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Beginner’s Guide

Table of Contents

Due to big size of the article, it was divided into convenient parts adding more information through it. Each part has a Table of contents to make it easier to Find the article you need!

Your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, covering Windshear Wastes to Sanctuary. Hello, fellow Vault Hunter! If you’ve just picked up Borderlands 2 for the first time, and especially if you’ve never played any of the other Borderlands games, then this guide is for you. I’ll be taking a couple of brand new characters through the first play-through, known as Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM) as I write this. Hopefully, it will answer many of the questions you have as go through the game with me.
Author’s Note: We often see new players requesting “power-levelling” (sitting in a higher-level player’s game to rapidly acquire XP and hit maximum level) on these forums. If this is your first time playing the game, or your first time through with a particular character, I strongly recommend against doing this, as it will deprive you of an opportunity to figure out how the character’s different skills interact or how the game works. There are no shortcuts to success!
Note: Cyan headings denote missions, while other colors denote main sections, gear and weapons, and skills entries.


* Character * Starting OutCombat Basics (1) Levels and RewardsFirst Boss FightAbout Farming * Southern Shelf & Liar’s BergThis Town Ain’t Big EnoughVendorsComparing GunsComparing ShieldsComparing GrenadesCustomizationBadass RankAction Skills (1)Best Minion Ever *Three Horns DivideThe Road to Sanctuary (1)Vehicle 101The Road to Sanctuary (2)Flying Enemies *SanctuaryPlan BSanctuary Side Quests (1)

Which Character Do I Choose?

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: there are no bad characters! Each one is perfectly viable for both solo and co-op play, although they each have their own specialties and skills. Which you enjoy the most will depend somewhat on the type of games you’ve played before, as well as your own personal play style. Some are better suited to novice gamers than others, though. Here’s a short introduction to each one. Don’t be dismayed if you don’t like the feel of the first character you chose, however: just pick a different one, and maybe come back to the first one after you’ve picked up more of the game. Tip: never delete a character! You can always come back and respec them later. Axton (soldier) and his awesome turret A good choice for a novice player, Axton’s turret can provide a much-needed distraction should you run into trouble. Used well, it can also help you make short work of mobs. If you like gunplay and explosions, this may be a good choice for you. You can learn some of Axton’s back story from the Lost Echoes in the Lynchwood map. Gaige (mechromancer) and her death-dealing robot: Gaige was the first expansion character added to the game shortly after launch and is a good choice for those new to first-person shooters due to specific skills that can help while learning how to aim. Her robot (Deathtrap) will leap into the fray and attack whatever is attacking you. This means that sometimes you may end up going in opposite directions, but you can usually tell where he is from the yells and screams. Krieg (psycho) and his blitzing buzz-axe: The second expansion character, Krieg is an enormous gun-wielding, axe-throwing, erupting, rampaging death machine. If you like melee and guns, melee and explosives, or melee and fire, this psycho’s for you. Maya (siren) and her phabulous phaselock: Maya is the elemental death-dealing healer of the group. A fantastic addition to any team for co-op, she can never-the-less easily hold her own on the battlefield in solo play. Maya requires a little more finesse than, say, Axton, but is highly rewarding as you move further through her skill tree. You can learn some of Maya’s back-story from the Lost Echoes in the Wildlife Exploitation Preserve map. Salvador (gunzerker) – enough said: Salvador is the in-your-face dual-wielding one-man army of the group. If you like shooting things, and then shooting them even more, this is the short hairy guy for you! Very easy to play and insanely powerful, Salvador also has some melee skills, just in case you didn’t want to shoot things all the time. Oh, and when he’s gunzerking? He’s also regenerating ammo… You can learn some of Salvador’s back story from the Lost Echoes in the Thousand Cuts map. Zer0 (assassin), man-thing of mystery: Zer0 is the sniper assassin, becoming invisible while deploying a hologram for five seconds so he can move into position to either smite with his sword or pop off a headshot. Five seconds may not sound like a long time, but it is often long enough. Zer0 is perhaps the most difficult character to master – especially his melee style – but can be among the most rewarding to play. You can learn some of Zer0’s back story from the Lost Echoes in the Sawtooth Cauldron map. Back to table of contents

Starting the Story

Following a cut-scene, in which you meet everybody’s favorite character, Claptrap (Warning: results may vary; favorable opinions are not guaranteed) you’ll set off through the wilds of Windshear Waste. There’s not much here, although there are a few containers you can loot for ammo, cash, or health. Keep your eyes open for anything with a green light on it! Once you get to Claptrap’s place there’ll be another cut-scene, and you’ll get the mission My First Gun (lvl.1), followed by Blindsided (lvl.1). Take a good look around before following your guide, as there’s quite a lot of loot to be had, and you’ll want to fill your health up before heading out again. Open everything!
Tip: Loot sources in the game have an increased chance to provide health when your health is low. Similarly, if you are low on ammo for a particular weapon type, there’s an increased chance of getting that ammo; open all the containers before picking up to max your chances of getting what you need!
Before you head out, open up your inventory and take a look through the contents. There are tabs for your mission progress, area map, equipment slots and storage, skills, and something called “Badass Rank” (BAR – more on this later). Note that you can toggle the display order of your weapons storage. If you’re playing one of the original four vault hunters, you should see an echo (audio) log in your inventory, which provides some back-story on your character. To listen to it, select it and close your inventory.
Note: In-game dialogue is triggered by either picking up or using an echo log, or by moving past the current way-point marker for the quest. Unfortunately, mission dialogue will overide the echo logs, and there’s no way to listen to the echoes a second time in the game. If you want to catch it all, make sure you stay put until the dialogue completes.ย 
Once you’re completely done, follow your guide back into the wastes. On your way out, you’ll pass the maps Fast Travel, which will trigger an auto-save. The current mapsFast Travel is where you will spawn after quitting and restarting, and also allows you to switch to any other maps you have discovered. If you check the currently available locations, you will also see the initial locations for all currently installed DLCs. Don’t go there yet, though! Saving: The game will automatically update your save whenever you travel, or if you pause the game and choose Quit from the game menu. There are also New U stations at various locations throughout each map; passing one of these will also update your save, and be the location you will respawn at should you die. When you restart your game, you will always spawn at the last Fast Travel station or map transition you passed, NOT the last New U. Once back outside, your guide will accidentally-on-purpose bump into a few things: this is a hint that you should pay attention to such objects the next time you see them. He’ll also nag you about keeping up, but don’t feel that you have to: the next game event will trigger when you pass the next way-point (check your mini-map or the game map in your inventory), not when an NPC does so. At some point, you’ll hear a call for help, the battle music will fire up, and you’re ready for your first taste of BL2-style combat. Once it’s all over, loot everything before moving on, and make sure you reload all your weapons (except Gaige players running an Anarchy build, but we’ll cover that later). Also, well done! Back to table of contents

Combat Basics (1)

Note: If you’re familiar with first-person shooters, you can probably skip this section. If you’re new to gaming or are coming from more procedural or turn-based games, read on… Obviously, you’re going to shoot things. There are some things you should know to make you more effective, however.
* The cross-hairs tell you more than just where your gun is pointing
  • The wider apart they are, the more inaccurate your shot will be
  • Sprinting reduces accuracy: when you stop running, you’ll see the cross-hairs steadily drawing in
  • Firing reduces accuracy: if you fire a continuous burst, you’ll see the cross-hairs widen as your accuracy falls
  • Short bursts are more accurate and waste less ammo, than long continuous ones
  • Exception: Hyperion weapons, which actually get more accurate the longer you fire them

* Don’t stand still! Learn to shoot while moving
  • Standing makes you an easy target; moving sideways while firing (“strafing”) makes you harder to hit
  • You will always move slower backward; if something is running straight at you, move/jump sideways
  • Running in circles can be a viable strategy; just don’t do it while screaming like a little girl!

* Aim for the squishy bits!
  • Everything has a critical hit location, such as the head.
  • Hitting crits do more damage than regular shots
  • Some weapons, skills, gear, and perks boost critical hit damage
  • Scoring critical hits means faster kills using less ammo

* You can zoom in for a better view (LT/L1 on console)
  • Aiming down sights (ADS) makes it easier to land critical hits BUT…
  • ADS considerably slows down both your movement and tracking speed. Zoom in, shoot, zoom out, move.
  • Never. Stand. Still.

* Behind you!
  • It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, but your mini-map can help: Check it often (just like your mirrors while driving) so you don’t get hit from behind
  • No red dots and no battle music mean you’re done – for now!
  • Although there aren’t too many at this point, watch out for hazards such as cliff edges (falling of the map kills you) and barrels – If present, you can take advantage of barrels and fuel tanks to blow up enemies in cover. Or, they can blow you up instead…

Out of ammo?
  • If there’s an enemy in your face, switch weapon (Y/triangle or D-Pad on console)
  • If the enemy’s health bar is low, try a melee attack (Press LS/L3 on console)
  • If you’re reloading, duck into cover: some weapons have loooong reload times

* If you need time, jump/run out of the way!
Back to table of contents

Getting the Level on Levels

At some point during the fight, you may well have Levelled Up. Once you hit level 5, you’ll gain a point for each level that you put into your skill tree to develop your character. For now, just note that your level also determines your base health and melee damage. The same is true of the enemies you face; their level is determined by the level of the map you are in: they can be anywhere from 2 levels below to 2 levels above the map level, and can drop loot that is from 2 levels below to 1 level above. In NVHM (and TVHM), maps and missions have set initial levels (or a set range of possible levels). The map level is set when you first enter that map; story mission levels are set when you turn in the preceding one, while side quest levels depend on the mission or the map. Certain maps and side quests can level up during NVHM, although most of them don’t. Mission rewards are always at the level of the mission or quest when it is accepted, and not when it is turned in. The amount of experience points (XP) you get depends on your level relative to the enemies: higher level enemies give more XP; if the same enemy is lower level than you, however, you will get greatly reduced XP. Back to table of contents

My First Boss Fight!

As you continue following your guide, you’ll eventually come to your first boss – a large critter by the name of Knuckledragger. The tactics for this fight aren’t very different from basic combat – keep moving, shoot lots of bullets while aiming for the squishy bit, and keep going until the ridiculously large health bar is gone. Partway through, some additional critters (“adds”) will appear. These are there to provide easier targets to gain a second wind from should the boss knock you into Fight For You Life (FFYL). If you can’t see one immediately, quickly check your minimap for the nearest; you’ll be able to turn and move slowly. Kill something, and gain a revive. Once everything is dead, search for loot, keeping an eye open for any green, blue, purple, or orange light spikes indicating a rare loot drop. You’ll also advance to the next story mission, This Town Ain’t Big Enough (lvl.3) All enemies in BL2 have a decreasing chance of dropping increasingly rare items, while all bosses (such as Knuckledragger) have a fixed chance of dropping a specific Legendary item. In Knuckledragger’s case, he has a 1 in 10 chance of dropping the Hornet, a very useful legendary corrosive pistol. When they die, bosses release their loot in a lootsplosion, so it can scatter over a fair area. Take your time and search the whole area; don’t worry if you didn’t get the legendary this time, though – you can get Knuckledragger to spawn again any time you feel like trying your luck. Once you’re done, follow your guide to the map transition. After some dialogue, and completing a task, you can access the map transition to pass through to Southern Shelf and the next part of the story. (Note that this will also save your progress so far.) Back to table of contents

My First Farm!

If you didn’t get the Hornet, you could easily try your luck farming right now: go back immediately through the map transition, and quit-save/restart. You will now spawn inside the Hyperion barge, and Knuckledragger will be right outside; kill him. if you get the drop, great! If not, quit-save/restart and try again until you do. Hopefully, you’ll be successful within 10 tries, but it may take longer – that’s just the way the RNG goes. All bosses are farmable in the same way, but some take longer to get to than others; Knuckledragger is probably one of the fastest farms in the game.
Note: It really isn’t necessary to farm any bosses for gear in NVHM – almost always you can get by with what you find, earn, or buy along the way. I mention it here simply because one of the boss fights in the next section is a lot easier with a corrosive weapon, and this is a good way to get one.
Farming is also counter-productive in NVHM to a large extent, because the bosses and their loot stay locked to the map levels, which are mostly fixed (with one or two exceptions.) The same is true in the second play-through – True Vault Hunter Mode (TVHM) – until everything scales to level 50 after completing the main story (with the exception of any quests already accepted but not completed.)
Back to table of contents

Southern Shelf and Liar’s Berg

* Main Story:
  • This Town Ain’t Big Enough (lvl.3)
  • Best Minion Ever (lvl.5)
* Side quests:
  • Cleaning Up The Berg (lvl.3)
  • Shielded Favours (lvl.3): skin
  • Bad Hair Day (lvl.5): sniper rifle/shotgun
  • Handsome Jack Here (lvl.3): pistol
  • Symbiosis (lvl.5): head (on secondary map Southern Shelf Bay)
    WARNING: With quests like Bad Hair Day that can be handed in to one of two individuals, the person you talk to **first** becomes the only one you can turn the quest in to even if you don’t choose the “Turn In” option when you interact with them. That means the only way to compare the possible rewards is to look up the information on-line, know from a previous play-through, or guess. My personal preference here is the sniper rifle which you get from Sir Hammerlock.
    ###This Town Ain’t Big Enough Once in Southern Shelf, you’ll find yourself on the outskirts of Liar’s Berg, which needs to be cleared of enemies before you might your next main NPC, [spoiler]Sir Alistair Hammerlock[/spoiler]. This particular NPC is important because they have a whole series of side quests that unlock at certain points throughout the game. As soon as you’ve finished This Town…, you’ll unlock Cleaning Up The Berg; completing *that* unlocks Shielded Favours and Bad Hair Day, which may conveniently be done at the same time. Turning those in unlocks Symbiosis, which will take you to a new map area, while killing a specific bandit on your way through the main story will give you a chance to pick up Handsome Jack Here – watch out for something to drop and a [b]![/b] to appear on your map/minimap. That may seem like a lot, but I would strongly recommend doing it all on your first play-through partly for the experience, and partly because one or two of the side quest rewards can be very helpful even though they are only Green rarity items. You’ll also pick up a number of customization heads and skins, and plenty of items that you can choose to sell at the local vending machines. You’ll also probably unlock your first Challenges towards your BAR perks. [i]Back to table of contents[/i] Actually, let’s take a look at some of these things in more detail before continuing with the game: ###[color=wheat]Vending Machines: There are three types of vending machine in the main game: Marcus’ Munitions [color=green]Ammo and [color=brown]Gun and Doctor Zed’s Med machines. Activating one pops up a screen similar to your inventory. You can tabe (LB/L2 and RB/R2 on console) between Purchase, Sell, and Buyback tabs. There’s always a special Item of the Day which will change every 20 minutes – these can be quite useful, as they are often Green, [color=steelblue]Blue or higher rarity items. The Compare button (X/square on console) allows you to quickly compare items for sale with ones in your inventory, and you can change the sort order in both store and inventory easily (RT/R1 and LT/L1 on console.) Vending machines are marked on your map and minimap with a [color=palegreen]$ sign. ###[color=wheat]Comparing Weapons: This seems like a good point to also discuss item rarity and stats. Item rarity goes from [color=white]white (common) through green (uncommon), [color=steelblue]blue (rare), [color=mediumorchid]purple (very rare), to [color=orange]orange (legendary). (There are three other types, but we’ll meet those later.) The higher the rarity then *in general* the greater the value and the better the item stats for the same level gear. That doesn’t necessarily make rarer gear better, though, especially if it’s only one rarity higher. Arguably the single best way to compare two items is simply to use them. Deciding what to sell and what to keep, or what’s best for a specific situation, is not always easy though. When comparing guns (use the “Compare” button in your inventory!) you’ll see little green and red arrows besides the stats. It can be easy to focus just on the base damage (the first stat), but that can be a mistake: fire rate, ammo capacity, and reload speed also make a huge difference to overall performance, and those aren’t the only characteristics. High base damage is no good if you’re spending most of your time reloading the weapon or waiting for the next shot to go off, since that’s time spent NOT damaging your target! You’ll also notice that certain guns will have a multiplier on the damage statistic (X2, X4 etc.) On shotguns, this reflects the number of pellets per round shot. On pistols and certain assault rifles, however, this is the number of rounds per shot: a X2 modifier means it shoots two bullets at once. For higher multipliers, this comes at the expense of increased ammo consumption, which is also noted on the card. An added complication is that certain weapons add *elemental* damage, which can be [color=yellowgreen]corrosive, incendiary, shock, [color=purple]slag, or explosive. Elemental weapons have ~20% lower base damage on their card than their non-elemental equivalents, but with the exception of explosive can deal extra damage-over-time (DoT) from the elemental effect (burn, electrocute, etc.) Explosive weapons deal [splash damage][21] (as do some elemental weapons), meaning don’t need to score a direct hit to take a target down. In addition, flesh targets ([color=red]red health bar) are more susceptible to fire damage, armoured (yellow health bar) to acid, while shields (a secondary blue bar above the health bar) are easily stripped by shock damage. The result is a trade off between the base damage of the weapon and the damage that can be potentially done to the target. The game is fairly balanced, in the sense that you can use either elemental or non-elemental and progress just fine, especially in these early stages. As you continue playing, though, you’ll notice that certain skills and gear synergise better with certain elements and weapon types. So try this out when evaluating a weapon: fire off a couple of shots and hit reload. Once the reload animation is done, ADS and see how long it takes for the aim point to settle down. Does it fire fast enough for you? Can you manage the reload? And is it better than a similar item of the same element? As you play more of the game, you’ll start to get a better feel for how the different weapon types and elements function, and you can get more into the [parts that make things tick][4]; for now, just have fun shooting things! ###[color=wheat]Comparing Shields: A similar situation exsits for shields: there are a variety of types, in multiple rarities, that can also have elemental effects *and immunities*. Most of the shields you are likely to have found by now are just basic shields with a capacity, recharge rate, and recharge delay: the delay is how long you must go without taking damage before the shield starts recharging, while the rate is hoe quickly it returns to full capacity. Some of the additional types of shield you may encounter are: * Absorb – chance to absorb bullets and add them to your ammo * Nova – releases a single elemental nova when depleted; must fully recharge * Roid – boosts your melee damage whenever fully depleted * Spike – deals elemental damage to enemies who melee you when fully charged Other types of shield can adapt to provide elemental resistance, provide damage reduction, and even boost maximum health. Again, the best advice at this stage is simply to try out whatever you have, and see what works best for you. ###[color=wheat]Comparing Grenades: If you’re lucky, you’ll have found at least one grenade mod by now. Don’t worry if you haven’t though – you’re guaranteed to get at least one pretty soon. Grenade mods add elemental damage to your grenades, but also modify stats (base damage, blast radius, and fuse time) and behaviour. Just like weapons and shields, they come in different rarities, including [color=orange]legendary and unique ([color=steelblue]blue red text items.) Here’s a quick guide to the more common types and variations: * Bouncing – bounces in a random path while firing projectiles in all directions * MIRV – splits into multiple bomblets which spread and explode * Singularity – pulls enemies in before exploding * Tesla – creates a shock wall; deals electrical damage to anything in range * Transfusion – a form of MIRV that returns health to you * Homing – seeks out enemies; may not target the one you want * Longbow – teleports to target; ADS before throwing helps you hit your target There are more types and variants, obviously – check the item card description, and try them out for yourself. @Raven_Ghosthawk has some good [additional tips on using grenades][24] in a post below. ###[color=wheat]Customization Skins and Heads: Amongst the items you can get as mission rewards, as well as from all loot sources, are heads (for your characters) and skins (for your character and the different vehicles in game.) These are stored in your inventory until you select them there, at which point they are “used” and become available at an appropriate customization station. For character skins and heads, this is the Quick Change stations, one of which is located on most (all?) maps. The one in Liar’s Berg is across a footbridge from the Fast Travel; these are also marked on your map and minimap. The [random loot generator][3] in the game is weighted to give heads and skins for the characters being used. However, you will sometimes get a head or a skin for a different character. You can go ahead and use these (which means they will already be unlocked should you start or load that character). Alternatively, you can sell them for cash at a vendor, or trade them with another player. [quote] [i][b][color=orange]Glitch:[/b] Note that heads and skins for all characters are stored separately from your game saves, along with a bunch of other things such as your BA Rank and stats (below). This file can become corrupted, resulting in the loss of all heads and skins. While it’s still not entirely clear what causes this to happen, you can greatly reduce the risk by making sure that you always allow saves to complete properly, never attempt to travel while a save is in progress, and always exit the game using the in-game menu.[/i] [/quote] ###Badass Rank and Perks: If you go to the right-most tab in your inventory, you’ll find your Badass Rank. There is an extensive list of general and map-specific challenges, with up to five tiers for each. Completing a tier earns you a certain number of points; accumulating enough points unlocks your next rank, which gives you a token to spend. When you spend a token, you’re given your choice of five perks chosen at random from a list of fourteen possible character stats (such as Maximum health, Gun damage, etc.) Each rank point assigned provides a small boost to that stat, with the increments decreasing in size as your rank increases. It takes ~150,000 ranks to get 20% in every stat, for example, but additional increments are around 0.1-0.2% at that point. Some players concentrate their tokens in particular stats and avoid others (e.g. shield stats) in order to take advantage of specific gear and certain game mechanics. This is not necessary for your very first character in NVHM. My suggestion is: spend them where you like, but don’t concentrate them all in one or two stats. One caveat: once spent, you [b]cannot reassign[/b] BAR tokens; you can, however, turn all your BAR stats on and off from the same inventory tab. Finally, you total BAR and stats allocations are stored along with your heads and skins in a single file, and are independent of your game save. This means that your BAR is tied to your profile, and shared across any characters you create. ###Action Skills (1) If you’re up to at least level 6 by this point, you’ll be ready to start building out your character’s [skill tree][8]. The first point goes to unlock the action skill itself. Subsequent points can be assigned to skills in successive tiers across three separate “trees”; assigning 5 points in the first tier of a tree unlocks the next *in that tree*. Looking at [Axton][9], for example, you can see that he has two skills in tier 1 for each of his [color=limegreen]Guerilla, [color=skyblue]Gunpowder, and [color=indianred]Survival trees. (You can also check out [Gaige][10], [Krieg][11], [Maya][12], [Salvador][13], and [Zer0][14] at the same site.) [quote] [i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/b] Unlike Badass Rank tokens, you can [b]reassign skill points whenever you want to[/b] – just head to the nearest Quick Change station. It will cost you a small % of your available cash, but you will never be unable to respec. You can also change your character’s name, head, and skin while you’re at it.[/i] [/quote] It really doesn’t matter where you put your first few points – they don’t even need to be in the same tree. I tend to go with certain skills just to get going, knowing full well that I will respec later on anyway. Don’t feel that you have to do what anyone else does at this stage. That said, here’s some things to think about: * Axton: if you’re going to use the turret much, [color=limegreen]Sentry is a must; [color=skyblue]Impact and [color=indianred]Preparation are also useful. * Gaige: if you’re new to FPS, or intend to use the [color=indianred]Organized Chaos tree, start with [color=limegreen]Close Enough; Cooking Up Trouble and [color=skyblue]Myelin are also useful early on. * Krieg: difficult choices! That said, [color=skyblue]Pull the Pin can be very satisfying. The [color=limegreen]Bloodlust tree builds on *stacks*: causing damage gives you +1 bloodlust stack; stacks decay with time but skills like [color=limegreen]Blood-filled Guns give you temporary boost based on your current number of stacks. If you’re fighting a mob of enemies, this particular combination means you won’t need to reload quite as often… * Maya: the entire first tier is good. If you’re playing co-op, though, invest in [color=skyblue]Sweet Release early! * Salvador: another set of tough choices. Early-game, I like to take [color=skyblue]Inconceivable, [color=skyblue]Filled to the Brim, and [color=indianred]Hard to Kill * Zer0: If you’re going melee initially, I’d suggest [color=skyblue]C0unter Strike, [color=indianred]Killing Bl0w, or [color=indianred]Ir0n Hand. For sniper/gunslinger builds, go the other way. And remember, these are only *mild suggestions* – try stuff and, if it doesn’t work for *you*, respec. Now, on with the story… [i]Back to table of contents[/i] — ###Best Minion Ever Alright, back to the main story quest. Make sure you’ve figured out your gear and loaded up on ammo, and that you have about an hour of free time… Also, if you wren’t able to get a [color=yellowgreen]corrosive weapon, a decent Torgue explosive assault rifle or shotgun might well come in handy. [quote] [i][b][color=orange]Warning:[/b] Because the ***only*** Fast Travel is in Liar’s Berg, you will need enough time to clear two small camps, a boss fight, one extremely large and long camp, and a second boss fight **before** you are able to take the next map transition. While there are multiple save points along the way, should you need to quit and restart later you will be all the way back in Liar’s Berg. You have been warned![/i] [/quote] Talk to your guide, and follow him away from Liar’s Berg towards Gateway Harbor. If you rush ahead of him, you can gain some extra experience points by clearing the first two camps twice: your guide will pause periodically to make sure you have “caught up” with him; when you go back and trigger his movement to the next location, the bandits in the camp will immediately respawn. When you clear each area, don’t forget to check for loot – especially large chests hidden in odd corners where you’d easily miss them by rushing through. (If you want to know where everything is, you can check out @CountKarloff’s BL2 Loot Maps, but be warned – [**SPOILERS BE HERE!**][5]) After clearing areas and checking in with your guide a couple of times, you’ll be ready for the next boss fight at the Wreck of the Ice Sickle – actually, a pair of bosses who each have a chance to drop the [[color=orange]legendary Bonus Package][6] MIRV grenade mod. Even if neither of them drop this, you’re still guaranteed to pick up a few other grenade mods as a result of this fight. Since this guide is supposed to be as spoiler-free as possible, I won’t go into details other than to say that there are a couple of tactical positions you can exploit to make things easier for yourself. You should also have your action skill by now, so use it! Axton’s turret (if placed correctly) and Gaige’s Deathtrap can carry a fair load here. If you die, you’ll respawn near the camp you came through earlier; take the opportunity to scope out the location you have to fight in, and use the terrain and features to your advantage. And remember what we said earlier about elements and enemy types! After successfully bossing the bosses, you part company with your guide for while. The path you need to follow is pretty clear, though, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to develop your combat skills. Remember, if things get hairy you can always fall back to regroup, reload, and look for ammo and gear; the enemies won’t respawn behind you (unless you take waaaaay to long, or have to quite and restart.) Eventually, you’ll work your way up to the deck of the Soaring Dragon, and the next boss fight. Again, no spoilers, but I will give you a few pointers: * [color=orange]Keep off of the deck grills: You. Will. Burn! * If all players are dead at the same time, the boss’ health bar resets; try not to die! * Many bosses have a sequence to their attacks, in which they go through different phases * Examples include a ground-pound, unleashing a powerful nova, and a flying leap melee attack * There’s always a distinctive animation (and possibly a call-out) ahead of each phase * Some phases give the boss partial or complete immunity; pay attention and don’t waste ammo! * This particular boss still has his critical spot during his immunity phase though (if you can see it!) * For this fight, explosive and non-elemental weaponry are your best friends * If you die, there’s an ammo machine right where you respawn. Just sayin’… When it’s all said and done, look for the boss’ guaranteed drop: a [color=steelblue]blue rarity, red text [unique fire pistol][7]. [color=steelblue]Blue uniques like this have a ***hidden stat*** hinted at by the red text on the item card, which makes them more powerful than you might think from the numbers alone. Also, you know the drill by now: loot, reload, move on. Once you’ve taken the map transition to Three Horns Divide, you can safely save-quit and take a breather. Congratulations, Vault Hunter! [i]Back to table of contents[/i] — ##Three Horns Divide * Main Story: – [The Road to Sanctuary (lvl.6-7) ###The Road to Sanctuary (Part 1) Welcome back, Vault Hunter! Continuing from the boat in Three Horns Divide, you will get a series of waypoints taking you through the main story to reach Sanctuary. The first of these is an area with some vending machines but, if you’d rather, you can quickly return to Liar’s Berg by taking the map transition on the ship you just sailed in on. It will “ferry” you back to the shoreline below Liar’s Berg, leaving you with just a quick sprint up the hill. You can come back the same way, now that you’ve unlocked Three Horns Divide. Back to Three Horns, though: Your first stop is a bandit camp called Fishguts Outpost. You can either try to sneak in up the left-hand side, or charge in through the front door. There are two waves of bandits that spawn here, including a badass variety – Nomads – which you should prioritize. Well, unless you see a bandit running towards you with his arm straight up in the air laughing like a maniac: take them out quickly from the legs up (you’ll soon see why!) Fetch the item you need and head back to the vending machines. Completing this stage of the main story gets you access to your first vehicle at the Catch-A-Ride: note that you have a choice of turret gun or rocket launcher. There’s also a gun on the front of the vehicle, so you can fire both while driving around in solo play. Immediately after you jump the bridge, there’s an area you can loot immediately to the right of where the mission marker is leading. (You’ll come back to the same area during the later side quest In Memoriam.) Either way, continue the mission by driving through Thirty Below, which will give you plenty of chance to practice killing things with your vehicle. ###[color=wheat]Vehicle 101: Even if ramming enemies with your vehicle doesn’t kill them out-right, it will stun them long enough for you to either shoot them or run over them a few times. Keep an eye on your vehicle’s health though: if you see flames and smoke, she’s gonna blow! You don’t die with your vehicle, but it does leave you vulnerable. Also, any health boosts from your skill tree are temporarily removed when you enter a vehicle, so you may notice that you are not at full health when you first get out of it. [b][color=orange]Tip:[/b] Can’t remember where you left your vehicle? Have no fear, your map is here! A vehicle-shaped icon will appear on both the minimap and your main inventory map. ###The Road to Sanctuary (Part 2) Follow the road to Snowbound Crossroads, where you’ll find the Fast Travel station, vending machines, and a Catgh-A-Ride. Take the turn towards the map marker to find Sanctuary, and bandits at the gate! Deal with the bandits, check in at the gate, then mount up and head to your new mission objective in the Marrowfield. On your way through this area to the mext marker, you may well encounter one of the oddball mini-bosses in the game. I say that because, unlike pretty much every other boss with a designated [color=orange]legendary drop, this one is introduced without narration, a story mission, or a side quest. It’s almost like he was supposed to be part of the story somehow, but the writers never quite got around to giving him one. Poor guy – no wonder he seems so angry! If you’re lucky, and he spawns, he *may* drop you the much sought-after [color=orange]Unkempt Harold Torgue pistol; if you’re really lucky, it’ll be the preferred Double Penetrating variant. This is one of the most powerful handguns in the game, so you don’t really want it yet – it would make things way too easy! Anyway, keep pushing to the next marker. Once you find the person you’ve been sent to find, continue a little further along the same path to the cluster of buildings tucked away right in the back corner – there’s another chest here. Then double back to your new objective in yet another bandit camp. There are two possible sources for the item you need to retreive, as indicated by two area way-points showing up on your minimap once you get close enough. I find it easier to go left initially, grab the item, and then clear the rest of the camp. Whatever you decide to do, you should absolutely check out the entire camp before heading back to Sanctuary – there’s lots of loot, and part of one challenge to be had here. SPOILER ALERT – [here’s another loot map!][15] ###[color=wheat]Flying Enemies: By this point, you’ll have encountered at least some flying enemies. They can be a bit of a pain! Axton’s turret can shoot them, Gaige’s robot can zap them (even throgh rock and metal!), and Maya can phaselock them in place, but what about the other characters? First, weapons: a rapid, quick reload pistol, SMG, or shotgun works well. Secondly, terrain: standing with your back to a wall or cliff forces them to only attack from the front, giving you a better chance of hitting them first. If you lose sight of them, check your minimap: those swirling red dots are what you’re looking for. Anyway, head back to Sanctuary and check in at the gate to unlock the next map… [i]Back to table of contents[/i] — ##Sanctuary * Main Story: – Plan B (lvl.7)Hunting the Firehawk (lvl.8) (Three Horns/Frostburn Canyon; unlocked by Plan B) * Side Quests (1): – Claptrap’s Secret StashDo No Harm (+character intro cut-scenes ahoy!) – Rock, Paper, Genocide parts 1-4 (+character intro cut-scene) * Side Quests (2): – Assassinate the Assassins (lvl.8): pistol/SMG (Southpaw Steam & Power) – The Name Game (lvl.8): shotgun/shield (Three Horns Divide, or anywhere with [color=orangered]Bullymongs) – Medical Mystery (lvl.8) (Three Horns Valley; unlocked by Do No Harm) ###Plan B The main story picks up once you take the map transition into Sanctuary. Note that this is one of the few areas (like Claptrap’s Place) where enemies do not spawn. Simply follow the quest stages/markers, talk to the various NPCs, and perform tasks. Once you enter the town of Sanctuary and approach the garage, you’ll trigger the first of several cut-scenes introducing key NPCs; make sure you talk to each one following the cut-scene, or you’ll keep getting them every time you return to Sanctuary! [quote] ###[color=orange]Miss Moxxi’s Tip Jar: When you enter the bar in Sanctuary, you’ll notice that Moxxi (a well-known NPC from Borderlands 1) has a tip jar. [b][color=orange]Before you put any money in this[/b], you need to know that after a certain number (or amount?) of tips, Moxxi will give you a [color=orchid]purple rarity [color=yellowgreen]corrosive SMG called the [color=orchid]Bad Touch: [b][color=orange]On XBox 360, you can only get this weapon once per character[/b], so you may want to save it until you need it. In the PC/Steam and PS3/digital versions, you can obtain this once per play-through (so [color=wheat]NVHM, [color=wheat]TVHM, etc.) It’s not clear why this discrepancy between versions exists. Subsequently (after ~10 tips on average), she will give you a [color=steelblue]blue unique fire SMG called the [color=steelblue]Good Touch, which you can get multiple times per character per play-through. Moxxi weapons are valued because a portion of all damage dealt while you have them equipped is returned to you as health. I suggest taking the [color=orchid]Bad Touch in [color=wheat]NVHM with your first character, then passing it down through the stash to the next; that character can then take their [color=orchid]Bad Touch in [color=wheat]TVHM, and so on. [/quote] I suggest you keep following the main story right through until you complete this quest; this will start your introduction to key features of Sanctuary, namely the Bank Vault and the Black Market. Completing this quest automatically unlocks the next story mission (Hunting the Fireehawk). Before you do that, though, take the time to complete the local side quests, level up, and buy & sell gear. ###Sanctuary Side Quests (1): [quote] [i][b][color=orange]Note:[/b] There are a lot of side quests in this game, so I won’t cover them all in this guide. Instead, I will focus on the ones that give you some immediate benefit (or a chance at useful loot) at key stages in the main story progress. You can do *all* the side quests as they unlock if you want to, but you risk becoming over-levelled for some of them on [color=wheat]NVHM due to the fixed map scaling. If you’re finding the game hard, do more; if you’re finding it too easy, skip any you don’t need. (This advice changes dramatically for the third play-though, [color=wheat]Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode (UVHM)![/i] [/quote] Time to look around! Head to the various **!** markers for quests and introductions from Claptrap (Claptrap’s Stash, Dr. Zed (Do No Harm), and Marcus. This will also acquaint you with Patricia Tannis, who will have quests for you later. Marcus will also show you his “test dummy” during the course of his quest, which is a useful spot to test out gear. Once you have finished this first set, and thoroughly explored the town, you can pick up the side quest The Name Game (see Sir Hammerlock in Moxxi’s Bar), which can conveniently be done on your way through the next main story mission: Hunting the Firehawk.

