jet packs, and slamming, which was even tied into the skill sets of the characters.

Except… half way through the game you leave the Moon’s low gravity and enter a giant space base’s artificial gravity. Essentially nullifying all of the above features, for a lengthy period of time, even longer if you’re not somewhat adept at the game.

DLC; The Presequels DLC was severely lack-luster compared to the precedent Borderlands 2 had set. Borderlands 1 left us with great hopes for DLC in the future, and Borderlands 2 built on that promise. Giving us four big campaign DLCs, two character DLCs, level packs, OP levels, and the “headhunter packs” which are best described as mini-campaigns. Along with this came seraph and pearlescent weapons – which were almost as legendary as legendary, but also not? Hard to explain really. Either way, amazing weapons, equipment, stories, areas, etc etc – everything was perfect.
The Presequel on the other hand gave us I think it was two character dlcs, one ‘slaughterdome’ and one actual campaign DLC. Which for early season pass holders, felt really deceptive and underhanded. Precedent was four campaigns, and the season pass promised four pieces of DLC. They didn’t directly trick us, but had they stated the season pass’ planned content, I doubt people would have been so eager to buy it. Myself included.

Make it challenging; Arguably, one of the most important things of the whole game is the challenge. A game simply isn’t a game if there isn’t challenging obstacles to overcome by practicing or getting better gear. The Presequel was only difficult to a point, once you’d collected everything, and done everything, there was no where to go until DLC4 came along months after release. The only boss around was a slightly beefed up version of the main campaign boss, and really wasn’t difficult.

Whereas Borderlands 2 had Ultimate Vault Hunter mode and the Overpower levels come out with Digistruct Peaks. Presequel had nothing like this. You got through True Vault Hunter mode and you were done. There needs to be a high level of challenge that players can work towards. Casual gamers can stop playing whenever they want, that’s fine and okay. Your hardcore audience who will play the game endlessly need to be challenged and challenged and challenged. Otherwise we get bored and we move along to another game.

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This is an interesting topic. I’d like to address a few of your points.


I don’t really understand you here. TPS has UVHM just like BL2. OP levels weren’t implemented, but there was certainly more for the player to do after completing TVHM.

Secondly,[quote=“cursedeblogger, post:1, topic:1457096”]
If you include a mechanic, don’t just turn it off for half of the game;

There are so many O2 kits I never use because they would be so sub-optimal in gravity. Dualities of every flavor, acrobats, precision strikes, and strafing runs are so much more difficult to utilize in gravity. Some lose almost all semblance of usability.

For instance, melee characters sans Athena are royally boned when they get in gravity environments because they have to manually jump to get the airtime melee bonus from the Acrobat, or they have to be in space to get the bonus from the duality. Precision strike suffers from the same problem. Non-Nisha characters can’t get good use out of them in gravity unless they have the aim to shoot something in the head for the second or two while they’re in the air. Having to switch them out whenever you enter a different environment, especially when they have such potent bonuses, just kills so much of their potential.

Lastly…[quote=“cursedeblogger, post:1, topic:1457096”]
The Presequel on the other hand gave us I think it was two character dlcs, one ‘slaughterdome’ and one actual campaign DLC. Which for early season pass holders, felt really deceptive and underhanded.
I honestly didn’t mind most of the season pass. I really wish the holodome was better thought-out, but if I think of it as paying for the mission rewards rather than the arena itself, I think it’s pretty worth it. But if they are going to make an arena DLC, charge $10 for it, and include as a quarter of the season pass, I wish they would have put more effort into it aesthetically. For something called the holodome, you’d think it would be more…hologram-y, more changing landscapes and such. It could have added some more color to the game and made it more attractive. Also, I understand that TPS didn’t have the greatest enemy variety anyway (Dahl soldiers, aliens, rats, bandits, and a few creatures) but to only have 2 types of enemies in the DLC was just…I don’t know. Even the Bandit slaughter, which only had bandits, included buzzards, Goliaths, and rats in addition to the normal bandits and psychos. Fighting through over 25 combined waves of dahl soldiers and aliens just gets repetitive.

So for Borderlands 3, I hope they don’t make gear centered around a mechanic, then have large swaths of the game where said mechanic is nearly inaccessible. I also hope that they don’t make another holodome-espque arena. It has its plus-sides (really, only the loot IMO), but if there wasn’t any gear in the holodome, I know I would never go in there because it’s a pretty boring arena until you slog your way to round 5.

Thanks for the thread!

Sorry, I guess my phrasing was really, really poor.

I meant about how there was still a lot to do, with digistruct, raidbosses and the Headhunter packs. Whereas with TPS once you had completed TVHM the only thing you really had left to do, was re-run the main campaign. On an endless loop. Well… until the final DLC had landed anyway.

and yeah, my memory is patchy but I’m sure that there was a few characters who had slam related skills and air related skills. Meaning if you chose those skills you were just out of luck, because for a lengthy section of the game the points were moot. I really didn’t like them turning it off, I remember as I played through, I was waiting for some sort of catastrophe to happen that would damage the base’s gravity drive. Meaning you could jump high again. But nope!

