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  • Acceptable Targets: Tyreen and Troy are explicitly stated to be a parody of Social Media Influencers. They "livescream" (livestream) and have "Let's Flays" (Lets Plays) of their crimes and horrific acts, refer to their cultists as "Followers" (as in, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), and even compliment the Vault Hunters on slaughtering their "Meatbags" (bandits/soldiers) because it gets them more hits and clout.note 
    Tyreen: Don't forget to like, follow, and obey!
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  • Adorkable: Wainwright's extremely defensive of his love for puzzles.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: The Final Boss, for those who didn't find it to be the Best Boss Ever. (See below) Despite all the things set up to make it a really fun boss fight, it's surprisingly easy to come in overleveled because they are at level 35... you can easily level up to well over level 40 by that point depending on how many sidequests you do, and especially if you went out of your way to do some of the endgame quests. While you can't just shrug off their attacks (They hurt even at level 42+) you can constantly wear them down with status ailments like burn. A patch did change it so that they scale up to your level, fortunately.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The absence of two thirds of the second game's Vault Hunters and the absence of half of the Pre-sequel's surviving Vault Hunters in the main game would later be addressed in the DLC campaigns, where the missing characters would play prominent roles in almost all of them, with Timothy Lawrence in the Handsome Jackpot, Gaige in Guns, Love, and Tentacles, Krieg in The Fantastic Fustercluck, and Axton & Salvador in Arms Race.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Ava is the biggest one. Many players see her as The Load, a constant burden on the other characters who's reckless actions make her directly responsible for the death of Maya, and Troy stealing her powers, an act she is never called out on by the other characters, or even seems to grow from, and instead blames on Lilith. Later, she inherits Maya's powers after Troy's death, and is given Sanctuary by Lilith, which detractors argue feel completely unearned (the former quasi-justified by prior information, but the latter being odd given Lilith clearly knew other people better suited to lead, or at least people she knew better). Ava is not without fans, however, who argue that her actions are realistic for a girl her age, that her haters overstate her role in the events above, and that she does experience Character Development, albeit subtly and mostly through easily missable optional dialogue. Gearbox themselves admitted on their Borderlands Show podcast that the negative reaction to Ava took them by surprise. An attempt was made to salvage her in the Mysteriouslier story arc, but that fell short.
  • Best Boss Ever:
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    • Graveward on Eden-6. Graveward may be a pile of health that takes forever to kill, but manages to be quite fun regardless, if only because unlike the previous Vault Guardians, this one is actually very relaxing because of how slow it moves. The first thing it does is send you sliding across the stage, forcing you to literally jump and find a hole to hide in so you don't go flying off the stage. After that, it proceeds to shoot you with all sorts of lasers and damage over time effects. Sure, you do have to Attack Its Weak Point like other Vault Guardians, but this massive beast has multiple weak spots for you to shoot at. It helps that its attacks are easily avoidable and aren't one-hit-kills (like several bosses before this were).
    • Pain and Terror - a large mechanical boss fight in which you Attack Its Weak Point but if you do so enough, the weak point breaks. You're forced to be constantly on your feet as they throw all sorts of attacks at you. There's also a sponsor break... but unlike most sponsor breaks in videos, this isn't annoying, it gives you a chance to catch your breath and reload your weapons. Being voiced by Penn & Teller also definitely helps.
    • Troy, especially if you are playing as Amara. Nothing says epic Siren-to-Siren combat like pummeling Troy. It's also quite fun for those who are playing the Badass Normal characters as well, since Troy really makes you feel outclassed. The fact he is draining his sister also adds in some Catharsis Factor too.
    • The Final Boss, for those who don't find it to be an Anti-Climax Boss. It moves very fast, requiring you to dodge damaging attacks that come in different patterns, such as one where you have to avoid rotating lasers of doom. The attacks are just plain ridiculously awesome, and you have to basically avoid them in order for its weak spot be exposed. Even if you're overleveled (And thus can deal over 15k-20k damage once you hit its weak spot) it's fun.
    • From the DLC, Jackpot the Jack's Bot, a chance to shoot Jack one last time. Inside a room where his statues loom, this robot moves slowly, shooting lasers and thrusting out some Loaders, but as you literally tear it apart, it becomes more mobile and versatile until it starts flying around the room like Iron Man, plus converting from a metal to red bar in the last phase means you have a reason to crit his face. The fact that you'll see the jerk rider's fortune go down in this fight is also nice after the few quests that mock your money status.
    • The Final Boss of the Guns, Love, and Tentacles DLC: Eleanor and The Heart. It is a Dual Boss in which the bosses share one big health bar across three forms. Form one is against a more mobile boss (the Arc Villain) who sucks the life out of the nearby trash mobs and warps around to keep you from hitting her. The second form is against a giant heart where you have to Attack Its Weak Point (Which constantly regenerate) and jump all the tentacles that sweep at you. Then the third form... literally both at once. Now you have to make a choice since they share the same health - fire at the more mobile and vulnerable-to-conditions Eleanor, or try to shut down the heart. It ends up an absolutely chaotic mess. And it is just plain awesome.
    • Kormash would just be a standard Anti-Climax Boss or a simple Elite Mook... were it not for one simple thing: The Coresploders. Throughout the entire level, you have been taught how to use a new mechanic from the Bounty of Blood. When you find a coresploder, you simply melee them and cause a massive blast in the direction you face. This is mostly used to get past obstacles, but can also be used to hit enemies. Kormash actually knows this - and he'll use them against you.
