Borderlands has always been a franchise where legendary weapons are coveted and hunted for by both the casual and hardcore fans of the game. In all three of the current titles the best and most illusive weapons have been cause for both criticism and controversy. Some have said the drop rates are too low, and I tend to agree with them. It’s also a point of disagreement within the community about whether or not duping weapons is acceptable or wrong, and some even go so far as to hack into their game to boost their weapons and gear. Recently the adjusting of legendary drop rates from Gearbox has been well received and has also seen a surge of increased engagement on YouTube channels and Twitch streams. Hopefully this means they are looking into improving or changing how legendaries behave in the next title, so I’m going to put forth my own suggestion on what they could do.
Legendaries within a legendary
Before you think I’m creating Inception within Borderlands, just let me explain. The random stats and perks mechanic already exists within the weapon system in Borderlands, but I think it could be used in a different way for legendaries. Players already farm for specific versions of legendary weapons. For example most people prefer the Double Penetrating Unkempt Harold, so this difference in stats could be used as way to create different tiers within a given legendary gun. Each tier could get better with respect to stats or perks in relation to the drop rate decreasing. So the absolute best version of a legendary drops the least while the more basic or “ground level” version drops at a higher rate.
Now before you criticize, they would all be legendary regardless of what tier they fall into. Some might think this would dilute what is supposed to be the rarest and most valuable weapons, but it would actually increase their value and depth. Sure, many people would find and dupe the rarest version, but many would be satisfied with their “legit drops” of a legendary as it feels more genuine and pure compared to a carbon copy of what someone else found. While this would increase the amount of legendaries in the game world it would simultaneously increase the differences and variety as well. It would also allow all players to feel they have access to the good gear even if they don’t have enough time to endlessly farm for all the various legendary weapons. The truth is, the most vocal supporters of the incredibly low drop rates for legendaries also seem to be the people who devote the most amount of time to the game. And the thing is, the hardcore players could still play the game the same way, and spend hours farming for the best of the best legendaries, and still wear them as a badge of honor. But the majority of the community, who doesn’t have endless hours to farm one boss, could spend a much shorter amount of time looting for a legendary and feel like they have access to all of the content in the game they purchased.
Drop rates that don’t irritate
I’ve already said that the drop rates could change in relation to the quality of the legendary, but what would that look like? At the very least, without getting into the mathematics and percentages, I think the bottom rung tier should have a drop rate somewhere between 25-50%. This would maintain the farming element of the game without making players feel like it’s completely hopeless. To the less serious gamer, a few boss fights would have them scooping up a legendary and feeling able to move on. The more hardcore players could play as they do now, farming over and over until they get the exact version they want.
Skins and heads side note
Now, a side note about skins and heads because I don’t think I could say enough to warrant a whole post or video. I think heads and skins that are dropped by bosses should drop every time. These are not game impacting items, so forcing players to farm for purely cosmetic loot just feels silly. Also, all skins and heads that drop from bosses or are reward items from a mission should change and update in the extra playthroughs. It started to feel a little frustrating to keep seeing badass achievement announcements about a new unlocked skin or seeing a head drop from a boss only to see the disappointing red text “already unlocked”. A cool aesthetic theme they could implement is to slightly change the heads and skins, making them look more gruff, tough, bloody, and weathered with each subsequent playthrough. As you play through the game in the extra playthroughs this could be a graphical theme that carries through, communicating the underlying sense that you are now in “ultimate vault hunter” mode, and not just playing the same missions over again. Ultimately I think skins, heads, and customization could be expanded, and having them drop more frequently and change in the extra playthroughs would be a step in the right direction.
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