Borderlands 2 – Pandora Survival Guide

Borderland 2 - Guide Banner

Borderlands 2 is one of the most difficult and technically challenging shooters you will touch and possibly one of the funnest too! Being late to the party isn’t an issue, since it has aged superbly. And you’ll find a friend to two along the way.

My Borderlands 2 Guide will provide you with all the necessary information to help you hit the ground running, with a solid foundation of the games fundamentals. There is quite a bit to know about this game, but perhaps not knowing everything is more of a blessing than a curse. Enjoy the ride and don’t take it too seriously. We’ll be playing this game for years to come.. Experiment, try out different things and don’t limit yourself.



It’s a Shooter

One thing that you might miss, given all the specs, stats and potential loot. Is that this game is a shooter at its core, and if you can’t aim. Then it won’t matter what you’re geared with. You need to get good at the basics.

All enemies have weaknesses and weak points, save yourself time and ammunition by utilising it. Overwhelmed? No problem! Run for cover. Missing more than you like? Then use your scope. Not sure who to attack? Go for the one running at you / the one doing the most damage. Pretty straight forward. But I’ll go over the more advance stuff a little further down.


Enjoy the Game

Besides being a fun loot shooter, BL2 is actually one of the funniest and most well written games I’ve come across. So pay attention to the details and enjoy the wonderful world of Pandora. In today’s world, it is common to rush everything. Without taking the time to appreciate and fully experiencing it.

BL2 - Screenshot 2


Solo vs Co-Op

In many ways, the game is built towards team play and co-operation. From it’s quick to find game finder. To the ease of opening your game up to the public. You’ll have no problems making new friends and teaming up with others to take on the main quests. Everyone so far has seemed quite helpful and friendly.

However, sometimes you might want to take things slow and at your own pace. And that’s completely fine. I’ve more or less done the same with my first playthrough, excluding a few main missions and difficult quests and recommend you doing the same. The option is always there and if you’re finding it hard at times or are getting bored on your own. Don’t hesitate to join up with others.


What Class to Start With?

Given that you’re reading this guide. There is a high likelihood that you’re new to the game or have begun to dabble in its deep and expansive waters. You might be wondering what class to pick first or what’s the best class for the solo players.

Most would agree on what I’m about to tell you:

There are four classes, in addition to two DLC classes.

Borderlands 2 - Classes

Axton (The Commando) – Is a fighter class that can deploy a powerful turret to aid him in combat.

Maya (The Siren) – Is a caster class that is able to phaselock her enemies and crowd control.

Salvador (The Gunzerker) – Is a berserker class that duel-wields weapons and wreaks havoc on his enemies.

Zer0 (The Assassin) – Is the stealth class and uses his decoy to evade and assassinate his enemies.

Gaige (Mechromancer) – Is the summoner class who can summon a Deathtrap to assist her in combat.

Krieg (Psycho) – Is the melee class that enters a powerful rage and gains huge melee damage bonus.


Besides telling you to choose whatever you think you are likely to enjoy playing. And that they’re all unique and their playstyles don’t become evident until lvl 10-15. I’d say that the best two to begin with/solo with are Axton & Maya.

Axton because of his turret and high survivability and Maya because of her great crowd control and ulility skills and team passives. If those don’t appeal to you then perhaps Salvador or Gaige. Salvador is known for his OPness and Gaige’s Deathtrap allows her similar playstyle and survivability to Axton.

Krieg does best in melee specs and situations. And Zer0 is best with a sniper and somewhat of a glass canon. But can be fun, if you’re up for the challenge.


Borderland 2 Builds:
Borderlands 2 – Best Commando Build
Borderlands 2 – Best Siren Build



Know your Weapons

Get to know your weapons, they’re all in ways unique and give your playstyle a different feel. Some of my favorites were the quick trigger pistol, the incendiary sniper and the explosive shotgun.

BL2 - Weapons Inventory

For example, I didn’t touch the shotgun until around lvl 15, but once I found a purple shotgun with a fast trigger, I couldn’t go back. Running into my enemies and taking them out in one or two well placed shots became the norm.

This approach allows you to get acquainted with the different specs, mods and elemental prefixes that are randomly generated on your weapons. And by a certain point you have a good idea of what you like and what you don’t like. Also remember that we all outgrow our guns, it’s okay. It’s part of life. But if you really love something. Keep it in your storage.


Elemental Damage

Which brings me to my next point, elemental damage plays an important role in this game. There are four types, and each performs differently against different enemy types. For example the corrosive weapons, make easy work of Loaders. The electric/shock weapons do the same with shielded enemies, and slag? We’ll slag makes easy work of them all.

Read more on Elemental Damage


What is Slag?

Slag in a nutshell is the fifth elemental damage type (purple), that doubles all damage types from non-slag sources. Acts like a hex or a damage multiplier would in an RPG. It becomes more crucial at later difficulties. But early to mid game, you can do without it. In some instances, having a grenade that has a slag mod or the correct spec is enough. Otherwise, you’ll be sacrificing an entire weapon slot to your slag specific weapon. Which you will have to switch back and forth from.


Explore the World

Putting on your exploration hat and get out there and see what the world of Pandora has to offer. BL2, unlike BL1s more boring and monotonous landscapes. Offers you a wide variety of terrain and environments to explore and loot.

You’ll find amusing and engaging sidequests and stumble onto areas that give you access to high level loot and mini-bosses. Or simply enjoy the beauty of a hand crafted world.

