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At last count, Borderlands contains over 17.5 million color-coded, procedurally generated firearms. The gun population of planet Pandora outnumbers the individual populations of Cuba, Greece, Israel, and Switzerland. What the hell am I supposed to do with all that? I know we're talking about a loot drop game where the entire appeal lies in those loot drops, but outside of dollars, I don't need 17.5 million of anything. That's way, way, waaaaaaaay too much crap to ever constitute fun. Hell, even the comparatively modest arsenals of Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 quickly blur into one amorphous, nondescript mess.
Eight guns. That's all you really need. Maybe fewer. And imposing that kind of limitation will net you a better game to boot. Here's how.
The opinion piece sparked a response from AtomicGamer, in defense of this particular Borderlands feature, which also includes a few suggestions to Gearbox for their sequel:
I firmly believe that a significant chunk of Borderlands' success came from the way that people got to fine tune their preferences inside each of those gun archetypes by picking the ones with the right rate of fire, faster reload times, elemental damage properties and such. In an FPS, the gun is often the star of the show, not the character you're playing, and making sure that that gun you're holding is interesting and cool goes a long way towards making a mediocre FPS a good one, or a good one a great one. Borderlands did this by adding in first-person animations and making sure that different scopes, magazines, reload styles and speeds were used, inviting players to get down a rhythm while shooting tons of enemies in the face - and then tweak or re-set that rhythm when a better weapon came along. It's the same reason why nearly all Call of Duty players care about what attachments go onto their guns, but here, many of those properties are built directly into the guns when they're generated.
That said, the sequel really needs to open up the gun-generation system, expose how it works to the players, and even let them take part in it a bit. I'm not just talking about MW3's attachments, although also adding that to Borderlands 2 might even be a fun way to further customize the weapons. What I mean is every once in a while allowing the player to pick out the parts and building their own gun using a slick graphical interface. People actually wound up figuring out a crude way to do this in the first game by developing an external utility, but unfortunately it was also way too easy to cheat with it, and this utility contributed partly to the ruination of the multiplayer where people run around with guns that kill everything in one hit. (Yes, we're hoping that Gearbox makes some kind of server-side character save feature in the sequel so that multiplayer games aren't so full of cheaters.) Either way, a feature like building your own guns would need to be limited, or you'd never want to loot a generated gun again, so I'm thinking Gearbox could make it so that only get to do it once every few levels or something.