When that DLC came out, I was well into allegiance play, so I ran them as far as I could on their own merits before dipping into a shared pool of the beefiest gear (Grog Nozzle, Pimpernel, those kind of game-breaking things).
I barely remember now, but I think Torgue Axton and Tediore Maya got to OP6, where Dahl Axton and Vladof Zer0 only got to OP4 before they had to tap into that OP weapon set to continue (and honestly, a few of them coasted through the highest levels in co op missions with friends who were Gunzerking their way through).
You only need to get through each level once to officially “be” at that level… once I was through, it was super rare that I ever hit the game anywhere over OP5.
The jump into UVHM in the DLC prior to this was meant to be hard AF… like they knew that providing levels this high would get so far from the original game balancing that it would legit cause certain game mechanics/gear to be nigh unusable. The second bump in levels (Digistruct Peak and the OP levels) took this to another level (pun intended). BL2 itself isn’t this hard; these hard ass DLC expansions definitely are.
That said, if you’re still into BL2 and can find someone to carry you through the last few levels, it does open up some brilliant opportunities. Try this:
- Get someone to carry you to OP8 (or OP10 because of course that’s a thing, and that’s not a bad DLC).
- Set the game to OP3, get some easy-but-effective gear. I’d consider a mission reset here so those side missions are available again on-level. Also: go to OP10 and tip Moxxi for a Bad Touch (if you’ve already gotten the Good Touch), and shop vending machines for the best shield you can find. Even better: have a friend buy you an Antagonist shield or even donate a Blockade. Bring these back to OP3. These shields will take OP3-level damage “normally”. Some enemies can certainly still rock your world, but most of the locals will need at least a few good shots before your shield is down.
- Play the game normally (get through the story, pick up side missions, etc.). Specifically, go get the gear you like to use at OP3.
- Some gear you like to use you may find too weak at this OP3 level (against OP3 enemies). For those, try to get them at a higher OP level. An OP10 Commerce can be quite viable at OP3, for example. This lets you “buff” weapons in your OP3 gear library.
- Build your OP3 gear library with weapons from whatever levels feel just about right at OP3 (not too hard and not too soft - like you’d be comfortable playing at this level with this gear). Then when you want a harder fight, just pick a higher OP level, and now this custom balanced gear set is a bit lower than your enemies, and the fights will be that much harder. If you want an easier fight, just pick a lower OP level, and this gear set will be that much stronger. If you just want to steamroll everything, bring this to OP0, and go for it.
I’m only suggesting OP3 because that’s what I did (I knew some gear that I wanted to use would need a gigantic buff to be viable there, otherwise I might have picked a higher OP level at which to build my library, plus I wanted to use every red-texted thing in the game, so some really needed some help).
This routine should set you up with a comfortable level of combat with several difficulty options on either side of you, and in fact, gives you more difficulty range than normal. If you think OP10 is easy, try it with an OP3 gear set. If you want enemies to die with a stern look, set the game to TVHM or even Normal. Even better: you can change this difficulty every time you start playing, and you’re not “locked” into an overly hard difficulty.
Best end game ever… wish it didn’t scare off so many players, or GBX might have kept it for future games.