You could be right about that, as I had turned in A Train to Catch before taking Mine All Mine in all three playthroughs.
That would be another difference between consoles and PCs - I have very occasionally seen a loading screen, so I know what you’re talking about, but if they appear at all they’re gone too fast to read whatever is on them. And this is with BL2 installed on a conventional hard drive, not an SSD, even.
Speaking for myself anyway, any advice of the form “follow the tip on the loading screens” is completely useless since I don’t know what any of those tips are.
Fortunately with scaylions Hammerlock tells you “watch their tails!” when you first encounter them, which was very helpful advice.
I know what you mean. It’ll often happen that one I don’t remember seeing before will appear just as the loading ends. Ah well, there’s always the internet! I wonder if someone has transcribed and collected all the loading screen tips, or pulled the text from the PC version of the game?
I do the same, minus Slap-Happy, but as a note for players who want the Deadly Bloom, it would be better to hold Hidden Journals at 3/4 and only go into the Hyperion base once This Is Only A Test is active.
Minor typo, “Casa de Mordecai”.
Wow, I did not know that! That’s very good to know. And would have made Maya’s NVHM and TVHM runs much easier - it’s incredibly hard for her to injure but not kill loaders thanks to the crazy-high dps of Cloud Kill!
I disagree with this advice in the context of a New Player guide. Who farms loot midgets in NVHM? Heck, unless one does Animal Rights, why would one even return to WEP in NVHM? I’ve gotten the full four LMs in the room every single time, and I have always completed Doctor’s Orders. So I think the number picked up only applies to re-visits anyway. There’s also the issue that certain vault hunters fare very badly against LMs and want to avoid them like the plague. Axton says hello. They’re very unlikely to drop anything in NVHM/TVHM, somewhat less than one item per entire playthrough in my experience (3 items, 2.5 NVHM playthroughs, 2 TVHM playthroughs).
I’d say complete Doctor’s Orders like any other quest in NVHM and TVHM, and never pick up ECHOs for it in UVHM. I’m assuming LLMs have a much higher item drop rate than regular LMs.
Looks like you have the Creamer linked to the Pandemic’s wiki page.
Re: loading screens, I just looked around in the game files but couldn’t find anything obvious.
They way I do it is follow the “Overlooked” set of missions, but pick up the other stuff as I go. So, when I have to cross Blake’s Bridge to get on of the medicine shipments, I’ll drop down and grab a journal. On my way back up, I’ll hit a few stalker goo piles. The net result is that I’m picking up that final journal at the same quest point as you mention.
Well, you’ve just given one reason! If the player is trying to catch Jimmy Jenkins, this gives also gives better odds. Finally, I think it’s good to make players aware of this as early as possible so they know about it before starting TVHM. I’ll revisit the topic in part 5; meanwhile, I’ve edited the text a bit.
Fixed - thanks! I knew I’d managed to accidentally leave out a link: it was for the Creamer…
Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players
Part 5 of your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, covering Thousand Cuts to Control Core Angel.
Continuing the Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM) play-through from parts 1-4 of this guide. As before, cyan headings denote missions, while other colours denote main sections, gear and weapons, or skills entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.
- Part 1: Windshear Waste to Sanctuary
- Part 2: Sanctuary to Bloodshot Stronghold
- Part 3: Bloodshot Ramparts to End of the Line
- Part 4: End of the Line to Wildlife Exploitation Preserve
- Sanctuary (4)
- Once and Future Slab
- Thousand Cuts
- The Bunker
- Control Core Angel
- Sanctuary (5)
- Part 6: Sawtooth Cauldron to Heroes Pass
- Part 7: Vault of the Warior and beyond!
Welcome back, Vault Hunter! Before we resume with the main story, I just want to clear up a couple of things regarding the last few side quests we unlocked:
- Gives the unique sniper rifle the Trespasser, which has the red text bonus of bypassing an enemy’s shield. This is easy to do while also completing Doctor’s Orders for the erdidium (it’s not worth farming the latter in NVHM due to the fixed level of any gear dropped.) Note that if you push through to the Observation Area you will run into the repeatable derp-boss, Son of Mothrakk, the useless flake who’ll more often than not throw the legendary Skullmasher sniper rifle either out of bounds or through the floor…
- A very straight-forward side quest that nets the unique pistol Miss Moxxi’s Rubi if you turn the mission in to her instead of Mordecai.
Finally, starting the main story quest also unlocks Scooter’s side quest Poetic License (lvl.20), which yields a assault rifle or sniper rifle; this is easily done during the main story in Thousand Cuts:
Deliver Note: Head on out to The Highlands (through the Highlands - Hyperion Bridge Fast Travel if you’ve unlocked it; otherwise go via Highlands Overlook) and head to the map transition located on the west side of the map. You’ll get some dialogue from Roland when you arrive, then you’ll have to fight your way through Slab Town and a whole bunch of bandits and buzzards to get to the Slab King’s HQ, the Buzzard Factory. Watch out for the MANY barrels, oil tanks, and cliffs just waiting to speed you to the nearest New-U station!
