Borderlands 3 adds an item score for each gun, shield, grenade, and class mod. This score gives you a rough idea of how powerful an item is, though there are some caveats to it. Below we’ll give you the scoop on what item scores mean in Borderlands 3, when they matter, and when they don’t.
What do item scores mean in Borderlands 3?
Item scores in BL3 are similar to power level in Destiny 2. The higher the number, the more useful/powerful the item is. It’s an excellent way to gauge whether it’s worth changing to a new piece of gear or if you should just sell or drop it.
However, unlike in Destiny 2, gear score in Borderlands 3 isn’t quite as clear cut. Because each item can have additional effects in addition to its base stats, you may find that you’re better off sticking with gear with a lower item score. For weapons, you’ll also need to take into account their types. I’ve noticed sniper rifles tend to score higher than other weapon types, probably due to their high single-shot power. So, if you only pay attention to item score, you’d eventually just end up with 2-4 sniper rifles equipped, which just isn’t an ideal loadout.
Especially once you get towards the endgame content, the item score becomes less and less useful. You’ll have a firm idea of what kind of loadout you want, and what added effects you want for your gear. At that point, you’ll likely want to start directly comparing individual stats for the best results. At the beginning of the game, when you’re getting a ton of very similar gear, the item score can be immensely useful on figuring out which equipment to go with.
So, essentially, the item score in Borderlands 3 is a useful way to gauge a gear’s strength quickly. However, you shouldn’t feel like you have to use the equipment with the highest gear score exclusively.