Destiny: The Taken King – Sunbreaker Titan Class Overview

Destiny Sunbreaker

I briefly talked a little bit yesterday about the new Subclasses available in Destiny: The Taken King. Over the next few days though I want to hit each Subclass a little more in detail – similar to what I did at launch last year. As always, we’ll start with the best class, the Titan, and move through Warlock and Hunter later.

SUNBREAKER: TOO LEGIT TO QUIT
The Sunbreaker is the Titan’s answer to Golden Gun and Sunsinger – it’s a duration based, Solar super. The hammers that you throw throughout the duration have some serious power behind them – a direct hit is a one-shot kill in Crucible play, and in PvE they cause burn damage over time. You gain some pretty serious damage resistance too while it’s active. Defender may have been the go-to PvE class for Titans in any serious content, but I can definitely see Sunbreaker being just as viable. Just like I did last year, let’s talk about the Subclass specific abilities.

We’ll start with the grenades. Sunbreakers have access to the Fusion Grenade, Thermite Grenade and Incendiary Grenade. The Fusion is just the same as the one on the Sunsinger Warlock. It’s a sticky grenade that does some good damage – and is one of the best PvP options. Similarly with the Incendiary grenade – it’s the same grenade as the Gunslinger. It’s a good crowd control option, and does cause damage over time. The new grenade option here is the Thermite grenade. Thrown one down, and a solar shockwave will shoot out in a straight line. It’s very similar in behavior to the Shockwave and Razor’s Edge abilities from the arc subclasses. It does some decent damage – I’ve been using it a lot to clear lines of weak enemies like Thralls. In PvP, it’s much more of a zoning tool, but it does have some use because of the range on the firewave. Each grenade is useful, and each one excels in different phases of the game.

We move on now to the melee abilities that add on to Sunstrike. Sunstrike is essentially a solar powered punch – nothing too crazy from the Titan norm. It still suffers from the same problem that all Titan melees have – the range is abysmal, and it’s outclassed in PvP by the other options. That said, the extra perks may have you punching things a bit more than you’re used to. Our upgrades here are Melting Point, Thermal Vent, and Stoke the Forge. Melting Point makes it so after you punch an enemy, they’re weakened for you and anyone else. Essentially, all incoming damage is shown as precision damage, resulting in a bunch more damage – and precision shots still add in their damage multiplier on top. All incoming damage is increased too – that includes supers and grenades. Against majors and bosses, this is perhaps the most important single ability on any Titan tree, aside from Ward of Dawn. It doesn’t last forever, but with the right builds, that won’t really be a huge deal. Thermal Vent, while it does pair well with a later class perk, loses a bit because of the Titan punch. It creates a solar explosion on hit – that’s a good thing, area of effect is always a plus. It also creates a Sunspot on kills that damages enemies inside it. That’s where the issue lies – the Titan range is so short, and punching in general is a really risky move, that the Sunspots really are only happening with low-tier enemies. It’s maybe a fun Patrol or messing around perk, but that’s all I see for it. Finally, Stoke the Forge is essentially a pure cooldown buff. It reduces the cooldown on it – whether it’s to the same level as Fast Twitch for the Bladedancer’s Blink Strike I can’t say for sure yet. Kills with Sunstrike also instantly reset the cooldown – again, always a good thing. This is probably the PvP option for Sunstrike I think. Melting Point probably would work, but I think taking Stoke the Forge will net more value. As it stands right now, I see Melting Point being the PvE choice, and Stoke the Forge the PvP option.

Destiny Hammer of Sol

Next up, the Hammer of Sol – the new Super ability. Popping this will have you tossing flaming hammers around all over the place. Each hammer does serious damage, and has a pretty surprising blast radius too. The upgrades for it really pull it into three different directions, giving you some options. Forgemaster plain old buffs the Hammer – you get more hammers, and they blow up bigger. I’ve found that you get maybe three more hammers, which is a pretty solid boost to damage possibility. Suncharge gives you a new melee ability while Hammer of Sol is up. Press your melee button and you’ll hurl yourself forward. You do some pretty serious damage with this, but it does take up a huge chunk of Super energy. Enemies do explode though, which sets up for chaining damage, helping it a little. Finally, we have Scorched Earth, which is all about creating Sunspots. Every impact from your hammers creates one, which cause damage over time to enemies inside them, and they pair with other class perks. Depending on how well that pairing works, a Sunspot build could be a pretty powerful one. In the end, I think Forgemaster is always going to be strong, in PvP or PvE; Scorched Earth is also pretty strong in either phase. Suncharge I think is really the one that going to be left behind – it’s got uses, but they aren’t quite as plentiful as with Forgemaster or Scorched Earth.

