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This page contains unmarked spoilers for the entire Borderlands franchise built up thus far. Read at your own risk.

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"The Children of the Vault is a psycho cult. 10 billion followers demand we join, or die. We've got another proposal for them."
Lilith
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Borderlands 3, developed by Gearbox Software, is the fourth main installment of the commercially praised and successful Borderlands series.

Taking place seven years after the events of Borderlands 2, the epilogue of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! and the final episode of Tales from the Borderlands, vaults have opened up all over the galaxy, and a new cast of Vault Hunters are taking up the mantle to help the Crimson Raiders find them. With Hyperion no longer ruling over Pandora, the resulting power vacuum has allowed a Siren by the name of Tyreen and her brother Troy the opportunity to start a cult named the Children of the Vault, and they want to harness the vaults' powers for themselves.

The new Vault Hunters include:

  • Moze the Gunner: When Moze needs backup, she digistructs her mech – Iron Bear – for a sucker punch of additional firepower.
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  • Amara the Siren: A confident, capable brawler with the ability to summon ethereal fists, Amara uses her Siren powers to smash her enemies.
  • FL4K the Beastmaster: FL4K lives for the hunt. So do the loyal beasts that follow their master’s every command. Their preferred prey? Unsuspecting bandits, those poor suckers.
  • Zane the Operative: Specializing in battlefield gadgetry, Zane is extremely proficient at slipping into combat, creating chaos, and sneaking back out as if he were never there.

Borderlands 3 was released on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on September 13, 2019. The PC version of Borderlands 3 is exclusive to the Epic Games Store until April 2020.

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Borderlands 3 contain the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: Oh so many quality-of-life features are implemented here, compared to the previous games:
    • NPCs can now revive you, which removes the often frustrating problem of an ally killing an enemy you were trying to use for a Second Wind.
    • You can now climb over ledges, so you don't have to do the whole thing over again if you miss a jump and platforming in general is far less finicky.
    • Ammo capacity upgrades are now bought from Marcus for cash, meaning that not only is grinding Eridium to hold more grenades no longer a thing, but it hopefully will go some way to avert the Money for Nothing issue that plagued 2 and The Pre-Sequel. Crazy Earl is still around, taking Eridium for cosmetic items and Anointed gear.
    • You can still, of course, respec your skill points at a Quick-Change Station.
    • Dahl guns can now be switched between fire modes on the fly instead of the arbitrary and cumbersome "burst fire while zoomed" "feature" present in the past games. They also come with multiple different numbers of round bursts (Up to five!) as opposed to just three.
    • Similarly, Maliwan guns can now switch between two elements, making them considerably less situational.
    • The Lost and Found stations found on Sanctuary III will return any potentially lost items you may have accidentally dropped while on missions. Accidentally dropped a Legendary off a cliff? No problem!
    • Legendary drops are now highlighted on the mini-map with a golden star as well as making a unique sound when spawned, making them very hard to miss.
    • Loot instancing option is introduced: now when playing co-op, each player can get their own loot scaled to their level instead of having to compete for drops. Likewise, enemy leveling scales to the player rather than the area, and the stats of lower-level players and their enemies are normalised for higher-level players (and vice-versa), so everyone is on a level playing field regardless of level. And if this isn't wanted, it is possible to play co-op how it worked in previous games, called Classic Mode.
    • Slag has been replaced by a less awkward element called Radiation, which just does damage over time but also causes the afflicted enemy to deal constant Radiation damage in a radius around them, and if they die while so afflicted they explode and spread Radiation to anyone in the radius.
    • Opening containers automatically collects ammo, health, and money. You also no longer have to manually pick up Eridium anymore either.
    • Upon completing the main story campaign, any optional quests you have not completed yet will automatically scale to your level and reward you appropriately. No more going back to the starting area and completing a quest at level 50 just to get a level 4 pistol for a reward.
    • Respawn points now act as save points which means that when you save and quit, it respawns you back at the last respawn point (instead of just the Fast Travel stations), making farming for loot a lot less tedious.
  • Anyone Can Die: Aurelia Hammerlock dies at the hands of the Vault Hunter, and Maya is drained of her powers by Troy in such a way she crumbles to ash. Even Lilith sacrifices herself in the end.
