Borderlands 3 is currently running through a series of week-long events leading up to a big Halloween-themed blowout later this month. While last week’s legendary gear hunt was a bit of a bummer, developer Gearbox’s latest attempt to keep folks interested in their flagship looter shooter gives players the chance to fight some unique enemies that are easy to miss the first few times through the game.
There are several types of enemies in the Borderlands series, ranging from basic grunts to bosses. Somewhere in the middle lie unique spawns, named foes that provide a decent challenge and special loot but aren’t guaranteed to show up in their designated areas. It’s possible to never encounter them if you don’t comb the entirety of each Borderlands map or if the game’s inherent randomness doesn’t swing your way.
The first few hours of every Borderlands game tend to feel like an uphill grind until you finally unlock better skills and find cooler weapons. Borderlands 3 is no different. But it gets a lot better once you leave Pandora, especially if you want to find a gun that isn’t an underpowered pistol or a shotgun. If that’s you, leave Pandora as soon as you can.
For the next few days, Borderlands 3’s unique spawns are guaranteed to appear, along with a greater chance to drop legendary and unique gear, during the “Rare Spawn Hunt” event. Looking over the news when it was first announced, I was surprised to find just how many of the listed enemies I hadn’t encountered during several playthroughs. Last night, I set out to hunt them down.
To be honest, players aren’t missing life-changing encounters by not seeking these enemies out. They’re essentially mini-bosses, made more exciting by their rarity and the unique items, like the enemy-weakening It’s Piss grenade, they drop. They have character, though: Rakkman is a parody of Batman, who is encountered in a remote cave on the sprawling Carnivora map. El Dragón Jr. is an homage to the masked luchadores of professional wrestling. The Mother of Grogans and her ability to summon fire-breathing lizards calls back to Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones fame — she can even be defeated with a single melee attack.
I haven’t found much to be excited about here in terms of farming opportunities — I’m currently wiping out packs of Demoskaggons and Force Troopers squads in the hopes of finding the class mod that continues to elude me — but the Rare Spawn Hunt has given me a reason to go back through areas I’ve previously picked clean. I love the randomness of these unique enemies, but having them guaranteed to appear during the event is nice too, since even when they spawn, they can be easy to miss in the middle of the game’s chaotic battlefields.
Borderlands 3 is almost certainly the game that you think it is. Six hours in, a lot of my feelings remain the same as they were when I first played Borderlands 3 at an extended preview last month. In a lot of ways it’s a time capsule, in some ways embarrassingly retrograde in its sensibilities, and in other ways confident that its central draw of shooting and looting always was and will continue to be enough. Because of how little the franchise has changed, the best way to know if Borderlands 3 is for you is to boot up one of the previous games in the series and see how well it works for you today.