Looking for a bit of insight as to how to level Zer0

After doing a lot of reading (aka nerding out) over the last week while leveling a Siren, I have decided I want to continue levelling my Assassin. He was my first character and I think I was attempting a sniper build but I died so often (because I was new at the game, this was 2 years ago) I levelled Axton instead.

So now I have a level 15 Zer0 that I want to respec as a melee build. I have a build in mind for endgame, one I found in the master build list that looks like it would suit me well. Build Link

What I’m basically wondering is how I should level in NVHM. Should I go down the sniping tree first just to get to B0re, and then go down the Bloodshed tree to reach Execute (or vice versa, that’s another option) or should I just go down the Bloodshed tree since it’s just normal mode?

Also, I play solo, so I’m not sure if that will matter for this build or not. Just letting anyone know in case any adjustments need to be made for it.

Old forum member Altair made a guide for leveling up a melee Zer0. The thread from the old forums is outdated, so the guide only goes to level 50. Here’s the full version of the guide up to OP8: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=281105831

I’m sure some other experienced melee Zer0 players around here will give you some extra pointers and maybe some other options. I’m still a newbie when it comes to Zer0 and I’m more of a sniper or shotgun type of guy.

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That guide is how I found this build, actually. I forgot that there was a level by level guide to go with it too. Now I just feel dumb :laughing:

I originally wanted to play a sniper build, but after playing Krieg, I found that I really enjoyed playing a melee build, even though I know Krieg and Zer0 are totally different beasts. And from videos I’ve watched of melee Zer0, it looks really fun.

Thank you for reminding me of that guide though.

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I don’t know if this is heresy, but Unf0reseen is REALLY fun and quite powerful at 5/5 for NVHM/TVHM. I take that over Rising Sh0t now.

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Also, way late, but in the process of leveling up another Zer0 (and I totally agree with Altair that melee Zer0 is super fun and efficient for leveling up), I do respec frequently in NVHM for the Bunker and Saturn fights.

Once I hit 31 and get MMF, I head down the cunning tree, once I hit 11 points I respec again and take b0re and keep those points permanently there. With an immunity Love Thumper and a rapier/rubi, you do more than enough damage to 0ne Sh0t everything with a backstabbed decepti0n, even without C0unterstrike and Ambush.

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Gonna necro my own topic, but for a good cause.

I posted this almost a year ago when I was playing a lot of BL2 on Xbox 360, but I never really got around to leveling Zer0 even though I intended to.

I now have a PS4 and bought the Handsome Collection and I started a new Zer0 that I fully intend to level.

I still play 100% solo, and I started this topic because I originally wanted to try playing straight ninja (melee) but I would like to know now whether sniping or melee is easier/better to level with. I have no issue with respeccing at 31 but I don’t really wanna have to go back and forth through my first playthrough like that.

My usual thing is to start going down middle tree first. Snipers kill stuff very well on NVHM without needing anything from the left tree and while melee tree can produce good burst most BA’s shouldn’t pose a big enough problem to pass on Fast hands, ambush and innervate. Unforeseen destroys anything it touches on NVHM at 5/5 as do Death blossom kunais a bit later on the tree.

If you don’t like it melee still doesn’t offer much besides AS burst before hitting MMF allowing for some proper mobbing. So might as well wait for level 31 and then just respec if you feel like it. Remember to pick up a Rapier and you should be good to go for end of TVHM pretty much.

If you want to go melee, do so but just bear in mind that the tree doesn’t offer a lot towards you general mobbing early on. If you want to snipe I’d suggest starting middle because snipers wreck early game anyway. I guess that’s a long enough story. Since respec is a thing just try things out and change things as you go towards what you like. That’s a fun way of learning a character.

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Cunning first, always. It makes everything go. B0re is great, but it’s overkill in NVHM. That tree covers important ground, such as swap speed, reload speed, Ambush, and Kunai. Lots of extra punch, and you’ll find that you learn to operate Zero the same way he’ll work at OP8.