#[color=cyan]Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players Part 2[/color]
[color=yellow]Your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, covering [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color].[/color]

Continuing the [color=wheat][b]Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM)[/b][/color] play-through from [Part 1 of this guide][1]. As before, [color=cyan]cyan headings[/color] denote missions, while other colours denote [color=yellow]main sections[/color], [color=wheat]gear and weapons[/color], or [color=lightblue]skills[/color] entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.

Special thanks to the following for comments and corrections: @Gut0nez, @Worblehat, @khimerakiller

##<a name=”TOC2″ />[color=orange]Outline:[/color]

* [Part 1: From [color=lightblue]Windshear Waste[/color] to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]][1]
* <a href=”#Sanctum2″>[color=yellow]Sanctuary[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#3HornS2″>[color=yellow]Three Horns Divide (2)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#NameGame”>[color=cyan]The Name Game[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Combat2″>[color=wheat]Combat Basics (2)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Frostburn1″>[color=yellow]Frostburn Canyon[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Firehawk”>[color=cyan]Hunting The Firehawk[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Eridium”>[color=wheat]Eridium and Upgrades[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#ClassMods”>[color=wheat]Comparing Class Mods[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Action2″>[color=lightblue]Action Skills (2)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Eternal”>[color=cyan]Cult Following[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#3Horns3″>[color=yellow]Three Horns Divide (3)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Memory”>[color=cyan]In Memoriam[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#3HornsV”>[color=yellow]Three Horns Valley[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#PowerUp”>[color=cyan]No Vacancy[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#DocMystery”>[color=cyan]Medical Mystery[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#ETech”>[color=orchid]E-Tech Weapons[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Assassins”>[color=cyan]Assassinate the Assassins[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#TheDust”>[color=yellow]The Dust (1)[/color]</a>
* [Part 3: [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color] to [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color]][17]
* [Part 4: [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color] to [color=lightblue]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color]][18]
* [Part 5: [color=lightblue]Thousand Cuts[/color] to [color=lightblue]Control Core Angel[/color]][P5]
* [Part 6: [color=lightblue]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] to [color=lightblue]?[/color]][P6]

##<a name=”Sanctum2″ />[color=yellow]Sanctuary[/color]

If you didn’t do so already, finish exploring [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color], gear up, stock up, assign any [color=lightblue]BAR tokens[/color] or [color=lightblue]skill points[/color], and pick up the side quest [color=cyan]The Name Game[/color] if you haven’t already done so. It’s time to head back out to [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide[/color]! I’m going to assume that you take the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] to do so, which means you’ll spawn beside the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] near [color=lightblue]Snowbound Crossroads[/color], and a good spot to start [color=cyan]The Name Game[/color]

##<a name=”3Horns2″ />[color=yellow]Three Horns Divide (2)[/color]

* Main Story:
– [color=cyan]Hunting the Firehawk (lvl.8):[/color] [color=white]class mod[/color]
* Side Quests (2):
– [color=cyan]The Name Game (lvl.8):[/color] [color=lime]shotgun/shield[/color]

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] You can easily switch between missions in the first tab of your inventory. Checking the map will show you where the next way point for the currently selected mission is located, so you can quickly toggle between the main and side quest missions[/i]

###<a name=”NameGame” />[color=cyan]The Name Game[/color]

When you have this side quest selected as the active mission, you’ll notice that both a primary and secondary objective show up in the top-right of the [color=lightblue]HUD[/color] (just below the minimap.) If you want to check off both, you’ll need to complete the secondary before completing the primary. In this case, the secondary objective applies to the side quest as a whole. It’s pretty easy to complete the secondary straight away though: the area immediately facing you always spawns a few Bullymongs, while the remainder can be found directly behind you by going through the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color]. To complete the primary objective (searching Bullymong piles), you’ll actually need to hit the normal selection button (X/square on console) rather than melee, though.

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] Throughout both parts of [color=lightblue]Three Horns[/color], you’ll encounter [color=lightblue]Stinging Cactus[/color] plants, which are well-named. Shooting (or driving into!) one will activate its effect; they can be used to hurt enemies, but will also hurt you if in range. If you’re playing co-op and your partner is goofing off near one…[/i]

The remainder of this side quest is pretty straight forward. I’d recommend getting a vehicle, as you may need to explore a bit to find enough Bullymongs to complete the quest. When it comes to shooting their projectiles out of the air, good bets are either your vehicles turret gun, or a high fire-rate, short reload time pistol, SMG, or AR. Once completed, either head back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color], or switch to the main story quest and drive towards the map marker. Drive over the bridge, then fight your way through the [color=lightblue]Marrowfields[/color] bandit camp to the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] for [color=lightblue]Frostburn Canyon[/color].

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Combat2″>[color=wheat]Combat Basics (2)[/color]

If you haven’t already, you’ll encounter some more badass enemies here, so we should talk a little more about combat tactics:

* [color=orangered]Pyro Nomads[/color]
– These guys have an [color=lightblue]elemental resistance[/color] (which you may be able to guess!) Any time you see the word [color=red]RESIST[/color] pop up while shooting an enemy, you’ll know you should probably switch to a different elemental weapon. If you can get *behind* these guys, a couple of shots can blow up their back-packs…
* [color=orangered]Badass Nomads[/color]
– These guys hide behind a large, spiked shield, making it hard to take them down. There’s a small notch they fire around, which you can hit (if you’re really good.) A better strategy is to use anything that deals [color=yellow]explosive[/color] or other splash damage, which can get around the shield. If they’re near a barrel, shoot it! They’ll periodically throw up their arms, exposing themselves (no, not like that!) to your bullets.
* [color=orangered]Goliaths[/color] (5 levels)
– These guys are mentioned in some of the hints that show up during load times. If you land a head-shot, it knocks their head off. You have a few moments of animation in which to take them down or *[color=orange]they evolve into a higher level version[/color]*. They can do this up to five times. The value of loot dropped, as well as their health and damage scale with level, so that can be bad, but there’s an interesting side effect that can work to your advantage…

I’ll also come back to something I mentioned in [part 1][1]: these enemies will occasionally charge-melee you which, depending on your relative levels, can easily knock you into [color=red]FFYL[/color]. It’s tempting to just start back-pedalling while shooting, but you can ***not*** out-run them this way. You can, however, buy yourself some space by *jumping backwards*, provided that there are no obstacles (walls, cliffs, stairs…) behind you. The other workable strategies are to: (1) hit them with a grenade or explosive shot (stuns them momentarily and breaks the attack); or (2) run sideways in a circle. Option two works well in tight spaces.

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Frostburn1″>[color=yellow]Frostburn Canyon[/color]</a>

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] The first time you enter any map, may want to check out the map-specific challenges; you can do them as you follow the story, or come back later specifically to complete them all. Note that a few of the challenges are tied to the story mission and so are missable. You can complete these in the next play-through, but this can be harder due to the different scaling between modes.[/i]

###<a name=”Firehawk” />[color=cyan]Hunting The Firehawk[/color]

You enter the map near the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]. Follow the screaming around to the right (!) You can either keep to the right and head down into the lower part of the [color=lightblue]Incinerator Camp[/color], or pass between the rocks, around the end of the fence, and into the upper portion. You will find plenty of [color=orangered]bandits[/color] of all flavours, and lots of loot. Note that some spawns only occur when you pass certain points or enter certain buildings, so be on your toes! I usually end up making two or three trips back to the vending machines before continuing. You can also fast travel to and from [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] if you want to stash gear or hit the other vendors.

Once you’ve cleared and looted the [color=lightblue]Incinerator Camp[/color], head towards the marker at the cave entrance. (Look carefully beside the save point right in the entrance…) Start heading through the cave system (keep to the right at the first fork) following the markers and looting as you go. Also, new enemy types which you may remember if you played [color=wheat]Borderlands 1[/color] – [color=orangered]Spiderants[/color]! You’ll work your way up some flights of metal stairs until you come out in a narrow canyon, and eventually arrive at the [color=lightblue]Ashmouth Camp[/color]. There’s a lot to do and see here, so take your time. Also, plenty of nomads, pyro nomads, and goliaths to play with, along with some carefully hidden loot chests.

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] Keep an ear open: [color=orangered]Nomads[/color] and [color=orangered]goliaths[/color] have some of the best dialogue lines in the game, and the delivery is perfect.[/i]

Once you’ve done it all, head on into the [color=lightblue]Lair of the Firehawk[/color], being careful to avoid the traps and NOT fall into the crevasse. (Did you notice the black scorch marks? No? Bet you will next time!) You’ll eventually reach an area with a couple of [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]: this is a good time to pause and do some trading. Once you’re ready, continue into the main lair across the bridge towards some pretty badass looking [color=orangered]Bruisers[/color] to trigger the cut-scene and find out that the Firehawk is really [spoiler]Ha! Bet you thought I was going to tell you![/spoiler].

After some dialogue and interactions, you’ll be into a fairly intense fight, in which you will be somewhat aided by the Firehawk. I say, “Somewhat”, because the Firehawk is a bit of a kill-stealer: not the end of the world, unless you were just about to second-wind off that particular enemy… There are a few ammo chests in the area if you run low. You can beat a retreat back to the vending machines but be warned: the psychos *will* follow you back there, where they will spawn-camp you should you die. Just remember the tactics mentioned above, and you should be ok. Just don’t accidentally jump off the edge of one of the platforms or the bridge!

[i][b][color=orange]Warning:[/color][/b] If you turn the mission in to the Firehawk when the fight is over (when the [color=greem][b]?[/b][/color] appears) ***[color=orange]do not[/color]*** immediately rush to the [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]. Wait for the story event to unfold; you can jump back down from where you are to get to the [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color] (this will make sense once you’ve played the game.) Alternatively, visit the [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color] *before* turning in the mission![/i]

Once you hand this mission in, the main story advances to [color=cyan]A Dam Fine Rescue (lvl.12)[/color] and you’re ready to head out back to the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and head back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]. This also unlocks the side quests [color=cyan]Cult Following: Eternal Flame (lvl.8, four parts)[/color] and [color=cyan]In Memoriam (lvl.11)[/color], both of which can be obtained from [spoiler]**The Firehawk!**[/spoiler].

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Eridium” />[color=wheat]Eridium and Upgrades[/color]

You will have already purchased at least one item from [color=lightblue]Crazy Earl[/color] in the [color=lightblue]Black Market[/color] in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]. You’ll probably have (or soon will have) enough [color=orchid]eridium[/color] to purchase additional [color=lightblue]storage deck upgrades (SDUs)[/color] to increase the ammount of ammo you can carry, as well as extra storage in you inventory and the [color=lightblue]bank vault[/color].

A few important notes:
* Purchasing [color=lightblue]ammo[/color] SDUs also adds that type of ammo into your storage, so don’t stock up on ammo first!
* The [color=lightblue]Backpack[/color] SDUs add three slots each; this is the one in the “item of the day” position
* The [color=lightblue]Bank[/color] SDUs only add two slots each; this is the one in the same list as the ammo SDUs

Different tiers of SDU cost increasing amounts of [color=orchid]eridium[/color], as you might expect: [color=white]White[/color] = 4; [color=lime]Green[/color] = 8; [color=steelblue]Blue[/color] = 12; [color=orchid]Purple[/color] = 16; and [color=orange]Orange[/color] = 20. The [color=wheat]UVHM[/color] expansions added additional tiers costing even more [color=orchid]eridium[/color]. The maximum number of backpack slots you can get is 39 (in addition to your final total of 4 weapons and 4 equipment slots).

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

###<a name=”ClassMods” />[color=wheat]Comparing Class Mods[/color]

[color=lightblue]Class mods[/color] (also called COMs for “Class Optimization Module” in [color=wheat]Borderlands 1[/color]) are an equipment item that provide static boosts to player statistics. That is, the boosts are persistent while the [color=lightblue]class mod[/color] is equipped, and do not require a kill to activate. This includes things like maximum health, shield stats, accuracy, etc., but may also include health or ammo regeneration (either individual or team!), or boosts to the performance of specific weapon types.

Further, [color=lime]green[/color] and higher rarity [color=lightblue]class mods[/color] will apply additional skill points to specific skills within the characters skill tree. As a result, it is possible to get more than the apparent maximum number of points in any skill (up to a maximum of [color=lightblue]11/5[/color] in the case of high level [color=lightblue]blue rarity[/color] [color=lightblue]class mods[/color].) [color=lightblue]Class mods[/color] in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color] will add fewer points than those obtained in the other modes. The number of skills that get boosted depends on the rarity:

* [color=white]White (common)[/color] – no skills boosted (stats only)
* [color=lime]Green (uncommon)[/color] – one skill boosted (plus stats)
* [color=steelblue]Blue (rare)[/color] – two skills boosted (plus stats)
* [color=orchid]Purple (very rare)[/color] – three skills boosted (plus stats)
* [color=orange]Orange (legendary)[/color] – four to six skills boosted (plus stats)

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Skills2″ />[color=lightblue]Action Skills (2):[/color]

By now you should be closing in on [color=lightblue]level 11[/color]. If you put 5 points into the same skill tree, this means you will be able to start looking at the second tier skills. (Reminder: [Axton][2], [Gaige][3], [Krieg][4], [Maya][5], [Salvador][6], and [Zer0][7].) Whether you do so with your next skill point, or after selecting a few more first tier skills, now is a good time to talk a little more about skills and builds:

* Axton: while [color=limegreen]Laser Sight[/color] looks great on paper, it turns out to not work that well. You’ll get more out of spending your skill points elsewhere.
* Gaige: [color=limegreen]Buck Up[/color] is ok, but sometimes Deathtrap will try to recharge your shields while you are in [color=red]FFYL[/color] instead of killing something for you; [color=skyblue]The Stare[/color] is OK in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], but doesn’t scale well later on.
* Krieg: Only take [color=limegreen]Bloody Revival[/color] if you intend to concentrate on AR weapons. Early on, I’d go more with the assumption that you will use whatever are the best weapons you have at the time.
* Maya: Even if you are playing co-op, I’d suggest starting [color=skyblue]Wreck[/color] before [color=skyblue]Restoration[/color]; I’d personally take [color=indianred]Immolate[/color] over [color=indianred]Helios[/color], but it probably doens’t matter too much in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color].
* Salvador: again, personal preference, but I’d suggest [color=limegreen]All I Need Is One[/color] over [color=limegreen]I’m Your Huckleberry[/color], and [color=skyblue]Last Longer[/color] over [color=skyblue]All In The Reflexes[/color]
* Zer0: [color=indianred]Be Like Water[/color] encourages a very fluid play-style for hybrid gun-melee builds but isn’t as much use if you’re focussing solely on sniper or melee; [color=skyblue]Ambush[/color] and [color=indianred]Grim[/color] will work on any build.

