Gearbox has hotfixed one of its most powerful weapons in Borderlands 3, nerfing it so hard that players are complaining that it's now near unusable. The Flakker is a Legendary Shotgun built by the Torgue manufacturer. Its explosive ammunition made it a natural fit into many Borderlands 3 builds, especially for Moze. But Gearbox has decided the power level of the shotgun is beyond what the team wants for Borderlands 3, making changes to the weapon that significantly nerf its potential.
The Flakker shotgun's unique effect is named Flak the World and it increases both the damage and spread of the weapon. It also explodes the rounds fired from the shotgun after they reach a certain distance, almost like fireworks. That's why Gearbox decided the best nerf for the weapon would be to empty its entire magazine with each shot, rather than giving players multiple before reloading is necessary. As if that wasn't enough, Gearbox also lowered the Flakker's damage by 33%.
It's such a major nerf to a hugely popular Borderlands 3 weapon that developer Gearbox Software even added its reasoning for the nerf to the hotfix patch notes. Gearbox explains that it initially believed that the projectile spread would cause most of the Flakker's damage to miss a single target, but that this view was clearly wrong. Apparently explosions are bigger than even Gearbox expected in Borderlands 3. Gearbox believes that the nerf will encourage players "to capitalize on different stat bonuses to maximize the weapons damage output."
That last comment makes clear that Gearbox believes that not only was the Flakker too strong, but what made it beyond acceptable is its synergy with explosion stat bonuses. Moze, for example, has several skills that synergize with the Flakker. Fire in the Skag Den granted bonus Incendiary damage, Means of Destruction adds ammo to Moze's currently equipped weapon, Explosive Punctuation lowered her cooldowns, and it goes on. The Flakker was too perfect for Moze's explosive build, so Gearbox nerfed the Flakker rather than Moze.
Overall, Gearbox does seem to believe in bringing all weapons up to a similar level of strength. The Flakker is just a special case where it synergized too well and couldn't be easily brought within reason. Gearbox also altered 25 other weapons in the same hotfix. Less than a third of these weapons received nerfs, with the rest seeing significant increases in damage. The Flakker may no longer be adequate for endgame use, but hopefully one more other weapons will rise to take its place.
Borderlands 3 is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.