What We Want From Borderlands 3
So much so, we can’t help but look ahead to what’s next in the series. Yes, Borderlands 3 isn’t even officially announced yet. Yes, there’s still some Borderlands 2 DLC planned for later this year. But we have dismissed those facts, and have chosen to think hypothetically about how Borderlands 3 can improve upon its predecessor.
If you find this article pointless, you will be actively defied.
So here we go. Here’s what we’d like to see out of Borderlands 3.
Set it elsewhere—there’s more than one planet in the galaxy
Yes, this one should probably be taken as a given since Borderlands 2 ended with the reveal of numerous undiscovered vaults on dozens of other planets. But on the off chance decision makers at Gearbox are on the fence, I’ll just point out that after deserts, icy expanses, grasslands, swamps and jungle, volcanic death zones, polluted wastes and a glittering corporate city, there aren’t any secrets left to find. Every corner of Pandora has been literally and figuratively mined to exhaustion.
But the rest of the galaxy is wide open, so why not make the most of it and give us a new planet to play with. Hell, why stop at one planet? Give us many new planets to play with, starting with that Hyperion space station constantly driving masses of asteroids onto Pandora. Consider the planets that all of the game’s four main characters come from. (Maya’s planet full of religious cultists sounds like a particularly awesome hoot.) The important thing is that wherever Borderlands 3 takes us, it shouldn’t be back to the same old same old.
Increased Character Customization
The massive number of weapons are fun, but being able to play dress-up with your characters is equally as fun—and sadly missing from both Borderlands and its sequel. Changing your character’s hair-do and color scheme just doesn’t cut it – there should be a myriad of armor sets to choose from. Bandit hodgepodge, corporate-themed sets, ninjas, pirates, steampunk, cyberpunk, with very little effort the the game could easily buff the player’s personal experience.
And while we’re at it, let us really dig into customizing our characters. I’m talking height, weight, facial attributes, tattoos, the works. The Borderlands series is already as crazy as games like APB or Saints Row the Third, and slapping greater customization into future installments is the next logical step for a series that has already given us a murderous 13 year old.
New customizations options could even give Gearbox the opportunity to make a few extra bucks via microtransactions (don’t hate me for pointing this out). Of course, for this to really work, gearbox needs to consider making a relatively big change to the series…
Alternate third-person perspective
The Borderlands games are first-person shooters. We get that. But why then did Gearbox even bother to throw in what limited customization the series has? There’s little point in decking out your character in DLC skins if you can’t appreciate your own handiwork (believe me, I’ve tried during co-op).
How much cooler would it be if we could switch to a third-person view and actually get a real look at our personalized characters in action? Seeing our enemies explode while decked out in Sunday best would be all the incentive needed for players to put more effort into making them stylish. I get there are significant technical obstacles, but Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls series have already proved that toggling between third and first person doesn’t have to break a game. We can already see our characters during co-op, so why not just give that to us full time? Legions of fashion forward fans will be forever grateful.
But if they can’t let us actually see our characters, much less drastically change them, there’s one thing that absolutely must happen…
Make It More Challenging
While the series skill trees are a blast, the fact is that aside from Zer0, most character classes play the same regardless of the skills you give them. This is especially true once you begin importing your badass ranks between characters, which makes new games almost absurdly easy thanks to increasingly faster leveling up. Borderlands 3 ought to do more to allow for a drastically different experience with benefits and drawbacks unique to each character, to ensure players don’t eventually find themselves breezing through the game with functionally identical experiences.
And that means the level cap needs to be much higher from the very start. 50 levels—or even 62 levels, as the cap has currently been raised to—just doesn’t cut it for hardcore gamers who intend on spending a lot of time with the game. While it’s enjoyable to roll new characters and max them out, it’s equally fun to see how high you can get with an existing character. After all, Diablo 3 and the Call of Duty series faced the same criticism with their low level caps, which were both later alleviated with the addition of Paragon levels and Prestige levels, respectively.
If done properly, these tweaks wouldn’t interfere with the skill balance of the game. Instead, they’d exist as bragging rights for gamers who’ve hit the level cap, while providing them with more incentive to keep leveling up—perhaps by offering cosmetic or Magic Find-type bonuses available only to those Prestige levels.