I decided to use a loot mule character to do a playthrough where I only do story mission objectives and skip all side missions, crew missions, and spawnable named enemies to see just how under-leved I would be before farming XP became a necessity.
No golden keys for loot, or Banked loot, just the Sanctuary vendors and the Gun-Gun.
Doing this in normal mode & normal difficulty seemed like a fair test of the basic scaling of the core game.
I used Fl4k with Rakk Attack, swapping pets based on elemental and range needs and made it to Agonizer 9000 just shy of Level 27 and it at level 31 and got cheap-shotted and fast-counted in FFYL enough that I had to return to Sanctuary to buy on-level gear since all the vendors were above my level in all the current Pandora Maps. Rerunning the Guts of Carnivora I hit level 27, attempted the fight with level 26 gear, and came close only to suffer defeat yet time and time again.
I decided to backtrack to all the Gun vendors on Eden-6 to look for on level guns at that point, and they were underlevel, level 26, or 28+.
I returned to Sanctuary and used the vendors & Gun-gun to get on level 27 gear, reran G.O.C. and by the skin of my teeth to L upon L due to rapid bleeding out in FFYL during the boss fight.
I tapped out for the night, came back today, and decided to run Bloody Harvest to get to level 28 and try again. I ran Ascenion & fought Mouthpiece to collect thr items for Maurice and gain XP and hit level 28.
Marcus’s vendor provided a level 28 Thunderball Fists and Corrosive Vladof Sniper. I ran Heck and Haunt dropped his corrosive legendary shotgun ( he has yet to drop it for my level 65 Fl4k at Mayhem 1 with lootsplosion* ).
I hit level 29 rerunning G.O.C. to get to Agonizer 9000, still under-leveled below enemy and vender loot. This time I melted him. Having the legendaries and purples made a big difference after getting closer to being on level for the area. Damage reduction truly made it feel like a traditional boss fight. Crits and element matching were a must, and I was spec’d to the Capstone in Fl4k’s Hunter Tree and didn’t make an effort to take advantage of any calculations or synergies outside of best bonuses available at the time the skill points were unlocked for standard gunplay. I relied on shields, Broodless, and my class mod for any defensive/ health buffs.
I’ll continue on from there but I find it interesting that I hit the wall at about the same level the main boss fights happen in the previous installments. In the case of the Destroyer and Warrior their knock back ability and one-shot dots were the biggest nuisances (and Jack’s Surveyor and Turrets).
The Sentinel’s biggest chore was the arena wide AOEs that either required tanking or platforming, and sneaky sniping from airborne guardians out of your field of view.
All that said, in previous games the walls usually hit on mobbing maps where you at least gained xp working through the map (Bloodshot Stronghold, Overlook Beacon Escort, Sawtooth Cauldron). If anything this was like fighting RK5 in the Presequel on my first playthrough, while using Wilhelm.
Anyone else done this to see how far they could manage to get? How fun or frustrating was it when you hit your wall, if you even hit one?