Zane still has no playstyle identity and it's why I think he (or at least his COMs) still needs work

Amara has a ton of interesting interactions and can make so many guns do some crazy stuff, along with boosting elemental damage to its full potential. Moze can bullet hose without ever reloading and one-tap enemies into explosions. FL4K (while also probably still needing a few tweaks) has insane crit synergies and could spec into his pet really putting some work into the fight alongside him. Zane just has a class mod and an action skill that plays the game.

I’ve been a Zane main since release. I have almost 27 days of playtime on my main Zane save. I’ve made many Zane builds since the start (some of you may remember my Jakob’s Zane back from M3) and love the character and what he can do. But recently I’ve started to get a little bored of how he plays and I think I’ve narrowed it down to him really not having a niche. He’s truly a jack of all trades master of none type of character.

Zane can keep up. He’s viable just as much as any other character. But he isn’t that much better off than release when he was seen as the weakest of the four in terms of build diversity. Really what’s changed is that he’s gotten a single incredibly powerful COM and his digiclone has been buffed to the point of actually being able to take out enemies (and bosses) on his own, which is a fantastic change, I’d like to point out.

But Zane himself still doesn’t do, well, anything. He can get a lot of gun damage. And that’s about it. I’m not too well-versed in FL4K, though have quite a bit of experience with Amara and Moze, two characters that could very easily take out Graveward, for example, in one or two shots while standing still. For Zane to keep up he needs to be sliding at the speed of light and dump the mag of a sandhawk into his target. Either that or sit still and watch the clone do it for him.

I think I went on a bit more of a tangent than I meant to here but this is my main point: Amara, Moze, and FL4K have identities that give them areas that they can really specify their builds into and interactions to base playstyles around. Zane has a god-tier class mod and the ability to make many builds work, but not to the same power level or fun factor as the characters that have specific expertise.

But I also recognize this as being what Zane is about. This is why he gets two action skills and why all his abilities are for general gun damage. He’s supposed to be a jack of all. But why can’t he master anything when specced into it? Why do none of his COMs seem to give him cool new abilities that allow him to create an actual playstyle for himself that feels good instead of just being plug and play with any half-decent weapon? Or hell, give him bonuses/interactions based on which two action skills he has working together.

I hope to one day see Zane get addressed a little more. Either in a rework to his base identity, or preferably, his COMs.

I’d also like to be clear that I don’t believe Zane has absolutely no way of keeping up with the others. He does, and he does it pretty easily. It’s just that in some areas he takes a bit more work to do so and that he honestly feels a little boring in his builds as compared to the other VHs since he really doesn’t do anything super spectacular. Thanks for listening to my TED talk.


His identity is moving fast :).

No but in all seriousness, I completely agree. He doesn’t have any cool interactions or special synergies with his weapons, unless you count giving them to your digi-clone, and this basically boils down to “use whatever weapon is good” rather than “use a weapon that uniquely synergizes with your character”.

He’s almost got this, in a few places. Prior to seein’ dead’, he was all about moving from one guy to the next to get value from his kill skills, or freezing enemies continuously to not only nullify enemies, but to keep your action skills active. But now, seein’ dead being so outrageously powerful, basically gives you all of the benefits from previous playstyles for free. We can pretend he has the option to use other class mods by virtue of you technically being able to choose something else, but we all know seein’ dead is all any Zane player uses, and will forever be exclusively used until it gets nerfed, which somehow still hasn’t happened yet.

One skill of his that almost makes a cool synergy is playing dirty. It incentivizes you to run weapons with low pellet counts like the Call weapons to get higher value out of each bullet. The problem is, this skill is not strong enough to make up for the lack of any other interesting abilities.

I have a couple ideas on how to fix this. For starters, swap the effects from the capstone Seein’ Red, and the Seein’ Dead the class mod, but keep the 25% on the class mod. So the class mod activates KS on action skill start plus the 25% effectiveness, and the capstone gives a chance to activate them on damage. This will make the capstone very powerful, enough for you to want to spec into it, while still keeping some value on the class mod, but not so much it completely devalues others.
Once this is done though, suddenly the green tree and the CCC playstyle becomes very underpowered compared to rampant kill skills and monstrous power of the clone. To this, we need to put a lot of damage buffs in the green tree, especially in the later half. What kind of buffs? Well make frozen enemies like they were in the Pre-Sequel. Make them take additional critical damage, and additional explosive damage. I’m not too sure where exactly to put that, so maybe just add it on to the capstone for now or change a couple of the other skills so they add in those damage values high enough to compete with the 2 other trees. Important to note though, those damage values HAVE to be high. Like minimum of twice the critical damage, double the explosive/kinetic damage, and then maybe further increase those values for when the enemy can’t be frozen solid, so he maintains power against bosses and annointeds. This, hopefully, would really reward that playstyle, and make it definable enough to say “yeah, zane freezes things and then blows them up”

For me personally, CCC Zane with constant barrier uptime and constant freezing of everything on the field was my favorite playstyle in the entire game, and with substantial enough buffs, I feel it can come back.


