Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Solo Wilhelm Build Guide

Borderlands PreSequelAs we continue our way through the four playable characters available in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, we’ve covered Claptrap and Athena already. Today let’s look at Wilhelm, the Enforcer. His first appearance was as a boss in Borderlands 2 with a much more cybernetic look about him. It’s through his skill trees that we see that transformation take place. His action skill makes him a really solid option to play solo or co-op, both dealing damage and healing at the same time.

ACTION SKILL: WOLF AND SAINT: Wilhelm sends out two drones, Wold and Saint, for 35 seconds max. The drones can be recalled before that duration is up, and results in a shorter cooldown. Each drone has a different role – Wolf seeks out targets and attacks, Saint stays close and regenerates 2.5% of your max health, per second.

HUNTER-KILLER Skill Tree: The Hunter-Killer skill tree focuses mainly on buffing up Wolf, while also boosting Wilhelm’s elemental effectiveness.

Afterburner: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Wolf’s air speed is initially boosted by 12%, then 6% per rank; and Wilhelm’s reload speed and projectile speed are boosted 10% initially, then 5% per rank.
Fire Support: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases your gun damage, with all gun types, by +3% per rank, also increases Wolf’s damage by 10% initially, then 5% per rank.
Venom Bolts: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Wolf’s shots have a 10% initial chance, then +5% per rank, to be Venom Bolts, dealing Corrosive Damage. This also grants +2% Corrode chance, per rank, and +4% Corrode damage, per rank, with your guns and grenades.
Suppression: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) This is a kill skill, meaning it activates when you get a kill. Killing an enemy gives you a +6% per rank, and Wolf a +15% per rank increased fire rate for a short period.
Laser Guided: (Tier 3, 1 rank) When you first activate Wolf and Saint, or press the Action Skill button while they’re active, Saint paints the target under your reticle. Wolf then focuses his attacks on that target. That target takes +25% increased damage from all sources. If a painted target is killed, while painted, Wolf and Saint’s duration is extended by 5 seconds.
Rolling Thunder: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) While Wolf is active, you gain a stack of Rolling Thunder ever 5 seconds. Each stack increases Wolf’s damage by +2% per stack, and increases +2% per rank.
Kill Switch: (Tier 4, 1 rank) Whenever Wolf is recalled, runs out of health or expires, it dive bombs enemies, dealing explosive damage.
Scramble: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) When Wolf is destroyed, it is replaced for once for free, and 30% time is added to Wolf and Saint’s duration. That time bonus is increased +5% per rank.
Cold War: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Whenever you apply a Shock, Incendiary or Corrosive effect, there is a 5% per rank chance for that target to freeze. You also gain a +2% chance, per rank, to increased status effect chance when using Cryo weapons.
Escalation: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Increases your critical hit damage by 5% per rank. In addition, critical hits reduce the cooldown on Wolf and Saint by 0.6 seconds, per rank. This effect has a 6 second cooldown though.
Omega Strike: (Tier 6, 1 rank) Wolf will periodically shoot out missiles to attack its targets.

Borderlands Wilhelm Splash

CYBER COMMANDO Skill Tree: The Cyber Commando tree is focused on turning Wilhelm into that cybernetic warrior we see in Borderlands 2. There are a number of Cyborg Augmentations scattered throughout the skill tree.

Laser Focus: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases your gun damage by +4%, per rank, and magazine size by +4 initially, then +2 per rank, for all Laser weapons.
Man and Machine: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases your health and shield capacity by +3% per rank. Also increases Wolf’s health and shield capacity by +5% per rank.
First to Fight: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Increases your gun damage by +8% per rank, but the bonus is lost 5 seconds after you deal damage; and is regained after not dealing damage for 5 seconds, or you take damage.
Targeting Scope: (Tier 2, 5 rank) This is another Kill Skill. Killing an enemy gives you +10% critical hit damage, per rank; as well as +5% accuracy, per rank.
Power Fist: (Tier 3, 1 rank) This is the first Cyber Augmentation, this one for your arm. It’s a melee skill override. Press the melee button to preform an explosive punch, with an extended range. The ability has a 12 second cooldown.
Emergency Response: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Whenever your shield is depleted, Emergency Response activates, increasing your reload speed, fire rate and Wolf’s fire rate all for +10% per rank. Your shield has to fully recharge between activations, and the buffs are active for 15 seconds.
Shock Absorber: (Tier 4, 1 rank) Another Cyber Augmentation, this one for your legs. You can now shoot while sprinting. While doing so, you gain +20% gun damage, and suffer no accuracy penalty.
Divert Power: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) When your shields are depleted, and your health is below 30%, taking damage grants you [+50%, +66.7%, +75%, +80%, +88.3%] damage resistance, based on rank; as well as recharging 20% of your shield, per rank. This ability has a 25 second cooldown, and lasts for 3 seconds.
Meteor Slam: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Increases the damage radius of your butt-slam ability, per rank.
Welcome to the Gun Show: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) This a buff to most of the gun stats – weapon damage, reload speed, magazine size, accuracy and recoil reduction are all increased by +3% per rank.
Vengeance Cannon: (Tier 6, 1 rank) The final Cyber Augmentation, this one is a weapon. Whenever your shields are depleted, you activate your shoulder mounted Vengeance Cannon. The cannon fires Incendiary Laser Blasts along with your equipped weapon for 12 seconds. Your shields need to recharge fully between activations.

