A Prefix is the "left hand part" of a weapon or shield's name. It is the adjective part, that describes the variant of the model. Prefix should not be confused with Title.
The prefixes usually describe how much a weapon is good, as opposed to the title, which describes what a weapon is. For example, rocket launchers can be Big, Massive or Colossal, they can be Evil or Devastating etc... It is interesting to note that unique items will never have prefixes.
Effect on weapons
In Borderlands, most prefixes do not have any effect on the weapon, apart from "flavor". Some will modify the weapon by slightly increasing its traits (more often than not: damage, but also accuracy and recoil reduction), although typically not as much as weapon parts. However, there are some exceptions, such as the support machine guns' "Shattering", the combat rifles' "Punishing", or the combat shotguns' "Hunter's".
Prefixes are generated the same way that Titles are generated: First, Manufacturer and weapon Parts are chosen at random. The Title is then applied according to Title rules. At this point, the Prefix with the highest Priority that is applicable is chosen.
Prefixes actually come in a much broader and richer spectrum than titles. Prefixes can describe:
- Common to all weapons:
- The quality of the Manufacturer material: White/Pearl, Red/Crimson etc...
- The quality of the elemental effect: Combustion, Fulgurating, Pestilent, Erupting etc...
- Different names per weapon class
- The general quality of the weapon: repeaters can be Bad, Cruel or Wicked
- A trait of the weapon: support machine guns can be Glorious, Frantic...
- A specific part on the weapon: A revolver can be Bladed, Stabilized...