Increased max health - good or bad?

So I’ve seen this argument before that more health can actually be detrimental. I think I’ve got some rough understanding why but I’d like some feedback if that’s correct and know if there are some other aspects I haven’t thought of yet. Most crucially, it makes me wonder if I should have ever spent BARs on max health.

From my current understanding, it’s all about healthgating, that mechanic that prevents you from going down from a single hit if you’ve got more than 50% health. As far as I understand it, if there wasn’t healthgating, there’d probably be no downside to more max health–please correct me if I’m wrong.

So while in theory it’s good to lose a smaller percentage of your health on regular hits, that does nothing against powerful attacks, especially on OP levels. Instead it slows down health regen from some sources.

As in, most health regen sources that regenerate a percentage of your health, no issues with that. But there are some that regenerate absolute values based on damage dealt to enemies–like Moxxi weapons or Life Tap–and there it becomes a problem because with those it’ll take longer to get to 50% again (and thus enabling healthgate again) if you’ve got more max health.

So if you rely on Moxxi weapons and/or skills like Life Tap, it may actually be beneficial to have lower max health, is that correct? Which means, against hard-hitting enemies a Pangolin shield that reduces health may actually increase survivability, while an Anshin shield that increases health may actually decrease survivability?

Now playing on OP10 means I’ve got lvl 80 health but enemies do lvl 90 damage, so I’m healthgated very quickly. On the other hand, I do lvl 90 weapon damage which increases health regen from those sources too (even with enemy damage reduction), refilling my lvl 80 health faster. With a Grog Nozzle, any damage dealt to enemies basically restores health to 100% instantly. A lvl 90 Anshin shield however increases max health massively, causing problems for health regen from sources like Life Tap or say, a Good Touch.

Using those, theoretically spending BARs on max health decreases survivability while investing them in damage output instead increases it.

I’m looking for input from more experienced players than myself here, if my reasoning is correct, and from your experience if pros outweigh cons or vice versa.


Your theories are pretty much spot on.

But speaking only for myself, I honestly only really think about the healthgate mechanic in earnest in raid boss fights where there is little or no cover (Hyperius, Vora) and gaining a second wind if I go down can be an iffy prospect. 99% of the time I play at regular UVHM (or OP0 if you like) so I’m not taking quite the pounding in mob and boss situations as someone who plays at OP10, so that might be part of it. In those raid situations just having the Grog/Chain Lightning combo on hand for quick healing is enough to get me over 50% no matter what various health bonuses I’ve stacked up.


Mostly for

Health stacking is the way to go for no-Moxxi builds as they invariably give you healing as a percentage of your total health - rather than of the damage you’re putting out.

The higher your health, the more individual health points can regenerate in a given amount of time. You don’t get to max health any faster, but you’re able to power through more consistent incoming damage and DoT.

  • Zer0 pretty much only has Innervate to heal, so Iron Hand makes it more effective (I can’t believe I led with this :man_facepalming:). Otherwise, Zer0 (esp melee) is using a Grog/Rubi - so it could theoretically be counterproductive. Iron Hand is a pretty marginal boost though.
  • most of Maya’s healing skills work this way - except Life Tap. There’s no practical reason or method to boost her health though.
  • Axton’s Able and Preparation work this way - so I always take Healthy - at least a point for the soldier COM.
  • Salvador is great with health stacking - particularly with Brawn builds. Brawn is extremely powerful when using a Rough Rider, Hard2Kill (esp @ 10/5 w/ Leg Berserker), Ain’t Got Time, Sexy T and, to a degree, Asbestos.
  • Krieg. Well I shouldn’t have to explain - he’s made for health stacking.

The only character I use a health relic consistently on is Krieg. And all but Zer0 (and Gaige) go Moxxi-less.

There are lots of cases for health gating, but it’s not something I do ever. Perhaps I’ll ping @nat_zero_six.


I’d say if you have a lot of %-based healing skills or damage reduction it makes sense to health stack, but if you’re relying on Moxxi-guns for healing you’re better off having as little health as possible.


Nurse Maya need all the health she can get.

That is extreme health gating

For Zero this is the specs (care of @nathanyoung431).
Lvl 80 Base Health (BAR OFF / No Health Skills): 1,410,474 Max Health

Lvl 75 Blue Disturbed Survivor COM (Parts: Alpha A5_B0_C0 / Beta A0_B5_C0): +191,387 Max Health / 5023.9 Health Regen / sec.

Lvl 86/OP6 White Turtle Shield (Torgue Body / Bandit Battery / Maliwan Capacitor): -1,601,108 Max Health

Final Health: 1,410,474 + 191,387 - 1,601,108 = 753

He killed Voracidous with it and also if you will use the glass tank zero build.

For Maya, Krieg, Sal, Gaige
A white/green turtle shield with health penalty 1,398,082 (anyone on PS4 found a corrosive and fire immunity, let me know) will bring your health to 12,392 and you will be healed in a second by Class Mods (except Gaige).

