With so many loot-focused games releasing over the last few years, players have seen many different approaches to balance and the sharing of rewards. Some choose to let the loot exist separately for co-op partners, while others let those players share loot. Borderlands 3, however, is doing something unique to balance loot and allow players of different levels to feel rewarded by their efforts.
Gearbox Software has already teased the idea of player unique loot but they finally showed it off as part of the Borderlands 3 gameplay reveal event. In what the studio is calling loot instancing, each player will encounter their own loot from a chest (or chest-like loot delivery item i.e. outhouse). Each weapon, shield, or grenade will be scaled to the individual player’s level and be capable of delivering damage relative to that arsenal.
In the example shown, a level 10 player encounters two weapons in an outhouse. Both of these weapons are rated for level 10 and their stats reflect those that you would typically see on a level 10 weapon. And when the player equipped one of those weapons and used them on an enemy, they would deal somewhere in the 10-20 damage range to the enemy.
That player’s level 25 co-op partner, on the other hand, would see those same outhouse weapons but rated for level 25. The stats would be higher to reflect the higher level of the weapon and the damage output was in the 100s, like their other weapons.
Essentially, Borderlands 3 creates a situation where each player is doing damage relative to their level and the enemies are responding to it. One bullet takes a certain portion of an enemy’s health but for the level 10 player that bullet is doing 13 damage and for the level 25 player it is doing 133 damage, for example.
It seems to be a smart way for Borderlands 3 to handle co-op partners at different levels and make them both feel rewarded. The high level player is still feeling as challenged as the low level player and the loot should be worth the effort.
Those that do want a more traditional Borderlands experience, though, will have a classic mode available to them. The classic option in Borderlands 3 will let the high level player stomp through low level content to help their friend, but the rewards won’t be worth it for them. More importantly, though, classic mode doesn’t instance loot, so anything that drops is up for grabs.
Borderlands 3 releases September 13, 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.