2K Games provided me with access to a preview build of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. This demo gave me a taste of what’s to come when the full game drops on March 25, 2022. In this article, I want to give you my impression of the game without spoilers. The Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands demo gave access to 1 large area that was not part of the main story campaign and 2 of the 6 playable classes.
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My First Impression of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands looks and plays great! If you are coming from Borderlands 3, you feel right at home. You can just pick it up and have a good time because this game is fun. While you recognize elements from the established Borderlands blueprint, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands feels fresh because it does things its own way. I didn’t have a Borderlands the Pre-Sequel feeling, which was kinda Borderlands 2 gunplay but with a different story.
Hunt For Loot
In Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, you have that hunt for exciting loot again. One of the things that made Borderlands 3 great is the loot as the weapons felt fresh. At first glance, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands looks to borrow its weapons from Borderlands 3, however, with all the new weapon parts there is a unique pool of weapons again. While there are magic barrels, I actually was impressed by the weapons that fired crossbow bolts.
But Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is more than just shooting with Ranged Weapons. Gearbox Software added Melee weapons and Magic Spells into the mix. I really enjoyed the magic spells so much that I spend all my Hero Points on reducing my spell cooldown so I could constantly use them. I didn’t use my melee a lot at first until I discovered you can do some cool stuff with them, which brings me to the combat.
Discovering which weapons are badass is a journey but the combat is more than just shooting with ranged weapons. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands actually creates interesting interactions between the various attacks you have at your disposal.
Melee weapons can have mods on them that enhance your combat. Striking an enemy with your sword can add AMP Damage to the next 3 shots of your ranged weapon but you could also get a Spell Cooldown boost from it. Your magic spell could then have an enchantment that increases your Action Skill Damage. This makes for very interesting combat loops as you can build around these triggers. These are some simple examples that you can do with your gear, on top of that you have a skill tree at your disposal.
Skill Trees and Hero Points
While you can create interesting combat loops with your gear. Each character class has a skill tree at its disposal. Here you can spend your skill points and create interesting ways to play. In this Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Preview Demo, I got to play the Stabbomancer and the Graveborn.
I know some of you are worried about going from 3 skill trees down to having just 1 streamlined skill tree. However, I want to counter that with 2 points. The first one is that you are able to multi-class once you are at a certain point in the game. This means that you will have access to a second skill tree once you have a foundation.
My second argument is that the Hero Points are actually an additional skill tree. Each time you level up you get a skill point and a hero point. Looking at all the stats that you can enhance you can create the character that you want. In the Borderlands games, you picked up that 1 skill because you needed more health, damage, critical hit chance, or cooldown. These skills determined your character as you went down a skill tree. With these skills being stripped from there in Tiy Tina’s Wonderlands, your main skill tree can focus on cool interactions and the general buffs can be enhanced by spending your hero points.
So when you are multi-classing you have 2 Skill Trees with cool abilities and the Hero Points act as your 3rd “Skill Tree” with your general buffs.
Initially, I thought that I would play Spellshot + Graveborn but having seen the Stabbomancer’s skill tree, I see some cool skills there that I would want to have when I’m casting spells. While not having seen all the skill trees yet, this does give me the impression that unconventional matches could also create cool multi-class heroes.
Missions and Locations
The Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Demo took place in Mount Craw. You might recognize this snowy location from the screenshot with the giant goblin head carved into the mountain. I got to play 1 major quest and 2 side-quests there. The area was enormous and it’s not even part of the main story campaign. The level design is great, it had a straight forward path to keep you on your mission but it also offered areas to explore.
I liked that even though you are in one map, it is divided into several locations with each having its own theme. So it’s not that you will be walking through the same snowy location all the time.
The missions in this area were fun there is banter going on between Tiny Tina, Valentine, and Frette during your quest which makes for an enjoyable experience. They react to what you are doing and the choices you make.
There are quests that offer multiple choices to in order to progress. Each of these choices results in different ways how a senario can play out. In this particilar quest you needed to pass a guarded gate. Do you bribe the guard, do you seduce the guard, or maybe create a distraction him by setting free his prisoner. Each of these choices resulted in different senarios, where one of them even resulted in a NPC buddy for the next section of the mission, but your choice also impacted your reward.
No Rest For The Wicked
There are some features that get me excited beyond “the game is entertaining”, I like to be challenged.
Legendary drop rates
Gearbox Software is really embracing the hunt for loot again because while it rains legendaries in Borderlands 3, it is a lot harder to get them in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. While you still have your dedicated loot sources that you can farm, you need to put some effort into getting them as you won’t see legendaries dropping after every 5 enemies. I actually, only had 1 legendary weapon drop while playing this demo. I must say, Save&Quit farming wasn’t part of this demo because you would lose all your progress upon exiting the game. So yeah, I didn’t close the game for several days so I could level up my character.
Items of the Day are insane
Vending Machines can give you very high-quality loot and they even have quest rewards as the “Item of the Day” but if you want them you have to bring a lot of gold because these aint come cheap. It’s great to see that you can easily get a higher-level quest reward without having to replay the whole game. Money seems to have a lot more value as a resource because these “Items of the Day” can really make you stripe you from your gold. So opening those smaller chests for some gold can be lucrative.
There are a lot of collectibles in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands and finding them all can be very rewarding as they can offer you stat boosts to your character. Earlier I mentioned the great level design and how there are routes that go off the main path. If you go out and explore every corner you can find hidden chest, luck dice, or marbles. It took me a few hours go through the whole map and find all the lucky dice. For some of my fellow creator it even took longer to collect them all. Exploring the map pays off.
In Borderlands 3 we have Rare Spawns. Initially, these named enemies occasionally appeared if you went through their area. After community feedback these Rare Spawns were adjusted so they would always appear. This made farming a breeze but very repetetive. In Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, I noticed these hidden spawns. These named enemies only spawned once you cleared out the whole area. I like that you have to work your way up to the encounter rather than jump in target that one enemy save&quit to repeat. I believe this challenge will make the loot more rewarding once you obtained its unique reward.
This Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Preview Build is great and I had a lot of fun playing it. It looks great and the characters and missions are entertaining. I enjoyed building out my character and discovering which items I needed to combine for my ultimate build. I like that some things are more “old skool” and you have to put in some effort to get “the thing”. I know there is a balance there but with Borderlands 3 I think Gearbox Software went a bit to far to right and with Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands they are dialing that back towards the left, letting legendaries feel legendary again. I can’t wait until I get my hands on the full game!