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Battleborn for Dummies: An introductory guide to Player Versus Player

Battleborn Guide for Dummies
Battleborn Guide for Dummies

Whether you’re a Borderlands veteran or a complete noob to gaming in general and are struggling with Battleborn’s multiplayer component. Nicky from StealthShampoo and also the team leader of the Battleborn eSports team Salt Command would like to try to make your first PvP experience in the game as painless as possible. Here’s a list of things you can do to help make sure your day 1 gameplay is not rage-inducingly terrible.

Part I – Character Competency

1. Starting characters

There are 30 unique Battleborn heroes to start off with. You will be starting off with 7 fairly simple characters to learn (With the Winter Update all heroes will now be available from the start). Do you like to keep your distance, playing as a marksman at long range? Marquis is your man. And by man, I mean robot butler. Meanwhile, Thorn is a faster alternative with better area of effect abilities. Miko is the only healer in the first set of 7. If you like to support, stay behind the front lines, and keep your attackers alive, then Miko is for you. If you’re planning on holding the lane down by soaking up damage and laying down suppressive fire, Montana is the only tank available at the start of the game. Just be sure not to go into battle with a trusty support-playing friend at your side. Your mid-range attackers are Orendi and Oscar Mike. They’re both great at clearing minion waves with Shadowfire Pillars or Incendiary nades respectively, and escaping combat with Nullify on Orendi or Cloak on Oscar Mike. Rath is for those of you who like to get up close and personal. Able to pull off those 1v1 close-quarters engagements, Rath can even heal himself by chopping up his enemies. Although fast, it’s important to keep your supply station online or your support nearby for some heals after brutal face-to-face combat.

2. The Helix: Explained

After you pick your starting character, take a peek at their Helix abilities. Each time you level up in a match in Battleborn, you’ll gain a point on your Helix. From levels 1-10, you can customize your character per individual match. Be flexible! No enemies with cloaks on the other team? All the less reason for you to take Ambra’s Sunspot debuff over Solar Wind’s cloak Illumination at Helix 1. Write down the first 10 Helix augmentations you’d like for your first match, but remember to adjust as you get more familiar with your characters.

At level 5 you’ll unlock an augmentation for your passive ability. At level 10, you’ll unlock an augmentation for your ultimate ability. Speaking of abilities…

3. Remember your abilities, ultimate, and passives!

Don’t sit there as Oscar Mike and individually shoot each minion in a wave. Use your incendiary nade to take them down or weaken them in a single shot! Reading your character’s ability descriptions is crucial for first-match success. If you ever forget any of them, open up your Helix menu and peek at them again at the bottom of the screen.

Need some help with the basics of your characters? Here’s a Let’s Play playlist, where Nicky from StealthShampoo and DB from 2K break down your favorite character’s movesets:

Battleborn: Pendles Let's Play

Part II – Gear, Shard Farming, and Buildables!

Familiar with Borderlands? Then you’ll very quickly get the hang of the Battleborn loot system!

1. What is gear?

Once you hit Command Rank 3 in Battleborn, you unlock “loadouts” that you can choose at the beginning of each mission. These load-outs can be equipped with 3 pieces of gear of your choice. They help your characters in various statistics like increased reload speed, decreased shield recharge time, or increased attack damage.

There are 21 different types of gear in the game, each with additional side properties. There are thousands if not hundreds of different specific pieces of gear though. Try them all out and see what fits best on your characters!

2. How to earn gear

There are 5 types of gear rarities. From common to legendary, you can earn white, green, blue, purple, and orange gear. Playing the campaign is a great way to quickly earn whites and greens. Bosses in the campaign will also drop oranges, unique to that boss only!

You also earn credits per mission or multiplayer match you play in Battleborn. These credits can be spent on “loot packs” that will give you certain types of gear, or even skins and taunts!

There are also “character unique” pieces of gear in the game that will specifically benefit one of the 30 heroes directly! These are all oranges, cost 1800 shards, and are earned via lore challenges.

Keep in mind though, rarer gear doesn’t necessarily mean better gear. A strong orange piece of gear can cost 1800 Shards to activate in match, while a green piece of gear may cost only a few hundred. Yes, you do have to activate your gear in the match using shards, so let’s go over that next.

