With the official announcement of Borderlands 3 still fresh in our Youtube history, and plenty of videos swarming about looking for easter eggs and hints at future features within said trailer, what better time than to look at a wishlist of features that would undoubtedly make the next Borderlands game even better than it looks already?
#1: No More Slag
For the uninitiated, Slag was a new element added in Borderlands 2, meant to complement the existing types of acid, fire, explosive, and electricity. The purpose of Slag was to coat your enemies in the purple goo and cause them to take increased damage from the other elements. Within the main game it didn’t serve much purpose, but within the Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode (UVHM) and OP8, it became a necessity. So much so that the only way to go was to bring along the Grog Nozzle, a quest-only gun (meaning you could never complete that quest without losing the gun too) that had the highest chance to apply Slag to an enemy. As such, you had a gun slot taken up by this debuff gun that wasn’t even good for damage, just for setting up other guns to do their thing.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with an element that helps to set up more tactical gameplay, but its implementation was just so off you either never needed to use it or you were 100% required to, there was no in-between.
#2: Fiona as a Playable Hunter
One of the greatest entries in the Borderlands series isn’t even a mainline Borderlands game. Tales from the Borderlands was one of the many franchise outings of now defunct studio of Telltale Games. Within the game you play as two different protagonists, sharing the spotlight or telling their own story, depending on where you are in the plot. Rhys and Fiona. Neither character was the balls-to-the-wall type of action hero that the acclaimed vault hunters were, but they found their own ways to success. Where Rhys maintains his life of trying to charm and hack his way out of danger, Fiona starts to show a penchant for the hunter life.
We don’t know what happened to Rhys and Fiona after the end of Tales from the Borderlands, however Rhys does make an appearance in the Borderlands 3 trailer, hinting that Fiona might be somewhere nearby. While she certainly won’t be one of the four main vault hunters of this installment, if there’s one thing Gearbox likes, it’s DLC for their Borderlands games, and newly added hunters is a well-established trend. Seeing Fiona as a playable hunter would be a dream come true. Barring that, hopefully she makes an appearance in the story in some badass capacity.
#3: Better End-Game
There are generally two things worth doing for your end-game (i.e. once the story is finished and you’ve reached max level) in the Borderlands games: killing raid bosses and getting the best loot; the latter typically requiring the former. While getting the best loot is not something that’ll change from BL3, as it’s a desire ingrained in the genre, the designed end-game aspect, namely the raid bosses, needs a massive redesign.
Raid bosses in the games were always designed to be taken on by as many hunters as possible at a time, testing their skills and gun usage. However, there are often so overtuned that the best, and usually only, ways to approach them is either exploit a geometry glitch or use a combination of weapons and skills that completely breaks the game. Now no one is saying game-breaking combos should be taken out – they’re one of the best parts of the series, but the idea that raid bosses typically can only be defeated with these combos is a bit of a drag.
Furthermore, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the bosses had an actual raid dungeon leading up to them. In the interest of farming the bosses, having a fast travel to their door will probably be needed to satiate the farming type of players, but imagine the fun of running through a level designed for a full group of hunters.
#4: Multiple Health Bars on Enemies
One of the main elements of the series is, well, the elements. How they behave against enemy types is part of the strategy designed into the games. Red bar enemies take the most damage from fire. Armored enemies need corrosive damage done to take them out. And shielded enemies go down quicker if there’s some electricity thrown their way. So far, you just need one element to take out each enemy type. What’s being proposed here is, for certain tough enemies not all mind you, that some enemies have multiple health bars.
Basically, imagine a big hulking robot or mech enemy. First you need to use electricity to eliminate the energy shield they’re wielding. Then corrosive to of course remove the armor. Finally, pull out the fire gun to burninate the squishy pilot within.
#5: Triple Triad
Okay, maybe not Triple Triad specifically, though that would be amazing, but basically mini-games to help break up the main gameplay style that is the FPS action. In past games the central hubs had slot machines to help you waste time and earn loot, but what if there was some kind of black jack, poker, or better yet a more active mini-game or set of games that could be done to help either kill time while your friends work on their skill tree and/or earn loot?
With the announcement of Borderlands 3 came a release of a new Borderlands themed physical card game. So why not put that into BL3 as well?
#6: Full Body Customization
In the Borderlands series, there are two ways to customize your character (well one in the first game, though the remaster promises to change that): changing your head and changing the color palette of your body. While the head swap is nice, a full body change would also have been a great tool for customization. Granted, something like this means a lot more work for the art and design teams, but with games like Overwatch giving full body skin swaps, and other looter shooters like Destiny and The Division series offering full body customization, it’s about the right time for Borderlands 3 to step into the same arena with them.
#7: More Unique Guns
Borderlands boats a nearly incalculable amount of guns, saying it has billions to ”bazillions” of them. Yet the lion’s share of them are just your standard fare. Assault rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers, etc. Fine weapons all, and the different brands means that one sniper rifle will operate differently from another of a different brand name. However, every so often you encounter a unique gun all its own. Whether it can talk to you or shoots exploding swords, these guns are typically rather gimmicky and rarely worth keeping in your main line up, but they offer a fun reprise from the usual arsenal. The trailer has already shown off a gun that walks, though that could just be an enemy, so here’s hoping we get even more unique guns.
#8: Strong Modding Support
One of the things that has kept the community for these games alive for so long during a drought of new Borderlands content is the modding community. Whether it be new hunters, weapons, or just balance changes that promise to make the experience better than ever, the modding community has worked tirelessly to keep the spark for shooting maniacs for loot alive. So it would be a shame, then, if for some reason the future installment in this looter shooter franchise found a way to lock out those devoted modding fans. While it seems unlikely, it’s always good to wish for the best all the same.
#9: Available on Epic and Steam
Lately, the newest PC digital storefront, the Epic Store, has been snatching up year-long exclusives left and right, sometimes even taking a game that was once promised to Steam. Naturally, this has caused a great deal of backlash both against Epic and the developers and publishers who agree to the switch. While it's almost guaranteed that Borderlands 3 will be making its way to PC, the fact that we didn't get a hard confirmation within the trailer has left some feeling uneasy. Is the goal to generate hype for the game first before the reveal that the game will be exclusive, at least for a year, to the Epic Store? Time will tell, but hopefully this new installment will be available on as many digital platforms as possible, rather than be yet another pawn in the digital storefront wars.