Monday, March 25, 2013

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 is very similar to the original. It keeps the 4-player co-op, cartoon-like graphics, dark humour and extreme violence. I stopped playing the original after the first play though, not realising that things would be more challenging on the second attempt and consistently difficult on the third having capped at level 50. I aim to keep this sequel and keep going back to it.

Elemental damage modifiers

Borderlands 2 has damage modifiers similar to the first, which I’ve summarised below. Using the right weapon against the right enemy is important and some enemies are resistant to some effects (Crystalisks are immune to incendiary, shock and corrosive, for example – punching their legs is effective), so I generally keep an incendiary (up), shock (left) and corrosive (right) weapon equipped with an unmodified, slagged or explosive in the fourth slot (down). Below are the modifiers for the second play-through (True Vault Hunter mode) – the first play through has similar bonuses and penalties, but much reduced.

  Flesh Shields Armour
Incendiary 175% 75% 75%
Shock 100% 150% 100%
Corrosive 60% 40% 175%
Explosive 200% 160% 200%
Slagg Other weapons do double damage (200%)

Incendiary and Corrosive are strong against flesh and armour respectively, but weak against the others, so you have to switch around. Electricity is strong against shields, but neutral against the rest, but you are still losing out by missing the bonus you would have if you swapped, although the Mecromancer’s skills can focus on electricity making a single-damage build possible.

Explosive does its normal damage, plus the same in splash damage, so can hit multiple enemies at once and does both (so double damage) if you hit. This doesn’t apply to critical hits though and doesn’t latch an elemental effect, so the other elemental types still seem stronger to me. Also, the splash area seems quite small.

A slagged enemy takes double damage, but it doesn’t last long and you have to swap weapons to take advantage of it so it can be a pain if soloing. It can also be applied by grenades and some of the character skills.


Half way through your second play through your character will cap at level 50 and the environment will also cap at that level, but with badasses being a level or two higher as usual, so the game stabilises. Any golden keys used will yield rare level 50 items so save them up until you hit the cap. Moxii also gives 2 items if you tip her, but I’m not sure if they follow the cap as well or whether they are preset to lower levels.

I’ve not finished True Vault Hunter mode yet. It seems the impending update will add a 6th character, a third play through and raise the cap to 61.

Hints & Tips

  • Use the appropriate elemental damage type – keep one of each in your weapon slots.
  • Get used to weapon-switching with the Y button, rather than the D-pad. It’s a bit trickier to get the weapon you want, but can be used while dodging.
  • Equip a selection of weapon types, to spread out ammo use and to provide weapons at the right distance to the target.
  • The Law & Order item combo is pretty good – does high melee damage and steals health. Especially good with the Assassin, for example.
  • The Mecromancer’s Anarchy skill increases damage but reduces accuracy so you end up using sniper rifles at close range and have no hope of hitting at medium or long range. Artifacts, relics and special weapons can increase the accuracy a bit and you can always consume the stack to reduce the penalty. The 9th Bullet and Close Enough skills add a heat-seeking ability to some bullets, and there are other skills to increase accuracy. So a good build, but needs care.