Hot on the heels of Borderlands’ first DLC ‘The Zombie Island of Dr Ned’ arrives ‘Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot’. The second DLC released in Jan 2010 and like the first DLC, introduces another memorable character named Moxxi (oddly enough). The backstory is that Moxxi, already lost three husbands, and in search for the fourth. Moxxi thought the best way to find her fourth husband is by being a Ringmaster for the Underdome – a new area for Borderlands where it plays out in a competitive arena. Three arenas to choose from however beware that to fully complete this DLC can take some considerable time – and when I mean considerable time, I mean maybe three to four hours each.
So, as you can imagine, this DLC really test out your resilience. There are features that may turn off certain players like, there’s no experience points gained, extremely low loot drops and no weapon proficiencies earned. At this point you may be wondering why on Pandora you want to play this DLC? Well the only answer I can think of is this DLC is purely combat – lust for mowing people down with very little rest stops in-between. So you can say it’s pretty fast paced as you are always on the move.
As mentioned before, there are three arenas to choose from and, depending whether you are playing the small / large tournament dictates the number of rounds. The small tournament only has five rounds and the large tournament twenty. Each round consists of five waves and each wave has a certain twist from hoard of enemies rushing towards you to the badass wave to the boss wave. In addition to this, one negative rule will apply and for every five rounds thereafter, another negative rule applies for a maximum amount of four. Rules arrives in all sorts of flavours from body shots (head shots deal less damage) to the dreaded vampire (character’s health degenerates unless s/he kills an enemy). In total, there are nineteen random rules the game will select.
After each wave, Moxxi is kind enough to shower the arena with ammo caches and health tubes however they will disappear in about five seconds once they landed. Both will give you a fair wack of ammo / health however I wouldn’t rely on them. If possible, spec your character to gain health (like the Siren’s healing ability when phase walking) and having weapons with ammo regeneration. This way, every wave, you can let your ability / equipment do all the regeneration than chasing down caches. Also, because there are rules that certain weapons do more damage, don’t believe that – just bring your favourite weapon and let that do all the talking.
There isn’t much tactics involved when playing this. Granted that it can be a royal pain where the rule is you’re naked (no shields) and enemies boast superior weapons and being ultra-fast. This scenario will slow the pace down considerably however in most instances, it’s pretty fast paced. The hoard wave (meaning all enemies just charge towards you), you can jump at a height as no enemy can jump or you can simply bottlenecking them. The badass wave has a tendency of spawning two opposing forces, meaning there’s a good chance they attack each other and not you. My suggestion here is simply wait it out as, during the higher levels, they can be very challenging if you attack them with all the additional rules applied to them.
Now the bane of his DLC is the time to complete any arenas. The small tournament (consists of five rounds and each round consists of five waves) can take about an hour or so to complete. Because additional rules are added for each five rounds, it’s not too demanding as you only suffer one rule period. What’s demanding is those large tournaments – they all consist of twenty rounds! And simple maths will tell you that, to fully complete the large tournament you need to complete one hundred waves in total! And if you think that you can leave the tournament only to be picked up later, well think again – other words, if you leave the tournament, you need to start all over again.
The time taken for the larger tournament to complete can take about three to four hours – even longer if you die as once the entire party dies, you move back a round. And because you earn no experience points nor gaining any weapon proficiencies, it makes you wonder why on Pandora you want to complete this? Well, if you manage to finish any tournament, you will be presented a Certificate of Badassery from Moxxi and earn a skill point. Note that this can only be earned once per arena so there’s no real incentive to go through a whopping twenty rounds just for that. But if there is any conciliation, you get to earn an achievement to show off your superior resilience.
However you can ‘cheat’ your way finishing off those large tournaments: you can enter a low level game as the world is tailored around the host and not the visitor. I have seen plenty of times people doing this and screenshot their certificate. Well, you can see in that screenshot, there are three level sixty nine (the highest level you can get) and the host, level ten. Basically you can bulldoze your way through to completion as the enemies can’t do jack to those level sixty nine characters (or any ultra-high level characters). Personally I haven’t done this however being tempted many times. Also you cannot gain the ‘Big Tournament’ achievement as it requires completing the three larger challenges (those twenty rounds) using just one character – seriously, developers Gearbox are a sadist bunch.
So I cannot see any reason why people want to complete the DLC as it can take some considerable time and let’s not forget the repetitiveness. For me, I only gained two achievements being the ‘Small Tournament’ – that is completing the three five rounds arenas and only one large tournament (The Gully). Doing it solo, The Gully took me about 4.5 hours to complete and I was doing this at level sixty nine. It was easy going for the first ten rounds then the game slowed down substantially as I keep on getting that dreaded ‘naked’ rule (no shields). As mentioned before, there’s no real benefits completing this DLC other than bragging rights. I guess if you want to let off some steam or simply just want to shoot at anything and everything, boot up this DLC – I guarantee you’ll get sick of it eventually but I guess Moxxi’s taunts / rants is decent to listen to, only for a short period as she too tends to repeat, just like the entire DLC.
6 / 10 (cause Moxxi is an awesome NPC)