When it comes time to design the character classes from Borderlands 4, the developers can’t make the same misstep that Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands did. While the fantasy-themed Borderlands spin-off had a completely different set of classes from what the main series offers, it unintentionally ended up creating a rather repetitive pattern among its own selections. As a result, it ended up having a lesson to teach that Borderlands 4 would be wise to learn, despite the many differences between the main series and the spinoff. All it takes is a glance at Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands classes to notice the issue.
Borderlands spinoff Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is similar to the main series in some ways while also being remarkably different. Aside from the different setting and framing device, spells added a new quirk to combat and strategy for players to keep track of. In addition, rather than a set of premade characters with built-in classes, players would build their own character from scratch and assign them a class depending on their planned playstyle. Every class even had unique abilities similar to the main games. This led Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands to easily have Borderlands‘ most in-depth character creation system to date.
Borderlands 4 Shouldn’t Repeat Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands’ Overuse of Class Pets
Because there are so many varied classes in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, one could assume that they would all be vastly different. While they do each have their own unique powers, there is one common thread among many of them. The Clawbringer, Graveborn, and Spore Warden classes all feature AI-controlled pets for the player that assist them in combat. Although each pet has different effects, their role is largely similar in gameplay. Even the DLC Blightcaller class has a pet, although it’s mechanically different by being a summoned monster from an active ability rather than a constant companion like the others.
The problem with so many classes having companions is that the companions themselves feel less special. The Stabbomancer in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a pretty straightforward rogue/assassin character archetype, but it feels like one of the game’s more distinctive classes due to being one of the few without companion features. While pets are a good idea as a class feature, when over half of the classes have access to them in one way, they feel a lot less special. If anything, they make the classes feel too similar, and for a game that strives to be distinctive like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, that’s a heavy downside.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands‘ pets aren’t the only class lesson. Borderlands 4‘s take on character customization needs to make sure that its classes aren’t overlapping in a similar way. For example, things such as deployable turrets or bonus shielding skills are good traits for certain classes. However, similar skills can’t be spread across several classes, because just like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands‘ pets, they become less unique the more they appear. The Borderlands games have historically been good at making the classes feel distinctive, but Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands showed that they aren’t flawless in that regard.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is still a remarkably fun game, but better class design could have taken it to the next level. While Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands can influence Borderlands 4, the overabundance of AI companions will hopefully not be one of the ways it does so. Of course, there’s no problem with one class getting an AI companion, like Gaige’s Deathtrap in Borderlands 2. However, that was effective because it was a skill unique to her, not one shared by half of the roster. Hopefully Borderlands 4 will learn from this and ensure that every class is markedly distinct.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
MORE: Borderlands 4 Has to Avoid a Common Villain Mistake That BL3 Fell Victim To