Even after you've traveled the galaxy, eliminated countless enemies, and finally finished Borderlands 3's story campaign, your quest for the best loot is only just getting started. The Gearbox Main Theatre Show at PAX West sheds more light on Borderlands 3's endgame which includes the return of True Vault Hunter Mode, Guardian Rank, which is an evolution of the Badass Rank mechanic introduced in Borderlands 2, and introduces the new Mayhem Mode which provides gameplay changing randomness to the Borderlands experience. When you combine Mayhem Mode, True Vault Hunter Mode, and Guardian Rank progression with the highly replayable Proving Grounds and Circle of Slaughter arenas, Borderlands 3's endgame has a lot to offer.
Beating the campaign unlocks a crucial component of Borderlands 3's endgame: Guardian Rank. If you're familiar with previous Borderlands' Badass Rank system, the basic idea is the same: you can unlock incremental stat improvements that apply to all your Vault Hunters. But Guardian Rank reinvents this mechanic by providing the opportunity for some powerful buffs atop all the smaller bonuses. The Guardian Rank bar sits above your usual XP bar on all your Vault Hunters and is leveled up via experience points; every bar you fill unlocks a Guardian Token, which you can spend to unlock bonus stats across three distinct trees. Spending a Guardian Token lets you choose one option from a total of six randomly selected stats, two from each tree, from a total list of 17 helpful varieties:
These stat bonuses are nothing to sneeze at on their own, but the real prizes lie in 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. These Guardian Rewards include weapon and Vault Hunter skins to help show off your commitment to vault hunting, as well as passive buffs that can seriously boost your overall power. For instance, the second tier Guardian Rewards will grant additional gun damage to all shots while in Fight For Your Life (the Inner Fury buff in the Enforcer tree), make you recover from FFYL with full health and shields (Resilient in the Survivor tree), or grant extra ammo from all ammo pickups (Bullet Collector in the Hunter tree). Unlocking Guardian Rewards takes serious dedication, but the payoffs will be felt across all your playthroughs from that moment on.
When you're ready for the next step up in difficulty, beating the story campaign also unlocks True Vault Hunter Mode, which is Borderlands 3's take on New Game+. As you'd expect from a challenge befitting a True Vault Hunter, the enemies will be tougher and the loot will be better compared to your Normal mode conquests. Your character's mission progress is unique to Normal or True Vault Hunter playthroughs, but your Vault Hunters' stats and equipment are shared across both modes.
Mayhem Mode has the power to change the entire universe of Borderlands 3. Upon completing the story campaign, you'll activate a mysterious terminal aboard Sanctuary III that can enable three difficulty levels: Mayhem 1, Mayhem 2, or Mayhem 3. Taking on one of these Mayhem Modes ups the ante on risks and rewards across all worlds: enemies get increased health, shields, and armor, while you get bonus cash, Eridium, experience gains, and chances for better loot. Jumping straight into Mayhem 3 is basically a death sentence; instead, you should start at Mayhem 1 and work your way up to higher difficulties once you've acquired enough upgraded gear. 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.
On top of the tougher baddies, Mayhem Mode applies Mayhem Mods to any planet you visit, which force you to adapt to new playstyles and combat approaches in response to a random selection of modifiers. For instance, you might get Mayhem Mods like Savage, where all enemies deal more weapon damage, or You're a Wizard, which reduces the damage players do with normal bullets but increases their elemental damage by the same amount; the set of Mayhem Mods you'll encounter are viewable from the map screen. And certain Mayhem Mods only come into play when you've activated Mayhem 2 or Mayhem 3, making your survival that much less likely. Be aware that you won't have access to the Mayhem Mode terminal in True Vault Hunter Mode until after you've beaten the new campaign, so plan accordingly.
With all these avenues for endgame progression, there's a wealth of challenging content and coveted rewards to chase as soon as you finish Borderlands 3's story campaign. Even if you somehow manage to conquer every challenge Borderlands 3 throw at you, collect a sizable chunk of its billion-plus weapons, and max out every Vault Hunter class, there's still plenty more Borderlands 3 content to come. Here's just a taste of what's on the horizon for Borderlands 3:
More Borderlands 3 news is on the way courtesy of Greg Miller and the Kinda Funny crew on The Borderlands Show, a series of deep-dive Borderlands 3 discussions that kick off with the first episode on September 18. As if all that wasn't enough, Gearbox also announced during its panel that Borderlands 2 VR on PlayStation®VR is getting the Bad Ass Mega Fun (BAMF) DLC pack for free on September 6, containing a whopping 16 pieces of DLC content from Borderlands 2. Now you can fully immerse yourself in VR versions of the DLC campaigns Captain Scarlet and Her Pirate's Booty, Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage, Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, and Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep. You can also play the Mechromancer and Psycho classes, take on all five Headhunter DLC packs and the Creature Slaughter Dome, and equip the goodies of both Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Packs plus the Vault Hunter Heads and Skin packs. Those of you who can't wait to experience Borderlands 2 VR on PC won't have to wait long, as Borderlands 2 VR is coming to PC in Fall 2019, including the base game and all its DLC in one glorious bundle.