A few comments on the above. First, you’ll notice that a number of the second tier skills are [color=gold]kill skills[/color]; that is, they activate when you kill an enemy, and give you a temporary boost to certain stats. You can tell when these have activated because a [color=gold]gold icon[/color] will light up above or below your XP bar.

Second, one of the things to consider in selecting skills is how they synergise with your equipment, your preferred play-style, and the other skills you choose. Good synergy means getting the most out of your skill points. Finally, if you look at the skill guides for each character, you’ll often see some skills marked as “sub-par” or “bad”. This typically reflects the fact that the damage dealt by the skills doesn’t scale well in [color=wheat]Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode (UVHM)[/color]; they may well work fine in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], though. Back to the story…

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Eternal” />[color=cyan]Cult Following (Four Parts)[/color]

Before we move on to the next map, there is one more side quest in [color=lightblue]Frostburn Canyon[/color] worth completing: [color=cyan]Cult Following[/color]. There are four parts to this, each having it’s own reward. The final part yields the [color=orange]legendary[/color] shield, the [[color=orange]Flame of the Firehawk[/color]][8] When depeleted, this shield fires repeated [color=darkorange]incendiary[/color] novas until it starts recharging. I would recommend completing this quest now, just because the shield will get you through some critical missions fairly soon. In [color=wheat]TVHM[/color] or [color=wheat]UVHM[/color], though, I’d save it until you had completed the story and reached max level. You can still do parts 1 to 3 at this stage; if you want to save the shield for later, though, be very careful to [color=orange]***NOT***[/color] accept part 4 after turning in part 3.

If you didn’t already pick this mission up, talk to the [color=lightblue]Firehawk[/color], then head back to [color=lightblue]Frostburn Canyon[/color] and speak to [color=lightblue]Incinerator Clayton[/color] just outside the [color=lightblue]Incinerator Camp[/color].

[color=cyan]Part 1 – Eternal Flame[/color]: this is easily done in the top level of the incinerator camp [color=lightblue]Incinerator Camp[/color], provided that you’re careful and don’t go rushing all the way in. Remember that enemies that are shielded or resist [color=darkorange]fire[/color] damage can have their health whittled down using non-elemental weapons first; just finish them off with a [color=darkorange]fire[/color] weapon (Maliwan pistols and SMGs are good for this mission.) Report back to [color=lightblue]Incinerator Clayton[/color] to turn in and collect part 2.

[color=cyan]Part 2 – False Idols[/color]: head back towards the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] but keep to the far right and head up slope. Fight your way through the camp, then continue on down the hill to kill the false idol. You’ll want to use [color=yellow]explosive[/color] weapons and grenades if you have them. Note that this repeatable boss has a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] [color=darkorange]incendiary[/color] SMG, the [[color=orange]Hellfire[/color]][9]. You can either had back the way you came, or continue across the ice shelf: rounding the corner will reveal two paths – the nearer leads to a set of metal stairs and a series of camps that run along the cliffs above the [color=lightblue]Incinerator Camp[/color], while the farther cave entrance actually takes you back into the cave system you ran through for the [color=cyan]Firehawk[/color] mission. I take both routes ๐Ÿ™‚

[color=cyan]Part 3 – Lighting the Match[/color]: this takes you back to [color=lightblue]Southern Shelf[/color]; take the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] to [color=lightblue]Liar’s Berg[/color] and then run down through [color=lightblue]Gateway Harbor[/color] and the [color=lightblue]Wreck of the Ice Sickle (Boom’n’Bewm)[/color] all the way up to the [color=lightblue]Soaring Dragon (Captain Flynt)[/color]. This should be easier since you will be 1 or 2 levels above most of the enemies, but don’t take things for granted! After killing [color=lightblue]Captain Flynt[/color] again, give [color=lightblue]Matchstick[/color] what he wants and head back. A quick return can be had by jumping down from the upper deck to the camp, running through to the [color=lightblue]Ice Sickle[/color], jumping over *its* side in turn, and hoofing it across the ice back to [color=lightblue]Liar’s Berg[/color].

[color=cyan]Part 4: The Enkindling[/color]: The totems you need to ignite are located (1) right beside you at [color=lightblue]Incinerator Clayton[/color]; (2) up in the [color=lightblue]Blisterpuss Camp[/color] (on the way to Scorch); and (3) down in the [color=lightblue]Incinerator Camp[/color] near the cave entrance. After igniting them, take the same route as for the [color=cyan]Firehawk[/color] mission to [color=lightblue]Ashmouth Camp[/color]. Clear all the baddies out, talk to [color=lightblue]Incinerator Clayton[/color], then follow directions as the end of the mission unfolds. Once everything is done, return to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color], turn in to the [color=lightblue]Firehawk[/color], and pick up [color=cyan]In Memoriam[/color].

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] After this, [color=lightblue]Incinerator Clayton[/color] can always be found in [color=lightblue]Ashmouth Camp[/color] by the pyre. He has a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] [color=darkorange]incendiary[/color] rocket launcher, the [[color=orange]Pyrophobia[/color]][10]. If you do find one of these, be sure to check the [description on the wiki][10], as it has a unique mode of action.[/i]

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

##<a name=”3Horns3″ />[color=yellow]Three Horns Divide (3)[/color]

One more side quest in [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide[/color], and it’s on with the main story again!

###<a name=”Memory” />[color=cyan]In Memoriam[/color]

Peel right immediately out of the [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide Catch-A-Ride[/color] and follow road. Look for a path on the left up through cliff just before bridge you took to the [color=lightblue]Frostburn Canyon[/color]exit. Kill the spy, a repeatable boss by the name of [color=lightblue]Boll[/color] who can drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] grenade mod, the [[color=orange]Fastball[/color]][11]. You’ll need to retrieve his echo logs: The first is close by just outside Boll’s camp (look up for a glowy green bit); the second is just off [color=lightblue]Snowbound Crossroads[/color] (again, look for a gren glowy thing to activate); the last is at the far end of [color=lightblue]Thirty Below [/color] (see part 1). Go to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] to collect your reward, then head back out to resume the story. To continue, you’ll need to move on to [color=lightblue]Three Horns Valley[/color]

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

##<a name=”3HornsV” />[color=yellow]Three Horns Valley[/color]

There are two [color=lightblue]map transitions[/color] from [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide[/color] to [color=lightblue]Three Horns Valley[/color], both on the west side of the map. The easiest route is to peel left immediately out of the [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide Catch-A-Ride[/color] and head to the marker. Note that both exits are connected by a tunnel, though, so it really doesn’t matter which you go. Once in the valley, you’ll be able to tackle a number of additional side-quests:

* Main Story:
– [color=cyan]A Dam Fine Rescue (lvl.12):[/color] [color=orchid]eridium[/color]
* Side Quests (4):
– [color=cyan]No Vacancy (lvl.8):[/color] [color=white]skin[/color]
– [color=cyan]Medical Mystery (lvl.8, 2 parts):[/color] [color=magenta]E-tech pistol[/color]
– [color=cyan]Assassinate the Assassins (lvl.8)[/color] ([color=lightblue]Southpaw Steam & Power[/color]): [color=lime]pistol/SMG[/color] and chance for [color=steelblue]various uniques[/color]/[color=orange]SMG[/color]
– [color=cyan]Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Skags (lvl.8):[/color] [color=lime]AR/grenade[/color]

Assuming you went through the nearest (northern) exit, you’ll enter [color=lightblue]Three Horns Valley[/color] facing the dam which constitutes the [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color]. You’ll also notice another side quest marker ([color=yellow]**!**[/color]) on the map, between you and your target and a little off to the right. You’ll need to take this quest in order to enable the map’s [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color], as well as power up a set of vending machines and another [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color].

###<a name=”PowerUp” />[color=cyan]No Vacancy[/color]

Pick up the [color=lightblue]echo log[/color] from the bulletin board, and listen to the message. [color=lightblue]Scooter[/color] will suggest you get things powered up; simply follow his directions then head out to the various locations marked on your map. It doesn’t matter which order you do them in. I like to go back to the entrance and grab the last one first; although it’s pretty easy at this point, on higher modes you may end up losing your vehicle, and there’s a working [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] right by the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] should you need it. You’ll end up driving through multiple skag areas along the way: remember that you can stun them by running over them!

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] If you’re having problems figuring out how to get to the battery that’s on the top of one of the pumps, remember that any green glowy thing you need to activate can also be shot to achieve the same effect! This includes switches, valves, [spoiler]ladders[/spoiler],…[/i]

Note that the most southerly pump is located in [color=lightblue]The Frostsprings[/color], near both [color=lightblue]Doc Mercy’s[/color] lair and [color=lightblue]Southpaw Steam & Power[/color] (the locations for the other two side-quests you picked up in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]). Once you’ve got all the parts, head back to the [color=lightblue]Happy Pig Motel[/color] and get things powered up! Once you turn this side-quest in, you’ll immediately be offered another – [color=lightblue]”Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Skags”[/color]. This is one of only a couple of side quests that I never take in any mode. It’s a mission against the clock, and I find this particular one extremely annoying. If you want to do it, you’re on your own! I’m going to suggest that you complete [color=cyan]Medical Mystery[/color] for [color=lightblue]Doctor Zed[/color] next. You should buy/trade at the [color=lightblue]Happy Pig[/color] vending machines first, though.

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

###<a name=”DocMystery” />[color=cyan]Medical Mystery[/color]

There are two primary entrances to Doc Mercy’s lair (officially known as [color=lightblue]Shock Fossil Cavern[/color]); either one is fine, but I usually take the one already mentioned near [color=lightblue]The Frostsprings[/color].

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] See the [post below][kk] by @khimerakiller for an alternative farming method for Doc Mercy[/i]

You’ll need to mow down a bunch of bandits first; watch out for barrels and fuel tanks, and use them to your advantage! Once you’ve cleared the red dots, approach the map marker with caution: there’s plenty of ammo here should you need it, but once you start climbing the stairs [color=lightblue]Doc Mercy[/color] will appear. He’s basically a badass nomad with one of those metal shields (like the ones in [color=lightblue]Frostburn Canyon[/color], except he also has a shield (blue bar above health bar), and a bunch more health. If you should die (like I did writing this because I shot an explosive round directly into a wall), you’ll likely respawn at the [color=lightblue]Happy Pig[/color]; if you were travelling by vehicle, just go to the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] and choose [color=lightblue]Teleport to Vehicle[/color] directly to save time. Note that [color=lightblue]Doc Mercy[/color] is a repeatable boss who has a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] repeating pistol, the [[color=orange]Infinity[/color]][12].

[color=cyan]Medical Mystery: X-Com-municate[/color]

Examining the fallen Doctor’s corpse turns in the mission and starts part 2, which introduces you to the wonders of [color=magenta]E-tech[/color] weapons. These weapons are treated as a separate category of equal rarity to [color=orchid]purple[/color] gear, but have some interesting and unique properties. Open your inventory, select the weapon you’ve just been given by accepting the mission, equip it into one of your weapon slots, and pause to read the item card. You’ll notice that (1) it’s a type of [color=magenta]Blaster[/color] (most all [color=magenta]e-tech[/color] assault rifles are called [color=magenta]blasters[/color]); (2) it consumes 2 ammo per shot; (3) it has a very large magazine; but (4) it is a very long reload time. This makes it somewhat annoying to use (and more so on higher modes as the weapon damage doesn’t scale well.) The key thing to remember is that the killing blow has to be from this (or another [color=magenta]e-tech[/color]) weapon; you can damage them with any weapon first.

To make things more effecient, make sure you are not wearing a spike or nova shield, and avoid depolying your turret (Axton) or robot (Gaige). To avoid taking too much melee dmage during the long reload time, you can [color=orange]**jump over enemies attacking you and run away!**[/color] You’ll almost certainly run out of targets in [color=lightblue]Shock Fossil Cavern[/color] but, if you came via [color=lightblue]The Frostsprings[/color], the power plant is just outside and there are a bunch more in the exterior portion of the plant. If you run out of ammo (quite likely, unless you play Salvador), head back to the [color=lightblue]Happy Pig[/color] to reload; the bandits near the motel should also respawn by now. Finally, there’s a whole village of them west of the cluster of steam pumps you visited earlier, at [color=lightblue]Split Skull Bay[/color] (where the mail deliver side quest takes place). Once you’ve filled your quota, either detour to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] via the [color=lightblue]Happy Pig fast travel[/color], or press on…

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

###<a name=”ETech”>[color=magenta]E-Tech Weapons[/color]

As mentioned above, [color=magenta]E-tech weapons[/color] are very rare drops found throughout the game. While they can be non-elemental (like the mission weapon in [color=cyan]X-Com-municate[/color] they are more likely to be either [color=yellowgreen]acid[/color], [color=darkorange]fire[/color], [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color], or [color=purple]slag[/color]. Some missions also have [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] [color=magenta]e-tech[/color] weapons as rewards or boss drops. If you find an [color=magenta]e-tech[/color] weapon, it’s worth taking it to the shooting range at [color=lightblue]Marcus Munitions[/color] to test out, since they have [unique firing patterns and behaviours][13]. Most important to note is the sticky, delayed detonation characteristic of the pistols ([color=magenta]spikers[/color] and [color=magenta]darts[/color]) and some shotguns ([color=magenta]splatguns[/color]). The [color=magenta]plasma casters[/color] are particular favourites for many players due to both their splash damage and damage over time (DoT).

###<a name=”Assassins” />[color=cyan]Assassinate the Assassins[/color]

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] I wasn’t sure about including this side quest as part of this [color=wheat]NVHM[/color] guide, as you can easily end up over-levelled – the mission is usually level 8, but I’m often level 10-14 by the time I get to it. On the other hand, you do get some back-story from the [color=lightblue]echo logs[/color] dropped through the quest. Also, if you’ve been unlucky at getting a [color=orange]legendary[/color] or [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color], this quest gives you four additional chances to get one. Your choice![/i]

Take the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] to [color=lightblue]Three Horns Valley[/color], and grab a vehicle to [color=lightblue]Southpaw Steam & Power[/color]. Clear the outer compound, then head inside to access the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color]. Once inside, you’ll find the map [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and a couple of [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]. The map itself is essential a large square, with a series of gates that only unlock once you’ve killed each assassin.

[i][b][color=orange]Caution – Potential Glitches:[/color][/b] Take your time – enemies may occasionally glitch into walls, so you can see a red dot on your minimpa but no visible target. Homing grenades can help if you have them, otherwise you may need to save-quit/restart as each assassin only appears when all the bandits in their area have been killed. Also be careful to let each assassin emerge from their hiding place: if you damage them too soon, they can glitch and remain stuck in their lair.[/i]

As you work your way through the map, watch for Jack’ audio – let it play before continuing if you don’t want to miss anything. There are MANY barrels in this map! The optional mission objectives to kill each assassin with a specific weapon (pistol, sniper, melee, and shotgun) can be tricky, but remember that only the final shot needs to be from the designated weapon. All four assassins ([Wot][15a], [Oney][15b], [Reeth][15c], and [Rouf][15d]) have a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] SMG, the [[color=orange]Emperor[/color]][14], or their designated [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] weapons. Using the optional mission objective weapon doesn’t affect their drop chance for either weapon. Once you completed the mission and handed it in, the assassins are repeatable, although the map – and the level of the drops – remains locked in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color].

[i]Back to table of contents for <a href=”#TOC”>part 1</a> or <a href=”#TOC2″>part 2</a>[/i]

##<a name=”TheDust” />[color=yellow]The Dust (1)[/color]

* Main Story:
– [color=cyan]A Dam Fine Rescue[/color]
* Side Quests (2):
– [color=cyan]Positive Self Image (lvl.13-30)[/color] *See note*
– [color=cyan]Too Close for Missiles (lvl.13-30)[/color] *See note*

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] both side quests level up repeatedly to a maximum level of 30 by the end of the story if you **don’t** accept them now.[/i]

Back in business! Take a vehicle to the [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color] gate in [color=lightblue]Three Horns Valley[/color], and follow instructions: Honk your horn, pull back, and wait for your cue. Go through the adjacent [color=lightblue]map transition[/color]transition [color=lightblue]The Dust[/color], and make for [color=lightblue]Ellie’s Garage[/color]. More spiderants! More Buzzards! Monster Trucks! When you find the garage, there will be an introductory cut-scene, and then you can talk to [color=lightblue]Ellie[/color].

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] A [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] pistol called [color=steelblue]Gwen’s Head[/color] will randomly spawn one of five possible locations on this [map][16]. Keep your eyes open as you drive around![/i]

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] this unlocks an optional side quest from [color=lightblue]Loggins[/color] called [color=cyan]Too Close for Missiles[ (lvl.13)[/color] This is a neat side-quest that you will need to take if you wish to complete the map challenges, but does not yield a highly desirable reward or unlock a repeatable boss.[/i]

Talk to [color=lightblue]Ellie[/color], and follow quest directions. There are three main areas for bandit technical, marked by area way points on your map. Since they are on a respawn timer, you may want to save-quit/restart if they don’t appear. Remember that you can both boost and brake your vehicle, which can be helpful when chasing the bandit technicals. Once you get all the parts, return to [color=lightblue]Ellie[/color] to unlock both the bandit technical in the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] and the optional side-quest [color=cyan]Positive Self Image (lvl.13)[/color] (this yields a [color=steelblue]blue[/color] rarity [color=lightblue]relic[/color] which won’t be useful for a while.) Get a bandit technical, and head back to the [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color] gate. Honk, go in, clear the bandits, and kill yet another giant badass nomad. Enter the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to unlock [color=yellow]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color] in the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color]. The next part of the story is pretty lengthy, so now is a good time to head to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] and hit the vendors, bank, and black market for upgrades.

[i]<a href=”#TOC2″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]


#[color=cyan]Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players[/color]
[color=yellow]Part 3 of your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, covering [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color] to [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color].[/color]

Continuing the [color=wheat][b]Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM)[/b][/color] play-through from [part 1][1] and [part 2][2] of this guide. As before, [color=cyan]cyan headings[/color] denote missions, while other colours denote [color=yellow]main sections[/color], [color=wheat]gear and weapons[/color], or [color=lightblue]skills[/color] entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.

###<a name=”TOC3″ />[color=yellow]Outline:[/color]

* [Part 1: [color=lightblue]Windshear Waste[/color] to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]][1]
* [Part 2: [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color]][2]
* <a href=”#BSnR”>[color=yellow]Bloodshot Stronghold & Ramparts[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Golden”>[color=wheat]Golden Keys[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Rescue”>[color=cyan]Rescue Roland (1)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Combat3″>[color=wheat]Combat Basics (3)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Rescue2″>[color=cyan]Rescue Roland (2)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Splinter”>[color=cyan]Splinter Group[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#OOBE”>[color=cyan]Out of Body Experience[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#QRF”>[color=wheat]Quest Reward Farming[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Tundra1″>[color=yellow]Tundra Express[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Morph”>[color=cyan]Mighty Morphin[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Train1″>[color=cyan]A Train To Catch (1)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Teaparty”>[color=cyan]You Are Cordially Invited[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Train2″>[color=cyan]A Train To Catch (2)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#EndofLine”>[color=yellow]End of the Line[/color]</a>
* [Part 4: [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color] to [color=lightblue]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color]][9]
* [Part 5: [color=lightblue]Thousand Cuts[/color] to [color=lightblue]Control Core Angel[/color]][P5]
* [Part 6: [color=lightblue]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] to [color=lightblue]?[/color]][P6]

##<a name=”BSnR” />[color=yellow]Bloodshot Stronghold & Ramparts[/color]

The [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color] map leads to the secondary map, [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color]; you can only fast-travel to the ***[color=orange]first[/color]*** of these. [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color] is one of four maps in the main game to contain a [color=gold]one-way fast travel[/color] station. They are indicatated by a [color=gold]yellow-orange[/color] color and a sign above them that features a U-turn symbol with a diagonal line through it. As the name suggests, you can only ***[color=orange]leave[/color]*** from one of these stations. For the main story, this means that if you leave before completing the mission, you ***must*** return via the [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold fast travel[/color] station and work your way back through ***both*** maps. I therefore recommend that you don’t start the next main mission until you are fully geared up and ready to tackle a run similar in length to the one from [color=lightblue]Liar’s Berg[/color] to [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide[/color] from [part 1][1]. Once you are ready, have at it!

###<a name=”Golden” />[color=wheat]Golden Keys[/color]

One way to gear up is through the [color=gold]Golden Chest[/color] in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color], which is located inside [color=lightblue]Pierce Station[/color] at the opposite end to the [color=lightblue]fast travel[/color]. To use this, you will first need a SHiFT account and the code for at least one [color=gold]Golden Key[/color].

* If you haven’t already done so, create a [SHiFT account][3] (this also lets you sign in to post in these forums!)
* Login to your [SHiFT account][3], and link your account to your PSN, Steam, or XBL (gold subscrption ***not*** required) account .
* Check either @Gulfwulf’s [post here][4] or one of the links on that page to obtain currently valid SHiFT codes.
* In the main game menu, choose Extras > SHiFT Code and enter the codes one at a time to redeem them (some may be expired, but new ones are posted periodically.)

Now when you continue your game, go to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] and put your cross-hairs on the [color=gold]Golden Chest[/color]; you should see an icon showing how many keys you have to spend. Each key opens the chest one time, and the loot inside will be [color=magenta]e-tech[/color] or [color=orchid]purple[/color], and will ***always*** be your current level. Spend a few keys every time you feel your gear isn’t up to the task. If you don’t like what you get, or it doesn’t meet your needs, you can either trade it, pass it down to another character, or sell it for cash so you can buy that awesome “Item of the Day”. Happy looting!

[i]<a href=”#TOC3″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Rescue” />[color=cyan]Rescue Roland (1)[/color]

For the first half of this fight, you’ll want [color=darkorange]fire[/color] and [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color] weapons; for the second half (across the [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color]), you’ll definitely want at least one good [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] weapon. You have several options for the latter:

* The [color=orange]Hornet[/color] from [color=lightblue]Knuckledragger[/color] in [color=lightblue]Windshear Wastes[/color] ([part 1][1])
* The [color=orchid]Bad Touch[/color] from [color=lightblue]Moxxi[/color] in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] ([color=cyan]Plan B[/color] in [part 1][1])
* A [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] [color=orange]Fastball[/color] from [color=lightblue]Boll[/color] ([color=cyan]In Memorian[/color] in [part 2][2])
* A [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] [color=orange]Emperor[/color] or other [color=steelblue]unique drop[/color] from one of the [color=lightblue]Assassins[/color] ([part 2][2])
* A [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] [color=magenta]e-tech[/color] or [color=orchid]purple[/color] weapon from the [color=gold]Golden Chest[/color] in Sanctuary (see above)

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] The [color=orange]Hornet[/color] might seem like an odd suggestion, since it will be very under-levelled in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color]. However, [color=orange]legendary[/color] weapons tend to hold their own a lot longer than you might think. In this case, although the base projectile damage is low, the burst-fire feature allows you to put a LOT of bullets on target simultaneously; add in the elemental damage-over-time, and you have a weapon that can still put the hurt on armoured targets 10 levels higher.[/i]

Once you are ready, take the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color]. The map itself is fairly linear, but you will meet a ***lot*** of enemies along the way, including several badass nomads and psychos. Take your time, don’t rush and, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, back-track to catch a breather and search for ammo. If you’re doing the map challenges, keep your eye out for couches and vault symbols! (There’s one whole branch of the map that you can’t get to until you take the subsequent side quest, [color=cyan]Splinter Group[/color], but you’ll need that area to complete two of the challenges.) There are also a bunch of [color=lightblue]echo logs[/color] along the way that are quite entertaining (and tell you more about [color=lightblue]Marcus[/color])!

The first major fight is in an area with a large whirlpool at the bottom, and a ramp up to a balcony around the other level.

[i][b][color=orange]Caution:[/color][/b] There are a number of pipes around the upper level coming out of the wall at head height. These will prevent you from moving if you are too close to the wall, so try and stay closer to the railing.[/i]

There’s an area by a large shuttered door where the map marker is pointing on the upper level; if you get too close to this (or eliminate all the other bandits in the area first), a [color=orangered]badass nomad[/color] called [color=orangered]Mad Mike[/color] will appear, along with some buddies. He can be a real pain, especially on subesequent play-throughs, as he wields a rocket launcher. If you find he’s hitting you hard you can either (1) stay down in the lower level and try to snipe him from cover or (2) get behind one of the pillars in the upper balcony so he can’t hit you directly, and take pot-shots at him while he’s reloading. Although [color=orangered]Mad Mike[/color] reappears every time you play through this map, he doesn’t have a designated drop. (Probably just as well, since his loot often goes straight into the whirlpool…) Incidentally, if you’re wondering how in the world you’re supposed to complete the whirlpool challenge, [spoiler]use a short-fuse singularity grenade tossed just to the side of the bridge[/spoiler]. Fortunately, you *don’t* need to complete that challenge during the story mission!

