If you’re enjoying (and playing) Borderlands 2 as much as us, there will come a certain point where you no longer have friends left to play with, probably because they’ve gone to bed or work or perhaps they’ve developed a massive migraine after a marathon session and need to have a lie down.
With no friends left to play with, inevitably you’ll have to play with someone less familiar – I’d guess some of the other 67 people on your friend list, none of which you could actually pick out of a line up.
But how do you handle gaming with these relative ransoms? How should we handle loot pickups? Which missions do we do? Luckily for you, this guide is here to help, and should be taken as the gospel of Borderlands 2 multiplayer, right out of the brain box of the prophet newb.
Why not play solo?
It’s important to outline why you should always play with others in any gaming session of Borderlands 2. If you’ve read Richard’s review (you can find it here) , you’ll know that if you take away the co-operative elements you’re left with a competent, but somewhat mundane first person shooter.
Still want to play alone? I’ll give you two more reasons.
1. The more people you’re playing with, the harder the enemies you encounter, thus the game becomes more of a challenge.
2. The more people you have in your party, the more rare and valuable the loot drops become.
So not only do you progress quicker in a party, allowing for more interesting play through having more abilities in your arsenal, but you’ll also get more powerful equipment to aid future excursions.
Before starting a mission – Weapons
It’s important, especially if attempting to tackle a mission that sits a few above your current skill level, that every member of the team has the best equipment available.
The best way to go about this is to find a staging area; we suggest the room with the gold chest in sanctuary. Begin by having every member of the group throw their entire inventory onto the floor. At this point, decide what each member of the group will use as their primary weapon. This should be partially dictated by the route each of you will take as you level up.
For example, I’m playing as a Siren and I’m using pistols as my primary weapon. Once everyone has dropped their inventory I’ll run around and pick up every pistol, equipping the best as my main weapon. Bear in mind that having different elemental weapons is extremely useful, but we’ll come to that later.
Once everyone has decided on their primary weapons, everyone should drop all weapons they are not planning on using. Then each decide secondary weapons and go through the same steps.
Before starting a mission – Shields
With weapons sorted, it’s time to decide on shields. Going from most shielded to least shielded, the party should look like the following:
All other items should be sold or stored to allow maximum storage for loot on the mission.
If you’ve been playing together for a long time, you’ll probably have a similar looking mission journal. In these cases it should be pretty easy to select which mission to do next (tip: select the one neither of you have done). If you’re joining someone else’s game to play, mission selection is ultimately decided by them. There should be a discussion among the group prior to a decision, but don’t get all bitter if the mission you really want to do isn’t on the agenda of the rest of the group. Similarly, if it’s your game that your party have joined, don’t be a dictator when it comes to these decisions. Remember: discuss, then decide.
If you’re playing with a variety of classes, then it should go without saying (but I am actually going to say it), that class based drops go to the player who is playing that class. Do you have an alt class that a specific drop would be extremely useful for? Tough. Play as that class if you want the item. If the aforementioned player playing as that class doesn’t want or need that item, you can ask nicely for it. However that player is not obliged to hand it over to you.
If you have more than one player rolling a specific class in the party, things get more complicated. It’s always best to discuss who gets what for the benefit of the whole party. Any disagreements should be settled by consensus of the group, with final decisions made by the highest level player in the group.
Whilst on the mission…
With the main points covered, here are a few pointers of best practice when on a mission.
1. Always pickup ALL Ammo (hold X). It refills your teammates even when you are fully loaded.
2. Prioritise / switch to “Team” based Class Mods when playing co-op. A benefit to all four members of the group is better than a mod that only benefits you.
3. Ensure you have at least one “Slag” effect weapon for optimal team play. Usually one person should be the “Slagger” (or ‘the slag of the group’ – ed), responsible for slagging enemies so team mates can exploit the condition. This also serves as a basic form of target call out.
4. Resurrect teammates as a priority, but do not suicide to do so. It is each players responsibility to either flee combat when about to die, so they can be easily resurrected, or ensure they can get themselves back up by killing a foe whilst downed. For this reason do not kill any heavily injured enemy close to a downed team mate. You should however assist by “softening them up” so your downed teammate can quickly get back up. It’s also worth noting that you can prevent a teammate dying even without fully resurrecting them by repeatedly starting a resurrect and then moving away. This can give them just enough time to crawl to cover so you can resurrect them fully in (relative) safety. Two further options in this regard are the Soldier’s shielded turret or the Siren’s resurrect adaptation for their class skill both of which help enormously when resurrecting. Finally if a resurrection is happening it is the remaining 1 or 2 teammates job to draw fire in any way they can, including simply standing between foes and the resurrector.
5. Remember it is quick and cheap to re-spec your character. For optimal team play it is often advisable to have separate preferred “Solo” and “Team” builds of your character and swap as appropriate.
6. Do not rush to pickup loot until ALL foes are downed. Picking up loot mid-fight is the second rudest and most ignorant thing you can do in any co-op game, Borderlands 2 particularly.
7. When considering travel ensure all team members are ready. A common way to check this in Borderlands 2 is for everyone who is ready to go to meet in the central “station” of Sanctuary where the teleporter is. Once the whole team is there you are ready to go. If you intend on opening the golden key chest do so either in a solo game or clearly inform whole team via chat in advance and ensure you are ready to interrupt travel by opening a menu should travel be attempted by accident. On that note NEVER leave your character in a menu if you are taking a quick break. It will prevent all travel by anyone in the team.
8. Do NOT rush through levels. Spawn enemies carefully, clear them, advance, rinse and repeat.
9. Do NOT abandon your team for any reason. You have a job to do. Stick together or risk the whole team.
10. Focus fire as a team on one foe at a time until eliminated.
11. Always know and attack the “critical spot” of every enemy. 4 people all doing this can make a HUGE difference.
12. Always know and exploit the elemental weakness of your enemies (by having the right weapon’s available). Robots, Vehicles and Armoured = Corrosion. Humanoid and Animal = Burning. Shielded and Mechanical = Electrical. Groups = Explosive. Weaken all = Slag.
13. If you are low level, stay back and provide support. There’s little point in rushing strong enemies just to get downed, prompting attempted resurrections all the time.
14. Constantly use your Class Skill. Good players have their class skill on cooldown pretty much permanently.
15. Don’t forget your grenades. These are often badly underused by most players!
16. Carry a mix of weapons in case your primary / secondary run out of ammo.
17. Try and avoid confusing active quest switching. Ensure you stick to the current team quest as your active quest, even if you just picked up a new quest, make sure you switch your active back to the current team quest ASAP.
18. If you already have a weapon / shield / grenade / appearance item, share it out.
19. If anyone opens the golden key chest DO NOT loot it without their express permission! Even if items are for your class etc. This is the worst sin in Borderlands.
20. Be patient. Better to wait 5 minutes for someone than send 3 people in to fight foes spawned for all 4!
Good luck and see you in Pandora!
Handsome Jack Tom Wallis