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Borderlands 3 secret achievements and trophies explained

Borderlands 3 boasts even more returning characters, more guns, and more wild boss fights than any other game in the series. Another thing it has plenty of is achievements and trophies for gamers who battle their way through the latest Vault Hunter adventure. Many of these are secret achievements that can only be unlocked after completing specific tasks or story-centric moments in the game. Borderlands 3 also has roughly the longest main story campaign the the series has seen yet, just edging out that of Borderlands 2, so that means there's plenty to discover on your quest to the Great Vault.

That's why we've decided to go through the game's hidden achievements and trophies and tell you where, when, and how they're earned. And considering this is Borderlands we're talking about, many of these achievements have titles that are winks and references to pop culture, so we'll break those jokes and nods down as well. Happy hunting!

"Florida Man" is the achievement you don't want to earn in Borderlands 3

Let's kick things off with a trophy that's very easy to earn, but also is a sign of hilarious clumsiness. If you accidentally take yourself out with one of your own grenades — which is bound to happen at least once, especially with the multiplying MIRV grenades that seem to always bounce over to where you are, no matter how far back you stand — you will earn the trophy "Florida Man."

This trophy is named for the phenomenon that appears to occur in the news, wherein people from Florida are constantly being injured by or arrested for the craziest things. Many of these stories will be accompanied by a headline that begins with "Florida Man ..." This phenomenon has become something of a meme, inspiring a documentary interviewing odd people in Florida and a story arc of The X-Files Case Files comic book series, which sees the main characters investigating the root cause of the "Florida Man" epidemic. 

You achieve "Stay Golden" with your first golden key

Borderlands 2 introduced the concept of SHiFT codes to the series, codes that would reward players with limited time in-game offers like new character skins and other goodies. The most common unlock for these codes are Golden Keys, which allow players to open very special Golden Chests in the games, which held powerful loot scaled to the player character's level. In Borderlands 2, the Golden Chest could be found in Sanctuary, while it was located in the spaceport Concordia in The Pre-Sequel. Though the Golden Chests weren't created until the second game, they proved to be so popular that they were added into the enhanced version of Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition released in 2019. 

In Borderlands 3, the Golden Chest can be located on the Sanctuary 3. Using your first Golden Key to open the chest will reward you with the achievement "Stay Golden." In addition to the golden nature of the keys and chest themselves, the name of this achievement may also be a reference to the novel and film The Outsiders, which featured the memorable line "Stay gold, Ponyboy." This seems fitting because, after all, aren't our heroes the biggest crew of outsiders on Pandora?

"Welcome to the Crimson Raiders," and Borderlands 3, too

Many of the secret achievements in Borderlands 3 are based around story progression and completing missions. That's the case with "Welcome to the Crimson Raiders," which will reward you for completing the first story mission, "Children of the Vault." This is the mission that introduces your character to Claptrap and Lilith, as well as leads you into a fight against the bandit leader named Shiv, who has captured Claptrap with a giant magnet and has designs on using the little robot's head as a toilet (really). 

This battle will lead you through a propaganda center belonging to the fanatical cult called the Children of the Vault, which is controlled by the evil Calypso Twins, Troy and Tyreen. The name of the achievement is also pretty self-explanatory, as it involves you finally joining up with Lilith's group of freedom fighters, the Crimson Raiders. You're also introduced to many different elements of the game for the first time, including the alternate firing modes for your weapons and equipping your first shield. 

When you leave the planet behind, say, "So Long, Pandora!"

During the mission "Taking Flight," you are tasked with taking the recorded Vault map to certified space scientist Patricia Tannis, who will attempt to get it working while you fend off wave after wave of bloodthirsty bandits. Afterwards, you will have to retrieve various parts for the Crimson Raiders' new spacecraft, Sanctuary 3. After retrieving a chip for the ship's navigation system and squishing a bunch of enemies to turn them into bio-fuel for Sanctuary's engines (gross), you'll have to defend the ship while Lilith's mechanic Ellie gets the ship running.

Though the Calypso Twins manage to arrive and steal Lilith's powers from her, Ellie is able to get everything set for a quick take-off. Head over to Lilith and revive her, then help her get in the ship. The newly-christened Sanctuary 3 will take off and head away from Pandora, earning players the achievement "So Long, Pandora!" Up until now, the Borderlands series has taken place on either Pandora or its moon, Elpis. In other words, it's a pretty big deal to finally leave it behind.

"NOG It Off" after you beat the Gigamind

The creatures known as NOGs are some of the weirder additions to the Borderlands universe to arrive in the third game — and for a story that features Penn and Teller as robot-piloting murderers with a reality show and a competition between bandits who all want to sleep with a guy named Killavolt, that's really saying something. NOGs appear to have mental-based abilities, which they use to manipulate multiple drones and recharge enemy troops.

