The first Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands DLC Coiled Captors isn’t received very well by the community. Fellow content creators have spoken up publicly about this but also shared their concerns directly to Gearbox Software and 2K Games.
In my review, I also mentioned that Coiled Captors isn’t Gearbox Software’s best DLC. I’m sure the developers did their best at creating a new experience but the overall package missed value for its price point. Because if you compare it to other DLCs or “Free” Borderlands 3 content drops, there wasn’t a lot in Coiled Captors.
This isn’t a “You should have done this and things would be fine” type of thing.
Yes, I would have loved a story-driven DLC that Gearbox Software used to do for the Borderlands franchise.
However, working within the concept of the current DLC, I think there are some things that Gearbox Software could layer on top of it to enrich the experience.
Table of contents
Coiled Captors plays like a featured Chaos Chamber run but with a different theme. You know what you are going to get when you jump into this mirror of mystery. Always the same 5 areas and enemies. The only thing that changes is the side objective and the location of the soul chests.
By adding more playable areas, you can mix up the content and make it more replayable as the runs won’t feel the same.
You do see that currently, each area does have a different feel to it. this is something you can see in Gearbox Software’s level design. Even with the large playable areas in the main game, you see various environments that way you won’t suffer from location fatigue. Look at Mount Craw: You start at a cliffside, make your way through a cave, traverse a snowy landscape, visit a town, and find yourself in a volcano.
Breaking the structure of the DLC by adding more rooms combats the fatigue of doing the same thing over and over again. This is something that the Chaos Chamber does offer.
More Side Objectives
The only 2 side objectives that I encounter are; to shoot the barrels and find 2 chests. Just having these 2 side objectives also becomes old very fast. I don’t bother with shooting the barrels and the soul chests are already a thing I would always do. Having some more stuff to do would mix up the content.
Also, the incentive of getting a crystal die upon completing the side objective isn’t appealing as the gear you get from it isn’t all that great. I think that adding souls to the crystal die would add value as that’s a good way for folks to get the new gear.
Different Types of Rooms
The exciting thing in a regular Chaos Chamber run is the Oblisk Room. Folks have been asking about an Oblisk-only run. I think this is in high demand, is because those rooms do something different. Oblisk Rooms offer an intense encounter in a focused area and top it off with a mini-boss.
Other encounters in the Chaos Chamber are more scattered. I wonder if environment fatigue is at play or the lack of diversity. Because in the regular dungeons, you basically do the same thing over and over but the setting layout changes a bit. What if you had different types of rooms that changed things up.
Maybe create various puzzle and platform rooms that are more engaging rather than go here and turn these valves. Falling from a platform or pressing the wrong button spawns a wave of enemies.
You could take inspiration from the Guardian Takedown in Borderlands 3. While that Takedown wasn’t the most beloved it did have interesting mechanics that could be sprinkled into a dungeon.
The “defeat enemies from within the sacred circle” side objective can be challenging but the way it’s presented isn’t interesting and you are waiting for mobs to find you. If this challenge had dedicated rooms that offer an engaging experience, I think it would be better received.
Talking about the ‘find 2 souls chests’ side objective, I think they aren’t hidden very well. The only real hidden chest is the one in the first area where you need to pull the skull lever. I kinda hoped to see more things like this throughout the DLC. It gives me a reason to explore the map and makes me feel smart for finding it. Also, please add badass enemies to the secret rooms so I feel badass for beating them and proudly claim my prize.
Secrets always spread through the community; “Have you seen” or “Did you find”. This creates conversations and excitement within the community but also gives creators reasons to make guides.
Cult of the Dragon Lord-like Symbols
One of the cool things in the Chaos Chamber was the hidden Cult of the Dragon Lord symbols. Well finding the symbols were initially fun but the reward wasn’t what I had hoped for. Having these hard-to-find hidden symbols is a good challenge for the dedicated player. I believe that with these DLCs you kinda cater to that audience.
I think it’s relatively simple to add this but there has to be a good reward. Getting a bunch of souls would be helpful as early on folks will want the new loot and completing a quest that rewards you with a ton would be an initial push.
I think you can also lock an exclusive cosmetic behind as a quest reward. Then folks can show off that they are badass. While I’m personally not someone who is a cosmetic hoarder, there are folks that just need to have everything.
Previously, I wasn’t a fan of legendary quest rewards as this meant you could only get it once, however, quest rewards now show up in the vending machine but looking at how loot is unlocked with each playthrough in the DLC. I think you could also reward a legendary item and then unlock it in the boss’ loot pool or Vesper’s Wheel of Fortune.
Since Coiled Captors borrows a great deal from the Chaos Chambers. Why not also give the ability to make rooms elite. You already have to travel through portals to enter the next area so that interaction could be implemented there.
You have your “Lazydatas of the world” that seek out a challenge. With Borderlands 3 you also were able to do True Takedowns and True Trials. Having stronger enemies and a stronger boss gives those type of players a challenge and test their builds.
“Just add a Raid Boss that will fix everything”, right?
While raid bosses were highly requested in the Borderlands 3 days, this isn’t simply done nor is it the definitive answer to the issues with the DLC. That said, I did enjoy the addition of the hidden raid bosses in the Chaos Chamber. They are cleverly implemented as a core mechanic of the fight is taught as a puzzle to access the boss encounter.
Adding a raid boss serves that appetite that veteran players have which I mentioned above by making rooms elite. However, the addition of a raid boss challenges you in different ways. It’s not just about adding more health to a boss but having a boss that has challenging mechanics.
Since Coiled Captors isn’t a full story-driven DLC as we had with the Borderlands franchise. I found that there wasn’t much of a story in this DLC. I had hoped that the story had some more progress on consecutive playthroughs like they did with the Battleborn DLCs.
You could replay a Battleborn DLC 10 times and get a different story each time. Some were more focused on delivering a story for that playthrough others told a bigger story over the course of those 10 play sessions.
Since Coiled Captors has 4 runs to select from, Gearbox Software could tell a different story each time. Tailor the areas to the individual stories and deliver a bigger story arc.
A crazy idea that probably requires a lot of work is to create multiple routes if they want to keep somewhat of a structure instead of adding random dungeons. You know that at the end of a Chaos Chamber dungeon, you always have 2 portals to choose from.
What if those portals actually influenced the next area or the story. Go left to help … or go right to prevent …, then your choices could influence the way things play out.
Not just the narrative but also the way the boss fight works. Because you flooded the arena with water the lava has molted and you have to worry less about where you walk. Maybe influence the boss’ elemental weakness. This could play out like the curses you encounter in the Chaos Chamber.