Borderlands 2 guide: Ten essential tips for dominating Pandora
19th Sep 2012 | 13:00
If you've read our Borderlands 2 review, you'll already know that the world of Pandora is stuffed with loot and has a wealth of character and weapon customisation at your disposal. Whether you're a seasoned Vault Hunter or a newcomer to the series, we have lots of useful information for you in our 10 essential
HOW TO... CHOOSE THE RIGHT CHARACTER CLASS
At the start of the game you have a choice between four different character classes, each with their own unique attributes. You should pick the character that best reflects your play style from the following:
- Axton - Commando: Deploys a Sabre Turret that automatically targets enemies and provides covering fire. Can lob grenades while in Fight For Your Life mode for a better chance of survival.
- Zer0 - Assassin: Increased critical hit damage means sniping is much more effective. Can also create a hologram to distract enemies while becoming temporarily invisible, allowing you to move to a better position for attack.
- Salvador - Gunserker: While in Gunserking mode any unequipped weapons are automatically reloaded, so by quickly switching between guns you can keep a steady stream of fire going in close combat.
- Maya - Siren: Uses Phaselock to stop enemies from fighting back for a short time, and is a great support character in co-op by providing healing boosts to the other players.
A fifth character class, the Mecromancer, will be available to download in October for those who pre-ordered the game, though details of this character's abilities have not yet been released.
Each character has three different upgrade paths on their skill trees, and to unlock the best powers you should focus all your skill points on one particular path. If you feel that you've made a mistake with your upgrades or want to try out a different character setup, you can reset your skill points for a small fee by visiting a Quick-Change Station.
HOW TO... EARN MAXIMUM XP
The fastest way to earn XP is by completing missions, so make sure you pick up as many of them as possible. Regularly check Bounty Boards for new jobs and speak to every NPC when you arrive in a new area, as there are many optional missions to take on in addition to the main story.
You can only track one mission at a time on your map, however you can manage all of them via your Mission Log screen. Here they can be sorted by region, status, difficulty and story/optional, and you can even ignore any missions you are no longer interested in by clicking the right stick. Some missions will have bonus objectives in addition to the main requirements, providing extra XP and rewards if completed.
The best way to keep on top of missions is to sort them by region, so when you reach an area you can quickly see which tasks are based there. If multiple missions are set in the same place you can clear them all in one go, saving time travelling to and from there and increasing your XP more quickly in the process.
HOW TO... MAKE MONEY FAST
Borderlands 2 is all about the loot, and grabbing as much of it as possible is your key to making money fast. Every container with glowing green markings can be raided, to yield cash, ammo and of course guns. Lots of lovely guns.
Grab every weapon that you see as they can all be sold for a tidy profit, and if your inventory gets full then have a look through and ditch the least valuable items to make room. Backpack upgrades become available through the Black Market and should be invested in as soon as possible as each one adds an additional three slots to your inventory.
To make managing your inventory easier you can click the left stick while highlighting an item to mark it as Trash or Favourite, so you don't have to compare weapons more than once. This also has the added bonus that when you visit a vending machine or trader to offload your unwanted items, you can sell every item you've marked as Trash with a single click of the left stick, though this only works when the Buyback or Purchase window is selected.
HOW TO... FIND RARE WEAPONS
To spot a rare weapon, you need to look out for the colour of its name and the marker that appears over it. This colour represents the rarity of the item on the following sliding scale:
(Least Rare) - White, Green, Blue, Purple, Orange - (Most Rare)
Keep an eye out for the colour of weapons, especially when playing in co-op, as when a rare weapon appears everyone will be trying to grab it at once! You can often find better weapons off the beaten track, so when exploring areas be sure to check in side rooms and up on seemingly inaccessible ledges - if you can see a container, there will be a route to get to it.
Once you reach Sanctuary you will gain access to a safe, which can be used to save weapons for later. As there is a trophy/achievement for having purple or better weapons equipped in every slot you should store any you find here if you aren't using them. You will also uncover Claptrap's stash which can be used to exchange items between co-op players.
HOW TO... GET THE BEST FROM ELEMENTAL WEAPONS
During the course of the game you will come across many weapons with elemental properties, and the trick to getting the best out of these guns is to use the right type of effect for the enemies you're facing. These are the combinations to aim for:
- Fire: best used against unshielded flesh, has a chance to cause burning effect that spreads to other enemies
- Shock: best used to rapidly deplete enemy shields, can also be used to stun enemies
- Corrosive: best used against armoured enemies, the corrosive effect has a chance to spread to other enemies
- Slag: new for Borderlands 2, these weapons have a chance to coat enemies in Eridium byproduct 'Slag', which then makes them take much more damage from other weapon types so switch to a different gun to deliver the coup de gras
Ideally you should have at least one of each element weapon in your arsenal, so you're covered for all types of enemies you may face.
HOW TO... BOOST YOUR STATS
As well as improving your character by unlocking perks on their skill trees, you can also get additional stat boosts by completing Badass Challenges. These are found under Badass Rank on the menu and there are almost 90 of them in total, giving you plenty to get on with.
Have a read through the descriptions and try to complete them as you go along as each one awards Badass Rank points, and each level reached unlocks a Badass Token which can be used to give a bonus boost to individual stats.
You can increase each stat multiple times but the improvement will diminish with each boost, going from 1.0% to 1.7%, 2.3%, 2.8% and so on. These may seem small on their own, but get enough of them racked up and they can really give your character an edge.
Also keep an eye out for Class Mods, which can be purchased from certain vending machines. These provide class-specific boosts to stats, though only one can be equipped at a time.
HOW TO... USE GUNS EFFECTIVELY
The importance of headshots cannot be overstated in Borderlands 2, and you should aim for these wherever possible. Scoring a direct impact on an enemy noggin will display a 'Critical' hit on screen and cause significantly more damage, which certain weapons will increase still further, leading to faster takedowns and conserving ammo.
When choosing which gun to use, consider the accuracy rating for it against the range you are firing from. There's no point in trying to hit a distant enemy with a low accuracy weapon as most of your bullets will stray off course and be wasted. Ideally you should hold in your inventory a sniper rifle and assault rifle for longer ranged attacks, along with a shotgun and pistol for when you move in for close combat.
Another good way to improve accuracy is to turn on Aim Assist from the gameplay options. With this enabled you can move your reticule into the general area of an enemy and your aim will snap to them when you look down the sights. By releasing the aim trigger then pulling it again between each shot, you can effectively track the enemy's movement and keep landing shots on them.
The brand of gun will also have an effect on how it behaves, for example Jakobs weapons will fire as fast as you can pull the trigger and Torgue shooters pack an explosive effect with every shot. Tediore guns are so cheap and disposable that instead of reloading them you simply throw them away, which causes a useful explosion on impact at the expense of any ammo that was left in the chamber.
HOW TO... STAY ALIVE IN COMBAT
The key to staying alive in combat is being aware of your surroundings, so you know where areas of cover are that can be retreated to when your shield is low or depleted. Keep an eye out for explosive tanks, incendiary barrels etc which can be shot to cause significant damage to multiple enemies, and don't be afraid to run away and compose yourself at a safe distance if you feel like you're being overwhelmed.
This is particularly important during boss fights, as manoeuvring into the right position can make things much easier for you. For example, when facing off against the Big Bertha cannon you can move behind it and be out of its firing range whilst still able to target the gunner on top. Moving on to the battle with Captain Flynt, you can jump out of the arena and back down to the lower level, then pick off Flynt and his henchmen from a safe distance.
If you do end up losing all your health and entering Fight For Your Life mode, you can still revive yourself by getting a kill. You only have a short time to do this so aim for the weakest enemy you can target and give them everything you've got. If you manage to score a kill and get a Second Wind you will only have a small amount of health remaining, so try and run for cover to save yourself as soon as possible.
HOW TO... PICK THE RIGHT SHIELD
There are three stats to consider when choosing which shield to use, which are displayed against each item. These are:
- Capacity: Maximum shield energy
- Recharge Rate: Amount of shield energy recovered per second
- Recharge Delay: Time in seconds after last damage taken before shield begins recharging
Certain shields have additional effects, such as high capacity at the cost of reducing your max health, or damage to enemies who perform melee attacks on you.
Deciding which shield is right for you should be based on your play style. If you mainly use close combat then you'll want a short recharge delay time to keep you going in the thick of the action, whereas if you prefer to snipe from distance then you can afford to sacrifice recharge delay for higher capacity.
HOW TO... USE VEHICLES TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Vehicles can be spawned from Catch-A-Ride points found throughout the game, and although handy for getting from A to B they're much more effective as a weapon. There are Rocket Launcher and Machine Gun turret variants available, but as they both have front mounted machine guns you should take the version with rockets for the biggest impact.
Vehicles are heavily armoured and have infinite ammo, which makes them ideal for clearing areas of enemies. When you encounter them hold down L2/LT to launch a continuous barrage of rockets, while using R2/RT to pepper them with machine gun fire. While driving along you can also ram enemies to cause significant damage, which is useful against Bullymongs and Skags.