Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
Jepp: 1) Please keep critiquing games by building new ones :)...
Chris Kilgariff: Hey, This game needs to be a mobile phone...
Andrew: Just linked the book club to you, boosting your...
The stuff you can buy at the shop is sometimes too high level for you to use.
There is actually a minimum level bar, and it turns red to warn you of this, but a) it’s tiny and b) the whole weapons shop interface is also red. Any time you’re getting excited about something’s stats, just make sure you check for this before you spend your life savings. Often it’s still worth buying: I bought a level 23 shield at level 21 because it could take 560 points of damage – at level 36, I’d still never seen anything that good again.
The quoted damage for weapons with elemental effects is misleading.
That’s the base, conventional damage – the elemental damage is added to that. Precisely how much it adds varies, but I’ve found a 110 damage revolver with explosive shots significantly more effective than a 150 damage one without.
Repeater Pistols aren’t worth it.
They’re sort of like weaker sub-machineguns with smaller clips, but worse than that, they make the most appallingly puny sounds. Almost every other weapon type sounds and feels good in your virtual hands, repeater pistols really don’t. I suggest avoiding them entirely.
Grenade mods of the same type can do different amounts of damage.
I didn’t notice this for ages – I took ‘explosive sticky’ and never wanted to change types, so never switched for any of the others I found. I’d been selling a bunch of Explosive Stickies that would have quadrupled my damage.
Don’t join a game with a much higher level player than you.
Unless something’s changed since the code I played, you inherit all of their quests automatically, and you can’t get rid fo them. This makes your quest log an unmanagable mess of irrelevant text, and can sometimes cause you to stumble into impossibly difficult enemies.
There are two types of combat rifles.
One fires in three-round bursts, the other puts out a steady stream of bullets. I can’t see an easy way to tell between them on paper, except that three-round burst rifles tend to have small clip sizes that are a multiple of three (some of them actually are three), whereas steady stream ones have larger clips that are multiples of five.
Inventory expansions and elemental artifacts just get dumped in your inventory.
You have to actually click on them there to get the benefit.
It’s really cheap to completely re-spec your character.
At level 25 it cost me about $5,000, which is the kind of chump change you’re making on single trash loot sales by that point. So don’t sweat too much about the path not taken when levelling up. You can get a full refund at any time, try out a different branch, and even switch back for the same price if you don’t like it.
Class mods only boost skills you already have.
If you don’t have any points in Girl Power, +3 Girl Power on a class mod does nothing. If you have 5 points in Girl Power, though, +3 will actually take you past that maximum and up to 8.
Once you kill someone called Flynt, you can pretty much stop playing.
Unless you want to play through the game again with your levelled-up character, which you can do after completion, it’s not worth playing past that point. It becomes a thoughtless corridor shooter leading to a completely irrelevant boss fight with dismal rewards and no plot closure.
Tom Francis: Oh wow, I didn't even notice the other letters of his name when I was playing.
Crit Goes Where?!?: He also appears to be trouble.
Roadrunner: All in all, worth buying? And is the co-op and multiplayer really accessible, or do you definitely need a co-op buddy for it, and without one it feels dull and lackluster?
Ludo: Heh, just before I stopped playing and read this post my co-op partner threw away a repeater pistol precisely because it sounded so rubbish. Kind of like an irate mother shushing an errant child.
I've been fortunate so far. I shot a charging Badass Skag in the mouth, it slumped down dead mid charge and a sniper rifle popped out of him and landed plump at my feet. It does hundreds of damage. Sometimes, the bullets explode and set everything on fire.
Floodkiller: I've found that the difference between 3 round burst and a fully automatic assault rifles is that A) The design of the 3 round burst rifles tends to say Battle Rifle in the name, while the fully automatic usually says Machine Gun. Also, the fully automatic ones look bulky, while the 3 round burst ones look like they have a lighter model.
ZomBuster: Repeater pistols useless? I got this baby
Takes care of everything lvl 13-16. I just love how it goes pewpewpew and somehow the bullets are really slow.
ZomBuster: stupid tinyurl
Theoban: And yet...it's probably one of the more fun games I've played in a long time. I am still very low level, only level 15. But I scream, I charge, I PUNCH MIDGETS IN THE FACE, I also have an SMG that makes things explode. EXPLODE.
Oh I love it so.