As for the class perks, we’ve got a pretty good mix with the six new ones. In the first column, we have Flameseeker, Explosive Pyre and Fleetfire. Flameseeker adds a homing ability to the Hammer of Sol – it’s not quite as aggressive as Truth’s rockets, but definitely noticeable. Explosive Pyre makes it so enemies killed by Hammer of Sol explode, which then chains the damage. It’s somewhat similar to Combustion on the Golden Gun. Fleetfire gives you a bonus agility and reload speed boost when you get kills with your fire abilities. That means grenades, Sunstrike and Hammer of Sol. It’s similar to Gunslingers Trance, just a little more difficult to get the stacks built. The final column of perks includes Simmering Flames, Cauterize and Fire Keeper. Simmering Flames makes your grenade and melee recharge twice as fast, but only while your Super is fully charged. It’s got use for sure – especially in low-pressure activities like Patrol. Cauterize gives you health regeneration when you get kills with your fire abilities – again grenades, Sunstrike and Hammer of Sol. It’s a good upgrade for Hammer of Sol, keeping you alive while tossing hammers around. Fire Keeper is the perk that plays into the Sunspots – while you are standing in one, you have an overshield, and Hammer of Sol lasts longer. Depending on how much longer it lasts, this with Scorched Earth could be a pretty beastly build.

All things considered, the Sunbreaker Titan feels a lot more flexible than previous Titan builds. There are a couple different ways you can go about taking perks, and I really don’t see a lot of all around weak ones – maybe Fleetfire or Suncharge. It’s a great Subclass for Titans to use in the Crucible – we finally have a slayer style Subclass. If you’ve been waiting to make a Titan, this is definitely the time to finally get on that.

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Solo Nisha Build Guide

Borderlands PreSequelRounding out our run-through of the four main characters in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel‘s skill trees, today we’ll look at Nisha, the Lawbringer. As we’ve done with each previous character, today we’ll focus on her build and playstyle from a solo perspective. Tomorrow we’ll hit the co-op high points, finishing out this journey through the current crop of Borderlands characters. As the DLC characters are released, we’ll hit them as they come.

ACTION SKILL: SHOWDOWN – While Showdown is active, you gain drastically increased Gun Damage, Fire Rate, Reload Speed, Accuracy and Bullet Speed. The other big portion is that your aim will automatically snap to enemies, essentially acting like an aimbot.

LAW AND ORDER SKILL TREE: The Law and Order skill tree is based around building up stacks of Order and the various buffs that come from those skills.

Law: (Tier 1, 4 ranks) Law increases your Shield Capacity and Melee Damage by 5% per rank.
Order: (Tier 1, 1 rank) Every time you take 15% of your max health in damage, you get a stack of Order, which is capped at 10 stacks. For each stack of Order, you have a 1.2% chance to heal double that damage taken. Your stacks will quickly erode out of combat.
The Third Degree: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Your next melee attack will gain extra damage after Showdown ends as well as after killing an enemy. The boosted damage effect can stack up to 5 times.
Rough Rider: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) This skill augments your butt-slam ability. It increases your Slam damage and max Order stacks by 5. When you hit enemies with your slam, you gain stacks of Order, per enemy hit.
Wanted: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Any enemy that triggers an Order stack also gains a stack of Wanted. Attacking these Wanted enemies deals extra damage for each stack of Wanted.
Discipline: (Tier 3, 1 rank) Increases your max stacks of Order by 5. Every ten stacks restores your shields, as well as buffing your Shield Recharge Delay, Gun Damage and Melee Damage, for each Order Stack.
Due Process: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Hitting an enemy with your melee attack boosts your Gun Damage for a few seconds.
Blood of the Guilty: (Tier 4, 1 rank) Increases your max Order stacks by 5; when you or an ally kill an enemy, you gain some health back and a stack of Order.
Jurisdiction: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Showdown will now regenerate your health, and also boosts your Movement Speed.
No Pain, No Gain: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Increases your Gun Damage in proportion to how low your health is.
Rarin’ to Go: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Killing an enemy boosts your Gun Damage and Reload Speed, based on how many stacks of Order you have.
Thunder Crackdown: (Tier 6, 1 rank) Raises your Order stacks by 5. Your melee attack is also upgraded, now unleashing a cone of Lightning, dealing increased damage based on your Order stacks.

Nisha the Lawbringer Splash

FAN THE HAMMER Skill Tree: The Fan the Hammer tree is built to increase your effectiveness with guns, in particular Pistols; as well as Showdown’s effectiveness.

