By Kieron Gillen on October 14th, 2009 at 12:04 pm.
There’s been a lot of people asking questions about Borderland’s intricacies over in the Co-op impressions thread yesterday. Specifically, how much of an RPG it actually is. Well, the what-is-an-RPG always opens a particular can of debate, but in terms of character development, that they’ve lobbed the character skill tress online can give you a handle of the whole action/RPG mix. Here’s sneaky-lady Lilith , heavy-frenzied mouthbreather Brick, camping-bastard Mordecai and the hilariously inappropriately named Roland. And some further explanation follows…
Firstly, it’s worth noting this isn’t the whole of character development. You also have skills in individual weaponry, which increase through just use. Concentrate on a single weapon and you’ll increase its skill further, at the expense of flexibility. Secondly, there’s also quite a lot of equipment-based character specialization. As well as things like choosing weapons appropriate for your abilities, you get to plug in fancier ability sets which give you boosts in area. For example, increasing the amount of ammo of a certain gun sort you can carry. And extra slots for carrying weapons and equipment open up as you progress.
But the skill trees very much are the big steps. You get your first skill point at level five, which opens up your top level skill – which is your class-defining showing off ability, which is normally on a pretty hefty timer (go and hover over the actual trees to see the full description). Every skill point can be spent on the top levels. As you’ll see, there’s two skills in each of the leg. Five points are required at each level to unlock the abilities directly above, which are usually fancier and meatier. And… well, it’s a standard post-Diablo skill sort of tree. In other words, there’s three main builds in each of the classes, plus the ability to mix it up a little. For example, Roland could have gone and concentrated his ability on making his gun-turret become more brutal by concentrating as a soldier… but when John plays him, he actually pushed him towards the other two, becoming a support medic, providing healing and… oh no! John’s the healer again.