Borderlands 3’s Bloody Harvest Event Is Back, And Just As Fun As Last Time

Borderlands 3’s Bloody Harvest Event Is Back, And Just As Fun As Last Time
Screenshot: Gearbox

No trick, Vault Hunters, Borderlands 3’s latest event is quite a treat. Yesterday, the well-liked “Bloody Harvest” kicked off again. On a surface level, “Bloody Harvest” bears similarity to any other Borderlands event — shoot everything, get guns — but it stands apart by being a total blast with minimal slog. That, and the fact that you get more pieces of legendary gear than you can shake a Claptrap at.

If you caught Bloody Harvest the first time around, when it ran for six weeks or so last fall, you know what to expect. The sentient, bloodthirsty velociraptor Maurice tasks you with hunting down ghosts and collecting “Hecktoplasm” from their wispy remains. Ghosts occupy other enemies that exist in Borderlands 3. Kill an enemy, and a ghost might fly out. Kill the ghost, and you get some Hecktoplasm. Once you round up enough of the stuff, you can return to Maurice and open up a portal to Heck. That’s where the real fun begins.

Heck is more or less Athenas, the idyllic planet from the base game, but done up with typical Halloween décor: candles, jack-o-lanterns, gravestones, waterfalls of blood — you know, the sort of thing your most seasonally inspired neighbour will put up this weekend. All of the enemies are “Halloween-themed,” though such changes are purely cosmetic, at most, and usually just a name change. If you like fighting in any other Borderlands area, you’ll like fighting in Heck. Once you battle your way through a few rooms, you come across Captain Haunt.

Screenshot: Gearbox Screenshot: Gearbox

Beating him is kind of a pain. Twice per battle, he’ll summon barriers that protect him from all damage, so you have to track those down and destroy them. Oh, and he’ll regain some of his shield, depending on how long you take. After you kill him and collect your loot (at least several gold weapons, in my experience), you open up a portal back to Sanctuary, where you can talk to Maurice and start the Bloody Harvest cycle anew.

Yes, all told, Bloody Harvest is fundamentally the same as it was last year — a good thing, seeing as it’s one of the looter-shooter’s lootiest, shootiest events. Consider this spring’s similar “Revenge of the Cartels” event. That coke-soaked sojourn to an ultraviolet villa showered players in loot and was fun to play through, to boot. But unlocking the villa was somewhat tedious. Finding all the necessary whatsits to open up the gate sometimes took just as long as a run through the bonus area itself.

By contrast, earning your way into Heck is no slog at all. Ghosts show up left and right. Unlike in “Revenge of the Cartels,” I never needed to travel to more than one region to get what I needed.

Ghosts are also more than mere collectibles, and their presence shifts gameplay significantly. You think you just killed that bandit? Nope! Now you have to gun down a spectral monstrosity too. It all gives the feeling that you’re gunning down twice as many enemies as you’d normally need to, and anything that ramps up the chaos in Borderlands is welcome in my book. (Ghosts are technically supposed to affect some of your stats, like weapon handling, but I’ve never noticed a difference. In Borderlands, there’s so much happening on-screen at any given moment that minor stat changes like that are imperceptible.)

When Bloody Harvest is active, one person's treasure is another's trash. (Screenshot: Gearbox / Kotaku) When Bloody Harvest is active, one person's treasure is another's trash. (Screenshot: Gearbox / Kotaku)

But best of all, ghosts contribute to the loot economy that fuels Bloody Harvest. Standard ghosts, the green ones, don’t drop much; you might get a green or a blue weapon. Red, badass ghosts are a bit better, and tend to drop blue and purple gear. Then there are “loot ghosts” — blindingly yellow floating skulls that, when killed, result in a rainbow-coloured explosion of precious guns, shields, grenade mods, and other sweet loot. After a few hours of Bloody Harvest, I now have so much top-tier gear that, get this, I’m marking legendary equipment as trash. I don’t even bother sending it to my safe, because that’s just as loaded up with legendary gear. And this is all on relatively lower Mayhem levels. (I like to bounce between 1 and 4, depending on the situation.)

If fielding countless legendary weapons isn’t your thing — if, say, you like the novelty that comes with finding rare, top-level gear in the game’s vanilla state — you can toggle Bloody Harvest on or off from the main menu. The event ends November 5.

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