Destiny: The Taken King – Nightstalker Hunter Class Overview

Destiny NightstalkerRounding out our look at all of the new Subclasses that have been added in with Destiny: The Taken King, today we’ll look at the Hunter’s Nightstalker tree. This one is a little different than what most Hunters are used to with their subclasses. This does give them a Void damage option though, and I think really helps make Hunters much more important in full fireteam play.

Before we get to where this class really shows its differences from other Hunter trees, let’s start with the grenade options. As a Nightstalker, you have your choice of either the Spike Grenade, Voidwall Grenade or the Vortex Grenade. The Spike grenade is straight from the Defender Titan tree – it’s very similar to the Lightning grenade, but not quite as effective. Try sticking it on walls and ceilings for best results. The Voidwall grenade is the new one – when you toss one out, it will hit and send a burning wall of Void fire out in both directions horizontal from your grenade. It’s a great zoning option, and does offer a sustained damage choice. The Vortex grenade comes from the Voidwalker Warlock – it’s a good sustained damage choice too, creating a swirling vortex of Void damage. I like the potential for sustained damage on each grenade option here, it’s just a matter of picking the one you like best and are most comfortable.

The melee attack though is one of those places where the Nightstalker shows off its differences. Gunslingers have the Throwing Knife – ranged damage. Bladedancers have Blink Strike – extra ranged melee damage. Nightstalkers have Smoke – a thrown pellet of smoke that acts as a slight damage, but a blind debuff. The damage it dishes out is increased should you stick onto an enemy, but that’s really not the focus. Use it as a debuff to blind enemies and help your fireteam – that’s what Smoke is all about. It can be augmented with Envenomed, Vanish in Smoke, and Snare. Envenomed adds a poison damage to the smoke – similar to the Darkness clouds that Hive Wizards spawn. Vanish in Smoke makes any allies near the smoke explosion disappear. Snare lets you put the Smoke pellet on surfaces and has it proximity detonate. I think in general, Vanish in Smoke is the best PvE choice – it’s a great way to get your fireteam out of the danger, quickly. The other two choices are solid all around, but I think shine a bit more in PvP – the smoke already is a slowdown effect, so adding in extra damage is always a good thing; while being able to set traps with it is also a great tactical play.

Destiny Shadowshot

Which brings us to the major change to Hunters’ gameplans – the Shadowshot. You hop up in the air, pull out a Void bow, and launch a shot that tethers enemies. It slows them, anchors weaker enemies and also suppresses and weakens them. It’s a major debuff across the board, hitting pretty much every stat that you want to keep an eye on in PvE. In add waves, it’s awesome for grouping them up for other supers. Against bosses, the slow effect is awesome, the damage buff means Sunbreakers don’t need to close to melee range to apply it, and it can still tether adds too. If that’s not enough, it has three upgrades – Blood Bound, Black Hole, and Quiver. Blood Bound makes it so the enemies you have tethered explode when killed – similar to Bloom on Voidwalkers. It also makes it so damage to tethered enemies is shared – great for tethered majors. Black Hole pretty much is a straight buff to Shadowshot – it gives it more range, longer duration and more tethers. Quiver gives you three shots per Super bar – with reduced Void Anchor range though. Against bigger waves of enemies that are spread out, this isn’t the worst option, but I tend to like the other two more. I see Quiver being the PvP choice, if you decide to go Nightstalker in Crucible.

