Since BL1, I’ve always been the run and gun guy. Always preferring to either get up close or take out enemies from afar. I rarely ever went mid-range unless the gun I had was the most effective at that range. I remember my first playthrough with Mordecai, picked him cause he was the coolest looking for me. When I saw his skill trees, I began it with gunslinger, and I invested all my points into that one skill tree. Of course, at the time, I hadn’t figured I could have invested points on the other trees, I just focused on the tree that improved damage. To this day, I still play with a conserved mindset, don’t waste ammo on an enemy that could go down with one clean shot to the head. After a while of playing this way, I grew bored with just standing in one area shooting from afar. Even more annoying, people I would play with ignored me when I went down, as they were preoccupied with their own gunfights. Eventually, I decided I wanted a more in your face playstyle. Mordecai was squishy, but with most of my points I invested into gunslinger, I felt I could still do some pretty good damage. It was at this point, I started testing out other guns.
It was during this testing period I became a Jakobs man. I don’t know what it was, but they felt like the guns that did the most damage to me. My favorite guns to use from them were sniper rifles of course, but I also enjoyed their shotguns and pistols. I remember the feeling of giddy happiness as each of my shots connected in a satisfying way. Overtime, I began to mainly use a shotgun, and the playstyle stuck me for the rest of my Mordecai playthrough. Of course, I did another with Roland, but it didn’t feel as satisfying. I loved the damage I could pull off with Mordecai, and even though I didn’t really use the action skill with Bloodwing too much, I still preferred that over the turret. Don’t know what to say, I had come that far with Mordecai, building him up in a way that suited me just fine. I was still able to do a lot of damage but was more mobile in the approach. Of course, this meant a lot of practice and dying, but I got use to it. In fact, I could say I became twice as dangerous when my health bar was low. It annoyed the hell out of the people I was session with time to time, but I still proved overall effective.
When BL2 came out, I immediately went with Zero, thinking the assassin was just a more modified and cooler looking hunter class. I enjoyed Zer0’s action skill very much, it allowed me to get in close, or to run away when there had been too much heat. I invested heavily in the Bloodshed tree, but unlike Mordecai, I didn’t really feel like I was doing as much damage as I could. The assassin class had indeed been different, found myself dying a lot before getting somewhat good at playing the character. I knew how to keep alive and strategize with the character, but in the end, it wasn’t as satisfying. Even after multiple playthroughs, I was just average. I still couldn’t solo any of the big bosses in the game. Eventually, Krieg came out, and I was immediately drawn to the new psycho character. If the fact that he was a psycho wasn’t awesome enough, it was what his action skill allowed me to do.
At this point, I knew how I was, Krieg certainly put it into perspective. Even this late in the game, with some of the characters I leveled, and Zer0 being my crowning achievement, Krieg blew them all away. I loved being a screaming psycho that tore apart his enemies. Not only was the play style in your face and mobile, it complimented how I chose to play. I still found myself in “fight for your life” a lot. And I will admit, I became heavily reliant on the mania skill tree. I still am, but I don’t much mind, hitting the enemy NPC’s like a freight train feels rewarding. Hearing the slash and thumps are like music to my ears. Krieg would always be my favorite in 2, I knew it when he first came out, and I still believe it to this day.
By the time of the Pre-sequel, I knew who I wanted to play. I wanted to play the Doppelganger but still had to wait for his complete development. Until then, I had the four main vault hunters to consider. I went with Wilhelm, mainly cause I wanted to see him become more machine. The augmentations to his body for Cyber Commando was agreeable for me. To be able to push back an enemy that got to close, running without slowing down the moment I let off a shot. Didn’t matter what shotgun I used from each corporation, I mowed the enemy NPC’s down, and it felt good getting in their face. Never did get the hang of Wilhelm’s action skill though. I’ll just say this, I sucked when trying to use it, Wolf and Saint became no more than decoys and cannon fodder to me. When the Doppelganger came out, he was completely different from anything I played in the other games. He felt more universal in a sense, as in, it didn’t matter how I chose to approach a firefight. Felt like I had an army each time I used his action skill. Like with Krieg, I became heavily reliant on the skill. Unlike with Krieg and my other playthroughs, I didn’t feel I was bound to any approach but the one I wanted to go with. I used many different guns with the Doppelganger. The character allowed me to experiment in a way I hadn’t felt with the others. Not that I was ever locked into my playstyle, it just showed me things I hadn’t considered.
Now with three coming out, I already know who I’m playing as. Zane will definitely be my main, not just for how awesome he is, but for his skill trees and his ability to use two action skills. Unlike my other playthroughs throughout the series, I don’t think I’ll be focused with any one tree. I’ll definitely start racking up points for the Hitman tree, the violent momentum skill is definitely a must-have for me. But Undercover and Double agent also have skills and abilities I think will be both crucial and enjoyable for me. Zane was definitely built to be a mobile character, the question left to me now, how will I apply it with the multiple options I’ll get. Only time will tell, but I’m certain to be as jolly as Zane was dancing in the “Happy Together” trailer. The quality of life improvements like mantling, sliding and pointing at a specific target are certainly some of the things I know I’ll love and enjoy.