Borderlands Wiki
For the actual rarity, see Pearlescent

Pre-Knoxx pearlescent rarity.

In early versions of the game, some legendary weapons - those with unique titles and special effects indicated by red description text - were glitched to be generated at a higher rarity level than was allowed. The game engine, not having a rarity color to assign to these weapons, made their titles the default white, but still ranked them higher in the inventory due to their greater rarity. After prolonged debate about the origins and purpose of these weapons, participants in the discussions coined the term "pearlescents" to describe them.

One of the fixes that came with Patch 1.3.0 was returning these weapons to their proper legendary rarity. The third DLC, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, was released at the same time as this patch. With it, Gearbox Software introduced an actual pearlescent rarity, assigned to new guns with more powerful effects[1]. The color of pearlescent guns is cyan.

It has been widely speculated that naming the new level of rarity 'pearlescent' was a nod to the massive discussions that took place about the weapons in question.

Affected weapons[]


Weapons have a hidden stat called Rarity Level that determines their name color. It can be seen on the PC version using the debug console. The Rarity Level of a weapon is the sum of rarity scores for all its parts.

The weapon generator assembles guns using a component-based system then tallies their Rarity Levels, which are based on the quality and power of each component.

The rarest Purple weapons generated have a Rarity Level of ~30. Adding 50 with a unique Title puts a weapon right at the minimum Rarity Level to be Light Orange. The quality of the other parts might then upgrade it to Orange or Dark Orange. Thus, the rarest Dark Orange weapons have a Rarity Level of ~60-80. The White-Pearlescents had 50 rarity added twice, and were therefore always above Rarity Level 100.

Manufacturer legendaries come with two fixed weapon parts. One of them is a special title, "Title.TitleM_", having only cosmetic affects on gameplay: it determines the weapon name, increases rarity, and adds the red text to the item card. The second part is the one that actually affects stats and gives the weapon its special effect. It also affects rarity, but usually not as much. A comparison between Orange weapons and a similar White-Pearlescent is shown below, using the example of repeating sniper rifles.

Weapon Part Name Rarity Level
Cyclops Sight.sight5_Atlas_Cyclops +50
Title.TitleM_Atlas1_Cyclops +50
Surkov Barrel.barrel2_Vladof_Surkov +1
Title.TitleM_Vladof1_Surkov +50
Skullmasher Barrel.barrel4_Jakobs_Skullmasher +3
Title.TitleM_Jakobs1_SkullMasher +50
Volcano acc.acc2_Maliwan_Volcano_Incendiary +3
Title.TitleM_Maliwan1_Volcano +50


  1. Borderlands: General Knoxx Interview (interview with lead designer Paul Hellquist), 2010-02-19