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Borderlands 3 Year in Review

Posted: Dec 18 2020

Take a look back as we recap all the mayhem Borderlands 3 brought in 2020!

As 2020 comes to close, we'd like to take a moment to reflect on everything that's been happening in Borderlands 3 over the past twelve months. It's been a challenging year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic—but our team has persevered to create an astounding array of content.

2020 has been packed with a wealth of premium and free content drops, delivering all-new mayhem for Vault Hunters to enjoy. We launched all four campaign add-ons included in the original Season Pass, introduced Season Pass 2, implemented multiple level cap increases, brought the game to Steam, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S, and so much more!

Here's a comprehensive look at everything Borderlands 3 has been up to in 2020 (completely spoiler-free in case you haven't yet experienced these exciting adventures for yourself). For those looking to join in on the mayhem, there's never been a better time thanks to an array of Borderlands 3 Holiday Deals. And as a little something extra, we've also included links to some of the new soundtracks tied to the added content!

From all the teams at Gearbox and 2K, thanks so much for being part of this amazing Borderlands community—we couldn't have done this without you.


Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock

Launch date: March 26, 2020
Listen to the soundtrack

Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock may very well be the most dangerous engagement celebration the galaxy has ever seen! Sir Alistair Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs announce their upcoming nuptials, cordially inviting you to their engagement party on the ice planet of Xylourgos where a gargantuan monster lies frozen above a village full of deranged occultists. Fight back against forces of otherworldly evil with the help of the galaxy's most badass wedding planner: Gaige, a former Vault Hunter who's inseparable from her robot BFF Deathtrap.

Bounty of Blood

Launch date: June 25, 2020
Listen to the soundtrack

Bounty of Blood packs more frontier justice per minute than most sheriffs see in their entire lives. You've come to the brutal planet of Gehenna in hopes of collecting a bounty on The Devil Riders, a violent gang of beast-riding mercenaries. Team up with tough-as-hell locals to protect and rebuild the town of Vestige, then take the fight to The Devil Riders using new interactive objects and the added Jetbeast mount in this gritty tale told by an unseen narrator.

Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck

Launch date: September 10, 2020
Listen to the soundtrack

Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck lets you explore Krieg's chaotic mind in search of clues leading to Vaulthalla, a mythical place that supposedly induces insanity. Help both sides of Krieg's dual psyche process his traumatic memories by blasting his inner demons to bits, and try not to succumb to lunacy inside Krieg's imagination full of memory fragments, twisted mindscapes, and meat. So much meat.

Designer's Cut

Launch date: November 9, 2020
Listen to the Arms Race soundtrack

Designer's Cut expands your Borderlands 3 experience with new ways to play! The all-new Arms Race mode is an endlessly replayable gauntlet set in a hidden area of Pandora, challenging you to gear up your Vault Hunter from scratch and extract the best loot you find or die trying. Vault Hunters can also wield the power of new builds made possible by an additional skill tree for each character class, complete with fresh Action Skills to mix up your playstyle.


Broken Heart's Day

Duration: February 13 to February 20

Broken Heart's Day was a chance for your Saurian shipmate Maurice to study our species' strange courtship customs—by blasting the hearts floating above enemies' heads throughout the galaxy. Nothing says 'romance' like an explosive heart laying waste to hordes of baddies.

Revenge of the Cartels

Duration: April 23 to June 4
Listen to the soundtrack

Revenge of the Cartels heated up the summer as everyone took the fight to Eridium Cartel kingpin Joey Ultraviolet and his gangs of underlings, waging war across Ultraviolet's opulent mansion hidden away in a tropical paradise. If you hadn't intervened in time, Maurice's broken arm would've been the least of his worries.

Bloody Harvest Returns

Duration: October 8 to November 5

Bloody Harvest Returns brought back the spooky season in style, pitting you against the fearsome Captain Haunt and his macabre minions in the pursuit of brand-new rewards. With your help, Maurice collected enough Hecktoplasm to last him a whole year!


Borderlands Science

Launch date: April 7, 2020

Playing the Borderlands Science arcade game in the corner of Doctor Tannis' infirmary on Sanctuary III contributes to real-world scientific research on the human gut microbiome! Borderlands Science presents you with simple block puzzles based on strands of DNA, and by solving them you're helping to map and compare the microbes contained therein. Completing these puzzles also earns you in-game currency, which can be redeemed for unique Vault Hunter Heads and Skins as well as timed boosters that buff your stats, loot quality, and even experience gains when you jump back into the mayhem of Borderlands 3 proper. In the time since Borderlands Science was added to Borderlands 3, the community has completed tens of millions of puzzles in the aid of scientific research—well done!

