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Borderlands 2 was one of the most anticipated gaming titles released in 2012. Voted by many reviewers as one of the best, if not the best game of 2012, the road to level 50 is not easy. Filled with equal parts fear and uncertainty, players who finish the game in Normal Mode are only in their mid 30′s as far as experience and weaponry is concerned. After Normal Mode is the True Vault Hunter Mode and this mode scales everything up to become much more Super Badass.
In True Vault Hunter Mode, players restart the game with all their previous weapons and stats intact but the enemies have gotten consequently tougher. Now enemies have tougher armor, are more resilient against your weapons elemental affects and deal more damage to you. Any gamer who is expecting an easy time, just because they have great weapons and shields from Normal Mode, is in for a rude awakening, as they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars dying over and over again.
True Vault Hunter Mode just plain hurts for those that are unprepared. Going into this mode below level 34 is likely an impossible feat, given how fast a player will die, regardless of weaponry. To combat this, loot chests are scaled up to give better weapons as well since players will need them to survive. Bosses are likewise harder and thankfully give more experience. While the dynamic of fighting a bad guy does not change much from Normal Mode, just surviving is a problem for those, who get lazy when fighting the new Armored Maniac. As the name implies, hard to kill is an understatement upon first meeting.
Besides the change in difficulty, there are other aspects of Borderlands 2 that change once you hit the big leagues. By this point, most players will have expanded their backpack and ammunition space to their maximum range using Eridium. What this means is that Eridium, the purple rock of awesomeness, will be relegated to use only when used to summon the four Invincible series raid bosses. Money too, takes on different meaning since having a million dollars has limited use; it only helps you come back from the dead and to buy ammo.
The real value is in ammunition. Players who have ammo absorbing shields or the right Gunzerker skills will be able to regenerate ammo on command but for the rest of us, ammo becomes a problem. While each class has advantages to conserving ammo, even the greatest amount of ammo will not save you from a fiery gruesome death. There are boss battles in True Vault Hunter Mode that drain players of almost all their ammo and at 3,000 dollars a cringe-worthy pop for 24 shotgun rounds, having that cool million will go a long way at level 50.
Loot chests too, are affected since most of the chests give better weapons to players than the vending machines do. Smart players though, will take any weapon they can carry and sell the useless but high value weapons to keep their cash flow north of 500,000 dollars. Similarly, useless class modes and relics are sold off at the earliest convenience to make room for more items to sell later on.
Interestingly enough, relics and class modes have a higher retention rate due to their ability to change the game play. For practical combat applications, players in True Vault Hunter Mode now have bigger incentive to re-spec and experiment with the majority of their skill points. Whereas a level 20 player would only have access to half of one skill tree, upper level players can experience the full range of options by selecting points in all three skill tree for the most customized skill builds.
For many players, reaching level 50 is only half way through the game since players can and should leave the side quests for after finishing True Vault Hunter Mode where all the loot is scaled to level 50. After that, it’s time to fight the four invincible raid bosses, some of which do require the DLC’s to go after the Legendary and Seraph class weapons.
Given all the great weapons, shields, relics and class mods; it’s easy to see why Borderlands 2 is such a phenomenal game. Five characters, 15 different skill trees and True Vault Hunter Mode make Borderlands 2 one of the most robust games of all time. With the ability re-spec after every mission or to create a character and skill tree build tailored to defeating a boss, customization is high no matter the level a player reaches. The best rewards come to those who wait and spending time with Borderlands 2 at Level 50 is well worth the effort.