The wait for Borderlands 3 was too long! APOLOGIZE!
After 5 long years, the wait for Borderlands 3 is finally over. Yet despite the series’ long hiatus, fans are just as excited for the franchise as ever. And to be honest, we’re loving every second of it.
Borderlands impacted the game industry more than we could have imagined. It birthed the modern loot-and-shoot genre, which has lived on in games like Destiny, Warframe, and Anthem. At the same time, a lot has changed since Pre-Sequel launched in 2014. There are many ways the folks at Gearbox could improve on the Borderlands formula… but at the same time, there are a lot of things we don’t want to see change either.
Here are the 10 things we want to see in Borderlands 3, including the things we want to stay the same.
10: Generous weapon drop rates
Like any good loot game, Borderlands is all about chasing down rare and powerful gear. In the past, Borderlands games had stingy drop rates that made it hard for players to experience all the crazy legendary guns Gearbox designed. However, through the magic of updates, drop rates are now generous enough that players can count on seeing legendary loot every playthrough. Needless to say, fans like higher drop rates better.
We hope Borderlands 3 will launch with the drop rates fans know and love right out the gate. Give everyone the chance to show off the crazy gear they found with their friends!
9: Mr. Torgue
Oh Mr. Torgue, you insane, muscley, adrenaline-driven feminist spokesperson. Borderlands loves its vast cast of crazy characters, but Mr. Torgue has birthed more iconic catchphrases than any of his peers. But it’s not just the clever writing: it’s the incredible vocal performance of Chris Rager that cements Torgue as an icon of the Borderlands universe.
We absolutely expect Mr. Torgue High-Five Flexington to show up in Borderlands 3, but we’re still going to wish for him as if there was any ambiguity about it.
8: Selective level scaling
Borderlands has a… complicated history with level scaled content. By default, Borderlands would level scale enemies and quests during add-on content or after the final boss was defeated, which made sense and added fun replay value. However, Borderlands 2 introduced the Ultimate Vault Hunter Packs, which made things… complicated.
Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode was a new game mode that increased the game’s level cap, and all content during the playthrough was level scaled to the highest level player in the room. This meant you effectively got weaker as you leveled up, as the enemies around you would jump in power while your gear stayed the same. And if you wanted to play with a friend who was a few levels higher than you… then, well, good luck with that. This mode encouraged players to just level grind to max as soon as possible so they could finally start enjoying the game again.
Some level scaling is cool, but a whole slice of endgame hastily based around it was just a bad idea. Hopefully Borderlands 3 will take a different approach if it ever decides to increase its level cap down the line.
7: Balanced stat scaling
Similarly, Borderlands has a bit of a history with balance issues. For example, characters in Borderlands 2 had abilities in their skill trees that were functionally useless by endgame. We don’t need every build and every gun to be the best in the game, but they should at least be usable for players who’ve invested serious time into their builds.
Let’s hope Borderlands 3 crunches the numbers a bit better than its predecessors.
6: Not-So-Tiny Tina’s Assault On Dragon Keep
In an age where “DLC” has a nasty ring to it, Tiny Tina’s Assault On Dragon Keep is one of the best expansions ever created. It took the cel-shaded grindhouse world of Borderlands, threw it into a Dungeons and Dragons inspired fantasy world, and had the whole affair reflect the insane mind of Tiny Tina. It was a genius breath of fresh air for the series, and the campaign ended on a surprisingly poignant emotional note that added real depth to the Borderlands cast.
We know from the teaser footage that Tiny Tina is back for Borderlands 3, albeit all grown up. While a second Assault On Dragon Keep would be welcome, even a section of the game that captures the tone and aesthetics of the campaign would be incredible to see.
5: Improved quest tracking
Let’s be honest folks, having only one quest active at a time on your HUD was archaic even 10 years ago. Even if this was the only thing they changes from Borderlands 2, fans would still cry for joy.
4: More Shift Keys, no “Loot Boxes”
For all the shady things Gearbox has gotten in trouble for, they set the standard for how to “loot boxes” right in Borderlands. Unlike the paid lootboxes found in Star Wars Battlefront 2, Borderlands games have a static treasure chest that coughs up rare guns every time you insert a Shift Key. Where do you get Shift Keys? From promotional codes distributed by Gearbox themselves!
It’s a great system that encourages players to log in sporadically to collect fun new guns or deepen their stash of keys. And without any paid microtransactions to go with it, there’s no lingering doubt that the weapon drop rates were skimped because they want players to drop real money on guns. Retaining the Shift Key system in Borderlands 3 would be a big win for both the series and the game industry at large.
3: An in-game loot compendium
This is a feature fans are already pitching, and frankly it’s an amazing idea. Borderlands has a lot of fun gear to collect, but finding it all requires hours of research on the Borderlands Wiki. Imagine if you could not only track all the different types of loot you’ve collected in game, but also the places you’re most likely to see that loot drop again!
This would make finding gear a bit easier in repeat playthroughs, and filling the compendium could become its own end-game pursuit for avid collectors. And if you know anything about the folks who work at Gemr, it’s that we’re generally pretty fond of collecting things.
2: A more varied endgame
Borderlands has consistently struggled to define a fun endgame for players to engage in after hitting max level. Its raid bosses were fun, but fighting the same encounters over and over again isn’t the most engaging content. And while Borderlands 2‘s Digistruct Peak was a step in the right direction, it came after the Ultimate Vault Hunter packs which… well, sullied the state of endgame for some.
Look, Borderlands doesn’t need to be playable forever like an MMORPG. But it could take a page from games like Diablo with some procedurally generated content and quests/bounties to incentive exploring the world again. Maybe even content like Final Fantasy XIV‘s Palace of the Dead could work in the context of Borderlands. There are a lot of great endgame ideas out there, it’s just a matter of picking the best concepts to adapt for Borderlands.
With that said, there’s one thing we absolutely do not want in Borderlands 3.
1: No “Games As A Service” business model
Look, games like Warframe and Destiny are great. They took the tenets that made Borderlands great and arguably improved on the formula with their own innovations. But now that Borderlands is coming back, it doesn’t need the long term business model of an MMO-style “live service.” In fact, Borderlands‘ hiatus means we’re ready for a return to form more than ever before.
Borderlands 2‘s post-launch content formula was controversial to some, but at least the game was good out the gate. It didn’t need to sustain itself with daily log-in rewards and an ever-expanding cash shop of cosmetics because it was a complete experience from the start. Frankly, if we wanted the kind of experience Warframe and Destiny provides, then we’d just play those games. But Borderlands is not those games, and it certainly shouldn’t exist to compete in the exact same market as them.
There’s a lot of expectation riding on Borderlands 3. But if Gearbox can successfully bring the series into the modern era while keeping all the great qualities that made it special, then we could have a serious classic on our hands. Everyone should be able to make bandits explode equally without the predatory tactics of the industry at large hampering their fun. It’s what Mr. Torgue would want, and we shouldn’t let him down. Here’s to a new generation of happy vault hunting.