Takedown at the Guardian Breach

Launch date: June 11, 2020
Listen to the soundtrack

Takedown at the Guardian Breach offers a gauntlet of elite enemies and fearsome boss encounters that'll put your skills and loadout to the test. Sanctuary III's resident Eridian expert Patricia Tannis sends you to the distant planet of Minos Prime to investigate a mysterious Guardian signal—but she didn't count on hordes of hostile Guardians awaiting you. A sect of rogue Guardians has shattered the planet into pieces and covered it with ominous architecture akin to the obelisks and statues found on Nekrotafeyo. You'll have to fight back against these ancient beings as you traverse the fractured landscape in search of answers.

Patch Highlights

In addition to all the meaty content additions outlined above, Borderlands 3 received a myriad of refinements and expanded game mechanics in 2020 via a steady stream of patches. Community feedback has been instrumental to crafting these patches and getting our balancing just right as it continues to expand. With each patch, our design team had a chance to experiment with systems and create entirely new ways to play.

One of the most significant additions was Mayhem 2.0, a complete overhaul of the endgame Mayhem Mode. First launched in spring, we continued to refine the experience in later patches.

"It completely changed the endgame experience to be, well... more Mayhem-y!" says Nick Thurston, Senior Game Designer at Gearbox Software. "Modifiers were added to create unique combat situations that kept you on your toes, and additional rebalancing made sure as many builds as possible were viable in the endgame. Moze's Iron Bear and Zane's Clones are battling to this day for supremacy on the battlefield."

Later, we turned Mayhem all the way up to 11, stripping away modifiers at the expense of greater rewards.

"This whole year we've supported the game by creating a place where players can play the way they want, be it through crazy character builds or experimenting with more viable gear at the endgame," says Graeme Timmins, Creative Director at Gearbox Software. "Mayhem 11 reflects that. Now players have the ultimate flexibility to determine their endgame experience, and can enjoy Borderlands 3 however they like."

Speaking of flexibility, there are now more ways than ever to customize the difficulty of your Borderlands 3 experience. We rebalanced Takedowns to be more accessible, while adding True Takedown Mode as an option for those seeking the ultimate challenge.

"True Takedown Mode gives our more hardcore community members a place to show off their most interesting builds," says Graeme.

That same patch also added the ability to turn Guardian Perks on or off to best complement builds, and new Guardian Perks were later added.

This year also saw the debut of Borderlands 3 on new platforms, including Steam for PC players and the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. We enabled PC crossplay powered by SHiFT between Steam and the Epic Games Store, and Borderlands 3 became available on day one for the new consoles, fully optimized with increased graphical performance and more local multiplayer options.

"We wanted to make sure we were there at launch with full support," says Graeme. "We're really happy with the performance improvements the new consoles provide, which allowed us to bring back 4-Player Split-Screen (aka 'Ultimate Couch Co-op Mode').

"And as a 'thank you' to our incredible community, we created a seamless process for everyone to upgrade on both platforms!"

Other patches introduced quality-of-life changes that made for a smoother endgame experience. The introduction of dedicated loot pools redistributed Legendary drops across the pool of bosses and made them easier to consistently farm.

"Players can now fight a wider variety of bosses when farming loot and will generally need to make less boss runs before they see that 'god roll' they were looking for," says Mike Wardwell, Senior Game Designer at Gearbox Software.

We also adjusted the pool of powerful gear Anointments to help ensure that with enough persistence, you could get the loot drops of your dreams.

"The community was pretty clear that all the Anointments we added up to this point were starting to dilute the pool, so my team and I sat down and went through every Anointment and pulled the plug on around 20," explains Graeme. "This work, paired with the rebalancing of loot to enemies, resulted in a much better and more reliably rewarding farming experience."

The Vault Hunters themselves also received a host of balancing adjustments, with the goal of maintaining a wide selection of powerful, diverse character builds. One of the biggest adjustments was increasing the level cap to 57, making it possible to unlock two Capstone skills across a character's skill trees.

"It was fun seeing the community play around with the trees and create some pretty insane new builds," says Graeme.

Builds have only gotten more complex since then, as the current level cap sits at 65.

More recently, Zane the Operative was under the microscope for some significant skill tree changes.

"While we were making Zane, there were a lot of talks about Seein' Red and Death Follows Close and just where they belonged on the skill tree," says Tommy Westerman, Senior Game Designer at Gearbox Software. "Originally, Death Follows Close was the capstone, but shortly before release we swapped the skills for probably the third time. After the Seein' Dead class mod was released and we saw just how dominant it was in literally every Zane build, we knew something had to be done.

"With the release of the new skills trees in the Designer's Cut add-on, we ultimately decided this was finally the right time to make that call and put Death Follows Close back at the top of the tree where it originally was so long ago."

Borderlands 3 has expanded in so many ways since the start of the year, and it continues to evolve with patches, mini-events, and the Director's Cut add-on still on the way in 2021. Thank you again for your continued support as we work to make Borderlands 3 even more awesome!


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