Borderlands 3 guide: Eight tips for beginners

Keep a spare enemy handy

While shooters are typically straightforward, Borderlands 3 once again brings a ton of RPG elements with it, including floating numbers, levels, and tons of nuanced loot.

Here’s a few tips to help navigate it all.

  • If you’re downed, you get one more chance to kill an enemy and “get up again” and save yourself. So, always make sure that if you’re in a particularly harrowing encounter (like a boss fight) to keep a fresh weak enemy alive to ensure a swift second-wind attempt.
  • Note that errant summon attacks could kill that enemy, so do whatever you can to keep them isolated and away from area-of-effect explosions like grenades. If you have full life and a recovery ability, consider wiping out those enemy adds so you can focus on the boss.
  • Make a point to memorize the base damage of your equipped guns. It’s not crucial to your survival (you can always spend time comparing weapons in menus), but it saves a lot of time if you just know your basic numbers.
  • The vendor in Sanctuary III (the hub spaceship) always sells on-level items, whereas the in-game zones are tuned to specific level ranges. If you need a pick-me-up on loot but aren’t high enough level for the zone you’re in, head back to base camp and restock.

  • Hold on to any shield-busting guns, especially at lower levels. A lot of enemies just have shield-based health bars, and you can rip through them like butter: even if the weapon is much lower level. To ensure that it doesn’t automatically get sold, press in the left stick to “favorite” (star icon) the item. Likewise, you can mark items for “junk” (trashcan icon) to automatically sell en masse.
  • Grab literally every quest (! icons) you can, even if you have zero intention of doing them. There’s no downside and you can easily swap between quests with the d-pad. They might come in handy if you need to push a level or two to beat a tough boss.
  • The map can be really confusing, so set waypoints at junctions. Denoted with a purple mark, waypoints can help you understand the basic gist of where a bridge is or what have you, preventing you from constantly pausing the game to check and re-check the map.
  • Sometimes you’ll get in-game mail: to access it, use the start menu (not the touchpad/back menu that you’ll be using 99% of the time) and look under the “social” option. It’s a tad hidden since it’s in an entirely different menu (and NPCs aren’t exactly a social feature), but it’s there.
  • If you get stuck on a mission with a specific story-related vehicle, respawn it at a vehicle station with Y/Triangle. This isn’t the button you use to spawn vehicles normally, so it’s very easy to overlook it and assume you were hit with a game-breaking glitch.
Chris Carter
EIC, Reviews Director - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step in January of 2009 blogging on the site. Now, he's staff!