Borderlands 3 Beginner’s Tips: Abilities, Shift Codes, Fast Travel & More

How to start your vault hunting career off on the right foot.

Jumping into Borderlands 3 can be a daunting task. There’s a whole host of new content, skills, characters, and abilities to get accustomed to and some of the key gameplay mechanics have changed, as you can even travel to different planets now.

To help you get to grips with all the fresh features, we’ve created a Borderlands 3 beginner’s guide. It should give you all the info you need before starting a new game so that you can get straight to the action.


Pick Your Character Carefully

Borderlands 3 review

As with all Borderlands games, the latest entry introduces four new vault hunters for you to play as. Each is unique and has their own set of skills, which makes them more suited to certain playstyles than others. Therefore, choosing which character to play as is an important step, especially if you are going to be spending most of your time with Borderlands 3 by yourself rather than in co-op multiplayer.

Amara is the customary Siren vault hunter and her specialty lies in getting up close and personal with her enemies. This means that you will have to be comfortable getting right into the action as her powers become stronger the closer you are to enemies. She is good to use to weaken lots of opponents at once with her area-of-effect phase skills, so is probably best suited to a co-op role.

On the other hand, Zane is more of a guerrilla fighter. He can be played effectively as a solo vault hunter using his Digi-Clone ability to distract enemies while he quickly causes damage and then escapes. However, he also can play a good support role with deployable cover and a drone that will move around the environment to attack any bad guys it comes across.

FL4K is a robot character and is probably the best one to play as if you are planning on running through the game by yourself. This is because he specialises in ranged combat, with passive abilities that boost your chance to score a critical hit with sniper rifles. The character can also summon three different pets that will get in close to enemies, allowing you to keep your distance as your animal friends keep your opponents occupied.

Moze is the last of the new characters and is focused on doing as much damage as possible. Her skill sees her jump into a powerful mech called Iron Bear, which can then use a railgun, minigun, or a flamethrower to attack enemies with a huge amount of force. This vault hunter is probably best suited for co-op where she can work as a tank to soak up damage and dish it back out, allowing the other classes to do their own thing.


It Takes Some Time To Unlock Your Abilities

Borderlands 3 review

It is entirely possible that you may find your character in Borderlands 3 lacking some of the abilities that you had in previous games. For example, you only start off being able to hold two guns at a time and cannot use Eridium or even collect it when the game begins. Don’t worry that you have missed something important or that your save is bugged. These extra abilities will slowly unlock as you progress through the main campaign. Unfortunately, it can take several hours of gameplay to get all four weapon slots but keep plugging away and you will eventually get access to them and other powers.


Fast Travel Has Changed

It is now possible to fast travel to any station by simply pulling up your map. You still need to find and activate these stations by walking next to them, but you no longer have to use them to get to different locations, so that they now act more like spawn points. Even more important to remember is that your vehicle can also act as a portable fast travel point. By selecting the vehicle on the map you can teleport to it whenever you want, making it especially useful if you have to quickly move between parts of an environment.


Get Yourself Some Shift Codes

In Borderlands 2, you could use Shift Codes to unlock golden keys. These would open a special gold chest in Sanctuary that would give out rare weapons of the same level as your character. They are an excellent way to get guaranteed loot that you know will be reasonably good and at least as powerful as you are. Borderlands 3 uses exactly the same system. Once you redeem the code, a special message will be sent to your mailbox in-game, allowing you to get access to your keys. Shift Codes can be found in a variety of places online but some places list all of the active codes that are working, such as this Twitter account.


Make Sure You Keep Levelling Up

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Levelling up is perhaps the most important aspect of Borderlands 3. One of the easiest ways to boost your level and ensure that you are not underpowered when battling the bosses in the main story is to do as many side quests as you can. You don’t have to do them all, however, the more you can do the better it will be for your character. Just keep an eye on where each side mission takes place so you can complete multiple at the same time to get rid of the need to backtrack too much. It is also worth jumping into co-op and helping out others as you will gain extra XP for doing this and also get access to higher level enemies and loot.


Some Guns Have Alternate Fire Modes

Borderlands 3 review

One of the new features in Borderlands 3 is that guns can now have alternate fire modes. This can manifest itself in special abilities or by changing the type of damage that a weapon does. An SMG might be able to swap between fire and shock damage, for instance, allowing you to change to whatever is most appropriate for the enemies you are facing. You can find out if a gun has an alternate mode by reading its description in your inventory or by tapping the D-Pad. It is always worth checking as a great gun can become an excellent one if it has a useful alternative mode.


Play In Resolution Mode

Borderlands 3 review

Borderlands 3 comes with several options to allow you to change up the graphical settings. As we have noted in our review of the game, it does also have some problems with performance, especially with the framerate dropping. A report by Digital Foundry suggests that putting the game into resolution mode can help. This should stop the frames from stuttering as it keeps the framerate at a steady 30 fps while concentrating the horsepower on producing a higher resolution so that the visuals look that bit better.


Take Care Of Your Ammo

Borderlands 3 review

Reloading your guns, especially in the earlier parts of the game when you are limited in the amount of cash you have, can be difficult. There’s only a finite amount of ammo and enemies rarely drop much. Instead, you will have to scavenge as much as you can by opening every single chest and container that you come across. This will also give you lots of items that you can then sell to buy more ammo. Also, make sure that you equip different types of guns in your weapon slots so that they are not using the same ammo to ensure you have as much firepower available to use at all times.The Marcus Munitions vending machines now have the option to let you refill all your ammo at the press of a button, making the process less of a chore.


Use The Environment To Your Advantage

Another improvement in Borderlands 3 is that the environment is now more interactive than ever before. Although it is not destructible in the same way as a game like Battlefield, it is still possible to destroy barriers and some other items you will come across. This makes hiding from enemy fire to recover your shields far more difficult but also means that you can completely overwhelm weaker enemies trying to keep away from you. Explosive barrels can also be thrown large distances, giving you the chance to use them to do corrosive, shock, or slag damage to enemies that are far away.


Increase Your Inventory Size And Recover Lost Loot

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Space is limited in Borderlands 3, both for the items you can loot and the amount of ammo you can carry. However, thanks to Storage Deck Upgrades, it is possible to expand on these so you have a bit more space in your backpack. Once you get aboard the Sanctuary III a few hours into the story, you will get access to the SDUs from Marcus, although they do begin to get very expensive as you upgrade them.

Your spaceship also has another vending machine that can prove very useful. The Lost Loot Vending Machine will randomly save some of the rare weapons you might have thrown away or missed, prioritizing the very best items that you thought were gone forever. There is even an SDU upgrade for this as well so you can recover even more items.

From our Borderlands 3 review:

“Borderlands 3 brings all the fun and enthusiasm that the series is famed for while also introducing tighter gunplay and new locations to explore. Disappointingly, it fails to address some issues that have plagued earlier games and there’s very little in the way of innovative, refreshing gameplay.”

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