    • The Final Boss of the Bounty of Blood - much like the Captain Scarlett and her Pirates Booty DLC of the previous game, it's a two parter. The first part is a high-speed boss against the Arc Villain Rose who zips around. The second part? Against the Ruiner - a vault beast. Oh, and you actually have to use two of the DLC's mechanics to defeat it - you have to use the core jumps to get clear shots at its weak spots, then follow it into the underground using the teleportation stations.
      • Think you can just cheese the Ruiner as Moze? Think again - the Ruiner fires a beam of doom that chews through Iron Bear like paper. It's very very hard to dodge the beam of death when you're in Iron Bear, and the Ruiner will often go underground - and you can't teleport in Iron Bear. It finally feels nice to not just press F, mash your "fire" button and win in record time.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • When the player goes to infiltrate Katagawa's satellite. It is essentially one big dungeon... but damned if it isn't a fun dungeon. It's unlike anything ever seen before in the game, and what's more, you even have reduced gravity in this dungeon. And the platforming actually takes this into account - making the player jump a few wider gaps than they have in the past. It helps that there's still a Slam function that mitigates the cons of low gravity, and there's no need to worry about Oxygen and lack of incendiary effects unlike the Pre-Sequel.
    • Carnivora. No cheap tricks or gimmicks here, just good old fashioned bandit killing. Lots and lots of bandit killing by the way, you'll feel like a walking apocalypse after you've finished this map.
    • Ashfall Peaks in the Bounty of Blood DLC. The entirety of Bounty of Blood is a fusion of a western film and Japan. Ashfall Peaks serves as an interesting tutorial level in which you are told how to use some of the new mechanics native to this DLC: Using jump boosters to propel yourself to new hidden areas and using the coresploder to open new areas and attack enemies. What's more the boss of the area will use the coresploder against you as well. The Bathhouse segment is also a very beautiful area overall in terms of its art design and the overall scenery. It also has one sidequest in which you lock a guy in a bath, then pour too much bubble bath into the bath so the ensuing bubble flood causes him to run out and confront you, and you get a literal bubble-pistol as a quest reward.
    • Villa Ultraviolet from the Revenge of the Cartels event. A big, sprawling mansion with clear Scarface influences, great music, loads of eridium to loot, and of course some of the most beloved legendaries. It's widely regarded as the best event in the game, so fans were overjoyed when it was announced in June 2021 that they would now be able to toggle it and any of the other two events at will.
  • Broken Base:
    • Maya's death. Supporters claim it was an excellent method by which to raise the stakes of the main plot and show more than anything that despite their silliness, the Calypso Twins are genuine threats that need to be taken seriously. Detractors see it as a cheap rehash of Roland's death from 2 with none of the heart and soul of it, and that it happens far too early in the game, everyone has to act like idiots for it to happen, and is almost immediately swept aside and forgotten about outside of easily missable dialogue. It doesn't help that Director's Cut revealed that this wasn't originally going to be the case, and there was in fact an entire mini-arc dedicated to the fallout of her death and the effect it has on the surviving cast, but this was cut for unknown reasons.
    • Similarly, Aurelia's sudden Face–Heel Turn is either seen as the logical endpoint of the character based on their prior characterization, or flies in the face of their various Pet the Dog moments in Presequel.
    • The removal of the grinder . Supporters of it will claim it was an nice and useful way to get value out of items that would normally be considered Vendor Trash, while others argue it made grinding for legendaries trivial and the game is better off without it.
    • The story in general is one of the most hotly debated aspects of the game. While most consider it a downgrade from 2, some consider the story to be flawed, but ultimately serviceable and doesn't get in the way of the refined gameplay. Others claim that the story is so badly written that it actively detracts from the gameplay, with some going as far as to accuse the story of outright insulting long time fans due to the allegedly poor treatment of the past generation Vault Hunters.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Once you manage to fine-tune your character build to tear through even the toughest enemies, chances are you'll be on a Power High for a while.
    • A strange example in Devil's Razor. You'll feel very compelled to replace the footage of the Calypso's recording of Maya's death with Buff Film Buff's...weird art project thingy.
    • The same for can be said for actually killing Troy. The Vault Hunters even have a And This Is for... voice line in Maya's name. Provided that you go back to kill him again afterwards without a story cutscene starting.
    • Shooting Eleanor or Aurelia with a condition causes them to scream for several moments as they take Damage Over Time. After how many times they taunt you, and in Eleanor’s case indirectly causing the death of Burton Brigg’s daughter, almost killing Deathtrap and taunting Gaige about it... it can feel nice. But it's done so frequently it can vary into unintentional comedy.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • The Mayhem levels actively fight against this. The previous games' New Game+ modes simply increased enemy damage and damage resistance, causing most players to reduce their builds to "Max DPS, DR, and possibly healing" which usually involved getting the same weapons on each playthrough. The mayhem modes add an element of randomness to enemies instead of just making them tanks, encouraging the player to think on their feet and avoid sticking to the same 4 weapons throughout every battle.
    • Gearbox has also been notably active with nerfs and buffs in its post-game patches specifically targeted towards averting this for endgame builds by encouraging experimentation with multiple characters, skills, and gear. The most notable examples are the nerfs on FL4K's crit skills and powerful quest reward items like the Lyuda sniper rifle and Porcelain Pipe Bomb grenade that allowed players to insta-kill nearly every enemy.
    • This is played fairly straight with the actual endgame content, however. Because the vast majority of Legendary gear, including some of the game's most powerful and interesting guns, are universal world drops, players seeking to find this gear are heavily incentivized to just farm the Graveward, a boss with high drop rates (including several unique drops), multiple crit points, relatively low damage, and a location right next to a fast travel station. This loop offers far more loot in a far shorter time than any other boss, let alone the intended endgame content of the Proving Grounds Trials and Circle of Slaughter.