Make seeing red do what seeing dead does and his build diversity would increase dramatically. I know a lot of Zane players, including myself, would like to see this change or something similar, so we’re not just stuck using seeing dead all the time.


Yeah, your suggestions honestly sound great. I’ve though for awhile Red and Dead should be swapped and that the green tree should honestly have most of it reworked. Although I think CCC still would have use for builds using slow firing, high damage guns. Lob, heavies, pretty much any Jakob’s, etc.

Seein’ Dead isn’t a class mod. It’s a band aid. And until they fix this, Zane will be stuck in his current state.


Kinda like the sapper was for moze, until they finally added some other sources of health regen for moze besides vamp. Moze has gotten a lot of love, no reason they can’t modify Zane a bit, as build diversity seems to be on GBXs radar.

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Yeah I feel Fl4k and Moze should be a template to balance Amara and Zane when it comes to gameplay variety and class mods. Cause now Moze, even though imo Dakka Bear and Skag Den are still a bit too much imo, has really a bunch of class mods options

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Agreed. These changes would be fantastic and really help to flesh out Zane more. As for where to put the changes, Zane’s green tree has a few wasted spots already. I think Nerves of Steel, Best Served Cold, Stiff Upper Lip and Hearty Stock could all be changed without people getting too upset.

I think if it was me, I’d do something like this:

  • Hearty Stock: frozen or slowed targets take increased damage from splash damage. Increases per point.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: frozen or slowed targets put out an aura. Enemies in this aura are more easily frozen or slowed. Distance and cryo efficiency increases with each point.
  • Best Served Cold: frozen or slowed targets take increased damage from critical hits. Increases per point.
  • Nerves of Steel: Kill skill. Whenever Zane gets a kill, 25% of his total damage is added as cryo damage.

They need to make each tree worthwhile and balanced within themselves and then go over each of his coms and make sure they’re all viable for different playstyles. Cryo ones, action skill ones, kill skill ones… The possibilities are there, they just need to be worked on.


I sincerely hope they don’t nerf Seein Dead without fixing the other coms, and Zane himself, first. It’s all he has.

I’m all for an overhaul of the green tree and a switch of Dead and Red effects. I’d also like most of his other coms to be modified. Some are just laughably bad. 5% chance to refill SNTNL? Come on…

Shockerator (the dlc2 one) (*Conductor, thanks for correction) seemed interesting, until I noticed that needless damage cap, and was reminded that I’d basically have to run CCC.




Yeah I tried to make Conductor work on my Drone / Clone Zane. Tried really really hard. Finally gave up. He is back to Seein Dead like my Barrier / Clone Zane. That COM had alot of wasted potential…

I think it definitely had a good idea, the problem is the cap.

If I’m understanding it correctly, it has a max damage cap, regardless of how much you extend your ASA time, so the entire point of it, to extend your ASA as much as possible… is pointless.

That, and you’d need to do an ASE build since you don’t have Seein Dead activating your kill skills when you deal damage, which is contrary to what a ‘more damage the longer ASA’ mod needs to work well :confused:

That part of Zane has always been contradictory, and is something they really need to fix by swapping Seein Dead and Seein Red’s effects.
Keep the 25% boost on the mod, but switch ‘activate kill skills on ASS’ and ‘activate kill skills when dealing damage’ between the mod and skill, I’d say.

Still gives people a reason to use Seein Dead, while opening up a plethora of other possible viable coms for Zane.
Not that other coms don’t still need work, but that would help a lot.


I think this sounds like a great idea initially but when I start thinking through the wider ramifications for the character I’m not so sure. First, it would need to be done in tandem with a buff to the rest of his class mods because otherwise it would simply be a total nerf on the character. Without the Seein Dead, Zane has nothing on par with the Phasezerker, Spiritual Driver, Mindsweeper, Blast Master, Cosmic Stalker, Bounty Hunter, etc.

Either this or the other capstones would need buffing to provide similar effects to the new Hitman capstone. Otherwise he would be forced to always go down that tree. But then if they did buff his other capstones he would become overpowered as a character because not only could he access Seein Dead’s effects but he would have something equally powerful at the same time. It’s a bit of a catch 22 when you start unpicking it.