EGTF: *cough* There's actually a single shot assault rifle too. It fires one shot at a time even if you hold down the trigger and has a clip size of six or something like that.
radomaj: Things I love in Borderlands: my exploding hawk; my revolver, which shoots 7 bullets at a time, while holding only 6 (it works like a shotgun); my rocket-shotgun. The game has it's moments.
Scypher: As an RPG, the endgame content is most definitely lacking. I personally enjoyed the post-Flynt stuff despite how railroaded it was -- but a lot of that had to do with being in a game full of friends and charging through to the end in one go. Co-op FPS is still undeniably fun in this context.
It's a shame you can experience the final chapter only once per playthrough. After you kill the last boss, the last area loses half the enemies and boss stays dead. I don't think I was the only one expecting a Diablo-esque repeatable finale. Even if it is an underwhelming finale, it's still enjoyable enough that I want to fight through it with my friends any time I'd like.
Lack_26: Once I managed to get the game working on both computers me and my brother spent most of yesterday playing it. Some of the weapons are just far to much fun, also, I love how my fire-breathing revolver/sniper rifle is actually pump-action.
Jazmeister: I've done the first 5-10 levels with different friends about four times now. I wonder what comes after?
Octaeder: My flatmate wishes he'd known not to join higher level games. His game is now infested with bandits twice his level near TK Baka's shack. [SPOILERS] Not only that but TK Baka is strung up dead inside his shack and sat outside giving missions at the same time.[/SPOILERS]
Octaeder: Ugh, sorry. It completely slipped that that might have constituted spoilers. A symptom of just how little I've been paying attention to any of the story I guess.
Smurfy: I'm finding it surprisingly plain.
Lack_26: @Smurfy, what level are you at? Me and my brother are tackling levels a couple above our own. Boy are they hard, they'll take a lot of money and deaths but it's good fun. (lvl 16 at the moment, things are starting to get interesting, the first lot of levels are pretty dull).
One time we ran out of ammo on the final boss, so we had to run back through the level to a vending machine, only to find the enemies had re-spawned.
Ludo: I agree with Lack, the starting area's pretty weak and your character only really comes into his own once he's developed his class skills a bit. You don't start seeing class mods and the like till you're about level 15 either.
anon: Repeater pistols really aren't always useless. I Managed to get one similar to zombusters, though with less clip size/zoom/accuracy, similar damage (25x2), and about twice the rate of fire. It gets though ammo very fast, but is amazing if the enemies get too close, and mows down rakk attacks with ease.
SIbilantjoe: Loving this game. Mostly because of this:
Lack_26: @Slbilantjoe, I don't think you realise how much I envy you for that gun.
Upsilon: I didn't notice that all the junk above Baron Flynt spells "Flynt".
Bigfoot_King: this is one of those games i wanna try and most likly love it but proberly never get in the end
CloakRaider: God the ending was bad.
Just truly bad. The last hour of the game is just...
It's sort of like Crysis, where they've taken the strongest point of the game and just removed it and turned it into something it really isn't.
Tom Francis: Yep. The impetus to escalate towards the end has ruined more good games than, like, quick time events.
Jason L: Heh. I just recently wrote a screed to Idle Thumbs about God Of War II's ending being ruined by their escalation of the quicktime events.
Tappity: I was really sad when i found out [spoiler moved to end of sentence. Dammit, people!], he was my favourite character, and the only person who genuinely thanked you and said how good of a person you were. [Spoiler]TK was dead[/Spoiler] Plus at level 10 that shotgun is badass.
Tom Francis: Hey, yeah, weirdly I recognised your e-mail address when they read it out.
Chris R: The second playthrough is where the game really started to open up for me. There are a LOT more "elites" called 'BadMuthas' in any given pack of enemies, and they hit like a 10-ton truck. Things are quite a bit more challenging and fun on Playthrough 2. It's basically Nightmare difficultiy(or even Hell diff) from Diablo 2. Way better loot, way more cash from selling the loot, tougher enemies, and much more funs. MOAR FUNS!
My coop team decided to skip all the side quests after killing Flynt, and went straight for the main plot missions to beat the game. Glad we did. We were all level 37 when we started Playthrough 2. You can still go back and complete the unfinished quests in Playthrough 1, which I found just as fun since I was a walking god by then.
One last tip. Elemental weapons are king in Playthrough 2. Get some X4 elemental weapons as quickly as possible.
Jason L: Yeah - In combination with my legacy commenting policy here, that's the closest connection I've made yet between my meatspace ID and my handle. Creepy. Funnily enough, you mentioning my 15 seconds of Idle Thumbs and me hearing my 15 seconds of Idle Thumbs both only occurred today! I had started working through from the beginning a couple of months ago and caught up to real time today...just in time to learn that real time ends next week :( If that's poetic, it's nasty emo poetry.
