So The Bee just got nerfed. To make matters worse, amp shields now have their damage split between the number of projectiles shot, and the Tediore (see: Baby Maker) strategy was completely gutted. There’s no way around it, Vault Hunters all over the world will have to come up with new ways to shoot and loot.
Those of us who saw the writing on the wall (or I guess the twitter feed, as Randy Pitchford addressed the nerf weeks ago) have come up with new ways to mow our way through the game. There are at least three more DLC episodes coming, and one-shotting enemies with any gun of your choosing (but most likely the Conference Call shotgun or Maggie pistol) isn’t an option anymore.
There’s always the option of being stubborn — sticking to single shot automatics or eating the damage loss while using the Conference Call. Obviously that’s not what GBX is aiming for with this update, but that is your prerogative. Alternatively, we can look at the Bee for all of its current strengths and flaws, and come up with other shields to make use of. Apparently, Gearbox made a number of other shields to make use of in situations where The Bee may have not been the best choice. Crazy, I know.
First, let’s assess The Bee. Overall, the actual statistical changes to The Bee are pretty inconsequential. We lost about ten thousand amp damage per shot, and a one second recharge delay increase. Not exactly game breaking. The problem is the update also splits your amp damage amongst all of the projectiles in a single shot. That means the most you’re ever going to get on a single shot is +42k-ish damage, making shotgun the worst type of weapon to use with amp shields after rocket launchers.
The change in damage now makes the amp series of shields something more useful to single-shot guns with high fire rates. SMGs and assault rifles, or even Vladof pistols will see the most use out of The Bee. Gunzerkers and Assassins who wish to stick to the shield may want to swap their Conference Call out for the Infinity pistol, utilizing “I’m your Huckleberry”/”0ne Sh0t 0ne Kill”, respectively. The high fire rate and infinite clip make use of the amp damage in a much more efficient manner than any shotgun.
Also, Gunzerkers still have their Torgue glitch that produces more damage than anything else that still exists in the game. Needless to say, I’m not exactly shedding a tear for the Salvadors of the world.
Cataclysm Sirens should keep to using SMGs like the Hellfire or Moxxi’s Good/Bad Touch. The elemental damage melts enemies as quickly as ever and a slight loss on bullet damage won’t affect much. Harmony Sirens weren’t building themselves for damage anyway, so I really don’t know what they were expecting.
(I love Harmony Sirens, but I’ve never played one for anything other than Res while keeping my full Cataclysm tree. Sorry, I’ll give it a shot in the near future.)
Anarchy Mechromancers took the biggest hit here, as the wide reach of the CC helped when the Anarchy stacks started getting too high to hit the broad side of a barn. That said, the whole point of the Anarchy tree is to make use of Discord to keep one’s Anarchy stacks at a manageable level. Discord’s increased fire rate still works perfectly with The Bee.
If you were using The Bee with Axton’s Survival tree, then you were attempting to use the shield to make up for the damage loss by not going with Guerilla or Gunpowder. If your goal was survival, then your shield should have also reflected as much. If you do go with Gunpowder or Guerilla, then the use of Metal Storm and Duty Calls with a high damage/high ammo capacity neutral assault rifle will still make great use of The Bee’s amp damage.
Now for the other shields that you could possibly be using. Melee Zer0s and BFF Mechromancers can look to, and frankly, should have already been using the Hide of Terramorphous for their damage. The roid, spike, and nova damage make Deathtrap and the Haiku Hitman complete terrors at close range. As a Mechromancer, being able to transfer my shield’s properties to my robot allows me to use shock, corrosive, or slag weaponry as is necessary to help my automaton one-shot enemies.
Harmony Sirens, Survival Commandos, and Brawn Gunzerkers can switch between the Impaler, The Cradle, the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or the Flame of the Firehawk to deal ranged corrosive, explosive, shock, or fire damage as the situation calls for. Two of the shields require depletion to do their job, but the health regeneration afforded to these builds make a broken shield less of a concern than for glass cannons.
As far as pure survival, the Neogenator provides high elemental damage resistance as well as health regeneration. Players who want to survive shock damage can try the Transformer, as it is invulnerable to shock, converting all shock damage into regenerated health. The Sham absorbs bullet damage at a ridiculously high rate (upward of 75%) and the new Evolution shield provides potent health regeneration as well as enhanced health stats while active skills are up.
Lastly, and this is an important trade secret so keep it under wraps: Play with other people. Crazy, I know. Where in God’s name are you going to find three people to play a game (that sold over 5 million copies) with? They’re out there, they love Borderlands, and some of them are actually good at team-based tactics. The only reason people (including myself) didn’t find tank builds viable is because it was much easier to go glass cannon and hope your damage was broken enough to kill the enemy before it could mount an attack. It discourages understanding enemy attack patterns and going in face first to get your wins. “The best defense is a dead opponent.”
We lost a few glitches and overpowered tactics, and I’m as much of a damage junkie as the next guy, but the whole goal of BL2 is to encourage teamwork and diversity over one-man-army tactics. The nerf may seem like a negative thing to many, but there’s a beauty to the character design and cooperative gameplay of Borderlands 2. Now, players who manage to solo Terramorphous, Vermiphorous, or any of the “Invincible” bosses will have done something actually impressive (except for Gunzerkers, you’re still busted as hell). We had a few months to prepare for this, and I look forward to playing with people who take the loss in stride.
Or you could just mod yourself into a god. That works too…