Borderlands Multiplayer Now Multiplayable?

Probably our major gripe with Gearbox’s many-weaponed first-person-roleplayer Borderlands was that hosting/joining multiplayer games was more complicated than painting a ceiling with a live scorpion. Four people dicking around with router settings is hardly gung-ho adventuring. A mere four months after release, they’ve finally fixed the networking problems that made the game’s super-fun co-op mode super-unfun. Or so they say. Actually they say this: “Multiplayer connectivity has been improved; users should no longer be required to forward ports to host or join multiplayer games.” Which is excellent, if depressingly tardy news. Does this 1.21 patch solve the problem for you? Tell us! Oh – that link in the sentence before last is purely for boxed copies of the game – Steam et al will update automagically.


  1. Mechtroid says:

    When I saw this, I literally did a fist pump.

  2. MajorManiac says:

    I’m downloading this now. Though presume GameRanger probably already does this alot better anyway.

    Hope this also has some other features to tweak the game.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    “…hosting/joining multiplayer games was more complicated than painting a ceiling with a live scorpion.”

    I wish to view a video of this decorating spectacle. Injure yourselves for my amusment on YouTube, minions!

  4. mbp says:

    Too little too late for me. I installed the game a couple of weeks back to make space on the hard drive. The broken multi-player was always a bugbear for me and then after I installed the first patch I got horrible flickering shadows that gave me headaches. This second patch claims to fix both those issues – but I have moved on to other games.

    • Gnoupi says:

      And I heard that people at Gearbox are immensely sad that you left them. They talk about it every day, how could you uninstall their game…

      I mean, they were clearly doing it for you only, and you wasted it.

      It makes me sad inside.

    • Colton says:

      What’s so wrong with him stating his opinion of the game and why he’s not playing it? That WAS the author’s question after all…

    • Lilliput King says:

      Doesn’t hurt that he’s spot on, too.

      That said, a fix, however late, is still better than nothing. I’ll try it later and see if it actually works.

    • Furniture Merchant says:


      Wow, someones a little sensitive, no?

    • mbp says:

      I am not really anti-Borderlands and I will probably re-install at a later date to finish the main campaign. I do think the broken multiplayer at launch was pretty unforgivable though: co-op was one of the main selling points of the game.

    • subedii says:

      I don’t see what the problem is with mpb’s statement, he’s dead on right. The core functionality of the game was multiplayer, and that was badly hamstrung for four months. By all rights he gave the game a fair chance, then got rid of it.

      Gearbox should’ve had the issues fixed a long time ago, there are no two ways about it it, and excusing Gearbox’s failing there as simple whining on the part of other people is just that, an excuse. The most you can say is that at least they’ve fixed it now but it’s not exactly irrational to expect the main selling point of the game to work properly either on release or very, very soon afterwards.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      For what it’s worth mbp, you’re not the only one that’s had to suffer with hater/angry-internet-man/plain retard replies. Even on RPS.

      I just sold my copy of Borderlands, and if Gearbox re-release it with all the DLC on a buget label I may buy it again. I thoroughly enjoyed the main game, but Zombies in Borderlands just didn’t feel right. A lot of you will mock and call it fun to split some heads, but they were so slow and dumb compared to the other AI in the game (not that they were great either), the gameplay suffered accordingly. As for the multiplayer? Never got it working, lost interest.

      Yeah I’ve been binge-playing Mass Effect 1 and 2 as well. Haven’t finished, either…

  5. ZIGS says:

    If this works, I might even buy the game!!

  6. JonFitt says:

    Woo. I got this for Christmas and haven’t played it yet, so this is perfectly timed.
    After I’m done with AI War I’ll head to the forums and look for some coop buddies.

  7. Jacques says:

    About bloody time.

  8. Turin Turambar says:

    Good job Gearbox, you on your way to reach 1.0 version quality for the pc version. Only one or two months more!

    You will be late by.. 5 months, bastards.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      To be fair, I don’t think I ever experienced a crash in Borderlands. And it behaved tremendously well windowed (I have multiple monitors, full-screening a game always shifts windows around, which is frankly retarded behaviour).