Once past [color=orangered]Mad Mike[/color], you’ll fight your way through another room where an electric fence is protecting a red loot chest. The switch to deactivate this is [spoiler]in a small room off to the left of the corridor leading out of this area to the next one[/spoiler]. The room after that can be very chaotic if you rush right in, but is a good spot to work on your sniper and grenade skills. There’s a hard-to-spot [color=lightblue]echo log[/color] in this room, but you should spot it fairly easily if you turn back once you’ve cleared everyone out.

Finally, you reach the cell block and [color=lightblue]Roland[/color], leader of the Crimson Raiders. (If you’re wanting the vault symbol, [spoiler]head up the ladder and across the pipes to the upper room[/spoiler].) Activate the lock on his cell to trigger a cut-scene, then stand back so you don’t get blown up! Follow Roland through the remains of the map, clearing both the bandits and the Hyperion robots in front of you, and take the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to the [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color].

[i]<a href=”#TOC3″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Combat3″ />[color=wheat]Combat Basics (3)[/color]

At this point, you’ll run across your first Hyperion robot enemies. These all have a common critical hit location – their “eye”. The classes that walk upright (various types of [color=lightblue]loader[/color]) are also vulnerable at their joints – it’s possible to shoot their arms and legs off! They all take reduced [color=darkorange]fire[/color] damage, but are more susceptible to [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color]. Quite a few also have shields, requiring a [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color] weapon. [color=lightblue]Tesla[/color] and singularity grenades are really helpful, especially laid down between you and your targets. Here are some other hints and tips:

* [color=orangered]EXP Loaders[/color]: painted with black and yellow diagonal stripes, these do what the name suggests. They’ll chase you down, release a series of [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color] novas, and detonate. Take out their legs ASAP.
* [color=orangered]BUL Loaders[/color]: carry a bullet-reflecting shield; they will also transform into a bulldozer and try to crush you. You can either aim for the eye or their legs in the first form (or use a weapon with high splash damage). For the second form, it is possible to jump over them or sideways if you do it early enough; you ***CANNOT*** out-run them back-pedalling, so don’t even try it.
* [color=orangered]PWR Loaders[/color]: their arms become spinning, bullet-reflecting blades; they can also unleash a powerful rotating melee attack. Use similar tactics to [color=orangered]BUL Loaders[/color].
* [color=orangered]WAR Loaders[/color]: much larger, with cannons/launchers instead of arms. Badass variants have multiple cannons/launchers on each side. These can still be shot off, but it takes longer.
* [color=orangered]Surveyors[/color]: Fast flying shielded robots that can be hard to hit. Besides the general tactics for flying enemies mentioned in [part 1][1], damaging a nearby [color=orangered]loader[/color] to the point it requests repairs (a hammer and wrench icon will appear over one shoulder) puts nearby [color=orangered]Surveyors[/color] into repair mode. This “tethers” them to the loader, making them much easier to hit.
* [color=orangered]Constructors[/color]: a large, stationary, armless robot that can construct other robots! They’re not defenseless either, since they can launch a variety of rockets, and fire highly damaging laser beams from their eyes that eat shields and quickly set you on fire. If you get behind or beside them, they also have a ground-pound that launches a nasty, powerful nova. Take their shield down ASAP, and land as many hits as possible in their eye. Since they can’t take evasive action, planting a bunch of [color=dodgerblue]Tesla[/color] grenades (or their [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] equivalents) on top of them helps too.

[i]<a href=”#TOC3″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Rescue2″ />[color=cyan]Rescue Roland (2)[/color]

Once you’re ready to proceed, make your way down to the road way and start following the path of destruction. You’ll come across numerous groups of bandits and robots duking it out along the way; either let them wear one another down and them mop up, or take them all out while they’re distracted (more [color=lightblue]XP[/color] that way.) There are plenty of ammo sources along the way, and you can always double-back to the vending machines if you want to unload gear or get more ammo.

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] Picking up weapons adds any remaining ammo into your inventory storage for that type; if you drop that weapon, it will then have zero ammo in it. So, if you’re using an SMG a lot, pick up any SMG you see for the extra ammo![/i]

You’ll encounter more than a few [color=lightblue]surveyors[/color] and at least one [color=lightblue]badass WAR loader[/color] along the way, but there’s plenty of cover to be found. Eventually, after ***much*** fighting, you’ll emerge into an open area with a [color=gold]One-way Fast Travel[/color] and a large, open gate. [color=orange]STOP HERE![/color]


* Do [color=orange]NOT[/color] take the [color=gold]One-way Fast Travel[/color] unless you want to repeat the entire fight through both maps!
* Do [color=orange]NOT[/color] round the corner through the gate until you are ready (action skill off cool-down, all weapons reloaded, appropriate weapons equipped.)

Once you go through the gateway to the [color=lightblue]Shrine of the Gun-bringer[/color], a timer will start. If you do not manage to free [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] in that time, he will be taken to the [color=lightblue]Friendship Gulag[/color], which is located off [color=lightblue]The Dust[/color]. There are also “lunar reinforcements” that arrive at set times, so the faster you can take down the [color=orangered]constructor[/color], [color=orangered]W4R-D3N[/color], the better. There are generally two approaches you can take:

* [color=gold]Cautious[/color] – stay off to the side so you can duck into cover easily. Avoids novas, lasers and missiles. Downside – you’ll get charged by a LOT of robots, and may fail to free Roland before the timer runs out.
* [color=orange]Moderate[/color] – get *behind* [color=orangered]W4R-D3N[/color], and whittle his health down. Avoids lasers. Downside – suicidal bots and ground slams. Depending on your character, build, and gear, you may also fail.
* [color=orangered]Murdertime[/color] – take down the shields from the side, then get in [color=orangered]W4R-D3N[/color]’s face and blow his eye out. Downside – you may end up in [color=red]FFYL[/color] a few times, although there are usually robots or turrets you can second-wind off.

My fastest times have been with the last method…

Assuming you freed [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] in time, he will also help. A nice touch for Borderlands 1 players is that [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] will also deploy his [color=lightblue]Scorpio Turret[/color]: stand in the blue-and-red circle, and you’ll get both health and ammo resupply! When it’s all over, talk to [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] to turn in and advance the story mission to [color=cyan]A Train to Catch[/color]. This also unlocks the following side missions:

* [color=cyan]Splinter Group[/color] from [color=lightblue]Tannis[/color], returns to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color]
* [color=cyan]Mighty Morphin'[/color] from [color=lightblue]Hammerlock[/color], takes you to Tundra Express
* [color=cyan]Out of Body Experience[/color], found when you return to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color]

If you [color=orange]***didn’t***[/color] manage to free [color=lightblue]Roland[/color], take the [color=gold]One-way Fast Travel[/color] to [color=lightblue]The Dust[/color], and grab your vehicle of choice from [color=lightblue]Ellie’s Garage[/color]. Peel out to the right, blast through the gap between the rock and the cliff, and keep going more-or-less straight to the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] just outside [color=lightblue]Dahliwell Oasis[/color] (the Hyperion settlement mentioned in one of the [color=lightblue]Helena Pierce echo logs[/color]). You’ll see a ramp up the cliffs just to the right of the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color]. You’ll need to dismount and run up the last part to the [color=lightblue]Friendship Gulag map transition[/color].

Once inside the [color=lightblue]Gulag[/color], the first area is relatively safe and contains a couple of vending machines. Going past those into the main compound, you have two choices: cut up the left side along the wall, making a right at the top; or go straight across and up the middle, putting you on the opposite side of [color=orangered]W4R-D3N[/color]. Get ready for the fight of your life! There will be tons of robots and Hyperion soldiers and engineers and, when those are depleted, you’ll find [color=orangered]W4R-D3N[/color] busily making more. The tactics are pretty much the same. If you’re having difficulty, you can always head back to [color=lightblue]Ellie’s Garage[/color] and take the side quest from [color=lightblue]Loggins[/color] so you can level up a bit, as well as scavange better gear.

Either way, once [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] is free, it’s time to head back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] before continuing to [color=lightblue]Tundra Express[/color]

[i]<a href=”#TOC3″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Splinter” />[color=cyan]Splinter Group[/color]

This optional side-quest has the [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] shotgun, the [[color=steelblue]RokSalt[/color]][5] as a reward. It also provides an opportunity to get the [color=orange]legendary[/color] grenade mod, the [[color=orange]Storm Front[/color]][6]. While the [color=steelblue]RokSalt[/color] isn’t one of the better [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] shotguns, it’s not a bad close-range freebie for this stage of the game. So, I recommend taking this partcular side quest.

Talk to [color=lightblue]Tannis[/color], then get the pizza from [color=lightblue]Moxxi’s[/color]. Return to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color], and go the same way as the [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] mission. In the second room, you’ll find a [color=lightblue]loader[/color] needs your help. Grab the [color=lightblue]Loader #1340 AI Core[/color], then reset your current mission to [color=cyan]Splinter Group[/color].

Clear the next room (with two spinning turbines) plus the next if neccessary. Drop down to the bottom of the turbine room; the door at end of first corridor should now be open. Head through, trigger the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color], then head up the ladder and follow the markers.

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] You may run into one or more [color=orangered]Rat Thieves[/color]: these will steal cash from you. If you kill them fast enough, the drop the stolen loot. Stolen items will ***not*** auto-pickup – the loot spikes are discolored – so you’ll need to specifically pick it up (or do a “pick up all”).[/i]

Press through until [color=lightblue]Tannis[/color] tells you to communicate – check this & the previous room for incomplete map challenge items. Once you’re ready, hit the buzzer. Drop down to the [color=lightblue]Rat’s Nest[/color], place pizza, and fight! Watch out, as these enemiess can cloak completely. Afterwards, take the only available exit to a room with a series of obvious switches (I recommend you don’t open red chest yet.) Click the switches in the correct sequence to get all the overhead indicator lights green to unlock a further surprise! If you’re having difficulty figuring the puzzle out, [spoiler]Floor, wall, TV, TV.[/spoiler] Exit up the ladder, and switch to:

###<a name=”OOBE” />[color=cyan]Out of Body Experience[/color]

Fight your way out to the [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color]; pause after the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] and restock at the nearby vending machines. Clear the bandits from the area and follow instructions; try not to die! Repeat in the next area, then fight your way on to the [color=gold]one-way Fast Travel[/color] at the far end of the map.

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] [color=orangered]W4R-D3N[/color] doesn’t respawn, so you can deke around to the [color=lightblue]Shrine of the Gunbringer[/color], kill a fair number of bandits, and do more looting before returning.[/i]

When ready, return to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] and head to [color=lightblue]Moxxi’s[/color]. Follow instructions until you get the option to turn in to either [color=lightblue]Marcus[/color] for a [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] shotgun or [color=lightblue]Zed[/color] for a [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] shield; if you’re also running [color=cyan]Splinter Group[/color], I’d suggest handing in to [color=lightblue]Zed[/color] since you get a shotgun from [color=lightblue]Tannis[/color] anyway.

Finally, turn [color=cyan]Splinter Group[/color] into [color=lightblue]Tannis[/color] and profit!

###<a name=”QRF” />[color=wheat]Quest Reward Farming[/color]

For quest rewards like the [color=steelblue]RokSalt[/color] which can come as any element or no element at all, it is possible to farm the reward to get the one you want. First, ***[color=orange]before[/color]*** turning the mission in, make sure you force a save (pass a save point, use a [color=lightblue]Quick Change[/color], or save-quit/restart). Hand in the mission and examine the reward being offered. If it’s not the element you want, you can dashboard (on console, hit the centre button and either sign out or exit to dashboard without saving progress); this preserves the ability to hand in the mission so can try again. In this case, you could hold out for an [color=yellowgreen]acid[/color], [color=darkorange]fire[/color], [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color], or [color=purple]slag[/color] version of the [color=steelblue]RokSalt[/color] shotgun.

[i]<a href=”#TOC3″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Tundra1″ />[color=yellow]Tundra Express[/color]

* Main Story:
– [color=cyan]A Train To Catch[/color]
* Side Quests:
– [color=cyan]Mighty Morphin'[/color]
– [color=cyan]No Hard Feelings[/color]
– [color=cyan]You Are Cordially Invited[/color]

Before heading out to [color=lightblue]Tundra Express[/color] to catch a train, you have the option of picking up a side quest from [color=lightblue]Sir Hammerlock[/color]. There’s no unique reward for this quest, and it won’t take you anywhere you wouldn’t travel for the main story, so it’s up to you. One reason for taking it would be if you’re still feeling yourself a little under-levelled for the game, since it’s very easy to do both side quest and main story at the same time. For that reason, I’ll give a *short* outline.

Either way, grab everything you need in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] before you head out, then [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] to [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide[/color] and grab a vehicle; head to the [color=lightblue]Tundra Express[/color] exit in the north-west corner of map. Along the way, critters/bandits will now be much lower level than you so you can rack up challenges as you go. Once in [color=lightblue]Tundra Express[/color], head to the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] station and get a [color=darkorange]fire[/color] gun from the Snowman (you’ll figure it out) – a freshly-levelled [color=steelblue]Tinderbox[/color].

###<a name=”Morph” />[color=cyan]Mighty Morphin[/color]

Start by heading left and igniting a couple of the [color=orangered]varkids[/color]. You’re looking to injure one enough that it screams and “pods up”. The latter makes a very distinctive sound; once you hear it,hit the pod with the injector and quickly kill off any remaining [color=orangered]varkids[/color]. Let it hatch, kill it, pick up the pieces, and keep going. Once you’ve exhausted that area, head back towards [color=lightblue]Varkid Ranch[/color] across the other side of the path to/from the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] for more [color=orangered]varkids[/color].

[i][b][color=orangered]Varkids[/color][/b]: These annoying things will leap at you, doing melee damage and knocking your aim off. One way to deal with them when the hit you is to hit back: mash the melee button as quickly as you can. Depending on your relative levels, you can often take the buggers out in one or two hits (especially if you have a bladed weapon!)[/i]

###<a name=”Train1″ />[color=cyan]A Train To Catch (1)[/color]

You’ll need to wake [color=lightblue]Roland’s spy[/color]. Either just shoot as many as possible with your [color=darkorange]fire[/color] gun, take advantage of the [color=orangered]Firemelon plants[/color] around each [color=orangered]varkid[/color] areas, or activate the fire poles to scorch a wider area. Enough screaming gets your contact awake, triggering a cut-scene. Note that your contact slags whatever he hits without killing, which makes it easier for you to finish the job. (He can aso steal you kills, but you don’t really have much choice!)

During this mission, you will sooner or later meet a member of the [color=orangered]Tundra Patrol[/color], which will unlock the side-quest [color=cyan]No Hard Feelings[/color]. I suggest taking it, as it’s pretty straight-forward. Just pay attention to the hints from the dialogue! Eventually, you should be done with both [color=cyan]Mighty Morphin[/color] AND [color=cyan]No Hard Feelings[/color], and can find you way to [color=lightblue]Tiny Tina’s[/color] workshop. Be sure to say hi! Once the initial dialogue ends, she’ll open the actual workshop, which contains an ammo vending machine.

Next, you’ll head over to the [color=lightblue]Buzzard Academy[/color] on the west side of the map to retrieve some… things… that Tina needs. You can go to either the front or back doors: one item is very near the back door, but the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] is right beside the front door. If you go to the back door and hear the train coming when you’re close to or on the tracks, **[color=orange]MOVE![/color]**

Once inside the [color=lightblue]Buzzard Academy[/color], note that whenever you aggro a bunch of [color=orangered]bandits[/color], you’ll get some [color=orangered]Buzzards[/color] attacking you. These are vulnerable to [color=yellowgreen]corrosion[/color], while the engines and pilot are critical hit locations. If you’re playing solo as [color=lightblue]Axton[/color] or [color=lightblue]Gaige[/color], your turret/robot will be able to help out considerably; if you find your action skill on cooldown once you’ve cleared one area, wait for it to become ready again before running on to the next.

Once you’ve got the goods, return to [color=lightblue]Tina[/color] and wait for her to finish preparations. As soon as you pick up the explosives, she’ll have a side quest available for you – [color=cyan]You Are Cordially Invited[/color]. My suggestion would be to take it now, as the end of the mission nets you a levelled [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] pistol ([color=steelblue]The Teapot [/color]) that will come in handy for the main story mission afterwards.

[i]<a href=”#TOC3″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Teaparty” />[color=cyan]You Are Cordially Invited[/color]

There are several parts to this mission, which starts when you talk to [color=lightblue]Tina[/color].

[color=cyan]Party Prep:[/color] You need to pick up the party guests. The first is back behind the large mountain that is to the left of the path when you come down from the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] station. First, you have to take care of [color=orangered]Madame von Bartelsby[/color], a repeating boss with a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] Tediore SMG, the [[color=orange]Baby Maker[/color]][7].

Once you get the first guest, [color=lightblue]Tina[/color] asks you to collect the second guest and shoot down some Buzzards for scrap metal. She also suggests that you pick up some crumpets (delicious toasted, buttered, and covered in Golden Syrup. Yummy!) Drop back down to the main path and get the second gues from the hut near the crossroads, then head to the [color=lightblue]Buzzard Academy[/color] for the crumpets and plenty of Buzzards. Once you have everything, return to [color=lightblue]Tiny Tina[/color].

[color=cyan]RSVP:[/color] After seating the first two guests, [color=lightblue]Tina[/color] sends you to get the guest of honour from a nearby bandit camp. Conveniently, this is the same location you need for the next part of the main story. Clearing the camp without killing the guest of honour is tricky, but can be done: clear the area to the right first, then double-back to clear the rest. The guest of honour emerges from a hut at the far end of the camp, and is easily identified by his distinctive mohawk. If you should accidentally kill him (or your turret or Deathtrap decides he’s a really good target), don’t worry; just kill everyone else and talk to [color=lightblue]Tina[/color] to restart the mission.

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] Once you’ve cleared the camp, check your shield: if you’re wearing a spike or nova shield, you’ll want to switch to something else (e.g. Turtle, absorb, amplify, etc.)[/i]

Getting the guest of honour to start following you is pretty easy – just run up to him. Getting him to ***keep*** following you is another matter. I’ve found that the most effective way is to go backwards as much as possible so you don’t outpace him. He has a tendancy to turn back just before the camp entrance, especially if you break line-of-sight with him. To get his attention, reduce your distance and shoot into the ground near him (but not so close that deflected bullets hit him!) [color=lightblue]Roland’s spy[/color] will also snipe at him, knocking his health down; your best bet is to simply keep him moving, as the spy is a surprisingly lousy shot against moving targets.

[color=cyan]Tea Party:[/color] Once back at [color=lightblue]Tina’s[/color], gear up and restock before turning in to advance the quest. Things are going to get a little hairy, so you’ll want your best gear equipped (rocket launcher, SMG, shotgun, grenades…). After a few minor errands, you’ll need to stop three waves of bandits from crashing the party and destroying a generator. (Yup, it’s a generator defense mission…)

Your best bet is to take up station at the front entrance; bandits will come from both sides, so keep an eye on your minimap as you mow them down. Save your rockets for the Nomads and Goliaths. If you have Tesla grenades, drop them in front of the attackers so they have to run through them to get to you. If any get closer enough, they will tend to rush past you to attack the generator; take them out as fast as possible, then resume your position at the gate. Once all three waves are done, [color=lightblue]Tina[/color] will summon you back; talk to her and complete the last few tasks, then claim your reward.

[i]<a href=”#TOC3″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Train2″ />[color=cyan]A Train To Catch (2)[/color]

Once you’re ready to resume the main story, head to the bandit camp (the same one as the the side quest), head to the right, and climb the ladder to the designated spot. Place the rockets, prime them, and watch the fireworks. Once it’s all done, head up the remains to the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=lightblue]The End of the Line[/color].

##<a name=”EndofLine” />[color=yellow]End of the Line[/color]

Once you enter this secondary map, you’ll see some wreckage and a train station. There are scattered ammo crates, and a couple of vending machines at the station. Stock up on ammo, then slowly follow the markers through [color=lightblue]Snowblind Defile[/color]. Keep your rocket launcher for later; mostly, you’ll need [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] weapons with the odd [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color] gun or grenade for shield stripping. There are yellow [color=lightblue]ammo chests[/color] and [color=lightblue]bullymong piles[/color] (though no [color=orangered]bullymongs[/color]) throughout this map.

Your main enemies will be [color=orangered]GUN Loaders[/color], [color=orangered]EXP Loaders[/color], and [color=orangered]Surveyors[/color], but you should know how to deal with all of those by now. Note that if you go to far through the second area (with a bunch of train cars in the middle), you will trigger a wave of [color=orangered]EXP Loaders[/color]; shoot their legs off or pull them off course with singularity grenades to make your life easier.

After passing under a bridge and along a narrow crevasse, you’ll see a drop ahead, with a grey chest and a [color=gold]one-way Fast Travel[/color] further ahead. Feel free to run back and restock before dropping down, as the boss fight you’re about to engage in ***can*** be a long one. When you’re read, drop down and continue forward to the final area, [color=lightblue]Terminus Plateau[/color]. Make sure you have a [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color] and [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] weapon equipped before you proceed.

[i][b][color=orange]WARNING:[/color][/b] If you take the [color=gold]one-way Fast Travel[/color], you will have to come back through [color=lightblue]Tundra Express[/color]. So, more fighting before you get back to the boss area.

Pressing foward triggers an scene that introduces you to [color=lightblue]Wilhelm[/color], a repeatable boss who has a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] [color=magenta]e-tech[/color]-like pistol, [[color=orange]Logan’s Gun[/color]][8]. You may notice that when he first appears, [color=lightblue]Wilhelm’s[/color] health bar shows up as [color=lightblue]blue[/color] and [color=yellow]yellow[/color], meaning he has a shield and is armoured. This is rapidly replaced by his large “boss” health bar, but that doesn’t change anything: he’s more vulnerable to corrosive than fire damge once you’ve stripped his shield. Tina’s [color=steelblue]Teapot[/color] comes in really handy here!

The main hazards are [color=lightblue]Wilhelm’s[/color] leaping stomp and swinging melee attacks, his laser cannon and homing missiles, and the innumerable [color=orangered]surveyors[/color] and [color=orangered]loaders[/color] he will construct. You’ll need to take down [color=lightblue]Wilhelm’s[/color] shield before you can do serious damage to him, but the [color=orangered]surveyors[/color] will promptly try to regenerate it; this is your opportunity to take them out. [color=lightblue]Wilhelm[/color] himself is also vulnerable when he is constructing robots, since he can’t move while he does this; toss area-of-effect grenades (Tesla, MIRV, etc.) and hit him hard with whatever you’ve got. You’ll notice that he often goes to the same corner of the map to do this, at the edge of a sheer drop; don’t get too close to this edge, or one good melee and you’ll be off the map. Some options for this fight:

* [color=gold]Cautious[/color]: hang back in the crevasse and just take potshots at [color=lightblue]Wilhelm[/color] when he appears in the gap. Downside: makes the fight very long, and you’ll waste lots of ammo on [color=orangered]loaders[/color] and [color=orangered]surveyors[/color]; if you go too far back, you risk making the game think you’ve left the area, which will reset [color=lightblue]Wilhelm’s[/color] health. Also a high risk of going into [color=red]FFYL[/color] without anything to second-wind off.
* [color=orange]Moderate[/color]: lurk at the entrance to the crevasse, retreating only when [color=lightblue]Wilhelm[/color] charges you or launches rocket/laser attacks. Head back into the arena whenever [color=lightblue]Wilhelm[/color] heads away to regenerate and construct robots. Downside – still a long fight, and also a good chance of going into [color=red]FFYL[/color] without anything to second-wind off.
* [color=orangered]Murdertime[/color]: use the central ice pile and the various train cars as cover, and kite [color=lightblue]Wilhelm[/color] around them. Ignore the [color=orangered]loaders[/color] as much as possible, and concentrate on taking down [color=lightblue]Wilhelm’s[/color] shields and health; use the [color=orangered]surveyors[/color] for second winds if needed, since they will likely be recharging [color=lightblue]Wilhelm’s[/color] shields and therefore easier targets.

The last method is the fastest if you can pull it off, which is certainly possible. (If I can do it, anyone can!) Once you’re done, thoroughly loot the area before returning to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color].

[b][color=orange]WARNING:[/color][/b] Don’t run immediately to the misison marker when you get back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]; turn in any out-standing side quests, and sell/buy/store/trade anything you need to ***[color=orange]before[/color]*** continuing with the main quest. You will also have unlocked the side-quest [color=cyan]Mine All Mine[/color], obtainable from [color=lightblue]Lilith[/color]: pick this up ***[color=orange]now[/color]*** for the [color=orchid]eridium[/color] and additional side quest; if you don’t accept it now, you will have to wait until much later to get it.

