Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Claptrap Overview

Borderlands Handsome CollectionAfter a little break over the weekend for some family and college friends visits, I’m back with more of the Borderlands: Handsome Collection playable characters. We’ve reached The Pre-Sequel, so we’re getting away from typical RPG archetypes. Today, we’ll look at the character that breaks all the rules – Claptrap. He’s the series mascot, but became playable with the most recent game, perhaps being the most popular character in the series. Playing at him is both a fun time, and can be a little annoying, depending on your feelings with his dialogue.

Claptrap’s action skill is a perfect example of his entire character – pure insanity. VaultHunter.exe runs a random subroutine that’s based around the current combat situation. Sometimes that’s a little Blightbot that deals corrode and fire damage, or it could just be that your entire party is constantly bouncing. Sometimes it’s really helpful, sometimes less so – that’s just how Claptrap is.


His first skill tree – BOOMTRAP – is, surprise, focused all about explosives. There are a couple skills that impact guns, and there are also a couple that add-in extra sub-routines to VaultHunter.exe, but in general, you’re looking at explosions galore here. The hard part here is that the first two skills have negative aspects to them, which you need to take to move on – one reduces your accuracy after reloads (Drop the Hammer) and the other drains your shields after kills (Killbot). The downsides do balance with nice positives, but it does also mean you need to pay a little more attention. I use this tree, mainly for the two additional subroutines you can get. I Am Rubber, You Are Glue – which gives you the chance to reflect bullets after kills, also adds the Torgue Fiesta sub-routine, which makes you just toss around grenades randomly during VaultHunter.exe. The other one is tied into the capstone skill – Livin’ Near the Edge – which gives you increased fire rate and reload speed; but also adds in Pirate Ship Mode, which turns Claptrap into a pirate ship basically. He shoots off his four cannons to the tune of the 1812 Overture, doing serious explosive damage. It’s useful, and on top of that, it’s pretty funny.

His second tree – I LOVE YOU GUYS! – is all about co-op bonuses. A lot of the bonuses you get here either directly impact the team, or transfer when you do something particular. A good example is Through Thick and Thin, which makes your action skill cooldown faster, until you activate it, which transfers the bonus to your teammates. You’ve got two more sub-routines in this tree as well, Clap-in-the-Box and Gun Wizard, both tied to skills that really help out in co-op play. But for me, the real fun skill here is the capstone skill – HIGH FIVES GUYS. Holding the melee button asks for a high five – if your teammates give you one, you and them get extra gun damage, fire rate and health regeneration; if they don’t give you one, than you get the gun damage and health regen. You’ve got a 30 second cooldown between high fives, but it’s another skill that I think just perfectly suits Claptrap.

Finally, his last skill tree – FRAGMENTED FRAGTRAP – is the one that’s a little complicated. It’s built around using subroutines – weapon and shield ones – to change the bonuses you get. You have to take the two skills that turn on the subroutines – All the Guns and Safety First – in order to progress down the skill tree. Ultimately, using the tree just means you have to be flexible. In particular All the Guns means you really should have a couple strong weapons of each weapon type. You’ve got other ones scattered in there – a melee one (Rope-a-Derp) and an elemental one (Element of Surprise) – and the other skills generally are just straight bonuses. The VaultHunter sub-routines in this tree are also pretty cool – One Shot Wonder empties your clip when you fire while it’s active, which is tied to the Tripleclocked skill. The other one is tied to the capstone skill Rainbow Coolant, which triggers a huge Rainbow Nova when you start a new subroutine. The VaultHunter sub-routine here is Laser Inferno, which summons up a disco ball that constantly emits lasers dealing fire, corrode and shock damage.

Claptrap is a really fun character across the board. He’s really flexible – you can build him pretty much however you like. The only real framework to think about is the character achievement, which asks you to experience every VaultHunter.exe sub-routine, including the ones in the skill trees. He has a lot more to say than the usual characters do, so if you aren’t a fan of Claptrap to begin with, you might want to turn that dialogue slider down a bit. Otherwise, let him run his mouth a laugh away at his ridiculousness.


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.

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.


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.

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

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.