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A Taste of the Mechromancer

Just a quick update tonight as I come off a couple hours of Borderlands 2 goodness, during which I sped through several additional levels as Gaige the Mechromancer. Now that I’m getting class skills, it’s becoming quite interesting.

I’ve decided to mainline the “Ordered Chaos” branch of Gaige’s skill tree. One of the first abilities that branch makes available to you is “Anarchy”. This bizarre skill gives you what’s called an Anarchy stack, and each time you either kill an enemy or empty your gun’s magazine (by shooting it dry) while in combat your Anarchy stack increases by one, up to a maximum of 150. For each Anarchy stack, you do about 1.5% more gun damage but are about 1.5% less accurate. Imagine that times 150!

Oh, and one more thing: if you manually reload before your magazine is empty, your Anarchy stack gets blown away and reset to zero. Thought I should mention that.

I love the concept of what Anarchy does for you. But I’m pretty OCD about reloading constantly to keep maximum rounds on tap at any given moment, so I’m at high risk of sabotaging my own Anarchy-stacking efforts. Not only that, but the same button that reloads your gun is also used to interact with stuff, most notably to pick up items and open Pandora’s myriad of treasure chests. It’s supremely easy, as I discovered, to try and hit the button to open a crate, not be quite close enough, and end up reloading instead — losing all your Anarchy in the process.

After experiencing this frustration a few times, I started trying to make sure that I was always carrying a weapon with a full magazine at all times, especially while exploring and looting containers. I might accomplish this either by firing my gun dry after combat has ended (useful if there’s just a round or two left in the magazine), or switching to a different gun. I had an easier time following this practice than putting up with an ammo meter that wasn’t reading full (such discord makes my Obsessive Compulsive Sense tingle). Before long, I had topped Gaige out at 150 Anarchy stacks.

The resulting effect was insane. I was so inaccurate by that point, I could empty an entire combat rifle clip toward an enemy who was 20 feet away from me and maybe hit him once. But oh, what a hit! My favorite weapons became those with the highest intrinsic accuracy: my sniper rifle, my high-accuracy scoped shotgun and my high-powered pistol — especially the pistol. I could draw that thing and one-shot critical-kill almost anything on the battlefield. And with a 10-round magazine and ability to fire as fast as I could pull the trigger, the pistol made me an absolute killing machine.

Until I accidentally tried to open a box and reloaded instead. Oh well. I’ll build the Anarchy back up again!

I haven’t even talked about Deathtrap, Gaige’s mechanized combat robot pal, who also serves as her main class skill. Although I gained access to him toward the beginning of tonight’s play, I only used him once. He does some pretty good damage, and he sticks around for a lot longer than I expected. My first impression is that he’s more useful than the Siren’s Phaselock skill, at least when you’re playing solo. But I hear Deathtrap becomes less useful in later levels when you start dealing with serious opposition, so maybe he doesn’t scale very well.

Anyway, I’m having a blast so far and I think I’ll keep working on my Mechromancer playthrough rather than go back to my Siren. We’ll see how things go from here.

Tomorrow at the office we’re having a big Lords of Waterdeep fest during lunch, complete with food ordered in. I’m going to try and drag my ass in early because our lunch hour is likely to run slightly over time. It’ll be my third game of Waterdeep now, so I’ll post impressions after the event. For now, though, I’d better get to sleep.