Borderlands could be vastly improved by giving it even a basic crafting system.
We get it, Borderlands. You’re all about looting and shooting. You shoot the big bad over and over again so you can harvest that phat loot. The more times you do it, the more loot you get. Every Borderlands end-game is just finding the most efficient way to harvest loot through murder.
And that’s fine, but it’s also a bit underhanded. Gearbox has been adamant about the Borderlands franchise avoiding the usual trappings of modern gaming such as loot boxes, but it still uses the same gambling psychology of loot boxes in the game’s loot system. Instead of buying a box to hopefully get the loot you want, you kill a boss and hopefully get the loot you want.
Borderlands Is About Cool Guns, Not Random Guns
Certainly, killing bosses is better than paying money as one just takes your time rather than your money, but not everyone is after that same gambler’s high. Some people just want to get at the guns without the random number generator getting in between. Crafting--any sort of crafting--would be a huge boon to those players.
Moreover, Borderlands games have always had this vast random loot creation system that would lend itself so well to being tinkered with. In any Borderlands game, almost every item has been randomly generated from a huge pool of different parts. The specifics of how loot generation works differ between each game, but the gist is always the same: there is a “base” part, and then a whole bunch of ancillary parts that tweak different aspects of that item’s performance.
This random loot generation system is why two items with the exact same title can sometimes have vastly different performance. One person’s Night Flyer might do more damage but have less accuracy than another person’s Night Flyer. The same goes for the Infinity pistol or the Two Time sniper rifle--whatever parts the items spawn with determines its final performance, and it's all random.
You Can Already Edit Your Own Weapons In Borderlands 2
But what if some of that randomness could be taken out? Then the game totally changes, and sometimes for the better. Both Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2 (and The Pre-Sequel, but we prefer not to talk about that not-quite-expansion) have save file editors that let you tweak your character outside the normal confines of the game. While these editors allow you to give yourself cash, levels, and Eridium to your heart’s content, they also let you build and tweak items using the full arsenal of parts that the game could provide you.
Even though it’s technically cheating, this ability to tweak your items is a huge draw to some die-hard Borderlands fans. Suddenly you get to see under the hood and get really technical, and being able to fix flaws in guns that you would otherwise sell for cash can be hugely rewarding.
Say you found a Vladof assault rifle that’s really nice but is just a little too inaccurate for your tastes. Through the power of the save editor and a little bit of research into what each part does for the weapon, you can tinker with the weapon’s parts until you get the exact weapon with the performance you want.
So far, those save editors only exist for the first three Borderlands games. A similar editor is likely to arrive for Borderlands 3 eventually, but we’ll need to give the code monkeys a few months to figure out exactly how Borderlands 3 works.
Crafting Should Be Part Of Borderlands 3's DLC
But that doesn’t mean future BL3 DLC can’t add some sort of crafting system. Being able to craft weapons from the ground-up would be great, but even a small step towards crafting would be appreciated. Borderlands 3 could adopt a similar system to The Division 2 where you take a single part from one gun and place it on another gun, destroying the first gun in the process. This would allow you to tinker with your shooting while still maintaining the looting since the quality of the part and the weapon will depend on the guns you’re crafting with.
With the new vehicle crafting system already added in Borderlands 3, a gun crafting system wouldn't be too much of a stretch.
Looting is great and all, but Borderlands shouldn’t entirely forget about the shooting part. Some Borderlands fans want to emphasize the shooting over the looting, and being able to craft their own guns would be an amazing addition and would vastly improve Borderlands’ already winning formula.