I am considering making guides for Pandora’s infamous, maligned, or otherwise underappreciated gear, in which case this would be the first entry.
[size=32]How to get the most out of your WTF Shield[/size]
About the shield: Like most Dahl shields, the WTF has a chance per damage tick to drop a booster. When picked up, these boosters quickly refill a portion of your shield. The gimmick of this legendary version is that these boosters (if not picked up first) go on to spawn three volleys of three high-damage shock boosters each, with a slight delay between volleys. As these shock boosters are incredibly damaging to the player and are not themselves usable to fill one’s shield, a few deaths from these usually lands this shield in the grinder (plus the shield stats themselves are no ball of fire). This shield also occasionally drops in place of more desirable legendary gear, further vexing players. This particular specimen is the finest that I have found (I look for high booster rate over all other stats, since I’ll be using it to produce boosters, not to tank damage).
Disclaimer: This is not the best shield in the game by any means, and you’re very likely to take damage if not die while using it until you get the knack of handling it. Use it at your own risk (but when you get the hang of it, use it at enemy risk ). It is not a guaranteed one-shot killer. While it can wreck many low-level mobs, using it for anything more dangerous than that will likely result in a bad experience. This guide is to demonstrate how to get the most out of it, not to make any claims that it’s somehow better than most other shields. Also, this was written from the point of view of UVHM, where enemy health values are quite high and regenerates over time. Like most gear in the game, it’s more effective in lower levels.
Defensive use: If you’re not familiar with using Dahl booster shields, the booster will drop by leaping away from your frontside from about chest height. This is broadcast by a little beep sound and a quick pulse on your shield bar, so you can prepare yourself to catch it out of the air (and it’s catchable from a fairly good distance too). If you catch these out of the air before the boosters spawn, you simply recover a bit of shield. These are great for mitigating damage over time, because each little damage tick has a chance to proc a booster whose amount of shield restoration is typically more than the damage consumed; if the booster spawn odds are in your favor, you can come away from elemental damage unscathed with a full shield. If you don’t catch these out of the air, you run the risk of taking damage from the subsequent shock boosters, which brings me to the next piece: surviving this shield.
Survival: Any enemy damage can trigger a booster, which includes the constant damage from elemental effects. The boosters always leap from the front of the character, regardless of where the damage comes from. Knowing this, a player must take care to not lose control of any booster spawns and maintain situational awareness to avoid getting cornered by loose shock boosters. Specifically, always keep your frontside facing a safe egress for the boosters. Maybe you’ll catch it out of the air (thus preventing the shock boosters from forming), but if not, and you wind up in a confined space with a loose booster, you’re almost certainly going to die. This also means that if you need to retreat, be careful when running for cover. If you take fire (from any direction) while running and a booster spawns, it’ll launch in the direction you’re running and you risk eating a shock booster anyway unless you catch it out of the air first. There is an art to this. If you continue sprinting unimpeded and let the booster go, it will launch in front of you, but you may be past it by the time the first volley fires. Subsequent volleys will be behind you, but you need to get familiar with this timing so that initial booster volley doesn’t catch you in the back. For the record, Axton’s Phalanx shield will not protect you from shock booster damage. If you’re taking damage over time, be prepared to catch the boosters, because they’ll be firing much more quickly. Ideally, the player should be situated such that they can take advantage of these boosters instead, and dump them on the enemy or back up their shield.
Immunity: Note that the Transformer shield makes you immune to these shock boosters. If you’re playing solo and lose control of these, you can swap to the Transformer before eating the booster damage and survive. If one of your friends is wearing a WTF shield, the Transformer shield will similarly keep you from getting zapped. Also note that “grounded” (shock resistant) versions of the WTF shield do not make the player immune to the shock boosters.
Offensive use: The shock boosters from this shield throw a decent amount of damage with a lot of knockback and can kill enemies when used properly. The first of the three shock booster volleys usually ejects from the initial booster in mid arc. The next two sets of three shock boosters will eject from wherever the initial booster lands (the shock booster sets come out at fixed time intervals, and the booster has typically landed by this point). From there, it’s at the whim of the physics engine to bounce around the local terrain. Note that the shock damage from the boosters is a function of the target’s distance from the booster; damage taken from just within the minimum safe distance will be about a third less than full damage when sitting right on the booster. The player’s goal is to get these shock boosters to fire as close as possible to enemies to maximize damage. edit - can’t believe I left this out, but a Shock Bone of the Ancients Relic will boost the shock booster damage.
Aiming: The first shield booster that leaps from the player’s chest will launch in an arc in the direction the player is pointing at the moment it spawns, which lets the player control the booster’s azimuth. The trajectory is the same regardless of how high or low the player is looking at the moment of launch, which sets the distance to a “medium” range. Once the booster lands, it’s at the whim of the terrain. The easiest way to get enemies to take damage from all the shock boosters is to corner them. This makes it easy to get the distance right (since the walls will help keep the boosters from overshooting the enemies) as well as preventing the knockback from bouncing the target to safety. Locking enemies in place with your Sabre turret(s), using knockback skills to position them, positioning oneself so the enemy is cornered, even Phaselocking an enemy to lock them in place near the shock boosters works.