Your main objective is to cross Broke Face Bridge to get to the main building. Along the way you’ll see a side-quest marker (!) and encounter Face McShooty. You might as well give him what he wants… There’s lots to explore on this map, but don’t worry too much about the south side - you’ll end up going through there soon enough. Once you’re ready, run up the staircase and drop down inside the Buzzard Factory for trial by slab. If you’re feeling adventurous (or over-levelled!), you can make this more interesting by popping the helmets off two or more goliaths and letting them clear the room. The last couple of goliaths may get stuck on the upper deck; if so, fall back to the south-east corner of the factory and either snipe them or toss a homing grenade at them.
Follow Brick: You’ll need to shoot your way out against a bunch of Hyperion robots and mortar rounds. Follow the Slab King and stay out of the big red targetting circles (unless you like getting blown up.) There will be three beacons to destroy before you’re back near the Fast Travel. Note that the buzzards and slabs WILL target you, so do try and stay as close to the Slab King as possible. Head back to Sanctuary for a touching (touched?) reconciliation scene. Hand in the mission to Roland to advance the story to the next mission, The Man Who Would Be Jack (lvl.23).
You will also have unlocked the following additional side quests:
- Home Movies (blue rarity relic)
- Rocko’s Modern Strife (eridium, ultimately)
- Hell Hath No Fury (lvl.24) (unique grenade mod the Kiss of Death)
- The Bane (lvl.24) (unique gun The Bane)
I would suggest taking The Bane not so much for the mission reward, but for the fact that one of the targets along the way is the repeatable mini-boss McNally, who has a chance to drop the legendary assault rifle, the Hammer Buster. (Plus, it’ll also take you to Lynchwood, a map filled with opportunities!) Note that, if you haven’t accepted them yet, the side quests in The Dust (Positive Self Image and Too Close For Missiles) and the mission at the ! in The Fridge will also level up again.
The Kiss of Death grenade mod is a homing transfusion grenade. It is (IMO) better than the Fuster Cluck, although it does tend to come with a long fuse time and it’s homing AI can be a little erratic. You might want to take this side quest simply because you’re going to Opportunity anyway, and if you’re going for all the map challenges you’ll have to go to the side quest location regardless.
When you’re ready, travel to the Highlands - Hyperion Bridge Fast Travel. Grab a vehicle from the nearby Catch-A-Ride if you want one, and head down to the map transition to Opportunity. You will arrive in the north end of the city near several vending machines and the bounty board. There are two side quests immediately available:
- Statuesque on the bounty board(a blue head)
- Written By The Victor at the ! marker in Living Legend Plaza (cash and XP)
Whether you’re following the main story mission or aiming to complete Hell Hath No Fury, it doesn’t really matter which way you go. This map is a pretty intense mobbing area either way! Note that whichever way you go, there are certain locations that will always trigger the arrival of a constructor, one of which is in Living Legend Plaza between you and the main mission area marker. If you run away and come back later, they’ll simply respawn; if you take them down, they’ll respawn eventually (after about 20 minutes?) but you should have time to complete any mission or side quest in that area.
The good news is that there are multiple levels and routes you can take through and around each area so, if you need to back off, you can usually find a way to withdraw and flank your targets. Keep an eye out for fresh red dots on your minimap, though - you’ll trigger new spawns in each zone of the map the first time you enter them.
For the main story, you’ll eventually find yourself in Opportunity Square, which is a large multi-level plaza under a glass pyramid towards the centre of the map, open at each end. Your initial target is downstairs, and will have a fairly high capacity shield that you will need to take down before you can work on his health. The bad news is that he will (a) run away and (b) summon lots of support; try to deal as much initial damage as possible (especially damage-over-time). Note that there will usually be at least one loader nearby initially. My advice would be to ignore such secondary targets unless you need a second wind. Once you’ve taken out your target and retrieved the item you need, you’ll need to visit a total of five different propaganda information kiosks around the city. Take your time, clear each area, then activate the kiosk and stay close to it (if you stray to far, you’ll have to re-activate it to advance the mission.)
The first one is in Opportunity Square. The others are located: to the south in the Residential Quarter; to the west in the Waterfront District; to the north-west in the Hyperion Office Complex (caution: constructor spawn location); and to the north back in Living Legend Plaza. You’ll likely notice that there are more badass enemy variants during this part of the mission, and that you’ll get fresh spawns at each location. Lots of fun! Once you have all the recordings you need, you’ll need to drop down under Opportunity Square from the Waterfront District end. Now it’s time to either find your way out, or complete Moxxi’s side quest.
Hell Hath No Fury: Head south to The Pits to locate your target. Once he’s dealt with, you’ll get a mission update from Moxxi that keeps you exploring this area all the way to the southern-most point of the map. Grab what you need (caution: constructor spawn location), then follow the map counter-clockwise to the next location. Once you’re done, make a run for it around the edge back up to the Fast Travel and back to Sanctuary.
Once back in Sanctuary, turn in the main mission to Roland in order to advance to Where Angels Fear to Tread. You’ll need to talk to Claptrap to get things rolling. Before you leave Sanctuary however, you might want to talk to The Slab King and pick up Rocko’s Modern Strife if you haven’t already done so - it’ll make this next part a bit easier because the Slabs won’t immediately start shooting you once you return to Thousand Cuts. You’ll also find a new side quest available at the Overlook Bounty Board, Hyperion Contract #873 (lvl.24), along with a bunch more in Lynchwood.
