Borderlands is an original first-person role-playing shooter game developed by Gearbox Software. Its weapon system is a ground breaking content generation system that has a never ending variety of weapon and item drops. The game features a unique art style to complement its story, which places the player in the shoes of a treasure hunter in search of priceless alien artifacts. Borderlands features four-player co-op online, and the console versions feature two-player split-screen play locally.
In the distant future, several colonization ships head to Pandora, a planet on the edge of the galaxy, "smaller than the moon but bigger than Manhattan". The colonists are drawn there in search of a better life as well as vast mineral resources said to be on the planet, free for anyone's taking, much like a futuristic gold rush. The colonists soon find that Pandora is a desert wasteland, and there is nothing for them there, aside from the rumors of vast, decrepit alien ruins. These ruins are a beacon of hope for the remaining colonists, emerging in the form of a mysterious Vault that is said to contain vast stores of alien technology that - if found - would make the discoverers rich and powerful beyond human imagination. The only problem is that the first people to unearth the Vault were all killed before they could claim their prize - their discovery evidenced only by a scattered radio transmission, proclaiming the Vault's majesty... but not its location.
Those that can, leave. The remaining population devolves into chaos and lawlessness much akin to a Mad Max style world. While some of the settlers seek the alien technology, most are simply struggling to survive. Now, seven earth years after the first landfall on Pandora, the planet's slow orbit brings a transition from "winter" to "spring", and many horrifying creatures emerge from hibernation, making the planet even more hostile. The game begins as a group of four mysterious offworlders, represented by the four character classes, arrive on Pandora to seek their fortunes as Treasure Hunters seeking the Vault.
Roland, the Soldier
Main page: Roland
He is a former soldier of the Crimson Lance, an elite private military group working for the Atlas Corporation. Roland's Infantry, Support and Medical branches of his skill tree include generating new ammo for both himself and those in his party, increasing his clip capacity and the party's health regeneration. Roland can gain the ability to shoot 'healing' bullets (grenades and rockets also included), which will damage his enemies, but heal his allies. His class specific skill is the deployment of a turret with a shield barrier, which can attack enemies or heal allies within range. Being at least proficient with all weapons, both long range and short, and having a robust health bar, Roland is considered to be the all-round supportive unit.
Mordecai, the Hunter
Main page: Mordecai
Mordecai came to Pandora to find a man named Demosthenes. After learning Demosthenes is dead, Mordecai sets out to find out what happened to him. Mordecai favors a sniper rifle which can be upgraded in regards to both his accuracy and damage through the Sniper skill tree. Mordecai can also be deadly with a pistol if specialized in the Gunslinger skill tree. Mordecai's class specific skill is his pet Bloodwing, which he can periodically call upon to damage or outright kill his enemies. The recharge time and number of enemies attacked by Bloodwing can be enhanced by skills. His melee weapon is a machete that he carries on his back. Mordecai is Borderlands' ranged combat unit.
Lilith, the Siren
Main page: Lilith
She is one of only six Sirens in the galaxy, a group of people with incredible power, but no way to control it. She came to Pandora because she heard there was another Siren on the planet and wants to find whoever it is in the hope of learning more about herself. Lilith's class specific skill, "Phase Walk," renders her invisible to enemies and allows her to move quickly, even through bullets and enemies, damaging or killing them in the process. Her skill tree includes Controller, which is used for crowd control and defense, Elemental, which is used for burning, shocking, and corroding enemies, and Assassin, which is used for a more direct-damage approach on enemies increasing critical hits and bullet damage. Lilith is the rogue of the group.
Brick, the Berserker
Main page: Brick
Brick is on Pandora searching for his missing sister. A massive man, Brick takes the role of tank. His class specific skill is the ability to go into a Berserk state, allowing him to absorb a huge amount of damage whilst rapidly regenerating health and killing enemies with his bare hands. The necklace he wears is adorned with the paw of his dead dog, one of the only things Brick has ever loved. Brick’s three skill trees are Brawler, the melee skill tree, Tank, the defense skill tree, and Blaster, the explosive weapon skill tree.
Gearbox has stressed that Borderlands is a first-person shooter foremost with a layer of role-playing game elements. This is good news for anyone who played Fallout 3 or Hellgate: London and was frustrated by the dice rolls dictating damage and accuracy. They've referred to the game as a " role-playing shooter."
