Borderlands 3’s campaign takes a little over 30 hours to complete, putting its runtime just over that of Borderlands 2’s story. However, there’s still stuff to do once the campaign is complete as Borderlands 3 does have an endgame. Below, you’ll find a general overview of all the content you’ll unlock at the end of Borderlands 3.
Borderlands 3 launches for Xbox One, PS4, and PC via the Epic Games Store on September 13. The game is scheduled to release on Google Stadia later this year and on additional PC storefronts in 2020. If you’re still trying to figure out whether or not you want to buy it, read GameSpot’s Borderlands 3 review.
Circle Of Slaughter
Long-time fans will recognize Torgue’s Circle of Slaughter arenas as the franchise’s traditional horde mode, which is renamed with a different title in every game. In Circle of Slaughter, you face off against waves of enemies, each of which are divided into phases. Each phase also has optional tasks you can complete to earn even greater rewards once you’ve completed every wave.
If you die, you’ll have to start over from the first phase on the first wave so Circle of Slaughter is much more feasible to complete as a team as opposed to by yourself. As you fight, your exploits will be praised or condemned–depending on your performance–by Mr. Torgue himself. The man loves when people use his guns or kill enemies with grenades, so if you want to make him happy, be sure to bring along all your explosive Torgue weapons.
True Vault Hunter Mode
If you immediately want to jump back into Borderlands 3’s campaign and replay it from the very beginning, you can do it without losing all your progress. Obviously you can just start over with a brand-new Vault Hunter if you prefer, but Borderlands 3 also has a new game plus called True Vault Hunter Mode.
In True Vault Hunter Mode, you retain all of your skill points, weapons, grenades, and cosmetic unlocks. The enemies you fight will drop significantly better loot and grant you larger chunks of experience so you can level up faster. However, all enemies will have additional health and you’ll encounter badass variants in greater frequency. In Borderlands 2, True Vault Hunter Mode actually changed some enemies, giving them brand-new identities, weapons, and combat strategies. Borderlands 3 probably does the same, but we haven’t tested True Vault Hunter Mode yet as we want to try the game’s other endgame content first.
Mayhem Mode allows you to add interesting additional effects to combat while you’re mopping up any remaining side quests. By default, turning on Mayhem Mode increases loot quality by 200%, which decreases the likelihood of finding common and uncommon loot and increases the probability that you’ll get rare, very rare, and legendary. The amount of experience, eridum, and cash that drops from enemies and that’s found in chests increases by 200% as well. However, enemy health increases by 15% and shields and armor both increase by 25%.
With Mayhem Mode turned on, potential gameplay mods are activated as well. Some enemies may become moderately bullet-proof, for instance, or you’ll become a wizard that deals less damage with normal bullets and far more with elemental attacks. You can unlock two more additional levels of mayhem in Mayhem Mode, with each evolution increasing the possibility of gaining good loot but also making the potential gameplay mods significantly more drastic.
Borderlands 3 does away with the traditional Badass Ranks for Guardian Ranks, and you’ll unlock this second level of progression once you’ve completed the campaign. In previous games, your Badass Rank was increased by spending tokens you unlocked through completing challenges. In Borderlands 3, you also increase your Guardian Rank with tokens but they’re earned through experience that’s tied to a progression bar that’s separate from the one for your level.
Once you’ve unlocked your Guardian Rank, you can evolve it in different ways by investing tokens into three different classes: Enforcer, Survivor, and Hunter. Putting points into Enforcer increases your overall damage and fire rate, while Survivor is geared towards health and shields, and Hunter focuses on your active skills and luck (luck being the stat that determines how often you get rare, very rare, and legendary loot drops). Investing in each class also unlocks certain weapon skins and other cosmetics.
Once you’ve invested a token, you can’t get it back but you can put points towards any class you want and you’re not locked out of the other two if you heavily invest in one. The full list of stat boosts that come with each class are listed below.
- Critical Damage
- Grenade Damage
- Gun Damage
- Gun Fire Rate
- Melee Damage
- Vehicle Damage
- Fight for Your Life Duration
- Fight for Your Life Movement Speed
- Max Health
- Shield Capacity
- Shield Recharge Delay
- Shield Recharge Rate
- Action Skill Cooldown
- Luck (Rarity Rate)
- Recoil Reduction
- Reload Speed
The Proving Grounds are designed as cooperative-focused missions, but you can take them on solo if you prefer. You unlock several Proving Grounds upon finishing Borderlands 3’s campaign and though each one is different, they all follow the same time-based challenge format.
In Proving Grounds, you’re tasked with beating three waves of enemies. Completing all the waves sees you go up against a boss, and defeating said boss rewards you with some excellent loot. The loot’s rarity and power is dependent on both how quickly you beat the entire mission and how many times you died throughout. It’s strongly advised you take on the Proving Grounds as a team instead of on your own. Though you’ll be able to take on the Proving Grounds alone and most likely beat them without dying (provided you’re at the recommended level), it can take a while to defeat the bosses by yourself, and that can make it more difficult to win within the optional time restrictions.
The Fall/Winter 2019 post-release content roadmap for Borderlands 3 has already been revealed. You can expect two free pieces of content first, Bloody Harvest (which sounds Halloween-themed) and Maliwan Takedown. Bloody Harvest is an event that will add new side quests and thematic awards and Maliwan Takedown adds a brand-new map, enemies, a boss, and rewards. Borderlands 3’s first piece of paid DLC arrives at the end of 2019, adding new campaign story missions. All four pieces of major DLC are included in Borderlands 3’s season pass.
Though exact details haven’t been revealed, Borderlands 3 is scheduled to get raids down the line as well, which may be what makes doing most of the aforementioned endgame content worthwhile. “We’ll have special events as well as raids,” Borderlands 3 lead boss designer Matt Cox said in an interview with VG247. “The details on how that shakes out will be announced later, but there’s plenty of endgame.”