Saddle Up: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) This is a kill skill, meaning you need to get a kill to trigger it. Doing so will grant you increased Movement Speed by +4% and Gun Damage by +5% per rank, for a short time.
Ruthless: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) Kills made during Showdown will extend its duration by +0.1 second per rank.
Magnificent Six: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) The last six bullets of any Non-Elemental gun deal extra bonus damage.
Bottled Courage: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) When you trigger Showdown, some of your shields will be restored. While Showdown is on cooldown, you gain lower Shield Recharge Delay and Rate.
Short Fused: (Tier 3, 1 rank) Killing an enemy gives your shots bonus Explosive damage for several seconds, closer enemies taking more damage.
Faster’n You: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) When you kill an enemy, you gain increased Fire Rate, Weapon Swap, and Reload Speed for several seconds.
Pickpocket: (Tier 4, 1 rank) Your melee attacks steal up to six bullets from enemies, loading them right into your gun.
Gunslinger: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Reloads a portion of your gun’s magazine when Showdown begins, and also when it ends.
Hell’s Comin’ With Me: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Reloading or topping off your gun with Pickpocket gives you a brief chance to fire twice.
High Noon: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) The longer you are in Showdown, you gain extra Gun Damage.
One for Each of Ya: (Tier 6, 1 rank) When you have a Pistol equipped, you’ll spawn an exact duplicate of it in your off hand.

RIFLEWOMAN Skill Tree: The Riflewoman skill tree, somewhat obviously, increases your skills with rifles and other guns.

Snap Shot: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) When you fire from the hip, you gain +7% Accuracy and +5% Recoil Reduction, per rank.
Bona Fide Grit: (Tier 1, 5 ranks) This is another Kill Skill – doing so grants bonus Critical Hit Damage and Health Regen for a short time.
Quick Shot: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) After you reload, you gain bonus Gun Damage and Fire Rate for a short time, while you fire from the hip.
Unchained: (Tier 2, 5 ranks) Shooting an enemy gains a stack of Unchained, with a max rate of 1 per second. Each stack grants bonus Fire Rate.
Fistful of Bullets: (Tier 3, 1 rank) This is a pure increase to magazine size on all weapons by 3.
Crack Shot: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Firing the first shot from a full magazine deals bonus damage. If that particular shot kills an enemy, they explode, dealing AoE damage.
Impatience: (Tier 4, 1 rank) Killing an enemy grants a stack of Impatience, which increases your reload speed, per stack.
Hot Lead: (Tier 4, 5 ranks) Critical Hits with non-Elemental have a chance to deal Incendiary damage, and have a high chance to Ignite enemies.
Trick Shot: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) Bullets that hit walls or other scenery have a chance to ricochet into enemies at a reduced damage.
Tombstone: (Tier 5, 5 ranks) After you kill an enemy, all your hits have a chance to count as Critical Hits for several seconds.
The Unforgiven: (Tier 6, 1 rank) Shots during Showdown will ricochet off enemies, into other enemies, dealing 10% damage. Every enemy hit during Showdown also explodes at the end of Showdown.

In general, Nisha functions really well as a pure damage dealer. She doesn’t really have a ton of reliable health or shield regen skills, instead, she’s loaded with gun stat buffs. Her Action Skill lets her snap from target to target, dishing out the increased damage it has. From a solo perspective, this is a pretty feast or famine approach to playing. You’ll be relying on items for shield and health buffs primarily, that way you can max out the damage you deal. I would personally recommend the Riflewoman tree, then dive down the Fan the Hammer tree. Those trees will get you loaded up with strong weapon buffs, letting you run through enemies quickly. Nisha is a character that’s pretty well built for solo play, since she doesn’t have a lot of co-op focused skills; just make sure you keep her healthy and you’ll be taking enemies down.

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.

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.

Destiny Crucible Guides – Armor and Weapons to Bring In With You

DestinyI went over all six of the different subclasses in Destiny over the last couple weeks, talking about their abilities both in PvE and in the Crucible. I’ve talked about general tactics for the Crucible as well. I went over the new Iron Banner event yesterday. One thing that I never really talked about specifically is what kind of gear and weapons you should be trying to get for use in the Crucible. I point out the Crucible because I think the build is different than PvE ones – out in the wilds, you should have a flexible set of gear depending on what enemy you’re dealing with, if you are playing with a fireteam, and which Vanguard bounties you have.

