Gearbox really is spoiling us. The free Borderlands 2 DLC, Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary, has just been announced for real. Having played it myself, let me tell you that it is a fairly hefty beast of extra content for Borderlands 2, especially considering you can get it for zero money. Return to the world of Pandora and you'll find that a former Dahl commander named Hector has invaded Sanctuary with his twisting vines and rampant plant life in an attempt to claim Pandora as a "paradise" for his soldiers, so it's down to you to shoot down his Pandora army and the plant-infected bandits at his beck and call, and reclaim Sanctuary.
But there's much more to the DLC than that. Here are all the ways Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary prepares us for Borderlands 3, but obviously spoilers for the DLC follow, although I've stayed away from main story details (apart from the last two points). So don't read any further if you haven't played it. That's your final warning, alright? Scroll below the picture of Flak if you're ok with spoilers.
1. Mordecai and Brick are Tiny Tina's dads
In the Borderlands teaser trailer we got months ago, a brief part of it showed Tiny Tina high-fiving Brick and Mordecai, plus in the full Borderlands 3 trailer the trio were shown happily jivin' together. Now we know that it's because they're family, as in the DLC it's revealed that Mordecai and Brick have become Tiny Tina's dads. Aww. Her parents were murdered by Handsome Jack's experiments, so it just makes my heart swell to hear that she's been taken under the Vault Hunters' wings.
That's not all there is to Tina, though. Like in the Bunkers and Badasses DLC, we get shown what she's like when she's not hyped up and being her usual peppy self. For a moment Tina lets her guard down and reveals how anxious she is; how incapable she is of slowing down because of the stuff that comes into her brain when she stops moving. This insight into her inner turmoil could be a sign that Borderlands 3 is going to delve more into what makes our favourite NPCs tick, and I am 100% here for it.
2. Lilith grows into being a Commander like Roland
In case the title of the DLC wasn't a big enough clue, Lilith gradually grows to embrace her position as leader of the Crimson Raiders after Roland's death. It sets her up to be the leader of an impressive force in Borderlands 3, meaning that although she's retired from the Vault Hunter life expect her to be issuing missions and orders as a Commander to both you and other characters. Plus she'll probably have her own soldiers help you out in the field.
3. It introduces the Effervescent tier of rarity for weapons
During your time runnin' and gunnin' across Pandora, you'll come across Effervescent weapons that gleam all the colours of the sparkling rainbow. A few have some special reloading characteristics, like an SMG I found that you throw away instead of reloading, which then spins around and fires at the same time. It's damned cool. But mainly this tier of weapons prepares you for their inclusion in Borderlands 3. They'll be the rarest items in the game, so if you find an Effervescent gun in the DLC you'll want to keep hold of it. Trust me.
4. Fighting alongside NPCs
During some parts of the DLC you'll be fighting alongside the Vault Hunters of yore like Brick and Lilith, just like you can in Borderlands 3. Although they can't revive you like NPCs allegedly can in Borderlands 3, it sure is nice to have some company when you're fighting bandits, robots, and Hector's Pandora army. Plus Lilith is pretty damned powerful. When she's by your side, just remember to take a look at her attacks every now and again. They're… impressive, to say the least.
5. We're given closure about Scooter's death
Scooter (RIP) died in Tales from the Borderlands a hero. Saying goodbye to him so suddenly might have come as a shock, but in the DLC you get to execute his last will and testament in an affectionate, funny, and heart-warming quest that lets all of us get some closure over his death. Don't expect it to be a light-hearted matter though, as Scooter's last will and testament is dealt with very tastefully and might even make you shed a tear (I definitely came close). Plus Ellie gets introduced as Catch-A-Ride's new owner, so when you see her manning the Catch-A-Ride station in Sanctuary 3 it'll all make sense.
6. Tannis might not be trustworthy
Tannis has always been a little… eccentric, but her behaviour gets more worrying in the DLC. She talks about having a plant army, wants to analyse Jack's research about controlling Sirens despite Lilith's misgivings, and generally her behaviour just makes me really suspicious. Being morally ambiguous about obtaining knowledge has always been her style, though, kind of like Sylens from Horizon Zero Dawn.
Or perhaps my suspicion is well-founded and that Siren research Tannis eventually gets her hands on comes into play in Borderlands 3. We already know that Tyreen, the evil Siren, can sap the life force out of people, but what if Tannis is secretly helping her and her brother Troy from behind the scenes? Tannis has made no secret of the fact that she wants to know what's in the Vaults, so I wouldn't put teaming up with the baddies behind her. Some even theorise that she's secretly a Siren and just keeps her Eridian markings hidden (here's her outfit in all three games if you need a reminder), plus an easter egg in the Battleborn DLC says "Tannis is not what she seems". Hmm…
7. There are more varied and new types of enemies
Hector's Pandora army and the Infected bandits you have to fight off not only look different from the usual mobs coming your way, but behave differently too: Medics heal fellow soldiers (like the Drones that repair Hyperion robots); upon dying Loot Nests spew out a ton of guns, ammo, and money; and Infected Sprouts and Spores launch slag bombs so enemy attacks deal more damage. New behaviours like this could hint that we're going to get enemies in Borderlands 3 that don't quite behave as expected, so you might want to brush up on your shooting skills in the meantime. Just a friendly warning.
8. Claptrap has pretty much predicted the Calypso Twins
Ok, so he might come out with some ridiculous statements most of the time, but in a mission you get after beating the main quest Claptrap actually foreshadows the Calypso Twins being the main baddies of Borderlands 3. He doesn't say their name, but he does go on about bandit leaders needing some kind of cult/religious persona to get hordes of bandits to follow them, then starts talking about making up a mystical backstory for yourself… even seven years before the Calypso Twins came on the scene, Claptrap was on the ball. Now isn't that a surprise?
Warning: Below this image of Lilith are two more questions, but they deal with the ending to the main story in Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary, so only keep reading if you've finished the main quest or don't care about spoilers.
9. We find out what happened to Sanctuary 1
In Borderlands 3 Sanctuary isn't the same floating city it was in Borderlands 2. Instead it's an awesome spaceship where we finally get our own customisable room, but if you had any questions about what happened to the first Sanctuary then this DLC has the answer. Lilith blows the first Sanctuary city up right at the end of the main story in the DLC, killing Hector and destroying the Vault Key at the same time. Drat. But…
10. It sets the stage for going off-world
Even though the Vault Key got destroyed at the end of the DLC, Lilith is still adamant that the Crimson Raiders shouldn't give up on finding those other vaults before nefarious ne'er-do-wells get their hands on them. So the Siren orders her remaining Crimson Raiders to go to different planets that she remembers seeing in the Vault Key map to find the Eridian Vaults. However, Lilith is staying on Pandora. Having all the major NPCs scattered on different planets would make sense, as presumably in Borderlands 3 every planet you visit will have one of these characters. They'll then be its core NPC, the one who acts as a point of contact for the Crimson Raiders and Lilith.
If reading all that has you in the mood for Borderlands 3, we've got plenty more Borderlands content, including our Borderlands 3 preview which explains everything that's changed in the game, or look below to watch it in video form!