Borderlands 3's quality-of-life features are its crowning glory

(Image credit: Gearbox Software)

There’s a bunch of wonderful details about Borderlands 3 that've come out, that make it seem like the threequel we’ve been waiting for.

Whether it’s the new Vault Hunters, influx of madcap weapons or easier matchmaking, Borderlands 3 offers plenty of new features which make it bigger and better than its predecessor.

But I’m not here to talk about any of those additions, as exciting as they are. Instead I want to talk about Borderlands 3’s true crowning glory: its quality-of-life features.

Ping system

(Image credit: Gearbox Software)

The first quality-of-life feature I want to commend is the new ping system. Ping systems have started to become more and more common in FPS titles since Respawn Entertainment implemented the mechanic in battle royale Apex Legends.  

While it’s a pretty straightforward mechanic, and seems simple enough in theory, ping systems have essentially changed how we play online multiplayer.

Instead of being forced to speak with a teammate through your microphone in order to communicate, you can now easily ‘ping’ certain items. Maybe that means pinging a crate of loot or an approaching enemy, either way it lessens the need to vocally communicate with bothersome teammates online.

But what does that mean for Borderlands 3? Having played previous Borderlands games without the ping system, and playing Borderlands 3 with it implemented, there’s no denying that things are easier with its addition.

The Borderlands series relies heavily on its co-operative mode. However, what about those of us who don't enjoying speaking to others but still want to be part of a squad or team? Maybe just for the achievement. That's where the ping system comes in handy, letting you ping a bandit here and a psycho there. It feels like a feature that should have been there all along.

Mantle and slide

(Image credit: Gearbox Software)

The next small but effective features that have been added to Borderlands 3 are mantling and sliding (once again, a la Apex Legends). These features allow players to slide along the ground or climb up objects.

Let's talk about sliding first. While it may seem insignificant, sliding is extremely helpful in dodging enemy attacks and general traversing the environment. It's like a much more enjoyable version of dodging or getting downhill fast, which allows for stealth when required. 

Next is mantling which, in the case of Borderlands 3, lets you climb up certain objects such as cargo containers or scaffolding. Not everything is climbable and usually the ones which are have been highlighted with whitish tears on the lip of them. 

Both these features make Borderland's 3's combat and environment more dynamic than ever, allowing you to get high and low in battle instead of simply looting and shooting. For example, if you're a good shot with a sniper rifle, mantling up a cargo container opens up a lot more options for vantage points or you can drive a psycho wild by sliding all over the joint during a gunfight. It's the little things.

Ammo refills

(Image credit: Gearbox Software)

Finally, the last quality-of-life feature I would like to applaud is the new auto refill button for ammo. It's yet another mechanic that I didn't notice I needed as a player, until Gearbox added it. 

In previous Borderlands games, when you go to a vending machine you need to go into the menu and find the ammo you want and purchase it. But how inconvenient that is in 2019. Now, at simply the touch of a button, you can auto refill your ammo without ever entering the menu. Genius! No more wasting time scrolling through the machines. 

In addition, alongside the button to refill ammo, when you're near a vending machine you will be able to automatically see the 'item of the day' and purchase it (if you so wish) once again at the touch of a button.

While you may not appreciate these little additions as much as I do, it's worth noting that among Borderlands 3's big new changes are some quality, smaller details which truly go the distance in making it a fantastic sequel.

Borderlands 3 will release on September 13, 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.