At the end of the mission "Hostile Takeover," players will face an enemy called the Gigamind, which is basically like an advanced version of the Nogs that appears as a giant brain in a jar, attached to a powerful mech suit. The Atlas Corporation needs the information carried by the Gigamind in order to help you continue on your mission to stop the Calypsos from opening the Vault on Promethea. Killing the Gigamind and stealing its information core (called the "Gigabrain") will end the mission and earn you the punny achievement "NOG It Off."

"I Mustache You A Question" about a Tales from the Borderlands hero

"Atlas, At Last" is a long and dangerous mission that involves sneaking around through the secret passages and tunnels in Atlas HQ in a bid to stop the Maliwan company's bloodthirsty CEO, Katagawa Jr. You're aided by the Vault Hunter Zer0 and the head of the Atlas Corporation, Tales from the Borderlands protagonist Rhys. 

After reactivating Atlas' defense turrets and battling through dozens of Maliwan soldiers and their robotic Nullhounds, you will finally face off against Katagawa Jr. himself. Following the Maliwan CEO's demise, Rhys will invite you back to the Meridian Metroplex to meet with him so he can give you the Vault Key he's been hiding. 

Rhys will finally level with you and ask for your opinion of his new mustache, which has been a point of contention for many of his coworkers. You are then given the option to tell him to shave it or keep it. Whichever option you choose, Rhys will look like that for the rest of the game's story and you will have also earned "I Mustache You A Question," another pun-based achievement.

After this mission, a major hero is "Gone from My Sight"

The achievement "Gone from My Sight" comes after one of the most exciting and heartbreaking chapters in the game. The mission "Beneath the Meridian" involves meeting up with Vault Hunter Siren Maya and battling your way through seemingly endless hordes of Children of the Vault. Afterwards, you will finally be able to enter Promethea's Vault, the Vault of the Rampager. 

The Rampager, true to its name, at first seems impossible to kill. This boss has several different attack phases including hopping around the stage and launching fireballs of radiation at you. With Maya's help, the Rampager finally falls, but it turns out that this is exactly what the Calypso Twins wanted. They arrive soon thereafter and Tyreen absorbs all of the Rampager's powers for her own. Then, in another act of cruelty, Troy Calypso grabs Maya and absorbs her entirely, reducing the proud Siren to ashes. The name of the achievement, which is automatically unlocked after looting the Vault and viewing this cutscene, appears to be a direct reference to the fact that there is nothing left of Maya after this attack. 

"That Was Gold," even though it's a wooden record

Ask any vinyl record collector why they've invested so much money in their collection of albums and a turntable, and they'll tell you: some things just never go out of style. That seems to be what Monty Jakobs was thinking when he left a recording for his son on a wooden record. "The Lair of the Harpy" is a mission that follows the retrieval of that record from the old Jakobs Estate, which has been overrun by the Children of the Vault. Storming the Estate involves solving quite a few puzzles left by Old Man Jakobs and will also lead you into conflict with Billy the Anointed, one of the toughest mini-boss battles in the game.

Luckily, after toughing all of that out, you will finally find the Wooden Record hidden in a secret room. Among the information contained on this record is a series of clues that will lead the Crimson Raiders to the next Vault Key. Nabbing it will also earn you the achievement "That Was Gold," which likely a reference to the concept of gold records, or albums that have sold over 500,000 units. 

You'll have to make an ice queen the "Heir to an Empty Castle"

Power-hungry heiress Aurelia Hammerlock first slithered into the Borderlands series as a playable character in The Pre-Sequel, where she was one of the playable characters who helped the villainous Handsome Jack in his rise to power. The very definition of an ice queen, she is the sister of big game hunter Sir Hammerlock, but she has taken over the Jakobs Corporation at the start of Borderlands 3 and is helping the Calypsos in their hunt for Eden-6's Vault.

In the mission "Cold As the Grave," you finally face Aurelia in battle. Defeating her will open the way for you to solve the rest of the puzzles and enter the Vault of the Graveward. The titular Graveward is a massive beast that rains down corrosive gunk on you and can literally tilt the ground you stand on, so it's not an easy battle. Once it falls and you loot the Vault, return to Lilith on Sanctuary and the mission will be complete, earning you the achievement "Heir to An Empty Castle," which is definitely a reference to the failure of the mad heiress Aurelia Hammerlock.

You must survive a gladiator show to "Cross the Streamers"

The mission called "Blood Drive" brings you into a boss battle against Pain and Terror, two sadists who livestream their gladiator-style series in which people are maimed and killed for the amusement of the Calypso Twins (and their loving subscribers, of course). They've taken Patricia Tannis captive and plan to execute her on air as the finale for their latest stream, so it's up to you to kill them and stop their giant murder machine, the Agonizer 9000.

