The new Borderlands 3 hotfix update is out, and it buffs Zane the Operative by quite a significant amount, perhaps salvaging that character's end-game performance after he was thoroughly underperforming when compared to other more popular Vault Hunters like FL4K. Borderlands 3 is a title that's end-game grind often boils down to simple number-crunching, though the visual aesthetic is much more flashy - groups didn't really need a Zane for anything, resulting in a decline in that character's popularity in the face of other, more efficient builds from others.
As Borderlands 3 is essentially a title meant to be broken by its players - Borderlands 3 loot cave equivalents excepted, apparently - it makes perfect sense that players would migrate to the characters who do this the best. However, many weapons have been lagging behind in terms of performance in the end-game, homogenizing character builds so much that developer Gearbox Software decided to hotfix the issue with an update this week. The decision comes after much has been made about the addictive qualities of Borderlands 3's sublime loot and shoot experience, one that is perhaps somewhat tarnished by extracurricular behaviors from its developer or the humor, which many reviewers found to be a lackluster addition to an otherwise pleasant enough experience. Preserving the gameplay, then, which remains the major selling point of the series, makes perfect sense.
It wasn't completely clear how Gearbox would do that before the developer released the full patch notes for its hotfix update released today, which will see Zane buffed quite a bit. Zane's Digi-Clone and SNTNL Drone action skills will both receive massive damage boosts, addressing the major complaint for the character in the end-game: by the time the real bullet sponge enemies arrive and other characters hit their maximum damage output, Zane's signature action skills are dramatically outclassed. Now, Zane should be able to theoretically keep up with other damage dealers.
The hotfix also addressed FL4K's critical damage, something that was previously a little too good. FL4K's Guerrillas in the Mist skill will now be reduced to a 25% crit damage boost over 6 seconds, a reduction in duration and damage output. It should keep the critical damage builds alive, though it's possible the nerf will be too much and instead of being the de facto best option in the game, FL4K will suddenly fall behind the pack. The update will also dramatically up the performance for some of the weapons manufacturers that were being almost completely ignored by the Borderlands 3 end-game.
The major takeaway from this, however, is that Zane could be a realistically viable end-game character, one that could keep up with the best in the game. That's obviously going to require a lot of theorycrafting, weapons optimization, and more - but at the very least, the character has potential again. With the Borderlands 3 Halloween event coming soon, finding a decent balance between all four characters beforehand would be a major boon for Gearbox.
Source: Borderlands 3 Official Website