The Gearbox website has graced us with a list of the manufacturers in Borderlands 3, as well as each manufacturers’ unique weapon effects. Unsurprisingly, Bandit weapons are out, with Children of the Vault replacing their ramshackle craftsmanship. All the old favorites return, though our friends at S&S Munitions are left out of the show. So sad. Anyway, without further ado, let’s dive into each company armory and explore their options.
Maliwan: A Gun For All Seasons
Maliwan are back, and they’re doubling down on their signature specialty. Like in Borderlands 2, Maliwan achieves elemental superiority at the cost of base firepower. But this time, they’re bringing a few new tricks to the party — namely guaranteed elemental damage on each hit, elemental toggling, and the ability to charge the weapon.
Guaranteed elemental damage eliminates having to rely on RNG for your elemental procs, making them far more reliable in combat. Element toggling means players won’t have to carry around 5 extra guns to cover the elemental spectrum, freeing up weapon slots. Weapon charging is an interesting one — it sounds like you’ll be able to charge your shots, trading ammunition and/or fire rate for greater damage.
Maliwan weapons will once again favor a character and build that focuses primarily on elemental damage, like Lilith in Borderlands. Their lack of physical damage will be a liability against enemies that are resistant to elemental damage, but their guaranteed elemental damage lets them fulfill a specific typed damage role that supplements the team with damage over time effects.
Tediore: Cheap and Cheerful
The generic supermarket brand of guns is continuing the trend they began in Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel. As always, their reloads are uniquely their own, but this time they’re giving guns independence. Yes, that walking gun in the trailer was a Tediore, and yes, they’ll all pursue enemies while slinging insults at them. Being the cheap and disposable gun brand of Borderlands, their damage output won’t be anything to write home about, but the walking guns created on reload will allow suppressive fire from your gun buddy, as well as increased damage output from a second source of fire.
Some guns may be airborne instead of landborne, which enables more tactical options like reloading behind cover and sending the gun drone out to attack while you’re safe. Character-wise, FL4K and Zane will get the most out of these guns, as they will supplement their own additional units. FL4K will be able to use his beasts while throwing gun drones out and Zane will be able to attack enemies with the guns while distracting enemies with his decoys.
Vladof: Lead Avalanche
Vladof returns with much of the same for the most part, continuing their tradition of advancement through superior firepower. Guns will still devour ammo at a remarkable rate, but they’ve added a unique twist to their arsenal — Vladof weapons can be fitted with under-barrel attachments, such as shotguns, missile launchers, tazers, and of course even more gun barrels.
Vladof have gone all out with the concept of a good defense being an overwhelming offense, and their guns look to have the most sheer firepower of all the manufacturers. When you need to bury your foes in an avalanche of lead, Vladof are the ones to call. In terms of characters, Moze will make best use of these firearms. Not only is she posing in her artwork with a multi-barrel Vladof assault rifle, her action skill is a 10 ton mech suit. While it comes with its own minigun, Moze’s other skills will probably favor similar weapons.
Torgue: Explosive Fun
Explosions. Just, so many explosions. Torgue brings their signature brand of explosive madness to Borderlands 3 with more way to make things go boom.
While explosive rounds are expected to return for Torgue weaponry, they can now attach sticky explosives to enemies. This is an interesting feature, and it means Torgue weapons may be the most tactical. The sticky rounds can be attached to a target and then safely detonated from behind cover. You can also wait until the victim is near their friends before exploding them. There is no mention of it yet, but if the rounds can be stuck to surfaces like land mines, then the tactical potential of Torgue weapons massively increases.
None of the characters have been shown to have an affinity for explosives, but Amara will probably benefit most. In the trailer, her fists have an explosive effect, and if she has skills to augment her explosive damage, these weapons would suit her perfectly.
Children of the Vault: If It Ain’t Broke….
Children of the Vault are the new manufacturer of cobbled-together guns, and their design is about what you’d expect. Mismatched gun parts, wires sticking out, and a general sense of unreliability.
The CoV take a different approach to guns by giving them “infinite” ammo. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well the trade-off is that CoV weapons overheat erratically, which means holding the trigger and never letting go isn’t going to be entirely possible. I think that instead of having magazines, CoV weapons will have the entire weapon’s ammo pool usable without reloading. I think the overheating mechanic will replace the reload for the CoV weapons, with overheating happening at unpredictable moments during a fight.
For characters, I think Moze will use these best, as weapons with high ammo capacity seem to be her thing.