I want to approach this from the perspective of a player who’s already at least level 20, so I’m talking about legendary and exotic weapons. As for the armor, I have a different set of parameters so just legendary or exotic doesn’t really seal the deal. Before that though, quickly for players that aren’t quite level 20 yet, look for a Shingen style auto rifle as your primary. The firerate, and solid magazine size makes them really good options, at least for now while the auto rifles are still pretty powerful. Your special weapon is primarily dependent on the map – smaller maps you really want a shotgun – I like the Suros style shotguns or the Black Chasma Crucible variant. They put a lot of damage out in one pull of the trigger, and depending on the individual stats, have surprising range. For your heavy weapons, I still think a rocket launcher is a bit better option – it’s a quicker damage output than the machine guns are.

Shadow Price Destiny

For the characters that are at a level where they’re starting to grab legendary or exotic weapons, there are a couple standouts. First is one of the legendary Vanguard rifles – Shadow Price. It’s the rifle I’m currently using in fact – it’s essentially a beefed up version of the Shingen style rifles. It’s got a solid 24 bullet clip, plenty of shots to get two kills before reloading, the recoil pattern is predictable, and in standardized damage, it’s a pretty reasonable kill speed. It also has some pretty useful upgrades – one that increases reload speed after precision kills (which you should be aiming for), second that is a straight up reload boost beyond that, and one that restores ammo and boosts reload after near death kills. This combo makes your reload about as fast as possible – and can even be boosted further using War Machine on a Defender. As always in Bungie style multiplayer, reloads are super important – long time Halo players know all about that, so having a maxed reload is a really nice bonus. A solid second option is the SUROS Regime exotic that Xur sold two weekends ago. It’s not a crazy fast rifle, but it does have one of the best upgrades for PvP – aiming down the sights increases the damage dealt. That combined with a solid accuracy makes it a very popular choice in the arena.

Destiny Invective Shotgun

As for secondaries, I still think that any legendary or exotic shotgun is your best bet, unless you can’t get a hold of one. This is admittedly the weapon slot I have no real pick for, since it’s the one category I haven’t gotten a legendary or better in yet – despite plenty of Vanguard rewards, I haven’t gotten on yet. However, there are a couple standouts I’ve seen out there – Invective, the exotic bounty shotgun reward; The Comedian, the Vanguard legendary shotgun; and Universal Remote, a raid reward exotic that actually functions as a primary weapon. What you really are looking for is a weapon that has decent enough range to kill in one pull of the trigger – whether it’s a shotgun, fusion rifle or sniper, you want to maximize your kills-per-shot with special ammo. I think shotguns are best for this, mainly because fusions rifles are beaten with solid strafing skills, and snipers are limited situation weapons.

Super Good Advice

For heavy weapons, I’m a little torn. I run with Super Good Advice, an exotic heavy machine gun that you get as a bounty reward – it’s a pretty solid weapon, good damage, and a great upgrade. The Super Good Advice upgrade makes it so almost every shot that misses go right back into the magazine, extending your ammo by a lot. The problem is that the recoil pattern with it is by far the worst I’ve seen with a machine gun. Good other machine guns would be Thunderlord (which should be typed as THUNDERLORD I think), which is a Crucible reward that has a much better recoil pattern; or The Swarm, the Vanguard option, it’s got a slower rate of fire, but it has almost no recoil to deal with.

For your armor, there’s really only one thing that should adjust which pieces you wear. If you have exotic armor that boosts skills with one particular subclass, use it; regardless of stat boosts, having the extra ability boosts are always great. I prefer the Striker subclass on my Titan, but because I got the Helm of Saint-14 from an engram, I tend to run with Defender because of its upgrade that blinds enemies in Ward of Dawn. As for which legendary armor you want, from what I can tell, you want to grab the Future War Cult gear. At least as a Titan, every piece of their armor has Discipline and Intellect boosts, which are the real stat you should look at for Crucible. In the Wilds, Strength is totally worth boosting up, but in Crucible you want your grenades and super ability available as much as possible. In regular Crucible matches, the actual defense rating doesn’t matter too much, that’s more for Iron Banner. If you can get good upgrades to boost your grenades or melee cooldown on those items, that’s even better – same with ammo or reload boosts for specific weapons, but again, keep looking for Intellect and Discipline gear.

Destiny Build Guides – Hunter Bladedancer Tips and Tricks

DestinyRounding out my tips and tricks for each of the subclasses in Destiny, today let’s walk through the Hunter’s second subclass, the Bladedancer. To be totally honest, the Hunter is the class I have the least amount of time with, but I still think that Bladedancer is pretty self evident how to go about building.