3. Shard farming!

After you select the 3 pieces of gear you’ll take into any given campaign or multiplayer mission, you’ll have to activate them using shards. Some gear is free and will cost 0 shards to activate, while others will be much more expensive, meaning they will only come into play in the late-game where you’ll have enough money to activate it. Pick up tiny shard clusters by running over them. You can also break big shards (indicated by your minimap) to really fill your wallet. Don’t forget if you shoot those at long range to run up to it and pick up your cash! Large shards in multiplayer game modes will spawn in 2 minutes from the start of the match, and 2 minutes from when they are broken. Keep an eye on these and grab them before your enemy does! Don’t forget to share though. Have your full Gearbox built and a teammate doesn’t? Tell them to go grab a shard instead!

4. Gear sets:

One of the most common questions I get is “Nicky, what types of Gear should I use for x?” This absolutely depends on the character you’re playing, your team composition, and the enemy team you’re going up against. For example, if you’re anticipating a Galilea pick, you can hard counter her augmentation “It’s Dangerous to go Alone” by taking a piece of shield penetration gear. One shot and she’s done. Meanwhile, taking shield penetration gear against a team of Eldrid players would yield much less useful results. Because this is a beginner’s guide and for the sake of simplicity, I’ll list out the types of gear here and what types of characters you should consider them for. Remember, you can only have one of each type! This is not a hard and fast list, but simply something for you to consider if you’re a newer player:

  • Health regeneration gear: You really can’t go wrong with this piece of gear, especially if you’re playing solo. Having a smart team healer makes this less necessary.
  • Damage reduction: to be used on melee-based attackers.
  • Attack damage: to be used on any attacker in the game.
  • Skill damage: gear for characters like Thorn who do a high amount of damage with her abilities, nearly useless on Miko who doesn’t output much skill damage.
  • Attack speed: to be used on attackers, great for characters with already a high rate of fire. This will help melee characters like Rath swings faster!
  • Reload speed: great on Marquis, Whiskey Foxtrot, and anyone who needs to top themselves off after emptying a magazine. Not to be used on Pheobe or melee-based characters at all.
  • Maximum health: Eldrid characters with natural health regeneration work great with more health. Also amazing for defenders and tanks like Montana.
  • Movement speed: your job is significantly easier as a melee-based character if you take a movement speed piece of gear. Catching up and keeping up with frail close-range opponents is vital to securing the kill.
  • Heal power: Miko, Ambra, Kleese, or Reyna, but especially Ambra and Miko. If your job is to heal, make it easier with healing gear.
  • Healing received: Playing an ISIC and got a buddy playing Miko behind you? You’ll be all the more annoying to kill with a healing received piece of gear.
  • Critical hit damage: Playing Marquis? Like headshots? You’ll be able to delete enemies off the map with critical hit gear.
  • Buildable cost: If you want to forgo any personal benefits to a gear slot, grab a piece of buildable cost gear and spend your Shards on buildables! This will help you level up quicker and help your team maintain map control. We’ll talk about buildables more in the next section.
  • Maximum shield strength: Confuse the balls out of your opponents by giving your Eldrid characters a shield! Or, couple it with a Shayne and Aurox with shield-stealing abilities and become the ultimate shield tank.
  • Bonus shards per second: Sit in lane and literally generate money with this gear. Pair it with reduced buildable cost and have turrets for days! Pro tip: I personally like to pair these with negative effects (reduced reload speed on Ambra doesn’t matter) and use a white rarity Shard generator that has a zero activation cost so I can have money in my pocket before even leaving base. We’ll talk about negative effects on gear in a moment.
  • Shield recharge delay: You saw these in Borderlands, and they’re back. Do not use on Eldrid characters, but characters like Shayne and Aurox and Kleese with abnormally large shields would really like this gear.
  • Shield recharge per second: Pairs well with shield recharge delay gear, this gear will help you poke your enemies more often! Certain characters like Attikus and Oscar Mike have abilities that will cause their shields to automatically regenerate, even in the heat of battle. Pair those augmentations with this gear to increase your survivability.
  • CC Duration: This is the piece of gear I by far get the most questions about. CC Duration is the amount of time you spend stunned, slowed, ect. You’ll want to reduce that amount so you can run away in a bad situation. This is to be used to counter enemies like Kelvin, Rath, or Ghalt. If you anticipate those enemies, this gear may not be a bad choice.
  • Reduced cooldown time: This is another piece of gear you can’t really go wrong with, more abilities means more damage or more supporting. Slap reduced cooldown time on a Reyna for more clutch Shield Boosts!
  • Sprint speed: Caldarius is fast. Make your favorite robotic assassin even harder to catch with increased sprint speed! Excellent on your assassin characters and melee players, pairs amazingly with movement speed for chasing down weakened opponents.
  • Shield penetration: Your ultimate one-stop shop for thwarting any enemy Ambras or Galileas. Flame Shields don’t matter if you fry off the rest of Ambra’s health with shield penetration.

