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Old October 10th, 2010, 12:24 AM   #1
U1849KA
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Default The ideal playthrough

So, there are a lot of newer people just getting into the game, and there are still a lot of ways to wind-up over or under-leveled for the area you want to play. I've recently gone through a new playthrough, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on what I think would be the best way to access all of the DLCs while staying as close to the surrounding mission level as possible.

This guide assumes the behavior of patch 1.41 is in effect.

Playthrough 1
The only thing you need to worry about here is keeping an eye on the level of the story mission.

Arid Badlands:
In general, do all or most of the side-missions until you defeat Sledge, and then move-on into the Dah Headlands. Level 18-20 by the Headlands.

New Haven/Rust Commons:
Once at New Haven, head out to find Tannis. Be sparing with your side-missions, and only do them if you need to level-up. 23 - 25 by the time you Seek out Tannis, 26 - 27 by the time you make the Secret Rendezvous at Jaynistown.

The goal here is to be done with PT 1 at about level 32 - 35, depending on how many Lance and Guardians you can skirt past at the end.

Playthrough 2
Playthrough 2 is really the keystone to everything subsequent. Think of PT 1 as the introduction, and PT 2 as the real meat of the game. You'll get a better feel for your character, and start to specialize and make your build distinct.
Plus, completing PT 2 enables the global scaling for the main game, DLC1 and DLC 4.

The same formula used in PT 1 applies here, except that we have Knoxx sitting out there with a hard starting point of level 51.

Dahl Headlands:
I usually do most of the side-missions here, but I try to reach New Haven around level 42.

New Haven/Rust Commons:
I like to reach New Haven at 42, and then make-sure I'm at Jaynistown in Rust Commons East at about level 46 (basically as soon as I've killed Krom and handed that piece to Tannis, I head over to do the "Secret Rendezvous" mission.)
Rakk Hive and Taylor Kobb are about 47. Old Haven - Salt Flats and beyond will be around 48-50.


The goal, then, will be to finish PT 2 as close to level 50 as possible.

My last run left me at level 52 after defeating the Destroyer. I skipped nearly all side-missions after the Headlands, and dodged as many fights in the Descent and Eridian Promontory as I could, since Lance and Guardians give a ton of XP.

This actually put me at a good level for the bosses and encounters along the way. I was matched-level with the Rakk Hive and nearly everything afterward, and the Destroyer fight was long despite the 2 level difference. **Update: Since the real-time scaling for the Main Game now kicks in when you reach the Vault, the Destroyer will adjust relative to your level, and due to the way this adjustment works, he will actually be two levels above you, now, rather than being stuck at 50 like the olden days.**


Moxxie PT 2.
The way Moxxie acts toward you and some of the things she says in Knoxx imply that the player has gone through her trials prior to starting Knoxx. This also gives a little reprieve from the story-focused structure, and awards a free skill point.

I actually leveled-up from my run of the Prove Yourself mission, leaving me at level 53 going into Knoxx. This was mostly due to challenges I completed while in the arenas. Leveling up from this a rare occurrence.

Knoxx PT 2
Knoxx PT 2 hard-starts at 50-51, and the initial stages can be very challenging for a level 50 player. Being a level or two above will leave it interesting without it being punishingly difficult for a player who still has the largely hodge-podge gear that comes from minimal farming.

I entered at 53 and found I was on-level for nearly all of the key areas. I may have been a level above the first shock-trooper barricade, but that fight is ridiculous when you're proper level, so the difficulty felt about normal.

I was 54-55 going through Lockdown, which is on-par with the enemies there, and 56 when I got to General Knoxx, which was on-par with him.

The Gen. Knoxx fight was a good challenge with my mediocre gear, and the level I was at.
I should note that I sharply avoided doing almost any side-missions.

Killing Knoxx leveled me up to 57.

Loot Larceny
With the main story mission of Knoxx done, (and the patch 1.41 in effect) there are no more hard level starts left to worry about.

The only concern now is that there are elements of DLC 4 that reference DLC 1, so to keep the story consistent, do Zombie Island PT 2 before you do Robolution PT 2.

My first playthrough post-scaling-patch left me at level 66 when the last Clap Trap had fallen and all was said and done.

Robolution gives us a nice bookend to stop on, and from here we have the entire main game and all DLCs in real-time scaling, and we can go back and do all the side-missions we left behind, and have fun farming for uber-1337 gear, as well as return to PT 1 for skillpoints and backpack SDUs.




tl;dr:
|Main Game PT 1| --> |Main Game PT 2| --> |Moxxie PT 2| --> |Knoxx PT 2| --> |ZI PT 2| --> |Robolution PT 2| --> |scaled PT 2.5 free-play everywhere!|


.......................
Breakdown

List of main-game story and side-missions, to help prevent confusion:

http://versatile1.wordpress.com/2009...side-missions/

I would do:

Arid Badlands
Basically everything until you kill Sledge, then head into the Dahl Headlands.
Do Shock Crystal Harvest and Moe and Marley for the artifacts; you'll want them.

Dahl Headlands
I usually skip the Ludicrous Speedway and Skagzilla, the former because Scythids freak me out, and the latter because I usually don't have the ammo.
I make sure to do Ghosts of the Vault for the artifact.

New Haven
I'll do Corrosive Crystal Harvest and King Tossing on PT 1, because the artifact is important and the Spy can be a very nice SMG if it spawns with good stats.
I'll sometimes skip it in PT 2 depending on what my level is.

Rust Commons West / Crazy Earl
Seek out Tannis, then find Crazy Earl. Do Get off My Lawn for Earl and then Hair of the Dog in Treacher's Landing. Once you come back he'll send you off to Krom's Canyon. You don't need to do the Explosives Lesson mission. Go ahead and do it if you're under-leveled for Krom's Canyon, though Treacher's Landing will probably take care of that.

