Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has a lot of potential, especially if it looks to Borderlands 3 for inspiration. Full of good and bad choices, there are things that Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands should and should not take from the previous game in the series. However, Arms Race finds itself in an interesting position. Not a massive hit but not disliked either, the battle royale-like experience is neither a must-have feature nor something to avoid.
If Gearbox wants to bring back the Arms Race mode, there are a few things that it should aim to do to improve the experience. While some changes are on the small side, other adjustments would need to be much larger. Still, there is potential in Arms Race, as the mode offers a nice change of pace from the usual shooting and looting that is seen in the Borderlands franchise. As such, if Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands does bring it back, here is how Arms Race could be improved upon.
Small But Significant Changes To Borderlands’ Arms Race Mode
One small change that would make a big difference is the option to extract more gear at the end of the match. While the extraction stations in the main play space being limited to three items is a smart choice, limiting players to five items at the final station is a bit too restrictive. With this limitation, players who were thorough and did a fine job looting are essentially punished, as they will likely have too many Arms Race legendaries to extract. With players having beaten the boss and succeeded, removing the limitations on how much can be extracted at the end of the match would be fair.
Another small but significant change would see Borderlands trying something new, something that fits with how different Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands seems to be. With live service games finding success with Seasons, Arms Race should have a similar system. After players have done enough runs, they will have acquired several copies of the same weapons. While this makes sense, as the pool of Arms Race exclusive guns is small, it does damage the replayability a bit. However, a Seasonal approach could see the guns rotating, with different weapons added to the chests and vending machines every few months. Players would then have a reason to consistently hop into Arms Race, as they could farm for a fresh batch of guns every Season.
Larger Changes To Borderlands’ Arms Race Mode
Alongside a rotating gun lineup and a fairer final extraction station, there are some other big improvements that could be made to Arms Race. For starters, having more than one map would be terrific. While this would require a lot of work on the part of Gearbox, and only makes sense if the mode becomes popular, fresh maps could offer some variety for those that really enjoy the Arms Race style. These maps could boast their own world drops on top of the Arms Race exclusives, giving players a reason to play different Arms Race maps. Different commentators could feature in each, too, with Moxxi heard talking in one arena while Axton and Salvador return for another.
Most importantly, each map could provide its own lineup of enemies. While Arms Race’s use of the Rivals faction is smart, as players fight a variety of COV enemies and Maliwan foes this way, different maps would allow players to take on the foes they prefer battling against. For example, the Spiderants can be a pain to fight in Arms Race, so giving gamers the opportunity to drop into a map where those enemies are not present would be a welcome change. Similar to how each Circle of Slaughter offers specific enemy types, different Arms Race maps could do the same, giving the player more control over the experience they have.
Finally, and most importantly, are bosses. The final boss of Borderlands 3’s Arms Race mode is always Heavyweight Harker. While the fight is fine, it becomes painfully predictable, so a new Arms Race mode should offer several potential bosses for this last encounter. Even if they are reused assets from the main game, not knowing which boss will appear at the end of the match is a great way to keep players on the edge of their seats. The smaller boss encounters, Revenants, are a neat concept. Randomly attacking the player when they least expect it and doing all that they can to hunt them down, these enemies are intimidating. Unfortunately, the loot for killing them is lackluster, something that should be adjusted. Guaranteed legendary drops or a special Revenant chest would make a huge difference.
Realistically, there is a chance that Arms Race is left behind, though it is still possible for it to return. Tough there are other Borderlands 3 features that should be brought back before Arms Race, the concept of a PvE battle royale suits the series very well. With the game show premise being a nice touch, too, improving on certain aspects could turn a good mode into a great one.
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands releases in 2022 on PC, PS5, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.