Borderlands Wilhelm Turnaround

DREADNOUGHT Skill Tree: The Dreadnought skill tree is primarily focused around building up Saint’s support abilities, while also increasing Wilhelm’s survival skills.

Auxiliary Tanks: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases Wolf and Saint’s duration by 2 seconds per rank, and the cooldown rate by +3% per rank.
Fortify: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases max health for both you and Wolf by 3% per rank; while also granting +4% increased gun damage while Saint is active, per rank.
Energize: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Saint will occasionally boost you and your teammates shields by 8% of your shield capacity, per rank. Saint also gains a +0.6% of your Max Health/second bonus to his health regen ability.
Heatsinks: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Improves shield recharge rate by +6% per rank, and initial -4% shield recharge delay, then -3% per rank. This bonus is doubled while Wolf and Saint are active.
Termination Protocols: (Tier 3, 1 rank) With this skill, instead of Fight For Your Life, you enter Termination Protocols, during which you can walk at a reduced speed, fire your weapons and you constantly shock enemies. If your timer runs out, your power core goes critical and you release a Nuclear Explosion.
Rapid Reinforcement: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) This is another Kill Skill. Killing an enemy increases your cooldown for Wolf and Saint by +4%, per rank; increases your movement speed by +3%, per rank; and your reload speed by +8%, per rank, for a short time.
Zero Hour: (Tier 4, 1 ranks) When Saint is recalled or expires, he explodes, deploying a Healing Zone underneath you. This zone is active for 12 seconds, and you and your teammates regen +8% max health/second in the zone.
Hazmat Containment System: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) If you have an Incendiary, Shock or Corrosive effect on you, you and your teammates gain an initial +17% resistance to that element. That effect is increased +12% per rank. Also, you will occasionally spread that elemental status effect to nearby enemies while it’s active.
Kinetic Armor: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Increases your max health by +5%, per rank. Also, close range attackers have a +5% chance, per rank, to be struck by Explosive Feedback. The closer the enemy, the more likely he will be struck.
Hard to Kill: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Whenever you are shot or hit by an enemy, you get a stack of Hard to Kill (max 100) which reduces all damage by 0.1% per stack, and an additional 0.1% per rank. All stacks are removed after a few seconds of not taking damage.
Overcharge: (Tier 6, 1 rank) Immediately after Saint is summoned, he releases an Energy Wave that Overcharges you and any nearby teammates for 10 seconds. Overcharge amounts to a +15% movement speed, +75% fire rate, +75% reload speed and +10 ammo regen buff.

Wilhelm is a really solid choice playing solo – not a lot of his abilities are designed to be co-op focused, and the ones that do have co-op boosts are also pretty effective for solo play. All of his capstone skills are worth building towards, with Omega Strike being the one that you can probably pass on. Skills like Termination Protocols or Welcome to the Gun Show are really powerful, and should definitely be on your plan. We’ll talk a bit about how to play him co-op tomorrow.

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Athena Co-op Build Tips and Tricks

Borderlands PreSequelYesterday, in addition to going over my thoughts on the Vault of Glass raid in Destiny, I also ran through the skill trees for Athena, the Gladiator in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I gave my thoughts on how you should probably go about playing her from a solo perspective. Today I’ll point out a few of those skills that really benefit co-op play, as well as some tips how to go about playing with a party.

First, playing co-op you’ll probably want to focus on the Phalanx skill tree. In the second tier of skills, you can grab Vanguard, which will grant health regen based on rank, and you gain more regen while using the Apsis. Next up, you should grab United Front, to build up shields for you and your teammates using the Apsis; and in that same tier, grab Clear!, that way you can play medic for teammates that are in Fight For Your Life. Also important to grab would be Stalwart, letting your teammates build up the Apsis; and Prepare for Glory, letting you draw aggro away from your teammates. In general, using the Phalanx tree will also just get your defense buffed up a bit, while also building up your Apsis’ damage output.

