Borderlands best weapons are not always easy to spot. There are many factors to consider; and what’s best for one class of weapons may not apply to another. For example, I remember how my first few experiences with Skullmashers were lukewarm because I was always disappointed in the fire rate of 0.4 or 0.5. I figured the best Skullmasher probably had something like 1.0 and I kept looking for it. It never dropped. Turns out the fastest one of all – a VRR550 – tops out at 0.6. And it also turns out that my current favorite one – a DVL590 – has a fire rate of 0.3(!). Why on earth would I want the 0.3 over the 0.6? The Gearcalc DPS is actually lower for the DVL: 700 (vs 1061!). Well, I stand by the DVL. It’s a question of damage delivery: spike vs stream. Let’s consider these Cyclopes I found:
DVL20 Pearl Cyclops (Spike)
VRR5 Pearl Cyclops (Stream)
It’s another DVL vs VRR scenario. The DVL body is about high damage per shot. VRR is about [relatively] high fire rate. It’s really a preference question and it also depends what you’re shooting at, but for me, a bolt action sniper should generally aim for a one-to-one kill-to-shot ratio. With these types of guns, every critical hit is going to get multiplied by 5 (250% is the base critical hit bonus, and then you factor in the 200% bolt action sniper bonus). So the DVL’s higher damage has the best chance of making that happen and that’s why I prefer it.
Spike vs Stream damage: think of a graphIf you think about the way the damage delivery of each of the above guns would be plotted on a graph, you’ll understand why the DVL is more of a Spike gun and the VRR is more of a Stream gun. The DVL damage-per-second graph is going to have a flat line for half a second, then a HUGE spike, then a flat line, etc. The VRR damage-per-second graph is going to look similar, but the spikes will be shorter and more frequent, which equates to a [relatively] less spikey, more streamy graph. Honestly both graphs would look spikey here, but side by side, the DVL is the Spike damage winner. For illustrative purposes, a full-on Stream weapon would be something like a Vector SMG which reloads in a blink and outputs damage almost continuously. The damage per second graph would just look like a series of plateaus smooshed together.
Borderlands’ best weapons and DPSI didn’t have to deal with this low DPS DVL issue till I began thinking about what ‘best’ might mean for the galleries of Borderlands’ Best Weapons. Maxxfury introduced me to the term ‘Spike Damage’, tom1212212121 introduced me to critical hit mechanics and everything started to make more sense. Keep in mind Gearcalc’s DPS figure tells you only the streamability of a given gun and doesn’t necessarily help when comparing spike weapons. It also doesn’t factor in Critical hit bonuses.
‘Well what is a spike weapon’, you may ask? What weapon classes lend themselves to which delivery type? It’s a tough question and that’s ultimately up to you. Obviously full-auto guns are going to stream damage, but you can take your pick with everything else: snipers, shotguns, revolvers etc.
Borderlands’ best weapons for Crawmerax the InvincibleOne situation where I tend to favor Spike damage is with Crawmerax the Invincible and his minions. You have to keep moving to survive so I like being able to fire a shot and run, fire a shot and run. With a stream weapon you have to face the target and keep it in the crosshairs while the streaming happens and that can be dangerous up there. Streeeeeaaaaaaammmmmm and run, Streeeeeeeeeeaaaaaammmmmm and r…dead.
Therefore with Brick I use an Unforgiven masher and two ZPR15 shotguns (fire and shock). Those are all super Spike guns. Lately though I’ve been using a Serpens for second winds, because it seems like the stream damage is easier to desperately wield while bleeding out. Tags: Borderlands Best Weapons, borderlands sniper, borderlands spike damage