Characters level up as they kill enemies and deliver quests. But if a player "grinds" in a area that is too far below his/her own level they will only gain 1 XP per enemy. The original leveling was capped at 50. The third DLC pack, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, increased the cap to 61 - which was eventually changed to 69 in a free patch for everyone. With each new level, players may assign points to character attributes and skills. Upon reaching level five, each class will gain access to a class-specific skill (e.g. Roland's turret or Mordecai's Bloodwing). Moving forward from level five, players may progress through their skill trees choosing one of three paths to further enhance existing skills, and gain access to new ones. A max level character will have earned 46 points for spending in the skill tree -- 1 to gain access to the action skill and 45 to place as the player chooses among other skills.
In addition to skill advancement chosen by the player upon leveling, weapons skills are also advanced based on usage. These weapon skills give bonuses to reload time, stability, damage, rate of fire, cool-down rate and accuracy, depending on which weapon that the player is using.
Aesthetic customization is present, although it is limited to setting armor and clothing colors. The base appearance of characters is static; all Berserkers will appear as Brick and all Hunters will appear as Mordecai, for example. Of course, players will also see the unique models of any guns that may be equipped.
The game has garnered comparisons to Diablo for its inclusion of a plethora of procedurally-generated weapons. Some enemies will drop loot. In true medieval RPG fashion, treasure chests also appear throughout the world, albeit in more appropriate forms. In addition to guns, players will happen upon grenade mods, shields, artifacts, and class mods which will grant a boost to the character's skills. Vending machines are available to facilitate the buying and selling of loot. When players look at a dropped piece of loot, a box pops up providing vital information about that item. Loot is also color-coded based on how common it is a la Diablo, the color coding rarity scheme is as follows, from least to greatest: White, Green, Blue, Purple, Yellow, Orange, Dark Orange, Pearl. (The Pearlescent color is a very light shade of blue, not to be confused with White guns).
The game contains 160 quests. These are composed of 30 quests in the mainline story and 130 side quests. Most quests will be taken from NPCs and bounty boards in the games various towns and settlements. In addition to quests, the game includes repeatable scenarios complete with bosses that may be farmed for loot and experience.
Once the main storyline quests are complete, there is an option to New Game + the game with another playthrough, resulting in tougher enemies and a reset of all quests to higher level, awarding more experience points (though character progression and weapons remain).
Borderlands features four-player co-op online and two-player local co-op in the console versions. The co-op allows for a persistent character to hop from one co-op game to another while keeping all the equipment and experience earned in a previous game. Progress in quests and the storyline, however, is confined to the game world of the player hosting the game. Difficulty scales based on the number of player characters participating. Play with more players and more enemies will spawn in the world. Money and experience rewarded for kills are divided evenly amongst players. Loot and ammo, however, belongs to whoever gets there first.
The game also includes player versus player combat. In co-op, players can also challenge each other to a duel. One player melees another, and if they melee back a dome will form around them and they can battle it out. In addition, arenas can be found around the world where players can fight each other.
Some players have figured out how to hack the loot system in borderlands, as some players may find while online. The best example of this is the Omega Rose shield. It makes the player nearly invincible with a high shield rating well above what any other shield will provide. It is not in the game, players have hacked the loot system to make the shield. With the release of the very difficult add-on of the Armory of General Knoxx, this shield has been showing up more as with even a high level and top of the line shield, death can come very quickly.
One of the big draws of Borderlands is the promise of millions of guns that are all unique, generated procedurally. During the E3 2008 gameplay demo, Gearbox stated that each of the game's weapons manufacturers have rules and materials that define what’s available for them to use to create the weapons. The developers of Borderlands created a program that generates weapons based on a set of rules. According to Game Informer, Randy Pitchford reported that the last weapon count for the game was an astronomical 17,750,000.
Traversing the Landscape
Designated spawn points throughout the world allow players to summon a vehicle, otherwise known as " Catch-A-Ride!". Players will be able to customize various vehicles with one of two different weapons ( rocket launcher or machine gun) and paint jobs. This is one of two preferred traveling methods the other being the now familiar fast travel system that allows for instant teleporting between locations once they have been unlocked. Players will gain access to vehicles relatively early in the game with the fast travel system opening up later.
