Why am I still talking about Borderlands 3?

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I’ve been following the Borderlands 3 news, both out of interest in the game itself and out of general curiosity. Admittedly, my concerns about something like a Borderlands Battle Royale currently seem unfounded, at least in the context of the base game itself. In fact, they seem to be sticking pretty close to “the formula” for better or worse.

Unfortunately we’re still pretty light on details, but they seem to have at least mixed the character archetypes up a little bit, as I couldn’t immediately imply what the role of a given character would be. Not that they were exactly tied into hard and fast roles anyway, but historically they had The Soldier, The Siren, The Assassin, and The Brute, especially in the original two games.

In the third things are a little more confused. The melee features and stocky build of the brutish character have been given to the siren, the character with the most soldiery appearance took on the title of “gunner” and has a large robotic mech thing. By and large the beastmaster seems to be the most unique of the lot, but we’ve seen a variety of pets in every game from hawks, to turrets, to robots. What makes it unique is that it’s implied to have different and/or multiple pets. The operative guy, well, just another assassin I guess? Time will tell.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that I can say I have more than gotten my value from this series, I can’t say that I’ve ever paid more than maybe half the original retail price for any of them. I don’t really feel compelled to do so now, either. I have several… concerns.

The first is the nature of the development cycle. They kept the lid on this so long that I can’t rightly judge when production actually started. How do I know it’s not experiencing a problem similar to Bioware’s Anthem, where the desire to make it unique instead led to a confused and unfocused development cycle.

We’re also in a very different world for games now than we used to be. Gearbox whole-heartedly embraced the season pass and DLC model, most of which I’ve never personally experienced. Honestly the DLC for the original wasn’t all that bad. This game and its formula are just screaming for lockboxes containing random cosmetics and gear, something players everywhere have expressed joy and admiration for. Sarcasm really doesn’t translate well to text.

Which as usual brings us back the the “billions of guns” statement. Yep, great, more junk to sell that I don’t need. What would make this meaningful would be the ability to disassemble, remove, and/or switch parts between weapons in order to create a customized piece of gear instead of one that occurs accidentally. I’m worried this might break the formula a little, but it simply shifts the focus from “grinding for a better weapon drop” to “grinding for a better part drop.”

It’s also worth noting that it announced itself with no small controversy. The PC release will be Epic Games Store exclusive until April 2020, six to seven months. This has naturally upset the internet, which has decided that platform exclusives are pure evil. I wouldn’t say it’s the best option, but at least they gave everyone a time table up front.

“So many titles have been released and hailed as a major paradigm shift within the genre, only to make the same mistakes as their predecessors. Furthermore, publishers have frequently mismanaged their players needs, failed to address problems groups and have generally eschewed any real responsibility for the communities they’ve contributed to creating. And then there is the egregious monetisation and the woeful mismanagement of loot boxes and similar mechanics.” – Mr. Peril – A Lack of Excitement

I saw a recent post from Mr. Peril mirroring a similar sentiment to my own. At the end of the day, my willingness to take any of the things I’ve seen so far as anything but advertising leaves me a little wary of any new product, even the ones I want to experience and see succeed. I like the Borderlands franchise. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time playing it, including at least two different platforms. I am, however, unwilling to emotionally commit to it without seeing the final product. In the last several years, I only recall being involved in three pre-orders, only two of which I personally paid for. X-COM 2, Monster Hunter World PC, and the Shadowbringers expansion for FFXIV.

All three of these were chosen because I was extremely confident that I would at least get the monies worth out of that product over its lifetime, regardless of how poorly it turned out. MHW, the one that wasn’t pre-ordered by myself, already existed on other platforms and really wasn’t a risk. We knew exactly what we were getting.

I don’t feel that confident in Borderlands 3. They also have an ill-timed release. The week before my wife’s birthday is not a good time to spend money on a new game. Not saying they should care, just not well timed for me personally. Hopefully it will be a great game, with a great development cycle and it’ll come out and everyone will love it.

Y’all take care, maybe wait and see what the hype train’s destination is before you board.

3 thoughts on “Why am I still talking about Borderlands 3?

  1. Mixed feelings here. I very much enjoyed the first two Borderlands. Although the first one really only shone on the DLCs.

    For reasons unknown, I didn’t enjoy the pre-sequel as much. I really can’t say with absolute certainty why it didn’t interest me that much, but I would say it’s because none of the characters of the pre-sequel really felt that interesting to me. But I couldn’t say why.

    So I guess once we know more about the playable characters, I might know more how I feel about the game. (Another factor of course is that while my wife plays games, I tired to get her into Borderlands 2 and she didn’t like it and refused to go for any other Borderlands. That reduces the chances of BL3 for me. )

    And again mixed feelings on the Epic store and exclusives. On one hand I really dislike having yet another of those platforms on my system. If I’d have the choice, I would reduce it all to GOG by now. But I do see that Epic needs the exclusives to get players there. And there’s one important thing in favor of the Epic store: Steam takes 30% of a games revenue. Formerly it was always 30%, no matter the circumstances. The Epic store takes only 12%. So the ones who actually created the game and did most of the work get more money for it. And by now steam even has adjusted their conditions. When a game makes over 10 million dollars, it gets the special treatment of “only” having to pay 25% of all revenue to steam.

    So all in all, it might be a coincidence, but the timing just matched to think that the Epic store forced Steams hand. To stay competitive, they have to give developers better conditions now.

    So yea. On one hand: yet another platform software on my system. My library being even further split up. That’s not pretty. But on the other hand, a higher percentage of revenue actually going to games developers seems to be a move in the right direction for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough, I at least have my brother to play them with. Neither of us has done the DLC for 2, he’s never played pre-sequel and I’ve never played its DLC.

      Honestly, he may not like pre-sequel either. A lot of people didn’t, for a variety of reasons, and BL2 is still considered the masterpiece for the series. I highly suspect BL3 won’t manage to dethrone 2 completely.

      My personal opinion on the Epic Games store is that I’m tolerating it. We all knew Steam needed a true competitor. Most of the other platforms cater to a specific publisher or to a specific audience like GOG. I like GOG, for that matter, but as someone who’s playing mostly multiplayer games, outside of the free ones from Epic, there service isn’t a good fit for my needs right now.

      However, my brother has already stated that he will not purchase the game on Epic because the rest of his Borderlands series is on Steam and he doesn’t want to split the series between two platforms. Maybe they should consider doing something like GOG Connect.

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    2. You know that’s a great idea about having swappable gun components. Because currently the B1 remaster is giving me everything that it seems B3 is trying to sell me – more Borderlands. So yes your concerns are valid! I was actually disappointed to see the same cell shaded graphics in the trailer.

      I am 100% against the Epic stores strategy but Steam getting 30% of sales is pretty huge. But Epic could have gradually won over gamers and devs if they just played that 12% card instead of this buying out devs thing their doing now, which only hurts us – the consumer.

      Like

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