Geek Culture

Borderlands 3 Social Features Suggest A More Accessible Multiplayer Experience

Arguably the most-hyped looter-shooter franchise will be back on September, with the impending launch of Borderlands 3. Much has been revealed about the core gameplay experience over the past few months, which led to many fans raring to explore Pandora and beyond once more.

In the months leading up to Borderlands 3‘s release, more details about the game have been drip-fed to us by the devs at Gearbox Software.

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Multiplayer has always been a staple of Borderlands, but it seems that with the third main entry of the franchise, Gearbox aims to up the ante for players looking to get in on the chaos together.

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Already, we know of several cool new social features that were unveiled at E3 2019, such as the ability to directly send loot to offline friends, sell your unwanted pieces of gear via the Vending Machine on Sanctuary III, as well as dynamic missions on the Bounty Board, which allow you to team up with random players online, akin to that of an instanced dungeon in an MMORPG.

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Most recently was several new social and streaming features during last week’s Guardian Con 2019.

One of the most interesting new additions was the ability to Ping for virtually anything in game. That includes chests, enemies and map locations. Not only that– the Vault Hunter who dropped the ping also blurts out a VO specific to the subject they highlighted. Pretty intuitive stuff, and certainly adds a new layer of immersion.

While this feature is certainly not new to the shooter franchise (a la Apex Legends), it certainly should be a breath of fresh air for many who don’t use a headset while playing online multiplayer. One of the main issues with communicating via headset is that slower ping times can often lead to miscommunication, which the new pinging feature aims to resolve.

While we’re on the topic of Apex Legends, Gearbox also unveiled a new PVP feature that allows players to duke it out in a free-for-all Dueling mode — a first in the Borderlands franchise.

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You could technically engage in PVP back in the older games, but that was strictly a 1v1 fight against another player. This allows for a mini battle royale-style fight against other players in the same play session.

Perhaps the most intriguing new addition to Borderlands 3‘s social features includes the ECHOcast Twitch extension, which allows streamers to engage more directly with their viewers via Twitch. Actually, it’s more of the other way around, as viewers would then be able to view streamers’ item and skill loadouts, as well as drop events in their play sessions.

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Moxxi’s Mixer Events allows viewers to purchase in-game cocktails for streamers that confer random effects, including either buffs or debuffs. Badass Viewer Events enable viewers to spawn a badass mob named after them for streamers to kill and potentially gain more cool loot. This certainly bodes well for the streaming community, as the heightened interactivity means a lot more viewer engagement will be gotten out of it, as well as more hours will be spent in game for Gearbox’s benefit. These are just two known streamer events so far — expect more interesting ways in which viewers can engage with streamers, and vice versa,

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Additional new features that were announced at Guardian Con 2019 were more general customisation options, such as the ability to fully remap controls across the PC and the consoles, including the new Xbox Adaptive Controller. There’s also the ability to toggle headbob, auto-mantling and aim assist, enhanced closed captions options, and more options for different types of colour blindness.

These new social options add a world of interactivity and immersion for players, and certainly marks a bold new step for Gearbox into making Borderlands 3 the next big thing in the current gen of looter-shooters.

All signs point to establishing Borderlands 3 as a mainstay in players’ game libraries for the next few years — very much like how its predecessor was for the past seven years. Gearbox is certainly in it for the long game, and so are we.

Borderlands 3 officially launches on September 13 for PC as a timed exclusive on the Epic Store, PS4, Xbox One and Google Stadia.


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