      Ultimately, if Gearbox don’t release an SDK, Borderlands’ fanbase will go the way of most unmoddable games. I doubt Gearbox will bother…

  9. Shalrath says:

    I hesitate to say too little too late, because I love when companies keep updating/fixing games after release. Seriously though, this was something that had to be there from the start. It’s not 1996, hell even then I didn’t have to go through this much crap. And my GOD is the server browser terrible.

  10. Paragonmac says:

    There are too many games on the market to stagnate around one title for too long. While it is nice they fixed some of those problems, it is too late, it is actually too late by 1-2 months, personally, for me. It would be quite hard for me to get the guys together and then somehow coxes them into playing. Not when we are in the Bad company demo as well as gearing up for some AVP MP.

    There are some games like cod4, where I can always PM someone and say, “Let’s go.” Borderlands is not one of those. Probably b/c everyone had multiple level 50 characters… and it has become old.

  11. DJ Phantoon says:

    Yeah, it works pretty good. I never bothered fixing my ports and I can host.

  12. Brulleks says:

    Have to admit, I’ve finished both the game and the first DLC on single-player only, so this sounds like a good reason to go back and try the second playthrough on MP.

    It wasn’t the server browser or other problems that put me off – it was the idea of having to trawl through loads of games in order to find people that weren’t utter d**ks to play with. In TF2 or BF2, you’re on such large teams it doesn’t matter so much if one or two people want to muck about, but being on a 2-4 player co-op team with complete strangers I always imagined would be far more likely to go awry.

    Can anyone suggest any decent servers / groups for this? Is there an RPS one?

    • CMaster says:

      @Brulleks – no “servers” per se – individuals simply host a game, inviting others along to their SP game basically. And gamespy doesn’t support anything as snazzy as groups I’m afriad.

      Dropping in to random games – can be good, can be bad. There’s an alarming amount of hacked weapons out there that spoil the fun somewhat.

    • Brulleks says:


      Cheers for that. Sounds dubious to me. Will give it a go though as TF2 is becoming almost unplayable nowadays, but sense that BF BC2 might end up being my way forward for multiplayer.

  13. Paperflyer says:

    We just started playing a transatlantic game of Borderlands, which went quite smoothly once we figured out how to set it up.

    A bit sad that this didn’t work from the get-go, but better late than never. For us, it came too late. But we managed anyway, so I’m not angry. Thats the price we pay for playing on a PC instead of a console.

  14. jackflash says:

    I’ll have to do more testing, but it seems to connect more frequently now. However, the SECUROM has still borked my brother’s purchase of BOTH DLC packs, and he is still on the phone with them regularly trying to get them to work in spite of the DRM.

  15. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I never had a problem playing this multiplayer, awesome game and this is the excuse I needed to start a second playthrough. Again.

  16. archonsod says:

    Never had an issue with multiplayer despite having a router that refuses to turn off NAT.

    Then again, I’d consider understanding how to open and close ports a basic requirement for being allowed anywhere near a network in the first place.

    • Chris R says:

      This. A hundred times over.

      Seriously, the knowledge required to open and close ports comes with the PC gaming territory. You have a brain, and google, figure it out. Takes no time at all, if you’re smart enough. If you’re not, that’s what consoles are for.

    • Alec Meer says:

      While I’ve always been enough of a nerd to grasp it myself, I have to disagree with any assertion that all PC gamers should know how to do it. It differs hugely from router to router, from game to game, and from technical experience level to technical experience level. A Google result or line in the readme that simply says “open up ports 4282-9133” is zero use if you’ve never been knee-deep in a router settings page before.

      Elitist lip-curling because you already understand it doesn’t change the fact that port-forwarding is a relatively new and counter-intuitive discipline, one that most people require being walked through before they get it. Doesn’t help that games that require it, including Borderlands here, tend to stick vital information about the required ports several paragraphs deep into a text document, rather than having a wizard/big friendly help screen that makes it straightforward. Plenty of people simply install and play; gaming PC ownership does not automatically equate to technical know-how. That too many folk like you, and too many games like Borderlands, think it does is one of the reasons so many people still (largely unjustly) consider PC gaming overcomplicated and inaccessible.

    • Nick says:

      Perhaps I’m just too used to googling when I have a problem, it is unacceptable to hide that sort of information I agree, I just don’t remember there being this much of an outcry for any of the other (many, many) games that required it to work in MP.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Also worth saying that it’s not just the port problems to be considered, here.