Once you are totally ready, switch to the main mission and go back to the shield generator to talk to [color=lightblue]Lt. Davies[/color], which automatically advances the story mission to [color=cyan]Rising Action[/color]. The story gets pretty dramatic, and there’s lots of dialogue that you can easily miss if you rush ahead. Despite the urgency indicated by the NPC dialogue, each step of this mission ***will*** wait for you, so feel free to stop and listen each time – it’s worth it. Once everything is done, you’ll be one-quarter the way through the main story, and ready for part 4 of this guide.

Way to go, Vault Hunter!

[i]<a href=”#TOC3″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

#[color=cyan]Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players[/color]
[color=yellow]Part 4 of your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, covering [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color] to [color=lightblue]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color].[/color]

Continuing the [color=wheat][b]Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM)[/b][/color] play-through from parts 1-3 of this guide. As before, [color=cyan]cyan headings[/color] denote missions, while other colours denote [color=yellow]main sections[/color], [color=wheat]gear and weapons[/color], or [color=lightblue]skills[/color] entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.

Special thanks to the following for comments and corrections: @Gulfwulf, @Gut0nez, @Worblehat

###<a name=”TOC4″ />[color=yellow]Outline:[/color]

* [Part 1: [color=lightblue]Windshear Waste[/color] to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]][1]
* [Part 2: [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color]][2]
* [Part 3: [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color] to [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color]][3]
* <a href=”#Return”>[color=cyan]Rising Action[/color]</a>
* [color=yellow]Tundra Express (2)[/color]
– <a href=”#Mines”>[color=cyan]Mine All Mine[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#PGTR”>[color=cyan]Pretty Good Train Robbery[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#3HV2″>[color=yellow]Three Horns Valley (2)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Fridge”>[color=yellow]The Fridge[/color]</a>
– <a href=”Combat4″>[color=wheat]Combat Basics (4)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#HOutwash” />[color=yellow]Highlands Outwash[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Combat5″>[color=wheat]Combat Basics (5)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#BLFC1″>[color=cyan]Bright Lights, Flying City[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Overlook” />[color=yellow]Overlook[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Sanctum3″ />[color=yellow]Sanctuary (3)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#CCaves”>[color=yellow]Caustic Caverns[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#WEP1″ />[color=cyan]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color]</a>
* [Part 5: [color=lightblue]Thousand Cuts[/color] to [color=lightblue]Control Core Angel[/color]][13]
* [Part 6: [color=lightblue]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] to [color=lightblue]?[/color]][P6]

##<a name=”Return” />[color=cyan]Rising Action[/color]

Big. Deep. Breaths.

OK, so now we’re over that shock, it’s time to move on. Head on out through the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] back to [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide[/color]. You might as well beat up the bandits at the gate, then grab a vehicle from the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color]. If you picked up [color=cyan]Mine All Mine[/color], make for the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] at [color=lightblue]Snowbound Crossroads[/color] and head back to [color=lightblue]Tundra Express[/color]. Otherwise, make a beeline for the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=lightblue]Three Horns Valley[/color] and the [color=lightblue]Happy Pig Motel[/color].

##[color=yellow]Tundra Express (2)[/color]

* Side quests:
– [color=cyan]Mine All Mine (lvl.14)[/color]
– [color=cyan]Pretty Good Train Robbery (lvl.14)[/color]

###<a name=”Mines” />[color=cyan]Mine All Mine[/color]

[i][b][color=orange]Warning:[/color][/b] You **[color=orange]must[/color]** have **[color=orange]accepted[/color]** this mission from [color=lightblue]Lilith[/color] **[color=orange]before[/color]** turning in [color=cyan]Train To Catch[/color] or it will be blocked until later.[/i]

Once back in [color=lightblue]Tundra Express[/color], make for the map marker and the [color=lightblue]Mount Molehill Mine[/color]. Make sure you trigger the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] just outside the gate. Work your way in, and clear all the miners from the camp. Note that some of them will actually burrow underground and pop-up behind you, so keep one eye on your mini-map! Once you’ve cleared the lower area, you’ll hear from [color=lightblue]Lilith[/color]; time to find your way up the conveyor belt to the upper level, avoiding the mashers! Clear the top, grab the [color=lightblue]echo log[/color], and then jump over the side wall and make for [color=lightblue]Tiny Tina’s[/color].

Hand in to [color=lightblue]Tina[/color] for free [color=orchid]eridium[/color], who will offer you [color=cyan]The Pretty Good Train Robbery[/color]. This mission yields the [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] grenade mod, the [[color=steelblue]Fuster Cluck[/color]][9]. Whether you take this mission or not, I suggest going to the north-west corner of the map to explore [color=lightblue]Old Man Johnson’s Farm[/color]. If you’ve been checking your map, you’ll have noticed that there’s a second [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] on this map, right in the middle of a varkid-infested run-down farm. You’ll need to get into the barn to shut off the electric fence around the farm house (fighting off [color=orangered]Buzzards[/color] and [color=orangered]varkids[/color] as you go), then go down to the farm house basement. Unlocking this second [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] is convenient if you want to come back later to complete map challenges.

##<a name=”3HV2″ />[color=yellow]Three Horns Valley (2)[/color]

* Main story:
– [color=cyan]Rising Action (lvl.17)[/color]
– [color=cyan]Bright Lights, Flying City (lvl.18)[/color]
* Side quests:
– [color=cyan]The Ice Man Cometh (lvl.15)[/color]

When you get to [color=lightblue]Happy Pig Motel[/color], there will be a new side quest from [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color] on the [color=lightblue]Bulletin Board[/color]. This will take you back to clear the last major bandit camp in [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide[/color]. Only do this side quest if you want to, or want to get the last vault symbol on that map.

When you’re ready to continue the main story, keep going past the [color=lightblue]Happy Pig Motel[/color] and the bandit camp beyond it, then look for a path in the rocks to your right. This will take you to one more bandit camp (surprise!) just outside the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=lightblue]The Fridge[/color]. Clear the camp, then go to the gateway. Hand in the mission to advance to [color=cyan]Bright Lights, Flying City (lvl.18)[/color]. There will be some dialogue which you should probably wait for; when it’s all done, take the transition to the next map.

[i]<a href=”#TOC4″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Fridge” />[color=yellow]The Fridge[/color]

When you arrive in [color=lightblue]The Fridge[/color], you’ll start in a room with the map’s [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] station, and some vending machines. There are two doors out: one takes you into the rest of the map, while the other is a [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=lightblue]Fink’s Slaughterhouse[/color] (more vending machines). This is one of the sudden-death combat arenas in the game, where you can work your way through five rounds of increasingly difficult waves of enemies. The final round reward for [color=cyan]Bandit Slaughter[/color] is the [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] assault rifle, the [[color=steelblue]Hail[/color]][4]. If you’re going for mission completion, you could attempt at least the first round now, but it will take you a while to get through all five, and it will level you up further than you are already relative to the main story mission and side quests. Your choice!

Opening the door to the [color=lightblue]Frigid Cleft[/color] will trigger more dialogue, and then it’s rat-fighting time! These are the same enemies that you encountered if you took the [color=cyan]Splinter Group[/color] mission earlier, but they will be higher level and there will be more types. You’ll find yourself working through an abandoned roadway in a deep, wide crevasse, fighting through both [color=orangered]rats[/color] and [color=orangered]rakk[/color].

[i][b][color=orange]Warning:[/color][/b] You’ll notice that the [color=orangered]rats[/color] will pick things up off the ground. [color=orangered]Thief rats[/color] will actually steal cash from you if they manage to melee you. If you kill them fast enough, they’ll drop the stolen money, but you’ll need to pick it up manually – no auto-pickup. You can tell the stolen money because the loot spike is discoloured and semi-transparent.[/i]

When you come to the part that looks like the deck of a ship (!) with a loot chest at the end, take a peek into [color=lightblue]Ice Maw Grotto[/color] below. Your target is the pathway down the left-side of this valley, but you’ll also notice a large three-legged critter on the ice. It’s possible to avoid fighting this thing if you stick to the left and are careful not to get knocked onto the ice. Should you find yourself out there, however…

###<a name=”Combat4″ />[color=wheat]Combat Basics (4) – Crystalisks[/color]

These beasts have three main attacks:

* Their bodies deflect bullets, often right back at you
* The can shoot piles of crystal at you, which explode shortly after landing on the ground
* If you’re in close, they will stomp each leg in turn, releasing a nova blast

To take them down, you have to completely remove the glowing crystals from all three legs. You can use any [color=yellow]explosive[/color] weapon or grenade for this – they resist other elements – or a non-elemental high fire rate gun. You can also melee their leg crystals directly (any character can do this but Zer0 has it easiest; it’s also easier if you have a bladed weapon equipped!)

If you do go the melee route, watch out for the novas, which will both damage you *and* throw you back. You’ll quickly catch on to the signal prior to this, so you can time your approach for after the stomp. Keep moving so as not to get hit by the explosions from the crystals. Finally, note that when one leg is depleted of crystals, they will turn to put another leg towards you; this can be slow and in the opposite direction, though, so be prepared to see the odd [color=red]FFYL[/color] and [color=lightblue]respawn tunnel[/color].

Continue to work your way down the left side until you come to a closed gate blocking your path; the control is to your left. Once open, take the elevator down (or jump if you prefer!). There’s some vending machines at the bottom, and the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to the [color=lightblue]Highlands Outwash[/color].

[i]<a href=”#TOC4″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”HOutwash” />[color=yellow]Highlands Outwash[/color]

You’ll emerge from a cave, and there will be a dramatic entrance above your head. Go down the obvious path to the nearest building, where you will find the inevitable [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and vending machines. You’ll get some additional dialogue, but now you’ll have to fight your way through the [color=lightblue]Highlands[/color] in order to get back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]. On the way, you get to meet two new types of enemies: [color=orangered]stalkers[/color] and [color=orangered]threshers[/color].

###<a name=”Combat5″ />[color=wheat]Combat Basics (5) – Stalkers and Threshers[/color]

These are probably my personal ***most hated enemies*** in the game, and the worst of all are the [color=orangered]rabid stalkers[/color]. We’ll take them one at a time.

[color=orangered]Stalkers:[/color] These @#$%^&* can cloak, due to a gland on their tail ([color=red]critical hit[/color] location!) They are very fast, jump frequently, and attack you with their claws and teeth. Needless to say, getting hit by one of these things deals damage ***and*** throws your aim off. [color=orangered]Pestilential stalkers[/color] have an odd glide path to their jump-melee, making them hard to predict; when they land, they release a lingering [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] cloud, then rapidly go invisible and run away. Another type throws [color=yellow]explosive[/color] balls at you, and has a rapid spinning melee-charge attack. Oh, and did I mention that due to the gland, they almost always have shields too? [color=orangered]Rabid stalkers[/color] are the absolute worst though, since they will rush and pin you if possible, and often come in 2’s and 3’s. They also have smaller tails.

You can throw their melee attacks off somewhat by jumping sideways (or over them slightly to the left or right). [b][color=orange]NEVER BACKPEDAL[/color][/b]: you will rapidly get pinned by 2 or 3 jumping, snarling beasts. Well-placed area-of-effect grenades (e.g. [color=dodgerblue]Tesla[/color] or [color=darkorange]fire burst[/color]) rocket lauchers, and high fire-rate fast reload [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color] [color=darkorange]incendiary[/color] and/or [color=yellow]explosive[/color] weapons are the order of the day. Note that if they take damage while cloaking, a faint blue shape will persist for a short while. [color=lightblue]Zer0[/color] has a definite advantage here, since he can see even cloaked [color=orangered]stalkers[/color] while in Decepti0n. They will also be visible as red dots on your minimap, although both [color=lightblue]Gaige’s Deathtrap[/color] and [color=lightblue]Axton’s turret[/color] will fail to track them while cloaked. (Homing grenades will also buzz around helplessly ๐Ÿ™ )

[color=orangered]Threshers:[/color] These multi-tentacled critters live underground, but can easily pop up underneath you, throwing you into the air. They will slap you hard with their tentacles, often dealing [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color], [color=darkorange]fire[/color], or [color=orchid]slag[/color] in the process. One type called [color=orangered]Wormhole Threshers[/color] will activate a singularity to pull you into their spikes. The worst are the badass [color=orangered]Pyro Threshers[/color] since they are large, resist [color=darkorange]fire[/color], and launch a [color=darkorange]fire[/color] nova whenever they erupt from underground right underneath you.

Pretty much all [color=orangered]threshers[/color] have multiple eyes that are [color=red]critical hit[/color] location; some of the larger ones with more tentacles also have glowing joints that you can knock out for second winds. Tactics are much the same as with [color=orangered]stalkers[/color]: keep moving, strip any shields, and [color=darkorange]***burn them with fire!!!***[/color]

[i]<a href=”#TOC4″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

###<a name=”BLFC1″ />[color=cyan]Bright Lights, Flying City[/color]

Resuming the main story, work your way along the river valley and then up between the yellow Hyperion buildings, where you’ll also encounter [color=orangered]loaders[/color] and [color=orangered]surveyors[/color]. Loot the [color=lightblue]stalker goo piles[/color] along the way, as well as the various boxes and chests. Once you’re ready, descend to the [color=lightblue]Hyperion Extraction Plant[/color] for more dialogue. You’ll need to clear out the Hyperion personnel and robots but, once you’ve done that, follow the hints to get across to the other side of the water.

There’s a very large gate you are obviously meant to pass through; approaching it will open the gate, but also reveal a [color=orangered]Constructor[/color] and accompanying [color=orangered]loaders[/color]. I generally try to run through the gate and go to the right, where the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] is located. Alternatively, double-back to the below the transfer crane and exploit the cover there. If you go through the gate, take out the robots right beside you first. Concentrate fire on the [color=orangered]Constructor[/color] just as you did when rescuing [color=lightblue]Roland[/color]. If you picked up [color=lightblue]Tina’s[/color] [color=steelblue]Teapot[/color], you should be able to make fairly quick work of the constructor and avoid most of its combat phases.

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] If you can land shots that deal damage-over-time, or just time it right, it’s possible to detonate missiles as they launch from the [color=orangered]Constructor[/color]. It’s also possible to shoot them as they scream towards you, avoiding a premature [color=red]FFYL[/color].[/i]

The heat-seekers and missiles can be a pain, but you can avoid them if you hug close to the wall beside the gate during the salvo; pop out while the [color=orangered]Constructor[/color] is reloading and blast away. You can avoide the laser beams in the same way. Once it’s dead, Jim, nip back around the gate and scavange as much ammo as you can before making your way to the map marker inside the [color=lightblue]Orbital Receiving and Processing[/color] centre.
If you think that the beacon looks mighty suspcious, sitting right out in the open like that, you’re obviously getting the hang of this game! Time for the [color=orangered]Gluttinous Thresher[/color]… Oh, and some [color=orangered]loaders[/color], because you’ll want cannon-fodder to second-wind off (or just make your life more complicated.) If you have a [color=darkorange]fire[/color] launcher and a [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color] weapon, it’s possible to complete this very quickly.

If you’re having trouble, use the buildings and crates to the south for cover; it is possible to avoid the tentacles in certain spots. You can also lure it back to the entrance where you fought the [color=orangered]constructor[/color] and again use the boxes for cover. Once you’re done, clean up and head to the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=lightblue]The Highlands[/color].

[i]<a href=”#TOC4″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Overlook” />[color=yellow]Overlook[/color]

Once in [color=yellow]The Highlands[/color], keep right to hit the nearest [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color]. From there, peel out left down the hill, across a bridge, veer right and cross through the river, then turn right onto the main road and follow it through the tunnel. Hang sharp left as you come out of the tunnel: you’ll find [color=lightblue]The Holy Spirits Bar[/color] on your left and the town of [color=lightblue]Overlook[/color] straight ahead. You’ll need to leave your vehicle to get into the town; take your time and explore, and hit the [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color] before you follow the next mission instruation, as this will trigger a ***long*** fight. You’ll want primarily [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] gear equipped, with some [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color] available.

Once you’re ready, place the beacon and take up position. The first wave will arrive mainly at the gate below you, but some [color=orangered]loaders[/color] will also come up the rear of the buildings on the left. I usually hang at the corner of the main square and snipe as many as possible before they start closing in. You can also try hiding behind the buildings on the right, but you risk going over the cliff or getting stuck in [color=red]FFYL[/color] without anything in sight. Try and conserve your rockets for the [color=orangered]Constructors[/color] and [color=orangered]WAR loaders[/color] (although there is an [color=lightblue]ammo machine[/color] on the south-east side of the square). If the beacon gets damaged, *ignore* all the dire warnings and clear the wave first. There will be three waves in total.

Once everything is done, take your time to grab all the loot and revist the [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]. The [color=lightblue]bulletin board[/color] will also have a couple of missions for you at this point:

– [color=cyan]Arms Dealing (lvl.18)[/color]: [color=steelblue]relic[/color] or [color=lime]shield[/color]
– [color=cyan]Stalker of Stalkers (lvl.18)[/color]: [color=lime]shotgun[/color] or [color=lime]shield[/color]

[i]<a href=”#TOC4″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Sanctum3″ />[color=yellow]Sanctuary (3)[/color]

Once back in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color], head upstairs in the [color=lightblue]Crimson Raider’s HQ[/color] for some dialogue between [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] and [color=lightblue]Lilith[/color], then turn the mission in to [color=lightblue]Roland[/color]. This gets you the [color=orchid]Storage Deck Upgrade[/color] for your fourth weapon slot and advance the story mission to [color=cyan]Wildlife Preservation. More dialogue! Missions galore! I’ve indicated on the following list which side quests I particularly like on account of specific rewards :blhappy:

* Sir Hammerlock:
– [color=cyan]Slap-Happy (lvl.20)[/color] in [color=lightblue]Highlands Outwash[/color]: [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] Tediore shotgun the [[color=steelblue]Octo[/color]][5] :blhappy:
– [color=cyan]Perfectly Peaceful (lvl.19)[/color] in [color=lightblue]Caustic Caverns[/color]: [color=orchid]eridium[/color] :blhappy:
– also discoverable: [color=cyan]Minecart Mischief (lvl.19)[/color]
* Tannis,
– [color=cyan]Hidden Journals (lvl.16)[/color] in [color=lightblue]The Highlands[/color]: [color=orchid]eridium[/color] :blhappy:
– unlocks [color=cyan]Torture Chairs (lvl.25)[/color] (but ignore the level requirement!)
– [color=cyan]Doctor’s Orders (lvl.19)[/color] in the [color=lightblue]WEP[/color]: [color=steelblue]relic[/color] or [color=lime]pistol[/color]
* Marcus
– [color=cyan]Safe and Sound (lvl.19)[/color] in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary Hole/Caustic Caverns[/color]: [color=steelblue]relic[/color] or the unique shotgun, [[color=steelblue]Miss Moxxi’s Heartbreaker[/color]][10] :blhappy:
* Bulletin board:
– Ellie’s [color=cyan]Clan War: Starting the War (lvl.18)[/color] in [color=lightblue]The Dust[/color]: [color=lime]weapon[/color]
– Mordecai’s [color=cyan]The Good, the Bad, and the Mordecai (lvl.13)[/color] in [color=lightblue]The Dust[/color]: the relic [[color=steelblue]Moxxi’s Endowment[/color]][7] :blhappy: This also unlocks access to [[color=lightblue]Mobley[/color]][14] and [[color=lightblue]Gettle[/color][15], repeatable spawns who each have a chance to drop a [color=orange]legendary[/color] item (the [[color=orange]Veruc[/color]][17] AR and [[color=orange]White Death[/color]][18] sniper, respectively.)
* Marshall Friedmen:
– [color=cyan]Won’t Get Fooled Again (lvl.16)[/color] in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]: unique Jakob’s pistol the [[color=steelblue]Law[/color]][7] :blhappy:
* Claptrap:
– [color=cyan]Claptrap’s Birthday Bash (lvl.16)[/color] in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]: [color=lime]weapon[/color]
* Scooter:
– [color=cyan]Swallowed Whole (lvl.19[/color] in [color=lightblue]The Fridge[/color]: cash & XP
– [color=cyan]The Cold Shoulder (lvl.19)[/color] in [color=lightblue]The Fridge[/color]: [color=steelblue]skin[/color]
– unlocks another discoverable mission: Look for the echo!
– [color=cyan]The Overlooked: Medicine Man (lvl.18)[/color] in [color=lightblue]Overlock[/color]: [color=white]skin[/color]
– unlocks related missions [color=cyan]Shields Up[/color] ([color=lime]shield[/color] or [color=lime]SMG[/color]) and [color=cyan]This Is Only A Test[/color] (Torgue shield the [[color=orchid]Deadly Bloom[/color]][6]) :blhappy:

In addition, if you didn’t take the two side quests in The Dust earlier, these will now be level 19.

A few additional notes:

* [color=cyan]Perfectly Peaceful[/color], [color=cyan]Minecart Mischief[/color], and [color=cyan]Safe and Sound[/color] can conveniently be done simultaneously; to get the [[color=steelblue]Heartbreaker[/color]][10], turn the mission in to [color=lightblue]Moxxi[/color], ***not*** [color=lightblue]Marcus[/color].
* I would only do the mission to get [[color=steelblue]Moxxi’s Endowment[/color]][7] if you are really struggling in your first play-through, and feel the need to level up faster.
* [color=cyan]Swallowed Whole[/color] and [color=cyan]The Cold Shoulder[/color] can also be done together easily.
* [color=cyan]Stalker of Stalkers[/color], [color=cyan]The Overlooked[/color], and [color=cyan]Hidden Journals[/color] are convenient to do simultaneously; I often do the map challenges and [color=cyan]Slap-Happy[/color] with them.

[i]<a href=”#TOC4″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”CCaves” />[color=yellow]Caustic Caverns[/color]

Since you’ll probably want to do at least one of the side quests in [color=yellow]Caustic Caverns[/color], here’s a short description of one method for doing all three efficiently at the same time. There will be one more side quest that will bring you here, but it won’t unlock until later and you’ll probably want the reward from [color=cyan]Perfectly Peaceful[/color] sooner rather than later in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color] because it’s seriously awesome! Make sure you pick up both [color=cyan]Safe and Sound[/color] and [color=cyan]Perfectly Peaceful[/color] before leaving [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] for [color=lightblue]Three Horns Divide[/color].

###[color=cyan]Safe and Sound:[/color]

Take a vehicle from beside the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] back to where [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] was, and pass through the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=yellow]Sanctuary Hole[/color]. There’s a [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] and [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color] just inside the gate. You’ll need to go left just past these and start threading your way up through the wreckage. The rough terrain and frequent rebar and girders sticking out all over make this hard, since your character will often get stuck on a piece of terrain. This is particularly annoying when under fire! If this happens you’ll have to back up slightly and jump forward or sideways. Eventually, you’ll work your way through an elevator, a building, and another elevator until you reach the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] for [color=yellow]Caustic Caverns[/color]. Head on through, where you’ll find yourself inside a chamber with a [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and more [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color].

Open the door into [color=lightblue]Oozing Discharge[/color] and take out the [color=orangered]varkids[/color]. (Yes, those things again; remember that the pod up to evolve, so keep your eays and eyes open!) The first [color=lightblue]echo[/color] for [color=cyan]Perfectly Peaceful[/color] is past the large dump truck in front of you, just before the footbridge across the corrosive ooze, to the left. You’ll have to detour across the [color=yellowgreen]corrosive ooze[/color]; jump from island to island, fighting off the [color=orangered]crystalisks[/color] that spawn along the way. Head towards the [color=lightblue]waypoint[/color] up a hill, through a cave, and out the other side to find [color=lightblue]Marcus'[/color] [color=green]safe[/color]. You’ll need to defeat the repeatable boss [color=orangered]Blue[/color], who has a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] shield the [[color=orange]Fabled Tortoise[/color]][14]. Go around the headland and back across the [color=yellowgreen]corrosive ooze[/color] to the hut you can see on the far side at [color=lightblue]Rumbling Shore[/color]. Make sure you trigger the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] *inside* the hut and grab the ammo, then switch mission.

###[color=cyan]Perfectly Peaceful:[/color]

Fight through the [color=orangered]threshers[/color] and enter the [color=lightblue]Infested Warehouse[/color] (more [color=orangered]varkids[/color]!)for the second [color=lightblue]echo[/color]; run straight ahead from the entrance and check the second pillar on your right-hand side. Continue straight through and out the far side, and trigger the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] inside a second hut ahead of you, then go to the [color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] marker downhill to the left to grab the echo that triggers [color=cyan]Minecart Mischief[/color]. Go back up to the hut (more ammo inside) then turn left and run along the north shore to [color=lightblue]Guardian Ruins[/color] (more [color=orangered]crystalisks[/color]!). Turn left (south) down towards the rail tracks and work your way along the clifftop to the right until you see a grave below you near the edge of the map. Jump down to grab the third [color=lightblue]echo[/color], then fight your way up hill under the tracks and bear left to come back up on top of them.

