If you’ve played Borderlands, you’ve played Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Gearbox’s latest, a fantasy twist on the loot-shooting series for which the studio is known, feels a lot like the previous four games—and 400 expansions and events—in the series. You shoot a bazillion guns. You find a bazillion more.
But Wonderlands is more than meets the eye. I’ve spent much of the past week messing around with the game, and have found it a surprisingly refreshing break from the standard Borderlands blueprint. In fact, I—and this might be hard to believe—have even had to learn some new things. Here are 13 tips and tricks I wish I knew from the start.
Wonderlands features six classes, and has you choose yours while creating a new character. Each class has just one skill tree, and while the flavor text gives you a decent overview of each one, it does not let you view the entire skill tree. Personally, I loathe when games make you select a class from the start: It’s a bummer to make such a crucial choice without having any clue how the game plays! Wonderlands, however, makes it a bit of an easier pill by allowing you to select a secondary class down the line. That option becomes available after you finish the “Emotion of the Ocean” story mission.
Confession: I spent the first few hours of Wonderlands fast-traveling from the various teleportation machines around its world. Yeah, about that…You can fast-travel directly from the map by availing yourself of the fast-travel menu (in the map menu) or by holding “A” over any feather icons (also on the map). Here, here for convenience!
Borderlands 3 shot itself in the foot by dropping gold-tiered items—the rarest gear, most of which has unique perks—at, oh, approximately the same rate it’d drop pickups like ammo and gold. In Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, at least in the pre-endgame campaign, I’ve found that gold weapons have been blissfully rare. So far, I’ve earned just a handful. If you’re playing a cordial game of “coopetition,” the setting where loot is shared among players, keep that in mind when it comes time to divvying up the spoils. You might not see another gold sniper for a while.
Bonus tip for co-op: By its nature, the coopetition mode demands some competition. If that’s not what you want, you could just play the standard cooperation mode, where loot is unique to each player. But it’s important, too, to focus on the “coop” part of “coopetition.” My rule? Anything dropped by cannon fodder is fair game. Loot earned from chests and bosses, however, requires diplomacy.
Loot in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is color-coded by a rarity system you’re likely familiar with, from most to least common: white, green, blue, purple, and gold. It’s second-nature to assume that rarer gear is automatically better. But don’t sleep on the common stuff. Right now, for instance, with my primary character, green weapons occupy two of my four weapon slots. It’s worth inspecting and trying every new gun out before immediately selling it off.
In single-player, you can see all of a weapon’s info on a pop-up blurb by hovering over it in your inventory. When playing splitscreen, however, you don’t see any of that stuff. To get a rundown, you need to click the right thumbstick.
You can spot a loot’s rarity level by keeping an eye out for specific color-coded beams of light, but there’s another tell. When purple gear drops, you’ll hear a ch-ching! (It’s a bit louder for gold weapons.) That’s your cue that there’s a rare item somewhere on the field. Run!
Most good loot comes from chests and boss fights, but Wonderlands introduces a third option. You’ll find golden, 20-sided dice strewn around the map, typically tucked off the beaten path. Smash them open, and you’ll get a loot drop. And the more dice you find, the better loot you’ll get from the next die you find in that given region. You can check to see how many dice you’ve found in a region by opening your map, tabbing over to the “progress” tab, and scrolling down to the “lucky dice” bar.
For years, melee attacks in Borderlands have been a joke (with apologies to fans of Krieg and Zer0). Wonderlands upends that by introducing a new weapon category: melee weapons. These tools—axes, swords, halberds, maces, and other renaissance faire toys—are just as effective and just as varied as the “bazillions of guns” the game’s marketing likes to trumpet. Use them!
It’s a trick from Borderlands past that made its way to Wonderlands: You can press “X” (on Xbox) to pick up every individual bit of ammo or gold. Or you can hold it down to gather all of the minor collectibles at once. (This is enormously helpful for the many fetch quests that have you gathering 20 goblin teeth or whatever.)
Similarly, holding “X” while looking at a piece of gear on the ground allows you to directly equip it rather than popping it into your inventory menu first.
The easiest way to earn money in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is to pick up everything, even the garbage-level gear, and sell it. You can mark items as trash by clicking the left thumbstick over any trash items in your menu. The next time you find a vendor, typically by fast-travel spots, go to the sell tab and press “Y” to sell off all of that stuff instantly.
Weapons in Wonderlands can drop with one of four elements, each of which is more effective against a specific category of health:
- Fire weapons deal extra damage against red health bars.
- Caustic weapons deal extra damage against yellow armor bars.
- Electric weapons deal extra damage against blue shield bars.
- Frost weapons deal extra damage against gray bone bars (a new-to-the-series classification of health).
- Okay, fine, there’s technically a fifth “dark magic” one, but it doesn’t deal any bonus damage. It just heals you.
Paying attention to type matchups isn’t necessary at all on the standard difficulty level; you can pretty much shoot your way through anything. But on intense, the highest setting, it becomes imperative—and makes the game a bit more engaging as a result.
By default in Wonderlands, you can press “Y” to swap weapons, while tapping left or right on the D-pad allows you to quickly cycle through missions. Meanwhile, pressing down on the D-pad will swap a weapon’s fire mode, if, say, you have one of those fancy sniper rifles that can also turn into a shotgun.
But if you swap button control schemes—in the controls menu, hit the right trigger twice—from the standard setting to the classic one, you’ll map your weapons to each direction of the D-pad. In the early goings, when you can equip just two guns, relying on just one button to swap isn’t a hassle. Once you start carting four around, though, cycling through your guns can get annoying. The only drawback to swapping to the D-pad? To select a different mission than the one you’re on, you have to [gasp] open up your menu.
Like previous Borderlands games, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has a disaster of a menu, all cluttered and disorganized. But there are some organization options you can avail yourself of. In your journal, you can press “X” to swap between two display modes. “Quest type” differentiates between main missions and side-quests and such, while swapping to “region” will categorize your quests by, well, region. In your inventory, you can tap the right trigger to reorder your gear by rarity, weapon type, and rating (essentially, its efficacy in relation to your level).
Wonderlands is set in a make-believe fantasy world within a make-believe sci-fi world, where ghosts and dragons are as common as people, where pirate ships can appear out of thin air, where you yourself can perform all sorts of feats that far exceed what any human could do. But the second you touch water? Dead. Along with a chunk of your gold. You’ve been warned!