In addition to achievements and trophies, Borderlands has an in-game challenge system. The challenges are structured like achievements or trophies; however, they are separate from those systems and reward characters with experience upon completion.
Borderlands utilizes the down but not out concept. When health reaches zero, players will be immobilized and slowly "bleed out" as the screen loses contrast; however, weapons can still be fired. Teammates have the ability to revive fallen allies. If players achieve a kill in this wounded state, a "second wind" will be awarded, this will instantly revive the character with full shields. However, if a character cannot be revived, they will spawn at the nearest New-U station for a fee. The fee is a percentage of the player's total cash on hand. The percentage for respawning at a New-U station is between 10% and 14.3% averaging at 14.29%. Players can never go into negative money, so if a player has no money the fee is waived.
Each character has only one single Action Skill, which is earned at level 5. This is the first skill to be learned and all the others derive from it. Further developing skills will also improve that action skill. All action skills are temporary.
- Mordecai - Mordecai's action skill allows him to unleash a bird of prey called Bloodwing unto his enemies.
- Lilith - Lilith's action skill is the Phasewalk. When using it, she becomes temporarily invisible and moves faster as well as damages enemies within the area the skill is activated.
- Roland - Roland's action skill deploys a Scorpio Turret, which attacks enemies while providing cover, since the base of the turret projects an energy shield towards the area of fire.
- Brick - Brick's action skill makes him go Berserk. While under its effect, Brick's vision becomes clouded with blood, he laughs frantically, puts away his firearms uses his fists to pummel through enemies. His melee damage is significantly increased, he takes a lot less damage from any sort of attacks, and even regenerates health during battle.
Each class has three different groups of skills within his/her tree skill, which in turn are divided into 4 sub-groups each. All these skills have either a passive or a permanent effect on the player's character and/or Action Skill and can be upgraded up to five levels each.
First Unlock (Level 5): Bloodwing
|Sniper Tree||Rogue Tree||Gunslinger Tree|
- Focus: increases accuracy with all weapons
- Caliber: increases damage with snipers
- Swift Strike: increases Bloodwing's damage and speed
- Swipe: Bloodwing attacks cause enemies to drop loot
- Deadly: increases critical hit damage
- Gun Crazy: gives players a chance of firing 2 bullets in a single shot when using pistols
- Smirk: all allies gain additional XP when killing an enemy with a critical hit
- Killer: killing an enemy temporarily increases damage and reload speed
- Fast Hands: increases reload speed with all weapons
- Out for Blood: Players gain health with every Bloodwing strike
- Lethal Strike: increases melee damage and gives every strike a chance of being a Lethal Strike (thus dealing extra damage)
- Riotous Remedy: killing an enemy temporarily gives chaotic health regeneration
- Loaded: increases clip capacity with snipers
- Carrion Call: killing an enemy with a sniper reduces Bloodwing's cooldown time
- Aerial Impact: Bloodwing attacks can daze enemies
- Ransack: killing an enemy temporarily increases the amount of loot received from other enemies
- Predator: decreases Bloodwing's cooldown time
- Hair Trigger: increases fire rate and clip size on pistols
- Trespass: bullets have a chance to ignore shields and their damage is slightly increased
- Bird of Prey: increases the number of enemies Bloodwing can attack before returning to the player
- Relentless: killing an enemy temporarily increases the fire rate and every shot has a chance of being a Killer Shot (thus dealing extra damage)
First unlock (Level 5): Phasewalk
|Assassin Tree||Elementalist Tree||Controller Tree|
- Slayer: increases the critical hit damage
- Silent Resolve: temporarily increases resistance to damage after Phasewalking
- Quicksilver: increases fire rate with all weapons
- Spark: increases the chance of causing Elemental effects with elemental weapons
- Diva: increases the capacity of the shield
- Striking: Melee attacks can daze enemies
- Enforcer: killing an enemy temporarily increases accuracy and bullet damage
- Hit & Run: increase melee damage and Phasewalk duration
- Resilience: increases Elemental resistance
- Radiance: Players deal Shock damage while Phasewalking