Do any buying, selling, and upgrading you need after talking to Claptrap. You’ll also want to clear some space in your backpack if you’ve been holding on to things. For this next mission, you’ll want plenty of corrosive fire power at your disposal, and it’s going to be a while before you get back once you start. If you’re starting other characters, this is a good time to pass items down through Claptrap’s stash (either that, or put the good stuff you’ve out-levelled in the bank for later.) When you’re completely ready, hit the Fast Travel to Thousand Cuts.
When you arrive, turn to face the entrance to Slab Town, then head around the rock out-cropping to your left. You’ll find Rocko just up some stairs on a platform waiting for you. Turning in Rocko’s Modern Strife unlocks Defend Slab Tower. Accepting this mission but not advancing it means you can explore the entire map without the slabs and buzzards attacking you. This makes for easier challenge completion, and gives you a chance to raid the red gear chests a couple of times if you feel the need to do so. (Note that you can still get jumped by loot midgets, so be careful when opening any loot containers!) I recommend keeping this quest open in NVHM at least until you’ve completed the current main story mission. Once the gear you can find is no longer high enough level, you may as well complete it for the extra eridium.
Once you’re ready, head from Slab Town down and across the bridge to the left to Bloody Knuckle Point, and make your way across No Man’s Land to your rendezvous with Claptrap. Talk to him, wait for him to lower the barrier, then start fighting your way through the Competitor Deterrence Field. There will be lots of shielded and armoured troops and robots, including quite a few surveryors and fast-moving JET Loaders to deal with, although you will have air support. You’ll also have a turret appear in a bunker to the left of the road just past the barrier, and a constructor will spawn up ahead once youget far enough along the road. There’s a side path some stairs along the left side and, once they’ve emptied out (!), various containers along the road for cover; watch out for the drops on both sides, but especially the right! I recommend that you keep moving, switching from one side of the road to the over as you work your way up. Once you’ve taken down the first constructor, a gate will open to the second section of the ascent.
As you work your way up, you’ll need to avoid mortar fire (just as you did escaping from Slab Town earlier) and avoid a couple more robots. As you crest the hill, you’ll notice a bunch of containers off to the left side of the road, between the road and the cliff. There’s a New-U save point; make sure you trigger it before tackling the turrets on the second gate! There are several spots on both sides of the road where you can take cover while reloading. Once both turrets are down, you’ll have a swarm of defenders emerge and spread out. Use the cover to flank them as much as possible, but keep an eye out for surveryors and the edge of the cliff. Make sure you reload and grab ammo before proceeding into the Control Core Supply Depot. A bunch of loaders, soldiers and surveyors will spawn in on the ground and the first level of the complex. A badass constructor will also spawn in on the second level. This will, of course, keep constructing more troops, so your primary goal is to take this out first.
At this point, you have a couple of choices. You can either retreat back to the gate and take the enemies out from long range by sniping, or you can run across diagonally to the right, up the stairs, and straight to the wall at the back of the first level: there’s a slight overhang here with a row of pillars and some crates that you can use to dodge missiles while taking out the first wave of troops. Work your way along from pillar to pillar between missile barrages, then head up the stair case and find shelter at the top. You can now duck around the side and hit the badass constructor from the side; watch out for the turret on its leg, though. If you go down, snipe from the gate to take it out before heading back up.
You’ll have several waves to chew through before the third gate opens and a few more defenders emerge. Take them out, loot, and move up. Note the red chest on the roof of the building to the left of this staircase - I just noticed it for the first time ever while creating the guide! There’s a second red chest on the Control Core Loading Dock just up and to your right once you pass through the third gate. Continuing looting your way along the path and across the final brige to the transition to the secondary map, The Bunker.
You’ll find yourself on a steep, rocky path, just below a one-way Fast Travel (yes, you will have to fight all the way back from the beginning if you fast travel out ) and a few vending machines further up. The Slab King will have some short dialogue, and there’ll be a lot of activity in the air around you. Hit the vending machines if you need to, then start working your way up the ramp and stairs to the outer circle of The Bunker. Once you hit the outer ring, go up to the left: the turrets you need to take out are located around the ring and on the main (south) platform. Note that these have a red critical spot a bit like a constructor’s eye, except on the back. You’ll have lots of robots spawning in the whole time as well and, just to make things really interesting, you’ll occasionally need to leap up on to some boxes or hit the stairs to avoid laser beams… You will occasionally get a call-out telling you where more supplies are being dropped.
Once you take out all the turrets, there’s a cut-scene and the fun really starts. You have three basic choices from this point on:
- Stay on the main (“south”) plaform near either of the stairs down to the outer rim - there are pillars here you can use for shelter
- Go back down below the outer rim, where there’s more cover but not as many opportunities to hit the big badass flying thing
- Run up the stairs from the south platform to the upper, covered level. There’s a chest up here, with a waterfall at the far end.