Finally, let’s look at the class specific perks on the Nightstalker. The first column has Courage of the Pack, Light of the Pack, and Lockdown. Courage of the Pack helps out with Shadowshot. Killing tethered enemies gives you increased recovery and armor as well as nearby allies. This stacks up to five times. Both of those are definitely good to have on hand in high level PvE. Light of the Pack makes killing tethered targets drop Orbs of Light. Hunters across the board have some Orb generation issues, and this really helps alleviate those issues. Lockdown makes your grenade and smoke effects last twice as long – zoning effects to the max. In PvE, it’s got utility, but in PvP this is definitely a good pick. The second column brings us Keen Scout, Predator, and Shadestep. Keen Scout has you sneaking and sprinting faster, and also gives you the Enhanced Tracker (radar), with the power to also mark targets you shoot. Predator lets you shoot your Void Anchors onto surfaces, turning them into traps – similar to Snare for Smoke. Finally, Shadestep gives you a dive/dodge roll to use. I think here that Keen Scout is a fantastic PvE choice – every part of it is useful across the board. Shadestep though is a great pick for PvP – mobility is always a great thing to have in the Crucible.

In general, the Nightstalker gives Hunters a much more important and active role in fireteam play. It’s even more apparent at the high tier level PvE play. Tethering enemies helps control the flow of a fight, the grenade and melee choices just help play into that idea even further. Orb generation is still a little weak, but can be buffed with a perk. It might not be a PvP powerhouse – although I certainly see some situations where Shadowshot could be supremely useful in objective modes. Take the time to really get comfortable with the new abilities and I think you’ll find it to be a fun one.


Destiny: The Taken King – Stormcaller Warlock Overview

Destiny Stormcaller

Yesterday we went over the new Solar subclass for the Titans in Destiny: The Taken King. Today, we’ll look at the new Arc subclass for Warlocks – the Stormcaller. It’s time to be a Sith Lord.

This is one that we’ve been thinking was coming for a very long time – a force lightning-esque power was just too perfect an idea for an Arc Warlock. Now that we have it in our hands, I think it’s pretty fair to say that it’s as awesome as we had hoped.

But we’ll start, as we always do, with the grenade options. Stormcallers have the Pulse Grenade, Storm Grenade and the Arcbolt Grenade. The Pulse grenade is just like the one on the Striker Titan tree – solid AoE pulse damage, just an all around good choice for either PvP or PvE. Likewise, the Arcbolt grenade is just the same as the Bladedancer’s – it’s not the best “bolt” style grenade, but in PvP it’s a pretty solid choice. The new choice here is the Storm grenade. You toss one out, and it creates a pretty decent sized lightning storm. It’s good for creating a safe zone in PvE, while killing low-tier enemies; and also good in PvP for netting some kills with a somewhat surprising radius. I think this is a great mix of grenades – the Stormcaller really doesn’t have a weak option.

We’ll move on now to the melee ability – Thunderstrike. It’s not super different from the other Warlock melees, just an Arc powered hit, with even more range. Warlocks already have long melee ranges, and this is just icing on the cake. it can be upgraded with Chain Lightning, Amplitude, and Rising Storm. Chain Lightning does just what it sounds like – the Arc damage chains to another nearby enemies. Extra damage with a melee attack is always a good thing. Amplitude gives your Thunderstrike even more range – on top of the already extended range. This is definitely the go-to PvP choice here – Warlocks already have the best all around melee attack, and this just makes it even more so. Rising Storm functions similarly to Amplify for Strikers – hits with Thunderstrike charge your Super and now melee energy. It’s a good choice in PvE for just continual charging. I think really Chain Lightning or Rising Storm are both good PvE choices, while Amplitude is purely PvP focused.

Now the meat of the matter – Stormtrance. You activate it, you float around and shoot lightning from your fingertips. It chains from target to target, and is insanely powerful at clearing enemies. It lasts for a bit longer than you might expect such a strong super to, but it does have somewhat short range. It can be upgraded with Landfall, Superconductor, and Ionic Blink. Landfall has you shoot out a bolt of lightning to the ground, generating an AoE burst of damage when you activate Stormtrance. Good option pretty much all around I think. Superconductor doubles your lightning chaining capabilities – also a great option for PvE utility. Ionic Blink gives you a quick teleport while you’re using Stormtrance. Stormtrance does suffer from somewhat poor mobility, but honestly, I think this is kind of a gimmicky pick. I can see it being useful in PvP, but that’s about it.