  • Arc Word: Family. On both side the theme of family comes up several time, and the word is constantly repeated.
    • The Crimson Raiders are described as a Family by Lilith and Ellie. And this shown by how they support, worry about each other.
    • Rhys refers to Atlas as a family, and Rhys is shown caring about Atlas and its employees. This contrasts him with Katagawa Jr. who refers to Maliwan the same way.
      • Katagawa Jr. of Maliwan killed all but one of his siblings so he'd inherit the company. He refers to Maliwan as his family, and how he wants Rhys and Atlas to join that "family". But at the same time he expresses complete disregard for his employees.
    • Wainwright Jakobs feels he does not live up to the family legacy, hinted to be the source of a lot of his insecurities and friction with his father. His boyfriend Alistair Hammerlock gives him support, and their love makes Wainwright step up to defend Alistair and the Jakobs family legacy. Fittingly, they get engaged in the ending.
    • The villains meanwhile have a recurring theme of trying to kill members of their family, or perverting the term.
      • The Calypso Twins: Tyreen killed her mother. Their dad, Typhon tried to kill them when he saw what a monster she was. Fittingly the twins abandoned their family name. Tyreen and Troy turn on each other. Tyreen and Troy refer to the Children of the Vault as their family, but they also openly point out this is merely manipulation, and both are pretty open about how the CoV are but a means to an end, and food for Tyreen.
      • Aurelia Hammerlock lives only to hurt her brother, physically and emotionally. Alistair recounts stories of how she killed her own pet as a child in a way to make Alistair think he'd actually killed it. She even refers to family as a "competition" which believes the sister should win. She aligns with the Twins merely for the chance to hurt Alistair, as she doesn't actually care about owning Jakobs.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Ratches are about the size of a larval Varkid, but they're abundantly present all throughout Promethea. They seem to be some bizarre mix of rats and cochroaches (hence the name), giving the worst aspects of both pests.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Children of the Vault are thwarted, but Maya is dead, leaving Ava deeply embittered and resentful towards the Vault Hunters for failing to save her until you avenged Maya, and Lilith has to pull an Heroic Sacrifice at the end in order to prevent the Great Vault from opening and destroying Pandora.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Gibbing and dismemberment in Borderlands 3 is much more comparable to the original Borderlands than its sequels. Deaths are more brutal and chunkier, and the "chunky" part is also much more commonplace in combat and easier to inflict, as you no longer have to be overleveled to see the carnage. Limbs can be shot off individually, headshots now turn everything above a poor sap's neck into chunky salsa, and everything above the waist or even just everything can suffer the same fate.
  • Bowdlerise: Midgets have been renamed to "Tinks" due to "Midget" having negative connotations. This is given some in-game justification by many of these revamped enemies utilizing gadget-based special abilities, thus giving the new designation literal meaning as in "Tinkerer", but simple "Tink Psychos" with no such tech-based abilities to speak of still exist as well. It's worth noting that "Midget Psychos" had previously been renamed to "Lil' Psychos".
  • Brawn Hilda: Hags, Giant Mooks that are members of the Children of the Vault, show up near the end of the game. They have mannish faces with huge upper bodies and pink hair. They also tend to have Tinks riding piggyback on them.
  • Breaking Old Trends: The game didn't keep the "dead skag in the intro cutscene" Running Gag set-up in the first two mainline games and Tales. This time, it's more of a Bait-and-Switch though - Even if the skag in the intro is about to walk in the road, it is the psycho who gets rammed by the vehicle instead. Besides, this skag is different anyway, since it is a pet of FL4K.
  • Brick Joke: In the beginning of the game, Claptrap gives you your ECHO-3 device and explains that the previous model, the ECHO-2, was recalled and rebranded as grenades after they started spontaneously exploding. As it turns out, the ECHO-2 is an actual grenade mod that can be found and equipped.
  • Brought Down to Normal: An early encounter with Troy and Tyreen at the start of the game results in Lilith losing her siren powers and tattoos. The "We Are Mayhem" trailer had her confirm that she used to be one of the six Sirens who could ever exist at any given time.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Eden-6, home of the Jakobs corporation is a massive swamp filled with all sorts of dangerous critters.