Whichever option you take, the fight will go in phases:
- Your target flying around at distance while you fend off robots and avoid laser counter-measures
- Mortar attacks, in which you’ll see a red dome thing land; it’ll beep for a bit then blow up
- Heat-seeking missiles
- Turret attacks while the target hovers on one side of the platform (good time to fire away!)
- Sneak attacks from behind and above the waterfall.
You’ll need to keep on your toes, and keep one eye on your minimap: loaders can jump or fly in and land behind you at any time. The target does have critical hit locations that you should be able to figure out by now, and can easily hit with a good sniper or other scoped weapon. Homing grenades will also work but tend to latch on to the robots on the rim and platform. Once you get the target’s health down to ~10% or less, it will take up station above the staircases at the far end of the platform. Be careful here, as a direct hit from the cannon can put you down: the cannon has a pattern to its shots and reload, so hit it while it reloads, then take cover to do the same.
Once the target has been dispatched, there will be a massive lootsplosion, and you can start mopping up. Take your time and look for goodies: your target (a repeatable boss) does have an extensive list of possible drops, although it can be stingy at times. There’s no hurry at this point, so feel free to go all the way back to the vending machines before completing your scavenger hunt! Make sure you work your way around the entire map, as there’s a red chest to be found. Once you’re ready, head back to the map marker and prepare for another big reveal…
This is one of only two maps in the base game that you can never return to once you’ve completed the story mission, and it’s an interesting one. There’s also some interesting stuff about this map if you’re interested in how games are developed. Check out the Inside the Box article on it once you’ve completed the story - it’s actually pretty clever the way the whole thing works. Anyway, you’ll find yourself in a small antechamber, which will give you one final opportunity to get your gear sorted (along with any skill points you have to assign) before getting into the thick of things. Click on the glowing switch to trigger another cut-scene, then head on in to Control Core Angel proper.
Besides the obvious loaders of various sorts, you’ll face some additional hazards through three “rounds”, punctuated by specific things you’ll be asked to do. Don’t worry, though - you’ll get some unexpected help along the way. The new hazards include:
- The orange shield around the central core reflects bullets, so don’t try to shoot enemies through it!
Core Defence Turrets
- There are three of these located around the central core, and their beams cut through shields very quickly. They respawn each phase of the fight
- These spawn in sequence around the central core and shoot shock beams at nearby targets. Once “killed”, they make convenient cover from the turrets and other hazards.
- These highly armoured loaders have protective plates over their joints, and shoot a powerful laser from their eye, but are still susceptible to corrosive damage and shots to their eye.
- Steam jets:
- These environmental hazards start appearing in the third round. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see a cloud of steam emerge from the floor vent before the jet shoots up, so you can avoid them.
Once you’re through the fight, take your time clearing up and pay close attention to the dialogue. Turn the misison in to Roland to trigger the final cut-scene, and brace yourself…
You’ll find yourself back in Sanctuary, in Marcus Munitions Storeroom - the only other part of the main game maps you can never return to. Take your time, as there are plenty of chests here for you to loot. Once you’re done, head back into Sanctuary proper, and head to the Crimson Raiders HQ to talk to Mordecai and complete the mission and start Toil and Trouble. While you’re at it, pick up Bearer of Bad News - yes, you’re finally going to get into that strong room in the Crimson Raiders HQ, but gee… This particular mission sequence still gets to me after many play-throughs, so I’m going to let you finish up this particular side-quest and catch your breath for a bit before we resume.
Oh, for those who mysteriously have not played the original Borderlands (seriously, how could you not do that already?!), much of the dialogue during this quest references encounters in that game.
Continued in Part 6: from Sawtooth Cauldron to Heroes Pass
Finally managed to confirm this. You have to have accepted Mine All Mine before turning in Train to Catch (by inserting the power core). If it’s accepted, it’s NOT blocked during either Rising Action or Bright Lights Flying City. If you didn’t accept it, however, you obviously can’t do so until you’ve completed Bright Lights since you need to talk to Lilith in person.
One more idea. How about at the bottom of the OP you link the post where you added the new section, just like how you did for section 2 at the bottom of section 1.
I was debating whether or not I should do that. If you think it’s a good idea, I’ll add them in on all the parts.
It would make finding the new ones or ones people haven’t seen easier.
I found that moving to any of the stairs works well for avoiding the laser phases.
Interesting design article, I had no idea the game was doing such shenanigans with us in there!
As cracked.com pointed out in one of their articles, the “Bad News” you’re carefully not spoiling was foreshadowed as blatantly as possible earlier in the game. So to me at least it doesn’t have much impact, pretty much “eh, that’s unfortunate, onwards to the next quest!”
Do you think it would be worth a note that the reward for Bearer of Bad News can have elemental damage and might be worth farming for damage type and parts? I didn’t know it could be elemental until my fourth playthrough, so only had the chance to use a fire version fairly briefly in TVHM.
My only comment on the previous parts of the current section is that I thought the goliath tactic for the Slab fight was to only pop the helmet off of one. I’ve read that that’s a good way to get a God-liath, but it hasn’t worked when I’ve tried it (I got the Steam achievement in that goliath vs. spiderant valley out behind Ellie’s place in The Dust). Does it take two enraged goliaths to make sure that one will live long enough to level up and start tearing through the other Slabs?