      Reference the voodoo cures that involve creating servers, letting people join and quitting, and the inability to support situations like mine, with two computers behind a single router, and you’ve got a serious case of shit netcode, regardless of the host’s ability to forward ports.

    • Shalrath says:

      How exactly does port-forwarding ‘come with PC gaming territory.’

      Since 2005, how many games have you had to port forward for? I can name one: Borderlands.

      That people are actually so willing to take whatever they can get on this platform and pretend that we’ve done this kind of tap dance FOR developers all our lives is complete bullshit. If you went to buy a car and were told “Oh, you’ll need to change these sixteen wires or the car won’t work.” you’d probably be pretty pissed. Likewise if you bought a meal at a restaurant and they brought you an apron and sent you towards the kitchen to finish cooking it yourself.

      This is either laziness or stupidity, and Gearbox look awful either way.

    • Tem says:

      I fully agree.

      However, I want to point out that Borderlands tended to have problems above and beyond simple NAT configuration.

      You’d be surprised at the way it could break, even when it worked. People ending up in their friend’s private games.. And said friends were not in a game together.

    • Jad says:

      This was the first time I’ve ever had to forward a port for a videogame. I knew how to do it — I’m an IT geek — and I’ve done it before for applications such as bittorrent — but a videogame? Why would I?

      The last time I hosted a game on my computer was Warcraft II, when I called up my friend and read my IP address out loud (well, I’ve also hosted when LAN gaming with friends, but this is not an issue in those circumstances). Its been dedicated servers ever since then, with no port issues.

      I’ve played dozens of multiplayer games since then (primarily FPSes): Quake, Half-Life 1 & 2 & mods, Total Annihilation, UTs 99 & 2K3 & 2K4 & 3, C&C Renegade(!), Battlefield, L4D, and never had a problem.

      This has not been a necessary part of gaming for a long time.

    • Vinraith says:

      Maybe my router just sucks (there’s certainly evidence to support that) but I have to forward ports for games all the time. I don’t play much MP, but about 50% of the MP I do play requires me to fiddle with my router firewall to be able to host.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I’m with Vinraith here. As my group’s host I tend to have to do a fair bit of port forwarding.

      But it’s beside the point – Borderland’s network problems were worse than that mild annoyance.

    • mbp says:

      I really think you are underestimating how big an issue port forwarding is. It meant that the majority of PC gamers could not play multiplayer “out of the box”. I suspect that many players tried once or twice and then gave up. Even if you set up your own port forwarding that dramatically reduced the available population to play with (the fact that the browser was crap didn’t help either). Sure I eventually got multiplayer working but I still couldn’t find enough people who were at a similar stage as myself to play with. Game ranger was a bit better but still very hit or miss. If multiplayer had worked out of the box without having to fiddle with your modem then I suspect there would have been many many more people on line and a far greater chance of getting a game.

    • Nick says:

      “Since 2005, how many games have you had to port forward for?”


    • Shalrath says:

      Such as…?

      Here are games I can think of offhand I’ve played recently that don’t need it (not all from 2005+):
      -Counter Strike 1.6
      -Counter Strike: Source
      -Team Fortress 2
      -Left 4 Dead
      -Left 4 Dead 2
      -Dawn of War 2
      -Call of Duty 4
      -Killing Floor
      -Day of Defeat Source
      -World of Warcraft

      And that’s just what I can think of offhand. I literally had nothing forwarded on my router till borderlands.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @archonsod: I’ve been using NAT/masquerading since the 90s on dial-up connections, so I’m ok with setting up port forwarding too, but when it’s as complex as Borderlands’, it’s ridiculous. No matter how comfortable you are with configuring your router, having to walk a friend through configuring his when you’ve never even seen its administrative interface is hard, and when you have to do it for all four players it’s just not possible to get a game going.

      Not to mention the sheer number of ports it required, meaning multiple settings needing to be set for each person’s forwarding. And they didn’t even do a good job of providing a full list of which ports should be forwarded. A google search for “borderlands ports” or “borderlands port forwarding” returned nothing but spam and malware on the first three pages for the first few days of release, and the only source of information was forum threads full of people trying to guess which ports were needed based on netstat and trial and error. Most people were suggesting DMZing the entire computer, and many people were having trouble even then.

