Borderlands 3 Mayhem Mode: a guide to the Borderlands 3 Endgame
Plus True Vault Hunter Mode, Proving Grounds, Circle of Slaughter, and more!
All the Borderlands 3 Endgame content on offer really blows the game's predecessors out of the water. From Mayhem Mode to Guardian Ranks, from the Proving Grounds to the Circle of Slaughter, Gearbox have given us a great deal of extra challenges to complete and high-value loot to gather after your first 30-or-so hours in the Borderlands 3 campaign.
Our Borderlands 3 Endgame guide will offer an overview on each of these (and other) aspects of the bombastic looter-shooter's post-campaign content, so you know exactly what you're getting into after finishing the Borderlands 3 story.
Borderlands 3 Endgame guide
Borderlands 3 may boast a 30-hour-long Campaign (though much of that is taken up by listening to every single major and minor character's life stories), but if you really want to experience everything the game has to offer you'll need to make it beyond that final quest and into the Borderlands 3 Endgame content:
- Borderlands 3 Mayhem Mode - Activate three different levels of Mayhem Mode to increase XP and Loot Quality at the cost of much more challenging fights.
- Borderlands 3 True Vault Hunter Mode (TVHM) - Play through the Campaign again with all your current skills and loot, with enemies scaling to match you.
- Borderlands 3 Guardian Rank & Perks - Complete challenges to unlock special Endgame perks, skills, and skins.
- Borderlands 3 Proving Grounds - Enter the Proving Grounds solo or co-op, and race to defeat all waves of enemies to gain the best loot.
- Borderlands 3 Circle of Slaughter - Enter the Circle of Slaughter for more wave-based challenges with optional bonus tasks for greater rewards.
- Borderlands 3 Raid Bosses & Upcoming Content - Whispers of Borderlands 3 Raids and other upcoming content have reached our ears...
Borderlands 3 Mayhem Mode
Mayhem Mode is probably the most important aspect of the Borderlands 3 Endgame - certainly the one that everyone's talking about - and for good reason. After finishing the final main mission (Divine Retribution), you'll be escorted back to Sanctuary where you'll be introduced via a long meandering monologue to a new thingymajig on the top deck of the ship.
This is where you can configure the three levels of Mayhem Mode, each of which will change the difficulty level of every encounter and every mission. The button beside the three Mayhem Mode pedestals will give you exact details on how everything will change, but in a nutshell:
- Loot Quality is drastically increased;
- Experience Gain is drastically increased;
- Eridium/Cash is increased;
- Enemy Health/Shields/Armor is drastically increased;
- Unlocks various possible Mayhem Mods which affect both you and the enemies you encounter in different ways
Borderlands 3 True Vault Hunter Mode (TVHM)
If you've hoovered up all the little side-quests already and you're looking to start your game afresh, there's no better option than to switch to the Borderlands 3 True Vault Hunter Mode (abbreviated to TVHM).
This setting allows you to re-experience the campaign in full (all main missions and side missions) with tougher enemies, better loot, and more levels to gain. You keep your current character at their current level with all existing equipment (on your person and in your Bank), but enemies will scale up considerably to match you, with a greater chance of Badass variants spawning with each encounter. For an even fuller challenge, combine TVHM with Mayhem Mode!
Borderlands 3 Guardian Rank & Perks explained
Not all of Borderlands 3's Endgame content revolves around making the game harder, however. To counteract the extra challenge provided by Mayhem Mode and TVHM, after finishing the campaign you'll finally unlock that extra tab in your character screen: Guardian Rank.
Your Guardian Rank can be increased by redeeming Guardian Tokens which you are rewarded with after completing certain challenges. These challenges are well worth it, because increasing your Guardian Rank gives you access to a whole new tree of Guardian Perks, divided into three categories:
- Unlock the weapon skin Red Sands (10 Guardian Tokens)
- Inner Fury - Add 10% Gun Damage to all shots while in Fight For Your Life (15 Guardian Tokens)
- Overkill - Excess damage from a kill is added to your next shot (25 Guardian Tokens)
- Unlock the player skin Urban Blammo (35 Guardian Tokens)
- C-C-Combo - Increases Gun Damage by 2% for 1 second with each shot (50 Guardian Tokens)
- Hollow Point - Killing an enemy with a critical hit causes an explosion around them (75 Guardian Tokens)
- Unlock the weapon skin Leather and Regret (10 Guardian Tokens)
- Resilient - Recover from Fight For Your Life with full health and shields (15 Guardian Tokens)
- Dead Man's Hand - Allows aiming down sights and removes aim penalties while in Fight For Your Life (25 Guardian Tokens)
- Unlocks the player skin Hex Bolts (35 Guardian Tokens)
- Shield Reboot - Killing an enemy triggers shield regeneration (50 Guardian Tokens)
- Emergency Response - Improve Shield Recharge Delay and Rate based on missing health (75 Guardian Tokens)
- Unlock the weapon skin Dead Set (10 Guardian Tokens)
- Bullet Collector - Ammo pickups provide 15% extra ammo (15 Guardian Tokens)
- Tag and Frag - Regenerate a grenade every 10 kills (25 Guardian Tokens)
- Unlock the player skin Burning Bright (35 Guardian Tokens)
- Topped Off - Action Skill Cooldown Rate increases while at full shields (50 Guardian Tokens)
- Treasure Hunter - Increases Luck for 10 seconds after each kill (75 Guardian Tokens)
Borderlands 3 Proving Grounds
There are two types of extra challenges available to you after completing the Borderlands 3 campaign, and both enable you to complete them either in a LAN or Online group, or solo (though in both cases you'll probably find it easier in a group).
The first of these is the Proving Grounds, which tasks you with killing three waves of enemies followed by a boss - all as quickly as possible. The faster you defeat these enemies, and the fewer times you die trying, the higher the overall quality of the loot you gain at the end.
Borderlands 3 Circle of Slaughter
The other of Borderlands 3's post-Campaign challenges is what's known as the Circle of Slaughter. Charming name, I know. And it works in a similar manner to the Proving Grounds, providing a sort of Horde Mode where you face off against five progressively more challenging waves of enemies.
What sets Circle of Slaughter apart is not just the number of waves but also that each phase/wave also gives you optional tasks to complete to earn better rewards and loot.
Borderlands 3 Raid Bosses & Upcoming Content
Finally, there have been whispers of upcoming content arriving to flesh out the Borderlands 3 Endgame - most notably, the possibility of raids and raid bosses later on down the line. The Fall/Winter 2019 content roadmap has already been released, and while there was no mention of raids there, Borderlands 3 lead boss designer Matt Cox (no, not our Matt Cox) has said in an interview with VG247 that "we'll have special events as well as raids".
Check out the video above, too - it seems that players have discovered a hidden arena that is shaping up to become the site of the first big Borderlands 3 Raid Boss!
I think we've covered pretty much every aspect of the Borderlands 3 Endgame now, so we'll stop there. Hopefully you've found the answers you've been looking for, and are now ready and raring to dive deep into your next 30-odd hours of Borderlands 3 Mayhem!