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Borderlands and the goons that inhabit it

I love me some Borderlands, that's no secret.  But there's a stipulation with that.  I usually only play solo or split screen with my girlfriend.  Now, you may ask, "Why don't you play online with everyone else?"  Well, put simply, 90% of the Borderlands community (for 360) are cheaters. 

The very large majority of people I have played with break the game to the point where it isn't even fun to play anymore.  They give their characters extra levels and talent points outside the normal amount (Level cap at this writing is 61, going up to 69 shortly and players are running around at 70).  They have modified guns that kill anything with one shot.  They have shields that can't be broken.  They use talent point generators to fill out their talent trees.  It goes on and on. 

What astounds me, is that I'm the weird one because I dont' want any of these perks.  "Why wouldn't I?", you may inquire.  Well, I play games for the challenge they pose.  I take no joy in running around screaming "Boom!  One shot!" into my headset as I essentially break the game with an over powered gun and shield that never breaks.  Sadly, that last example comes from my last online session.  As it stands now, I feel that I'm one of the VERY few who doesn't play with modded items or characters.

Sure, it can be fun to play with a god mode.  But to play all the time like that?  Where's the fun?  Have I gotten so old now, that I think the younger generation of gamers have become lazy?  That they don't appreciate the challenge that comes with taking down an especially challenging level and the thrill of victory that follows?  Are games moving towards instant gratification, with no real challenge to players?  I believe to an extent, they are.  Borderlands isn't exceptionally challenging, so why break it so?

I hosted my last online session, letting players hop in and out as they please.  I was on my level 42 hunter, plowing through the Dahl Headlands on the second play through.  Suddenly, a player who had been quiet for some time asked me, "Are you actually playing the game and doing the quests to level up?"

"Why yes", I replied.  "It's a game, that's what you do."

"Do you want to join my game and get power leveled?"

"No, I'm fine like this, thanks though."With that, he left my game, lost to the series of tubes that make up Xbox Live.  It was a bizarre interaction.  Neither of us understood the other's method of play. 

I suppose that until Gearbox cracks down on the number of cheaters out there, that I should stick to my offline play.  But, still, I ask myself "Am I the only sane one left in the mad world of Pandora?"

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