- Inner Glow: Players regenerate health while Phasewalking
- Dramatic Entrance: Phase Blast can daze enemies
- High Velocity: increases bullet damage and velocity
- Blackout: killing an enemy reduces the cooldown on Phasewalk
- Venom: adds corrosive damage to melee attacks
- Intuition: killing an enemy temporarily increases movement speed and XP gained
- Hard to Get: decreases the Phasewalk cooldown
- Girl Power: killing an enemy causes the shield to temporarily regenerate a lot faster
- Phase Strike: melee attacking during Phasewalk deal extra damage, but breaks the Phasewalk itself
- Phoenix: killing an enemy may cause the player to deal Fire damage to nearby enemies and sometimes shots don't cost any ammo
- Mind Games: each bullet fired has a chance to daze enemies
First Unlock (Level 5): Scorpio Turret
|Infantry Tree||Support Tree||Medic Tree|
- Impact: increases bullet damage with all weapons
- Sentry: increases the Scorpio Turret damage
- Defense: increases shield regeneration rate
- Stockpile: regenerates ammo for all players near the Scorpio Turret
- Fitness: increases maximum health points
- Aid Station: allies near the Scorpio Turret regenerate health
- Scattershot: increases shotgun damage while decreasing its fire spread
- Metal Storm: killing an enemy temporarily increases fire rate and reduces recoil
- Quick Charge: regenerates shield after killing an enemy
- Barrage: adds an additional shot to the Scorpio Turret every time it burst fires
- Overload: increases clip size for all weapons
- Cauterize: shooting team members heals them!
- Refire: shooting an enemy may reduces the Scorpio Turret cooldown
- Assault: increases magazine size and reduces recoil with Combat rifles
- Grenadier: killing an enemy temporarily increases the grenade damage and also causes grenades to regenerate
- Deploy: reduces the Scorpio Turret's cooldown
- Revive: the Scorpio Turret has a chance of reviving badly damaged allies when deployed
- Grit: increases resistence to bullet damage
- Guided Missile: The Scorpio Turret launches guided missiles in addition to its normal fire
- Supply Drop: the Scorpio Turret ocasionally fires out supplies
- Stat: killing an enemy temporarily increases health regeneration for both the player and any nearby allies
First Unlock (Level 5): Berserk
|Brawler Tree||Tank Tree||Blaster Tree|
- Iron Fist: increases melee damage
- Endless Rage: increases the duration of Berserk
- Hardened: increases maximum health
- Safeguard: increases the shield's strength
- Endowed: increases explosive damage
- Rapid Reload: increases reload speed and reduces recoil from all weapons
- Sting Like a Bee: punching while under the Berserk effect makes players dash forward and slug enemies
- Heavy Handed: killing an enemy significantly increases melee damage for a few seconds
- Bash: Melee attacks have a chance to daze enemies
- Juggernaut: killing an enemy provides temporary resistance to all and any kind of damage
- Revenge: killing an enemy temporarily increases damage with all weapons
- Wide Load: increases the number of ammo of rocket launcher can hold
- Prize Fighter: chance to produce cash loot for melee attacks performed under the Berserk effect
- Short Fuse: reduces the Berserk cooldown
- Pay Back: Players gain damage bonus for 10 secs. whenever the shield gets depleted
- Die Hard: increases the amount of time before death when crippled and also increases the amount of health regained when revived
- Liquidate: dealing explosive damage to an enemy reduces Berserk's cooldown
- Cast Iron: increases resistance to explosive damage
- Blood Sport: regenerates health whenever the player kill an enemy under the Berserk effect
- Unbreakable: Players gain 5 seconds of powerful shield regeneration whenever the shield gets depleted
- Master Blaster: Killing an enemy temporarily increases fire rate for all weapons and also regenerates rockets
At a time when there was still much to be done to finish other aspects of the game, the Borderlands art team found themselves with little left to do. They made a plea to Randy Pitchford and others to develop a distinctive graphical style more closely mirroring the style of their concept artwork. There was some skepticism over making such a large change at such a late stage in development. The art team was asked to develop a prototype of this new art style without the knowledge of Pitchford. When the prototype was shown, it was decided that this distinctive new art style was a must for the final game. These events led to the retooling of Borderlands into what we have today.
