Testing

I am gradually playing through Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep in Borderlands 2, and I have come to wonder if the game was playtested solo and/or with the Mechromancer. I assume it must have been, so either the design team did not listen to those testers or they decided these were good design decisions. Part of the point of the DLC’s story is that Tiny Tina is a lousy GM with little concept of balance, fairness, or sanity, but that is not something you really want to inflict on your players.

For example, there are a fair number of enemies with one-shot (or nearly so) attacks. Borderlands 2 comes with one-shot protection, kind of like how City of Heroes prevented you from dying due to falling damage: you would be left at minimal hit points but not dead. This DLC keeps that rule, but has some of those heavy attacks be DoTs, have elemental effects with DoTs, or come as a multi-hit beam rather than a technical one-shot. It is a weird state of affairs when you build a mechanic into a game to prevent a problem, then design around that mechanic to make sure that problem still happens. This is mostly a problem for solo players, because in a multi-player game anyone can revive.

There are also several points at which Tina arbitrarily smites you because that’s how she wants the story to go. She usually gets talked out of it, but there are occasional scripted deaths where it is just a free trip to the rez point. (Not sure if some are whole-group and some just the mission owner/closest person, since I’m playing solo; if the latter, this works much better in group play.) As I have mentioned, this sort of thing is a major momentum breaker for the Mechromancer. When your class’s core mechanic is building up a buff over time, nothing ruins the play session quite like arbitrarily resetting that buff.

I’m amused by the metagamey story and the occasional rainbows and unicorns when Tina forgets she is telling a dark and brooding story. The gameplay mechanics of the DLC are shaky.

: Zubon