Gearbox is really building a game to be played for hundreds of hours with Borderlands 3. Not only is it bigger than any other game in the series, but it also includes a dedicated endgame. Borderlands 3 will feature the return True Vault Hunter Mode, the introduction of Guardian Rank and Mayhem Mode. Not only will you get to travel to other planets, loot thousands of guns and shoot up the place, when the campaign is done, there’s still more game.
As Gearbox puts it;
With all these avenues for endgame progression, there’s a wealth of challenging content to best and coveted rewards to chase as soon as you finish Borderlands 3’s story campaign.
So what exactly is the Borderlands 3 Endgame? Let’s jump in and take a look.
Borderlands 3 Endgame
First up, Guardian Rank. This is an evolution of the Badass Rank mechanic found in Borderlands 2. Badass Rank in Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel was a way for Vault Hunters to level up by completing challenges.
When players earned enough Badass Rank, they would be rewarded with a Badass Token which could be spent on one of 14 stats. Players were able to turn these upgrades on or off at any time and spending tokens on the same stat would see diminishing returns.
Now, in Borderlands 3, Guardian Rank takes the ideas established with Badass Rank and runs with them. One big difference is that Guardian Rank gives players the opportunity to earn special, powerful buffs in addition to the bonuses.
Guardian Rank progression sits above your XP on the HUD and is levelled up by collecting experience points. Each time you completely fill the bar you earn a Guardian Token and thse can be spent on three stat trees. By spending a token you can choose one stat from six randomly generated ones; two from each tree. There are a total of 17.
- Critical Damage
- Grenade Damage
- Gun Damage
- Gun Fire Rate
- Melee Damage
- Vehicle Damage
- FFYL (Fight For Your Life) Duration
- FFYL Movement Speed
- Max Health
- Shield Capacity
- Shield Recharge Delay
- Shield Recharge Rate
- Action Skill Cooldown
- Luck (Rare Drop Rate)
- Recoil Reduction
- Reload Speed
While upping these stats is going to make a difference to your Vault Hunters, the real show stopper comes from the Guardian Rewards trees.
By investing a certain number of tokens, you’ll unlock Guardian Rewards specific to the Enforcer, Survivor, and Hunter categories. There are six tiers across all three trees, unlocked by spending 10, 15, 25, 35, 50, or 75 tokens in their respective category.
So, if you earn enough tokens and upgrade enough stats, you will earn some awesome passive buffs. The example Gearbox gives is when you reach second-tier Guardian Rewards. These buffs grants extra gun damage to all shots fired when in Fight For Your Life or gives full health and shields when you recover or gives extra ammo from all ammo pickups.
True Vault Hunter Mode
True Vault Hunter Mode is basically New Game+. When you play True Vault Hunter Mode, all enemies are tougher, loot is way better and you’ll have to fight harder to stay alive.
Mission progress is unique to each mode, so if you play Normal or True Vault Hunter, your progress is separate. However, stats and equipment are shared. So, once you finish Borderlands 3, you can fire up True Vault Hunter Mode and take your fully kitted out Hunter right through the adventure again.
All-new to Borderlands in the Borderlands 3 Endgame is Mayhem Mode. Gearbox says that Mayhem Mode “has the power to change the entire universe of Borderlands 3.” Activated by accessing a mysterious terminal aboard Sanctuary III after completing the campaign, players can choose Mayhem 1, Mayhem 2 or Mayhem 3. The higher the level, the higher the difficulty.
Mayhem Mode increased the difficulty across the board. Enemies are stronger, have more health, shield and armour. You’ll earn more cash, Eridium, XP and better loot. However, Gearbox says that Mayhem 3 is a death-sentence and players will need to work their way up to it.
Mayhem Mode has more badasses and Anointed enemies; basically, things are going to be tougher all around. To offset that difficulty, enemies can drop Anointed gear which grants buffs to your Action Skills, including some that are specific to just one Vault Hunter class.
It’s not just tougher enemies and better loot that comes with Mayhem Mode though. It will also apply ‘Mayhem Mods’ to the planets you visit. One such mod is called ‘Savage.’ With Savage activated all enemies deal increased damage.
Another mod is ‘You’re A Wizard.’ This reduces all damage dealt by players using normal bullets, but increases all damage from elemental sources.
To view which mods are active, check the map screen while playing. There are tonnes of mods to discover and some of them won’t become active until you play in Mayhem 2 or Mayhem 3. And since True Vault Hunter Mode’s progress is separate from Normal progress, you can’t activate Mayhem Mode in it until you finish the campaign.
With all of this post-campaign content available, the Borderlands 3 Endgame is going to keep players busy for a very, very long time.
Borderlands 3 will be available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on September 13, 2019.