Strategy: Find some appropriate cover, step into the line of fire, maintain your booster aim, activate the appropriate game mechanics to boost damage, and wait for boosters to spawn. When the shield gets dangerously low, return to cover, recharge, repeat (or catch the boosters on the fly). Rooftops are a great place for this, since the shock boosters will be raining down on enemies (away from the player) and one can simply back away from the edge for cover.
Damage: If the intent of using this shield is to kill enemies, the player needs to buff the damage output by as much as possible (or it will just knock enemies around, which is still fun). Slagged enemies, of course, take more damage from the boosters. Grenade damage buffs increase the damage of the boosters, as do buffs to shock damage not plus electrocute damage. Note that while it can proc electrocute damage over time, I have never seen this higher than a value of 1 (I think the value is even smaller, but the engine can’t display fractional values.) Given the recent hotfix, this shield is now capable of proper electrocute damage over time. Here is a per-character breakdown:
- Axton excels with this shield. Steady, Battlefront, and Do or Die all buff the damage of the shock boosters (and the booster damage triggers Able). The Shock Trooper COM’s buff to electrocute damage isn’t may be worth it, since the shield now produces proper DoT given the low damage-over-time values (although one could do worse than having extra points in Quick Charge, since the shield needs to take damage to fire boosters). The Grenadier COM, I think, works best with this shield: the on-card grenade damage and the extra points in Steady both buff the shock booster damage.
- Zer0 can buff the shock booster damage with Death Mark and Ambush.
- Gaige can buff the shock booster damage with Wires Don’t Talk. The electrocute damage over time can trigger Electrical Burn, but I have only seen the resulting fire damage at a value of 1 (given the recent hotfix, this shield is now capable of proper electrocute damage; see the video at the end of this guide).
- Maya and Salvador do not have any skills or COMs that I found that can buff the shock booster damage (and I have not tried it with Krieg) - let me know if I’m missing something here. If you’re looking for a build, just remember to focus on skills/gear that buff shield stats (for defense) and grenade and/or shock damage (for offense).
In this image, I have used my turrets to corner/distract the Monarch Spiderant. In the minimap, the red dot behind me at 8 o’clock is a Diseased (corrosive) Spiderant. I’m letting the Diseased Spiderant pepper me with his corrosive attacks from the back, so the resulting boosters launch towards the Monarch Spiderant. If I get low on shield, I just catch one out of the air (so the elemental damage doesn’t start to eat into my health).
In this image, I have the Black Queen cornered (with another Diseased Spiderant at 8 o’clock triggering boosters), but with a slight problem. Shock boosters will all be contained around the Black Queen but are very likely to knock her towards me, and away from the subsequent shock boosters. For the record, I have no expectation that the shock boosters will kill her: even if she stay put, she’s a rather large target for this sort of thing.
In this image, these guys are goners: the Bone Crusher is slagged and weak; the Marauder behind him will be in a very confined space with the boosters (although if I don’t slag him, he may just go for a very bouncy ride but still walk out of there when it’s over).
In this image, the enemy is too close for the shock boosters to hit. While I can aim them so they fly in his direction, I can’t control the distance. The first volley may land near him and knock him around, but near the top of the screen, you can see a pile of spent boosters where they have been landing from my perch on the steam generator here (they don’t actually launch that far, but that’s where they end up after the first bounce). The second two sets of volleys that spring from these boosters are nowhere near the target.
In this image, the enemy is at a good range for the shock boosters to lay damage, and I’m not in danger of getting caught by the boosters myself (although I find the lack of cover here a little disturbing).
In this image, the enemies are at a decent range for the shock boosters, and the Stalkers can’t get me up here with anything but their tail spike shots (which I use to proc more shock boosters).
In this image, I am in grave danger. I’m taking corrosive damage, am in a confined space, and loose boosters will bounce off that billboard and kill me. My first move here would be to look to the right so any boosters that trigger launch over the parapet towards the enemies below. Although I will be trying to catch them, I want to avoid choosing (in case I miss the catch) between eating the shock damage and dying or jumping away to instead face off against the Ultimate Badass Burner Enforcer waiting for me down there (who is dual wielding a pair of wicked Vladof fire sniper rifles).
In this image, the boosters have damaged the enemy, but have knocked him out of their range. The confines of this area only prevent lateral escape, and this enemy has been knocked backward. Still, when an enemy is knocked back by the boosters, they are stunned for a moment or two when they land for a free shot with your gun.
For fun, here is a series of kills from this shield. Full disclaimer: when you get yourself killed trying this, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
edit - a hotfix was released on 1/25/2016 that adds proper damage over time to the shield’s shock boosters and adds to the proc chance for these boosters to spawn (if I read that right). I didn’t notice a change in the Booster Chance for my shield listed on the item card, but maybe it’s just producing them at the shown rate? At any rate, here’s a quick video showing the DoT triggering off some WTF shock boosters: