So you finally bought Borderlands 2 and made it to Pandora, eh? Don’t let all that beauty fool you for a second, because beneath all that serenity lays Pandora’s bloodthirsty inhabitants who would eat/shoot/maul your face within seconds. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back. We’ve designed a simple guide to help newcomers get acclimatised to the hostile landscape of Pandora as soon as possible.
Bring friends – with mics
In all multiplayer games, mics are an important tool of communication, but in Borderlands 2, they’re pretty much a necessity. For one, loot is shared by all and you’ll always come across some greedy ass who’ll run around the level after a hectic battle sucking up all the loot like he’s got a vacuum cleaner shoved up his backside. Of course, you shouldn’t be playing with such greedy pigs to begin with, but if you do find someone like that in your game, you could always call dibs on an item or trade loot with each other through voice chat.
Having co-op partners who talk is also a plus point when it comes to coordinating strategies since each class in Borderlands 2 has its strengths and weaknesses. It’s far simpler to yell out “Lay down your f*****g turret” in the middle of an intense battle than type it out, and die painfully in the process.
Borderlands 2 can be a bit daunting for those new to the genre so I’d suggest rolling a Commando on your first playthrough. Axton is more than capable of handling himself thanks to his trusty turret that can be earned after you hit Level 5. Eventually, you can level your Commando up to deploy two turrets, something that’s a real life saver in True Vault Hunter Mode (the game’s equivalent of New Game+). Axton is also a preferred class if you’re planning on playing the game solo.
Borderlands 2 is meant to be experienced in co-op no doubt, but I’d also recommend a solo playthrough once. This way you can play the game at your own pace, loot without making a mad dash for those rare items and even enjoy the witty dialogue along with numerous Easter eggs/pop culture references hidden all over Pandora. Plus, the game’s a lot simpler when played solo as long as you’re appropriately leveled for a particular area/quest.
Selecting the right tool for the job
Borderlands 2 may have a bazillion weapons but they can all be segregated on the basis of the damage they dish out. Some weapons fire regular bullets while some dish out corrosive damage which may not affect human enemies a lot but can really take a toll on mechanical enemies. Similarly, incendiary weapons affect human enemies far more than they would enemies with no flesh. Make sure you/your co-op partner are always carrying a diverse arsenal at all times because you never know what kind of enemy you may run into in Pandora.
Borderlands 2 encourages you to pick up pretty much everything you see but initially, the game’s backpack size is terribly limiting. You’ll constantly find yourself short on space, making frequent trips to merchants/vendors just to sell the crap you don’t require. Your fastest solution to this problem would be to max out your backpack size ASAP from the black market. This way you can carry more weapons, sell the stuff you don’t need and make more dough on the side. Unfortunately, you can’t buy backpack size with money. For that, you require Eridium, a very rare component on Pandora that’s doled out as quest rewards.
This brings me to my current point – pick up every freaking side quest. Not only will this handsomely reward you with XP, but you’ll frequently earn Eridium and newer weapons as you do so. Some of the side-quests in Borderlands 2 are also very hilarious and totally random so you should definitely not skim them over. Skill Trees in Borderlands 2 have been designed with multiple playthroughs in mind so you really can’t max out your character in one playthrough. To access some of the more powerful skills, you’ll have to play through the game again in TVHM and since the whole world has now leveled up with you, side-quests will shower you with far greater XP and rewards. Even if you suddenly decide you don’t like the Skill Tree you were working towards, you can respec all points at customisation stations. This means you can basically re-allot all your skill points into a totally different tree, drastically changing the way your character performs in battle. The Siren, for example, can dish out mad amounts of elemental damage but you can also use her as a healer if you’re not one for the frontlines.
Let’s blow this mother up
Combat in Borderlands 2 may seem really straight forward at first but you’ll soon realise that a certain amount of strategising is necessary if you don’t like dying frequently. Headshots are the fastest way to take an enemy down, so my first suggestion would be to invest in or find a powerful sniper rifle and have one in your inventory at all times. The Assassin is especially proficient in using the sniper, but other classes can become just as good by investing their Badass Points into improving damage, reducing recoil and so on.
Next, you should be aware of your surroundings. I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone down simply because a barrel blew up near/behind me taking my shield down in one swift explosion. Use the environment against your enemy. Kite them towards barrels or your turret so you can take multiple enemies down swiftly. Look out for Goliaths as you can make them turn on their buddies by shooting their heads off. Once he’s taken everyone out, finish him off with a well timed rocket/grenade or a shotgun blast to the face. It’s all about experimenting with your weapons and skills in this game so really, just try stuff out.
There’s no place like home
Sanctuary is your home during your stay in Pandora. It’s packed to the brim with opportunities to score some extremely rare loot. For one, look around for Michael Mamaril, a vault hunter who always gives you awesome swag and the higher your level, the better the gear. Michael Mamaril was a Borderlands fan who tragically passed away last year. Including him in the game as an NPC was Gearbox Software’s tribute to him and I most definitely applaud them for that. Besides Michael, you can head over to Moxxi’s bar and try your hand at two slot machines. You’ll be amazed at some of the loot that drops out of these machines. Just yesterday, I scored a rocket launcher that dishes out over 50,000 damage. Score!
Of course, Sanctuary is also home to the Golden Chest, a locker that will bestow players with rare items. Keys for the Golden Chest can’t be purchased or found; they can be obtained by signing up to Gearbox’s Software’s Shift service or stalking the company’s president, Randy Pitchford on Twitter. He’s always doling them out across all platforms but they have a very small time frame after which they expire so you have to be on the ball.
That wraps up the basic tips we have for Borderlands 2. If we’ve forgotten some or you’ve discovered other useful survival tips, do share them with us.