What Makes Top Gear, Top Gear?

Is that not how the bottle neck of gear works? Who’s going to recommend a Dahl barreled Jakobs AR over a Hammer Buster? Don’t get this statement wrong, I love red text guns and I wish there were more, but red text guns kill diversity in 2 ways.

  • Many red text guns are just flat out better than their purple counterpart. The Ogre is better than a Spitter in every way, the Bekah is a Jakobs AR… along with 2 powerful mechanics added on, etc…
    • Even the ones with drawbacks are usually minor or worth it. Like the Fastball, Sham, Bee, etc…
  • Then there are the ones that do something truly unique. No blue Maliwan pistol is going to hope to achieve what the Grog does, no Hyperion pistol can replace the Lady Fist, no Jakobs sniper will be used in the Pete fight like the Tresspaser, etc…

And before you factor in uniques, a weapon’s barrel and manufacturer already set it up for success or failure. The Boom Puppy had little chance to be strong from the point of it’s conception. And in a game where you get +75% damage for matching elements, and you get the Bone otA, Jakobs and non-elemental locked weapons already have a foot in the grave. Hyperion Snipers are bottom tier in their class, setting up the Invader and Fermington’s Edge for failure from the get go.

And even after uniques, some just outright suck. A Commerce and Sandhawk are both blue SMGs, but their creators had different ideas on how they should preform. And this goes both ways, just because a gun does something unique doesn’t make it successful. The Landscaper is generally considered to be a flop, while the Ravager is highly regarded, as no unique Torgue shotgun threatens the Ravager’s spot.

  • And the above isn’t a fate exclusive to BL2. I’d venture to say you only use 2 (maaaybe 3) SMGs in BL1. Out of all the repeaters and machine pistols in BL1 I only use 2. Etc…

And not only does this game have many powerful weapons, but is has a few very generic characters that don’t specialize in anything a lot of the time. So without the diversity of the characters like in TPS, you get similar looking list.

  • Only Nisha really uses Jakobs pistols.
  • But despite the fact Jack and Athena love a Development, Nisha never will.
  • No one really likes Maliwan snipers but Aurelia.
  • Nisha, Jack, Athena, and Wilhelm love shield tanking, but I don’t use the Shield of Ages on Aurelia.
  • Etc…

And the only way they were remedying this in the past was with COMs. Skills will create playstyles on their own, but when you think Lilith you think SMGs, why? She has no skills that look ideal for them, etc… It’s because of the Mercenary com. You’d never see me use the Serpens on Mordecai without the Assassin COM. I’d venture to guess SMGs wouldn’t be highly regarded on Maya without the Cat com, because Phaselock and Reaper makes it look like she’s a sniper. Etc…

Not to mention the fatal flaw of Top Gears, the fact every weapon class must be included. So even if Zero specializes in snipers, you’re going to see the Pimp because it’s so powerful anyone can use it. Even Krieg who isn’t fond of Snipers. Same thing with the Fastball. Only Axton and Krieg should have it, but it’s so powerful that you can’t argue against it.

  • And that’s just talking about offensive gear. I see no one has brought up utility gear in the same light, or even much survivability gear outside of niches.

I have tried to make something better without the Bee (the Tattler gets close), but even without it nothing has it’s combined killing power, range, and satisfactory ammo consumption.

  • The only time it lacks viability is if the character can’t ADS (Sal), or if the character has so much fire rate you lose DPS because you can’t pull the trigger fast enough (Krieg).

And that is the case for most top tier guns, the Bee just multiplies their effectiveness. There is a very short list in sought after attributes on offensive gear.

This is generally considered a non-factor. A Bekah won’t become less effective just because it’s harder to get. In the meantime if you must use a AR, then the Kitten is usually on the list as well. A PBFG won’t truly replace a Norfleet in the meantime.

The only weapon that needs this caveat and is “hard” to get is the Carnage off the top of my head, and most guides include that in the description. So while it is a PITA, getting Rustler’s on a Orphan Maker is not hard by comparison.

Getting a weapon is pretty easy, and very few have a “trash or treasure” prefix.

I think it’s assumed that if you’re looking for gear to farm for on a character you’ve played for 72-80 levels, then you probably know this. Along with the fact that if you’ve come to this forum, you’ve probably come for more than just gear, such as character skill guides or builds. Both of which go into a lot of depth.

He has 2 actually, one of which is one of the most powerful skills in the game. It is also the fact that since he has no shield skills, he likes one that gives him a buff in exchange for having no shield capacity (it being down), as he can’t keep a shield up anyway.