    • Atlas Q-Systems are - while not quite Game-Breaker status - widely regarded as some of the best assault rifles in the game, due to their massive damage and low ammo requirements (unlike other weapons with double projectiles, they fire two projectiles for the cost of one) on top of being Atlas guns.
    • When it comes to common artifact categories/legendary artifact subcategories, only Snowdrift is really given distinction, as it drastically increases slide speed, making it ideal for dodging and general travelling, in addition to that snowball projectile it advertises up and front. People practically pay all other sliding and all slam categories as a Tier-Induced Scrappy item, and all other categories such as melee, elemental chance, and damage, are a distant second to the Snowdrift.
    • When it comes to artifact stat boosts, the magazine size boost is the one to take the gold prize, giving non-Snowdrift artifacts with this stat value. Other stat boosts worth consideration are the general movement speed, reload speeds, and any improvements to shields and health.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Tyreen Calypso is the de facto leader of the Children of the Vault, a murderous cult based on Pandora constructed to torture and kill everyone in their way. Alongside her brother Troy, Tyreen hosts video streams where she tortures and murders enemy and friend alike, getting delight out of forcing her own fanatics to mutilate themselves in her name. In her quest for godhood, Tyreen facilitates wars that overtake entire planets, betrays her allies, and assists Troy in trying to crash Pandora's moon into the planet, uncaring of the billions who will die. After her brother's death, Tyreen shows absolutely no remorse or concern for him, instead reducing his corpse to ashes to steal his powers so she can complete her ascension to godhood, even murdering her own father while proclaiming her plans to travel the galaxy and devour everything in her path. Having no care for anyone except herself and surpassing even Handsome Jack in villainy while lacking the latter's love for his family, Tyreen is the evilest villain any Vault Hunter has faced thus far.
    • Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck DLC: Dr. Benedict is the sadistic Hyperion scientist responsible for Kreig's condition. Already known to torture test subjects to death, Benedict created a "Berserker Gas" that turns subjects into mindless berserkers, with the original consciousness being stuck witnessing their carnage. Benedict plans to use it as corporate sabotage, with him considering using it to poison their water supply, and earlier was willing to use an entire elementary school as a testing ground. Heavily implied to be responsible for the escalating insanity of the psychos of Pandora, Dr. Benedict makes the most of his limited screen time.
  • Contested Sequel: While the game is almost universally praised, and the gameplay is generally commended for improving on past entries with better gunplay and movement, the story is a more controversial aspect. The main points of contention are that the Calypsos' and the race to the Great Vault not being quite as compelling as the conflict with Jack, as well as a lack of clarity on who the game's story is supposed to be about.
  • Crazy Is Cool: Troy's plan to unlock the Great Vault once he gets his powers involves phaselocking Pandora's moon to crash it into Pandora to open up the vault in question, which is also Pandora itself. Perhaps the apex of this is when his shadow is suddenly reflected against Elpis's surface.
    • The more you learn about Ma and Pa Honeywell, the more awesome they become. These are the kinds of old folks who can talk about a need to water their garden and cool their fuel rods in the same sentence!
  • Critical Dissonance: While critics have given the game positive ratings post-release (averaging an 85 on Metacritic), more than a few players have had a few more reservations. Most of the criticisms seem to concern technical issues at launch (i.e. bugs, poor graphical performance, unpredictable frame rate drops, unapproved save file changes, etc), especially for the PS4 and PC versions of the game, as well as the story's central plot.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The Anointed enemies. All variants possess high health, complete immunity to cryo damagenote , and Teleport Spam. Maniacs possess an extremely obnoxious AOE tracking orb; Militants are even worse, with both an invulnerable shield and the ability to stand still and become immune to damage while literally reigning fire from the sky. Fighting these guys in TVHM will test your patience, certain Mayhem modifiers can make them nigh-undefeatable. God help any player if UVHM returns.
      • Arms Race has its own version that show up after some time has elapsed. While they thankfully lack the ability to go invulnerable, they've got plenty of shields and health, so you'd better hope you have a shock weapon. But the absolute worst part is that they will ALWAYS teleport to you if you try to run, even in the boss room. If you want any hope of beating him, you HAVE to stay behind and take care of those two first.
    • Constructors make a comeback in the Handsome Jackpot DLC and they're stil a pain in the ass as they were in previous games. Thankfully they are fewer in number.
    • Badass fanatics, Badass enforcers, and Tink Tanks are not to be taken lightly as they are all armed with rocket launchers that will send you into FFYL mode immediately if you're not careful.
  • Difficulty Spike: The game stops pulling punches once you reach Athenas. You'll fight squads of heavily armed Maliwan soldiers from basic Troopers to Heavies and NOGs that can buff them, the fights in there tend to be much more hectic and intense than they were in Pandora or Promethea up to that point in the game.
  • Discredited Meme: The "Still Waiting for Borderlands 3" fan catchphrase for around the 7 years gap between the release of Borderlands 2 (September 2012) and Borderlands 3 (September 2019). Although the release of The Pre-Sequel and Tales broke the hiatus, avid fans still waited for the actual mainline sequel. Now that this game has been released, no one is waiting anymore, thus the phrase gets discredited. For the Steam release, however, this still applied mildly until the Epic exclusivity deal expired in March 2020.
  • Ending Fatigue: Chapter 19 has you get through the COV Cathedral's defenses and ready to fight the Calypsos, with all your allies coming together to assist you, ending with a boss fight against Troy. You'd think Tyreen would be fought right after him, but it pulls a fast one on you with a prank ending. She instead gets away but you are left with a clue to meet Typhon Deleon at Nekrotafeyo, an entirely new planet. After another series of main missions fighting waves and waves of COV and Maliwan troops you may have already gotten tired of fighting (along with annoying Nekrotafayo wildlife and Eridian Guardians) you finally get to face Tyreen and end the game's main story once and for all by going back to Pandora again. It really feels like the place would have worked better if it was relegated to a post-release DLC pack.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Once it was revealed that he was Hammerlock's boyfriend and the closest representation for the Jakobs company as a Reasonable Authority Figure, Wainwright became very popular among the fanbase.
  • Clay and Lorelei are also extremely popular due to their personalities, as well as Lorelei's voice acting. They would return in the Mysteriouslier mini-arc to play supporting roles.
  • BALEX, a smooth talking, laid back navigation AI stuck inside a stuffed toy, is almost universally loved. He's also voiced by Ice-T.
  • Digby Vermouth and The Mayor of Trashlantis from the Handsome Jackpot DLC.
  • From the Guns, Love, & Tentacles DLC, we have Mancubus Bloodtooth, Burton Briggs, and Eista.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Despite being blatant parodies of celebrity culture, Tyreen and Troy are considered attractive by a portion of the fandom:
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Many fans disregard the game's treatment of 2's vault hunters and Aurelia Hammerlock, many fics outright removing Maya's and Aurelia's deaths and keeping the former group a tightly connected group like the first set of vault hunters.
  • Fandom Rivalry: A very fast one with Anthem, Destiny 2 and The Division 2, primarily over which one is the better loot shooter of the late 2010's.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Melee humanoids are more persistent than they ever were in the franchise, thanks to their tendencies to jump at you. Psychos, with the Infected type being even more annoying due to its increased speed, and Maliwan Riot Troopers are notable examples. Zane's Barrier doesn't do much good against them if it isn't taken on the move.
    • The shield-wielding Enforcers/Militants are a lot more stubborn than the Nomads that preceded them. They're not nearly as willing to let down their guard, requiring some serious flanking or explosives to bypass their barriers.
    • Longshot Fanatics, or any Sniper enemy unit. They're very fragile and you can almost always tell where they are from their obvious laser sights, however if you don't take them out or take cover before they shoot, it will hurt. At best they'll make a heavy dent on your shield and at worst they'll pick you off sending you into Fight For Your Life.
    • The Nekrodtafayo wildlife, but ESPECIALLY the guardians seem to be designed by someone who had only one goal and that is to be annoying. Fast-moving enemies that constantly run around and flank you, some even floating and running out of your way. (Meaning if you're a sniper, good luck, they do not like to hold still) Sure, you can wreck their health with electric weapons, but sometimes if you don't kill them fast enough they will heal an gain a second bar of health that is made up of armour or a shield. Absolutely positively annoying. They also spawn in groups of at least three or four, with more on the horizon. The only mercy that they throw at you is that they don't have much in the way of health and most of which are fleshy, even those you don't wreck with electric weaponry or corrosive. They are also annoying as hell to face as FL4K because most of them will run out of range of their pet.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • It's been specifically implied in Borderlands 2 that Maya is the only reason Krieg is still one of the good guys, and is relatively still partially sane. With Maya's death in this game, one can only wonder how things will go from bad to worse when Krieg finds out. Especially since 3 contains a series of ECHOs that detail Krieg finally managing to bring his sane side out in open conversation.
    • Remember 2's opening song "Short Change Hero" (particularly the chorus line "This ain't No Place For No Hero")? What applied perfectly to the death of Roland in 2 has become even worse with the death of Maya. No place for no hero indeed.
      • The pattern of player character deaths seems to follow Vault Hunters who have the capacity of healing others, lending to some sour Irony.
    • One Audience-Alienating Premise of the Pre-Sequel was one third of the Vault Hunter roster (Wilhelm and Nisha) being Doomed by Canon, as they would end up dead during the events of Borderlands 2, by the player's own hands. As of 3, Aurelia Hammerlock joins them come her attempted takeover of the Jakobs company, with one whole half of said characters being marked for villainy/death.
    • Four words: Childhood's. End. Side. Mission. To recap: This side-mission answers one main nagging question everyone had since the Pre-Sequel: If Handsome Jack considered himself a well-meaning "hero" when first met, why did he keep his only daughter under solitary confinement and kick-started the events of the first game to obtain power? The answer? The mission explores Angel's childhood through "imprinted memories" left in objects. In order: A child Angel first getting her Power Tattoo as all Sirens do with Jack showing concern, Jack getting upset at a broken vending machine and Angel uses her budding Phaseshift powers to make the vending machine work (leaving Jack shocked), and finally Angel being held hostage by a bandit in front of her parents with said bandit saying she would make him a "trillionaire" after selling her off (because she's a Siren), a scared and angry Angel unconsciously controlling the turrets he had and shooting wildly at everything, killing the bandit and her mother/Jack's first wife by accident. This is the event where Jack snaps and locks Angel away under the pretense of preventing further harm to others, later taking advantage of Angel's powers for his own gain and beginning his long road into villainy while deluding himself into thinking he's a hero.
    • If one takes a look at the last cutscene of Tiny Tina's DLC in Borderlands 2, they'll be presented with a scene that heavily implies 2's vault hunters have become True Companions after all they had gone through together. 3 reveals things had gone in the complete opposite way however as all of them have been split off in the years that had passed: Gaige in particular has spent seven years on the run and her Companion Cube is the closest thing she has to a true friend, Axton and Salvador are both MIA despite the multiple planet spanning conflict with the Calypsos, Maya and Zer0 both get involved but are independent from each other with no interaction between them despite pressumably not having talked to each other in some time, and Krieg's left alone to his own devices. Taking all of this into account, it makes the scene more of a Tear Jerker than a heartwarming one.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • During the E3 gameplay presentation, the audience is presented with the Sanctuary 3, the game's new hub area. Specifically, the shot opens on a decal on the side of the ship of Scooter's final moments, complete with his trademark catchphrase.
    • Fantastic Fustercluck reveals that Maya can completely understand Krieg as far back as their first meeting, meaning that she understands all of the things he tries to say back in his reveal trailer.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the intro of Borderlands 2's Dragon Keep story DLC, Brick chooses to play as the Siren class. Fast forward to this game, and Amara is essentially a Siren with Brick's knack for punching things.
    • The trailer for Borderlands 3 plays "Happy Together" by The Turtles, a song many remember playing on the Super Smash Bros. commercial for the Nintendo 64 (as well as being in the trailer for Pokémon Detective Pikachu). Almost a year later we'd see the release of Borderlands Legendary Collection for the Nintendo Switch.
  • Idiot Ball: Following Troy's death, Tyreen Calypso also seemingly dies from the stress of the ritual she and Troy were attempting. Lilith, Tannis, and Ava then show up and spend a minute or two patting themselves on the back. At no point does anyone think to do a precautionary double-tap on the most dangerous person in the universe lying mere feet away from them. Surprise, surprise, Tyreen was just unconscious and upon waking sweeps everyone out of her way, calls you a loser, and heads off to wake the destroyer.
  • Inferred Holocaust: At the end of the game Lilith prevents Elpis from crashing into Pandora, and as a side-effect she emblazons a giant fiery phoenix on the face of Elpis, which as The Pre-Sequel showed is inhabited. Hopefully Lilith missed hitting Concordia, or the phoenix fire is just symbolic and not actually dangerous.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: The game got hit with an interesting version of this after launch. Because the game is so generous with the amount of experience it gives out, it's very easy to get overleveled. And once you are overleveled, it's more or less impossible to bring your character's level back in line with the main questline's recommended levels. Because of this, many players reported being massively overleveled by the timer they got to the end of the campaign and were able to absolutely steamroll everything. A patch eventually addressed this, making it so enemies in the Very Definitely Final Dungeon would always scale up to whatever level the player was. Mayhem Mode also addresses this in that once it's active, all quests and enemies are scaled to your current level so that it's an even playing field.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: A common complaint among the game's detractors is that the game doesn't look, play, or feel all that much different from Borderlands 2, now 7 years old, and that lack of innovation and improvement over its recent competitors in the same genre makes it mediocre now that it's no longer the only major loot-shooter out there.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Vic, despite being a bandit leader who attempts to sell out Vaughn to the COV it's still pretty horrifying how the Children Of The Vault removed her head and basically trapped her in a virtual world where she gets tortured over and over with no way out. Fortunately, you can free her and once she's free she gets a new body, while her old head gets its own personality and the two become friends.
    • Ava. She may be a Bratty Half-Pint and partially responsible for Maya's death, but she grew up on the streets and then, when things seemed to be looking up, lost the woman who was practically her new mother. While her lashing out at Lilith wasn't fair, a grieving teenager can't be expected to act rationally after such a loss, something Lilith herself points out if you talk to her afterwards.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • It's become a common joke in the fandom that the game was delayed for so long because Gearbox couldn't, and ultimately didn't, figure out a new way for the Psycho to shoot himself on the box art. This later became Hilarious in Hindsight when it was later revealed that Gearbox actually did have trouble finding new ways for the Psycho to shoot himself, up to and including a foot under the chin.
    • Rhys' new mustache in the gameplay trailer quickly became the butt of jokes, with many calling it a Porn Stache or comparing his new look to Freddie Mercury. It's also a common joke that AI Jack is constantly either begging or trying to force Rhys to shave it off.
    • Guns with legs? We got you, boo.Explanation 
    • #boycottborderlands3Explanation 
    • Talk to Lilith Explanation 
    • Rhys-Ball! Explanation 
    • TannASS Explanation 
    • Fl4 badExplanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • For Katagawa Jr. and the Maliwan corporation, the attack on the monastery in Athenas, as, apart from Maya and Ava the place is peopled entirely by harmless pacifist monks, who the soldiers massacre anyway just For the Evulz.
    • Even before the attack on Athenas, Katagawa killing all but one of his brothers and sisters on his party yacht in order to become Maliwan's new CEO is truly when he lost every last shred of humanity he had. And he's actively trying to hunt down the Sole Survivor, Naoko. For God's sakes, Handsome Jack had more compassion than this man.
    • While the Calypsos have technically been well beyond this point of villainy since before the game starts, it's all largely Comedic Sociopathy at the expense of unidentified Mooks until Maya's death which will mark the precise point at which almost any invested player will actually hate them.
    • Aurelia Hammerlock crosses it when she ignores her brother's plea to stop her mad games against the Jakobs company and bring her into the light. She responds by shooting both Alistair and Wainwright and freezing them soon after.
    • Later, the twins attempt to force Elpis to crash into Pandora in order to open its vault, which would likely result in a genocidal death toll.
    • Dr. Benedict's unethical experiments as revealed in the Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck DLC.
  • Narm: Human bosses will generally scream when put under a status ailment. This resulted in a few of them being... unintentionally funny:
    • Before it was patched out, Troy's boss fight in particular was hard to take seriously due to his constant screaming every time he's hit with a status effect.
    • Aurelia takes Troy's place since they also scream when under a status effect... and it will even clip over their normal taunts.
    • The Final Boss of Guns, Love, and Tentacles Eleanor. When you hit her with a condition, she screams... for several seconds. It's not nearly as bad as Troy or Aurilea at least, but it can vary between Catharsis Factor to comedy.
  • Player Punch: Maya's death will likely hit whoever mained her in Borderlands 2 pretty hard, similar to how the Roland mains of Borderlands 1 reacted to his canon death in 2. The same goes for Lilith's fans due to her Heroic Sacrifice at this game's end.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: Given the genre of game, it's very easy for many to simply ignore the story while enjoying the improved shooting and loot till they reach the endgame content, where the story becomes irrelevant. It doesn't help that the story itself is polarizing to those who do pay attention.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Ava, due to her mentor Dying to Be Replaced, being heavily pushed by the story as the successor to Lilith and Maya, and being the Tagalong Kid successor to Tiny Tina, even when many feel she doesn't deserve it and other reasons described below under Unintentionally Unsympathetic.
    • While not hated by all, the community specifically for Borderlands 3 particularly hate Tyreen Calypso. From her attitude to her behavior, many players seem to outright loathe every line she makes. Some large name reveiwers such as Angry Joe have demonstrated this in short skits, while the accompanying Borderlands3 Reddit is full to the brim with complaints against Tyreen. The fandom seems to agree that Handsome Jack was a much better villain, but whether Zarpedon from the Presequel or Commandant Steele from Borderlands 1 were better just results in shouting matches by those who feel Tyreen was better than them (even if they feel she was still bad). Her brother, Troy, fares much better, as fans seem to feel he was a possibly much more interesting villain who fell short due to his sister and the plot.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Various... divisive... manufacturers have received complete overhauls in this game.
    • Dahl now comes with fire selectors, allowing them burstfire both in hipfire and ADS. Not only does this make the burstfire gimmick far less cumbersome, but you have the option not to burstfire sniper rifles (a godsend to sniper fans) and there's even the option to fire said sniper rifles in full-auto. The improved usability caused one YouTuber to refer to Dahl as "the most improved guns" in the game.
    • Tediore now has even more gimmicks on reloading, including guns with legs. This will likely result in less explosions in the face for compulsive reloaders, as well as more varied and longer-lasting benefits to consuming whole weapon mags for Tediore reloads.
    • Children of the Vault (CoV) weapons replace Bandit and Scav from 2 and TPS, now having an "overheating" mechanic than absurdly long reload times. With careful, controlled firing, a player can spray lead for as long as they have ammo for that weapon type, and avoid the lengthy "cooldown" or "barrel replacement" animations.
    • Maliwan now allows their users to switch between two elements on their weapons. Previously, Maliwan weapons suffered from Crippling Overspecialization where packing a one of their guns meant running the risk of that gun losing too much of its effectiveness when a different health type showed itself in the same level, or even the same enemy, like trying to use a Fire weapon against shielded bandits. With the new upgrade to Maliwan's arsenal, now it should be possible to find weapons that can juggle between the appropriate damage types in the middle of battle much more fluidly, like zapping a bandits/cultists shield with Electricity and then near-instantly switching to Fire to torch them.
    • It's possible for some Jakobs shotguns to have a reasonable magazine size, which goes some length to remedying the constant reloading they suffered from in the previous game.
    • Hyperion weapons no longer starts with such high recoil, which was a death-knell to its sniper rifles, instead having shields that deploy when using sights and having higher sway when aiming compared to other manufacturers. It's safe to say that all Hyperion weapons have benefited from this change.
    • Torgue weapons often have the alternate firing mode to shoot sticky bombs that explode shortly after they reach their target. Not only does this firing mode have damage bonuses that can stack, they also travel much faster, making these weapons stand a chance against distant enemies.
    • The Vladof spingun has been replaced with attachments such as rocket launchers, bipods, tasers, and shotgun barrels for different means of attacks. No longer will people have to wait to fire!
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Mayhem Mode had a modifier that granted enemies up to a 30% chance to reflect any bullets you shoot at them. Every other modifier has some sort of counterplay to it, but this one invalidated over 90% of the game's guns - the only ones it disn't affect were the rocket launchers (which don't exactly use common ammo) and specific legendaries, which are obviously not easy to find. If you simply tried to tough it out, you'd quickly find yourself shredding your own health faster than anything else can. The game was generally agreed upon to be completely unplayable with it active, and that the best thing to do if you got it was to just reload the game. This modifier was toned down to a maximum 5% chance during the 10th Anniversary event in October 2019, and removed completely when Mayhem 2.0 was released.
    • The Mayhem modifiers in general can be this for those who want simply want to fight tougher enemies and get more powerful weapons without having to dance around the caveats each level presents, with the first level having a positive modifier and the final level only focusing on increased enemy stats.
    • The Circles of Slaughter are even more relentless this time around for one simple reason: You have to complete all rounds in one go. Unlike the previous game, the Circle of Slaughter missions are condensed into one per variant, which helps reduce the amount of missions cluttering the log, and you can still return to the entrance to stock up on supplies, but it also means leaving the zone in any capacity forfeits the mission. At least dying only resets to the start of the round like normal, but woe be to those who want to take a break to do something else.
    • There are certain legendary weapons that lack a dedicated boss that has a higher chance of dropping them. Or rather, a boss that's easy to encounter and fight on a regular basis. The ever-popular Maggie and Lyuda drop from the final boss of one of the Circles of Slaughter, which come with the lion's share of nasty obstacles as stated above. On the flipside, there are certain weapons dropped from bosses that will never appear dropped by any other enemy.
  • Scrappy Weapon: The Roughrider, a shield that provides no shield points, but increases one's HP and damage resistance, returns from the previous game. However, there are no classes in this game that primarily benefit from having an empty shield and prioritize their health bar instead (in fact, Moze actually prioritizes maxing out her shield and sacrificing her HP). This makes the Roughrider one of the worst shields in the game despite it being promoted to legendary status.
    • The Binary Operator sniper rifle from the Arms Race DLC suffers from this big time in Mayhem Mode as it can only kill the enemy if they have less than 50,000 health and deals minimal damage if they have more health. Mayhem Mode falls into the latter, so you're better off using more effective sniper rifles like the Krakatoa, Skullmasher, Sand Hawk or Lyuda.
    • The Bearcat returning from the previous game still suffers from this despite some improvements.
    • The AutoAimè from Handsome Jackpot takes a promising premise - a sniper rifle with homing bullets - and completely bungles it, due to said homing bullets going for center of mass. Instead of, you know, any crit spots an enemy has, the whole point of sniper rifles. To top it off, it's a Dahl brand weapon, so it doesn't benefit from actually hitting crit spots compared to something like a Jakobs sniper, which can at least make the bullet ricochet upon a successful crit. While it did get damage buffs later on, it's still counter-intuitive and finicky to play with compared to other sniper rifles, especially at high Mayhem Mode levels.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Reaching the level cap isn't nearly as tedious as it was in the previous games, and even starting-level skills tend to have some noticeable effect on gameplay - compare to Borderlands 2, where the player often had to pick from nearly useless minor boosts to get to the good upgrades. Legendary items and weapons are a bit more prone to dropping from tough enemies, contrary to the previous game where it took a considerable amount of effort to get a legendary that wasn't tied to a specific enemy. Many of the Anti-Frustration Features mentioned above and on the main page also factor into this games' toned down difficulty.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike:
    • Enemies tend to have slightly more health than they had in the previous games, and bosses in particular can take a surprising amount of damage. That said, the vault hunter can arguably become more powerful than in the previous games.
    • Picking up weapons doesn't provide nearly as much ammo as it did in the previous game, necessitating searching or buying ammo from time to time.
  • So Bad, It's Good: There's no denying Buff Film Buff's short film is incomprehensible and weird as hell. But that might be part of its charm.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: While not without their critics, The plots for the DLCs have generally been better received than the much polarizing main game's.
  • That One Achievement:
    • The "visit every named location on a planet" achievements/trophies tend toward this, especially the one around Pandora. The reason is not just the difficulty, but rather the fact that the achievements themselves appear to be bugged, making them impossible to grab even if you do visit every location. The fact that the locations are not named on the map, but rather must be acknowledged by visiting in and of itself, does not help.
    • Gathering all the collectible/scannable items in every map can be a hassle in general, but the ones in the Bounty of Blood chapters take it to a whole new level, as there are teleporters that lead to otherwise inaccessible spots, which really throws using a map guide out of wack.
  • That One Boss: Empowered Scholar from the Guns, Love, and Tentacles DLC. Erratic movement, using mooks as meat shields, and regenerating health when close to death requiring you to destroying the crystals generating the healing barrier. Upon the 3rd and 4th phase, the scholar will teleport to a nearby raised platform to generate a shield and armor respectively. You are forced to do some awkward platforming by jumping on hovering platforms and destroying the shards before both shield and armor reach full capacity. A mistimed jump or staying on the platform for too long will send you to your death starting the whole process all over again.
    • The final boss of Ava's Murder Mysteries, The Seer. It has an absolutely monstrous amount of health, to the point even an optimized endgame character can only barely chip away at its health. Which it can potentially regenerate.
  • That One Level: The final planet visited, Nekrotefayo. Much like Athenas, it's another beautiful world (albeit for different reasons.) but some players feel like it's kind of poorly placed. It has a very nice atmosphere, but many enemies here are just plain annoying and players might be tired of fighting them.
    • The Guardian Takedown. The enemy mobs have lots of health, they relentlessly swarm you when you're trying to charge up the crystals (which explode and kill you if any run empty), and the combination of pits and a lack of checkpoints means you could spend 15 minutes getting to the midpoint, fall in a pit and see that you've repsawned all the way back at the beginning.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • The Bloody Harvest challenge "My boss has been haunting me all week" is not really difficult per se, but it gets rather tedious after a while. The challenge requires you to beat the event boss 25 times, but to reach him you need to A) collect 25 hectoplasm by killing randomly spawning (although fairly common) ghosts, B) fight through the forces of Heck to reach the boss, and C) actually beat him. Once this is done, and you need to repeat the entire progress. What makes it tedious is its sheer length and repetition, which is made worse by the fact that every other challenge can be completed within the first 10 times you go through the event with little effort. While Gearbox buffed hecktoplasmnote  to make it more bearable, it still took forever to beat.
    • If you're playing as Moze, you're most likely using the skills that make her fire incendiary bullets alongside her regular ones. Unfortunately, this makes the Bloody Harvest and Cartels event challenges that require cryo kills near impossible since 99% of the time, they won't count, even though it seem like half your shots at best are incendiary. Thankfully, you can get around this by using Iron Bear/Cub's minigun with the cryo augment.
    • Parodied, but also played straight with "Transaction-Packed". It's a huge Take That! towards early-access, microtransaction-filled games that put little effort into development, complete with an intentionally irritating Escort Mission, constant Padding, placeholder animations and models, and general Stylistic Suck. You still have to go through said padding, as this is a rather laborious mission to complete.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • It's generally agreed that while Maya was a welcome addition to the cast, her presence is very minimal in the story. Due to the fact she's introduced fairly early on in the story and killed off only a few of missions afterwards makes matters even worse, as many felt her death, while shocking, lacked the emotional impact compared to Roland's death in Borderlands 2, who had been much more involved in the story before his death.
