A Blightcaller runs away from an explosion in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

Screenshot: Gearbox

For individuals who love the grind, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is Borderlands heaven. For individuals who don’t, it’s a stable shooter that lacks the sharp hooks of a true-to-form live-service recreation. I think about this dynamic will stay a lot the identical within the wake of the sport’s newest growth, which provides the sport’s first new class since launch: the Blightcaller.

Launched in March for consoles and PC, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a fantasy spin-off of Gearbox’s Borderlands collection of loot-shooters. Traditionally, Borderlands entries have put an emphasis on meaty, story-driven post-release expansions. (Wonderlands itself is technically a follow-up to a kind of: Borderlands 2’s terrific Assault on Dragon Maintain.) However for Wonderlands, Gearbox as a substitute opted to launch 4 smaller packs known as “Mirrors of Thriller,” each a type of collection of fight chambers—mild on story, heavy on looting and capturing.

The price ticket, nonetheless, remained kind of the identical.

Learn Extra: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Participant Finds A Uncommon ‘One In 85 Billion’ Merchandise 

The fourth such growth, “Shattered Spectreglass,” got here out yesterday, and is on the market piecemeal or as a part of the sport’s season move. The most fascinating facet is the rollout of the Blightcaller class, which brings the full variety of accessible courses in Wonderlands as much as seven (and the full variety of twin courses as much as a quantity I’ll, uh, want certainly one of you who is aware of math to determine).

Blightcaller is an odd class. Whereas the standard-issue Wonderlands courses—Stabbomancer is your assassin-type, Brr-Serker is for melee-focused builds, and so forth—map neatly to courses from earlier Borderlands video games, the Blightcaller has no straightforward corollary. Typically, it traffics in shelling out elemental injury. Nevertheless it additionally has a companion. And a deal with protection, quite than offense.

As an illustration, there are a few expertise that improve your injury proportional to how a lot ward (Wonderlands parlance for “defend”) you could have. Wraithmail will restore a part of your ward for each enemy you kill. That dovetails with Flawless Edge; each level you spend money on the ability will increase your injury output by 6 p.c when you have a full ward.

Its action skill, Bog Totem, summons a small tree companion who fires a barrage of tiny evil skulls that home in on and attack enemies. But here’s the real draw: Those skulls will match the elemental type of the weapon you have equipped. Combine that with the Geist in the Shell skill—which summons a similar barrage, one that deals poison damage, every time you land a critical hit—and you’re more or less a constant stream of elemental projectiles, dealing damage of up to three different elemental types at once.

A Blightcaller aims a sniper rifle at an enemy in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

Screenshot: Gearbox

Last night, I roped in Kotaku’s Zack Zwiezen for a new Wonderlands playthrough. I messed around with a new Blightcaller character, and we played up through the end of “Thy Bard, With A Vengeance” story mission, which allows you to choose a subclass. (Since Zack didn’t have access to the expansion, he wasn’t able to select Blightcaller as either a primary or secondary class.)

There’s no obvious match—like, say, the Clawbringer and Spore Warden, resulting in the uber-powerful Wildfire twin class—however I finally settled on the Spore Warden for my Blightcaller, too, because it comes with a bit mushroom monster as a companion. Now, I’m a cool AF-sounding Shroomwraith. The Blightcaller’s Lively Decay ability will increase poison injury, making the little mushroom monster extra {powerful}. I’m excited to see how else the 2 evolve over the course of this playthrough.

That’s, if I proceed taking part in.

The Blightcaller is a blast, certain. Nevertheless it doesn’t transform the sport. Look, that is my fourth Wonderlands character. Possibly it’s as a result of I’ve now sat by way of the intro 5 occasions (I misplaced one character for causes of I Have No Clue What Occurred), however re-rolling actually clarified for me the gulf between latest Borderlands video games and the unique ones: Wonderlands, and form of Borderlands 3 earlier than it, exist within the murky purgatory between a typical campaign-focused recreation and a live-service recreation.

For some time, I completely liked the endgame “Chaos Chamber” mode, what with its roguelike components and seemingly limitless legendary loot drops. Nevertheless it began to really feel like a grind for a grind’s sake, all within the countless service of creating greater numbers so you may make even greater numbers. Possibly, in the event you’re actually, actually fortunate—like win-the-lottery-multiple-times-lucky—you’ll find yourself discovering a one in 85 billion piece of substances. Wonderlands has the compulsive repetition of a live-service with out the impetus spurred by the regular content material stream you’d get with a true-to-form dwell service recreation: a rotation of cosmetics, time-limited seasonal occasions (even Borderlands 3 had some of these), new areas that don’t price $10 a pop, a social house by which to congregate with different gamers. The addition of the Blightcaller class doesn’t change this dynamic.

So the grind, no less than for me, has grown stale. That is positive! Video games are allowed to simply finish. You are completely inside your rights to get pleasure from a recreation, to have a very rattling good time, after which…transfer onto the subsequent one. For those who’re beginning Wonderlands for the primary time, certain, yeah, I’d say choosing a Blightcaller construct can be a superb name. However in the event you’ve been ready with bated breath for this new class to revitalize the sport, you’re higher off ready for Borderlands 4.

 

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