  • Call-Back: At the end of the "The Borderlands Are Yours" trailer, we hear a very familiar "HEYOOOO!" from the Series Mascot Steve the Bandit.
  • Climax Boss: This game has many, most of which are for the Vault keys fragments of the worlds.
    • Captain Traunt, a Maliwan Heavy soldier leading the siege on Athenas, and guards the first Promethea Vault Key fragment.
    • Katagawa Ball, a gigantic Death Ball controlled by Katagawa Jr, which is fought after the hijacking of his laser and destruction of his personal 'space pleasure yacht,' Zanara, for the second Promethea Vault Key fragment.
    • Katagawa Jr., Head of Maliwan Mergers and Acquisitions and heir to the corporation, he is revealed to have been masquerading as Zer0 to screw with Rhys. He is fought for the last Promethea Vault Key fragment, which is kept by Rhys.
    • GenIVIV, The Combat AI for the Jakob's corporations' ship, the Family Jewel. She's sided with Aurelia Hammerlock and tries to deliver her a Vault Key fragment in exchange for a Maliwan Dreadnought ship to devastate the stars with. She is fought for the first piece of the Eden-6 Vault key.
    • Billy, The Anointed, the first super-powered Goliath known as an Anointed that Troy creates using his powers, and is fought for the second piece of the Eden-6 Vault key.
    • Aurelia Hammerlock, the ice-wielding sister and arch-enemy of Sir Hammerlock, who tires to kill him and his boyfriend, Wainwright Jakobs. She is fought for the final piece of the Eden-6 Vault key.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The game sees returning characters from all of the preceding games, including Tales and DLC for The Pre-Sequel.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Borderlands 1 and 2 have the MegaCorps Atlas and Hyperion as their main enemy factions (with the latter being led by the charismatic Handsome Jack) but the Children of the Vault is a massive cult consisting of fanatical bandits that are led by Brother-Sister Team/Siblings in Crime Tyreen and Troy Calypso.
  • Crapsack World: Pandora has never been a fun or healthy place to live on, but what little information has been told about Promethea in past games indicates that it's much worse. True enough, Promethea is a bustling-yet-Dystopian urban developed planet where you either live among the richest of the rich, or you live on the streets, barely able to afford to eat. When Rhys brought back the Atlas corporation, he started by trying to better the lives of its citizens, but then Maliwan muscled their way in and turned the place into a warzone.
  • Criminal Convention: The Carnivora, a bandit themed traveling carnival on Pandora, part Circus of Fear part Crappy Carnival although that last part is more due to being The Theme Park Version of Pandora itself than lack of engineering skills on the bandits part considering the thing turns out to be a Base on Wheels the size of a large building and has a Killer Robot with multiple deadly weapons as a centerpiece.
  • Cult: The Children of the Vault are the central antagonists, led by the Calypso twins, Tyreen and Troy. They also replace the "Bandit" and "Scav" weapon brand from previous games.
  • Cutting Off the Branches:
    • Zer0's relationship with Rhys implies that he's one of the canonical choices for the ending of Tales.
    • While blaming her for Maya's death, Ava reminds that Lilith killed Handsome Jack. The final mission of Borderlands 2 gives you the choice to either kill Jack yourself, or have Lilith kill him. This game seems to have taken the latter choice as canon, or at the least, word spread that she was involved in killing him.
  • Cyber Cyclops: FL4K has a single glowing (and blinking) cybernetic eye.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Major bosses have a lot more health and take much longer to kill compared to earlier Borderlands games. While for each game the Final Boss is always a Damage-Sponge Boss, in Borderlands 3 basically every major story boss is like this.
  • Deconstructive Parody: The Calypso twins are a parody of social media influencers if they had no boundaries and had an audience of bloodthirsty sadists.
  • Demoted to Extra: Of all of the playable characters from the previous games, only Lilith and Maya play prominent roles in the story of 3.
    • From Borderlands 1, Brick and Mordecai make a return, but are only present in one story mission and are mainly relegated to side quests.