Need further explanation of how Gear works in Battleborn? I broke it down for you in my “Command Menu: Explained” video!

Battleborn's Command Menu Explained: Unique Gear, Character Customization, Loot Pack Openings!

5. Negative gear effects:

Don’t throw away gear with negative effects, these pieces of gear are sometimes more desirable than gear without these effects! Like I said previously, many pieces of gear come with side statistics, some increase your stats, and some decrease your stats. Gear with negative attributes is cheaper to buy, and sometimes these negative attributes won’t impact your gameplay at all. Minus shields on your Eldrid character won’t mean squat in terms of your survivability, but your gear will be cheaper to activate, saving you more cash for turrets. For example, reduced reload speed on your Kelvin doesn’t mean a thing in terms of his damage output, but does mean you can activate your gear earlier in the match.

6. Buildables!

Map control is the name of the game in PvP. Full up on your Gearbox? Need some quick XP? Buy buildables on the map!

  • Stinger turrets are great medium-range weapons that will stop minions in their tracks.
  • Lightning turrets help at close range to repel attackers, and can be upgraded to chain lightning around walls to hit multiple enemies!
  • Thumper turrets are, in my opinion, the most annoying. Great at long range, upgraded thumper turrets can slow enemies who are hit by the missiles. Not to mention, all these turrets listed above get a tanky little shield when upgraded.
  • Accelerators (previously known as logistics, which I still call them because change is hard) when built will speed up friendly passersby. This is great to get your minions in lane, or aid in your escape. An upgrade will get these accelerators to slow any enemies, Battleborn or minions.
  • Supply stations are crucial, especially if you don’t have a healer on your team. The higher the upgrade the tankier these things become, and the quicker they heal. While they’re great for a top off, if you’re really low on health, consider teleporting back to base instead.
  • Elite minions: In Meltdown, elite minions are worth 20 points each! This can help swing the game in your favor at the cost of 600 shards. Durable and packing a punch, you still have to defend these things on their way to the incinerator. In Incursion, elite minions cost half as much at 300 shards, and will help you push the lane. You can generally find elite minions portals to be summoned near the back of your base.

Part III – General basic tips

1. Don’t run past base turrets!

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen new players try to sprint into enemy territory and get wiped off the face of the planet thanks to those base turrets. They are indestructible and really quick to drop anyone who crosses their path.

2. Check your minimap!

Be familiar with where the big shards spawn to give you the economic advantage! Enemies in line of sight of your friends will appear on the map too. Check your flank paths, and make sure you aren’t about to get stabbed in the back! Situational awareness is important if you want to keep yourself alive.

3. Buy your Gear, buy buildables, upgrade your Helix!

I know that all that information was a lot to take in for you newer players. It will take you a few games to get used to multiplayer. Just remember to keep an eye on your Gear and buy it when you have the cash, watch your Helix and upgrade it when you level up, and if you have spare cash, help your team with buildables.

And these are just the basics. I haven’t even gone over individual map strategies, builds for the 30  different Battleborn heroes, team combinations, and all the other advanced strategies that I’ve developed for Battleborn. As you can tell, Battleborn offers a deep multiplayer experience that will have you coming back for hundreds if not thousands of matches. Don’t be overwhelmed, there’s a lot for you to learn and a few things for myself to master as well. Keep your head up, learn from your mistakes, make a group of friends, and enjoy your time online on Battleborn.

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I'm a Content Creator by day and a BattleBread Baker at night. I'll provide you with your recommended slice of entertainment! I'm a Gearbox Community Badass and a proud member of the official Borderlands & Tiny Tina's Wonderlands Creator Team (2K Games / NextMakers).

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