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

Borderlands Handsome CollectionWe’ve almost reached the end of our journey, looking at the playable characters in Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. Today we’re looking at the final default playable character available in the two games, Wilhelm. He originally appeared as a boss in Borderlands 2, much like Nisha did. Similarly, his backstory is really fleshed out during his time on Elpis in The Pre-Sequel. He’s an interesting character to play as, with an action skill that really works well in both co-op and solo play.

Wilhelm’s action skill sends out two A.I. drones, Wolf and Saint. Of the two, Wolf acts as an extra attacker, seeking out targets and engaging them; while Saint is more focused on keeping you healthy. It’s kind of similar to Mordecai’s Bloodwing skill in the first game, just a bit more in depth. It lets you keep Wilhelm safe while still dishing out some real damage. That makes his skill trees easy to pin – each has a skill tree that more or less dedicated to each of the three pillars of his characters – Wolf, Saint and himself.

Borderlands Wilhelm Splash

His first skill tree – HUNTER-KILLER – is built around Wolf. It’s not solely focused on it though, like any tree, there are other skills in there. In this case it amounts to skills that increase your effectiveness with elemental guns. What this tree does well is not dividing up the skills too much. In order to keep Wilhelm himself from wasting away, there are skills in here that both impact Wolf and himself. For example, Venom Bolts gives Wolf the chance to deal corrosive damage, while also increasing the corrode chance and damage for Wilhelm. Skills like that keep the tree from limiting Wilhelm too much. Where that isn’t exactly true is the capstone skill – Omega Strike – which is solely for Wolf, having him shoot off a missile strike periodically.

Wilhelm’s second skill tree – CYBER COMMANDO – is more based around making Wilhelm a more badass cyborg fighter. There are skills in here that actually change Wilhelm’s physical appearance, in addition to upgrading his abilities. You can upgrade his arms (Power Fist), which gives you a rocket punch; his legs (Shock Absorber) which lets you shoot while sprinting; and augment his weapon with the capstone skill. That capstone skill – Vengeance Cannon – gives you a shoulder mountain cannon that fires when your shields are depleted; it shoots incendiary lasers in tandem with your gun, and lasts for 12 seconds. There is a lot more going on in this skill tree – a lot of the skills relate around your shields, but your focus should be the cyber skills.

Finally, his third tree – DREADNOUGHT – is more about Saint. Along with making Saint a more effective supporter, there are also skills along the way that keep Wilhelm alive. Unlike the Hunter-Killer tree, his Saint skills don’t have extra aspects for Wilhelm here. I think that’s probably because this tree is already focused on keeping you alive. Your first couple tiers of skills all increase your shields and health regen rate, plus keep the cooldown on Wolf and Saint down. Then you get his tier three skill – Termination Protocols – which replaces Fight for you Life. That really can help you, since you are still able to move about and fight as usual. Like Hunter-Killer, your capstone skill here is focused on Saint – Overcharge has him overcharge the players, which makes you move faster, shoot faster, reload faster and also regenerate ammo. It’s a great skill for support play, but maybe not the most offensive focused.

Wilhelm is right up there with Claptrap for the more co-op focused characters in The Pre-Sequel. Going down that Dreadnought tree really can help out the whole party with shield boosts. Add in the fact that Wolf is part of the package deal and you have a pretty well rounded character.


Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Wilhelm Co-op Build Tips

Borderlands PreSequelYesterday I went over the skill trees for Wilhelm, the Enforcer, and put down some thoughts on how to play Wilhelm by yourself. Today, I want to go over his role in a party, when you’re playing with your friends. He’s a little different than Athena and way different from Claptrap, so depending on the role you like to play, he may or may not be your man.

Looking at Wilhelm from his Action Skill perspective, he’s your best bet to dish out damage to multiple targets. Wolf will go out and attack multiple enemies, while Athena’s Apsis only can hit one target, until you reach a capstone skill at a high level. With Saint added in, his action skill really makes Wilhelm the closest thing to a Tank that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has. Even compared to Athena’s Apsis, which absorbs damage from the front, Saint keeps your health up by regenerating it for the duration, and depending on upgrades can overload your shields as well. Add in his Termination Protocols skill and I think it really cements his role as Tank.

Borderlands Wilhelm Splash

As for your skill points, I would recommend going down both the Hunter-Killer and Dreadnought skill trees. Whether you go down one tree then the other, or both simultaneously is up to you. With the level cap at 50 still, you won’t quite be able to max both out right now, but as the DLC comes out, and that cap comes up, you will eventually be able to. I think those particular trees are better from a co-op perspective since they get Wolf and Saint both built up pretty well, dealing more damage, while also increasing Saint’s health regen ability. Since Saint also keeps your teammates healthy, it’s pretty important to keep Dreadnought built up, but don’t neglect Wolf. Depending on your party’s makeup, you might be not only healing with Saint, but also dealing out the damage with Wolf. A balanced party shouldn’t necessarily have to worry about this, since Athena and Nisha can both dish out damage, while Claptrap and Wilhelm can focus on health and shields.

I think in general Wilhelm is actually the one piece you can leave out of a co-op party. Sure he does good damage with Wolf, and the health regen from Saint is nice, but Claptrap has an entire skill tree that’s based around buffing and healing your teammates. Athena can do a good enough job tanking with the Apsis that you can switch them out, and with multiple guns, a party really doesn’t need to worry about damage output, other than hardcore bosses. That said, it is fun to see how Wilhelm becomes the boss in Borderlands 2.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – Solo Wilhelm Build Guide

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

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

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

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

Borderlands Wilhelm Splash

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

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

Borderlands Wilhelm Turnaround

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

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

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