###[color=cyan]Minecart Mischief:[/color]

Head west along tracks to the minecart waypoint at far end of the tracks. (There’s an easter egg area just to the north-west of this spot). Push the cart along the track until you reach airlock 1, open it, then pass through the tunnel. You’ll have plenty of [color=orangered]threshers[/color], [color=orangered]crystalisks[/color] and [color=orangered]varkids[/color] along the way. Enter a long tunnel at airlock 2 and keep fighting/pushing your way in. There’s a door on your left just before airlock 3 which opens to a small chamber with lockers and a [color=lightblue]vending machine[/color].

Pass through airlock 3 into the lower section of the [color=lightblue]Infested Warehouse[/color]. Push the minecart and contents until they drop onto a conveyor belt. Pull the [color=lime]lever[/color] to activate the belt and crusher, and defend yourself! Once the process is complete, pick up the pieces and turn in at the [color=green][b]?[/b][/color] marker. [color=orange][b]Note:[/b][/color] If you get knocked down onto the conveyor, jump down to the lowest level and head to the right for a ladder to bring you back up again.

[color=cyan]Perfectly Peaceful Resumed:[/color]

Explore the upper level for loot, then head down to the lowest level. Take the door to a passage that leads into [color=lightblue]Dahl Deep Core 06[/color]. **[color=orange]BEFORE[/color]** you pick up the fourth [color=lightblue]echo[/color], poke your head ourside into the [color=lightblue]Nether Hive[/color] to complete the optional challenge to kill [color=orangered]spiderants[/color]. Once you’re done and have the last [color=lightblue]echo[/color], ascend the ladder all the way up and exit through the gift shop, er, courtyard to get back to the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]. Turn in [color=cyan]Perfectly Peaceful[/color] to [color=lightblue]Sir Hammerlock[/color]. To get the [[color=steelblue]Heartbreaker[/color]][10], turn the [color=cyan]Safe and Sound[/color] in to [color=lightblue]Moxxi[/color].

[color=orange][b]WARNING REGARDING SAFE AND SOUND:[/b][/color] If you ***[color=orange]talk[/color]*** to either [color=lightblue]Marcus[/color] or [color=lightblue]Moxxi[/color] while the mission status is showing [color=lightblue]Turn in to Marcus OR Moxxi[/color] then that will be the ***[color=orange]only[/color]*** choice for turning in the mission and getting the reward. If you made a mistake and realise it soon enough, you can quit without saving (dashboard on console), but you will lose ***[color=orange]all[/color]*** progress since the last save when doing so.

[i]<a href=”#TOC4″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”WEP1″ />[color=cyan]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color]

[i][b][color=orange]Warning:[/color][/b] This is another long map, with the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] right at the start. Any time you save and quit while running the main story will result in you respawning at the beginning again. You’ll maintain your misison progress, but you’ll need to fight your way back through every area. You can go as far as the third building ([color=lightblue]Specimen Maintenance[/color]) and safely save and quit as long as you complete the related mission objectives and trigger the nearest save point; I’ve heard reports (but not been able to verify) of players being locked out of the final building due to save-quit/restarting.[/i]

Once you’ve taken the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] from [color=yellow]The Highlands[/color] (near the [color=lightblue]Isotope Reclamation Tower[/color]) to the [color=yellow]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color], you’ll find yourself at the map’s [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]. Once you’re ready, start pushing down the path ahead of you. You’ll encounter a bunch of [color=orangered]stalkers[/color]; once you’ve cleared them out with extreme prejudice, head up the rock ramp to the right of the main path, and follow the trail up and around to [color=lightblue]Casa de Mordecai[/color]. You’ll trigger some dialogue and get a mission update; take a look at the map beside [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color], then talk to him to advance the mission.

Jump your way down. If you’re doing the map challenges, you’ll want to head up to the lighthouse; otherwise, just head on down to the shipping yard. You’ll need to hit the door button, but it won’t work and so [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color] comes up with another plan. At this point, you can either go along with the plan (just injure the [color=orangered]loaders[/color] without killing them) or simply destroy everything: if you don’t get the door open after a certain time, the event you’re waiting for triggers anyway (plus, you get more XP this way.) If you’re trying the first route, make sure you land your [color=red]critical hits[/color] to take their arms off so you take less damage, and keep moving!

Next, work your way through massive numbers of Hyperion staff and robots in the [color=lightblue]Preserve Dockyard[/color] unti you reach the Preserve proper. You’ll drop down into the first pen, fight your way through a bunch of [color=orangered]skags[/color], and then run up a pipe into the first building.

[b][color=orange]CAUTION:[/color][/b] If you have accepted [color=cyan]Doctor’s Orders[/color] – and particularly if you are trying to complete all the BAR challenges – I strongly recommend that you **[color=orange]DO NOT[/color]** pick up the [color=cyan]quest echo recording[/color] just inside the entrance, and be very careful to pick up items from the adjacent [color=lightblue]ammo crate[/color] one at a time (rather than as a “collect all”). You’ll see why later… Also note that, should you be in some-one else’s game, it is considered bad form to pick these echoes up without asking them first. This is not actually *that* important in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], but it becomes very important in subsequent play-throughs!

The next area is infested with [color=orangered]stalkers[/color], [color=orangered]rakk[/color], [color=orangered]loaders[/color], and more [color=orangered]skags[/color]. There’s a couple of ways to go here: either straight up the middle, or off to the right to climb the rocks and take the road across the top. You’ll end up in a big mob-fight at the top end either way, but taking the road gives you a little more time if you’re working on your sniper skills. If you’re doing the map challenges, you *will* want to go down to the right first regardless. On your way up through this region, you’ll get an echo message from [color=lightblue]Tannis[/color] that adds an [color=cyan]optional objective[/color] to collect [color=cyan]slag samples[/color] along the way. You can pick these up as you go; just make sure they’re the [color=cyan]slag samples[/color] and not the [color=cyan]Doctor’s Orders echo recordins[/color].

[b][color=orange]POTENTIAL GLITCH:[/color][/b] I’ve seen a number of people get this mission glitched because they took a “short-cut” from this area over the top of the waterfall. Do [b][color=orange]NOT[/color][/b] attempt this on the main story quest – you have been warned!

Push the [color=lime]green button[/color] to open the door on the second building, and head inside. Depending on which version of the game you have, you may see the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to the [color=lightblue]Natural Selection Annex[/color], which houses the [color=cyan]Creature Slaughter (lvl.22)[/color] arena. Round 5 of this gives the [color=steelblue]unique[/color] rocket launcher, [[color=steelblue]Miss Moxxi’s Creamer[/color]][11]. The lobby also has a full set of [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color], so it’s a useful area to duck into and restock.

Clear the building of [color=orangered]loaders[/color] and [color=orangered]stalkers[/color], pushing through the building and the wrecked centrifuge to the plateau beyond. You’ll face *lots* of [color=orangered]loaders[/color] and [color=orangered]stalkers[/color] here; once you clear the key waves, the door of the third building will open to allow a [color=orangered]super badass loader[/color] to emerge. My personal tactic is to immediately run up onto the plateau on the right as I emerge from the centrifuge. This gives a great view of the whole area, allowing you to see [color=orangered]EXP Loaders[/color] coming. It’s a good spot to pick off enemies as the [color=orangered]loaders[/color] and [color=orangered]stalkers[/color] fight each other, and you can back down if you need to take cover. Another tactic is to use the large plants for cover. Use whatever you have to disable and take down the [color=orangered]super badass loader[/color], which clears your way to the [color=lightblue]Specimen Maintenance[/color] building with the holding pens.

Head inside and to the right, follow the marker/prompts into the relevant pen, and pick up the [color=cyan]mission item[/color]. There’ll be more dialogue, and then you’ll have another critter brawl on your hands. Once things are clear, explore the rooms. The one to the left (as you emerge from the story mission pen) contains four [color=lightblue]boxes[/color], one of which contains the second [color=cyan]Doctor’s Orders echo[/color]. Once your [color=lightblue]action skill[/color] is ready to go, and your weapons are all reloaded, ***[color=orange]carefully[/color]*** open the first box to get a [color=lightblue]Loot Midget[/color]. Kill it, pick up the loot ***[color=orange]being careful not to pick up the echo[/color]***, and repeat. You will generally get as many [color=lightblue]Loot Midgets[/color] as there are unclaimed [color=cyan]Doctor’s Orders echoes[/color] (occasionally one less). One of them just coughed up a [[color=orange]legendary Pandemic[/color]][12] for me while doing this guide! Now you know why we wanted to save those [color=cyan]echoes[/color]!

Alright, more [color=orangered]stalkers[/color], then up and across to some [color=orangered]skags[/color] and in to building number four. Head on in, and just follow the only route through the mass of Hyperion personnel and robots. Keep an eye out for [color=cyan]slag samples[/color] along the way – there are some in specific locations, while others can be dropped by the enemies. At one point, you’ll head up a metal stair case to a long corridor. There is a [color=lime]glowing switch[/color] on the end of a row of crates just ahead; activating this will release [color=orangered]stalkers[/color] to fight everyone else – just in case you wanted a few more of them around! When you’re ready, go right to the end of the building and take the elevator down to the [color=lightblue]Observation Wing[/color]

This next bit is, in terms of story, one of my least favourite parts of the game. Frankly, I think the writer spent too much time reading Harry Potter or something… Anyway: when you first drop down there will be some dialogue and, when you move far enough forward, the big-reveal cut-scene. This will be followed by more dialogue: **[color=orange]DO NOT[/color]** trigger your [color=lightblue]action skill[/color] or start firing until the dialogue has completed – it will not hurt your target until [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] has finished speaking to you.

The fight involves four phases (one for each element) with frequent elemental attacks, dive-bombs, etc. You’ll need to either keep moving or find cover. [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color] gives call-outs periodically so you know what’s coming, so keep an ear open. You can either stay under the elevator you came down, hang out on the large circular doors at the far end, or work your way around the crates. If it takes you a while to get this done, [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color] will drop supplies at the curved end of the arena. Unfortunately, these tend to glitch slightly below the surface, so you’ll need to pick them up yourself – no auto-pickup here ๐Ÿ™

Once the fight is over, grab the [color=cyan]mission item[/color], head through the doors that just opened, and beat it back to the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]. You’ll need to visit [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color] before turning the mission in to [color=lightblue]Roland[/color]. This will advance the main story to [color=cyan]The Once and Future Slab (lvl.20)[/color] as well as unlocking [color=lightblue]Mordecai’s[/color] side quests [color=cyan]Rakkaholics Anonymous (lvl.19)[/color] and [color=cyan]Animal Rights (lvl.19)[/color].

Time for another break – phew!

[i]<a href=”#TOC4″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]


#[color=cyan]Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players[/color]
[color=yellow]Part 5 of your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, covering [color=lightblue]Thousand Cuts[/color] to [color=lightblue]Control Core Angel[/color].[/color]

Continuing the [color=wheat][b]Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM)[/b][/color] play-through from parts 1-4 of this guide. As before, [color=cyan]cyan headings[/color] denote missions, while other colours denote [color=yellow]main sections[/color], [color=wheat]gear and weapons[/color], or [color=lightblue]skills[/color] entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.

Special thanks to the following for comments and corrections: @Piemanlee, @Worblehat, @kuhchung

###<a name=”TOC5″ />[color=yellow]Outline:[/color]

* [Part 1: [color=lightblue]Windshear Waste[/color] to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]][P1]
* [Part 2: [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color]][P2]
* [Part 3: [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color] to [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color]][P3]
* [Part 4: [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color] to [color=lightblue]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color]][P4]
* <a href=”#Saunctum4″>[color=yellow]Sanctuary (4)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Slab”>[color=cyan]Once and Future Slab[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#HypeTown”>[color=yellow]Opportunity[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Cuts2″>[color=yellow]Thousand Cuts[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Cuts3″>[color=yellow]The Bunker[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#CoreA”>[color=yellow]Control Core Angel[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Sanctum5″>[color=yellow]Sanctuary (5)[/color]</a>
* [Part 6: [color=lightblue]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] to [color=lightblue]Heroes Pass[/color]][P6]
* [Part 7: [color=lightblue]Vault of the Warior[/color] and beyond!][P7]

##<a name=”Saunctum4″ />[color=yellow]Sanctuary (4)[/color]

Welcome back, Vault Hunter! Before we resume with the main story, I just want to clear up a couple of things regarding the last few side quests we unlocked:

* [color=cyan]Animal Rights[/color]
– Gives the [color=steelblue]unique[/color] sniper rifle the [[color=steelblue]Trespasser[/color]][1], which has the [color=red]red text[/color] bonus of bypassing an enemy’s shield. This is easy to do while also completing [color=cyan]Doctor’s Orders[/color] for the [color=orchid]erdidium[/color] (it’s not worth farming the latter in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color] due to the fixed level of any gear dropped.) Note that if you push through to the [color=lightblue]Observation Area[/color] you will run into the repeatable derp-boss, [color=lightblue]Son of Mothrakk[/color], the useless flake who’ll more often than not throw the [[color=orange]legendary Skullmasher[/color]][6] sniper rifle either out of bounds or through the floor…
* [color=cyan]Rakkaholics Anonymous[/color]
– A very straight-forward side quest that nets the [color=steelblue]unique[/color] pistol [[color=steelblue]Miss Moxxi’s Rubi[/color]][2] if you turn the mission in to her instead of [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color].

[color=orange][b]WARNING REGARDING RAKKAHOLICS:[/b][/color] If you ***[color=orange]talk[/color]*** to either [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color] or [color=lightblue]Moxxi[/color] while the mission status is showing [color=lightblue]Turn in to Mordecai OR Moxxi[/color] then that will be the ***[color=orange]only[/color]*** choice for turning in the mission and getting the reward. If you made a mistake and realise it soon enough, you can quit without saving (dashboard on console), but you will lose ***[color=orange]all[/color]*** progress since the last save when doing so.

Finally, starting the main story quest also unlocks [color=lightblue]Scooter’s[/color] side quest [color=cyan]Poetic License (lvl.20)[/color], which yields a [color=lime]assault rifle[/color] or [color=lime]sniper rifle[/color]; this is easily done during the main story in [color=yellow]Thousand Cuts[/color]:

[i]<a href=”#TOC5″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Slab” />[color=cyan]Once and Future Slab[/color]

[color=cyan]Deliver Note:[/color] Head on out to [color=lightblue]The Highlands[/color] (through the [color=lightblue]Highlands – Hyperion Bridge Fast Travel[/color] if you’ve unlocked it; otherwise go via [color=lightblue]Highlands Overlook[/color]) and head to the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] located on the west side of the map. You’ll get some dialogue from [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] when you arrive, then you’ll have to fight your way through [color=lightblue]Slab Town[/color] and a whole bunch of [color=orangered]bandits[/color] and [color=orangered]buzzards[/color] to get to the [color=lightblue]Slab King’s[/color] HQ, the [color=lightblue]Buzzard Factory[/color]. Watch out for the ***[color=orange]MANY[/color]*** barrels, oil tanks, and cliffs just waiting to speed you to the nearest [color=lightblue]New-U station[/color]!

Your main objective is to cross [color=lightblue]Broke Face Bridge[/color] to get to the main building. Along the way you’ll see a side-quest marker ([color=yellow][b]![/b][/color]) and encounter [color=lightblue]Face McShooty[/color]. You might as well give him what he wants… There’s lots to explore on this map, but don’t worry too much about the south side – you’ll end up going through there soon enough. Once you’re ready, run up the staircase and drop down inside the [color=lightblue]Buzzard Factory[/color] for trial by [color=orangered]slab[/color]. If you’re feeling adventurous (or over-levelled!), you can make this more interesting by popping the helmets off two or more [color=orangered]goliaths[/color] and letting them clear the room. The last couple of [color=orangered]goliaths[/color] may get stuck on the upper deck; if so, fall back to the south-east corner of the factory and either snipe them or toss a homing grenade at them.

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] If you’re trying to get the achievement/trophy for allowing a [color=orangered]goliath[/color] to level up five times, just shoot the helmet off one of them: weaken any enemies near it so they die quickly at the hands of the [color=orangered]goliath[/color]. If it starts chasing you, kite it to the next group of enemies.[/i]

[color=cyan]Follow [spoiler]Brick[/spoiler]:[/color] You’ll need to shoot your way out against a bunch of Hyperion robots and mortar rounds. Follow the [color=lightblue]Slab King[/color] and stay out of the big [color=red]red targetting circles[/color] (unless you like getting blown up.) There will be three beacons to destroy before you’re back near the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color]. Note that the [color=orangered]buzzards[/color] and [color=orangered]slabs[/color] ***[color=orange]WILL[/color]*** target you, so do try and stay as close to the [color=lightblue]Slab King[/color] as possible. Head back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] for a touching (touched?) reconciliation scene. Hand in the mission to [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] to advance the story to the next mission, [color=cyan]The Man Who Would Be Jack (lvl.23)[/color].

You will also have unlocked the following additional side quests:

* [color=lightblue]Lilith[/color]:
– [color=cyan]Home Movies[/color] ([color=steelblue]blue rarity[/color] relic)
* [color=lightblue]Slab King[/color]:
– [color=cyan]Rocko’s Modern Strife[/color] ([color=orchid]eridium[/color], ultimately)
* [color=lightblue]Moxxi[/color]:
– [color=cyan]Hell Hath No Fury (lvl.24)[/color] ([color=steelblue]unique[/color] grenade mod the [[color=steelblue]Kiss of Death[/color]][3])
* [color=lightblue]Marker[/color]:
– [color=cyan]The Bane (lvl.24)[/color] ([color=steelblue]unique[/color] gun [[color=steelblue]The Bane[/color]][4])

I would suggest taking [color=cyan]The Bane[/color] not so much for the mission reward, but for the fact that one of the targets along the way is the repeatable mini-boss McNally, who has a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] assault rifle, the [[color=orange]Hammer Buster[/color]][5]. (Plus, it’ll also take you to [color=yellow]Lynchwood[/color], a map filled with opportunities!) Note that, if you haven’t accepted them yet, the side quests in [color=lightblue]The Dust[/color] ([color=cyan]Positive Self Image[/color] and [color=cyan]Too Close For Missiles[/color]) and the mission at the [color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] in [color=lightblue]The Fridge[/color] will also level up again.

The [[color=steelblue]Kiss of Death[/color]][3] grenade mod is a homing transfusion grenade. It is (IMO) better than the [color=steelblue]Fuster Cluck[/color], although it does tend to come with a long fuse time and it’s homing AI can be a little erratic. You might want to take this side quest simply because you’re going to [color=lightblue]Opportunity[/color] anyway, and if you’re going for all the map challenges you’ll have to go to the side quest location regardless.

[i]<a href=”#TOC5″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”HypeTown” />[color=yellow]Opportunity[/color]

When you’re ready, travel to the [color=lightblue]Highlands – Hyperion Bridge Fast Travel[/color]. Grab a vehicle from the nearby [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] if you want one, and head down to the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=yellow]Opportunity[/color]. You will arrive in the north end of the city near several [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color] and the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color]. There are two side quests immediately available:

* [color=cyan]Statuesque[/color] on the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color](a [color=steelblue]blue[/color] head)
* [color=cyan]Written By The Victor[/color] at the [color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] marker in [color=lightblue]Living Legend Plaza[/color] (cash and XP)

[i][b][color=orange]Tip:[/color][/b] [color=lightblue]Opportunity[/color] is one of the maps containing an easy-to-farm [color=lightblue]red gear chest[/color]. While this isn’t as relevant in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], it can be very useful [color=wheat]UVHM[/color]. From the [color=lightblue]Opportunity Fast Travel[/color] just keep to the far left (run literally along the edge!) until you reach the [color=lightblue]Orbital Delivery Zone[/color], then look to your right across the landing pad. You can sneak in and out this way without alerting any robots as long as you don’t fire off any shots.[/i]

Whether you’re following the main story mission or aiming to complete [color=cyan]Hell Hath No Fury[/color], it doesn’t really matter which way you go. This map is a pretty intense mobbing area either way! Note that whichever way you go, there are certain locations that will ***always*** trigger the arrival of a [color=orangered]constructor[/color], one of which is in [color=lightblue]Living Legend Plaza[/color] between you and the main mission area marker. If you run away and come back later, they’ll simply respawn; if you take them down, they’ll respawn eventually (after about 20 minutes?) but you should have time to complete any mission or side quest in that area.

The good news is that there are multiple levels and routes you can take through and around each area so, if you need to back off, you can usually find a way to withdraw and flank your targets. Keep an eye out for fresh [color=red]red dots[/color] on your minimap, though – you’ll trigger new spawns in each zone of the map the first time you enter them.

For the main story, you’ll eventually find yourself in [color=lightblue]Opportunity Square[/color], which is a large multi-level plaza under a glass pyramid towards the centre of the map, open at each end. Your initial target is downstairs, and will have a fairly high capacity [color=skyblue]shield[/color] that you will need to take down before you can work on his health. The bad news is that he will (a) run away and (b) summon ***lots*** of support; try to deal as much initial damage as possible (especially damage-over-time). Note that there will usually be at least one [color=orangered]loader[/color] nearby initially. My advice would be to ignore such secondary targets unless you need a [color=lightblue]second wind[/color]. Once you’ve taken out your target and retrieved the item you need, you’ll need to visit a total of five different [color=lightblue][s]propaganda[/s] information kiosks[/color] around the city. Take your time, clear each area, then activate the kiosk and stay close to it (if you stray to far, you’ll have to re-activate it to advance the mission.)

The first one is in [color=lightblue]Opportunity Square[/color]. The others are located: to the south in the [color=lightblue]Residential Quarter[/color]; to the west in the [color=lightblue]Waterfront District[/color]; to the north-west in the [color=lightblue]Hyperion Office Complex[/color] (caution: [color=orangered]constructor[/color] spawn location); and to the north back in [color=lightblue]Living Legend Plaza[/color]. You’ll likely notice that there are more badass enemy variants during this part of the mission, and that you’ll get fresh spawns at each location. Lots of fun! Once you have all the recordings you need, you’ll need to drop down *under* [color=lightblue]Opportunity Square[/color] from the [color=lightblue]Waterfront District[/color] end. Now it’s time to either find your way out, or complete [color=lightblue]Moxxi’s[/color] side quest.

[color=cyan]Hell Hath No Fury[/color]: Head south to [color=lightblue]The Pits[/color] to locate your target. Once he’s dealt with, you’ll get a mission update from [color=lightblue]Moxxi[/color] that keeps you exploring this area all the way to the southern-most point of the map. Grab what you need (caution: [color=orangered]constructor[/color] spawn location), then follow the map counter-clockwise to the next location. Once you’re done, make a run for it around the edge back up to the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color].

Once back in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color], turn in the main mission to [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] in order to advance to [color=cyan]Where Angels Fear to Tread[/color]. You’ll need to talk to [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color] to get things rolling. Before you leave [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] however, you might want to talk to [color=lightblue]The Slab King[/color] and pick up [color=cyan]Rocko’s Modern Strife[/color] if you haven’t already done so – it’ll make this next part a bit easier because the [color=lightblue]Slabs[/color] won’t immediately start shooting you once you return to [color=lightblue]Thousand Cuts[/color]. You’ll also find a new side quest available at the [color=lightblue]Overlook Bounty Board[/color], [color=cyan]Hyperion Contract #873 (lvl.24)[/color], along with a bunch more in [color=yellow]Lynchwood[/color].

[i]<a href=”#TOC5″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Cuts2″ />[color=yellow]Thousand Cuts[/color]

Do any buying, selling, and upgrading you need after talking to [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color]. You’ll also want to clear some space in your [color=lightblue]backpack[/color] if you’ve been holding on to things. For this next mission, you’ll want plenty of [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] fire power at your disposal, and it’s going to be a while before you get back once you start. If you’re starting other characters, this is a good time to pass items down through [color=lightblue]Claptrap’s stash[/color] (either that, or put the good stuff you’ve out-levelled in the bank for later.) When you’re completely ready, hit the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] to [color=lightblue]Thousand Cuts[/color].

When you arrive, turn to face the entrance to [color=lightblue]Slab Town[/color], then head around the rock out-cropping to your left. You’ll find [color=lightblue]Rocko[/color] just up some stairs on a platform waiting for you. Turning in [color=cyan]Rocko’s Modern Strife[/color] unlocks [color=cyan]Defend Slab Tower[/color]. Accepting this mission but not advancing it means you can explore the entire map without the [color=lightblue]slabs[/color] and [color=lightblue]buzzards[/color] attacking you. This makes for easier challenge completion, and gives you a chance to raid the red gear chests a couple of times if you feel the need to do so. (Note that you can still get jumped by loot midgets, so be careful when opening any loot containers!) I recommend keeping this quest open in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color] at least until you’ve completed the current main story mission. Once the gear you can find is no longer high enough level, you may as well complete it for the extra [color=orchid]eridium[/color].