Krom's Canyon
I do all the side-missions here: Two Wrongs Make a Right is the Reaver mission, which is the second half of that zone, and you find a Claptrap rescue mission and can get all the dog food for Earl Needs Food... Badly, while making your way to Reaver.

Rust Commons East
I tend to skip the Middle of Nowhere missions entirely, and head straight to Jaynistown once I get the Secret Rendezvous mission. If you're hurting for levels, the Middle of Nowhere missions will open-up about this time (starting with: Middle of Nowhere No More from Helena Pierce,) so do a few of those until you're on-level again.

Trash Coast
I head here as soon as I'm done with Taylor Kobb. I go in, fight the Rakk Hive and then I leave. This place can over-level you quickly. There are a lot of missions in here, most from the Middle of Nowhere, but there will be plenty of time to do them later.

Old Haven
You'll usually be a little under-leveled for this mission when you get it, so wait until you have Not Without my Claptrap from Tannis before you head here. This will let you do it in one trip, and get the Claptrap rescue while you're at it. I usually do the Bandit Brothers: 3 Keys mission for the heck of it; since I pass through the needed areas, anyway, and a brief sojourn back to the Headlands is always fun.

Salt Flats-beyond
From here it's largely plot-missions. Avoid killing too many enemies if you can avoid them, as it's easy to over-level off of Guardians and Lance.
..........................

Knoxx:

T-Bone
Build the Monster, fight the Assassins, and get going to the Tollway.

Tollway
Drop the roadblock.

Fathoms
Go find Moxxie and get the Racer

Ridgeway
Drop the two roadblocks and reach the Sunken Sea.

Sunken Sea
Enter Lockdown Palace. Feel free to look around a little for some chests on the way to it, but be warned, Drifters give a ton of XP.

Lockdown
Rescue Athena and get back out.

Athena's missions
Once you've rescued Athena and gotten back to T-Bone, she'll send you back to Ridgeway, which will then send you back to Sunken Sea.
You can hit-up Kyros and Typhon now, but killing both of them on the same character will cause them to stop spawning. Not killing them will prevent you from being able to fight Ajax as a side-mission later, so make your choice. If you join a player who has This Bitch is Payback Part 2 active (the Ajax mission,) you can get Ajax spawning in your game without having to complete Part 1 (the Kyros / Typhon mission.)

Once you have the code, return to T-Bone and she'll send you to the Fathoms, which will then take you to Road's End.
Kill Knoxx, raid the armory and return to T-Bone.
....................
...................


You're free to do it as you like, but this is the formula I've had the most success with in terms of staying on level as much as possible.

Special note: While in a vehicle, you will receive substantially less experience than you would otherwise.
Special notes on dealing with over-leveling: http://gbxforums.gearboxsoftware.com...6&postcount=16
New Special Note: Jaredhite's tool for fixing glitches and adding replayability: http://gbxforums.gearboxsoftware.com...d.php?t=114222 -- This can allow you to reset your level to your current main-game mission, which can be handy if you've accidentally over-leveled too far.

This linky gives details of levelling triggers and DLC hard-set starting levels.
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Last edited by Psychichazard; September 7th, 2012 at 10:31 AM. Reason: starting levels linky
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Old October 10th, 2010, 01:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

Hmmm. This sounds interesting. I'm reminded of my second character the first time around in this game, before any of the DLC had been released. From playing co-op, I was level 33 at the end of the first playthrough. We literally rushed playthrough 2 (only story quests) and beat it at level 44 (killing the destroyer upped us to 45), the toughest fight was baron flynt, but one good sledges shotgun blast in the right spot and he's airborne and off his "infernal contraption". I'm pretty sure the only way to do this properly is to use a soldier and a siren. Soldier with the ability to regen ammo, and siren with the ability to run like hell through any situation. The Destroyer took almost an hour and a half to kill, but wasn't a challenge. If we'd completed that now, the next step would've been each DLC, in order.
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Old October 10th, 2010, 01:56 AM   #3
U1849KA
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

The problem with doing the DLCs in order is that even after the patch, Knoxx won't level-up until you complete the main story mission for the Knoxx DLC.
Doing Zombie Island first will resultantly over-level you for Knoxx.

I don't recall how much ZI levels you up. I know going in at 7 we usually end-up at 15.
Going into level 50 ZI at 45 would be an interesting experiment.
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Last edited by U1849KA; October 10th, 2010 at 02:02 AM.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 06:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

I'm pretty much following a similar questline right now with a Soldier, currently lvl50 and about to hit the Promontory. Then the Destroyer, and on to Knoxx. Once the scaling patch drops, I can go back to wherever, whenever I feel like to clean up side quests.

EDIT: Regarding Crazy Earl's quests, you must complete Bottles of Booze at Treacher's Landing to gain access to Krom's Canyon. As you mentioned, Explosives Lesson is optional.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 07:26 PM   #5
U1849KA
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

Right. I forgot Hair of the Dog.

Get off My Lawn opens Hair of the Dog, and then you go to Krom...

*goes to fix OP*

Thank you.
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Old October 13th, 2010, 10:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

Minor note. If you choose to do Ludicrous Speedway on foot, you'll get a great deal more experience than if you did it in the car.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 12:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

Te1vanni, that's a great point. I was working on a Brick today, and decided to kill on foot instead of in the car once it got blown up (really wanted that rocket launcher), I leveled. Then I was all
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Old October 14th, 2010, 01:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

However, doing it in the car helps noticeably towards getting the challenges related to killing things with the cars.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 07:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

Great guide but finishing at level 35 isnt the best way.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 07:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: The ideal playthrough

Why do you say that?
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