Ch Ching! For Borderlands fans, that noise sets off an almost pavlovian response. A legendary gun has dropped. You’ve gotta be the first to get it. You heard that noise all the damn time in Borderlands 3. If you’ve been messing around in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, you may feel like it happens less. According to the game’s creative director, that’s not in your head.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlandsfirst released last month for consoles and PC, is a spinoff of Gearbox’s popular Borderlands series of loot-shooters, donated up in a fantasy-inspired respray. (Pistols? They look like crossbows now.) Borderlands games have long made use of a universal rarity categorization system, featuring gear that drops, in order of rarity tiers, from “common” white and “uncommon” green to “rare” blue and “epic” purple. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find “legendary” gold gear—the best in the game.
By the end of the previous entry, 2019’s Borderlands 3legendary gear barely felt legendary at all, particularly if you activated the “mayhem” difficulty modifiers or played during one of the game’s many “seasonal” events. Sanctuary III, the main hub area of Borderlands 3, contained a trophy wall where you could display one of each equipment type. My friends and I competed to see who could be first to fill a wall full of golds. We all completed the task in a handful of endgame sessions. It’s nice to get showered with legendary guns—again, these are the best in the game, and often come with nonconventional perks—but the sheer rate at which they appeared devalued the notion that you lucked into something truly unique.
By comparison, I’ve now sunk more time into Wonderlandsand its ridiculously engrossing endgamethan I ever did into Borderlands 3. I still don’t have a full inventory of gold equipment.
Shortly after the game’s release, players picked up on—and praised—how few legendary weapons there appeared to be. One noted how “satisfying” it is to stumble upon a legendary, which spurred other players to say they hadn’t run into any until hitting mid or even high character levels. Another posted a screenshot of their very first legendary, not found until they hit level 18, alongside gratitude for the game’s supposedly toned-down loot drop rates, saying it “brings back the excitement” of hunting for the best gear in the game.
Naturally, though, some players have been less kind; “Where the fuck are all the legendaries?” one wrote in a Reddit post that has dozens of responses and zero upvotes.
“We did make legendaries more rare,” Matt Cox, creative director of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, confirmed to me in a recent video interview. “Making legendaries more scarce was definitely an intentional decision.”
Cox did not share specific numbers in our chat.
“We also added this whole luck mechanic where you could collect dice or do the luck shrine,” Cox said. “So we did give players agency over, you know, seeing higher rarities more often by engaging in the loot luck system.”
Though legendaries are indeed less common in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands than its forebears, there are a number of ways to increase your chances of finding them—you just gotta put in the work.
You could hunt down all the pieces of the luck shrine, as Cox suggested, which would add a permanent buff to your “loot luck” stat, a value that dictates your chances of finding rare gear. You could permanently increase that same stat by tracking down some of the 260 dice tucked away in hard-to-find corners of Wonderlands world. (Each die you find also gives you a small pile of loot.) You could find and activate any of the 11 obelisks, kicking off a fight against a mini-boss who stands a greater chance of dropping a specific legendary gun, like the formerly ne plus ultra Liquid Cooling pistol. (It’s since been nerfed down to the level of “really, really good.”) There’s also the endlessly replayable Chaos Chamber endgame mode, but even the best runs there don’t guarantee you’ll get legendary equipment.
“We wanted to preserve and recapture this idea that, when you see that orange drop, it’s like your birthday,” Cox said. “It’s like opening up a gift.”