The point is; to find loot, you must look for loot.

BL2 - Concept Art



Sidequests in this game are quite important. They offer great exp, they’re engaging and fun and offer unique rewards. Make sure to take our time after a few levels of mainquest to do the adjacent sidequests.

Keeping in mind that once a quest becomes trivial, there is a dramatic drop in exp gain. And you are better of doing it once you’ve hit TVHM. They’re also a great way to get background lore and information on the game, the world and it’s characters.


Travel Light

When exploring and going about the land, always choose the Outrunner. It’s fast, easier to control and more stable than the truck. Also remember that you can always customise their weapons.


Use The Portals to Fast Travel

Running across maps for exits and entrances can become tedious and time consuming. So if you’ve already explored the area, use the fast travel mechanic ( New-U Stations) for quick trips. Over the course of my game time, I noticed others making this mistake. Choosing to traverse through multiple maps sometimes, when a quick Fast Travel could have done the job.

BL 2 - Fast Travel


Respecing is Almost Free

Respecing, unlike many other games is cost effective. So experiment with your builds, if needed. Simply access a Personal Transformation Machine, and find the option somewhere at the bottom to respec.


Deaths are Costly

At about 8% of your total money. Dying can add up, and deplete your bank account. Keep this in mind and avoid too many deaths, by being more strategic with your gameplay and/or using your enemies weaknesses against them. This becomes even more crucial in TVHM and up.


Eridium: The Ore

Eridium is an element that can have many uses in the game. And regularly drops from difficult enemies, bosses and can be found randomly in containers, lockers and chests. In addition to being a common quest reward. Some bosses drop Eridium more than others and in higher quantities.

Eridium is capped at 500 from my knowledge.

Eridium can have many different uses, but it mainly comes down to this two:

– Buying character upgrades at the Black Market. These include Bank, Backpack, and Ammunition SDUs.
– Accessing Terramorphous Peak for fighting Terramorphous the Invincible, costs 8 Eridium for each access in addition to other similar bosses in the DLCs.


What Should I Upgrade?

My recommendation is to expand your backpack first, then your ammunition sizes for your favorite gun types. Snipers and Pistols are always a safe bet. Keeping in mind that you can also upgrade your bank slots and grenade limit as you go on. The number of Eridium required per upgrade tier doubles, so distribute them well.


Badass Title

Your Badass Title, which is the fifth tab on your character. Is account wide, and enhances all characters with its bonuses. Badass Titles are earned doing quest bonuses and completing challenges; like killing x amount of Bullymongs or do x amount of damage with SMGs. Given the classes tend to play out differently. The question might be what to put your points into?

BL 2 - Bad Ass Title

These are what are deemed most useful:

– Gun Damage
– Shield Capacity
– Shield Recharge Time
– Shield Recharge Rate
– Weapon Accuracy
– Fire Rate
– Reload Time
– Recoil Reduction
– Critical Hit Damage
– Elemental Effect Chance
– Elemental Effect Damage
– Melee Damage

However, given that there is a diminishing return per bonus level, it doesn’t add up to a huge amount. Though it is a layer of significant bonuses across the board and has its advantages. Keep in mind that the bonuses can be enabled and disabled on your characters.



Advanced Tips

Leveling and TVHM

You can reach about level 31-33 on your first playthough, depending on how many sidequests you completed and how adventurous you chose to be. In addition, to how much time you spent in co-op. As it seems to increase your exp gain based on the increase in enemy difficulty.

BL 2 - Legendary Screenshot

When it is time to move onto TVHM (True Vault Hunter Mode). It’s a good idea to farm a few useful legendaries to get your damage output to scale to the new difficulty. Furthermore, find/buy yourself a decent shield and grenade mode. And respec if you feel that you could gain some advantages that way.

Legendary Drop Locations


Gear Management

Ammunition management, is a key part of the game. Especially when on a higher difficulty. You don’t want to run out of ammo on your favorite/most useful gun, deep in an important fight. This can become increasingly more frustrating and detrimental as you level.

Speaking about ammunition. Weapons that eat up too many bullets are rarely worth it, even if they have greater damage. Speed is key, second to a large magazine size. Reloading is a time intensive task, so be prepared and gear up.

Additionally, try a gun out before replacing it with your old one, sometimes you’ll find that it wasn’t worth the trade. Even with it’s increased stats. Use what you are comfortable with, assuming it’s damage is still scaling at your current level.

Getting an understanding of different shield types and how they play out, can be useful. There are a total of 11 shield types, inclusive of the standard. The ones that I found most useful for my playstyle were the: Absorption Shields, Amplify Shields and Elemental Spike Shields.


Advance Combat Tactics

All enemies have weaknesses. Loaders for example, it’s their red little eyes and shoulder joints. Most fleshy enemies like Bullymongs and Bandits, it’s their heads and flame based damage. You don’t have to have every type of elemental damage with you. But having two or three is often enough. Having a rocket launcher with decent magazine size can always come in handy. Especially with the more difficult enemies and missions.

Use your surroundings. Goliaths kill their own when enraged. Elemental barrels are scattered across all areas. And a grenade that spawns more explosive grenades makes easy work of groups of enemies.




You have basically all the information that you need to not only get through Borderlands 2, but do so smoothly while enjoying the different aspects, playstyles and difficulties. What’s important is that you take your time and enjoy the ride and what it has to offer. Try new things, join up with others and stay curious.

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