What do you get when you combine the high-fantasy antics of your average D&D campaign with the tomfoolery of a Borderlands game? You get Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, a first-person game-within-a-game narrated by everyone’s favorite revenge child. Returning Borderlands players can jump right in, and newcomers shouldn’t have difficulty adapting to the pure chaos.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands takes all the randomly generated guns from the Borderlands series and aims them at high-fantasy enemies like skeleton pirates and demon trolls. To get the dice rolling on your adventure through the Wonderlands, here are some essential tips and tricks to get started in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.
It’s still Borderlands
As a dedicated Borderlands player, you may be asking yourself, “What is Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands?” Is it a tabletop sim? Am I actually playing a D&D campaign (or, in this case, Bunkers and Badasses?) Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is still a Borderlands game. The “story” is a spinoff of the Borderlands 2 DLC Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. The gameplay, mechanics, and aesthetics are basically a re-skin of Borderlands 3, but that’s a good thing!
However, there are a few new editions that Borderlands players can get excited about. First off, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands does away with grenades and introduces spells that work similarly. Instead of picking up ammo for grenades, your spells recharge after a cooldown. Some come with multiple charges per cooldown, making them some of the best spells in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a semi-open world where you’ll explore large play areas, yet are free to wander around, complete side quests, and find collectibles in each. Those areas are connected via the Overworld, which you’ll unlock pieces of as you progress the story.
Combat also works pretty similarly to past Borderlands games. You have an overshield (re-skinned as wards), and you can self-revive when your health is depleted, also known as Death-Save in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Enemies still come at you in waves, with one Badass enemy mixed into the fray.
The most important thing to know before jumping into Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is that there are no actual D&D mechanics. You aren’t rolling dice for attack points, perception checking for collectibles, or charisma checking to seduce the bartender. You’re running, gunning, and looting your way through a world that exists purely in Tiny Tina’s head.
Grind to Brighthoof
There comes the point in every RPG, some time after the introductory mission, where most of the game finally unlocks. In Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, that area is Brighthoof, the capital of the Wonderlands and home of Queen Butt Stallion (yes, you read that right.) The Brighthoof mission goes beyond acting as a tutorial, so we’re safely calling it the first arc of the game.
Don’t get hung up on side quests until you complete the initial Brighthoof mission. This includes meeting Paladin Mike, fending off the skeleton army, and attending your knighting ceremony. You’ll know this arc is over once you’ve unlocked your secondary class. However, the Brighthoof hub comes with a bunch of bonus mechanics.
Every gamer is guilty of spending way too much time on character creation. While it’s an essential RPG feature, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is still a first-person shooter. You rarely see your entire character outside of cutscenes. Even then, most are in first-person anyway.
Instead of getting hung up in the character creation screen, jump right into the game and grind until you unlock Brighthoof. Once you’ve unlocked the hub, you’ll be free to change your appearance in the tavern.
Upgrade your backpack SDU
You can also upgrade your carrying capacity at the Brighthoof blacksmith. To find the blacksmith:
- Look at the Butt Stallion fountain and turn left.
- Head up the path until you come across the blacksmith’s forge.
- Approach the table on the left side of the forge to buy upgrades. You’ll buy ammo capacity upgrades for each weapon and general inventory upgrades for your backpack, lost loot, and bank.
The best blacksmith upgrade is the Backpack SDU for a handful of reasons. First, you’ll often come across vending machines in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Furthermore, any vending machine is a quick fast-travel away if you’re at full capacity. You can warp back to Brighthoof at any time or just to the closest machine in your current play area. Don’t waste money on upgrading your bank or lost loot, at least not first.
Blacksmith upgrades are pretty expensive. For example, our next Backpack upgrade (level 4) costs 81,000 gold, which is a lot! Ammo is plentiful out in the Wonderlands, even during battle. Furthermore, if you upgrade your Backpack SDU, you won’t need the lost loot machine or bank since you’ll never leave anything important behind. Finally, selling junk is straightforward. Making money in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is as easy as killing level 1 skelly boys.