Cunning Tree

Zer0’s game changer…IMHO…is the acquisition of Death Mark and Death Blossom

Without that duo skill…he’s an average character who is squishy as hell…

Once he gets Kunai and Death Mark he shines…brightly.


I wouldn’t have thought to go down the middle tree first but you guys are all suggesting it so I will give it a shot. Any skills I should skip or is there a general 1-31 set build you guys use?

I appreciate the input too, thank you guys.

Well…Virtually all of his skills are good except Optics…IMHO

Unforseen is great in NVHM and good in UVHM until about OP3…after that it needs to have a Spy com and 7/10 or better to be truly effective.

While it might be hard to play a Hybrid Zero and do both Melee and guns.

It’s easy to pick skills if you concentrate on the TYPE of play you want to have.

Gun -Sniper Zer0…skip any pure Melee skills
Melee Zer0…skip the pure sniping/gun skills

A gun-Sniper Zer0 will concentrate on the firs two tress with maybe 14 or 15 points in the 3rd Tree
A Melee Zer0 will be Completely opposite and concentrate on the 2nd and 3rd tree

Well I meant since it seems like the consensus is to go straight cunning at least at first, are there any skills in that particular tree that aren’t worth getting from 1-31?

I’ve never gotten Zer0 that far before so I’m not entirely sure which path I want to take yet. I figure by the time I get that far I’ll know.

You will need level 31 to get DM and DB

Here is what I would use…but I play a gun/sniping Zero


For a Melee type I’d probably use this:


I think I want to try the gun/sniping one because I started last night and played enough to get to level 10 and I did a lot of sniping and it was fun times.

Thank you for your advice, I appreciate it. This character has always been appealing to me. Who doesn’t love a ninja/assassin?

I just finishing leveling a Zer0 from 1-80 (OP8)…

I had never done the Character before being mainly a commando and sometimes Maya.

Zer0 was frustrating at first for me because he seemed soooooo squishy.

but trust me…once you get DM and DB…your whole world opens up.

Zer0 just takes a huge jump.

Also…best piece of advice I can give you. In UVHM, A gun Zero needs a Blockade or at least an Antagonist or good Turtle Shield.

If you have a way to farm the Dragons every 3 or 4 levels…get a Blockade and all of a sudden you aren’t dying near as much.

And a DPUH on Zer0 is just the cat’s meow…AND virtually ANY sniper is good on him.as you level up.


Last piece of advice…if you are going the gun zero route…the NEXT skill after DM and DB that you ABSOLUTELY want is B0re…

B0re is just sooooooo good.

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This is mine, up to the capstone skill:


Unforeseen > Innervate > Rising shot > deathmark > deathblossom for order. Counterstrike is virtually useless unless you are a pure melee build. 2F is an acquired taste, if you are going to hold snipers. I stay away from it, others don’t.


A tanky shield definitely helps on a character with limited survival skills. I’ve gone with turtles up to OP1 or 2, favoring fast delay with balanced capacity and rate. A couple of snowman visits is such an easy way to upgrade it while picking up some other on level stuff too.

That’s not important on NVHM yet. Anything can work there.

Here was mine, a slight deviation from Lammas’


My reasoning:

  • Unf0rseen is only useful against enemies within range, AKA enemies meleeing you. Which means about 1/2 the enemies or more are unaffected.
  • Unf0rseen is only useful in NVHM and TVHM, I don’t want to get used to using a skill that ultimately won’t be incorporated in my endgame, when it actually matters.
  • Tw0-Fang ups my overall DPS. With Snipers this can be “meh”, but with high ROF weapons it really helps.

I use it end game too. Obviously it doesn’t outright kill things and the damage is a bit underwhelming but it’s OK. NVHM and TVHM it’s able to take out BA Psychoes and shielded nomads and stuff like that for free or just toss it towards a couple of guys and shoot immediately at a third one for a triple kill.

But I guess it does make sense not to learn to rely on it. It’s really good while leveling up.