I have to disagree with you regarding the DLC though. The gear alone from the Holodome wasn’t worth 1/4 of the season pass by a long stretch. A lot of it was neat, but aside from one of the shotguns, I didn’t use any of it, because I’d already been farming legendary weapons elsewhere and using those instead. Plus the terrible design of the Holodome, meaning there was often times when there were no enemies anywhere near you, and you had to go searching for one stray, which really killed the fast paced crazy fun of the whole Borderlands series.

And no problem, I really like Borderlands and any opportunity to talk about it is a good opportunity!

I understand your feelings on the holodome. That was just the only way I could justify it to myself. Both the arenas in this game were pretty bad, only the mutator arena was anywhere near good.

And don’t even get me started on my hatred of the design of the holodome. For most characters, its isn’t that bad, but for a pet specced Jack (my favorite build in the franchise) that much movement literally gimps you to near nothingness. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it really sucks because you’ll summon your Badass Jacks, they’ll kill 3 enemies, then you have to move to another part of the map, despawn them, get 2 regular clones that can’t do jack ■■■■ (get it?:grin:), lose the bolster bonus, and repeat this ad nauseam until you just give up and let the novas kill everything.

So the only way I can get my moneys worth from it is to just farm the first few rounds for the weapons and the class mods, which are mostly pretty damn good. If I didn’t, I’d be a lot more unhappy with purchasing the holodome.

When you get to round 5 and the badass round the arena gets pretty full, but that’s a lot of boredom to slog through, not to mention that for my build it would still be more than enough movement to render me ineffective in solo play. So I feel you there.

Still, much has already been said on the holodome. It has its strengths and weaknesses, but hoefully in BL3 they make more arenas like the mutator arena.

Yeah I genuinely loved the Mutator, it was something you could really sink your teeth in to.

I’m writing another piece right now on a wishlist for BL3. Amongst a newer version of the mutator, I’d like to see some competitive play between players. Scoring points vs each other to get a weapon prize, or directly trying to kill your co-op as many times as possible in an allotted time. It could be done in a holodome/circle of slaughter too. Something simple that puts you up against the ultimate challenge of Pandora - Vault Hunters.

I don’t know about that one. That seems pretty moba-ish, and battleborn has that covered.

Besides, they had a similar arena system in BL1 and as far as I know barely anyone used it. Competitive multiplayer isn’t really a Borderlands thing.


Yeah I wouldn’t want it to be anything major, or to take away from the co-op madness and fun. Just a lil small something for players to do when they think they’ve finally reached the top. There’s a lot of lore and legend surrounding Vault Hunters. It would be neat to see them go up against each other.

We have the duel system which I doubt ever gets used, its just an expansion of that, where you can wager with weapons or equipment and play as teams rather than 1on1.

I don’t think having players fight each other would be a utilized feature, but I do think back to Moxxi’s Underdome keeping count of how many enemies each player killed each round. Tying rewards to that would make for a very interesting competitive mode I think. Especially if you could setup custom rules (i.e. no rocket launchers)

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Moonstone chests is one of the best ideas they have done. They Guarantee blue or purple gear with a chance to get those cool luneshine effects on them. That is something they need to bring back for the next borderlands game. Chests that give good loot but you have to pay with a more rare currency.


I don’t think having players fight each other would be a utilized feature, but I do think back to Moxxi’s Underdome keeping count of how many enemies each player killed each round. Tying rewards to that would make for a very interesting competitive mode I think. Especially if you could setup custom rules (i.e. no rocket launchers)

I think that the duel system is an attempt to have players fight each other, but it isn’t at all fleshed out enough. So is mostly used to score badass rank. If you expand on that system slightly and allow people to wager weapons for the winner of the duel to keep. You make the duel system more valuable and important. It’s already not used, why not make it better so that it is used instead? Heck, you could even have an option for people to duel for loot drops.

Imagine killing Vermi, and both of you run off to get the loot. A shiny slag Norfleet. You reach it at the same time and because you both tried to pick it up at almost the exact same time, it triggers a duel event. Where you and your comrade fight to the death for the ownership of the weapon. It doesn’t have to be big, but I think that allowing Vault Hunters fight other Vault Hunters could be a super neat feature.

