What Borderlands 2 Can Teach Us About Our Future

In 2009 Gearbox Software released Borderlands, an off-beat RPG-FPS game that quickly developed a following due to it’s quality game-play, cell-shaded graphics, and solid story.  If you aren’t familiar with the story, it’s a short one:  your character is an intergalactic mercenary who has come to a planet called Pandora looking for a vault that is suspected to be filled with alien technology that will make its finder ridiculously wealthy.  And since the game made money, a sequel was pretty much guaranteed.  In September 2012 said sequel, imaginatively titled Borderlands 2, was released to near-universal acclaim.

Makes me want to stop writing this and go play.

Oh cool, I still have some DLC on this one to finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of your tasks as you move through this world is picking up personal recordings left behind by various NPCs.  These recording will help you to solve quests, grant you deeper insights into the characters, and provide exposition that explains why Pandora is the lawless wasteland it is. And, like all good science fiction, this filler content reveals a great deal about our society and our pessimism about our future.

Robots with artificial intelligence are everywhere in this game, from the barely intelligent loaders to the incredibly sophisticated programming of Claptrap, your annoying sidekick. This doesn’t even begin to to cover the spacescaft, advanced weaponry, and genetic engineering that is commonplace in the Borderlands universe.

The line between matter and energy has been crossed, and one can be turned into another with consummate ease. This is amply demonstrated by the vending machines that sell corrosive pistols, rocket launchers, and teleporting hand grenades.

Drugstores and Armories What more do humans really want?.

 

And if you get killed?  Don’t worry, because Hyperion corporation has terminals that can digitally construct you a new body complete with recent memories. As recent as your last appearance at a Hyperion  respawn point, that is!

Internet. Serious business.

Star Trek transporters re-rigged to just generate a new body anytime the previous one is destroyed. Theoretical immortality since you can spawn a new version of yourself from any point in the New U system database. And if Hyperion doesn’t want that, their motto is “You don’t die until we say you do!”

Scientists are working on these technologies right now as I’m writing this. And I believe that this video game franchise is a pretty clear idea of one possible outcome of this research.

The universe should be a paradise where anyone can grow up to be anything and everyone can prosper with no hardship to anyone. Instead, it is a nihilistic dystopia where scarcity of resources exists only through artificial means. Jobs are completely unnecessary as literally any human function can be done by a computer system, and energy limits have been overcome as evidenced by the ease with which machines and people can be digitally constructed.

And while it is easy to dismiss the idea because it came from a video game, it really wasn’t.

Black Ops 2: The M138 Doctrine

So I’ve been playing a bit of the old Black Ops 2 lately, and I have noticed there is a vast number of people who seem to be unaware that the reason you get to customize your build is so you can be more flexible depending on the game mode you are playing.

We’re listening..

I’ve seen a lot of people running around using a sniper rifle as if it was a pistol (great job fixing that glitch, Activision.) and even more people thinking that every problem can be solved just by running at your enemy and stabbing them. I’m not here to tell you how you should have fun, but since this is a team oriented game, I will tell you how to play as a good team member so I don ‘t keep getting killed because you are an idiot.

First we will discuss game mode tactics and EQ load-outs. You should really vary your play-style depending on the game mode, if you ask me. Especially if you often find yourself playing solo, like I do. Most of my friends are on X-Box because the multiplayer gaming is so much better there. I stay on the PS3 because I really dislike Microsoft.

Anyway, let’s begin by showing my Scorecard from Black Ops 2.

Black Ops 2 Scorecard

I’m ranked 2.4 million worldwide after playing for 140 hours, 100 of them just this week. A little more digging reveals that my K/D rate is .68 which I think is pretty good, and if you agree keep reading. Otherwise, you can skip directly to the comments section and tell me all about how awesome you are. If you’re still reading, shall we continue?

Break it down for us, coach. We’re all ears.

Excellent.

First, let’s look at the different load-outs I use, shall we?’

Assault Bulletstream

Heavy Support Street Cleaner

AmbushEach load-out has it’s own purpose, designed for specific game modes as opposed to specific maps. The reason for that is because I find that it’s not the map that determines your success or failure, it’s your equipment package. If you’re running around a map designed for snipers, for instance, and you’re carrying a knife, expect to get shot pretty often. Actually, bringing a knife to a gunfight is pretty much begging to be shot often, so you should already know what to expect.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule.

Notice how 2 of the packages listed have anti-air support?  That’s not an accident. I’ve shot down UAVs, Counter-UAVs, MQ-27s, and VTOLs not only because I like shooting rockets at things, but because it helps the entire team. Since I’ve switched over to Shotgun Surgery I’ve been less actively involved in shooting down aircraft, but I do make up for it by shooting people.

A second point of interest is how almost all of the load-outs uses a Trophy System.  Even if you’re not locking down an objective (Domination, Hard Point, Capture the Flag, etc) I’m sure you are going to run by a sniper at some point. How about tossing him a Trophy System to keep him safe from projectiles?

My load-outs are good, but I’m still only winning 38% of the time. Why is that? Well, the short answer is that I keep getting saddled with teams who think every match is Team Deathmatch and don’t seem to understand how to capture or control an objective.

Nobody is telling you how to play, I’m just saying that if you want to be on a winning team for a change, you might want to revise your play style. Especially if you are new to the game. Spend some time camping, learn the maps and play defense. Then, when you feel confident, get out there and aggress the enemy. Just remember, you’re not playing Free For All, so you keep your buddies in mind when you are packing your gear.

Home sweet home.

See you around the neighborhood.