      Plus, as Lilliput King says, it wasn’t just port forwarding causing problems, and I wouldn’t be surprised if forwarding has been blamed in cases where it’s just the netcode’s flakiness preventing games from working. For me, even doing a LAN game required going through a specific order of steps on server creation and each player joining or it just wouldn’t connect without everybody quitting and starting over. Clearly there was no NAT involved there, and even windows’ built-in firewall was disabled on all the computers.

      But requiring port forwarding is just laziness when there’s tons of well known alternatives. I’ve ended up using GameRanger for internet games, which at least made it possible to get a game going no matter the state of your or your friends’ routers.

      But it will be nice if it all just works in-game now.

    • Nick says:

      Most games that require you yourself to host and others join you, unless you have UPNP enabled (which you shouldn’t) or use something like Hamatchi. Those games you listed didn’t require you to host yourself. Say for example you wanted to host a game of the recently discounted Titan Quest, that would require the host to open the relevant ports. If you require a full list of games as some sort of proof look at

      I’m not saying there weren’t problems beyond port forwarding (the joining a public server then leaving it to be able to host a game in particular was just pathetic, and sometimes it just didn’t work regardless, but those other issues were patched out before this and we were still able to have 6 different people play together at various times the first week. Whilst this doesn’t mean certain people didn’t have problems even with the ports forwarded, I seriously doubt the majority of complaints weren’t solvable by googling how to do it.

      This patch is a good thing though, don’t cut your nose off to spite your face by saying its too late now, its a great fun game with friends and if you already bought it its entirely your loss if you refuse to play it now the issues are fixed.

    • luminosity says:

      Some of us have modems our ISPs force upon us that don’t allow us to set up port forwarding. Said ISPs are forced on us by quirks of geography meaning we can’t get ADSL. :/

    • Chris R says:


      Regarding port forwarding, the difference lies with hosting the game on your own computer, that’s where the issue pops up. Most of the games connect you and your friends to an outside dedicated server (like L4D, COD4, TF2 and the rest of the games you listed), so there is no need to forward ports.

      However, when YOU are the server and others are connecting to your machine (as in Borderlands, COD:W@W for Nazi Zombies, hosting your own Synergy/HL2/TF2 whatever dedicated server, etc), then port forwarding becomes an issue.

      If you host, you must port forward. Usually.

    • Chris R says:

      I see Nick has already said everything I wanted to say…

      So I’ll re-iterate an important website: link to

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      +1 Alec. Yes, I know how to forward ports, it is fairly basic networking knowledge. Archonsod seems an appropriate title for someone who would assume, however, that implying any PC gamer with a router should know this stuff?

      Multiplayer wouldn’t work for me at all, and I made absolutely sure the ports were correct. Seeing as I use a self-built NAS as a webserver, which requires port forwarding for the outside world to see it, I should be able to deal with a game. However this was with v1.00 and I never did bother to try it after installing the Zombie DLC. Personally I’m more concerned that, unless Gearbox keep releasing new content, without an SDK Borderlands will lose its lustre and go the way of other un-moddable games.

  17. Nick says:

    Its not like this was the only game ever to require port forwarding for peer to peer MP (which you’d think it was from some of the comments), it shouldn’t have been that big of a deal, though it is nice they patched it out, I can delete those router settings now.

  18. Furniture Merchant says:

    Too little too late, I stopped give a hoot about Boringlands a few months ago, the game ended up being my biggest regret of 2009.

  19. Dominic White says:

    Borderlands did something special for me.

    It made me miss Hellgate: London, a game I’d barely given any thought of since it shut down. That’s pretty impressive.

    Also, this is the very definition of ‘Too little, too late’. The PC versions online playerbase was nonexistant within a month of launch. It’s five guys and maybe a cat wandering across a dead mans keyboard now.

    • Gutter says:

      I though that I was the only person in the world to like Hellgate. I don’t know, it made me feel like playing a 3D Angband/roguelike more than any other games out there.

