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CRingerPrime's blog

3:35 PM on 10.16.2012

Borderlands 2: Kinda like an MMO

So Borderlands 2 happened.

My brother bought the game, and (despite the fact that we were separately playing our own single-player games) he called dibs on Axton and all his turret-y goodness. I was stuck with the Siren, who I didn't know anything about, and the appealing classes of Assassin and Gunzerker. When I first played Borderlands, Mordecai was my favorite guy, so I chose Zer0 as my first character despite the fact that turning invisible is not a true substitute for the bro-bird that is Bloodwing. Does my assassin yell anything like "Go, Blood!" when I turn invisible? No, he just spouts a haiku about how the bandits he's about to kill just activated his trap card.

And guess what I learned the hard way? If you go straight from Liar's Berg to Captain Flynt without doing Sir Hammerlock's side quests, you get pretty much roasted by the guy. Now that I have much more Borderlands 2 experience, starting a new game with Zer0 shows that his playstyle fits me much better than the guy I started a new game with: Salvador, the Gunzerker.


Which reminds me. Speaking of starting a game over with a new character, I remember now when I first got Skyrim and tried to complete the Golden Claw quest without going to Whiterun and meeting the Jarl. Turns out, if you don't get the Bleak Falls Barrow quest from the court wizard (I love that guy, by the way, the Golden Claw door's wheels don't turn, not allowing you to pass. Thinking I was faced with a glitch, I started a new game after over two hours of Breton, fire-wielding goodness. I can understand my side quest mistake in Borderlands 2 (to be honest, it was a rookie mistake), but there's no logical sense in giving me a quest that would bring me from Town A to Dungeon 1 without somehow telling me to first get another quest from Town B, which is on the other side of where Dungeon 1 is.


Well, after doing those side quests and getting your class skill, Salvador's pretty damn beast. Turns out two shotguns at the same time can really ruin a captain's day. And kill him. And all of his men. And probably some innocent people along the way. I get confused, but the general rule of Borderlands is that anything moving should be shot.

After having so much fun with Salvador, I continued with him for an entire playthrough. Almost all the quests were completed, I was level 35, and I was able to VERY EASILY defeat the final boss. To be honest, that was kinda lame as a final fight; I like how the story didn't suddenly have something retarded happen like the previous game's plot, but the boss was just HEY HIT ME HERE WHILE I DON'T EVER ATTACK YOU AT ALL! And it went by extremely quickly with me being Mr. Super Guns.

After playing the entire game and reflecting on the general experience, I came to a conclusion that many will agree with and many will just be confused by: this game is a shining example of how an MMO's qualities can make for a great console game.

And I'm not just talking about skill trees.

MMOs are usually made of aspects that Borderlands pretty much follows completely:
-Class/gear development and growth
-Zone progression
-Multiplayer teamwork and interaction

By going over each of those aspects of MMOs, we can easily see the similarities. In character development, it's obvious through the skill trees that we're forming a sub-class over our game, reaching the end of the tree around the time our game begins to get to end-game content. We also have gear throughout the game, constantly getting upgraded and replaced by better pieces. Hell, items are even given rarity colors.

And then there's the zone progression. In an MMO, you start off in a prologue-type place and go through a bit of questing before reaching your main city. Sound familiar? It goes by more quickly in Borderlands 2, and there aren't as many quests, but the concept is still the same.

After getting the hang of it, you start to go from zone to zone. A zone in an MMO is like a 'level' (as named on the loading screen) from Borderlands 2: you show up with a main reason for being there, go through a series of quests to complete a goal or series of goals, and move on from that place to the next one. It's very formulaic and gets dull over time, but that's where the development of your character starts to become grinding.

I don't know about you, but after ten or so hours on Pandora, every new place seemed like just another bothersome location between me and fun/story progression. Oh, the Fridge? Great. The Wildlife Exploitation Preserve? Awesome. Not that the gameplay's boring, but everything starts to become a series of repeated fights.

Whenever you get to a new location, it's either a hub for other places to branch off from. Locations like the Dust and the Highlands have their own missions, but are mainly a way to get from Point A to Point B. Whether you're going through the Highlands to get to a new quest hub or to the Fridge to complete quests before leaving the way you came, the fact that you're going there to complete a few objectives before moving on is so nomadic, like the MMO's zones. But hey, that's how the game works. That's how an MMO works.

Lastly there's the element of multiplayer teamwork and interaction. And that's pretty damn simple. The scale's drawn back, but the idea is the same. Work together to destroy mobs and get to the boss. Share loot. Get angry at loot ninjas. Duel people. It's very simple, laid back and fun. And that's why multiplayer exists in the first place. Sure, the atmosphere is different in an MMO, much more a community than just a team, but maybe one day a console game will have a world that can house communities of players who can work in large groups, grow their characters together or just hang out.

And in case you thought of it, DC Online on the PS3 doesn't count.

It just doesn't.   read

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