The battle against Agonizer 9000 is a tough one, which the machine spitting projectiles and swatting at you with a massive spiked appendage. However, once the Agonizer 9000 is down, Pain and Terror can be killed with one shot each. All that's left for this mission is to go talk to Tannis, who has just revealed that she is also a Siren. Doing so will unlock the achievement, "Cross the Streamers." This is both a reference to the fact that the bad guys were streaming the battle and the concept of "crossing the streams" from the movie Ghostbusters, in which the heroes would combine the power of their proton packs for one big attack.

You achieve "Exoarchaeolo" by exploring Borderlands 3's most mysterious planet

Exoarchaeology is literally space-bound archaeology, "focus(ing) on alien material we could potentially find as it comes through the atmosphere or is spotted on radar." That includes all kinds of cosmic trash and other artifacts foreign to Earth that may float near our planet. It's fitting, then, that Borderlands 3 features an achievement called "Exoarchaeolo" that rewards players for thoroughly exploring a previously uncharted planet. 

Specifically, the planet of Nekrotafeyo, the fabled homeworld of the Eridians. They're the ones who built the Vaults, so the quest for the Great Vault eventually leads players to a planet that most characters in the game have believed to be a myth before now. Though Typhon DeLeon has called Nekrotafeyo home for some time, and the Calypso Twins lived there once before, this is all new territory for Borderlands players, who will likely be more than happy to roam around, blasting and exploring. Discovering the many named locations on the planet will unlock this achievement.

You achieve "Apocalypso!" by defeating the first of the twins

The mission "The Great Vault" begins with you saying goodbye to all of your friends on Sanctuary, because things aren't looking great. It also finally pits you against Troy Calypso, who has become completely reckless in his pursuit of power, even draining his sister's energy to the point where she's near death. Once you've fought your way through the Children of the Vault and into the Calypsos' Inner Sanctum, you'll still find yourself up against several of Troy's "Anointed" followers, which have been upgraded with a fraction of his power.

After all of that, the fight against the self-proclaimed god is definitely not an easy one, since he'll occasionally steal his sister's power and surround himself with an impenetrable shield as he rains fire down on you. Still, once Troy falls, you'll find an Echo Device from Typhon DeLeon, the first Vault Hunter ever. After that, all that's left to do is to loot the Vault and speak to Tannis about what you found inside. This unlocks the achievement "Apocalypso," another punny name that refers to how the Calypsos have set the end of everything in motion.

After closing the Great Vault, you too will shout "I Am A Goddess, A Glorious Female Warrior"

The mission "In the Shadow of Starlight" takes you on a treacherous journey through the underbelly of Nekrotafeyo, the original homeworld of the Eridians. You will battle your way through countless Children of the Vault and Guardians, handing off the various Vault Keys to Patricia Tannis so that she can charge them and hopefully stop the destructive forces that the Calypsos have set in motion. The final phase of the mission involves defending Tannis while she concentrates all of her power into closing the Great Vault. 

Once Tannis is finished, a cutscene will trigger and you'll be rewarded with the achievement "I Am A Goddess, A Glorious Female Warrior." This is a reference to the power shown by both Tannis and the hellbent Tyreen Calypso, who is determined to become a god. It's also line of dialogue from the television series Parks and Recreation, wherein lead character Leslie Knope has formed a Girl Scouts-like troop called the Pawnee Goddesses. This line is the beginning of the troop's pledge.

What do you say after beating a goddess? "Bye, Felicia!"

"Divine Retribution" is the mission that brings our Vault Hunters into the final conflict against Tyreen Calypso, who fuses with the cosmic being known as the Destroyer and becomes incredibly powerful as a result. After a length boss battle, Tyreen will fall and the universe will be saved. The final emotional cutscene will trigger, and you will be rewarded with the rather amusing achievement "Bye, Felicia!"

This is a reference to a line of dialogue from the movie Friday, during which Ice Cube's character says this to a woman named Felicia when she tries to bum a joint and borrow his friend's car. The line has since become shorthand for saying goodbye to someone in a derisive or dismissive manner. It's exactly the kind of attitude our characters would show toward a character like Tyreen Calypso, so it makes perfect sense for the achievement to follow suit when the big bad villain is finally taken down

"Damn, Gina": you beat the game!

The first few Borderlands games concerned the attempts to open a single Vault and plunder the loot within (oh, and to kill the heck out of whatever monster was guarding said loot). Borderlands 3 kicks that up a notch by adding a few more Vaults to your journey. In fact, there are four Vaults on four different planets in the latest game in the series. There's the Vault of the Rampager on Promethea, the Vault of the Graveyard on Eden-6, the Vault of the Architects on Nekrotafeyo, and the Vault of the Destroyer on Pandora. 

Each of these Vaults present their own challenges, many of them overrun by enemies, and most of them guarded by a giant monster of immeasurable power. However, if you manage to open all of the Vaults and receive the rewards within (essentially, if you manage to beat the game), you will earn the achievement "Damn, Gina." This is a reference to a recurring joke on the sitcom Martin, which has since become shorthand for "to convey awe, surprise, or appreciation." 

In other words: you go, girl. Way to save the universe.