  20. Vinraith says:

    Nice, if long overdue. I never had major multiplayer problems with Borderlands. A little port forwarding and the occasional mysterious need for a retry got the job done. I know other folks have had a LOT more issues, though, so I hope this resolves them and allows them to play. It’s a great game, it’s a pity it was released with so many rough edges. I wonder if there’s any chance this fixes the shadow banding problem. There’s an annoyance I’ve never found a permanent solution for, the only way to get rid of it is to change resolution to something very low, then change it back, and sometimes even that mysteriously fails to work.

    • CMaster says:

      Does alt-tabbing out and in again not work for you? Does for me every time. Also, disabling dynamic shadows outright should get rid of it, admittedly at the expense of making the game look much more flat.

      I too had very few problems after port forwarding, save when they bizarrely added another port you needed to forward in the latest patch.

      Shame no word on fixing the interface issues that still plague the PC version. They don’t make it unplayable, they’re just odd and irritating.

    • Vinraith says:


      More often than not, alt-tabbing crashes the game for me. And yes, turning off shadows works, but the game looks so damn nice with them on. :)

    • Nick says:

      They do report fixing the shadows in the patch notes.

    • Vinraith says:


      Glad to hear it!

  21. Bowlby says:

    Have they put a round-robin loot system in place yet? No? Fuck that, then.

    • Vinraith says:


      It’s not a good game to play with strangers (for that, among many reasons), but it’s a brilliant game to play with friends.

  22. AVarotsis says:

    No loot system, no push-to-talk, and still no bloody decent server browser. I’m not exactly thrilled yet.

  23. SH4RKY says:

    Used gameranger, sublime, no issues so not bothered by this patch.

    completed once with a friend, we couldnt see the point in it once finished…. great fun while it lasted though.

    • Torgen says:

      Sharky, I actually found Fyrestone the second time around more fun than the ending. Would like to see a difficulty slider patched in to get some truly epic battles going on.

      Also: favorite zone = Old Haven.

  24. Morti says:

    Well, I’m one of the few who played the whole game with 3 other friends. Beginning to end, all MP, thanks to GameRanger.

    These news are good and all… but the game ending still sucks so, SO bad :(

  25. Tei says:

    Do you remenber that game called Borderlands ?

    Video not related:

    HE!.. I just did a “Garfield withouth Garfield” thingie.. On the Internets!

  26. PleasingFungus says:

    The RPS community was so positive once! Now these comment-threads are filled only with hate. Tei, Tei, you’re our only hope!

    • Mechtroid says:

      I believe everything went downhill after the L4D2 debacle.

  27. ZIGS says:

    I blame the current state of PC gaming

  28. Juror #9 says:

    …”painting a ceiling with a live scorpion…” i just about fell off my chair. Fantastic. Keep up the great writing Mr. Meer.

  29. somnolentsurfer says:

    Cool. Now we’re just waiting for Cyanide to fix the similar sounding problems in Blood Bowl. I’ve just wasted the best part of the whole evening trying to get a game of that. I should have known better and just loaded ME2 at the start.

  30. ChampionHyena says:

    My Borderlands multiplayer worked before.

    Now, post-patch, it is broken.

    What the fuck.

  31. Frye says:

    No way, i thought i was the only one liking Hellgate aswell. I have DAO and ME2 installed but I am playing Hellgate again as an engineer. Single player. There’s something about that game that reminds me of Vampire: The Masquerade. Your special powers and weapon upgrades really DO stuff, making for nice and varied gameplay. Despite the generic levels. And I love how i can give my little robot any weapon, including the upgrades.

  32. Frye says:

    Meh I thought switching to IE would make the reply button work. oh well.

  33. Scott Kevill says:

    Good luck to them.

    However, I suspect they’ll discover it’s not nearly as black & white as they think.

  34. Chiburger says:

    It took them four months and two DLCs to fix it. Gearbox really dropped the ball on this one.


  35. Torgen says:

    That screenshot reminds me why I named my Siren “GratuitousBoobs”

  36. malkav11 says:

    My DSL modem/router has a terrible UI and port forwarding is an enormous pain in the ass. That I had to do it for Borderlands when I had never previously needed to for games, ever, was not endearing. That I further couldn’t get it to work even when I was positive I was doing everything right, less so. That DMZing didn’t work was worse. That Hamachi didn’t work, worse still. Eventually my friend and I managed something, but as recently as a few weeks ago we’d started having problems again.

