Having the opportunity to play both as and with the new Mechromancer class for Gearbox Software and 2K Games’ role-playing shooter Borderlands 2, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this pint-sized Vault Hunter’s in-game potential. Released as DLC a week earlier than initially announced, Gaige the Mechromancer is a welcome addition to the class lineup for legions of Borderlands 2 players who have been playing the game non-stop since its release on September 18th. Featuring three distinct skill trees that can be tailored to the play style and skill level of anyone at her helm, the Mechromancer has already become a fan favorite that has found her way onto many online co-op teams.
Mostly shrouded in mystery until just before the DLC’s release, the Mechromancer’s skill trees have created quite the buzz online and all over Pandora. As with the other classes, players can choose to focus mainly on a single tree to access the more potent skills on lower tiers, or create a hybrid build by balancing out skill points across all three trees.
The Best Friends Forever skill tree is tailored to aid those players who are less experienced in first-person-shooters, with abilities like Close Enough that compensates for shoddy aiming by giving bullets the ability to ricochet off surfaces. Also available on the BFF skill tree is Fancy Mathematics, that improves shield recharge rate and delay based on how low health is, and 20% Cooler, which increases the cool-down rate of the Mechromancer’s Action Skill: Summon Deathtrap. Deathtrap is a metallic monster of an action skill, with more than enough dps and defense to tank for rookie players as they pick off any remains left on the battlefield.
The Little Big Trouble skill tree features a collection of elemental based abilities that lean towards the shock element, perfect for eliminating enemy shields in an instant. Shock Storm, Shock and “AAAGGGGHHH!”, and Wires Don’t talk all propagate electrical damage and effects, while More Pep and Evil Enchantress focus on shock, burn, and corrosive elements. Little Big Trouble’s highest tier ability, Make it Sparkle, imbues Deathtrap to deal additional damage of whatever element the Mechromancer shoots it with. No matter what type of enemies you’re up against, the Little Big Trouble skill tree can provide an elemental advantage for your group.
Gaige’s third skill tree, Ordered Chaos, is arguably the centerpiece of the entire class. The first tier changes the way you play Borderlands 2 ever so subtly, adding gun damage in exchange for accuracy to every stack of Anarchy, which is earned by killing an enemy or emptying your gun’s magazine. You lose Anarchy stacks while in Fight for Your Life mode, and lose them ALL if you prematurely reload your gun clip before it empties. As reloading after every skirmish is an involuntary reaction learned over years of playing first person shooters, this causes quite a few comically vulgar outbursts for players new to the Mechromancer.
If you do decide to focus on the Ordered Chaos skill tree, there are a few general tips to keep in mind. Make sure to max out the second tier Preshrunk Cyberpunk ability, which brings the total number of possible Anarchy stacks to 400 for a massive 700% gun damage increase. Combine that with already game-breaking combinations like a Bee shield and Conference Call shotgun, and you’ll be slaying Terramorphous the Invincible like never before. For anyone who has lost their Anarchy stacks, simply head to Sanctuary and take a few pot shots at Marcus’ targeting dummy to get your murder on proper again. It’s pretty ridiculous the amount of damage this little pixie can do, even without Deathtrap on the battlefield.
Though she’s been available for less time than her other Vault hunter counterparts in Borderlands 2, Gaige the Mechromancer is by no means a sub-par class choice. If you’ve been playing FPS games for two days or two decades, the Mechromancer can augment your abilities with skills that will make Borderlands 2 that much more of an enjoyable experience. Definitely download the Mechromancer DLC even if you’re still working on perfectly outfitting your first class choice- you’ll be glad you did as soon as you start steamrolling through Pandora.
The Mechromancer DLC for Borderlands 2 is available now on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.