The Orphan Maker’s spot on the Sal TG will forever be in the back of my mind though. :stuck_out_tongue:


Yeah, it was an old observation… didn’t think it’d stir this sort of thing up. :laughing: I agree with @DeputyChuck though: the audience and purpose of the guides should decide their rhetorical slant. As their original intention was apparently to answer a legion of rookie questions, “what gun should I use with x character”, I think they do that well.


For “rookie” = fresh 72, yes. Speaking from personal experience, the Top Gear guides were of almost no practical use while leveling (the impractical use being to make the reader aware that these guns exist).

If one expects them to be closely related, that’s correct. :slight_smile: There are only a few items that prevent them from being disjoint sets. Chuck’s distinction between specific gear lists (not useful) and the principles behind those gear choices (incredibly useful) is a key point for a Best Gear for Leveling list.


Sharing the top gear data i collected. The “a” is supposedly a check mark.


I think this is something to keep in mind for BL3. We’ll all be in the same boat at first but, when it comes time to write those guides, separate end-game and levelling are probably a good idea.

Would it hurt to have something like that for each character for BL2 anyway? People are still starting the game for the first time, after all.


I found something relevant. I believe this statement is basically the reasoning behind the question that started this thread

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Don’t forget about “all out of Bubblegum” increasing Sal’s fire rate while shields are depleted. :wink:

Edit: problem with not keeping up on a thread, means it puts you back quite a few posts, and I’ve responded to a post that was already posted by Chuck a bit later. I hate when that happens. To sit and read through the entire thread, then remember what I wanted to respond to, means I get to scroll back up and look for that post. that’s way to much time for me. Sorry guys, for my redundancy. :persevere:

Love what Chuck and Khim said in their WALL of text. lol it was nicely spaced and formatted, I’m teasing. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Well said tho gentlemen. Great points and very articulate. I love surrounding myself with people smarter than myself. It helps to elevate your game. :wink:


It’s been a good discussion, for sure.

Incidentally (and this is to all involved not just Kurt!): if there are any links that might be helpful to add to the OP, please feel free to let me know either by reply or PM, and I’ll edit them in. If nothing else, it’s helpful to have them all in one place.


Why is the norfleet on every? Top gear thread? Do any characters actually have synergy with it(shamfleet doesn’t count)?

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It doesn’t need to have synergy
It’s the best launcher in the game, ergo it is Top Gear for every character.


So 99.99% of us agree that certain gear doesn’t need synergy to be top gear for a character? This thread has me excited for being around gor the bl3 release


I think so.

The end point is performance, not how you get there. Synergy has no value in and of itself. It has meaning only if it makes it perform when directly compared.

If a gun has lots of synergy with a character and that makes it perform better than it should or better than it does on other character, it still has to outperform other guns in the end, otherwise the synergy has brought nothing.

Example: On paper, Hyperion snipers have great synergy with Salvador: Being snipers, they are powerful on a per-ammo basis and they have the Hyperion Gimmick to keep them accurate through sustained hip-fire.

Would I recommend anyone play with them ? of course not, because even though they have synergy, they fail to deliver overall.

Dahl snipers have NO synergy with Sal: they are semi-auto, are already faster than many people’s trigger finger, he can’t benefit from the burst and they have horrible recoil from the hip…
Yet they still outperform Hyperion snipers on Sal…

Synergy helps push things farther than they should, but they still have to come out on top the regular way.


I agreed from the start, but wanted an expert opinion. And yes you’re an expert in mine and almost everybody elses mind


Well thank you :relaxed:


What about the Moloko on Sal then?
It is generally a bad sniper for most characters but Sal do an amazing job with them (just look at TT’s) and it’s not even an HM in Top Gear thread for Sal.

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Good question, I would have to check it out more closely. I have toyed around with them a bit but I remember coming out of that thinking that Droogs (or the Lyuda) are simply better.

Would anyone mind linking me a good example of that in action ?
I know @khimerakiller mentioned them on another thread not too long ago too.

Edit: I just watched one of @Lazydata’s display and it is quite impressive.
I will have to check my list again. Good call :slight_smile:
It certainly deserves to be AT LEAST in HM

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Glad i could help :smiley:

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Should availability be factored in? I mean, the only reason I personally have a Norfleet at all is because some nice kind person gave me a spare. If not for that, I’d be looking at the Top Gear list and going, “Yeah, right.”

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No imo. Top gear is just that. Useable gear that’s easy to get doesn’t roll off the tongue very good.
Top gear and useable gear are two different lists in my mind


I don’t think so:

this is Top Gear
not Affordable Gear

The mistake is thinking that you cannot play unless you have one of those things… I played Borderlands for over 2 years before I got a Norfleet too :slight_smile:

Surely there is room for that kind of advice on the forum, but not on that format.