    The multiplayer issues should have been their day one priority to patch out. They don’t seem to have been,

  37. lePooch says:

    Gearbox REALLY dropped the ball on this. Playing it(mostly) by myself for three months because none of my friends can get the multiplayer to work was cruel. Adding in DLC that I couldnt use with friends rubbed even more salt on the wound.

    Now that they’ve fixed it, I cant even find anyone interested in playing this. We’ve all moved on to Solium Infernum, as a way to escape this never-ending cycle of FPS combat that seems to dominate our Saturdays.

    I should have KNOWN that any game I anticipated as much as this (see: Hellgate) would be doomed to a painful end. Here’s hoping for either Borderlands 2, or maybe just the new Hellgate…

    Anyone in the forums interested in having another go?

  38. Iasen says:

    I have never had a problem with the multi. There are tons of programs that emulate LAN via internet. It takes 1 min to install and 1 min to register and that’s it. It just needs a man or women with a 1/4 of brain to get it going ;). People with less will have problems … generally ;)

    • Gromit says:

      Gameranger is full of people using an old version of the game since they are pirating it so it’s not a solution if you use Steam. And besides the in-game browser should just work so I don’t have to.

      And smiley or no smiley take your ad hominem remarks somewhere else please.

  39. Jayt says:

    too little too late, unfortunately

  40. Miles of the Machination says:

    I’m wondering just how many people knew about the Hamachi work around before giving up completely.

  41. Kalil says:

    Um… Some of us gamers actually made it as far as college. A few even still have time to play games. Most routers for dorms are locked behind admin passwords and heavy steel doors. Forwarding ports is not an option.

  42. The Sombrero Kid says:

    this game was my biggest regret of 2009, would’ve been great if the multiplayer worked, instead it was fallout light, ach well.

  43. Ryuuga says:

    Just got around to playing this.. and I love it. I tend to get so swamped in MMOs that I dont get around to playing anything else. Only played multi in LAN, it was plug n play with several different configurations, luckily. It’s a bloody lovely game in solo, but it really shines in multi.

    I’m still waiting for a rocket shotgun to drop, tho. Dangnabbit!

    • CMaster says:

      They’re called Carnage’s and they really are pretty dissapointing. They don’t actually do a shotgun spread or anything.
      Keep your eye out for Mashers (shotgun revolvers) and Skullmashers (shotgun snipers) though. Those are pretty awesome.

    • Ryuuga says:

      Awww darn. I wanted a shotgun that shot 9 rockets – that woulda rocked! Mashers and skullmashers sound awesome tho. I’m in love with my 72% accuracy explosive shotgun.. perfect for critters & psychos. Other than that, I find myself using an old white assault rifle a lot.. high damage, high precision, 3-shot volleys.. does the trick most times =D

  44. Jigen says:

    This is a little too late for me to come back to the game. My friends and I had horrible problems even with the ports forwarded for each of us. Basically we had to just keep trying 5-20 times every time to get a connection. It seemed totally random.

    At least I will be wise enough to wait 6months before buying another gearbox game.

  45. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Hmm. If you take Kieron Gillen and change the first letters.. Gear On Killin’? Killin’ Gear On?

    Okay, maybe not such a good idea.

  46. Jharakn says:

    Still broke, fired it up with some friends again today and… “connection to host timed out”

    Seriously, gearbox is dead to me now.

  47. Fraggle says:

    Yeah, ironically I too was able to host before the patch using port forwarding. Now after the patch that’s supposed to let me turn it off, I can’t host even with it on!

  48. Lazuli says:

    PC multiplayer still doesn’t work. I am vastly disappointed in Gearbox. Borderlands had a lot of potential, but I bought it with 4 player multiplayer in mind. I know my buying power alone isn’t enough to send much of a message, but I will never purchase another Gearbox product.

  49. jalf says:

    Those of you unable to play multiplayer with your friends, just run it over Hamachi. Works great, and solved all connectivity issues when I played it with my brother.

  50. Patrick H. says:

    The fix is too late for me. I had already put the game aside and do not plan on returning. If I am representative of many of the purchasers of Borderlands, that is bad news for the company because we will not be interested in their expansions.

    Something that you did not mention was that Gearbox has not proper tech support, They only have a forum. Better customer service may have been worth their money.