    • Many players also agree that Troy had a lot of wasted potential, the general consensus being that he would've made a better final boss than Tyreen and that he was killed off too early. After all the buildup surrounding him being his sister's parasitic twin and the implication that he's become increasingly tired of living in her shadow - not to mention the fact that he's the first and only male Siren - it's a shame to see him die right when it seems his character development is coming to a head.
    • Aurelia Hammerlock. She is introduced as the planet's boss, having gone against her own brother for profit with the Calypsos, and much of the main quest line from that point on is about undermining her and stealing the Vault Key from her to get to the next vault. However, her interactions are very minimal, with the Calypsos and Hammerlock, Jakobs or other NPCs taking up most of the time talking to you. By the time you get to her manor for the final confrontation, she doesn't say a whole lot more and her end is very abrupt, making it feel like a much loved character was underused.
    • Brick and Mordecai being Demoted to Extra. They both were main characters in the first game and played a big part taking down Handsome Jack in the second, but in this game they only appeared in one main quest and are relegated to side quests afterward and they don't impact the story at all. They don't even join Lilith on Sanctuary III on her mission to collect the Vault Keys despite them being a close group. This also applies to Tina on a lesser level, since she helps in the final missions, but otherwise is demoted to side quest giver.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The Reveal that Typhon DeLeon, the first Vault Hunter, is the father of Tyreen and Troy comes far too late in the story for it have any real impact. This isn't helped by the fact that Typhon is The Ghost for a majority of the game and only players who went out of their way to track down all of his logs would actually know the significance of his identity.
    • Maya taking on Ava as an apprentice doesn't really go anywhere due to Maya being killed off rather early in the plot. As such, Maya and Ava's master and apprentice relationship becomes more of an Informed Attribute since the game never shows Ava growing out of her teenage immaturity, especially since nobody else seems to step up to take Maya's place as Ava's role model.
    • Related to the above, in Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck, there was a golden opportunity to show both Kriegs' finding out about Maya's death and meeting Ava. Instead, they already found out about it and Ava is only mentioned.
    • The Pre-sequel all but stated that finding more Vault Hunters and volunteers for the Crimson Raiders was a high priority for what was to come, with the Watcher rescuing Athena from execution on Lilith's orders. And Lilith explicitly changing Gaige and Axton's orders from kill Aurelia to capture her and bring her back to Sanctuary. However, Athena makes no appearance in Borderlands 3's main game while Aurelia is an antagonist and killed with no mention what happened once she was brought back.
    • The Mysteriouslier missions introduced in Director's Cut barely go into Ava's role as the new leader of Sanctuary, and how people react to her being in charge. You'd think there'd be some focus on how people think of her as the leader, even discounting Maya's death and Lilith's sacrifice, but apart from talking about a soldier she sent off to do something, there's no focus, making it feel like an Informed Attribute.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Bounty of Blood attempts to try something different by using a completely original cast without relying on any returning Vault Hunters or characters, in the vein of the previous game's Captain Scarlet story taken even further into isolation. However, the story takes itself a bit too seriously and feels rather dry as a result. Many people agree that it's the weakest of the DLC packs in terms of story and emotional engagement. It doesn't help that gathering the collectibles in each map is made more difficult in the wrong way due to the teleportation mechanics.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • The final Clapslist mission requires the player to use the Dance emote. This is the only time in which an emote must be used in the game to complete a sidequest. Its requirement does return in both the Handsome Jackpot and Guns, Love, and Tentacles packs in different sidequests, however.
    • Despite that you go to different planets here, they all have the same gravity with the sole exception being Skywell-27, which has notably lower gravity. This actually could lead to some interesting feats that could be done on other planets, as well as giving them their own flavour.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Ava repeatedly disobeys Maya and is constantly getting herself into trouble. Eventually, this results in Maya's death and Troy stealing her powers. Ava's response is to blame Lilith and demand the Vault Hunters attempt a Roaring Rampage of Revenge despite the impracticality in doing so, showing she has learned nothing from losing Maya. In the end, Lilith even rewards her by letting her tag along to take on the Calypsos, and leaving Sanctuary to her. While it's clear she's meant to be seen as a hurting child, her attitude and the lack of consequences for her actions made her grating to a lot of players. It still doesn't get addressed in the Mysteriouslier storyline in Director's Cut, either, with the plot focusing on the various happenings throughout the level and not developing Ava's character much.
  • Win the Crowd:
    • Fans of Tales from the Borderlands are pleased to see Rhys, Vaughn and what appears to be the Ruins of Helios, knowing that the spin-off game is acknowledged as canon.
    • The return of Ashly Burch to voice Tiny Tina was a welcome reassurance to fans after the controversy that erupted over Troy Baker's absence from the game. For that matter the fact that the majority of the voice actors from Borderlands 2 are returning, with the exception of Claptrap's.
    • Abridged fans were happy to find out that several members of Team Four Star will be doing voice work for the game. In a similar case, fans of the online voice actor/comedy sketch maker SungWon "ProZD" Cho were also delighted that he is voicing a new playable Vault Hunter in FL4K.
  • Woobie: Burton Briggs from the Guns, Love, and Tentacles DLC. His daughter Iris was kidnapped by the Bonded, who used her as a host for Vincent during a ritual of sacrifice, and in the process of saving her, he accidentally kills her. This left him a such broken, remorseful man, he did everything he could to repress the memory. Poor guy.

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