The Good, the Bad, And the Annoying of Borderlands 3’s “Revenge of the Cartels” Event

By Ari Notis on at

It’s been less than a month since Borderlands 3’s latest big expansion landed with a bang, but vault hunters already have access to another brand-new playground in which they can fire 87 bazillion guns. It’s called Villa Ultraviolet. It’s drenched in neon and gaudy gold. And yes, it’s totally awesome. The only catch? It’s kind of a pain to get to it.

Yesterday’s big Borderlands 3 update introduced several changes to Gearbox’s loot shooter. For starters, the Mayhem mechanic – a series of modifiers that ramp up the difficulty but result in better loot drops – has been completely overhauled. Before the change, Mayhem only went up to level four. Now, it goes all the way to ten, with each level more intense than the last. And best of all, you needn’t go all the way back to base to change the level. You can switch things up on the fly from your ECHO menu, though doing so will reload the zone you’re in.

The major addition is a seasonal event called “Revenge of the Cartels.” Like previous Borderlands 3 events, it gives players plenty of things to shoot and loot. Unlike previous events, the new area, Villa Ultraviolet, is truly new, rather than a Halloween-themed remix of an already existing area.

Borderlands is at its best when it’s simple: Go here. Shoot everything in your path. Pick up all the shiny stuff you can carry. Villa Ultraviolet is as simple as it gets. It’s basically a straight hallway. Start to finish, it’s about the length of one of the Proving Grounds. Better yet, there’s no shortage of enemy types. Every time you visit the Villa, you’ll come across a different enemy faction (for some arcane plot reason).

For those curious about loot – in other words, all Borderlands fans – rest assured that Villa Ultraviolet sure doesn’t disappoint. Even on lower Mayhem levels, every defeated enemy results in a taste-the-rainbow eruption of green, blue, purple, and gold. It’s glorious.

How do you get to Villa Ultraviolet?

Even though Villa Ultraviolet is essentially another Proving Ground, it won’t show up automatically on your fast travel map. First, you’ll need to head to the top floor of Sanctuary III. Talk to Maurice, the velociraptor-thing who looks like he took a soak in a New Vegas hot tub. He’ll talk about racking up gambling debts and eating people (oh, that Borderlands humour), and then give you the quest “Revenge of the Cartels.”

The first part of the quest is as straightforward as it is tedious: Collect 30 GPS trackers from cartel members “around the galaxy” so you can track down their hideout. Maurice will give you a waypoint – for me, it was in Ascension Bluff on Pandora – where you can find some cartel members, but even clearing out that location won’t get you to 30. You’re then urged to traverse the game, playing as you’d usually play, praying to the monotony gods that you’ll run into some cartel members.

Let me save you some time: You don’t need to leave the initial area at all. Just walk to another section of the map where bandits hang out and cartel members will join the fray soon enough. Some enemies will drop two GPS locators. Some will drop five. It shouldn’t take long for you to hit 30. (Bonus: This saves you from sitting through Borderlands 3’s excruciating load times.)

Once you get what you need, go back to Maurice, who will then open up a portal to Villa Ultraviolet. Go there. Shoot everything that moves. Make short work of the boss, a mohawked man named Joey Ultraviolet, and enjoy the Smaug’s pile of gold guns that drops.

At this point, you might think that you can just head to Villa Ultraviolet and rerun the course whenever you want. Think again.

Really? I can’t just fast travel there?

Well, you can – but you can’t do anything when you get there. The Villa will be gated off, and you’ll need a passcode to get in.

Maurice will give you a second sidequest, “Revenge of the Cartels II: The Revengening,” which is pretty much the same exact quest as the first one he gave you. Except this time, you don’t need to collect GPS trackers. You need to round up a bunch of things called… actually, I don’t know. I blacked out for a second due to overwhelming ennui, so let’s just call them “whatsits.”

Even worse, Maurice won’t give you a waypoint to start at. You really do have to just randomly play until you get 30 whatsits. Yes, it’s as much of a slog as it sounds – but there are a few hacks to make it slightly less of a slog.

First, turn Mayhem down to two or even one – or turn it off entirely – so enemies go down quicker. Also, instead of walking around aimlessly, pick a Proving Ground to head to. Cartel members will spawn there in addition to the regular waves of enemies. I found luck with both Cunning (the one on Ghostlight Beacon) and Discipline (that’s at Precipice Anchor). With both, I was able to get 30 whatsits in the first room or two. Once you hit 30, it’s only a matter of fast travelling to Joey’s Planet. The gates should open up for you when you get there.

As yet, there does not appear to be a way to circumvent the cycle entirely. “Revenge of the Cartels” runs until 4 June.