It’s finally the release of Borderlands 3, and no doubt by this time many of you have already jumped right into Pandora to slay some baddies and get some sweet ass loot.
But then, for some of you coming into the franchise for the first time, when you boot up the game, the sheer amount of things to note and do could freeze you like a frozen skag. Worry not, that’s what we’re here for. Here’s our beginner guide for Borderlands 3!
It’s an RPG
First and foremost, Borderlands 3 is not your average shooter. Hell, it’s actually an RPG first and a shooter second. Why? It’s because of the simple fact that your gameplay loop consists of:
- Killing baddies
- Getting better loot
- Leveling up and specialising
- Rinse and repeat
As there are tons of quests to complete for the sweet XP, all you gotta do is seek them out. Exploration is key and will shower you with quest givers, secrets, collectibles and guns!
Not only that, you’ll be leveling up, picking skills and specialising, all in preparation for True Vault Hunter Mode or Proving Grounds endgame content.
Arguably the hardest decision you’ll have to make in Borderlands 3 is choosing which Vault Hunter to play. Each Vault Hunter gets their own set of game-changing Action Skills, which in themselves can be further augmented with different mechanics and buffs.
Amara the Siren is your “caster” in the sense that she is born with the innate mystical Siren powers. This gives her the ability to manipulate the power within her to perform some really cool Siren abilities. However, don’t be fooled by her mystical powers, as she can bring on the pain up close and personal as a tank if you build her right!
- The Fist of the Elements skill tree makes Amara an elemental damage-dealing beast, and also gives her the Phasegrasp action skill, which holds enemies in place for a time.
- The Mystical Assault tree gives her more gun damage and reload speed, and also grants her access to the Phasecast action skill, which allows her to force-project an illusion of her self in a straight line, dealing damage to enemies it passes through.
- The Brawl skill tree (a personal favourite) turns Amara into a right proper face-smashing tank with enhanced melee damage and damage reduction, and gives her the Phaseslam action skill, which deals damage to enemies around her as she plummets to the ground.
Zane the Operative is your archetypal “assassin/rogue”-type character, with tons of potential to deal damage with the aid of his trusty gadgets. What sets Zane apart from the rest of the Vault Hunters is that he can equip two action skills at a time, making his kit a lot more customisable than, say, Amara.
- The Doubled Agent skill tree grants Zane a ton more gun damage, and enhances his Digi-Clone action skill so it can last longer and get enemies to attack it, as the real Zane wreaks havoc from afar with his guns.
- The Hitman skill tree turns Zane into a bona fide assassin, granting him a ton of Kill Skills (passive buffs that activate after killing an enemy) so that he can kill even faster. It also upgrades his SNTNL drone bot, which further speeds up the killing process.
- The Under Cover skill tree is Zane’s support tree, as it beefs up his Barrier action skill, which grants a ton of team bonuses such as health/shield regen, and damage reduction.
Moze the Gunner is the weapons expert, and for good reason. Her kit is all about getting good with guns, even if you’re not so good, making her arguably the most accessible character to start out with. Regardless of what tree you specialise in, she can always call upon her trusty Iron Bear mech action skill to bring on more pain (as well as keep her alive. Moze’s main schtick is that she only has the Iron Bear action skill, but her different skill trees allow her to customise Iron Bear to arm it with different weapons.
- Shield of Retribution is Moze’s tanking tree, which gives her more shields, shield regen, as well as team bonuses so they don’t die so much easier. It also gives her Iron Bear the Railgun and Bear Fist augments, which give enemies plenty of reasons to think twice about approach Moze head-on.
- Demolition Woman gives Moze more area damage via the explosive element, as well as the ability to dismount Iron Bear and let it fight autonomously. In keeping line with the skill tree, Iron Bear gets the V-35 Grenade Launcher and Vanquisher Rocket Pod augments, which deal even more — you guessed it — explosions!
- The Bottomless Mags skill tree make Moze a never-ending supply of bullet hell, as it grants Moze a larger magazine size on her guns, as well as the ability to equip two of the same augments on Iron Bear for even more damage. It grants Iron Bear the Minigun and Salamander augments, both of which deal consistent pain to enemies, be it lead or flame.
FL4K the Beastmaster rounds up the Vault Hunters, and is arguably the most technical of them all. This is because this sentient robot is aided by its various pets fight by its side, all of which can “evolve” into stronger versions, depending on which skill tree you invest in. Because of this, FL4K works really well in both solo and group settings.
- The Hunter skill tree turns FL4K into a long-range sniper, with bonuses to its critical damage and passive buffs that come with the dealing of said critical hits. It grants FL4K the Rakk Attack! action skill, summoning flying Rakks to assault the enemy, and grants access to the Spiderant pet, which does all the tanking for FL4K so it can bring on the pain from afar.
- The Stalker skill tree grants FL4K more general survival and utility, such as movement speed and health, and grants it the Fade Away action skill which turns it invisible for the purposes of repositioning and dealing those much-needed critical hits. It also grants FL4K the Jabber pet, which has its own gun and, in later stages, can even wield a rocket launcher.
- The Master skill tree focuses solely on boosting FL4K’s pets, granting them more damage and health. It also gives FL4K the Gamma Rift action skill, which teleports its pet to a designated area and mutates them for a time, becoming even toucher and dealing even more damage. As for the pet, FL4K gets the dog-like Skag, which can deal debuffs to enemies it hits at later stages.
Whatever the case, each Vault Hunter will no doubt suit a certain playstyle for everyone, so it’s a matter of picking what you enjoy playing most!
If you’re not too happy with your current build, there’s always the Respec option at any Quick Change station for a fee. The best thing about Respec is that there’s no limit to the amount of times you can do so. As such, you can potentially plan out builds for both solo play and group play, complete with gear sets that you want to farm for.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Once you’ve picked your Vault Hunter, head on over to the second part of our Borderlands 3 guide!
Marion has a serious RPG addiction. Sometimes it bleeds into real life; he forgets to sleep because he thinks he has a Witcher’s body clock. Forgive him in advance if he suddenly blurts out terms such as “Mind Flayer” and “Magic Missile”, because never once does he stop thinking about his next Dungeons & Dragons game.