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9 Changes We Spotted In Borderlands 3 Compared To Its Predecessors


Borderlands 3 had its gameplay reveal event today, with a good chunk of gameplay plus various streams being broadcasted showing off the looter-shooter sequel in action for the first time.

From what we see, it’s pretty much a refinement of an established formula rather than a big turn for the franchise. That’s not a bad thing per se, but it can be hard to spot the new stuff and changes if you are not following the series closely.

So here’s a list of changes we spotted seen in Borderlands 3.

Slides and Mantling

FPS games in general are now faster-paced and with more mobility these days. So Borderlands 3 is keeping up by adding some options to mobility. Now you can do butt slides, sprinting then pressing crouch. You can also properly mantle on ledges- with some ledges marked with yellow colours. This should make the shooting and the occasional platforming look more fluid.

Cover can also be destroyed this time.

Barrel Punching

Elemental barrels are positioned strategically around combat areas for you to destroy when the opportunity arises. But if waiting for enemies to clump around barrels is too boring for you, you can move it yourself. Meleeing a barrel will have move around, reacting to physics. So you can bring the barrel to the enemy, not the other way around.

Also, the Slag element introduced in Borderlands 2 has been swapped out with Radiation. Radiated enemies will explode upon death and will spread radiation to other nearby enemies.

Cryo, an element introduced in Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, is also returning.

Gear Score

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Again, this is more to keeping up with the times, all gear items in Borderlands 3 will be assigned a gear score to look at a glance if it’s any better than your current one.

All the details you expect to see before picking up a gun or a grenade mod is still there, but this is more for newer players or those who just prefer to see one big number and compare that.

Three Different Action Skills

All the Borderlands games have your Vault Hunter a choice of only one Action Skill which differs from each class. For Borderlands 3, each class has three different action skill to pick from, each being different.

For example, Amara can have Phasegrasp, which mechanically functions similar to the Phaselock of Maya from Borderlands 2. Or have Phaseslam that is just her doing a ground-pound with her six astral hands

On the topic of action skills, it Zane has the ability to equip two actions skills instead of one. We only got a look at two of the four Vault Hunters in the gameplay, but this might seem to lead to more asymmetrical Vault Hunters.

Crafty dataminers also found a way to look at all of Amara and Zane’s skill tree, using the Echocast Twitch extension, here.

Loot Instancing and Level Scaling Among Players

In Borderlands 3, you can have loot instancing. In previous games, everyone has to share loot- not fun if someone keeps hoarding the loot to themselves. Borderlands 3 has the option to instance loot- so each player see different loot that you cannot steal from each other.

Also a quirk from previous games is that there is no level scaling. Playing with characters that have a big level difference can be not fun, one is struggling while another might just be one-shotting enemies with ease. Borderlands 3 will scale the damage deal by all players based on the host’s current level.

More Gun Variety

We have known in advance of the many gun manufacturers and their new gun gimmicks in Borderlands 3. But to see them in action proves how varied they are. Even in the aesthetics alone, there’s a lot to savour at. Vladof guns are bulky and some have ammo overlays. In contrast to Maliwan guns that are sleek, futuristic and slim.

Even the Tediore guns, which retains the same gimmick from Borderlands 2, is a lot more bonkers now. You throw Tediore guns to reload but this time, when they are thrown, they can either sprout legs, produce an energy ball surrounding it and bounce a bit, or explode into tiny missiles, MIRV-style. And there’s bound to be more.

The new hub, Sanctuary 3

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Borderlands 3 will take you off Pandora and explore other planets this time. To reflect that, your hub world is now a spaceship, Sanctuary 3.

Just like Borderlands 2’s Sanctuary, the hub world will have all the vendors and characters you will be working with throughout the story. There is a personal quarter that can be customised. And certain rooms will change to reflect your progress. Sir Hammerlock will still be giving hunt quests in Borderlands 3, but this time your achievements will be displayed as trophies in his room.

In addition, being a more vertical space, there are shortcuts where you can just hop down a few floors to get around quicker.

A lot of quality of life changes

Borderlands 3 also add tons of small quality of life changes. There is now a mailbox at the hub that will drop any missed loot. Restocking all your ammo at an ammo vendor requires one button press instead of two.

The mini-map also colourised which area you have traversed so you can tell at a glance you’ve been through the area or not. Turning in missions, at least the parts the gameplay demo showed, don’t need you to turn in and read the quest log as it will be automatically done.

More Cosmetics

With Borderlands 2, unique skins and heads are available to customise your Vault Hunter. Borderlands 3 is still going with this route, but now offer colour changes separate to skins. And you can equip emotes.

That’s all that we noticed so far. If you want to watch the gameplay reveal in its full, you can watch here:

Borderlands 3 will be out on September 13 for the PS4, PC (Epic Games Store) and Xbox One.