Tom Francis: "You can still go back and complete the unfinished quests in Playthrough 1, which I found just as fun since I was a walking god by then."
I might do this with my Siren. My Hunter finished at 36, which was fine for Nightmare difficulty, but my Siren was only 32. Rather than scaling, the whole game is just five levels ahead of me now, and I'm levelling slower than the quests are.
Jazmeister: How do we all feel about the Siren's appearance, generally? I think she does a realistic type of sexy that goes beyond just sluttifying a character. She looks like she could have been in Sandman or something. She doesn't orgasm when she shoots things, unlike some people.
Lack_26: @Jazmeister, they went for a pretty good look I thought, if there is one thing I don't like about female characters, it's when they give them large breasts and make them look 'slutty'. Also, it's all cartoony so you shouldn't be looking ;p
Tom Francis: I like that she's dressed in practical clothes. I like less that one of the few official shots they released was preclusive macro of her ass.
Of the four, her mid-combat comments have the greatest potential to be irritating, since they seem to be going for an aloof toff vibe. But like the rest, the delivery and characterisation is really natural and beautifully done, so she never offends.
In less respectable games, the large breasts thing doesn't bother me, but the weird breasts thing does. The worst offenders seem to have been modelled from memory or imagination, as abstractly round as a child's drawing of a face.
Lack_26: Yes, Damnation seemed to suffer from gravity defying breasts.
Jazmeister: "Breasts are basically pyramids, right guys?"
"Yeah, and they have to look metallic."
"Right, we got this."
Jason L: 'No, stupid. Spheres! Tangent spheres!'
EGTF: "I didn't know what to draw sir, so I just attached two 1:1 scale moons to a 5ft5 girl's chest."
"Yeah that seems about right. Who wants some cocaine?"
Jazmeister: "We're all out of cocaine after Monday's experiment. I still can't believe we got so many levels designed sharing that little kilo."
"[libel libel libel]"
Ludo: *The ground shakes and a dull rumbling emanates from the horizon*
Looks like the lawyers are on the way. Jaz, get the shotgun.
EGTF: Forget the shotgun, we need Clint Hocking! He's the only one who can save us now!
I heard that there actually aren't any A-bombs; they just asked Clint to stare at a spot for more than 5 seconds.
FlakMonkey: I agree with the whole not playing past Flynt as I found it all to be horribly annoying and with the most anticlimactic ending to a game ever. Alothough I think if you give repeaters enough chance you can get tsome really good ones, and they're often far more accurate than SMG's. Also, which characert did you play? I finished with Lilith and am now playing as Mordecai.
Tom Francis: Finished with Mordecai and Lilith, up to the Headlands with Brick, nowhere much with Roland. Like Brick best, but am probably most survivable with Lilith - despite a rough start. Once her phase walk is specced up to heal her, and has its cooldown halved, you can only die from absent-mindedness.
FlakMonkey: I found brick really hard because I had to get really close before I could do any damage. Lilith is great but when I kill people I can't walk near barrels because I have a rign of fire around me that sets them off.
Tom Francis: Yeah, self-triggered AOE damage really shouldn't affect barrels. It ruins some other skills, too.
Bobsy: Patch is out today. Siren's phase strike ability now works, but no word on improving netcode.
Tom Francis: Ooh, interesting. I think I'll respec and give it a go.
FlakMonkey: Man, I hope they fix the online play. I've been using GameRanger for now, but it's a hell of a hassle. Also, perservering with brick!
Simon: "This guy. This guy here."
Nice Akira homage http://ecx.images-am... ...AA280_.jpg
Ed: Actually I'd disagree on the Repeater Pistol argument. The usefulness one not the horrible sound one (cause the sound of it is kind of ass). For Mordecai the skill where you have a percentage of firing two shots for the price of one bullet (gun crazy) can make the Repeater a very deadly weapon due to being able to sling out more lead without actually needing to use up more. This is especially evident if you get one that's a Machine Pistol (like the TMP Static Fury models). I know one could then say that's what an SMG is for but since Repeaters and Revolvers both draw from the same proficiency pool you can get the same benefits of that.
Bandit451: Wow, that patch changes a lot of things.
I can't believe that they missed the "text box is too small" glitch, I completely changed my loadout because now I can see that this class mod I was lugging around as a side-grade gives me +2 to Team Find Rare Items.