Pitchford was quoted as saying that the PC version "destroys" the consoles in terms of graphics. However, the PC version shipped with a host of issues such as crashes, quests not finishing properly, and buggy netcode.
There are six main areas in the game, those being:
- Arid Badlands
- Dahl Headlands
- New Haven
- Rust Commons West
- Rust Commons East
- Salt Flats
However, a lot of other smaller areas can be accessed via the main ones.
The following is a list of all the sectors in alphabetical list of all sub-sectors that can be found in Borderlands, and where they can be accessed from.
From the Arid Badlands
- Arid Hills
- Dahl Headlands (main area)
- Fyrestone Coliseum
- Headstone Mine
- Lost Cave
- Skag Sully
- Sledge's Safe House
From the Dahl Headlands
- Arid Badlands (main area)
- New Haven (main area)
- Rust Commons West (main area)
From New Haven
- Dahl Headlands (main area)
- Rust Commons West (main area)
- Tetanus Warren
From the Rust Commons West
- Dahl Headlands (main area)
- Earl's Scrapyard
- New Haven (main area)
- Rust Commons East (main area)
- Treacher's Landing
From the Rust Commons East
- Krom's Canyon
- Old Haven
- Rust Commons West (main area)
- Salt Flats (main area)
- Trash Coast
From Salt Flats
- Crimson Fastness
- Crimson Enclave (and from here back to Salt Flats)
- Eridian Promontory
- The Vault
- Devil's Footstool
- Rust Commons East (main area)
The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
The first in the promised series of DLC, titled The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, was released on November 24th, 2009 for Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, priced at 800 Microsoft Points and $9.99 respectively, while the PC version came out on December 9th, 2009, costing $9.99 as well. Predictably, the story of the DLC (which is implied to be something the Narrator made up) involves the vault hunters traveling to a remote island, the home of one Dr. Ned, who has unleashed an army of undead abominations upon the good people who live there. The island includes new quests, new dungeons, a few new areas to explore, new enemies to kill, and has around 4-6 hours of new content to explore. The expansion allows players to visit a Jakobs Weapons Factory, and learn more about the weapon manufacturers, as well as what went wrong with the island and cause it to be overrun by zombies in the first place. Players can teleport to the island from a New-U station, as long as they are level 10 or above, and the area difficulty will scale accordingly.
Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot
The second DLC for Borderlands, titled Mad Moxxi' s Underdome Riot, was released on December 29th, 2009 for Xbox 360, and January 7th, 2010 for PS3 and PC. The central premise for this DLC is a type of horde mode, which has the player(s) participating in arena tournaments hosted by Mad Moxxi. Players battle against waves of enemies whilst subject to "Moxxi's Maxims," which are rules that will slightly alter the gameplay (for instance providing a bonus to grenade damage). There are two main types of tournaments featured; medium-length tournaments that will take approximately an hour to complete, and a hardcore tournament lasting up to 6 hours that must be completed in one sitting. Players are given three arenas to fight in. The DLC also includes a bank to store items, as well as two skill points as a quest reward. Unlike the main game and other expansions, players do not gain experience, weapon proficiency, weapons, or money from killing enemies. Weapons only appear at the end of every boss wave (fifth wave) in the round.
The Secret Armory of General Knoxx
The third DLC for Borderlands, ostensibly taking place after the conclusion of the main storyline, takes players to a new area of Pandora on a quest to discover the titular armory belonging to General Knoxx, who is leading the Crimson Lance on Pandora. The Secret Armory comes with a brand new storyline, multiple side quests, new weapons, new weapon rarity, enemies, vehicles, and more (including 11 new levels to achieve, raising the cap to 61). It also contains a boss called Crawmerax, who is not only the hardest boss in the game (its level is 64, which is higher than the new level cap) but is also the boss that drops the most loot (a lot more than one player can carry on their own).
Claptrap's New Robot Revolution
On March 3, 2010, Take-Two officially announced a fourth piece of downloadable content, stating that they will "continue to support the title with more add-on content, and our approach to digital content for Borderlands gives [Take-Two] a road map for other titles going forward." A title, release date, price, and the possibility of a new level cap were unconfirmed.