A matter of personal preference. I didn’t think about the achievement when I wrote that, just clearing the map effeciently. The trick for the achievement is obviously to weaken anything the hatless goliath is attacking so the goliath doesn’t get killed in the process. I should probably add that in.
On the Scorpio: I don’t know about NVHM so much, and on higher levels I usually have something else anyway. A slag Scorpio is a nice weapon to have, though. I should at least link to the wiki for that so folks can read up on it and make their own call.
Nice guide- congrats on making it…
Great guide. I do have one question though. Why do you say to never delete a character? Does doing so mess up your profile progress in some way?
No. It’s because you may change your mind later and want to play that character; this way, you don’t have to start all over from the beginning. People often either don’t know, or forget, that you can respec so they delete and start again because they didn’t like the way the character was working out.
Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players
Part 6 of your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, covering Sawtooth Cauldron to Heroes Pass.
Continuing the Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM) play-through from parts 1-5 of this guide. As before, cyan headings denote missions, while other colours denote main sections, gear and weapons, or skills entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.
- Part 1: Windshear Waste to Sanctuary
- Part 2: Sanctuary to Bloodshot Stronghold
- Part 3: Bloodshot Ramparts to End of the Line
- Part 4: End of the Line to Wildlife Exploitation Preserve
- Part 5: Thousand Cuts to Control Core Angel
- Sanctuary (6)
- Toil and Trouble (1)
- Eridium Blight
- Toil and Trouble (2)
- Arid Nexus Boneyard
- Arid Nexus - Badlands
- The Talon of God
- Part 7: Vault of the Warior and beyond!
As usual, we’ll start with a quick round up of newly unlocked side quests:
Dr. Zed (clinic)
- Monster Mash (Part 1 pf 3) (Lvl. 27): green AR/Grenade (initially)
Sam Matthews (! marker in Sanctuary)
- BFFs (lvl.25): blue unique shield [color=steelblue]Order[/color])
- The Chosen One (lvl.25): blue unique AR the [color=steelblue]Evil Smasher[/color]
Brick (Crimson Raiders HQ)
- Capture the Flags (lvl.27): green rarity skin
Dr. Zed’s Monster Mash quests are fun, and ultimately unlock an additional repeatable boss in Frostburn Canyon that has a chance to drop the legendary adaptive shield the [color=orange]Neogenator[/color]. You might as well do BFFs since it’s nearby, fast, and gives a decent shield. The [color=steelblue]Evil Smasher[/color] (from Marcus’ quest) was highly prized by some players when the game first came out due to a glitch that made it insanely over-powered. That glitch was patched out a while ago. It’s not bad if you’re short a powerful AR and looking for one, and you can do this quest while continuing the main story. If you’re concerned about over-levelling though, you can easily skip this one. The side quests in The Dust should also now be level 27 as long as you haven’t accepted them.
Head to The Dust, grab your vehicle of choice from Ellie’s, and head to the map transition to Eridium Blight at the end of a canyon in the far north-west extent of map. Once you’re in the Eridium Blight, boot down the road to the bounty board, Catch-A-Ride and Fast Travel location. It’s a good idea to jump out here and at least check out the bounty board side quests:
- Customer Service (lvl.27): pistol/grenade mod
- To Grandmother’s House We Go (lvl.27): purple rarity skin
- Kill Yourself (lvl.27): 12 Eridium
Mal: (! marker at Ore Chasm map exit)
- A Real Boy: Clothes Make the Man (lvl.27): sniper/shield
The first of these is a timed driving mission, which I usually hate. This one is pretty easy, though: your choice. The Handsome Jack side quests reveal more about your would-be nemesis and are fairly straight-forward, especially the second one. The last quest is the first of a set which ultimately gives you a chance to quest-farm the blue unique pistol, the [color=steelblue]Fibber[/color]. This pistol comes in a variety of types, making it hard to farm for the exact one you might want, but it is an extremely effective weapon - especially for Gaige when combined with Close Enough.
If you decide to do any of these quests now, it’s worth completing the current stage of the main story first. Just along the road from the bounty board you’ll see a large gate on the right with a turret up top beside it. Drive up to the gate and go through when it opens, then follow the road down hill to Bruiseboulder Quarry. Watch out for a very large bullymong called [color=orangered]King Mong[/color] on your right; this is a repeatable boss with a chance to drop the legendary rocket launcher, the [color=orange]Badaboom[/color]. Continue along the road to the bridge with a turret on it to trigger an event and dialogue from Mordecai and Brick. You’ll need to go back the way you came, but you can turn off along the way and go up to the ! marker to collect the first part of A Real Boy; this will take you to some of the locations you’ll also need to hit for the other side quests and to advance the main story.
I’m going to assume that you’ll pick up and complete A Real Boy, To Grandmother’s House and Kill Yourself to complete while getting to the next main story location, as these are easily done now. First off, to find Mal turn around from the blocked bridge to the Arid Badlands and head west along the road. You’ll see a dirt path leading up into the cliffs, where the ! quest marker is in the Human Dwelling Place. Talk to Mal to start that quest, then head back to the road and turn north up the hill to the first large gate you encountered on this map.