I don't know what to feel about this game. It is deeply flawed, very buggy, difficulty spikes are insane, and the ending is terrible. The skills range from being worthless to being broken, and so do the guns.
I found a Repeater Pistol at level 14, it deals 95 dmg a bullet and has a fire rate of 13.0, I respecced to gunslinger and it became even better. This allowed me to coast through the game until I hit level 22. Where I found a shotgun that has 20 bullets in a clip, respectable damage, and a very good fire rate. I respecced to get the +30% critical damage, and the increased accuracy (both on tier 1 Mordecai) and at level 35 I still haven't found a better weapon.
This is lame, I picked Mordecai to shoot people with sniper rifles, and I haven't found one that's any good.
And yet, for all of this games flaws, I keep coming back and playing it. This makes it very hard for me to hate it or recommend it.
Mordecai for the win: I finished both playthroughs as Mordecai with skills focused in the Sniper set taking advantage of the 100% to bypass shields skill. Finishing the 2nd playthough is worth the time since all the enemies are reset to be lvl 49 to 50+ allowing for better gun drops for online matches and weapon collections. The wiki page for it offers some nice samples of the various accessible guns. Currently playing with a lvl 48 Maliwan Volcano with about 500 damage and all the fun burst damage. Finding a good sniper is easier than it seems but the Volcano is about the best sniper for a Mordecai character to have.
Emad: Hey guys, I`m not new to FPS by any means and been playing Borderlands a lot so thought I`d post here since you guys seem to know a lot...I`ve read all the posts and been searching google forever so hopefully you guys can help answer these questions because I don`t know what the answers are....I`m just about done the game...I`ve been playing it on offline co-op with my bros on the X360 and I`m almost done the campaign...this is my first playthrough....here`s the questions (sorry for being a noob):
1. I`ve not encountered any eridian artifacts but the game keeps tipping that they`re really powerful. What are these artifacts exactly? What do they do and where the hell can I find them??
2. I`ve read on the internet proper directions on how to start the second playthrough and through your posts I`ve learned you can switch back to playthrough 1 as well if you want...but I can`t find any forum or place that tells me...How do you properly switch between playthroughs when you want to??
3. Also with the new DLCs that are out for Borderlands...I haven`t downloaded any of them yet...thinking of it...so just wondering...if I downloaded them before I finish playthrough 1...well atleast the first two DLCs because I know the third one is a sequel that takes place after the campaign game....my question is this --> can you play the DLCs in the playthrough 1...beat playthrough 1...and then play them again as part of playthrough 2, as well??
4. Lets say I start a new single player game also with a new charachter....play for a while...lets say I go to level 10..and then exit the game...later my bros starts a new single player game with his Live Id and a different character....and then he levels up only to level 8 and then exits....then later I`m about to play my game and we decide to play together and have a local co-op game....but he`s like level 8 where I`m level 10....how does that work? Does he automatically get rewards for the missions he didn`t do but I already did because I`m a level 10 and he`s a level 8?
....thanks...sorry to ask so much...hopefully you can help me with these...I been looking everywhere for the answers...can`t seem to find them..
Tom Francis: 1. The one I found first time through was very near the end of the game, you might not have reached that point. They're more common on your second playthrough with a character.
2. It's pretty obvious once you've completed it: when you choose that character from the main menu, the game asks whether you want to continue with Playthrough 1 or Playthrough 2.
3. I don't have the DLC but I'm pretty sure they'll reset like the rest of the game's content on your second playthrough.
4. Nope, he won't get levelled up, he'll stay at 8. With 8 and 10, you'd probably be fine fighting together. With a bigger gap, though, co-op can become a bit pointless.
-Soldier2C-: the game is actually quite fun. i have a level 61 repeater and man does it drop things liek flys, the higher up you get the more powerful things get. i have the General knoxx expansion. one of the games toughest boss is a level 64 crab. unless you have ultimate gear you will die. ive gotten tons of good gear and ranked up fast by this boss. (35 to 61 in a matter of hours in co-op) i have a 2419x5 damage rocket launcher with eletric 4 on it. i also have a 410 x12 damaging shotgun. you should level as fast as you can and loot as much as you can. if you want to see this add me PSN: Burnout2C
Ronin08: Sorry to bump this old thread, but I needed to rant. I bought this game for $10 on steam, and had some fun with it with my brother. Shootouts were great, loved it when they threw dozens of guys with guns at you, and you had to work with your team to make them all die in fun and creative ways.