I love the moonstone chests, and I really enjoy the gambit of whether youre going to get something with a nice luneshine bonus. Without the luneshine bonus though I really don’t think the chests are worthwhile. It’s definitely a feature that I’d like to see in Borderlands 3, but maybe tweaked slightly in some way to make luneshine a little more terrifying, but a lot more expensive and rare.

and by expensive, I mean super expensive. Being able to buy gear like that is great, but it undermines and shortcuts alot of the challenge of farming for your gear and working hard to get it. I wouldn’t feel so well accomplished for having bought a gun rather than took it from the cold dead hands of a badass. So it really needs to be quite expensive to offset that, because then atleast you can feel like you accomplished by earning the currency for it.

you can see my full wishlist here

I think they are definitely worth while no matter what. Getting blue and purple gear while leveling up in all three play throughs is great. And most purple gear in general are some of the best gear you can get. When i get a purple quad out of one of them. I get so excited, and then destroy everything in my path

I think they can be really helpful when youre struggling through the game, but part of the fun for me at least is how challenging Borderlands can be. I don’t mind dying repeatedly as long as I feel like I’ve achieved by conquering an area I couldn’t previously fight through.

I feel kind of like that would be undermined if amazing loot was really easy to get all the time. There wouldn’t be as much of a challenge by a long shot. On the flipside if you make the challenge harder to compensate for the ease of access to great loot; then you end up making great loot not so great any more.

i’d love to see a system where every manufacturer has a vendor. maybe like some location you can fast travel to that is a bit of a shopping mall. and the item of the day is always something legendary/unique from that vendor. maybe make these items cost a lot of moonstones or whatever cash, nearly a full load. so they’re get-able but not without some farming. especially when crazy earl has upgrades to sell you to. the shopping mall could be an interesting little dynamic. maybe have bandits there, but not hostile, just NPC ones trying to buy some cool loot too. maybe stick the odd unique in the machines.

don’t have to have a lot of different currencies for them each. but just one hard to get currency for them.

and the grinder was also a great idea, i’d love to see it return. Oh and Davis Pickle, i just thought he was a good character.


That is a feature in TPS.

I suppose it is, but only in a really small and insignificant way. I want to make that feature slightly more than it already is, so that people actually use it. It seems like it’s just been forgotten about, when it could actually prove to be a lot of fun if it was expanded.

I kind of liked Pickle, but as a Brit, I truly hated his attempts at Cockney rhyming slang. The entire point of it is that you don’t say the word you mean and instead use a rhyme. So if you wanted to say someone was going up the stairs, you’d say they were going up the apples and pairs. You wouldn’t then say “stairs” to explain it. It’s a pet peeve, and it always got to me, on every play through.

A mall of sorts would be cool, its a lot of space to dedicate to shops and vending machines that are on the maps already. I don’t want legendaries to be easy to get, because that really undermines their whole point. Its supposed to be hard to get them, and unless the currency you introduce comes from defeating super high level bosses - ala seraph crystals, I don’t think this would work very well.

Alternatively it would still be nice to see what the worlds of Vladof etc are like. We’ve seen Hyperion, we’ve seen Torgue, it’d be neat to see the others too.

The one thing I really liked about TPS (which followed BL1’s lead) was having vendors be useful again. Going to a vendor and actually looking forward to what you might find is something I really enjoyed and I would like to see it return in BL3.


i was the same about pickle. i love the idea of a real del boy type of character, bit of hooky street, hell i’d like if he had a three wheeled buzzard or something to really make him stand out. but i did hate him explaining the phrases. keep schtum with it. leave it for the septic tanks to find out.

Things to learn from BLTPS
Keep the secondary currency (moonstone/eridium) as easy to find as it is now
Make sure your bosses are farmable
Old legendaries are cool but also make a lot of new ones, claptastic voyage was great about that
Speaking of which, give us more than one campaign dlc and make it with the same time and care you made the claptastic voyage
Keep oz kits (or at least double jumping)
Keep lasers!!!
Keep cryo instead of slag
Getting skills at level 3 was a good choice and making it so you can reach all 3 capstones if you’re careful was also great!
I like not having op levels but at the same time make the end game a little more challenging, I think tps’s uvhm was almost perfect just turn up the difficulty a little
Give us more end game: more side quest, more raid bosses, and more farming
Also make more uniques, I think tps had a enough legendaries for a game its size but I definitely needed more uniques, whether they’re boss unique too bosses or quest rewards, the unique guns are great(and great fun) for 1st and 2nd play through and some can still be good on uvhm


I would’ve really liked an explanation as to why there were no lasers or cryo guns in BL2, and I guess that’s somewhat to do with the positioning, but we’re on Pandora’s moon, and space travel is a thing. So location isn’t really a good excuse for that.

Personally, I’d have loved a Torgue DLC for the presequel, that explaind how Torgue completely annihilated all laser and cryo weapons factories because they weren’t exploding enough.

and the DLC reward is a Torgue laser that fires an ice bolt, that when it hits enemies turns into an explosive nova. kinda like the thunderfire, but with two different elements. with the red text on the gun being “don’t tell grandma Torgue” i’d love something like that. gathering up the various pieces and parts of lasers, and cryo weapons and getting them destroyed to guitar solos.

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