Drive up to and pass through the gate back to the northern half of Eridium Blight. Turn right and head east along the road to the curve and over the next bridge (also with a turret beside it). Continue straight ahead between the purple-fume-spewing cone and a rock pile marking the edge of the map. Head towards the bandit camp with the Catch-A-Ride, passing the map transition to Sawtooth Cauldron on your right. Once cleared, continue on across the girder bridge and pull up by the New-U save point. Pass through the narrow gateway across the footbridge and enter Mount Hellsfont. You’ll find the items you need by clearing the bandit camp that’s on your left.
Head back down the hill but go left instead of right; you’ll see a ladder going up to Lover’s Leap, but check inside shack before completing this side quest! Yeah, it really is that stupid, and makes no sense form a story point-of-view, but it’s easy eridium. You’ll respawn right beside your vehicle; head back the way you came and stop off at the bounty board for your reward.
Return to Mal for your choice of sniper rifle or shield, and pick up part 2 (Face Time). Head back to the gate between the two halves of the map. If you look up at the tower before you go through, you’ll notice a glowing switch - shoot this to unlock a secret area on the other side of the gate.
If you drive straight across the road and immediately turn right and drive around the large rock, you’ll see an opening underneath the road that leads to Infested Grotto. This is one of the easily missed areas that you’ll need to discover for the map explorer achievement/trophy. You know what to do. (Also, that “Infested” means “Proceed with caution”…)
To get to the next side quest objective, there are a couple of routes. If you already completed the main story through Sawtooth Cauldron (see below), you should be able to go west along the main road and turn north across the bridge with the drop-section to the western-most way-point; otherwise, you’ll need to turn east and head back to the camp near the Sawtooth Cauldron map transition.
Assuming the second option, go to the eastern-most way-point for the first item, then continue on to the New-U save point you stopped at in part 1. Grab the second item from Mount Hellsfont, then head back to your vehicle and keep going across the lava flow; bear left up the hill, then drop down another metal deck to reach the western-most way-point and clear the Slagma Vapor Extraction camp to get the third item. Continue south up the hill and double-back into the Slagma Refinery for the fourth item. Make sure you stop before the last building on the right and do not park on the metal deck overlooking the lava flow below you (unless you enjoy watching wonky game textures at work!) There’s a footpath up to the right of the last building to the fifth item.
If you’re also doing this mission, head back out of the Slagma Refinery and continue up to the left to Grandma’s House. You’ll have to do the final approach on foot; keep your eyes peeled! The actual entrance to the house is around the back. This side quest raises deep questions, like “Grandma, what big biceps you have” and “Is this a buzz-axe I see before me?” Once you’re done here, you can either go back to the bounty board or finish off A Real Boy: Face Time. If the drop-bridge is down, you can cross there; otherwise, just drive down into the Slag Scar and up the other side beside the drop-bridge back to the main east-west road.
Return to Mal for your choice of shotgun or SMG, and pick up part 3 (Human). You don’t need to go anywhere for this bit, but do watch out for the barrels. If you’re going to quest-farm the [color=steelblue]Fibber[/color], head into Ore Chasm and return before turning in the mission and save-quit/restart. This way, you can see what version of the [color=steelblue]Fibber[/color] you get when you turn in the mission, quit out without saving if it’s not what you want, then restart at the same spot.
You enter the map near the Fast Travel and a couple of vending machines. About half-way into first village you’ll see a ramp up to the roof of a hut on your right; go up and drop down to Sawtooth Stills right in front of the cave entrance to Smoking Guano Grotto. You can take either the long or short way around this square area; just watch out for the drop into lava in the middle! The fastest way is immediately to the right. There is a New-U save point tucked in to the corner just before the the elevator, where you will also find vending machines; don’t press the elevator call button until you are ready, as you will immediately be in the thick of it. You’ll need to keep going in the same direction anyway, and activating the elevator triggers a pretty intense mob, so I suggest you press ahead.
Keep going counter-clockwise around then up the stairs to the corner opposite the elevator, then turn right up and out to Main Street Reservoir. Fight through the threshers to the village on the far side, and work your way up to Cramfist’s Foundry. There’ll be some turrets up above you to the left, and bandits in the area immediately in front of you. Work your way up the stairs on the left to the upper plateau. Lots of buzzards and bandits here, plus two more turrets on top of the building to your right as you emerge from the staircase. Once done with the mission objective, go back down the stairs to the lower plateau, and head straight across to the conveyor belt heading back into Smoking Guano Grotto. You’ll need to take down Mortar, a repeatable boss who has a chance to drop the legendary [color=orange]Pandemic[/color] corrosive grenade mod. This guy moves fast and likes to jump around a lot; either keep your distance, or close in and hit as hard as possible (e.g. Rockets!). Ascend to The Buzzard Nest! Take down the bandits and buzzards - work each quarter and use the available cover while reloading.