That brings us to the class specific perks. The first column includes Pulsewave, Feedback, and Transcendence. Pulsewave has you trigger a Pulsewave that boosts speed for you and your allies, but only when you are critically wounded. Feedback has incoming melee attacks fully recharge Thunderstrike, and intensify the damage from Thunderstrike. Transcendence is an interesting perk – when you cast Stormtrance with full grenade and melee energy, it restores your health to full, and also drains slower. It may have you be a little more thoughtful with your super usage, but I think it could be a good pick in PvE. Feedback is pretty much a pure PvP pick. The second column of perks include Electrostatic Mind, Arc Web and Perpetual Charge. Electrostatic Mind has your Stormtrance charge faster while your near allies, and gives you a little AoE damage effect while it’s active. Arc Web makes it so all your grenades chain their damage to others nearby. Perpetual Charge makes it so your grenade kills recharge melee, and vice versa. I actually think anything from this column works pretty well. This is more of a personal preference column.

The Stormcaller is I think the Warlock’s glass cannon nature brought to it’s logical conclusion. You’re still pretty fragile – Stormtrance doesn’t give you a ton of resistances. But man, you dish out some serious damage to just about everything that you’ll run into. Even majors will just melt to your lightning powers. Just like with the Sunbreaker, if you haven’t been playing a Warlock, this is a really good excuse to try one out.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Nisha Co-op Play Tips and Guides

Borderlands PreSequelFinishing up our coverage of the four playable characters in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, today we’ll look at some tactics to use if you’re playing as Nisha in a co-op party. Depending on how 2K decides to go with DLC, we could see multiple new characters coming – there were two extras in Borderlands 2 – so we could end up with more this time around. There’s already been some clues as to the Baroness being the first upcoming character, so I expect we’ll see a couple for sure.

As for Nisha though, she’s an interesting piece of a co-op party. She’s the only character that doesn’t really have much in the way of co-op focused skills. Instead, two of her skill trees increase her effectiveness with weapons, and the third uses a stacking mechanic to keep her healthy. With that in mind, she’s more suited to playing a purely offense role. Depending on how comfortable you are with stacking mechanics, the Law and Order tree is a good balanced option to go with. Otherwise, either Fan the Hammer or Riflewoman offer solid offense based skills that will help increase your damage output, without complicating the game too much.

Nisha really stands out against multiple enemies, over the boss enemies, thanks to her Action Skill Showdown. Since the aim snaps between targets, using Showdown efficiently, especially with some of the upgrades along the way to make it more effective, can really shut down the group and clear them out. The boosts to damage mean that it’s useful against pretty much any combination, including Badass enemies in the mix. Add in the co-op factor, especially with Wilhelm’s Wolf and Saint or Claptrap’s VaultHunter.exe potentially adding in lots of extra damage, and you can see that damage is not really an issue. The concern will be with her health and shields, since she’s a little more fragile than others. This is where class mods, along with the sheer volume of shield options, can really help. Nisha is a bit more dependent on her items across the board – her skill trees are designed to boost a lot of those items, not her stats directly. Thanks to her Riflewoman skill tree, using assault rifles or SMGs is a great option, with increased magazine size upgrades, along with boosts to hip fire accuracy. But with Fan the Hammer’s capstone skill, pistols are also a really strong build option, since you will spawn a clone when you pull a pistol out.

Nisha the Lawbringer Splash

Nisha shouldn’t be the core of your co-op team, mainly because her skills are more focused for building up her stats rather than the party’s. But she does fulfill an important role, dealing out lots of pure gun damage. In a four player party, you really should have a mix of each character of course; in smaller party sizes, she’s actually a character I think you can skip over. Claptrap and Athena are both more important in a co-op sense, and Wilhelm works better than Nisha, doing both damage and healing. I wouldn’t say that she’s the worst, but she’s definitely built for a specific playstyle, one that is more “lone wolf” than team builder.

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 – 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.

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.


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.

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.