Borderlands Athena Splash

Beyond Phalanx, you should probably also work your way through the Ceraunic Storm tree. Elemental damage over time is really great to have, both solo and co-op, letting you deal damage while pulling back to heal up. With multiple people pouring on the elemental damage, it helps clear out bigger fights quickly, and bosses fall really quick as well. To that effect, you’ll want to take the skills that build up Maelstrom stacks quickly, while at the same time grabbing the skills that increase the damage of those elemental damage effects.

Depending on your party make-up, Athena should generally be your medic and healer. Those Phalanx skills help make this role a lot easier to play. Having a Claptrap in the lobby also really helps, since the I Love You Guys skill tree helps tremendously. Beyond that, using the Apsis helps defend the party, soaking up incoming damage to turn right back around to dish back out; and with the boosts from Phalanx it becomes even more effective. Play a little conservative, especially for the mid-game levels, since by then you probably will have Clear! in your skills. With that skill, it’s important that you stay alive to use the Apsis to grant Second Winds to your party.

Destiny Vault of Glass Raid Impressions

DestinyIn a surprising move, today will actually be a double post day, since not only have I been playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but over the weekend me and my fireteam was finally able to tackle Destiny’s first Raid, the Vault of Glass. Bungie talked it up, both before launching the game and also in anticipation of the Vault of Glass’ unlocking. Before I had even played it, I had a bit of a feeling that they did a great job with it – if it takes the first groups an entire day of playing to beat it, with over 1,000 deaths total, that’s a success. Now that I’ve completed the Vault once, I want to get my impressions on the whole deal put down.

One of the bigger issues with the Raid is that the level requirements mean that you have to mess around with the post-level 20 gameplay. Really that amounts to a lot of grinding to get gear drops, Vanguard or Crucible rep and marks, finishing up Exotic bounties, and in general getting a full set of Legendary or Exotic armor and weapons. Depending on your luck, or how quickly you grind out the rep and marks, this can take a little while, and that’s just to get to level 26. We did the Raid with all of us at least at level 28, and we still struggled. Doing it at 26 is a really hard proposition – it’s the only point in the entire game where enemies actually grow in strength over the course of the mission. In all the story missions, if you set it to level 22, everything is level 22; bosses will just be majors or ultras based on that level. The base Raid is set at level 26, but Atheon, the final boss at the end is level 28, and a lot of the enemies at that phase are 27. So that delays entering it even more, since you really need to upgrade your gear.

Vault of Glass Entry

Once you’ve actually gotten to a level that you feel comfortable going in with; it’s time to launch the Raid. Which is where we get to what I think is the real strength of the Raid. Not only is there really no direction during the course of the mission, meaning that unless you go in with an expert or you look online for tips, there’s going to be a lot of trial and error. Which is totally a great thing – this is supposed to be the capstone, endgame event – it should be difficult, and ultimately rewarding, and I think it totally is. It’s tough, but once you get the hang of it, it’s beatable – there’s no cheap tricks that have no counter, you can learn its means, then beat it. It’s got varieties of enemies that only appear here, unique mechanics that only exist within the Vault of Glass, and a true boss battle that the “story” is lacking.

Atheon Grimoire Card

After playing through the Raid, which took us about 6 hours or so, spread over two days, one of the bigger takeaways I had relates to those points I just laid out. Some of the mechanics that are in the Vault of Glass, which are so totally unique within the course of the game, fit so brilliantly with the game mechanics, that it just blows my mind that they didn’t include them in the “story” missions. Part of that I think comes from the fact that the Raid team was separate from the main development team. But in practice, going forward, I really want to see some of those things come into the main portion of the game. It got me thinking about the high points in the game – I can think of three right away: The Sword of Crota mission, the Black Garden mission and this Raid. The Black Garden doesn’t really have any crazy mechanic, but I love the detail put into that level design – the Vex having a total different design because of the time gap, the vistas you see looking over it, and the fun of the final rush of waves of enemies. The Sword of Crota has a totally unique mechanic at the end, which I love – and then doesn’t appear again in the game. The Raid is full of them. I want to see more stuff like this in DLC going forward.