Head back towards the elevator and check your main map: you’ll see a small round blacked-out circle. Jump off the platform on the corner nearest this to discover an otherwise impossible-to-get-to location below. Loot then jump down again back into Main Street reservoir and return to Smoking Guano Grotto. Run straight across and out to Sawtooth Stills. If you want to pick up the other mission on this map, you’ll need to fight your way to the path on the far right (north-east corner) that goes up through the cliffs to get the echo at the ! marker. Note that once you complete the first stage, this unlocks The Lost Treasure (lvl.27), which provides the e-tech unique pistol [color=magenta]The Dahlminator[/color].
Make your way across the floor of the camp (from east to west) and take the stair cases back up to a path heading up hill towards the very first camp you encountered (directly below The Buzzard Nest.) You’ll spawn more buzzards and bandits, but you can now fight your way back to the starting point and take the map transition back to Eridium Blight. Grab a vehicle from the nearby Catch-A-Ride and make your way back to the south side of the map and the bridge to the Arid Nexus - Boneyard map transition.
When you arrive, jump out of your vehicle and use the communications post to turn the mission in. This advances the main story to Data Mining and unlocks the side-quest This Just In which I recommend you take now.
Take the Fast Travel back to Sanctuary and accept the side quest from Mordecai both for the eridium and for the chance to get the legendary amp shield, the [color=orange]Bee[/color] from the propagantastic host of the Hyperion radio broadcasts. The Hyperion Truth Network is just across from the Catch-A-Ride and Fast Travel in the Arid Nexus - Boneyard. Note that Hunter Hellquist is another repeatable boss: just ignore the colour of the elevator call switch whenever you come back. Make sure you hand this side quest in during the current story mission, or you’ll have to wait until the end to do so.
From the Arid Nexus Boneyard Fast Travel, take a vehicle to the designated spot. You’ll then need to take a tour of various sites around the map where you’ll need to operate a couple of valves. Some of these are in buildings at ground level while one is deep underground. You will, of course, be attacked by Hyperion personal and robots every step of the way, but there are also Hyperion red gun chests in most locations which you should find and check out.
When you’re done at the third location, head towards the marker. Steer to the right of the wind turbine and the large rock pile; you should see a metal ramp ahead of you. Boost up the ramp and you should hit the very large glowing target. Jump out of your vehicle and head on up inside the pipe to the Transmix Regulator Station. Take note of the pit of death immediately in front of you as you come out of the pipe, and work your way to around the shaft to the left to get to the ladder out.
You’ll be attacked pretty much as soon as you emerge from the opening. You can either stay below the overhead decking and go around the building at ground level, or go up and around the deck. Either way, your next marker is around the corner through several waves of Hyperion’s finest. Oh, there may be rakk as well. Hit the map transition to the Arid Nexus - Badlands. You’ll find yourself in an area that looks both familiar and totally different if you played the original Borderlands. You’ll spawn in right beside the Fast Travel for the map. Unfortunately, using the Fast Travel straight away before triggering one of the other map save points means you’ll have to re-enter via the pipeline when you want to come back.
If you played the original Borderlands, this map will look very familiar, yet different - it’s like coming home only to find that your Mom has redecorated your room and is renting it out to strangers through AirBnB. If you’ve not experienced BL1, why have you not played such an awesome game already? There are some Dr. Zed lost echoes which, if you’ve played BL1 are fun to collect in order:
- Go left and around the corner from the Fast Travel to TK Baha’s House. The first echo is in one of the outside sheds.
- Head north-east towards the large light column and pick up the second echo from a barrel on your way. (You can optionally pick up the recording at the ! along the way to start Hungry Like a Skag.)
- Enter Fyrestone and fight your way through to the water tower in the centre of town; head up the ramp for echo number three.
- Continue north-east towards the mission marker until you reach a gate on the far side of Fyrestone. Make immediately for the red and white building straight across from you and grab echo number four from the container.
- Deke around the south side of the building, make a series of jumps (railing > side roof > main roof) and find the red Dahl chest. Look straight back towards Fyrestone: locate the watch tower with the sparking panel in the town on the far side of the elevated roadway and shoot the panel (use a scoped weapon!) Jump down and immediately head back into town to Dr. Zed’s place for another chest and the final echo.
Note that doing this will trigger at least one New-U save point which should unlock the map’s Fast Travel station. Failing that, dying and respawning also does the trick
While you’re in Fyrestone, check the bounty board for another side quest full of original Borderlands references, Uncle Teddy (lvl.28). The quest reward is the [color=steelblue]Lady Fist[/color], a unique pistol available in various elements with an astounding critical hit damage bonus; make sure you turn this mission in at the bounty board for this reward! A second side quest, Get to Know Jack (lvl.28), reveals more of the current back-story.
When you’re ready, head back out of Fyrestone and make straight towards the map marker. There will be a moonshot sound, and a massive loader - the repeatable boss Saturn will land on the road above you. This behemoth will stomp you if you allow it within range, and has a turret on one side. It’s most devastating attack, however, is probably the hoard of homing cruise-missiles it periodically launches at you. These can be shot down as they fly straight at you with something like a shotgun or SMG, but you don’t want to be caught out in the open while reloading. There are several strategies that players have used successfully:
- Retreat to the Fyrestone gate and use the walls and pillars there for cover; pop out between salvos to fire off the most powerful corrosive weapons you have. There is an extensive wall that runs underneath the roadway you can traverse. Watch out for splash damage from the missiles, though.