Stick around for some inventory management tips and tricks later on in this guide.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a looter-shooter. Normally, the No. 1 rule of looter-shooters is, “there’s a better piece of gear around every corner.” For example, in a game like Destiny, you’d be wasting resources by upgrading weapons before reaching the level cap. However, that doesn’t apply in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.
You’ll never upgrade actual weapons in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. The only upgrades you’ll ever buy are the carrying capacity upgrades at the blacksmith. Therefore, don’t hesitate to spend your gold at vending machines around the Wonderlands. You’ll notice these machines around play areas and in Brighthoof, but you’ll never see them in the Overworld. They appear as three banners on your map, as seen in the image above. Vending machines always come in groups of three and sell the following:
- The Mighty Knight: Armor and shields
- The Warsmith: Guns and melee weapons
- Mystical Magicks: Spells, rings, and necklaces
Each machine, like in Borderlands games, also offers an “item of the day” that rotates after the timer counts down.
The only thing we don’t recommend buying are new spells. You’ll have a general idea of how new guns will feel. Armor and new accessories only add passive effects, so their descriptions are good enough. However, spells can get tricky.
Just because a spell does more damage doesn’t mean it’ll work with your build or button layout. For example, you don’t need to aim self-cast spells and can assign them to the X button if you’re playing L1 bumper jumper. However, repeating cast spells need precise aiming and, therefore, won’t work as well when reassigned.
Instead, pick up new spells while exploring the Wonderlands, completing side quests, and defeating bosses. You can always equip them and test them out between encounters. However, spending 50,000 gold on a spell you ultimately don’t like can be a real kick in the Butt Stallion.
Play with friends
The best part of any D&D campaign is playing with friends. The same is true for Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. However, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands pulls more than swords, shields, and mythical beings from the depths of ancient history. You can play local splitscreen!
PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S players can enjoy four-player local splitscreen. Unfortunately, last-gen consoles only support two-player splitscreen. To play splitscreen in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, select the Add Splitscreen option from the main menu. Sign an additional controller into a different profile and either load a previous character or create a new one.
Local co-op players can also join a session in progress. To do so, player one must pause the game. Then, player two (or three or four) must press X to join the session. Here’s the best part: The game scales to each individual character. It doesn’t take the average level of all players, and it doesn’t just throw low-level players into high-level worlds (or vice versa).
For example, we joined a new level 1 character into an existing level 22 character’s game. During a random encounter in the Overworld, the level one character saw level one pirates while the level 22 character saw level 22 pirates. Therefore, don’t feel like you need to start over when playing local multiplayer to keep each character on the same playing field.
To drop out of a session, just sign out any extra controllers.
Proper inventory management
You’ll need to practice proper inventory management between upgrading your backpack SDU and warping between vending machines. For starters, pick up everything you find. Even if you’ll never use it, and it pales compared to what you already have, it’ll probably sell for a pretty gold piece.
If you notice you’re running out of inventory space, here’s a quick tip to free up a handful of slots. You’re probably sitting on many new cosmetic pieces you’re unaware of. These include banner patterns, armor patterns, and armor colors. They look like bags on the inventory screen, but picking one up doesn’t mean you’ve “unlocked it.” Instead, you have to manually use them by hovering over the cosmetic in your inventory and selecting it. Once selected, the item goes away, freeing up some inventory space.
This does not equip it to your character. Instead, it unlocks the option at the Brighthoof tavern. However, you can pick up repeats, and the game tells you when you already have that item. Since you can’t sell these, just drop them.
When you sell items, be very careful of what you mark as junk. Even if you have a junk-marked item equipped, you’ll still sell it if you batch-sell. So, before opening the vending machine, open your inventory and see if you’re holding any better pieces of gear. Go through each gear section individually, as the game filters out things that don’t apply. For example, if you select your melee weapon, you won’t see guns or rings on the other side, only melee weapons.
Once you’re satisfied with your currently equipped items, mark everything else as junk, open the vending machine, and select Sell All Junk. If you don’t have any junk marked, this option won’t appear.