Once you’re ready, head from [color=lightblue]Slab Town[/color] down and across the bridge to the left to [color=lightblue]Bloody Knuckle Point[/color], and make your way across [color=lightblue]No Man’s Land[/color] to your rendezvous with [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color]. Talk to him, wait for him to lower the barrier, then start fighting your way through the [color=lightblue]Competitor Deterrence Field[/color]. There will be ***[color=orange]lots[/color]*** of [color=skyblue]shielded[/color] and [color=yellow]armoured[/color] troops and robots, including quite a few [color=orangered]surveryors[/color] and fast-moving [color=orangered]JET Loaders[/color] to deal with, although you will have air support. You’ll also have a turret appear in a bunker to the left of the road just past the barrier, and a [color=orangered]constructor[/color] will spawn up ahead once youget far enough along the road. There’s a side path some stairs along the left side and, once they’ve emptied out (!), various containers along the road for cover; watch out for the drops on both sides, but especially the right! I recommend that you keep moving, switching from one side of the road to the over as you work your way up. Once you’ve taken down the first [color=orangered]constructor[/color], a gate will open to the second section of the ascent.

As you work your way up, you’ll need to avoid mortar fire (just as you did escaping from [color=lightblue]Slab Town[/color] earlier) and avoid a couple more robots. As you crest the hill, you’ll notice a bunch of containers off to the left side of the road, between the road and the cliff. There’s a [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color]; make sure you trigger it before tackling the turrets on the second gate! There are several spots on both sides of the road where you can take cover while reloading. Once both turrets are down, you’ll have a swarm of defenders emerge and spread out. Use the cover to flank them as much as possible, but keep an eye out for [color=orangered]surveryors[/color] and the edge of the cliff. Make sure you reload and grab ammo before proceeding into the [color=lightblue]Control Core Supply Depot[/color]. A bunch of [color=orangered]loaders[/color], [color=orangered]soldiers[/color] and [color=orangered]surveyors[/color] will spawn in on the ground and the first level of the complex. A [color=orangered]badass constructor[/color] will also spawn in on the second level. This will, of course, keep constructing more troops, so your primary goal is to take this out first.

At this point, you have a couple of choices. You can either retreat back to the gate and take the enemies out from long range by sniping, or you can run across diagonally to the right, up the stairs, and straight to the wall at the back of the first level: there’s a slight overhang here with a row of pillars and some crates that you can use to dodge missiles while taking out the first wave of troops. Work your way along from pillar to pillar between missile barrages, then head up the stair case and find shelter at the top. You can now duck around the side and hit the [color=orangered]badass constructor[/color] from the side; watch out for the turret on its leg, though. If you go down, snipe from the gate to take it out before heading back up. You’ll have several waves to chew through before the third gate opens and a few more defenders emerge. Take them out, loot, and move up. Note the red chest on the roof of the building to the left of this staircase – I just noticed it for the first time ever while creating the guide! There’s a second red chest on the [color=lightblue]Control Core Loading Dock[/color] just up and to your right once you pass through the third gate. Continuing looting your way along the path and across the final brige to the [color=lightblue]transition[/color] to the secondary map, [color=lightblue]The Bunker[/color].

[i]<a href=”#TOC5″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Cuts3″ />[color=yellow]The Bunker[/color]

You’ll find yourself on a steep, rocky path, just below a [color=gold]one-way Fast Travel[/color] (yes, you ***[color=orange]will[/color]*** have to fight all the way back from the beginning if you fast travel out ๐Ÿ™ ) and a few [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color] further up. The [color=lightblue]Slab King[/color] will have some short dialogue, and there’ll be a lot of activity in the air around you. Hit the vending machines if you need to, then start working your way up the ramp and stairs to the outer circle of [color=lightblue]The Bunker[/color]. Once you hit the outer ring, go up to the left: the turrets you need to take out are located around the ring ***and*** on the main (**south**) platform. Note that these have a [color=red]red critical spot[/color] a bit like a [color=orangered]constructor’s[/color] eye, except on the ***back***. You’ll have lots of robots spawning in the whole time as well and, just to make things really interesting, you’ll occasionally need to leap up on to some boxes or hit the stairs to avoid laser beams… You will occasionally get a call-out telling you where more supplies are being dropped.

Once you take out all the turrets, there’s a cut-scene and the fun ***really*** starts. You have three basic choices from this point on:

* Stay on the main (“south”) plaform near either of the stairs down to the outer rim – there are pillars here you can use for shelter
* Go back down ***below*** the outer rim, where there’s more cover but not as many opportunities to hit the [color=orangered]big badass flying thing[/color]
* Run up the stairs from the south platform to the upper, covered level. There’s a chest up here, with a waterfall at the far end.

Whichever option you take, the fight will go in phases:

* Your target flying around at distance while you fend off robots and avoid laser counter-measures
* Mortar attacks, in which you’ll see a red dome thing land; it’ll beep for a bit then blow up
* Heat-seeking missiles
* Turret attacks while the target hovers on one side of the platform (good time to fire away!)
* Sneak attacks from behind and above the waterfall.

You’ll need to keep on your toes, and keep one eye on your minimap: [color=orangered]loaders[/color] can jump or fly in and land behind you at any time. The target does have [color=red]critical hit[/color] locations that you should be able to figure out by now, and can easily hit with a good sniper or other scoped weapon. Homing grenades will also work but tend to latch on to the robots on the rim and platform. Once you get the target’s health down to ~10% or less, it will take up station above the staircases at the far end of the platform. Be careful here, as a direct hit from the cannon can put you down: the cannon has a pattern to its shots and reload, so hit it while it reloads, then take cover to do the same.

Once the target has been dispatched, there will be a massive lootsplosion, and you can start mopping up. Take your time and look for goodies: your target (a repeatable boss) does have an extensive list of possible drops, although it can be stingy at times. There’s no hurry at this point, so feel free to go all the way back to the [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color] before completing your scavenger hunt! Make sure you work your way around the ***entire*** map, as there’s a red chest to be found. Once you’re ready, head back to the map marker and prepare for another big reveal…

[i]<a href=”#TOC5″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”CoreA” />[color=yellow]Control Core Angel[/color]

This is one of only two maps in the base game that you can never return to once you’ve completed the story mission, and it’s an interesting one. There’s also some interesting stuff about this map if you’re interested in how games are developed. Check out the [Inside the Box][7] article on it once you’ve completed the story – it’s actually pretty clever the way the whole thing works. Anyway, you’ll find yourself in a small antechamber, which will give you one final opportunity to get your gear sorted (along with any [color=lightblue]skill points[/color] you have to assign) before getting into the thick of things. Click on the [color=lime]glowing switch[/color] to trigger another cut-scene, then head on in to [color=lightblue]Control Core Angel[/color] proper.

Besides the obvious [color=orangered]loaders[/color] of various sorts, you’ll face some additional hazards through three “rounds”, punctuated by specific things you’ll be asked to do. Don’t worry, though – you’ll get some unexpected help along the way. The new hazards include:

* Bullet-reflecting shield
– The [color=orange]orange[/color] shield around the central core reflects bullets, so don’t try to shoot enemies through it!
* [color=orangered]Core Defence Turrets[/color]
– There are three of these located around the central core, and their beams cut through shields very quickly. They respawn each phase of the fight
* [color=orangered]Shock Pillars[/color]
– These spawn in sequence around the central core and shoot shock beams at nearby targets. Once “killed”, they make convenient cover from the turrets and other hazards.
* [color=orangered]Angelic Guards[/color]
– These highly armoured [color=orangered]loaders[/color] have protective plates over their joints, and shoot a powerful laser from their eye, but are still susceptible to [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] damage and shots to their eye.
* Steam jets:
– These environmental hazards start appearing in the third round. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see a cloud of steam emerge from the floor vent before the jet shoots up, so you can avoid them.

Once you’re through the fight, take your time clearing up and pay close attention to the dialogue. Turn the misison in to [color=lightblue]Roland[/color] to trigger the final cut-scene, and brace yourself…

[i]<a href=”#TOC5″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Sanctum5″ />[color=yellow]Sanctuary (5)[/color]

You’ll find yourself back in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color], in [color=lightblue]Marcus Munitions Storeroom[/color] – the only other part of the main game maps you can never return to. Take your time, as there are plenty of chests here for you to loot. Once you’re done, head back into [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] proper, and head to the [color=lightblue]Crimson Raiders HQ[/color] to talk to [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color] and complete the mission and start [color=cyan]Toil and Trouble[/color]. While you’re at it, pick up [color=cyan]Bearer of Bad News[/color] – yes, you’re finally going to get into that strong room in the [color=lightblue]Crimson Raiders HQ[/color], but gee… This particular mission sequence still gets to me after many play-throughs, so I’m going to let you finish up this particular side-quest and catch your breath for a bit before we resume.

Oh, for those who mysteriously have not played the original [color=wheat]Borderlands[/color] (seriously, how could you not do that already?!), much of the dialogue during this quest references encounters in that game.

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] The reward for [color=cyan]Bearer of Bad News[/color] is the [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] assault rifle, the [[color=steelblue]Scorpio[/color]][8]. Like a number of other [color=steelblue]blue uniques[/color] (e.g. [[color=steelblue]Rubi[/color]][2]) it can come in a variety of elements, although the non-elemental version will be most common. If you want a specific element, you’ll need to quest-farm it.[/i]


#[color=cyan]Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players[/color]
[color=yellow]Part 6 of your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, covering [color=lightblue]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] to [color=lightblue]Heroes Pass[/color].[/color]

Continuing the [color=wheat][b]Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM)[/b][/color] play-through from parts 1-5 of this guide. As before, [color=cyan]cyan headings[/color] denote missions, while other colours denote [color=yellow]main sections[/color], [color=wheat]gear and weapons[/color], or [color=lightblue]skills[/color] entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.

Special thanks to the following for comments and corrections: @Piemanlee, @kuhchung

###<a name=”TOC6″ />[color=yellow]Outline:[/color]

* [Part 1: [color=lightblue]Windshear Waste[/color] to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]][P1]
* [Part 2: [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color]][P2]
* [Part 3: [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color] to [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color]][P3]
* [Part 4: [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color] to [color=lightblue]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color]][P4]
* [Part 5: [color=lightblue]Thousand Cuts[/color] to [color=lightblue]Control Core Angel[/color]][P5]
* <a href=”#Saunctum6″>[color=yellow]Sanctuary (6)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Toil1″>[color=cyan]Toil and Trouble (1)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#EridB”>[color=yellow]Eridium Blight[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Boy1″>[color=cyan]A Real Boy (1)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Lovers”>[color=cyan]Kill Yourself[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Boy2″>[color=cyan]A Real Boy (2)[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Grandma”>[color=cyan]To Grandmother’s House[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Boy3″>[color=cyan]A Real Boy (3)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Sawtooth”>[color=cyan]Toil and Trouble (2)[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#AridBones”>[color=yellow]Arid Nexus Boneyard[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Propaganda”>[color=cyan]This Just In[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#Saturnalia”>[color=cyan]Data Mining[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#AridLands”>[color=yellow]Arid Nexus – Badlands[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#Talon”>[color=cyan]The Talon of God[/color]</a>
* [Part 7: [color=lightblue]Vault of the Warior[/color] and beyond!][P7]

##<a name=”Saunctum6 ” />[color=yellow]Sanctuary (6)[/color]

As usual, we’ll start with a quick round up of newly unlocked side quests:

* [color=lightblue]Dr. Zed[/color] ([color=lightblue]clinic[/color])
– [color=cyan]Monster Mash (Part 1 pf 3) (Lvl. 27)[/color]: [color=lime]green[/color] AR/Grenade (initially)
* [color=lightblue]Sam Matthews[/color] ([color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] marker in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color])
– [color=cyan]BFFs (lvl.25)[/color]: [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] shield [[color=steelblue]Order[/color]][1])
* [color=lightblue]Marcus[/color] ([color=lightblue]store[/color])
– [color=cyan]The Chosen One (lvl.25)[/color]: [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] AR the [[color=steelblue]Evil Smasher[/color]][2]
* [color=lightblue]Brick[/color] ([color=lightblue]Crimson Raiders HQ[/color])
– [color=cyan]Capture the Flags (lvl.27)[/color]: [color=lime]green rarity[/color] skin

[color=lightblue]Dr. Zed’s[/color] [color=cyan]Monster Mash[/color] quests are fun, and ultimately unlock an additional repeatable boss in [color=lightblue]Frostburn Canyon[/color] that has a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] adaptive shield the [[color=orange]Neogenator[/color]][3]. You might as well do [color=cyan]BFFs[/color] since it’s nearby, fast, and gives a decent shield. The [[color=steelblue]Evil Smasher[/color]][2] (from [color=lightblue]Marcus'[/color] quest) was highly prized by some players when the game first came out due to a glitch that made it insanely over-powered. That glitch was patched out a while ago. It’s not bad if you’re short a powerful AR and looking for one, and you can do this quest while continuing the main story. If you’re concerned about over-levelling though, you can easily skip this one. The side quests in [color=lightblue]The Dust[/color] should also now be level 27 as long as you haven’t accepted them.

[i]<a href=”#TOC6″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Toil1″ />[color=cyan]Toil and Trouble (1)[/color]

Head to [color=lightblue]The Dust[/color], grab your vehicle of choice from [color=lightblue]Ellie’s[/color], and head to the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=yellow]Eridium Blight[/color] at the end of a canyon in the far north-west extent of map. Once you’re in the [color=lightblue]Eridium Blight[/color], boot down the road to the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color], [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] and [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] location. It’s a good idea to jump out here and at least check out the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color] side quests:

* [color=lightblue]Marcus:[/color]
– [color=cyan]Customer Service (lvl.27)[/color]: [color=steelblue]pistol/grenade mod[/color]
* [color=lightblue]Handsome Jack:[/color]
– [color=cyan]To Grandmother’s House We Go (lvl.27)[/color]: [color=orchid]purple rarity[/color] skin
– [color=cyan]Kill Yourself (lvl.27)[/color]: [color=orchid]12 Eridium[/color]
* [color=lightblue]Mal:[/color] ([color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] marker at [color=lightblue]Ore Chasm map exit[/color])
– [color=cyan]A Real Boy: Clothes Make the Man (lvl.27)[/color]: [color=green]sniper/shield[/color]

The first of these is a timed driving mission, which I usually hate. This one is pretty easy, though: your choice. The [color=lightblue]Handsome Jack[/color] side quests reveal more about your would-be nemesis and are fairly straight-forward, especially the second one. The last quest is the first of a set which ultimately gives you a chance to quest-farm the [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] pistol, the [[color=steelblue]Fibber[/color]][4]. This pistol comes in [a variety of types][5], making it hard to farm for the exact one you might want, but it is an extremely effective weapon – especially for [color=lightblue]Gaige[/color] when combined with [color=green]Close Enough[/color].

If you decide to do any of these quests now, it’s worth completing the current stage of the main story first. Just along the road from the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color] you’ll see a large gate on the right with a turret up top beside it. Drive up to the gate and go through when it opens, then follow the road down hill to [color=lightblue]Bruiseboulder Quarry[/color]. Watch out for a very large [color=orangered]bullymong[/color] called [[color=orangered]King Mong[/color]][6] on your right; this is a repeatable boss with a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] rocket launcher, the [[color=orange]Badaboom[/color]][7]. Continue along the road to the bridge with a turret on it to trigger an event and dialogue from [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color] and [color=lightblue]Brick[/color]. You’ll need to go back the way you came, but you can turn off along the way and go up to the [color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] marker to collect the first part of [color=cyan]A Real Boy[/color]; this will take you to some of the locations you’ll also need to hit for the other side quests and to advance the main story.

[i]<a href=”#TOC6″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”EridB” />[color=yellow]Eridium Blight[/color]

I’m going to assume that you’ll pick up and complete [color=cyan]A Real Boy[/color], [color=cyan]To Grandmother’s House[/color] and [color=cyan]Kill Yourself[/color] to complete while getting to the next main story location, as these are easily done now. First off, to find [color=lightblue]Mal[/color] turn around from the blocked bridge to the [color=lightblue]Arid Badlands[/color] and head west along the road. You’ll see a dirt path leading up into the cliffs, where the [color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] quest marker is in the [color=lightblue]Human Dwelling Place[/color]. Talk to [color=lightblue]Mal[/color] to start that quest, then head back to the road and turn north up the hill to the first large gate you encountered on this map.

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] at the [color=lightblue]Human Dwelling Place[/color] takes you to [color=yellow]Ore Chasm[/color], where you’ll find the [color=cyan]Hyperion Circle of Slaughter[/color] arena. I’d suggest leaving this until after the main story as it’s five rounds of all Hyperion all the time, including the obligatory [color=orangered]constructors[/color] and [color=orangered]surveyors[/color] – your choice.[/i]

###<a name=”Boy1″ />[color=cyan]A Real Boy (1):[/color]
Drive up to and pass through the gate back to the northern half of [color=lightblue]Eridium Blight[/color]. Turn right and head east along the road to the curve and over the next bridge (also with a turret beside it). Continue straight ahead between the purple-fume-spewing cone and a rock pile marking the edge of the map. Head towards the bandit camp with the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color], passing the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=yellow]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] on your right. Once cleared, continue on across the girder bridge and pull up by the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color]. Pass through the narrow gateway across the footbridge and enter [color=lightblue]Mount Hellsfont[/color]. You’ll find the items you need by clearing the bandit camp that’s on your left.

###<a name=”Lovers” />[color=cyan]Kill Yourself:[/color]
Head back down the hill but go left instead of right; you’ll see a ladder going up to [color=lightblue]Lover’s Leap[/color], but check inside shack before completing this side quest! Yeah, it really is that stupid, and makes no sense form a story point-of-view, but it’s easy [color=orchid]eridium[/color]. You’ll respawn right beside your vehicle; head back the way you came and stop off at the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color] for your reward.

###<a name=”Boy2″ />[color=cyan]A Real Boy (2):[/color]
Return to [color=lightblue]Mal[/color] for your choice of [color=green]sniper rifle[/color] or [color=green]shield[/color], and pick up part 2 ([color=cyan]Face Time[/color]). Head back to the gate between the two halves of the map. If you look up at the tower before you go through, you’ll notice a [color=lime]glowing switch[/color] – shoot this to unlock a secret area on the other side of the gate.

If you drive straight ***[color=orange]across[/color]*** the road and immediately turn right and drive around the large rock, you’ll see an opening ***[color=orange]underneath[/color]*** the road that leads to [color=lightblue]Infested Grotto[/color]. This is one of the easily missed areas that you’ll need to discover for the map explorer achievement/trophy. You know what to do. (Also, that “Infested” means “Proceed with caution”…)

To get to the next side quest objective, there are a couple of routes. If you already completed the main story through [color=yellow]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] (see below), you should be able to go west along the main road and turn north across the bridge with the drop-section to the western-most [color=lightblue]way-point[/color]; otherwise, you’ll need to turn east and head back to the camp near the [color=yellow]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] [color=lightblue]map transition[/color].

Assuming the second option, go to the eastern-most [color=lightblue]way-point[/color] for the first item, then continue on to the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] you stopped at in [color=cyan]part 1[/color]. Grab the second item from [color=lightblue]Mount Hellsfont[/color], then head back to your vehicle and keep going across the lava flow; bear left up the hill, then drop down another metal deck to reach the western-most [color=lightblue]way-point[/color] and clear the [color=lightblue]Slagma Vapor Extraction[/color] camp to get the third item. Continue south up the hill and double-back into the [color=lightblue]Slagma Refinery[/color] for the fourth item. Make sure you stop before the last building on the right and ***[color=orange]do not[/color]*** park on the metal deck overlooking the lava flow below you (unless you enjoy watching wonky game textures at work!) There’s a footpath up to the right of the last building to the fifth item.

###<a name=”Grandma” />[color=cyan]To Grandmother’s House:[/color]
If you’re also doing this mission, head back out of the [color=lightblue]Slagma Refinery[/color] and continue up to the left to [color=lightblue]Grandma’s House[/color]. You’ll have to do the final approach on foot; keep your eyes peeled! The actual entrance to the house is around the back. This side quest raises deep questions, like “Grandma, what big biceps you have” and “Is this a buzz-axe I see before me?” Once you’re done here, you can either go back to the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color] or finish off [color=cyan]A Real Boy: Face Time[/color]. If the drop-bridge is down, you can cross there; otherwise, just drive down into the [color=lightblue]Slag Scar[/color] and up the other side beside the drop-bridge back to the main east-west road.

###<a name=”Boy3″ />[color=cyan]A Real Boy (3):[/color]
Return to [color=lightblue]Mal[/color] for your choice of [color=green]shotgun[/color] or [color=green]SMG[/color], and pick up part 3 ([color=cyan]Human[/color]). You don’t need to go anywhere for this bit, but do watch out for the barrels. If you’re going to quest-farm the [[color=steelblue]Fibber[/color]][4], head into [color=yellow]Ore Chasm[/color] and return ***[color=orange]before[/color]*** turning in the mission and save-quit/restart. This way, you can see what version of the [[color=steelblue]Fibber[/color]][4] you get when you turn in the mission, quit out without saving if it’s not what you want, then restart at the same spot.

[i]<a href=”#TOC6″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Sawtooth” />[color=cyan]Toil and Trouble (2):[/color] [color=yellow]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color]

You enter the map near the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and a couple of [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]. About half-way into first village you’ll see a ramp up to the roof of a hut on your right; go up and drop down to [color=lightblue]Sawtooth Stills[/color] right in front of the cave entrance to [color=lightblue]Smoking Guano Grotto[/color]. You can take either the long or short way around this square area; just watch out for the drop into lava in the middle! The fastest way is immediately to the right. There is a [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] tucked in to the corner just before the the elevator, where you will also find [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]; ***[color=orange]don’t[/color]*** press the elevator call button until you are ready, as you will immediately be in the thick of it. You’ll need to keep going in the same direction anyway, and activating the elevator triggers a pretty intense mob, so I suggest you press ahead.

Keep going counter-clockwise around then up the stairs to the corner opposite the elevator, then turn right up and out to [color=lightblue]Main Street Reservoir[/color]. Fight through the [color=orangered]threshers[/color] to the village on the far side, and work your way up to [color=lightblue]Cramfist’s Foundry[/color]. There’ll be some [color=orangered]turrets[/color] up above you to the left, and [color=orangered]bandits[/color] in the area immediately in front of you. Work your way up the stairs on the left to the upper plateau. Lots of [color=orangered]buzzards[/color] and [color=orangered]bandits[/color] here, plus two more [color=orangered]turrets[/color] on top of the building to your right as you emerge from the staircase. Once done with the mission objective, go back down the stairs to the lower plateau, and head straight across to the conveyor belt heading back into [color=lightblue]Smoking Guano Grotto[/color]. You’ll need to take down [color=orangered]Mortar[/color], a repeatable boss who has a chance to drop the [color=orange]legendary[/color] [[color=orange]Pandemic[/color]][8] [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] grenade mod. This guy moves fast and likes to jump around a lot; either keep your distance, or close in and hit as hard as possible (e.g. Rockets!). Ascend to [color=lightblue]The Buzzard Nest[/color]! Take down the [color=orangered]bandits[/color] and [color=orangered]buzzards[/color] – work each quarter and use the available cover while reloading.

[color=cyan]Optional side quest:[/color] When you’re all done up top, go to the [color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] marker for [color=cyan]The Great Escape[/color] from [color=lightblue]Ulysses[/color] for more [color=orchid]eridium[/color]: Take elevator back down and peel right out of elevator; note that enemies will have respawned. You can either go back to where you first came in to [color=lightblue]Smoking Guano Grotto[/color] around the outside and drop down, or drop across to the central platforms over the lava (watch out for a Dahl red chest) and work your way along them. Once you have the mission item, there are two ladders to take you back up to the main platform, then back up via the elevator to place the item and complete the mission.

Head back towards the elevator and check your main map: you’ll see a small round blacked-out circle. Jump off the platform on the corner nearest this to discover an otherwise impossible-to-get-to location below. Loot then jump down again back into Main Street reservoir and return to [color=lightblue]Smoking Guano Grotto[/color]. Run straight across and out to [color=lightblue]Sawtooth Stills[/color]. If you want to pick up the other mission on this map, you’ll need to fight your way to the path on the far right (north-east corner) that goes up through the cliffs to get the echo at the [color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] marker. Note that once you complete the first stage, this unlocks [color=cyan]The Lost Treasure (lvl.27)[/color], which provides the [color=magenta]e-tech[/color] unique pistol [[color=magenta]The Dahlminator[/color]][9].

[i][b][color=orange]Note:[/color][/b] This map, along with [color=lightblue]Lynchwood[/color] and [color=lightblue]Opportunity[/color], provides some of the best mobbing areas in the base game.[/i]

Make your way across the floor of the camp (from east to west) and take the stair cases back up to a path heading up hill towards the very first camp you encountered (directly below [color=lightblue]The Buzzard Nest[/color].) You’ll spawn more [color=orangered]buzzards[/color] and [color=orangered]bandits[/color], but you can now fight your way back to the starting point and take the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] back to [color=lightblue]Eridium Blight[/color]. Grab a vehicle from the nearby [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] and make your way back to the south side of the map and the bridge to the [color=yellow]Arid Nexus – Boneyard[/color] [color=lightblue]map transition[/color].