- Use the roadway pillars and small structures dotted around for cover; pop out, fire off as many rounds as possible, then head for cover before the next missile swarm heads your way.
- Use the read-and-white building for cover, and kite Saturn from one end to the other. Stay as close to the building as possible while you run around during the missile swarms to avoid splash damage or a direct hit.
Of those, the last is my personal favourite. Once you’ve defeated Saturn, nip back to Fyrestone to restock on ammo, then head to the end of the roadway and take the large elevator platform up. Make sure you trigger the New-U save point on the opposite side of the roadway when you come off the elevator. Head along the roadway, taking out the loaders as you go. A badass constructor will drop in at the other end, right outside the building that is your target. This will have turrets on its legs, so shoot those off first while it still has the orange shield protecting its eye.
You’ll have to deal with a few soldiers and robots in the entrance to the Hyperion Information Stockade, then fight your way up to the top floor. Once you’ve dispatched of this first wave, you can climb a ladder to the very top for a red chest, then drop back down to the map marker to the mission objective. As soon as you pick up the mission item, you’ll have to fight off another wave of robots, including two more constructors. If you’re right in front of one of the two balconies on the top floor, their missile barrage and laser beams will quickly bring you down, so use what cover there is wisely. Once all is done, you can either finish up the map side quests, or head straight on back to Sanctuary.
Turning in Data Mining advances the main story to The Talon of God. You’ll have the option to talk to many key characters, who will all offer you blue rarity items. Once you talk to Claptrap, though, it will be time to head back to Eridium Blight and find the canyon leading to Heroes Pass.
Drive through the gate dividing the northern and soutern parts of Eridium Blight and head up to the right (watch out for King Mong!. You’ll reach a narrow gate where you’ll have to jump out, then run up and talk to Claptrap. You’ll need to survive multiple waves of Hyerpion robots while Claptrap tries to open the door; make good use of all the cover, and keep moving! Eventually, Claptrap will succeed and you’ll be ready to pass through the map transition to Heroes Pass; wait until Claptrap has exhausted his dialoge, though - it’s pretty good!
Run up the stairs to find the Fast Travel and vending machines. When you’re ready, head in to the obvious entrance to the Guardian Slag Heap. Watch out for cloaked Hyperion soldiers, lots of robots, and numerous barrels, as these are all out to get you. Don’t be afraid to pull back and regroup from time to time should you need to. You’ll need to jump across a gap to get to the Emergency Supply Cache. Fight your way down and across the bridge through several waves of reinforcements. It is possible to take out the turrets on top of the pillars either side of the large force-field protecting Drift Mouth Access, but you’ll need a fairly high damage output sniper rifle or similar. Don’t let the apparent shields over the turrets fool you: just hit each one with as much corrosive damage as possible.
Immediately inside Drift Mouth Access, another constructor will drop in on a roof above and to your right. There’s a Hyperion supply crate you can take cover in directly in front of it; pop out to shoot it in the eye, and deke back inside to avoid missile barrages and reload. Once it’s down, continue fighting your way forward. You’ll get a brief respite at the next New-U save point (where you can see a sign on a building saying “Emergency Supply Cache”) but, once you press on to the next open terrace and bridge you’ll be under attack from the opposite side of the ravine. Depending on how you’re feeling, you can either run down and tackle this wave head-on, or you can stay on the terrace and take each one out from range. Chew through enough reinforcements, and another badass constructor will spawn in at the far end of the pass, protecting the exit to the Vault of the Warrior.
As you move forwards, you’ll come to the head of a ramp down with line of road barriers across the top. If you stand far enough back behind this, the missiles from the constructor can’t hit you, but you can step sideways to get shots off between salvoes; watch out for loaders coming at you both up the ramp and from the side, as well as the inevitable surveyors. You can also run back to the terrace and shoot from there, using the buildings for cover. Once this is down, push forwards through the final waves of reinforcements to the end of the pass.
You’re missing a closing color tag here.
I was initially missing quite a few more, but I caught those ones when I dropped the text into the edit box!
Oh I know how easy it is to miss tags.
I’m almost done with the guide! I’ve added a bit to Part 4, fixed some stuff in Part 5, and I’m now almost all the way through Part 6. Please let me know if you see anything else that needs fixing, that’s too spoilery, or requires clarification. I’ve also got a few things I’m trying to figure out that I’d appreciate your thoughts on:
The side quests in The Dust and Lynchwood (along with certain other select ones) do level up multiple times as long as you don’t accept them. What I’m trying to figure out is whether they do that every time you gain a level, or whether they are updated only after a save-quit/restart. Any idea?
What would be your top recommendations to go in a “What’s Next?” section for after Vault of the Warrior? I think the general consensus is “don’t do all the DLCs”, and was considering suggesting Scarlett and Hammerlock before (or during the start of) TVHM. That said, if you’re already level 30 maybe only one of those is appropriate. Anything else you’d add?
Thanks in advance!