How cool would it be to have an entire mission based around the Time Gate mechanic from the Vault of Glass – visiting the same area at different points in time, facing the growing challenges of an enemy that has emerged victorious. You can take out the Aeon’s Shield relic and build missions around that as well – with or without the Mark of the Void debuff. You can bring that platforming into the missions, it works alright. The stealth section…well, that might need a bit more ironing out before you build a mission around it. I love that there are boss battles with multiple phases, I just wish they occurred more than just in the capstone Raid. Finally, the Vault of Glass is the one mission that has rewards that are guaranteed to be appropriate, with the possible exception of the Nightfall Weekly Strike. Since you get four loot points after checkpoints, in addition to a few Raid chests that contain high level loot, you should come out of the Vault with plenty of Ascendant material and legendary weapons/armor.

Ultimately what the Raid really represents to me is a glimpse at what might have been. The Vault of Glass is what the story missions could have been, with a more clearly defined focus. Take the detail that is in the level design for the Raid, apply that same level across a full, fleshed out story and I think we all would have been talking about Destiny in a totally different manner. It was that close to being one of those transcendent games – like Half-Life 2, Halo: Combat Evolved, System Shock 2, BioShock, or Skyrim. Instead we just have a shell, a still incredibly fun and addictive shell, but a shell nonetheless. Hopefully going forward Bungie can grasp at those moments that are genuinely fun and exciting and build around them for the DLC.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Solo Athena Build Guide

Borderlands PreSequelContinuing our way through the characters in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, today and tomorrow we’re going to look at Athena, the Gladiator. In general, she’s a pretty solid solo character, with a skill that lets her survive some encounters, then dish back out the damage she would have taken. Let’s go through her skill trees, just like we did with Claptrap.

ACTION SKILL: Kinetic Apsis – using your action skill button, you raise your Apsis shield in front of you. Doing so absorbs incoming damage – only from the front though. Once you’ve absorbed a set amount of energy – dependent on your level – you toss the shield out at enemies, dealing the base damage, plus double the stored damage. You can also toss the shield out earlier, at the cost of less damage. The Apsis has a cooldown of 16 seconds.

Borderlands Athena Splash

PHALANX SKILL TREE – in general, the Phalanx skill tree is based around building up the Kinetic Apsis. There are a couple skills in there to help boost co-op play, which I’ll point out.

Invictus: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases the damage of the thrown Apsis by +7% per rank.
Ephodos: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases your movement speed and gun damage by +4%, per rank, while you are holding the Apsis
Vanguard: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) This is the first of those co-op skills – it grants you and nearby friends health regen, based on rank, while you are holding the Apsis. The health regen also increases as the Apsis takes damage.
Hold the Line: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Boosts the duration of how long you can hold the Apsis before it’s thrown automatically by +1.1 seconds, per rank.
Prismatic Aegis: (Tier 3, 1 rank) Your Apsis will now store elemental damage – every type that hits is stored, and when thrown, all types stored are dished out.
United Front: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) This is another one with co-op value. Increases your shield capacity by +4%, per rank. 5% of damage dealt to the Apsis, per rank, is converted into shields, both for you and your teammates.
Clear!: (Tier 4, 1 rank) This is another co-op skill, throwing the Apsis grants Second Winds to teammates within range. It also increases all damage by +40% while you’re in Fight For Your Life.
Stalwart: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Another co-op skill – using this, your teammates can shoot your Apsis, which will absorb +20% damage, per rank. It also increases your max health by +5% per rank.
Return Fire: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Your Apsis gains a +10% chance to reflect bullets and lasers, in addition to absorbing the damage.
Prepare for Glory: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) When you activate the Apsis, you draw aggro from nearby enemies. Every enemy that damages your Apsis grants you a stack of Prepare for Glory, each one grants +2% gun damage. The stacks last a little bit after the Apsis is thrown.
Wrath of the Goddess: (Tier 6, 1 rank) When you throw the Apsis, it ricochets to nearby enemies, up to four times. Each bounce does 33% less damage then the last hit.

XIPHOS SKILL TREE – the Xiphos tree is built more around melee damage and abilities than anything else, including bonuses based around getting enemies to bleed from melee attacks.