Just like yesterday, before we dig into the specifics of the class, let’s first look at some of the gear you should be trying to pick for Bladedancer builds. With the Sunsinger from yesterday, I said you should be trying to grab discipline gear to keep your grenades up. With the Bladedancer, I would say you want to grab as much strength or intellect gear as you can find. You’ll want to keep an eye on the defense rating too until you hit the Legendary/Exotic tier gear, since Bladedancer is generally a melee class. Keeping your Blink Strike up, as well as having extra strength behind the melee attacks is desirable. Best case scenario is finding gear with both intellect and strength on it, keeping both Blink Strike and Arc Blade active as much as possible.

Destiny Arc Blade

Now let’s start like we always do with the grenades for the Bladedancer: the Flux, Skip and Arcbolt grenades. Flux grenades are basic explosive grenades, but they deal extra damage if you can stick enemies with them. The Skip grenade is kind of similar to the Scatter grenade on the Voidwalker – it splits on impact into smaller explosives, the difference is that the smaller ones slide around the ground toward enemies. The Arcbolt grenade is the Hunter’s answer to the Axion Bolt grenade – an arc damage grenade that links enemies in the radius with lightning bolts. The grenades are all very similar in that they’re all best used against small groups of enemies or single bosses in PvE, but all retain their use in PvP. In terms of which I prefer – I like the Skip in the Crucible, it has a bit more margin of error with the splitting up of the explosive; and really I would switch between the three in PvE depending on the situation.

The melee attack for the Bladedancer is the Blink Strike – a quick teleport attack that has a bit more range than a normal melee attack. It can be upgraded with Backstab, Escape Artist and Fast Twitch. Backstab is pretty self-explanatory – hitting enemies from behind deals critical damage, basically amounting to a precision hit. Escape Artist grants you a brief period of invisibility after you hit enemies with Blink Strike. This will let you get a melee attack in on tough enemies, to hopefully stagger them, then use the invisibility to run away. Fast Twitch just straight up reduces the cooldown on Blink Strike – keeping you punching more frequently. Blink Strike is a pretty powerful attack, especially in PvP, which is why I recommend using gear to keep it up as much as possible. Pair it with Escape Artist and you can bounce around from enemy to enemy, and paired with Fast Twitch you’ll be Blinking even more so.

Bladedancer

Now we get to the meat and potatoes of the Bladedancer subclass – Arc Blade. Arc Blade is what makes this subclass perhaps the most dangerous one in the Crucible, at least as it stands as I write this. I have a hunch that some tweaks might be in the future for Arc Blade, at least as far as PvP is concerned. Arc Blade infuses your knife with electricity, and lets you dash from enemy to enemy dealing lots of melee damage. You can add in some extra bonuses with the upgrades: Showstopper, Razor’s Edge, and Vanish. Showstopper lets you deal some extra damage to nearby enemies using your main fire button. Razor’s Edge sends out a wave of energy along the ground to damage enemies again using primary fire. Vanish lets you disappear from sight, letting you sneak around to dish out sneak attacks. I don’t necessarily see the value in Vanish, but Razor’s Edge and Showstopper both are worth looking into.

As for the class upgrades, Bladedancers have access to: Fleet Footed, Quick Draw, Shadowjack, Encore, Stalker, and Hungering Blade. Fleet Footed lets you sprint faster and slide farther – helping you close the gap and dish out melee attacks. Quick Draw lets you aim your weapons immediately, getting you ready to fight instantly. Shadowjack increases the duration of the invisibility effects that are part of a number of different abilities, letting you get closer to the fight – really nice in PvP. Encore makes it so kills with Arc Blade extend its duration, letting you dash around even more. Stalker lets you disappear from sight after you crouch for a few seconds – or dance for a few seconds. Hungering Blade makes both your Blink Strike and Arc Blade attacks immediately regenerate health after kills. Combining Shadowjack and Stalker keeps you stealthily killing, while Fleet Footed and Hungering Blade gets you close to enemies then regens your health after killing them.

Bladedancer Mask of the Third Man

Ultimately, the Bladedancer subclass is a funny beast – it’s not made for fighting bosses really, since just about every Ultra enemy has a “ground pound” attack that pretty much one shots you. Instead it’s great for clearing out groups of lesser enemies, letting your teammates focus of the bosses. Where it really shines though is in the Crucible – Arc Blade slices through enemies like they weren’t even there. In Control it’s almost unstoppable for clearing points, since you gain an inherent damage resistance while it’s up. Combined with some nice stealth abilities, you can also keep sniping enemies to build up Arc Blade, or use it to rush in and use melee skills to grab kills. I do see some changes coming down the pipe in the future, really for a lot of things in the Crucible (auto rifles) but for now, Arc Blade and Bladedancer just dominate close quarters combat.