A decade ago, Gearbox famously marketed its new loot-shooter Borderlands 2 with an eye-catching phrase: “87 bazillion guns.” It was a joke, obviously. But the latest entry in the series, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, has recently surfaced a similarly eye-catching number. This week, one player stumbled upon a piece of gear that, they say, has a one in 85 billion chance of dropping.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, released in March for consoles and PC, maintains the series’ penchant for raunchy humor and randomized weapon drops. Beyond its fantasy-inspired respray, Wonderlands introduces some changes to standard Borderlands, including some behind-the-scenes tweaks to the rate at which loot drops; legendary weapons, the highest tier, are more rare than in 2019’s Borderlands 3, for instance.
This story was originally published on July 19, 2022.
Beyond legendary drops, Wonderlands has the possibility to spawn gear enhanced with permanent extra modifiers. If you play on Chaos mode—a challenge setting that applies a number of difficulty modifiers to the game—you stand a chance of finding Chaotic gear, which has higher damage than standard gear. Then there’s Ascended gear, widely considered the best tier in the game since it spawns with higher-than-normal passive stats. The Borderlands streamer Moxsy stumbled upon what players believe is likely the rarest item in the game: an Amalgam class mod that’s both Ascended and has perfect stat rolls.
Gearbox / Moxsy
The Amalgam class mod is such a coveted item because it comes with five randomized bonus stats, compared to the three you usually get with most class mods (even high-level ones). The version Moxsy found is, in Borderlands fashion, a mouthful of RNG modifiers: Ascended Warlock’s Amalgam of Glorious Purpose. It also happened to roll with “perfect” stats for each one of the five slots.
His reaction in the moment just about sums it up: “Woooooaaahhhhh. Wooooooooooaaaaaaaahhhhh!”
Seriously, check out these stats: a 29.7% bonus to all damage, plus a 49.% bonus to spell damage on top of that, and another 27.7% bonus to area-of-effect damage on top of that, alongside a 59.3% chance of landing a critical hit with spells or abilities. It also happened to roll extra damage for Moxsy’s primary class (Spellshot, 52.6% boost) and secondary one too (Graveborn, 26.3% boost).
“I got super lucky that mine rolled with all damage stats,” Moxsy told Kotaku. “They can roll defensive ones and utility stats as well.”
That Moxsy came across such a rare find is of the shot-in-the-dark luck reserved for winners of the lottery. Over on the official Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Discord, players comb through the code and other game data to assess and trade key learnings on everyone’s shared eternal quest for fine-tuned min-maxing. Passive stats for Wonderlands gear appear in so-called “clusters,” which determine groupings of stats that can’t appear together on the same piece of gear. For instance, according to community research, if you get a move speed perk on a shield, that shield can’t give your companions a boost to their chances of landing a critical hit; those stats exist in the same cluster.
Gearbox / ConstantCanadian
Yes, my head hurts too. Thankfully, both Moxsy and ConstantCanadian broke the math down for me:
There are six classes in Wonderlands. High-level class mods typically bestow bonuses to both your primary and your secondary class. Since there are six classes in Wonderlands, the Amalgam stood a 1/6 chance of dropping as a Spellshot in the primary, and a further 1/5 chance to roll as a Graveborn in the secondary. That’s 1/30.
The chance to have three skills with all five points spread evenly works out to 1/243.
Remember those clusters? Getting perfect stats across five categories breaks down as follows: 1/19, 1/14, 1/11, 1/8, and 1/5—or, all together, 1/117,040.
Ascended gear has a 1 percent, or 1/100, chance of dropping.
Multiply all these numbers times 100 (“for percentage,” Moxsy said) and you end up with 0.00000000117%, which comes out to 1/85,233,160,000.
“Moxsy’s Amalgam is the rarest item in Wonderlands, but so is any other Amalgam, technically,” ConstantCanadian told Kotaku. “Think of it as: There are 85 billion different possible variations of Amalgams, and Moxsy just so happened to get this one.”
So the infinitesimally small drop rate doesn’t refer to the item itself but rather to the happenstance that a flawless version of it spawned for Moxsy’s character. He noted, however, that this formula doesn’t technically account for some extremely in-the-weeds variables, like the RNG weight applied to class-weighted skills. As a result, Moxsy estimates the drop rate for this Ascended Warlock’s Amalgam of Glorious Purpose could really be closer to, like, one in 26 billion, but that’s a whole other can of beans.
“At the end of the day, the exact chances are very difficult to precisely calculate,” he acknowledged. “But the consensus is it’s at least one in a billion for a specific Ascended Amalgam class mod.”
When reached for comment, representatives for Gearbox were not able to provide any specific data.
In terms of pure numbers, anything with three commas is no doubt impressive, but it undeniably marks a seachange for Borderlands. The series has always teased players with a kernel of hope—the notion that, by playing enough, or by repeatedly fighting the same specific boss, you could eventually stumble upon the equipment of your dreams. (Moxsy said the toughest items to find in Borderlands 2, for instance, are a “cakewalk to get in comparison to some of these uber rare finds in Wonderlands.”)
“Borderlands is all about chasing that piece of rare loot, and getting it is extremely exciting,” Moxsy said. “This is obviously too rare.”
Whether we’re talking one in 26 billion or one in 85 billion doesn’t matter; at that point, we’re squarely in the realm of Number Big. There’s no way to intentionally hunt for a piece of gear with those drop rates. It’s pure luck. Short of inventing immortality and playing Wonderlands for the rest of forever, there’s no way to guarantee you can get a piece of gear with these odds. Plus, while the stats are of course terrific, you’re not getting that much of an edge in combat.
“Is it worth the grind?” ConstantCanadian said. “Absolutely not!”