Note: Guys with guns was really fun. their dogs: Not much. Their bug friends? Eh. Their flying kamakaze buddies? Alright, pretty fun, but mostly it was fun to kill the guys with guns.
Then I got to the ending. WHICH IS SUCH. COMPLETE. BULLSHIT. IT'S A GAME ABOUT OPENING THE DAMN VAULT, AND THE VAULT DOESN'T OPEN! THAT'S BULLSHIT!
Tom Francis: Yep! Can't say I didn't warn you.
Jaz: My alternate ending: more piles of gold, less of the monster from the end of Opposing Force.
Dracoaeon: I have no idea how old this blog entry is, but I found it funny since those are mostly exactly the same things I noticed a bit too late for my tastes (except for the last one, still haven't completed the game. I love monster grinding though, as long as they drop LOOT)
Borderlands, ah. It's such an old-school game that really positively stands out from the pack. I'm playing as a Hunter (for LOOT), scavenger class mod (for LOOT), and I play like a madman instead of sneaking around. It's nicely challenging and crazily fun to just go all-out and blow shit up. I've also gained the habit of shooting every gas tank and barrel even if there was nobody nearby. Why? It's fun!
LOOT scavenging is the thing that most keeps me addicted to this game. It's an awesome feeling to finally find that sick kickass gun you've been longing for after a long foe-whacking session.
Some of my finds (which I still use):
My dear re-kill-everything-volver that only holds two bullets but I don't care. :)
My beloved .50cal ShotPer (or SniGun) - it shoots 7 bullets in a very tight spread (it's almost like one bullet) and it is pump-action. :3
The_Noob: Not a member of this forum, but Borderlands pwns :)
On the Repeater Pistol thing...
Mordecai with his 50% + 500% special attack skill (forgot name)
+ a repeater with 200% melee damage, why would you need anything else??
you can hit 99,999 with this combo if you are slightly above the enemy level OR if u hit criticals :)
Vivian, Queen of Air & Darkness: Ditto on repeater pistols, which can be lifesavers. I use high-level incendiary weapons mostly, which makes the burning maniacs something of a pain in the ass. Now I have a repeater pistol with an insane fire rate and a shock modifier -- when one of those jerks comes running along, out with the pistol and BLAM their eyeballs are bouncing along the ground. One burst and that's it for them.
And I know I'm repeating but.... whoever designed the ending should be terminated, slowly and painfully. The most asinine part of it for me is that they CHOP THE TERRAIN OFF so that you can't maneuver very well. It isn't even obvious they've chopped it off.... I tried to jump down to a ledge and found that I'd committed suicide. General Knoxx is right to refer to the endgame monster as "a plate of calamari."
There's a more general problem too in that difficulty increases are often irritatingly unimaginative. A lot of them consist merely of upping the respawn rate. And how much life is there under the surface of Pandora anyway? What with crab larvae and Volkswagen-sized spiderants and all the other crap, the goddamned planet must be hollow. After a while it wears at the enjoyment, since what's going on is so silly, and the inability to completely clear most areas no matter how much effort you put into it becomes maddening.
Someone Else: Repeaters are useless? Stop playing after Flynt? That's just stupid.
There are plenty of great repeaters which serve as a great backup for the SMG when you run out of ammo (happens often when you're using an SMG). No to mention, they usually have more accuracy than SMGs.
You have to continue past Flynt to finish the playthrough and gain access to some interesting stuff, and more importantly unlock playthrough 2.
DDoig1: The most laughable article I have ever read :D The parts about repeaters and grenade mods were gold :D
VGS: Your a fraud hack piece of shit. This article is bad, and you should feel bad.
CalculatedEvils: Wow wow wow wow wow...don't mean to come on to your own post and call you an idiot, but as a loonoog time player of this game, I can tell that you know NOTHING about it. For starters, the upper level repeaters are among the deadliest weapons in the game. Try finding ones that have a high rate of fire, high elementel, and big clip...not to mention being Mordechai with an ammo regen gunslinger class mod on.
Grenades have levels...just like everything else. Try playing long enough to learn how to read the Stat cards on everything before you post like you're some kind of expert. Oh...and Baron Von Flynt isn't even the last boss in the main game...did you ever even make it to The Vault? Wow! Get off the heroine Jack...and BTW, there IS quite a lot of DLC.
Try getting a little deeper into life than skipping over the surface there Socrates!
Nathan: Whats with all the new comments on a seven year old article?