The first Borderlands is the self-touted original looter shooter, a trendsetter that spurred various shooters to take similar approaches. Now, there are tons currently available such as Warframe, The Division 2, Destiny 2, and of course, Borderlands 3. Each looter shooter is great in its own right, with each offering a unique take on raids and loot, but arguably, Destiny 2 and Borderlands 3 are currently the biggest. This begs the question as to which is better?
Before moving forward, there are a few key differences in these two entries specifically that need to be addressed. It's worth mentioning that Destiny 2 has already been out for two years, having gone through season after season of content, and Borderlands 3 hasn't even been out a month yet. That, combined with BL3's technical issues, is something that only time can correct and is therefore put aside.
For Borderlands 3, though, the looter shooter mechanics are all practically the same as previous games. Of course, there were some QOL improvements added and new interesting loot like the legendary Batman pistol, but the core formula is the same: weapon rarity is tiered, and the best loot is often dropped by named characters and bosses. Players can rinse and repeat these bosses to get the best loot possible.
Mayhem Mode adds a unique twist to this, turning Borderlands 3's endgame into something entirely of its own. It not only increases enemy difficult, but it increases loot. The loot in Mayhem Mode was recently nerfed, but it's still worth trying out for every Vault Hunter. Combining Mayhem Mode with other endgame, post-story content like Zero's Targets of Opportunity, the Eridian Proving Grounds, and the Circles of Slaughter will keep BL3 players quite busy with grinding for new gear.
As aforementioned, the gear itself in Borderlands 3 is worthy of praise. There are a ton of weapon Easter eggs in BL3 that make the rewards even better, such as the Doom shotgun, the Lord of the Rings shotgun, the Super Mario pistol, the return of the Conference Call, and much, much more. In looter shooters, gear and weapons are king, so it's the same as well for Destiny 2.
Destiny 2 is quickly approaching the launch of Shadowkeep, as well as the Season of the Undying. New legendary weapons are set to join the roster along the way, including one interesting weapon that is powered by a crystallized bug and a rocket launcher that the community has dubbed 'Void Gjallarhorn.' The loot in Destiny 2 takes on a much more Sci-Fi feel, which is obviously appropriate to its setting.
Destiny 2 also offers various game modes and events to shake up its core formula, such as Iron Banner, Gambit, Crucible, and the upcoming 6-player Vex Offensive. This is one area many fans will enjoy, as while they can be used for grinding, they are alternate ways to play Destiny 2 outside of just straight PvE. Of course, that doesn't mean the grind is something that should be ignored in D2.
If there's something D2 players do well, it's grind, so when Destiny 2: Forsaken brought back random rolls, it was a major game-changer. Players will do insane things to get God Roll weapons, and certain grinds are no laughing matter. For example, the recent Solstice of Heroes armor — the first set to be upgraded to Armor 2.0 — required players to upgrade it from Drained to Majestic.
This required running the EAZ, landing precision final blows, defeating Hive combatants, looting chests in the EAZ, completing bounties, defeating EAZ enemies with an Arc subclass, completing adventures, collecting Solar Orbs, defeating Guardians in Crucible or Gambit, completing Public Events on Nessus, collecting Void Orbs, unlocking a Solstice Package, completing playlist strikes, collecting Elemental Orbs of any time, and completing Crucible or Gambit Matches. And all of this was just to upgrade the Destiny 2 Titan Armor from Drained to Renewed.
In the end, it seems comparing Borderlands 3 and Destiny 2 relies upon the old idiom: "different strokes for different folks." Borderlands 3 has a more laidback approach to its grind, something that even the most casual players can achieve mostly by playing the game. It's straightforward for the most part, and the lack of legitimate gameplay modes outside the core PvE formula isn't something that will damage the reputation of the franchise.
Destiny 2, on the other hand, has a far more involved grind that could last days, weeks, or even months to complete. The time involved in truly mastering Destiny 2, as opposed to the pick-up-and-play approach of Borderlands 3 is a huge difference, but one that some do truthfully enjoy.
It's not a simple answer, but for those who want to kick back, have fun, and get in a few laughs are better off going with Borderlands 3. Those who want a true challenge, something to keep them busy and constantly on their toes, then Destiny 2 seems to be the main choice.
Borderlands 3 and Destiny 2 are both currently available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.