Jakobs: If It Took More Than One Shot…
… then you weren’t using a Jakobs. Jakobs is well known for their remarkably high single-shot damage, and this doesn’t appear to have changed at all. Once again, Jakobs will be the choice for snipers and players who just want to blow peoples’ heads up from a distance. The images released by Gearbox show that the single-shot rifles will be returning, though the promotional pistol doesn’t have an exposed hammer to fan.
Visually the guns are much the same, with worn metal and wood comprising the majority of their gun parts. Of note is the Jakobs shotgun having a twin drum magazine. This means either a shotgun with a large magazine size, a shotgun with automatic fire, or both. The latter two, of course, would be a massive departure from Jakobs’ one-shot philosophy.
For their manufacturer effect, Jakobs are focusing primarily on their life’s pursuit of killing things in one shot. Successful critical hits from a Jakobs weapon will likely be stronger than other weapons, but the main thing here is that critical hits will ricochet rounds towards other enemies, allowing a measure of crowd-control during more methodical and slow gameplay. Rumor has it that critical hits will return the spent round to the player’s magazine, allowing for extended chains of critical hits.
FL4K is a robotic tracker and hunter, who hunts his prey alongside his two pets. As a hunter-type character, he would be best suited to using Jakobs weapons, as stalking enemies would be conducive to the critical-hit mechanics of the guns.
Atlas: Spared No Expense
ATLAS ARE BACK! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s actually take a closer look at them. Being the futuristic company that they are, and being under new management after the events of Tales From The Borderlands, Atlas have decided to further innovate and do away with that pesky aiming thing.
Atlas have decided that the best offense is one you can carry out from a safe place. To reflect this, their manufacturer effect is similar to the Bullseye from Insomniac Games‘ Resistance. Atlas weapons have a tracking tag that can be fired into an enemy, and any shots fired after will home in on the tag, allowing safe and accurate fire from behind cover.
Interestingly, some Atlas weapons appear to be arm-mounted which is a departure from typical gun design. This could mean a new weapon class altogether, or just a unique Atlas design that leaves a user’s hands free. Tactically these weapons will be a great benefit to defensive players, and those that prefer longer engagement. Atlas weapons seem suited to any character, but Zane’s skills make him a particularly good fit. He specializes in gadgets and using clones to distract enemies, letting him use these Atlas guns without ever leaving cover.
Hyperion: Precision Is Everything…
… or is it? Hyperion’s new boss has taken a different route to weapon design after their CEO was unceremoniously removed in Borderlands 2. Defensive weapons are the order of the day this time around, with Hyperion fitting their firearms with mounted energy shields.
This is a radical change from Handsome Jack’s days of running the show, and shows a distinct change in focus. The description even suggests that the shield will be full-sized, since you can take cover behind it. Hyperion weapons will also have increased accuracy when the trigger is held. However, whether that means the old effect will return remains to be seen.
The introduction of a shield is an exciting way to mix up combat, opening up new ways to play Borderlands. Tank characters now have another method to absorb damage and keep fire away from their teammates. However, any character could get use from Hyperion’s arsenal, as more survivability is always useful.
Dahl: Bursting With Purpose
Dahl returns with a solid and dependable armory that performs exactly the way you expect it to. Rather than change how they make their guns, they simply tweaked their designs to be more user-friendly. You can now toggle a Dahl weapon’s firing mode instead of having to aim down its sights. Dahl certainly have the least flashy weapons, reinforcing their philosophy of being the sensible Vault Hunter’s choice.
The ability to toggle firing modes is a nice quality of life change, but it does seem a little lacklustre. It will be interesting to see how Dahl stacks up against the other weapon foundries. That said, the description mentions that changing fire rate affects bonus damage, so there’s a chance that the burst or single-shot modes boost damage at the expense of RPM. Dahl weaponry is fairly character-neutral and don’t seem to promote any specific playstyle.
Borderlands 3 raises the bar for weird and wonderful guns — players should expect to find weapons with strange combinations of unique effects! I feel that some guns will see a lot more use than others, even at this early stage. I can see Maliwan and Atlas being used a lot, as strong elemental damage and enhanced survivability are valuable. Balancing weapons’ stats and effects will be a tough job, and I hope Gearbox can pull it off.
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An Australian hailing from the wilds of Victoria.
Can often be found absorbing whatever strange and oddball game catches his fancy at the time.
Bit of a FromSoftware fan though, and will always throw himself right into anything they make.
Hopes to be either a writer or a streamer, whichever gets a foothold first, but honestly it’s all for the love of games and trying new stuff.