Today during the Borderlands Show, Gearbox revealed the first real details about the main cut for its next year of Borderlands 3 content, a new mode called Arms Race that replaces traditional DLC and focuses on “a new way to play.” “.
The first hype-generating element attached to the concept is that it finally marks the return of Borderlands 2’s last two long-lost Vault Hunters, Salvador and Axton, who act as commentators for Arms Race, which is supposed to be a kind of reality TV. I wouldn’t expect a ton of story content from the other two other than witty banter, but hey, at least they’re back.
The current mode is a mix of a bunch of different things. This is mostly a battle royale, but instead of 100 vault hunters falling to fight to the death, it’s only 1-4 vault hunters arriving, preparing to fight the enemies AI, dodge a shrinking storm, and win by defeating a boss.
The idea is that you start with nothing, none of your weapons or perks or even your action skill or your Guardian ranks, but over time you will be able to kill enemies and get drops of. increasingly better loot, from white to green to blue to purple. legendary. I don’t know if there is a “drop” in or not getting back your action skill or other perks. It didn’t look like that, which would be an odd choice for a game that also launches four new skill trees at the same time.
The idea is that you can find both “normal” Legendaries to use in battle as you play through a turn, but also Legendaries which are new specific loot pieces (possibly exclusive? You’re not sure) to the mode where you’ll have to mine different stations around the map, or after the final boss at the end, in a way that reminds me a bit of The Division’s Dark Zone.
These are the rules of battle royale, so if you die and can’t get a second wind, you’re done and lose everything you hold if you haven’t mined it. That’s why it’s probably best to play with friends, because not only can they revive you manually, but they can take you back to stations around the map like Apex Legends. I don’t know how i feel another team-centric activity in a game that doesn’t quite have matchmaking yet, but we’ll see how that goes.
Arms Race is part of Season Pass 2 which covers content for the coming year. As a final bonus, this pass also includes the most substantial cosmetics the game has yet offered, four skins that are more than just heads or recolorations, but entirely new models for each character called the Multiverse Final Form cosmetic pack that imagine what the characters might look like in another lifetime, had they done something else instead of becoming Vault Hunters. They are really good! I wish they had done more.
Arms Race will launch on November 10 alongside the next-gen version of the game, and of course all of the new skill trees already detailed. It feels like it’s meant to be buried for a while in this launch window, but more is planned for the entire year, so you can always come back to it. I will have my thoughts on Arms Race and the new skill trees before launch.
So yeah, cool new mode, sick new skins, and old friends coming back. Not bad.
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