    • From Borderlands 2, only Maya and Zer0 make an appearance. Zer0 is only present as one of Rhys' subordinates. Salvador is only heard from a Stupid Statement Dance Mix of his voice clips that randomly plays from radios and an Echo recording by Marcie's father reveals he still plans on extracting revenge on the "horrible killer who murdered [his] genius daughter at the prime of her life", referring to Gaige. Krieg is only present in a series of ECHO logs, and Axton has apparently found a new job as a model, as his shirtless image can be found on a magazine cover in-game and even an Iron Bear skin for Moze.
    • Zed, who had played at least a supporting role in the past two games, doesn't appear in 3 other than through his vending machines. A radio commercial indicates he's running a mobile clinic on Pandora (and still isn't licensed to do so). Tannis largely supplants his role as Sanctuary's doctor.
    • Despite the implications that they would play a major role in later games, Athena and the living Eridian from the end of the Pre-Sequel are completely absent and never actually mentioned. Only Aurelia returns in person on Eden-6 as an antagonist, though Timothy is implied by in-game posters to be an actor under the pseudonym "Timothy Doppelman".
    • While Rhys and Vaughn play prominent roles in the plot, both Fiona and Sasha are absent, with the only mention of Sasha being that she is covering her tracks to make sure she isn't found.
  • Dung Fu: Jabbers will throw their own corrosive feces at the player.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Implied to be the result should Troy attempt to unlock the Great Vault - Pandora itself - by phaselocking Elpis and attempting to "open" Pandora using the moon as a giant key. Luckily, he's stopped, but it takes Lilith sacrificing herself to stop the moon moving any further to truly prevent a catastrophe.
  • Fat Bastard: There are numerous Goliaths with a very large gut just hanging out of their shirts. The Goliaths in Borderlands 2 had a little bit of a gut, but were still bulky Dumb Muscle. Here, they're just fat. That is, until you shoot off their helmets.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Tannis having inherited Angel's powers is hinted at several times. First she speaks to the vault hunter in their mind, like Lilith did before, but using a white portrait like Angel's, instead of Orange like Lilith's. Second when Maya is lost, Tannis has the vault hunters bring the key fragment to them, and produces a fully charged key, despite the Crimson Raiders' seeming lack of a Siren to do the charging.
    • Nyriad's logs gives a lot of lore behind the existence of Sirens. Collecting all of them gives a cryptic nod that a seventh siren exists, has always existed, has never passed her powers onto another, and that she must never be found. It's implied that this connects to the supposed great war that the Eridian warned the Vault Hunters was coming at the end of The Pre-Sequel.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In the reveal trailer, the words "ВКЛЮЧАЙ МОТОР"note  flash for a split second at the 0:42 mark.
    • In the gameplay demo, when the player receives an ECHO device from Claptrap and turns it on, a message "BOOTING ECHO v.3.091319" (Borderlands 3 being released on 09/13/19) pops up.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Downplayed when it comes to the bandits. While some such as the iconic Psychos still wear masks, most regular Fanatics and their Tink counterparts lack them, sometimes wearing face tattoos or handkerchiefs.
  • Gatling Good:
    • Vladof's "Spinigun" model is a pretty iconic representation of their brand. It's an assault rifle with a Gatling barrel on the end. How does Vladof up their ante in Borderlands 3? By adding two rotating barrels instead of one.
    • The "Gatlin'" variety of Jakobs guns are hand-cranked gatling guns that happen to be one of the few automatic Jakobs guns.
  • Gender-Restricted Ability: Subverted. While Sirens have always been known to be restricted to females, Troy's shown sporting red tattoos on his left arm. This is explained as him originally being Conjoined Twins with Tyreen.
  • Ground Pound: Derived from the Gravity Slam mechanic from The Pre-Sequel, all of the playable characters are now capable of a ground pound attack from the air. Amara in particular also has a special one as one of her Action Skills intended for crowd control and can be customized to have various effects.
  • Guide Dang It!: You may get a small popup icon below the minimap that indicates that you have new mail from a corporation, as a reward for killing enough enemies with a corporation's weapons or for completing a challenge from Hammerlock or Moxxi. Mail can be accessed from the Social menu and provides useful guns, but the game doesn't tell you this. Expect to find a large backlog of guns you've long since outleveled in your mailbox if you're only just finding this out.
