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Time for some gaming talk!

Posted by joeabbott on March 16, 2013

I have been playing games most nights and made some progress against a few goals, plus have finally completed Borderlands 2 (and all DLC to date). I’ll post more later on a few other games I’m playing but now it’s time to talk Borderlands 2!

imageBorderlands 2

All I can say is *phew*! That was a long ride.

I got my first cheevo on 9/23/2013 and have been playing this game nearly non-stop. Part to build up new characters, part for achievement hunting, and part to enjoy some of the game exploits. Where to start?

Building a Commando

I went through the game with my assassin character, Zer0, and had a lot of fun with him … but what a glass cannon! He could take out tough guys at a distance, got massive bonuses with sniper rifles, but in a crowd situation, you were just trying to stay alive! And in Borderlands 2, there are a LOT of crowd situations. He wasn’t terrible, but I had trouble playing him solo, although I made it through the entire game with him playing just by myself … he’s a great support character when you play co-op. Unfortunately, when I play co-op, I’m usually just on for a night or couple farming runs and wasn’t able to build a great rapport with any other players.

So, if I was going to be playing by myself a lot, I chose to build up a commando character, Axton … and I took him to Lvl 50. That was a lotta fun. I played through the game twice with Axton, first on regular mode and then in TVH (True Vault Hunter) mode and without farming or doing much in the way of boss battling; I was just playing the campaign. I got to Lvl 50 on the second play-thru just before battling the Warrior.

I started out wanting the “atomic bomb” option for my turret … where you can make a small nuclear strike from a long way away and really do some damage. That’s a great option but I found that I was continually getting the snot kicked out of me and I wasn’t having as much fun. So I started putting a few points into the Survival skill tree to make Axton a bit tougher and, once again, was having a blast with the game.

My build out for this character is as follows:


With this build, I have a character who can take a beating, heal/revive quickly, and still have a heckuva turret (that is, with two turrets!) to control crowds. And with two turrets and the rockets option from the Guerilla tree, he’s amazing!

This is a great build and helped make playing the game for so long very fun.


The achievements for Borderlands 2 are mostly pretty easy. You just play the game and then “farm” a bit for the collection achievements. And, given the amount of time I put into the game, most of these came naturally without the farming. But, I wanted to avoid playing the DLC content until after I’d leveled up my second character to the current cap (Lvl 50). Then, with my maxed out Commando, I wanted to crank through the DLC.

imageI’d played some of the DLC with friends in co-op mode as we were just looking to fight bosses and get rare loot, but mostly stayed out of it. Once I got in, I burned through the campaign and all side quests pretty quickly. Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty was fun and had a decent amount of content, however, it took a while to get the last cheevo. I actually had to use an exploit to take out Hyperious the Invincible; Master Gee was another toughie.

Bimagey the time I started working on Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage and Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt I was starting to get bored with the game, so I took my maxed character through “first time through” mode. Meaning, I was at Lvl 50 and most of the monsters were at Lvl 35 or so. And, in a game where a difference of a level or two is noticeable, I was just walking through the game. It was still fun, but I just wanted to complete the achievements and then move on.

Then I read you could only get seraph crystals (a type of game currency) by beating the boss characters on TVH mode … which means the characters you fight are at your level and the bosses are Lvl 52 or so. Wow, that was tough. But, I ran through the DLCs again in TVH mode, bagged some crystals, and finished off the games.

As you can see, I got my last achievement on 3/8/2013.

Exploits and Easter Eggs

While not truly exploits, I did turn to the Internet and YouTube to learn thing about the game and find some of the hidden gems. In Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt I came across “eridium furnaces” and wasn’t sure what they did. I’d plunk in 20+ eridium bars and nothing seemed to happen. Doing a quick web search, I found these were key to spawning a boss known as Dexiduous. He was hard to kill but it was fun to find a completely unknown monster to fight.

I also learned how to successfully kill Master Gee (spoiler: you hide behind a rock and stay out of the way), how to safely kill the Leviathan (spoiler: another rock from which you poke your head out and shoot the worm), and the Evil Smasher exploit.

Now, the Evil Smasher exploit is truly that: a bug in the game that allows you to gain a massive edge. I found it and used the heck out of it. What a blast!

imageAfter one of your side quests, The Chosen One, Marcus (a weapons vendor) will reward you with a gun called The Evil Smasher. It’s a middling weapon that has an interesting perk: when you reload the weapon, there’s a chance you’ll see a small explosion and the weapon stats will be improved. The exploit is that, when you start reloading, if you switch to another weapon quickly enough and then back to the Evil Smasher, the bonus stack is applied to the other weapon … and the Evil Smasher will still need to be reloaded (switching out guns while reloaded will keep any gun from reloading), so you can rinse and repeat.

Leveraging this exploit, you can get ridiculous damage stats stacked on your weapons. I use this on my infinite ammo pistol and it turns an average gun into an annihilation weapon. It really breaks the game: you can kill Teramorphous the Invincible in mere seconds. Solo. Using only the amped up pistol. It’s nutty.

I used that gun to play a bunch of the DLC and where I’d started the DLC on normal mode with my maxed commando, I then switched to playing in TVH mode but using the amped pistol. I was a wrecking machine!

But, as these things go, it probably helped to bore me of the game a little quicker (if you can say that about something you’ve been playing half a year). There really ceases to be any challenge and you end up walking around seeing places and collecting loot from enemies that fall over as soon as they show up. Meh. But, I was able to take out Hyperious the Invincible in TVH mode … something I wouldn’t have been able to do without the exploit. And so, I was able to enjoy a part of the game that otherwise would have been off limits to me. Exploits in a solo game are fine … when you co-op, it really feels a bit lame


Borderlands 2 is coming out with yet another DLC in the next few weeks: it has a new character and a level cap increase. I’m not sure I’ll play it as much as I had earlier or if I’ll find the need to improve all of my characters to the new level cap, but I’m sure I’ll give in and play for a while. If you’re online and want to play a little Borderlands, drop me a game request … my gamertag is at the top of the entry!


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