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5 ways Tiny Tina's Wonderlands sets itself apart from the Borderlands franchise

The upcoming game has several new tricks up its sleeve compared to its parent franchise (Images via Gearbox Software)
The upcoming game has several new tricks up its sleeve compared to its parent franchise (Images via Gearbox Software)
Siddharth Patil

Gearbox Software has been steadily droppiong Tiny Tina's Wonderlands details via various means. From blog updates and YouTube videos to social media posts and developer interviews, there is sufficient information about the upcoming FPS/RPG out there to excite Borderlands fans.

Fans of Borderlands 2's Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC will find a lot to love here, but what about the new Borderlands fans? Or even newcomers to the series in general? Neither demographic needs to be fussed, because here's how the upcoming looter-shooter differs from its sci-fi predecessors.


Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is a breath of fresh air in many ways

5) Melee Combat

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Given that Borderlands has always been about shiny firearms, melee combat tended to be an afterthought for the most part. Sure, there have been Vaut Hunters (Borderlands's roster of playable characters) that had playstyles centered around spamming the melee button, like Krieg's Buzz Axe Rampage action-skill and an entire skill tree that boosted melee damage. But now, it is a key aspect of gameplay in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

Melee weapons in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands are almost as viable as the guns themselves, and there is even a dedicated melee weapon slot. Additionally, many classes, such as the Stabbomancer and Brr-Zerker, specialize in close-quarters combat. Plus, unlike previous games' weak melee animations, things take a dramatic step forward with continuous weapon strikes. All Fatemakers can ground-slam from any height, so that's handy.

Melee also synergizes with the weapons and the new Spell system, so fans have more oppurtunities to embrace this new mechanic.


4) Spells

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This is what you get when you make Borderlands' Action Skills an equippable item with quick cooldowns. Spells are a brand new addition to the upcoming FPS/RPG that allow players to keep the heat on foes when they or their buddies are reloading their guns or maintaining distance.

These come in many varieties, from plain old effensive ones, to support. Like summoning a massive meteor to strike enemies, or summoning critters to distract and attack. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands's Spells are basically a much more exciting alternative to Borderlands's grenades.

Similarly, they can have different effects, depending on the type of spell equipped. Say, a fireball spell can home in on enemies or fire in quick succession. Since they are equippable, they also have their own manufacturers, just like weapons. For example, Miraculum centers around spells that interact with the player, while Conjura casts forth different types of magic.


3) Overworld

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One of the key introductions to Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is the Overworld, influenced by tabletop RPGs. Or rather, the one that the game is based on: Bunkers & Badasses, Borderlands's in-universe tabletop RPG. It is a vibrant, board-esque area that interconnects the various areas of Wonderlands.

It is also the Fatemaker's (i.e., the player's) main mode of getting between said areas. A small action-figure-sized recreation of the player's Fatemaker will traverse the Overworld, which is chock-full of secrets and discoveries, such as random encounters with enemy spawns; treasure chests containing useful gold and collectibles; and even optional areas. So explore away!

The best part about it, though, is the attention to detail. Keeping in line with the Dragon Keep DLC, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is an actual tabletop game being played by Tiny and the gang. So, as logic suggests, any interaction that the outer "real" world has with Wonderlands is reflected in the Overworld. Catch a piece of out-of-place cheese puff lying around? It's probably from one of Vault Hunters β€” perhaps Mordecai β€” carelessly chucking it around!


2) Cosmetic Character Customization

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For the first time ever in a Borderlands game, character customization will be possible. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is an RPG after all, more so than the series usually is anyway. Borderlands titles were always about stories of the pre-definied Vault Hunters. Take Borderlands's phasewalking Siren Lilith, 2's haiku-spouting assassin Zer0, and 3's mech-piloting Moze.

They all had their own personalities and visual styles in their respective stories. But here, Gearbox has placed the player at the forefront. There's a decent amount of options for constructing the Fatemaker. Players can customize their faces (including eyes, hair, and more) and even height. Players can also tweak their personality by assigning dialog tones and configuring voice pitch.

If that isn't enough, players can go ham with the sliders, allowing their Fatemaker to look just like they want. The Slider Overdrive option will reportedly allow for exaggerated designs, perhaps in a manner similar to Volition's Saints Row games. We do not yet know how in-depth the customizer will be, but as we near the release date of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, things should get clearer.


1) RPG Systems

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Fantasy RPG games are known to offer a plethora of ways to mold one's character. Staples such as origin stories and base character stats are not something Borderlands has ever bothered with, but they are a thing in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. The following stats constitute the player:

  • Strength - Critical Hit Damage
  • Dexterity - Base Critical Hit Chance
  • Intelligence - Spell Cooldown Rate
  • Wisdom - Status Effect Damage
  • Constitution - Maximum Health/Ward
  • Attunement - Action Skill Cooldown Rate

These attributes can be influenced using Hero Points. If you cannot decide what to go for, select one of the backstories to let the game decide your attribute allocation for you, with further room for customization.

Then there is the highlight of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands: the multi-class system. Previously, Vault Hunters across all Borderlands games had set skill trees (three skill trees for each character, four with Borderlands 3's Designer Cut DLC). Tiny Tina's Wonderlands has classes; there are six in the base game and each has only one skill tree. But the game eventually lets the player add another class's skill tree for a total of two.

That means there can be up to 30 possible variations of the Fatemaker. Each skill tree has a different focus, like the Clawbringer's elemental specialty or Graveborn's risk-vs-reward playstyle. Just two skill trees might seem like a step down, but they seem to be more tightly tailored to cater to players' playstyles without having much in the way of filler. Only once Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is released will we know how effective they are in combat.


All editions of Tiny Tina's Wonderlands will launch on March 25, 2022 for PC, PS4, XB1, PS5 and XSX|S.


Edited by Sandeep Banerjee

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