6 Big Things You'll Want To Know Before You Start Playing 'Borderlands 3'

Credit: Gearbox

A loot game, or really any RPG, is as complicated as you want it to be. If you want, you can just sort of equip the items that seem to make sense at the time and muddle on through, over-leveling yourself as need be. Or you can always just go to town, obsessing over every little detail and trying to spec out your character in the absolute most efficient way possible. Most of us are going to find ourselves somewhere in between, especially during the main story of a game like Borderlands 3. We can do at least some of the obsessing for you, letting you muddle a little less and move through those early moments a little more smoothly. So if you're getting going on Borderlands 3 at launch, here are some tips to make things a little bit easier.

Open all the chests: This is a particular piece of older-school game design that you really can't get around in this game. Borderlands 3 is absolutely stocked with chests, and you should really open all of them. They're hard to miss with their glowing green lights everywhere, and they don't take long to open. So make that part of your routine. There are two basic kinds: the first is full of ammo, and you're definitely going to want those because this game is surprisingly ammo limited. The other is full of cash or sometimes other items, and you'll want to make sure you get as many of those as you can: you always need cash, after all. Yes, it's a little bit tiring, especially after the first hour or two. But it makes things easier going forward.

Never equip two guns that use the same ammo: Remember how I said this game was surprisingly ammo limited? The idea here seems to be to use ammo scarcity as a way to force you to mix up your gun selection, and you're going to want to start with the loadout. You can tell which sort of ammo a gun uses by the symbol in its description, and you're going to want to avoid equipping two weapons that use the same ammo. That way you can make sure that you're stocked up with as many bullets as possible, and that you're making the best possible use of all the ammo pickups in the world that you can. It's frustrating to run out of ammo on one gun, but it's more frustrating if that means you're also out of ammo on another gun.

Use your cash for ammo increases: A lot of these tips are about ammo. Running out of ammo sucks! Sure, I guess you can buy weapons in the early game, but this is just not going to be the best use of your hard-earned cash. You're going to want to increase your maximum ammo and item capacity as soon as you can, something that you can start doing as soon as you arrive on your ship. That's basically all I spent money on in those early moments.

Credit: Gearbox

Your vehicle is a fast travel pointIf you grab a vehicle to explore the world with, you can always fast travel back to it. This is especially helpful if you just cleared out a mini-dungeon that required you to continue on foot, or if you're just trying to make efficient use of your time while completing and handing in quests. You can fast travel from anywhere in Borderlands 3, so don't waste too much time schlepping around.

Side missions are only sort of optional: This one I learned early on, when I found myself slapped up against the first major boss and hopefully under-leveled for the encounter. You'll get a ton of mission sin this game that are billed as side missions, but you're going to want to do a fair number of them to ensure that you can keep pace with the main story: just going through the main missions won't give you the experience you need to keep progressing. So check those missions as soon as you get them, because you'll want to complete them if they're nearby to avoid having to backtrack. You don't need to do all of them by a longshot, but you will need to do a couple in each area to make sure you'll be strong enough for the challenges of the main quest.

When in doubt, look at the item score: Like a lot of loot-based games, the weapons and items in Borderlands 3 can get pretty complicated, pretty quickly. Some people will want to pre over every perk and stat from the get-go, but that sort of optimization is really only necessary once you hit the end game. Make your own decisions, but remember to keep the item score in mind. It's an overall rating of the gun or weapon's effectiveness, and you're not going to go wrong by just equipping all the items with the highest score.

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Credit: Gearbox

A loot game, or really any RPG, is as complicated as you want it to be. If you want, you can just sort of equip the items that seem to make sense at the time and muddle on through, over-leveling yourself as need be. Or you can always just go to town, obsessing over every little detail and trying to spec out your character in the absolute most efficient way possible. Most of us are going to find ourselves somewhere in between, especially during the main story of a game like Borderlands 3. We can do at least some of the obsessing for you, letting you muddle a little less and move through those early moments a little more smoothly. So if you're getting going on Borderlands 3 at launch, here are some tips to make things a little bit easier.

Open all the chests: This is a particular piece of older-school game design that you really can't get around in this game. Borderlands 3 is absolutely stocked with chests, and you should really open all of them. They're hard to miss with their glowing green lights everywhere, and they don't take long to open. So make that part of your routine. There are two basic kinds: the first is full of ammo, and you're definitely going to want those because this game is surprisingly ammo limited. The other is full of cash or sometimes other items, and you'll want to make sure you get as many of those as you can: you always need cash, after all. Yes, it's a little bit tiring, especially after the first hour or two. But it makes things easier going forward.

Never equip two guns that use the same ammo: Remember how I said this game was surprisingly ammo limited? The idea here seems to be to use ammo scarcity as a way to force you to mix up your gun selection, and you're going to want to start with the loadout. You can tell which sort of ammo a gun uses by the symbol in its description, and you're going to want to avoid equipping two weapons that use the same ammo. That way you can make sure that you're stocked up with as many bullets as possible, and that you're making the best possible use of all the ammo pickups in the world that you can. It's frustrating to run out of ammo on one gun, but it's more frustrating if that means you're also out of ammo on another gun.

Use your cash for ammo increases: A lot of these tips are about ammo. Running out of ammo sucks! Sure, I guess you can buy weapons in the early game, but this is just not going to be the best use of your hard-earned cash. You're going to want to increase your maximum ammo and item capacity as soon as you can, something that you can start doing as soon as you arrive on your ship. That's basically all I spent money on in those early moments.

Credit: Gearbox

Your vehicle is a fast travel pointIf you grab a vehicle to explore the world with, you can always fast travel back to it. This is especially helpful if you just cleared out a mini-dungeon that required you to continue on foot, or if you're just trying to make efficient use of your time while completing and handing in quests. You can fast travel from anywhere in Borderlands 3, so don't waste too much time schlepping around.

Side missions are only sort of optional: This one I learned early on, when I found myself slapped up against the first major boss and hopefully under-leveled for the encounter. You'll get a ton of mission sin this game that are billed as side missions, but you're going to want to do a fair number of them to ensure that you can keep pace with the main story: just going through the main missions won't give you the experience you need to keep progressing. So check those missions as soon as you get them, because you'll want to complete them if they're nearby to avoid having to backtrack. You don't need to do all of them by a longshot, but you will need to do a couple in each area to make sure you'll be strong enough for the challenges of the main quest.

When in doubt, look at the item score: Like a lot of loot-based games, the weapons and items in Borderlands 3 can get pretty complicated, pretty quickly. Some people will want to pre over every perk and stat from the get-go, but that sort of optimization is really only necessary once you hit the end game. Make your own decisions, but remember to keep the item score in mind. It's an overall rating of the gun or weapon's effectiveness, and you're not going to go wrong by just equipping all the items with the highest score.

I'm a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New Republic, IGN.com, Wired and more. I cover social games, video games, technol...