This is probably going to be flamed, and inevitably go down the exact same arguments it always does (don’t nerf, buff, nerf nerf buff buff blah blah). I want to point out the reason borderlands needs to have a degree of balance (not strict) despite being a co-op game – the outliers to be addressed aren’t within overpowered range or “nerfs”, they are severe to level of exploits and at the level of a crazy seesaw. Normally there is only 1 or 2, but in this game there appear to be several. Many of them could have been absent if they took longer to look at the gear or skills before initiating them, and would have caused less strife if they weren’t there in the first place. The main issues with gear and skills are:
- Bugs – appears to be more as a victim of quantity over quality with content
- Resource budgeting – most rpgs have a certain budget for stats with a certain skill or gear slot e.g. at this level there is this % damage = this crit damage etc. which prevents outliers at the possible cost of being homogenous. This doesn’t need to be strict in this game but it is at the level of incredulity and lacking common sense i.e. same gear or skills being up to 10 times the other, which shows loot and skills aren’t being looked at side by side.
- Vague descriptors on a lot of gear and skills. This makes it difficult to compare gears/skills, requiring guessing or testing with limited tools by players.
They appear to be designing at a casual rpg level (lets make it fun!) when their intentions are to be a longer game keeping dedicated players and loot hunters. Why is this an issue? It leads to exponential power creep, which results in decisions like mayhem 4 - bullet sponges to cover op builds in order to extend the longevity of the game. The longevity of content is already in doubt, much faster than previous, and thus also leads to damaging diversity of builds. The argument always is “why don’t I buff all the others?” If it is reducing one thing compared to buffing 10 it leads to the same outcome when they are forced to up enemy stats as a result – just more work and increased likelihood of errors.
As for how Amara needs to be balanced, when you boil down to it there are some very simple and understandable fixes leading to her destroying content.
- Amara is triggering boosts etc. with phasegrasp missing. Obviously this is a bug
- Do Harm is increasing the link damage of ties that bind. With phasezerker this leads to a crazy damage boost. Again appears unintended and a bug
- Phasecast and Phaseslam anointments should be reduced 250 to 125% and 300 to 150% respectively. It makes sense compared to standard “when action skill ends” is set to 100% weapon damage
- El Dragon artefact DOT for melee is overtuned – the DOT alone is killing major bosses
- Face puncher is bugged to be 12 melee hits and triggering all associated procs, leading to multiple exploits. It really should have been just a gun boosted by melee damage as a backup for melee characters, as it is otherwise bypassing the risk/reward aspect to melee procs requiring to be up close to enemies.
- Mindfulness as a mid tier for 3 points leads to a 100% boost in movement speed and instant shield recharge, way above the movement speed boosts of everything else in the game (which is normally 10-20%) for little cost. This has now been highlighted with the new mod which adds weapon damage to this and makes it easy to trigger. It should have only stacked up to 5-10 times (20-40% movement speed). This is the same issue for Moze’s phalanx doctrine (where its stacking 20+ times leading to a crazy snowball effect, when it should have just been 5).
The above should be enough to balance Amara to a level that isn’t exploitative. This isn’t touching the phasezerker mod which personally I think is bad design (completely overrides the rush mechanic with instant stack maxing and 75% damage boost, results in only normal action skill use without needing to time or change build).
The worry is that with the new gear that came out the same issues are happening despite having more time. I don’t think the above is anything nuanced at all or debatable, it is just bad design and we’re already seeing the effects.