When it comes to any RPG game with a level cap, end-game content should always be a big part of the design goals. Borderlands 3 has lots, thankfully. The game was obviously designed with the late game in mind with features like True Vault Hunter Mode, Mayhem Mode, and the Wave Survival Zones. But, while the gameplay itself was designed in this way, there are a few quality-of-life changes it needs that Vault Hunter's will only notice once they reach max level.
10 Mayhem Mode Becomes The Standard
Here's the biggest thing, Mayhem Mode can be pretty polarizing, some people love it, others completely hate it. Sometimes the random modifiers can quite honestly ruin the gameplay, and other times they're that extra bit of challenge that we were looking for. But, the issue is, once it's turned on, there's not much reason to turn it off. Mayhem 3 increases the Loot Drops by a whopping 500% so it becomes difficult to justify turning it off in exchange for a slightly less annoying gameplay loop. This isn't a huge flaw or anything, but it is a bit odd that this mode becomes the standard after a certain point.
9 Anointed Enemies Become A Pain To Encounter
And, along with Mayhem 3, comes increased Anointed spawns. These creatures are the purple Eridium-infused bandits that Troy Calypso himself creates. And, they're always annoying to fight, especially the Goliaths and the Militants. Now if it was just one within a group of enemies, that wouldn't be so bad, but Mayhem 3 especially tends to spawn them in droves, meaning fights suddenly become 10 times as chaotic. Goliaths are the epitome of health sponges and can down the player with a simple clap, while Militants aren't super deadly, but they seem to be immune to most damage more often than they should be. Gearbox simply needs to turn down the spawn rate or add another option for players to turn down how much they want this subset of enemies to spawn.
8 It Can Take A Few Tries To Break Eridium
Out of all the details on this list, this is probably the most minor. But, because of how often players will be breaking Eridium Crystals, it comes up frequently. It seems like the hitbox for the Eridium Crystals is just a bit wonky. This is because Vault Hunters use the same melee to break them as they do against enemies, it just automatically changes the animation/effect when facing a crystal. These two factors in combination add up to it being just a bit awkward to line up the "Melee" prompt on the Crystal, leading people to punch a rock a couple of times before finally actually breaking it.
7 That Sure Is One Small Safe
We can't complain about this enough, but the storage capacity in Borderlands 3 just doesn't have the same foresight as their other end game decisions do. It's clear that Gearbox knew their fans would be grinding their game to shreds. It's what they did in all three other iterations of the popular Looter Shooter, so why wouldn't they do it this time? So then why, with a supposed billion guns and tons of variations, is there such limited storage space? From 1 to say 35, this isn't an issue. But once a player hits level 50 and starts collecting Legendaries by the bucketload, they'll notice how quickly that 50 slots of bank space disappears.
6 All Those Zealots And Their Rocket Launchers
Much like how the Anointed are a pain to fight when there's more than 1 or 2, these Badass Zealots are just as bad, if not worse. Basically, on Mayhem 3 or even 2 (we're not entirely sure their spawn rate), these Zealots spawn a lot more frequently. Which, on paper, isn't that bad. But, they all spawn carrying Rocket Launchers, and they fire them off so annoyingly often that it's the main reason we go down in fights at all anymore. Again, it would be fine if there were only 1 or 2 of them in a series of engagements, but these bad boys spawn at least twice in almost every single combat instance in the game!
And don't even get us started on the wave-based survival modes. On wave 5 of round 5 in the Slaughter Pits, we literally counted 10 of these guys.
5 The Main Story Has A Lot Of Standing Around
So, the first time through Borderland 3's campaign, there are a few things that stick out. There's a big emphasis on Sirens this time, and a lot of the side characters from previous games only make minor appearances. Still, the campaign overall is a lot of fun and has enough twists and references to keep us entertained. But, on the second playthrough, the experience is a bit different. Once level 50 players go through it again on TVHM, they'll notice just how painfully slow all the main story missions are. It's a constant balance between waiting for a character to finish talking, waiting for the next part to load, or reporting back to Lillith/Sanctuary every 3 missions. It's a slog.
4 Tyreen and Troy Calypso Are Just Plain Lazy
This is kind of part of our last complaint, but it became so much more apparent during our second run. Troy and Tyreen Calypso are seriously lazy. There are numerous points throughout BL3's campaign where Tyreen or Troy could easily complete their objective just by phasing in, beating all the opposition themselves, and phasing out. But, instead, they leave it to their bandit goons. Sure, a lot of the time, they want the Vault Hunter to complete their goals in order to open more Vaults for them.
But, even then, they could easily open the Vaults and beat the beasts themselves! Plus, there are multiple threads of betrayal foreshadowed throughout the game, but it's never really capitalized on after all is said and done.
3 The Best Story Stuff Is Hidden In Optional Content
The mainline story of BL3 isn't bad by any means. At least in our opinion. But, there are a lot of mechanical issues, weird emphasis on unlikeable characters, and plot contrivances that make it a bit more cliche than we'd hoped for. What happened to the Watcher or Athena from the end of Pre-Sequel? Where's Salvador, Gaige, heck even Axton? There's so much missing from the game and a lot of the best writing is actually hidden within the side content. A ton of the side missions in BL3 have some great interactions and the Eridium Echo Logs that players can collect in the post-game hint at some of the most interesting lore in the franchise. Why wasn't this part of the main plot?
2 Anything to Do with Eva Is Literally Painful
Ava feels unfinished. And that becomes shockingly clear in the second playthrough. Sure, we don't like her as a character, but we're now realizing that a lot of our distaste comes from how all over the place she is. Ava is obviously the "kid character" replacement for Tiny Tina in this game but she's wholly unneeded. What's worse, she replaces Maya! Players love nothing more than seeing the playable characters they represented in past games show up in future titles. Zer0 is awesome in this, Rhys is great, and of course, we love Brick. But, Maya shows up just to pass her powers on to a dweeby kid who frankly doesn't deserve them. This was fine on our first playthrough, but it's so much more clear on the second, especially with how Ava handles the whole Maya situation and how she blames Lillith for her own mistake.
1 Bosses Are Immune For Too Long
And lastly, some of the bosses in BL3 need work, and that only becomes clear after grinding them over and over at level 50. Some of them are inventive, fun, and some of the most creative in the franchise. Bosses like Pain and Terror or Gravewarden have just enough new mechanics to make them interesting. But, a lot of the bosses suffer from parts where the player literally can't do anything but wait for the next phase. Whether this is a scene transition or an immune phase, they get old real quick.