Gun Kata: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases your gun damage by +3% per rank – after shooting an enemy, your melee damage is increased for a short time by +10%, per rank.
Clarity of Purpose: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) This is a straight up buff – +3% max health and +5% melee damage, per rank.
Mercurial: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Killing an enemy increases you movement speed by +4% per rank, and also [5%, 9%, 13%, 17%, 20%] increased damage resistance, per rank, for a few seconds.
Omega-Senshu: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Increases all damage dealt by +7% per rank to enemies with under 50% health.
Rend: (Tier 3, 1 rank) Your melee attacks cause enemies to bleed, which amounts to non-elemental damage over time, for 12 seconds. The damage is increased by up to +100% against higher-health enemies, and benefits from melee damage bonuses.
Bloodlust: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) For each enemy that is bleeding, you regen .8% max health, per second, per rank.
Epicenter: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Causes your butt-slam attacks to generate a Singularity effect, pulling enemies towards you, and also dealing some minor damage.
Tear: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Increases gun damage by +7% per rank against bleeding targets.
You’ve Got Red on You: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) When an enemy dies from your melee attacks, or bleeding, it explodes, dealing damage to nearby enemies, with the radius determined by rank.
Fury of the Arena: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) For each bleeding enemy, you gain +2% firerate and reload speed per rank.
Blood Rush: (Tier 6, 1 rank) You gain a dash melee attack. The dash attack deals +40% damage – but also has a 10 second cooldown. However, if the attack kills an enemy or causes it to bleed, the cooldown is reset.

Athena

CERAUNIC STORM SKILL TREE – It’s a skill tree that’s built around elemental damage, including a stack mechanic in Maelstrom.

Storm Weaving: (Tier 1, 4 ranks) Swapping weapons increases your elemental effect chance by +25% and firerate by +7.5%, per rank, for 9 seconds.
Maelstrom: (Tier 1, 1 rank) Dealing Incendiary or Shock damage grants you a Maelstrom stack. All elemental damage is increased by .2% per stack. Stacks decay slowly over time, and decay quicker the more stacks you have.
Gathering Tempest: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Increases your magazine size by +8% and reload speed by +5% per rank.
Conduit: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) While you have at least on Shock status active on an enemy, you regen .02% of your shields, per second, per rank for each stack of Maelstrom you have.
Smite: (Tier 3, 1 rank) When you are airborne, and have at least 10 stacks of Maelstrom, shooting an enemy will Smite them. Smite causes both Incendiary and Shock damage, based on your current Maelstrom stacks in a small area. Smite does have a 12 second cooldown.
Unrelenting: (Tier 3, 5 ranks) When you kill an enemy, your weapon swap speed is increased by .08% and firerate is by +.06% per rank, for each stack of Maelstrom, for a few seconds.
Superconductor: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Your Apsis has a 10% chance, per rank, to Shock nearby enemies when struck. If this happens, you gain +5 Maelstrom stacks per level.
Zeus’ Rage: (Tier 4, 1 rank) Throwing the Apsis creates a Fire and Lightning storm at the hit location, for a few seconds, dealing damage in an area that increases the more damage your Apsis has absorbed.
Elemental Barrage: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) While Storm Weaving is active, your weapons have a 6% chance, per rank, not to consume ammo, plus an additional .02% chance, per rank per Maelstrom stack.
Overload: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Whenever you kill an enemy that is either Shocked or Burning, there is a 9% chance, per rank, that the status effect will spread to nearby enemies. If this happens, you gain +4 Maelstrom stacks, per rank, and double if the enemy had both effects.
Flash Freeze: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) When you freeze an enemy, you gain Flash Freeze for 1 second, per rank, during which you can’t gain, nor lose, Maelstrom stacks.
Hades’ Shackles: (Tier 6, 1 rank) Performing a butt-slam attack links you to nearby enemies with a Shock Tether, which electrocutes them for 3 seconds. You gain +20 Maelstrom stacks for each enemy you tether. After those 3 seconds, or if an enemy dies, each target releases an Incendiary Nova. If you lose line of sight with an enemy, the tether is broken prematurely.

In general, Athena has a lot of skills that build up her gun damage, as well as damage over time, either with bleeding damage or elemental damage. From a solo perspective, being able to deal damage over time is awesome, since it can give you a break to get back shields or heal up. Her action skill is a real strong option for fighting bosses and badasses, absorbing their attacks, then dealing it back even stronger. I would say that as a solo player, you’re probably actually better off with the Ceraunic Storm or Xiphos skill trees. Since there are skills in the Phalanx tree with pretty clear co-op focus, those skill points could be better spent in the other trees.

Weekly News Recap – Week of October 13, 2014

The news this week has been dominated by the continuing jackassery of the GG folks, but I want to point out some of the other stories of the week. We had a big game release this week with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, as well as a new hotfix for Destiny.

