The Action Skill and the Skill Trees are character-defining elements in Borderlands 3. While they look similar at first glance to previous installments in the franchise, Gearbox Software actually implemented several upgrades to them that are game-changers.
How do the Borderlands 3 skill trees work?
You have 4 new Vault Hunters in Borderlands 3. There is Amara the Siren, Moze the Gunner, FL4K the Beastmaster, and Zane the Operative. You will unlock their action skill at level 2 this is also the moment you can dive into your skill tree.
Since each of these playable characters has their own skills and abilities their skill trees work a bit differently for each other. Therefore, Gearbox Software needed to design unique skill trees for each hero.
A Vault Hunter’s skill tree contains 3 columns. On top of each tree, there sits one action skill. Before you can dive into one of these branches you need to equip at least one action skill depending on your character.
Once you reach level 3 you can choose one of the tier 1 passive skills. You can pick any skill from any skill tree, you don’t have to pick the skills from your action skill. That said, down each skill tree you will find skills that work well with the action skill that sits on top of that skill tree.
If you look at the sides of each tree you will see augments. These are game changers as they will augment the way your action skill works. Each Vault Hunter has a different approach to how they handle augments. Check out the descriptions of each of the playable characters below.
Another noteworthy thing to mention is that the Skill Trees in Borderlands 3 don’t force you to go all the way down one Tree in order to be effective. Compared to previous installments in the franchise, it’s more rewarding than ever to branch out into various skill trees. You don’t have to worry about not being able to get to the capstone skill at the end of the skill tree. The crazy game-changers that augment your action skill have “all” been placed to the sides of the skill trees. But Borderlands 3 now has class mods that let you spec into those capstone skills.
Vault Hunter Skill Trees
Above you could read up on how the skill trees generally work, however, now let’s dive into the subtle nuances of character.
Amara “the Siren”
Amara has 3 different abilities as her action skill. She can Phasecast, Phaseslam, and Phasegrasp. She can select only 1 of these abilities, however, she has augments in her skill tree that let her modify every action skill. To regulate this so things don’t get overpowered Gearbox added various shapes of augment slots. Amara can only select 1 augment of each augment type. There are 3 differently shaped slots you need to fill up. One for the Action Skill, One for the Augmentation, and one for the elemental damage.
Moze “the Gunner”
Moze has 1 action skill and that is Iron Bear, however, she has many ways to customize her mech. Iron Bear has 2 hard points and on those, you can equip various weapons. On the top of each skill tree, you can find a weapon but if you go further down the skill trees you can pick up new weapons to equip. While Moze has a wide range of weapons to choose from she is however limited in how she can augment each weapon. There is only 1 slot per weapon that you can fill up with an augment.
Update: Iron Cub from The Designer’s Cut will fill up 1 hard point, the other slot will be used to dual wield a weapon.
Zane “the Operative”
Zane is the only Vault Hunter that can select 2 action skills at the expense of his grenades. This not only makes him a very versatile character but he might also be the min/max hero of the game. Zane can also equip 2 augments per action skill, granting him even more gadgets to work with.
FL4K “the Beastmaster”
FL4K has the ability to select 1 action skill and 1 pet. On top of each skill tree, you will find 1 of each and you can mix and match them up. You can equip 2 augments for your action skill. The Augments down each skill tree only work with the action skill from that specific skill tree. There are also augments that will replace your pet with a beefier version of that pet.