My suggestion would actually be to buff his other class mods so that he has viable alternatives and a range of new playstyles open to him. The Cold Warrior, for instance, should make him the de facto cryo character (potentially by giving him a cryo efficency buff and a damage multiplier against frozen targets) while the Techspert should help his gadgets shine in a significant way. Meanwhile, the Antifreeze could be active during all movement and act as a multiplier with Violent Momentum.

Then, if necessary, they could lower Seein Dead’s percentage chance of proccing kill skills without it stinging quite so much as just doing it now.

That’s what I mean; swap the Seein red and Seein dead effects, effectively turning the Seein dead effect into the new cap skill.

That would help Zane and allow for more coms to be used

He can be fully invulnerable throughout entire fights, and can freeze anything with a crit spot. That is a little more than “anything”.
He also has Violent Momentum as pretty defining skill, and hefty grenade regen.

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The trouble with that is the blue tree, which is already the most powerful potentially, would become the go to tree which you would have to go down. The other trees wouldn’t be able to hold a handle to it, especially not the green tree. I think it would be better to slightly reduce the percentage chance to proc kill skills through the mod and then buff all his other mods to be equally usable. Then we would not have one single mod to use but a wide variety and many more playstyles people could enjoy. Right now if you’re not doing red/blue + Seein Dead you’re basically doing it wrong and that’s a real shame :man_shrugging:


I understand what you mean, but the blue tree is already the default, due to better skills and his best anointment being tied to SNTNL.

At least this way other coms could be usable.

Well seein red was the middle stone pre release. That would help not having to go down there whole tree.

It would still be at the end of the tree.

I don’t think having to default to one tree is the ideal and pushing it further in that direction would be a mistake. Each character should have a range of options. Gearbox needs to:

  • Buff the green tree. They could change practically all the skills but I would give particular attention to Stiff Upper Lip, Refreshment, Best Served Cold, Nerves of Steel and Distributed Denial. If each of these was given an extra effect such as extra damage against frozen foes on Best Served Cold or critical hit damage on Nerves of Steel and the skill changing to activate in the same way as Competent Competence, rather than as it does now, then that would be great. The capstone should become something powerful which ties the tree together.
  • While looking at skills, they could also have a look at Trick of the Light (perhaps always active if enemies are frozen?) and Like a Ghost from his red tree. Duct Tape Mod should also just have a flat chance to shoot a grenade, no timer.
  • Green augments should all work whether you are holding your shield or it is placed on the ground. You should also be able to hold the action skill button longer in order to activate it in your hands rather than having to drop it and pick it up again.
  • Then I would begin having a pass at all his class mods so that each one provides a viable playstyle worth building around (to me, the problem ultimately isn’t Seein Dead but Seein Dead being so much more powerful than his other class mods that it restricts our options):

Antifreeze: buffs all damage while moving, additional buff while airborne/sliding. Adjust the level of buffs to make it adequately rewarding. Skills stay the same.

Cold Warrior: frozen/slowed foes take additional damage from splash weapons, critical hits and melee attacks. Skills change to Brainfreeze, Calm, Cool, Collected and Trick of the Light.

Conductor: 50% shock damage per action skill and damage stacks for the amount of time your skills are active. Change Good Misfortune to Calm, Cool, Collected.

Executor: perks and skills remain the same but it gains Seein Dead’s effect of being able to proc kill skills. The mods would be similar but Seein Dead would buff all kill skills while Executor would be more specific. Skills remain the same.

Infiltrator: change weapon damage to simply “damage” (better for Zane) and have the effect work based on how full his shield is, not how empty. Remove shield breaking effect. Skills change to Competent Competence, Ready for Action and Brainfreeze/Nerves of Steel. This would then become a class mod which buffs the Barrier tree in a really nice way.

Shockerator: I actually like the idea behind this mod, it has some nice synergy with clone and grenades. Still, no one uses it, probably partly due to Seein Dead and partly due to being weak. Give both novas Mayhem scaling and make the shock one happen on reloads rather than when melee-ed. Change Best Served Cold to Boom. Enhance. We now have class mods for each of his trees.

Techspert: I would say this class mod needs a complete rework. It could be a mod to buff SNTL, or his gadgets in general but my preference would be to give him a mod which buffs grenades. For example:
Skills: Drone Delivery, Duct Tape Mod, Pocket Full of Grenades/Fractal Frags.
Effect: Zane gains significant increases to his grenade damage and splash damage (leave it up to Gearbox to figure out how much). Furthermore, he is immune to damage from his own grenades.

If they made those kind of changes then I think Zane would be a far more enjoyable character with a plethora of options and playstyles open to him. A happy, happy day for Zane mains.