[i]<a href=”#TOC6″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”AridBones” />[color=yellow]Arid Nexus Boneyard[/color]

When you arrive, jump out of your vehicle and use the [color=lime]communications post[/color] to turn the mission in. This advances the main story to [color=cyan]Data Mining[/color] and unlocks the side-quest [color=lightblue]This Just In[/color] which I recommend you take now.

###<a name=”Propaganda” />[color=cyan]This Just In[/color]

Take the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] and accept the side quest from [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color] both for the [color=orchid]eridium[/color] and for the chance to get the [color=orange]legendary[/color] amp shield, the [[color=orange]Bee[/color]][10] from the propagantastic host of the Hyperion radio broadcasts. The [color=lightblue]Hyperion Truth Network[/color] is just across from the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color] and [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] in the [color=yellow]Arid Nexus – Boneyard[/color]. Note that [color=orangered]Hunter Hellquist[/color] is another repeatable boss: just ignore the colour of the elevator call switch whenever you come back. ***[color=orange]Make sure[/color]*** you hand this side quest in during the ***[color=orange]current[/color]*** story mission, or you’ll have to wait until the end to do so.

###<a name=”Saturnalia” />[color=cyan]Data Mining[/color]

From the [color=yellow]Arid Nexus Boneyard[/color] [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color], take a vehicle to the designated spot. You’ll then need to take a tour of various sites around the map where you’ll need to operate a couple of valves. Some of these are in buildings at ground level while one is deep underground. You will, of course, be attacked by Hyperion personal and robots every step of the way, but there are also Hyperion red gun chests in most locations which you should find and check out.

When you’re done at the third location, head towards the marker. Steer to the right of the wind turbine and the large rock pile; you should see a metal ramp ahead of you. Boost up the ramp and you should hit the very large [color=lime]glowing target[/color]. Jump out of your vehicle and head on up inside the pipe to the [color=lightblue]Transmix Regulator Station[/color]. Take note of the pit of death immediately in front of you as you come out of the pipe, and work your way to around the shaft to the left to get to the ladder out.

You’ll be attacked pretty much as soon as you emerge from the opening. You can either stay below the overhead decking and go around the building at ground level, or go up and around the deck. Either way, your next marker is around the corner through several waves of Hyperion’s finest. Oh, there may be [color=orangered]rakk[/color] as well. Hit the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to the [color=yellow]Arid Nexus – Badlands[/color]. You’ll find yourself in an area that looks both familiar and totally different if you played the original [color=wheat]Borderlands[/color]. You’ll spawn in right beside the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] for the map. Unfortunately, using the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] straight away before triggering one of the other map [color=lightblue]save points[/color] means you’ll have to re-enter via the pipeline when you want to come back.

[i]<a href=”#TOC6″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”AridLands” />[color=yellow]Arid Nexus – Badlands[/color]

If you played the [color=wheat]original Borderlands[/color], this map will look ***[color=orange]very[/color]*** familiar, yet different – it’s like coming home only to find that your Mom has redecorated your room and is renting it out to strangers through AirBnB. If you’ve not experienced BL1, ***[color=orange]why have you not played such an awesome game already?[/color]*** There are some [color=lightblue]Dr. Zed lost echoes[/color] which, if you’ve played [color=wheat]BL1[/color] are fun to collect in order:

* Go left and around the corner from the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] to [color=lightblue]TK Baha’s House[/color]. The first echo is in one of the outside sheds.
* Head north-east towards the large light column and pick up the second echo from a barrel on your way. (You can optionally pick up the recording at the [color=yellow][b]![/b][/color] along the way to start [color=cyan]Hungry Like a Skag[/color].)
* Enter [color=lightblue]Fyrestone[/color] and fight your way through to the water tower in the centre of town; head up the ramp for echo number three.
* Continue north-east towards the mission marker until you reach a gate on the far side of [color=lightblue]Fyrestone[/color]. Make *immediately* for the red and white building straight across from you and grab echo number four from the container.
* Deke around the south side of the building, make a series of jumps (railing > side roof > main roof) and find the red Dahl chest. Look straight back towards [color=lightblue]Fyrestone[/color]: locate the watch tower with the sparking panel in the town on the far side of the elevated roadway and shoot the panel (use a scoped weapon!) Jump down and immediately head back into town to [color=lightblue]Dr. Zed’s[/color] place for another chest and the final echo.

Note that doing this will trigger at least one [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] which *should* unlock the map’s [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] station. Failing that, dying and respawning also does the trick ๐Ÿ™

While you’re in [color=lightblue]Fyrestone[/color], check the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color] for another side quest full of [color=wheat]original Borderlands[/color] references, [color=cyan]Uncle Teddy (lvl.28)[/color]. The quest reward is the [[color=steelblue]Lady Fist[/color]][11], a [color=steelblue]unique[/color] pistol available in various elements with an astounding critical hit damage bonus; make sure you turn this mission in at the [color=lightblue]bounty board[/color] for this reward! A second side quest, [color=cyan]Get to Know Jack (lvl.28)[/color], reveals more of the current back-story.

When you’re ready, head back out of [color=lightblue]Fyrestone[/color] and make straight towards the map marker. There will be a moonshot sound, and a massive loader – the repeatable boss [color=orangered]Saturn[/color] will land on the road above you. This behemoth will stomp you if you allow it within range, and has a [color=orangered]turret[/color] on one side. It’s most devastating attack, however, is probably the hoard of homing cruise-missiles it periodically launches at you. These *can* be shot down as they fly straight at you with something like a shotgun or SMG, but you don’t want to be caught out in the open while reloading. There are several strategies that players have used successfully:

* Retreat to the [color=lightblue]Fyrestone[/color] gate and use the walls and pillars there for cover; pop out between salvos to fire off the most powerful [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] weapons you have. There is an extensive wall that runs underneath the roadway you can traverse. Watch out for splash damage from the missiles, though.
* Use the roadway pillars and small structures dotted around for cover; pop out, fire off as many rounds as possible, then head for cover before the next missile swarm heads your way.
* Use the read-and-white building for cover, and kite [color=orangered]Saturn[/color] from one end to the other. Stay as close to the building as possible while you run around during the missile swarms to avoid splash damage or a direct hit.

Of those, the last is my personal favourite. Once you’ve defeated [color=orangered]Saturn[/color], nip back to [color=lightblue]Fyrestone[/color] to restock on ammo, then head to the end of the roadway and take the large elevator platform up. Make sure you trigger the [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] on the opposite side of the roadway when you come off the elevator. Head along the roadway, taking out the [color=orangered]loaders[/color] as you go. A [color=orangered]badass constructor[/color] will drop in at the other end, right outside the building that is your target. This will have [color=orangered]turrets[/color] on its legs, so shoot those off first while it still has the [color=orange]orange shield[/color] protecting its eye.

You’ll have to deal with a few soldiers and robots in the entrance to the [color=lightblue]Hyperion Information Stockade[/color], then fight your way up to the top floor. Once you’ve dispatched of this first wave, you can climb a ladder to the very top for a red chest, then drop back down to the [color=lightblue]map marker[/color] to the mission objective. As soon as you pick up the [color=cyan]mission item[/color], you’ll have to fight off another wave of robots, including *two* more [color=orangered]constructors[/color]. If you’re right in front of one of the two balconies on the top floor, their missile barrage and laser beams will quickly bring you down, so use what cover there is wisely. Once all is done, you can either finish up the map side quests, or head straight on back to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color].

[i]<a href=”#TOC6″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”Talon” />[color=cyan]The Talon of God[/color]

Turning in [color=cyan]Data Mining[/color] advances the main story to [color=cyan]The Talon of God[/color]. You’ll have the option to talk to many key characters, who will all offer you [color=steelblue]blue rarity[/color] items. Once you talk to [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color], though, it will be time to head back to [color=yellow]Eridium Blight[/color] and find the canyon leading to [color=yellow]Heroes Pass[/color].

[i][b][color=orange]Warning:[/color][/b] Once you head out on [color=cyan]The Talon of God[/color], both [color=lightblue]Brick[/color] and [color=lightblue]Mordecai[/color] will go missing from [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] until you’re done. Just so you know if you should go looking for them and wonder where they are…[/i]

Drive through the gate dividing the northern and soutern parts of [color=lightblue]Eridium Blight[/color] and head up to the right (watch out for [color=orangered]King Mong![/color]. You’ll reach a narrow gate where you’ll have to jump out, then run up and talk to [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color]. You’ll need to survive multiple waves of Hyerpion robots while [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color] tries to open the door; make good use of all the cover, and keep moving! Eventually, [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color] will succeed and you’ll be ready to pass through the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=yellow]Heroes Pass[/color]; wait until [color=lightblue]Claptrap[/color] has exhausted his dialoge, though – it’s pretty good!

[i]<a href=”#TOC6″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

###<a name=”Heroes” />[color=yellow]Heroes Pass[/color]

Run up the stairs to find the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color]. When you’re ready, head in to the obvious entrance to the [color=lightblue]Guardian Slag Heap[/color]. Watch out for cloaked Hyperion soldiers, lots of robots, and numerous barrels, as these are all out to get you. Don’t be afraid to pull back and regroup from time to time should you need to. You’ll need to jump across a gap to get to the [color=lightblue]Emergency Supply Cache[/color]. Fight your way down and across the bridge through several waves of reinforcements. It is possible to take out the [color=orangered]turrets[/color] on top of the pillars either side of the large force-field protecting [color=lightblue]Drift Mouth Access[/color], but you’ll need a fairly high damage output sniper rifle or similar. Don’t let the apparent shields over the [color=orangered]turrets[/color] fool you: just hit each one with as much [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color] damage as possible.

Immediately inside [color=lightblue]Drift Mouth Access[/color], another [color=orangered]constructor[/color] will drop in on a roof above and to your right. There’s a Hyperion supply crate you can take cover in directly in front of it; pop out to shoot it in the eye, and deke back inside to avoid missile barrages and reload. Once it’s down, continue fighting your way forward. You’ll get a brief respite at the next [color=lightblue]New-U save point[/color] (where you can see a sign on a building saying “Emergency Supply Cache”) but, once you press on to the next open terrace and bridge you’ll be under attack from the opposite side of the ravine. Depending on how you’re feeling, you can either run down and tackle this wave head-on, or you can stay on the terrace and take each one out from range. Chew through enough reinforcements, and another [color=orangered]badass constructor[/color] will spawn in at the far end of the pass, protecting the exit to the [color=yellow]Vault of the Warrior[/color].

As you move forwards, you’ll come to the head of a ramp down with line of road barriers across the top. If you stand far enough back behind this, the missiles from the [color=orangered]constructor[/color] can’t hit you, but you can step sideways to get shots off between salvoes; watch out for [color=orangered]loaders[/color] coming at you both up the ramp and from the side, as well as the inevitable [color=orangered]surveyors[/color]. You can also run back to the terrace and shoot from there, using the buildings for cover. Once this is down, push forwards through the final waves of reinforcements to the end of the pass.

[i]<a href=”#TOC6″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

#[color=cyan]Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players[/color]
[color=yellow]Part 7 of your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, completing the main game with the [color=lightblue]Vault of the Warrior[/color].[/color]

Continuing the [color=wheat][b]Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM)[/b][/color] play-through from parts 1-6 of this guide. As before, [color=cyan]cyan headings[/color] denote missions, while other colours denote [color=yellow]main sections[/color], [color=wheat]gear and weapons[/color], or [color=lightblue]skills[/color] entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.

###<a name=”TOC7″ />[color=yellow]Outline:[/color]

* [Part 1: [color=lightblue]Windshear Waste[/color] to [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color]][P1]
* [Part 2: [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] to [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Stronghold[/color]][P2]
* [Part 3: [color=lightblue]Bloodshot Ramparts[/color] to [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color]][P3]
* [Part 4: [color=lightblue]End of the Line[/color] to [color=lightblue]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color]][P4]
* [Part 5: [color=lightblue]Thousand Cuts[/color] to [color=lightblue]Control Core Angel[/color]][P5]
* [Part 6: [color=lightblue]Sawtooth Cauldron[/color] to [color=lightblue]Heroes Pass[/color]][P6]
* <a href=”#VaultW”>[color=yellow]Vault of the Warrior[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#ps”>[color=cyan]So What Now?[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#dlcs”>[color=cyan]Main DLCs[/color]</a>
– <a href=”#domes”>[color=cyan]Slaughter Domes[/color]</a>
– <a name=”hhs”>[color=cyan]Headhunter Packs[/color]</a>
* <a href=”#TVHM”>[color=wheat]True Vault Hunter Mode (TVHM)[/color]</a>


##<a name=”VaultW” />[color=yellow]Vault of the Warrior[/color]

Follow the clear path and head down in the elevator. You’ll see a small building with a [color=gold]one-way Fast Travel[/color] beside it and some [color=lightblue]vending machines[/color] inside. Restock as needed, and check your equipment slots before continuing on to the final showdown. You’ll trigger a cut-scene, then it’s time to cut [color=orangered]Handome Jack[/color] down to size.

This fight can be a bit hectic, for reasons that will soon become obvious. It took me quite a while the first few times; once you figure things out, though, it isn’t so bad. A couple of things to watch out for:

* [color=dodgerblue]Shock[/color] weapons strip [color=dodgerblue]regular shields (blue health bar)[/color] so don’t waste time and ammo using a different element.
* Whenever you see an [color=orange]orange shield[/color], remember that it will ***[color=orange]reflect your bullet back at you[/color]*** In this case, you’ll see a tether back to the shield’s source: take that out as fast as possible.
* [color=darkorange]Fire[/color] weapons are most efficient against flesh. Plus, if you get [color=darkorange]burn[/color] damage-over-time on your target, you’ll still be able to see it even when it is invisible (just like [color=orangered]stalkers[/color], and [color=wheat]TPS[/color] explains why!)
* There will be secondary enemies ([color=orangered]rakk[/color], [color=orangered]crystalisks[/color], [color=orangered]turrets[/color] and [color=orangered]loaders[/color].) You should be able to ignore these for the most part, and use them for [color=lightblue]second winds[/color], although the [color=orangered]crystalisks[/color] can be a pain.

After another awesome cut-scene, you have to do the impossible. Don’t worry though – it’s totally possible for a badass such as you! If you check the [color=yellow]Vault of the Warrior[/color] map, you’ll see that the main area for this battle is at the centre of a cross that runs north-south and east-west, surrounded by red hot lava. There are stone blocks, partial walls, and control panels around the central area you can use for cover. Make sure you listen for the NPC callouts during this battle, as they will give you valuable clues as to which phase of attack you are about to encounter. As usual, shoot for any point where you can see a glow (you’ll figure it out!) and the fight will go much faster.

It is possible to stick the entire fight out in the main area, hiding between the large stone blocks during the inevitable fiery area-of-effect attacks. In terms of your foe, [color=yellow]explosive[/color] is a good choice, but [color=dodgerblue]shock[/color], [color=yellowgreen]corrosive[/color], [color=orchid]slag[/color], and non-elemental weapons can help get the job done. There are two Hyperion ammo stations on the east and west sides of this area should you start to get low. You have 99 seconds after triggering them to grab the ammo before they reset, so don’t feel you have to stand out in the open waiting – you can easily duck in and out of cover.

If you get ***really*** stuck and die too often (like I did the first time I ever did this mission), there are a couple of places you can take deeper refuge:

1. After respawning and running back to the fight, stay right where you drop down at the southern end of the “cross”, close to the exit back to [color=lightblue]Eridium Blight[/color]. Your target can be hit with any decent weapon from here (scoped weapons are best) but you will be safe from all its attacks. **[color=orange]BE VERY CAREFUL[/color]** not to hit your “pick up” control (X on XBox) or you will travel out and have to fight all the way back through [color=lightblue]Heroes Pass[/color] :dukerage:
1. Alternatively (and if you can make it), there is some scaffolding and/or blocks at the far east end of the “cross” you can climb up to which provide a similar advantage.

If you take either of these options, just keep an eye out for crystalisks spawning near you and try to avoid hitting the [color=orangered]rakk[/color] that fly constantly over the area. If you take the first option, also watch out that you don’t accidentally creep too far forward, or you may find yourself paddling in the lava…Although it can take a while, you will eventually succeed in doing the impossible, and will be given a chance to deliver the *coup de grace* install with a shot from the Helios station’s mortar (the Moonshot cannon). Grab anything you want to grab before doing this, and make sure you’ve read the following ***[color=orange]before[/color]*** you hit that button!

Some players like to farm the moonshot, especially in subsequent play-throughs, since it’s a guaranteed [color=orange]legendary[/color] drop that can be one of a number of items (a favourite is the [[color=orange]Conference Call[/color]][1] shotgun, although you can also get the [[color=orange]Volcano[/color]][2] sniper, [[color=orange]Impaler[/color]][3] shield, *etc.*) If you want to farm, finish picking up any [color=yellow]cash[/color], [color=orchid]eridium[/color], etc. that you want to keep and then save and quit ***[color=orange]before calling the moonshot[/color]***. You will then spawn at the [color=gold]one-way Fast Travel[/color] and can simply run back the moonshot console. It’s possible to use the moonshot cannon without actually checking the mission objective in the process: see the video linked in @khimerakiller’s [post below][4]. You have a short period between the moonshot and the next story mission trigger in which to locate the legendary item and save-quit again. You’ll know you’re getting close to the critical point because you’ll see a purple nova form and trigger. If you miss the timing, you can either just go with what you’ve got or force-quit (dashboard on console) and try again; force-quitting will mean losing whatever you picked up between saves, however.

Once you’ve fired the moonshot and decided that you’re ready, you have a couple of ways to continue that will be indicated clearly via NPC dialogue. Make your choice, act on it, and enjoy the amazing finale. Once the credits have finished rolling (I let them roll because I love the soundtrack, but they are skippable) you can finish cleaning up; you should also see a message stating that you’ve unlocked the next play-though mode. There are three ways to get back to [color]Sanctuary[/color] (or anywhere else you might want to go.)

* The official way is back to the southern end of the “cross” and out via the [color=lightblue]map transition[/color] to [color=lightblue]Eridium Blight[/color]. You’ll have to fight your way through a bunch of [color=orangered]bullymongs[/color] and other enemies to get to the [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] at the [color=lightblue]Catch-A-Ride[/color].
* You can also save-quit and restart, which will out you at the [color=gold]one-way Fast Travel[/color] so you can easily travel anywhere you want.
* The quickest way is to jump into the lava and die! After all the [color=yellow]cash[/color] you just picked up you can afford it, so go ahead and spoil yourself!

When you return to [color=lightblue]Sanctury[/color] in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], you’ll notice that [color=lightblue]Patricia Tannis[/color] has a new [color=orangered]level 50[/color] mission for you. Pay attention to the name of that mission; she isn’t joking!

[i]<a href=”#TOC7″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”ps” />[color=cyan]So What Now?[/color]

At this point, certain maps will level up a final time to the maximum in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], [color=lightblue]level 30[/color]. For these maps only, you can now take any side quests that you ***[color=orange]did not accept yet[/color]*** and obtain the reward at maximum level. All other maps and side quests in the main game remain stuck where they are, so it’s entirely up to you whether or not you complete them. It’s best to avoid gaining too many additional levels at this point, however, since it can make the beginning of the next story mode ([color=wheat]TVHM[/color]) unsatisfyingly easy. If you don’t want to do side quests, but don’t want to replay the story just yet, here are some alternatives:

###<a name=”dlcs” />[color=cyan]Main DLCs[/color]

There are four main DLCs set in different areas of Pandora, each with different enemies and unique weapons. Two of these scale up to a maximum level of 30, while two can go to 35. To start a DLC, simply find the initial location in the list at your nearest [color=lightblue]Fast Travel[/color] and go there. Note that the level of the *starting* map for each DLC falls within a set range as follows:

1. [color=cyan]Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty[/color]: [color=yellow]Oasis[/color], initial level [color=lightblue]15-24[/color]
1. [color=cyan]Mr. Toruge’s Campaign of Carnage[/color]: [color=yellow]Badass Crate of Baddassitude[/color], initial level [color=lightblue]15-24[/color]
1. [color=cyan]Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt[/color]: [color=yellow]Hunter’s Grotto[/color], initial level [color=lightblue]30[/color]
1. [color=cyan]Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep[/color]: [color=yellow]Unassuming Docks[/color], initial level [color=lightblue]30[/color]

For your first character on your first play-though, my personal recommendation would be to do either the first or second DLC only, in order to avoid over-levelling. If you’re not as concerned about over-levelling, and want something the same yet very different, do DLC 4.

###<a name=”domes” />[color=cyan]Slaughter Domes[/color]

There are a number of slaughter domes in the main game, each of which consist of five separate “events” comprising multiple waves of increasingly difficult enemies, with a [color=steelblue]blue unique[/color] item as the final reward. These are [color=cyan]Fink’s Slaughter House[/color] in [color=yellow]The Fridge[/color], the [color=cyan]Creature Slaughter Dome[/color] in the [color=yellow]Natural Selection Annex[/color] (accessed from the [color=yellow]Wildlife Exploitation Preserve[/color]), and the [color=cyan]Hyperion Circle of Slaughter[/color] in the [color=yellow]Ore Chasm[/color] (accessed from [color=yellow]Erdium Blight[/color]. Note that none of these domes are repeatable within the same play-through. DLCs 2 and 4 have similar arena fights, but they (or their final round) are repeatable.

###<a name=”hhs” />[color=cyan]Headhunter Packs[/color]

These five additions to the game were added by Gearbox in response to the massive popularity of the game, long after all the promised expansions had been shipped. They each consist of a single map with a final, repeatable boss fight, and one side quest. The first was released in time for Halloween, with others celebrating US Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and summer. They are accessed the same way as the DLCs. My personal favourites are numbers 3 and 5. If for some bizarre and totally inexplicable reaosn you have ***[color=orange]still[/color]*** not played the original [color=orange]Borderlands[/color], make sure you do so ***[color=orange]before[/color]*** attempting the final pack; the jokes and story mission will make so much more sense that way.

1. [color=cyan]TK Baha’s Bloody Harvest[/color]: [color=yellow]Hallowed Hollow[/color] – initial level [color=lightblue]15-24[/color]
1. [color=cyan]The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler[/color]: [color=yellow]Gluttony Gulch[/color] – initial level [color=lightblue]15-24[/color]
1. [color=cyan]How Marcus Saved Mercenary Day[/color]: [color=yellow]Marcus’ Mercenary Shop[/color] – initial level [color=lightblue]15-24[/color]
1. [color=cyan]Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day massacre[/color]: [color=yellow]Rotgut Distillery[/color] – initial level [color=lightblue]15-24[/color]
1. [color=cyan]Sir Hammerlock vs. The Son of Crawmerax[/color]: [color=yellow]Wam Bam Island[/color] – initial level [color=lightblue]15-24[/color]

[i]<a href=”#TOC7″>Back to table of contents</a>[/i]

##<a name=”TVHM” />[color=wheat]True Vault Hunter Mode (TVHM)[/color]

When you restart your game after defeating the final boss in the main story, you’ll have a new option at the character selection screen where you can play in either [color=wheat]NVHM[/color] or [color=wheat]TVHM[/color]. Note that you keep all your gear, skills, heads, skins, BAR stats, bank, and stash contents , as these are common to both modes. Your progress in each mode will, however, be kept separate. This means you can start the story in [color=wheat]TVHM[/color], go back and do a DLC in [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], then jump back to the story in [color=wheat]TVHM[/color], etc.

One thing to note is that your ***[color=orange]location[/color]*** is partially shared between the two modes: if you are in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] in [color=wheat]TVHM[/color], you will still be in [color=lightblue]Sanctuary[/color] if you switch back to [color=wheat]NVHM[/color]. The exception is that you will only be in the same location *if you have already discovered it in **both** play-throughs*; if you have not yet discovered that location, you will be moved to the nearest discovered location (or the starting location for DLCs and HH packs) instead.

The story is the same for both modes, but it is worth saving more of the side quests having unique rewards until *after* completing the main story. This is because, unlike [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], **ALL** the main game maps and unaccepted quests will scale to 50 on completing the main story. (Quests that you have already accepted will have their rewards locked at the lower level, however.) The other main differences are that enemy health and damage are increased compared to [color=wheat]NVHM[/color], and you will encounter badass variants more frequently. This means that you’ll need to upgrade gear more frequently, but you’ll be able to build out a good chunk of two skill trees for your character, giving you lots of opportunity to deal extra damage, gain additional healing, or maintain your shields more easily.

Go for it, you badass vault hunter you!

Special thanks to the following for comments and corrections: @Piemanlee, @Worblehat, @Ronnie_Rayburn, @darla, @kuhchung, @Raven_Ghosthawk

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