Halo Master Chief Collection

HALO: MASTER CHIEF COLLECTION OFFICIALLY GOLD
It was confirmed today that the Halo: Master Chief Collection has gone gold and discs are being pressed. There’s still about a full month until the release date, so work will continue behind the scenes, there’s a lot going on with four games on one disc, so balancing the multiplayer will be a tough job. To that effect, there’s already a 20GB update slated for Day One. Day One updates aren’t really anything new these days – since Xbox One games have to be installed anyway, this update really doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be a huge deal. Set up the game install, get the update and get playing on November 11.

Borderlands Pre-Sequel Baroness

BORDERLANDS: THE PRE-SEQUEL DLC CHARACTER SEEMINGLY LEAKED
One problem with storing files that will be used for DLC on the retail disc really comes into play with PC versions of games. With PC games, players that are competent with looking through the files can find that DLC data. The latest game to see details shared is Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Enterprising players apparently found data that points to the first DLC character – the Baroness. 2K has stayed pretty tight lipped, but then the “leak” just happened yesterday. I would expect that we might see some official info next week.

PlayStation 4

PLAYSTATION 4 CONTINUES TO SELL LIKE HOTCAKES
The Sony sales data for September was released yesterday. The PlayStation 4 was the best selling console of the month last month, tripling the numbers from August. I haven’t seen the Xbox One numbers yet, but I would bet that their numbers also went up. We’re right in the middle of the busy season, with an easy 10 huge releases this fall. Most of those games are set to be “better” on the current gen systems, which will help drive sales. The other factor that I don’t know gets talked about is that we’re a year removed from launch – the kinks have largely been ironed out. The new systems are stable, and the install base is growing. There are actual big budget, blockbuster games on each console now that make picking one up worth it.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Claptrap Co-Op Build Tips and Tricks

Borderlands PreSequelYesterday I ran through two of the three skill trees for Claptrap in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I purposely left out that third skill tree for today because it’s primarily a co-op focused tree. So today let’s go through that final skill tree, and look at some tips for playing co-op as Claptrap. On Monday we’ll move on to Athena, Wednesday will be Wilhelm, then the next Monday we’ll finish the characters with Nisha.

I LOVE YOU GUYS
The main focus of the I Love You Guys skill tree is providing buffs for Claptrap and all your allies. These buffs can come from performing different actions, like reviving teammates, being in Fight For Your Life, having no shields, or they can just be straight buffs.

Best Buds 4 Life: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) When you revive someone, or are revived yourself, both players gain +7% damage resistance and regen .5% max health, per second, per rank, for a few seconds. While you’re downed in Fight For Your Life, you gain +5%, per rank, to gun damage and Fight For Your Life duration.
Maniacal Laughter: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Increases the status effect chance by 4% per rank. When you deal status effect damage, you gain stacks of Maniacal Laughter (up to 200) – you and your allies regen up to .03% max health, per second, per rank for each stack of Maniacal Laughter you have. The lower your health, the more you regen.
Through Thick and Thin: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Increases the cooldown rate on VaultHunter.exe by 4% per rank. While you have VaultHunter.exe active, that cooldown rate buff is transferred to your allies.
Kick Him While He’s Down: (Tier 2, 1 rank) While you’re in Fight For Your Life, you draw aggro from nearby enemies, keeping them off your allies. This also unlocks the Action Package Clap-in-the-Box.
All The Things Are Awesome: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Increases your firerate by 3%, weapon swap speed by 3% and max health by 5% per rank. For every teammate in the game, you gain an additional +1% firerate, +1% weapon swap speed and +2% max health per rank.
You’re…GOING TO LOVE ME: (Tier 3, 1 rank) When you kill an enemy, you generate a Friendship Nova, centered on that enemy. The nova heals you and your allies by up 15% max health, and players with lower health are healed more. Also unlocks the Action Package Gun Wizard.
Wax Off, Wax On: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) This is a straight buff – shield capacity and recharge rate are boosted +3% per rank, and recharge delay is reduced by -3% per rank.
It’s a Trap…Card: (Tier 4, 1 rank) When your shield is broken, you release a Mega-Nova, which heals you and your allies, up to 15% max health; and at the same time, the Nova damages enemies. Players with low health are healed more, and your shield has to fully recharge between Novas.
Pain Simulator is Painful: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Increases your max health by 6%, per rank; and also grants a damage reduction of [4.8%, 9.1%, 13.0%, 16.7%, 20.0%] depending on rank.
Kick Him While He’s Up: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) When you gain a Second WInd, your gun damage, melee damage and crit damage all get increased by 5% per rank for a few seconds.
Organized Guns are Happy Guns: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Increases your magazine size for all weapons by 5% per rank, and also increases teammates magazines by 2% per rank.
HIGH FIVES GUYS: (Tier 6, 1 rank) Hold the melee button to request a high five from your teammates. If you get the High Five, you and your teammate get +15% gun damage, +50% firerate and regen 3% max health per second. If you DON’T get a High Five, or you’re playing solo, you get the gun damage and health regen bonuses. There’s a 30 second cooldown between High Fives.