  • Hard Light: Much like The Pre-Sequel's Jack the Doppleganger before him, Zane can digistruct a "Digiclone", which pulls enemy fire towards it while dealing damage with its own gun. Zane can also instantly teleport to its location if he needs.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Zane the Operative, is described as 1 part Soldier, 1 part Hunter, and 1 part Assassin class when compared to the previous generations of playable Vault Hunters. He's a well-rounded character who doesn't overspecialize in just a single type of playstyle, and has the added benefit of having two Action abilities to use at any given time.
  • King Mook: The first miniboss of the game, Shiv, is nothing more than a Badass Psycho who runs the CoV Propaganda Center.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In traditional Borderlands style, the opening cinematic that introduces the Vault Hunters leaves the odd man out. Fl4k as the Beastmaster, Moze as the Gunner, Amara as the Siren, Zane as himselves.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • As is tradition for the series, all major characters get an introductory frame shot upon first meeting them. Lilith's title card says "Title cards brought to you by Marcus Munitions" in the background underneath her name. Similarly, Rhys' title card is provided by Atlas, and Maliwan provides ones for their employees.
    • When Rhys uploads himself into a ball on the asteroid, he asks "Has this changed my voice? It still sounds like me, doesn't it?" This is a reference to Rhys' voice actor having changed since Tales From The Borderlands.
    • The New-U stations assure you that you will always respawn unless you died in a cutscene.
  • L33t L1ng0: FL4K, The Beastmaster. They're a robot, but everyone pronounces their designation number as "Flak".
  • Literally Shattered Lives: The Cryo element returns from The Pre-Sequel, allowing you to freeze enemies and shatter them.
  • Mad Scientist: The Tinks (short for "tinkerers") who wield incredibly advanced weaponry and can deploy sentries. According to one of Tyreen's messages, one of them tried to kill the Player Character while they were riding the bus in the intro, and just barely missed, killing himself in the process.
  • Masked Luchador: A unique enemy that can sometimes spawn in certain locations on Eden 6 is El Dragon Jr., a hulking luchador who strikes poses and yells in Spanish.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Unlike Hyperion most of Maliwan's military consists of human soldiers, but they use hacked service bots to bolster their forces early in the game. Later on they reveal to have their own special Hoplite and Arbalest units, the latter of which being capable of unleashing a Macross Missile Massacre.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted this time around. There are female psychos, tinks, and goliaths scattered all through the ranks of the bandits. Previous games usually limited female enemies to a special type of enemy like the Crimson Lance Assassins from the first game, or unique enemies, like the female bandit in Vallory's employ, Scooter's ex-girlfriend Laney, Motor Mama, or Nisha, the Sheriff of Lynchwood.
  • Metal Slime: Provided that you can kill them before they escape. Loot Tinks are rare enemies that will constantly drop loot when attacked and have a backpack you can open with a decent chance of dropping high-rarity loot.
  • Mini-Mecha: Moze can digistruct a mech to pilot and deal a world of hurt. The mech can be upgraded with a turret on it that other players can use.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The Jabbers on Eden-6 seem to be a cross between a primate and a lion.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Amara can summon extra arms to help lay the smack down on enemies. She can use them to either Phasegrasp enemies (which is functionally similar to Maya's Phaselock) or to perform a Ground Pound.
  • Never Live It Down: invoked The Sellout is a gun that has Tyreen's voice mocking you so long as you're using it, and among its many insults is that it calls you a "gun slut", which is the reason Tyreen gave for you killing yourself to get this weapon.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Maliwan takes on the role of the "big bad Mega-Corp" that the player ends up fighting against, just like Atlas, Hyperion, and Dahl in the previous games. Maliwan is terrorizing the Order of the Impending Storm that rules over Athenas, and are trying to absorb the newly reformed Atlas corporation on Promethea. According to Katagawa Jr, the Head of Mergers and Acquisitions in Maliwan, he wants for Maliwan and Atlas to be "One big titanic family"
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: FL4K is a robot beastmaster.
