Borderlands 3’s Eridium Event Only Highlights How Worthless The Currency Is

Illustration for article titled iBorderlands 3/i’s Eridium Event Only Highlights How Worthless The Currency Is
Screenshot: Borderlands


We’ve reached the third week of unique Borderlands 3 events, and this time around Gearbox has seen fit to tweak the numbers to make Eridium, a secondary currency that’s much harder to find than regular money, drop more frequently. The only problem is that there’s still very little on which to actually spend these purple space rocks.

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Eridium was first introduced in Borderlands 2, where it served two very important purposes: expanding backpack space and ammo reserves as well as eventually purchasing entrance to arenas that housed the game’s uber-hard raid bosses. In Borderlands 3, however, Eridium isn’t quite as useful. Upgrading your Vault Hunter is instead done with cold, hard cash, and raid bosses haven’t been added to the game yet. Instead, series mainstay Crazy Earl will exchange Eridium for cosmetic items—heads, skins, emotes, and the like—and special “Anointed” weapons, which provide character-specific stat bonuses.

There’s also a special slot machine in the game’s main hub, Sanctuary III, that takes Eridium instead of space dollars or whatever it is the Vault Hunters use, but it’s generally not very fun pulling the lever over and over again for the small chance that you’ll get a piece of gear that’s much easier to find farming bosses.

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This week’s event, “Show Me the Eridium,” only makes the currency’s relative worthlessness that much more apparent. In addition to boosting the amounts of Eridium that drop, prices have also been reduced on items that can be bought with the mysterious stones—from what I can tell, Crazy Earl’s wares have been marked down by 25 percent, and the slot machine now costs five Eridium a pull rather than the usual 10.

Gearbox’s patch notes mention that normal enemies will now also drop Eridium, which was previously exclusive to just Badass variants, mini-bosses, and bosses, but it wasn’t enough to make a noticeable difference during my recent loot expeditions.

After the fun of last week’s festivities, which saw rare enemies make guaranteed appearances and drop unique loot, Show Me the Eridium is a bit of a letdown. Everything that Eridium purchases in Borderlands 3, from cosmetic items to Anointed weapons, can also drop from enemies and appear in chests. Furthermore, most hardcore players have already accrued a massive amount of Eridium, and without anything new to buy, the currency is practically meaningless.

The smart move for players is to simply hold onto whatever Eridium they earn during this event and wait for Gearbox to provide more opportunities to use it, whether that’s via raid bosses or something special like modifying weapon attributes, a common request in the Borderlands community.

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Although Gearbox has been clear from the beginning that these weeklong events were simply the appetizers leading up to the big Halloween-themed Bloody Harvest celebration at the end of October, the offerings have so far been more disappointing than fun. I’m still playing Borderlands 3 because I love Borderlands, but my ongoing commitment to the game hinges almost entirely on the next few updates.

Staff Writer, Kotaku

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DISCUSSION

methylsulfonylmethane
Methylsulfonylmethane

Man, this game was such a missed opportunity. Gearbox could have done so much cool shit if they had opened up the code to build a crafting element into the random gun system already in place. Make it possible to break guns down into their component parts. Perhaps to keep the difficulty up only make it possible to save one component by scraping the entire weapon.

Such a system would have added tons of fun and replay value as well as solved the problem of finding epic loot that doesn’t suit your class. Find an amazing shotgun but you play as a sniper? Scrap it and take the best component(s) to build a more suitable gun. Sure, maybe some parts wouldn’t be cross-compatible (barrel, magazine), but elemental factors, multi-shot, ricochet, other special effects all transfer easily. It would even be simple to bake in a use for extra Eridium as well. Spend Eridium to, say, upgrade components that haven’t been rebuilt into a gun yet.

Anyone who has spent some decent time with Borderlands can easily tell the system that Gearbox uses to generate all those random guns is highly modular. You’ll see guns that share features all the time, with variance in key stats creating a multitude of weapons from only a few core elements. It isn’t hard to see how giving the players tools to manipulate this system in a controlled way could open up a unique and wide-reaching gameplay mechanic.

There is clearly a lot of love for loot-based shooters in the existing player base what with the success of Borderlands, Destiny, Apex Legends, etc. They all leverage some kind of mix-and-match system for generating tons of unique weapons. The fact that none of these developers have opened that system up to tweaking by the players continues to blow me away. Maybe it is a greater technical challenge than it seems? Even still, I’d think it would be worth it to create such a cool new feature in what is clearly a popular genre.