Best controller settings (PlayStation)
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands lets you completely remap your controllers. So, players who like playing bumper jumper are free to do so. However, there are a few costly sacrifices associated. To remap your controller in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands:
- Press Start
- Scroll down to Options
- Tab over to Controls
- Tab over to Controller
- Select the action you’d like to reassign
- Press the button you wish to reassign that action to
For starters, assigning L1 or R1 as the jump button leaves X for spells or abilities. If you’re playing the Spore Warden class, you’ll need the bumpers to aim your Barrage ability with R1. However, suppose you prefer the Blizzard ability (the Spore Warden’s secondary action), which sends three frost cyclones out to damage nearby enemies. In that case, you can get away with tapping X without aiming at enemies. This works similarly to remapping in Overwatch, where bumper-jump works with some characters but not with others.
As mentioned before, spells work the same way. You can get away with playing bumper-jumper if you’re casting AOE spells around your character. However, if you need to aim your spells, you’ll have to keep your fingers on the joysticks. Before remapping your controller, consider your character, abilities, spells, and playstyle, and then remap accordingly.
Two controller settings you should change are your crouch and ping buttons. For smoother gameplay, set crouch to R3 and melee to circle. Doing so lets you slide and aim while on the move. There’s also no preset ping option, so you’ll have to do this manually. Classes that come with companions, like the Spore Warden and Clawbringer, can order their companions to attack specific enemies by pinging them.
Assigning a ping option sacrifices your D-pad weapon hotkeys. It may also set Triangle to toggle fire mode. Counter that by switching toggle fire to down on the D-pad for a more natural FPS control scheme. We never found ourselves using the weapon hotkeys anyway, so this wasn’t much of a sacrifice.
Collect shrine pieces
You’ll come across shrines in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands while exploring the Overworld. Each shrine has a fun name and requires you to find four missing shrine pieces to unlock it. These pieces can be found by completing dungeons in the Overworld and through general exploration. However, you need to know a few crucial mechanics about finding shrine pieces in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.
For starters, Tina will always indicate when a particular dungeon contains a shrine piece. So far, we’ve found that shrines follow the same blueprint. You can find three of four pieces in Overworld dungeons. However, the final piece is locked behind an in-game mechanic you probably haven’t unlocked yet. Don’t bash your head against a wall trying to find that fourth shrine piece. Just progress the main story, and you’ll eventually unlock new mechanics and shortcuts. Then you’ll have a eureka moment and circle back to the last shrine piece.
Shrines grant you passive world effects like +10% experience points and +10% gold gain. Tab over to your journal and use the D-pad to scroll over to World Buffs to see which are active. These can’t be turned on or off and are automatically triggered when you complete a Shrine. You can also track your progress toward each shrine, as it’ll tell you how many shrine pieces you’ve collected.
Punch away encounters
While exploring the Overworld, you’ll find random encounters when navigating the tall grass. Like random Pokémon battles, these encounters rely on RNG, so there’s no telling when they’ll pop up. If you trigger one, an NPC will spawn in the Overworld and start chasing you. As soon as they touch you, the encounter begins. Now, you’ll have to fend off a few waves of enemies in first-person before getting back to the Overworld.
Unfortunately, these encounters are more annoying than they are beneficial. You don’t get much valuable loot, and the XP gains only help during the lower levels. However, there is a way to avoid them.
To avoid random encounters in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, just punch the NPC before they touch you. You don’t have to let them get close either, as the Overworld punch has some serious phantom range. Yes, you sacrifice any gold, item, and XP gains by punching away the encounter. However, once you’re deep in the game, your time and patience are more valuable.
Complete side quests
As with any RPG, side quests are the best way to grind gold and XP in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Whenever you find a new area, either in first-person or in the Overworld, you’ll come across three or four side quests. Thankfully, the game scales as you level up. A side quest you picked up at level five scales to your current level when you finally get around to completing it. Going back and completing these quests is worth the rewards and time, as you won’t be getting low-level stuff you don’t need.
Some side quests are more mandatory than others. For example, when you enter the Unfathomable Fathoms, you’ll come across an NPC named Margravine outside the Drowned Abyss. However, you can’t access the Drowned Abyss, as it’s on the other side of a bottomless crevasse of doom. But if you complete her quest, she’ll give you a spyglass that can find invisible bridges. You’ll know when there’s an invisible bridge ahead when you see broken stone pillars. This should also be a eureka moment for completing the precious area’s shrine.