Borderlands PreSequel Character Splash

Looking through the list, there are a few skills that would have value for a solo player, but in practice, pretty much the whole skill tree is built around buffing up your teammates. There are a few different skills that are set up to heal you and your teammates, which is important with stronger co-op enemies. Another big skill that’s value might be underrated is Kick Him While He’s Down – drawing the aggro of enemies while your down takes the pressure of your allies, and might even make it easier for you to get a Second Wind. Which would then tie into Kick Him While He’s Up (It’s like they named them that way for a reason) – getting that Second Wind gets you a few important buffs. Having looked quickly at all the different skill trees, across the four characters, Claptrap’s I Love You Guys skill tree is really the most co-op focused. There are plenty of buffs in there, healing skills, and enemy management skills too. Any damage buff would also tie in well with the Fragmented Fragtrap’s subroutines, giving you a second skill tree to put points in early for co-op builds.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Solo Claptrap Build Guide

Borderlands PreSequelOne of the best parts of the Borderlands series of games is that even though they’re designed for co-op, they’re still very enjoyable to play solo. With that in mind, I want to go through each character’s skill tree and give an idea of how I would build them – one build for solo play, one for co-op. Today and tomorrow I’ll go over Claptrap’s skills, mainly because he’s who I’m playing right now, but also because he’s awesome. Next week we’ll start going through the other three characters. First I’ll go over all the skills in each of the three trees, then go over how I would build him.

ACTION SKILL: VaultHunter.exe – activating your action skill gives you full health, plus health regen, while at the same time running a subroutine that is based around the current combat situation. It could be a number of different sorts of skills – bouncing around with a rubber ducky, tossing out a mini Claptrap that acts like a turret, or even pulling off Zer0’s Deception skill. There are skills scattered throughout the trees that unlock different packages for VaultHunter.exe as well.

Claptrap

BOOMTRAP
In general the Boomtrap tree is all about increasing the explosive damage that Claptrap deals. There are a number of skills that add explosive damage to your attacks, along with skills that add explosive traits to various parts of gameplay. Let’s take a look at the skills:

Drop the Hammer: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) When you reload, you gain increased firerate and reload speed, while at the same time your accuracy drops for a few seconds. The actual values are +5%/-2% per rank.
Killbot: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Killing an enemy heals you, for up to 7% of max health, per rank, but also drains 2% of your shields, per rank. If your shields are already broken, you just get the health. The lower your health, the more healing you get.
Coincidental Combustion: (Tier 2, 5 ranks)  Every shot you put on a target with a non-explosive weapon has a 7% chance, per rank, to deal bonus explosive damage. The explosive damage is based around the weapon’s damage.
Repulsive: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) When you are hit by a melee attack, you emit a Blastwave that pushes back enemies and deals explosive damage. The radius of the Blastwave expands with each rank you take, but there is a 5 second cooldown.
Second Wind (By Tediore): (Tier 3, 1 rank) When you enter Fight For Your Life, you toss out a copy of yourself, which explodes like a grenade. You also constantly emit explosive novas.
Load ‘n’ Splode: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) When you reload, you gain +4% increased explosive damage, per rank, for a few seconds. This boost stacks up to 5 times.
I Am Rubber, You Are Glue: (Tier 4, 1 rank) This is a kill skill – it activates when you kill an enemy. When you kill an enemy, bullets have a 25% chance to reflect off of you and towards enemies for a short time. It also unlocks the Action Package for VaultHunter.exe “Torgue Fiesta.”
Start With a Bang: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) When you fire a fully loaded gun after reloading, you set off an explosive nova centered on you, with damage that’s based on the rank of this skill; while at the same time it drains 1% of your health per rank.
Hyperion Punch: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) This is a melee override skill, meaning it takes the place of your regular melee attack when it’s available. When you deal explosive damage, you gain stacks of Hyperion Punch. When you have 5 stacks, you can throw a melee punch that deals incendiary damage, but consumes all your stacks. The bonus damage increases with each rank.
One Last Thing: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) The last shot in the magazine in any weapon deals an extra 80% damage, per rank. Weapons that have magazines smaller than 8 shots get a reduced bonus though.
Livin’ Near the Edge: (Tier 6, 1 rank) Increases firerate and reload speed by up to 100% each – the lower your health and shields, the bigger the bonus is. Also unlocks the Action Package – Pirate Ship Mode. Pirate Ship mode turns you into a Pirate Ship (duh) and you have a giant cannon to fire.

