A friend of a friend is new to Borderlands 2, so we put together a group to play. As an experienced veteran vault hunter, I’ve come into the habit of tossing out the occasional batch of current-level harvested weapons. In the process of returning to my old B2 gear-mongering ways, I discovered the trick I used to time-travel in Borderlands TPS also works in its predecessor / outcome. What a lucky thing!
Not quite as lucky as it was in TPS, temporal fuguing is still a very utilizable tool, even if I were only to use it to speed up the gear-twinking process officially facilitated by the stash. But it can also be used to duplicate items, or to subsidize purchases with dear currency. (Such as the price of admission to raid bosses.)
What my paradoxicizing can’t be used to do is fuel the Grinder. The Grinder / Time-travel combination in TPS provides all the sweet gear one might want, and so the chrononautical story ends with feeding non-specific guns and gear into the grinder until preferable ones come out. With repetition I can get a decent set of gear at a character’s current level, and so the game goes on. Borderlands 2 was designed to embrace farming (for dear currency), fishing (for fancy gear), and even utilizing glitches and exploits, no less than all of which were necessary to allow one to continue playing high-level characters into Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode.
Really. B2 needs a lot of overkill. Now that I think of it, you really can’t call it overkill at the level of necessity it is. Just kill, or maybe poke at it a bit.
Borderlands 2 needs so much excess that it’s a common grievance of B2 players, especially those who, in preservation of their sense of fair play did not want to utilize game exploits and glitches to push into UVHM. They complained about it a lot. As did I.
Thus, it really was no surprise that TPS was tempered to reduce the need for farming and fishing. My use of the Grinder to cook fabulous loot is less out of necessity and more from a habit from Borderlands 2, a habit of excess and obsessive resolve and distrust of the game that, to this day, consumes me from within and has turned me into a shell of the principled man I once was. Or something like that. Really, I just decided to do what it took to continue to savor the fun bits.
And so now, I’ve returned to the glory fields of Borderlands 2, more because it’s a cheaper game to acquire for a fellow than TPS. But without the Grinder, an overkill-determined Vault Hunter has to get clever. There’s no way to turn the tons of crap loot into top-notch gear, so I’ve been returning to my old farming / fishing / exploitative ways. Here are some of the standard tricks:
Kill generous monsters: Generous in this case refers to monsters that drop good loot for little work. Old Slappy, for example, is a level-20 side-mission boss, relatively easy to kill when level 20, and consistently will drop one very rare (purple) item. Hunting generous monsters seems to be the Borderlands development-team-preferred way to cultivate gear. That is the way they want players to upgrade their loadout.
• Goliaths can be pumped up by activating their berserk, at which point they’ll (tend to) target and engage the nearest enemy to them, regardless of previous allegiances. A Goliath guided into spider-ant territory will encounter enough killable foes to level up it’s maximum (God-liath) at which point he can be killed and will drop a very-rare item at the area’s power level. Hunting goliaths takes some finesse but is often not super-high risk
Open lots of chests: Red chests yield rare loot enough to want to open them. The trick is to learn places where a lot of chests can be opened in rapid succession. I talked before about using Captain Bubbles (who sprints extra-quickly and can simply dodge past mobs of mobs) to run through open levels to comb the red chests.
• Midgame in the normal run Lynchwood serves (albeit with few red chests but many outhouses). Since Lynchwood scales with the Vault Hunters from levels 25(ish) to 30, within this threshold, gear looted from Lynchwood is delightfully current.
• At level 30 proper, the Badass Crater of Badassitude has three secret red chests that can be accessed without (direct) encounters. After the mission Eat Cookies and Crap Thunder is completed, the Torgue Arena perimeter level is devoid of enemies (there are two Torgue Arena levels), but all other features (including three red chests) can be accessed. Two more exist in The Beatdown (making eight chests in all) though bandits in this area can be tricky to defeat or evade due to a narrow streetway.
• The Winged Storm is level 35 in normal mode and includes 59(!) dice chests. Thanks to the exponential advancement of level progress in Borderlands, characters fit for Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode will find this raid boss negligibly easy at the lower levels. Optimally the chests will be opened with paying the five-Eridium fee for the second die roll. For this, time-cloning comes in very handy.
Farm for dear currency: Torgue vending machines (scattered throughout the Badass Crater region) require Torgue tokens but sell very rare and legendary Torgue items. Seraph items can be purchased at venders in each of the first-year DLC campaigns. But they take Seraph crystals, which have to be accumulated from fighting raid bosses in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode. This is where the time-travel technique gets particularly useful since it allows such purchases to be made without the tedious necessity of farming the currency every time. Once a vault hunter has sufficient crystals, she can gate in a clone of herself to make the payment.
I’ve discussed before Brandon Cackowski-Schnell’s adventures in beating all the Left 4 Dead levels on expert (utilizing glitches and exploits as necessary) to get the corresponding achievement. Much the way that games provide us with intended puzzles to solve, they can also provide us unintended ones. As our young game has been progressing, I’ve had the pleasure of sifting through the loot sources available for one matching our level, or at worst, a level we’re approaching.
This time I get to utilize my skill to shower shiny guns and swanky gear upon my friends.