For Axton, i haven’t found the right combination for Axton at OP10.


So in my search to get the lowest health possible for my OP10 Maya (health: 1,410,474), I went all scientific, figured out the formulas of how Pangolin shield stats are calculated, what the impact of parts from each manufacturer is etc. to find the ideal Pangolin shield to farm for. The result was that the best health reduction is possible with lvl 88 shields with a health reduction of -1,398,627 (health left: 11,847), closely followed by lvl 90 shields with -1,398,082 (health left: 12,392). Which is disappointingly just what I previously found by farming med vending machines, I already had 2 lvl88 shields with those stats, anything better doesn’t seem possible.

Since most health bonuses (the percentage-based ones) are calculated after the Pangolin shield’s health reduction, they are useless for this. The only absolute value health increases (which would actually influence the outcome) for Maya I’m aware of are shields like Anshin or Rough Rider, and the Matriarch class mod. However, using a health-boosting shield while also using a Pangolin shield is kind of a problem, as is using a Matriarch mod while also using a Nurse mod which gives me the absolute value health regeneration I need in the first place.

So my Legendary Nurse gives me some +31k health/s while the lowest possible health seems to be 11,847–which means, full health recovery in about 1/3 of a second seems to be the best you can get–that’s about 1/6 s for getting above the 50% that you’re looking for.

But even then I realised it wouldn’t work as some sort of God mode anyway since there’s a ~half-second delay before health starts refilling. So even with 3 health, there’d be half a second of lethal vulnerability, more than enough to go down to rapid-firing enemies, and when suffering DOT you’re f*cked anyway if I’m not mistaken. Which means, 1/6 s of health refill is probably good enough.

But after figuring this all out, I’m going to put this to test soon against raid bosses. Should still be viable as long as I can avoid DOT.

Also, watching Sustenance taking over a minute for raising health from 0 to 1 was kinda funny.


Well, I actually took this for a test before.

I was on Maya, I got a shield that literally dropped my health down to around 100 but I can’t remember the exact value.

But I was quite literally unkillable due to health gating against anything but DoTs as my Moxxi weapon along with LifeTap along with the healing COM, I honestly just never dropped without DoTs except if I managed to get hit twice within like half a second.


But was that pre-Lilith at lvl 72 maybe? That would change everything.


Interesting, but DOT’s are pretty common in BL2 so did you find this a viable playstyle at OP8?

I’m curious about Ir0n Hand as well from another thread discussion we had…@jefe, I think it was you who posited that it might be better to take the useless Be Like Water in order to avoid the additional health boost from Ir0n Hand. Resurgence is based on a % of your health too… So does it really matter that you heal a % of your health because you aren’t trying for a ton of health in the first place, since you are just trying to get over 50%? On OP10 any DOT is basically insta-death for Zer0 anyway right no matter what your health is? edit: I know you can heal with the CL/Grog combo to outheal DOT’s sometimes, but again, is having more health there good or bad?


It was a hair-splitting theory because of the small health boost. I tried on my recent OP0 run through Lilith’s DLC. I did with the Rubi - so less healing from Chain Lightning. I couldn’t really tell. Of course that DLC has 5-levels-over DoTs - so poor testing choice perhaps.


stupid question probably but are DOT’s in BL2 a fixed amount or is a % of your health? If it’s a fixed amount than having more health would give you more time to hit something with a grenade or Moxxi projectile to heal, but it was a % of your health it wouldn’t matter what your health is

by the way, here’s a nice example of health gating with Axton, though there’s some dislikes on this video and comments disabled so I don’t know for sure if it’s a legit run, seems ok on the surface…I’ll remove this part if there’s history here I’m not aware of…


DOT is always a fixed amount


It was an OP8 build Maya.

Its been a while but I got a shield that reduced her max health and toyed around till I got it at the lowest level I could to see how a health gate Maya worked. It literally was a near god as my life refilled in a fraction of a second no matter what I did so nothing but DoTs would getting hit insanely quick could take me down.


I wouldn’t call it viable, more of a niche.

You can dodge most DoTs as the main ones that kill you are the ones that are still ticking after everyone else is dead. You aren’t like Salvador level god or anything, but so long as you are dealing with normal stuff, you aren’t going to be downed short of DoTs.

Its one of those builds where you can go toe to toe with things for short spurts and keep going but you still want to avoid being hit to keep the shield up. Because once that shield is up, you HAVE to keep killing to keep yourself alive.

The COMs regen has a second lag between when you take damage and when it starts healing, so while you are refilled in a split second the moment it starts, its not an instant top off, that comes entirely from the Moxxi weapons and Life Tap. Could make you into a pretty durable healer though but I only play solo.


Good for raiding, I use a fire one on Terramorphous and Hyperius and a Corrosive one for Voracidous.