  • Noisy Guns: Guns make a noticeable rattle when you're in the air. Worth noting that the view model gets increasingly shaky when jumping or falling from heights greater than a standard jump.
  • Overheating: The main gimmick of Children of the Vault guns, which have Bottomless Magazines but break if you hold down the fire button for too long.
  • Player-Guided Missile: The "Freeman" Atlas Rocket Launcher will fire a guided rocket that will fly towards wherever you aim the laser targeter.
  • Player Headquarters: Sanctuary III (we don't talk about Sanctuary II) is a Cool Starship that is now the HQ of the Crimson Raiders. It even comes with a personalized room that changes depending on your chosen character.
  • Post Endgame Content: Upon beating the game you unlock the ability to activate Mayhem Mode, which ups the challenge by boosting elemental modifiers as well as adding various random modifiers for each planet but also increases loot drops substantially. You also gain the ability to access the Proving Grounds (skirmishes akin to Digistruct Mountain of 2 that rewards you for clearing them quickly).
  • Power Parasite: Tyreen Calypso's Siren power allows her to drain energy from her victims, which she uses on Lilith to steal her own Siren powers. Troy bears a weaker version of her power due to them being born as conjoined twins, making him an exception to the rule that only females can be Sirens.
  • Punched Across the Room:
    • The trailer shows that Amara can send an enemy flying with a Siren-enhanced palm strike.
    • You can now melee Exploding Barrels to send them flying out from your position before shooting them.
  • Ragdoll Physics: A well-placed shotgun blast can now send most enemies flying backwards even if it doesn't kill them outright, making them vulnerable to further damage.
  • Schizo Tech: While earlier games in the franchise showed this to a degree, especially with Jakobs weapons, it's out in full force for this installment. You can switch between ultra-advanced weapons with smart-tracking bullets that shoot lightning to a converted sewage pump that sprays explosive radioactive waste, all the while fighting in a futuristic metropolis filled with flying cars while using an ECHO device that looks like a cassette player which reads cartridges that wouldn't look out of place in the NES-era of gaming.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: As of the base game's storyline: Gaige is given a passing mention in an Echo log, Krieg has some small lines in a series of echo logs, and Axton has supposedly given up the Vault Hunter life to become a fashion model, as shown by his shirtless image found on magazines and as an Iron Bear skin. Salvador and Athena are given no mention whatsoever.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Talking Weapon: Once again, there are unique guns with voice lines.
    • The Sellout is a Legendary Maliwan pistol that you get from the quest of the same name if you let Tyreen film you killing yourself. Your reward is a gun with Tyreen's voice constantly taunting you for being a sellout.
    • The Handsome Jackhammer is a Legendary Hyperion SMG that has Handsome Jack's voice.
  • Tinfoil Hat: Hilariously inverted in the early side mission "Bad Reception". One of the antenna replacements Claptrap asks for is one of these being worn by a Psycho. When talking to him, he speaks completely rationally and normal, blaming the nearby satellite dishes beaming thoughts into his brain. Once they are destroyed, he goes back to being a regular Psycho (as the satellite dishes were beaming calming thoughts into his brain) and he must be killed to collect the hat.
  • To Be Continued... Right Now: After Troy's death and absorption by Tyreen, a screen is shown saying "To be continued in 4... 3... 2... 1..."
  • Toilet Humor: There is a gun called the Porta-Pooper 5000, which is covered in feces, and even shoots it as projectiles.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tediore caught on to their brand degradation stemming from how disposable and explosive their guns are. Now their guns have as many effects as your modifiable grenades when thrown, and are twice as weird. Especially the Smart Gun XXL, which sprouts a brain with eyes on top of spider legs, seeks out a target, and explodes in corrosive damage when you dispose of the gun and reload.
  • Unorthodox Reload: Many new guns have less than conventional animations when reloading. Children of the Vault brand weaponry all have Bottomless Magazines, but will overheat if fired for too long, requiring the player use a "Dahl Kidz" water pistol to cool it down, or the replacement of entire barrels.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Some side-quests require whether or not you be nice or be a jerk to those you interact with.