I LOVE YOU GUYS
This particular skill tree is almost exclusively co-op focused, so for today let’s skip it. There are some skills that could be useful for solo play, but in general, going down this skill tree is better with a party of four.

Claptrap Turnaround

FRAGMENTED FRAGTRAP
This is the skill tree that really shows off the increased depth that 2K and Gearbox put into the game. It’s focused around using subroutines – permanent effects that switch over time, each time it’s random – that favor particular playstyles. When a subroutine is selected, you gain 100 frag stacks, which tick down over time – when they reach 0, a new subroutine is selected.

All the Guns: (Tier 1, 1 rank) This is your weapon subroutine. It randomly selects a subroutine focused on a gun type. You gain +25% damage, +20% firerate and +20% reload speed with that gun type, but -15% damage with any other gun type. Make sure you’ve got a wide variety of weapons.
Fuzzy Logic: (Tier 1, 3 ranks) When you take damage from enemies, your critical hit damage is increased by 10%, per rank for a few seconds.
Safety First: (Tier 1, 1 rank) This is your health/shield subroutine. It will choose either health or shield – you get 35% increased capacity, and 2.5% regen per second; but you suffer from 15% reduced gun damage. Powerful weapons help mitigate it.
Surprised? Stabilize!: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) When you take damage from enemies, your accuracy and recoil reduction are increased by 10%, per rank, for a few seconds.
Rope-a-Derp: (Tier 2, 1 rank) This is your melee subroutine. It randomly picks a melee based subroutine, granting +150% melee damage, and -15% gun damage for the duration. This is the one subroutine I think you can skip – there are enough ranks across the other Tier 2 skills that you can get to the next Tier with.
Blue Shell: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Increases your gun damage, firerate and reload speed by 7%, per rank, while you’re in Fight For Your Life; and also increases the duration of Fight For Your Life by 7% per rank.
Tripleclocked: (Tier 3, 1 rank) This multiplies the effects of your subroutines by up to three times. Your offensive subroutines multiplier is impacted by how many Frag stacks you have – the fewer stacks, the larger the multiplier. Your defensive subroutine is always multiplied by 3 though. Also unlocks Action Package One-Shot Wonder.
Grenade Vent: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Increases your grenade damage by 9% per rank. When you throw a grenade, you gain 1 Frag stack, per rank.
Element of Surprise: (Tier 4, 1 rank) This is your elemental subroutine. It selects an elemental type, and increases your damage with that type by 32%, and decreases other element damage by 16%. When your shield is depleted, filled, or you enter Fight For Your Life, you release a nova of that element as well.
Death Machine: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) When you kill an enemy, you get +6% gun damage, +6% reload speed and +4% movement speed, per rank, for a few seconds.
Cryogenic Exhaust Manifold: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) When you do a Butt-slam, you release a Cryo Nova, with damage based on rank, and lose 1 Frag stack per rank.
Float Like a Bee: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Increases your melee damage by 6% per rank. When you kill an enemy with a melee attack, you gain 1 Frag stack and recover 5% of your max health, per rank, and gain +3% movement speed, per rank, for a few seconds.
Rainbow Coolant: (Tier 6, 1 rank) When you initiate a new subroutine, you emit a huge Rainbow Nova that causes damage of each elemental type. Also unlocks the Laser Inferno Action Package for VaultHunter.exe.

As for an actual build – I’ve been going down the Boomtrap tree first, getting damage buffs and building towards Pirate Ship Mode. You start getting skill points at level 3 now, instead of 5, so you effectively get two extra points. I went with Boomtrap, mainly because I wanted to familiarize myself with Claptrap before I started messing with subroutines – but I could also see Fragmented Fragtrap being a good choice for early game, since you gain levels quicker and get through those first few skills faster, getting your subroutines all set up. Both of those trees have a lot of great skills, with buffs all over the place. Using the Boomtrap tree, you want to make sure you have a strong shield – with Killbot draining shields after kills, you want to extend it as long as possible. It does pair well with Fragmented Fragtrap’s Safety First, since you get more health or shields. If your feel comfortable with subroutines and stacking systems, use the Fragmented Fragtrap tree, otherwise I say Boomtrap is where you should look for solo play.