On August 11, 2010, Take-Two officially announced the fourth piece of downloadable content as 'Claptrap's New Robot Revolution', due out in September. This ten dollar add-on sees players siding with the Hyperion Corporation, putting their past differences aside, and teaming up against a revolution of homicidal Claptraps. Their leader is an expert in kung-fu, only known as the Ninja Assassin Claptrap. 2K President Christoph Hartmann says that 'Robot Revolution' is the "perfect bookend to the original game". "Revolution" was released September 28, 2010.
In total, 'Robot Revolution' extends the game by adding: 20 new missions, original boss battles, waves of homicidal Claptraps, well-armed Hyperion soldiers, and local creatures that have been Claptrap-ified - including crab-traps, rakk-traps and skag-trapps. CEO Randy Pitchford has confirmed that there will be no level cap increase for the game, but players will be awarded 10 additional skill tree points.
At Gearbox's panel during PAX Prime 2010, Randy Pitchford made the announcement that coinciding with the release of Claptrap's New Robot Revolution, they would be releasing a title update that would boost the level cap by 8 points to a grand total of 69 for those who had purchased the General Knox DLC.
Darkside Game Studios developed this expansion with some help from Gearbox. The is because Gearbox was busy with other games and 2K wanted another expansion.
Pop Culture References
- The special weapon Lady Finger that can be obtained by the Nine-Toes mission or by a drop from Moe refers to the collection of unfinished stories titled The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. The character Madam Eglantine wears a ring with the same inscription that is noted in the Lady Finger's weapon effects text box. The inscription, being "Amor vincit omnia" (Love conquers all), was a phrase penned by the Roman poet Virgil.
- Crazy Earl (who surprisingly is voiced by Randy Pitchford) is said to be a "turtle hermit" and is supposedly in the possession of Tannis' underwear. Both of these refer to Master Roshi, from the Dragonball series, who occasionally wore a turtle shell and collected women's underwear.
- Chuck Durden's name is comprised of one fictional character from the book and movie Fight Club, Tyler Durden, and the author of the book, Chuck Palahniuk.
- The challenge How Much for Just the Planet? directly refers to the Star Trek novel of the same name, written by John Ford.
- The spiderant Helob, encountered in the mission A Bug Problem, bears a name similar to the giant spider Shelob from the Lord of the Rings book The Two Towers written by J.R.R. Tolkien. Another reference to the series can be seen in the mission Purple Juice!, where the player must restore pumps that share the same names as the four hobbits Brandybuck, Took, Gamgee, and Underhill.
- The common Psychos occasionally says "Now it's time for my pound of flesh!", referring to the payment imposed on Antonio by the wicked character Shylock for defaulting on his loan in the play by William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice.
- T.K. Baha's name is Ahab backwards, referring to Captain Ahab of the novel Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. Ahab's adversary, a giant whale, parallels T.K.'s enemy Scar, who he had tried to defeat numerous times.
- The mission "I've Got A Sinking Feeling..." features boats named Righteous Man, Furious Anger, and Great Vengeance. These names refer to the famous scene of the film Pulp Fiction in which Samuel L. Jackson's character recites the Bible passage Ezekiel 25:17.
- In The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, there's a direct reference to Scooby-Doo during a mission where recordings have to be picked up from some wanderers. The Misery Machine (Mystery Machine), Skaggy (Scooby), and Harry (Shaggy) all make cameos during this mission.
- Operating System: Windows XP/Vista
- Processor: 2.4 Ghz or equivalent processor
- RAM Memory: 1GB (2GB recommended with Vista)
- Graphics Card: 256mb video ram or better (GeForce 7 series/ Radeon HD3000 series or higher)
- Hard Drive: 8 GB or more free space
- Sound Card: any Windows compatible sound card
- Operating System: Mac OS X 10.6.4
- Processor: 1.4 Ghz or equivalent processor
- RAM Memory: 1GB
- Graphics Card: 128mb video ram or better ( ATI X1xxx series, NVIDIA 7xxx series and Intel GMA series not supported:)
- Hard Drive: 10 GB or more free space
Xbox 360 Game Installation
Borderlands requires 3.3GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.
Playstation 3 Game Installation
Borderlands: Game of the Year edition requires about 2.4GB of space to install on an PS3 HDD.