    • Ace Baron's side-mission hunting down medical supplies has you go shake down an NPC named Hardin. You could attack him or pay his fee. Paying him off gives an extra reward at the mission's end.
    • "The Life of the Party" as stated below. You could keep the honor of not breaking a recently-deceased little girl marksman prodigy's records, making both her father and Mordecai happy, and still get the extra reward gun for your kindness.
    • Sparrow's side-mission has you go look for a former servant bot named Tern who has become a new-agesque soul healer. Aside from Tern's annoying analyses, he ends up attacking you as part of his treatment, but tells you to not fight back. Doing so, dying, and returning via a New-U Station gives you both the mission objective item AND some Eridium as reward.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There are several violent, horrific ways you can end your opponents, mostly involving hitting their critical hit spots, or elemental weapons in general. Examples include damaging a Flash Trooper's backpack, which causes them to uncontrollably sprint at full-speed and splatter themselves into the nearest wall or other solid object; destroying a Pyrotech's flame tank, which causes them to explode as they vainly try to reach behind them and shut off the valve; and using Radiation damage to turn enemies into explosive, radioactive sludge, which can then irradiate and kill everyone around them.
    • The "Life of the Party" sidequest involves attending the birthday party of a young Vault Hunter fan who turned out to have just died recently. Despite this, her father still went out of the way to set up various minigames with records held by her, promising a fancy pistol if you beat them. Beating the records gets you a Legendary Pistol but also result in both Mordecai and the father being in a foul mood. That and you get the pistol regardless as to whether or not the records are broken, so breaking them is essentially for the sake of being a dick.
  • Villain Team-Up:
    • Katagawa Jr. struck a deal with the Calypso Twins to help further both of their goals. The Twins will supply their army of fanatical bandits/cultists to support their assault, while the Twins and their cult get shipments of Maliwan weaponry to better arm them all.
    • Aurelia Hammerlock enters into an alliance with the Calypsos in a plot to seize control of the Jakobs Corporation and finally get rid of her brother Alistair.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Maliwan's Skywell-27 Mining Array, a giant asteroid outfitted with a Kill Sat. After the fall of Hyperion's Helios station it reclaimed its title as the most powerful laser system in the galactic sector. Katagawa Jr. uses it to threaten Rhys into submitting by destroying his favorite places. You help Rhys hack it and use it to destroy Katagawa's space yacht for revenge.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Athena, Salvador, and Fiona have no mention or appearance anywhere in the base game. Every other main character who doesn't appear in the game are at least acknowledged to still be around in some form or another. A radio commercial indicates that Dr. Zed is now operating a mobile clinic on Pandora (but he still doesn't have a license). Krieg shows up in various ECHO logs. Gaige is still being hunted by Mr. Holloway for the accidental murder of his daughter while he continues to profit from mass-producing her stolen Deathtrap designs as utility robots. Rhys is searching for Sasha, but Zer0 indicates that she's gone off the grid because she's covering her tracks to make sure she isn't found. A magazine cover (and skin for Moze's Iron Bear) reveals that Axton is now a model. Timothy (the Handsome Jack body double) has taken to acting and has a poster advertising his latest film, Handsome Jack Tames Pandora.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: One of Mordecai's quests involves attending the birthday party of a young girl named Gracey. When you arrive at her house along with Mordecai, it's revealed that Gracey was killed by Varkids just before the party. Her grieving father nonetheless insists on celebrating, as it's "what she would have wanted," and even challenges the Vault Hunter to break her records for cake-eating, grenade throwing, and shooting to win her revolver. While it's possible to beat Gracey's records, Mordecai will warn the Vault Hunter not to break her father's heart, and will chastise them if they do so anyways. If the player breaks all of Gracey's records, her father will get angry at them for upstaging his deceased daughter and reluctantly hands over the revolver with a subtle death threat.
  • Where It All Began: The grand finale has us return to Pandora, as it's revealed that the entire planet is the Great Vault, and Elpis is a giant Vault Key.
  • Wutai: Athenas has a strong East Asian influence with its architecture.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Unlike previous games, your Class Mod and Relic slots are locked off by story progression, meaning that any mods or relics you find on the way can't be used.

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