Regrettably, I have experienced many issues with Borderlands 2 since its launch in September. First I fell victim to the badass rank reset bug which was going around after many, many hours with the game. While the underlying cause of this bug has still not been made public, it was linked to your profile, not your save, so it was a global wipe of your progress. This cost me over 3,000 badass rank and all the heads and skins I had collected to that point, some of which I’ve still failed to regain. Understandably, this caused a significant reduction in my desire to play the game. Yet, I pushed on.
After another 7,000 badass ranks worth of gameplay, I began having an issue with freezing. It wasn’t anything big, just some intermittent freezing from time to time, but the problem slowly grew worse. Initially caused by low level save corruption linked to your profile, the game continued to freeze as the glitch began to propagate into my save. Eventually, I was completely locked out of the game, with no fix in sight anytime soon. It was over a month before this issue was fixed, finally allowing me to play again (ironically it was the same patch that returned my lost badass ranks, sans the skins and heads I lost).
Now this doesn’t sound like any fun, does it? It wasn’t, and there was one overarching factor that made it far more difficult to bear: I had purchased the season pass. I was being denied access to content that I had already paid for. In a tweet which has long since been buried by thousands of other tweets, I was told on Twitter by Gearbox President Randy Pitchford that the only solution at the time was to create a new character. That certainly didn’t sound appealing to me and when further evaluated contained one huge flaw: I wanted to play the new “Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage” DLC which had just released. Unless I played on an account that owned the content, I would be unable to play. Because of this, I put an extraordinary amount of time into researching the factors behind this issue and potential solutions. I found diddly squat. There was not a single thing I could do besides watch my friends enjoy the content with their own characters.
Then something crazy happened. The forums over on Gearbox’s website began reporting that they were able to either get refunds for their season pass, which I certainly didn’t want, or that they were able to obtain another code for a season pass for a secondary profile while they waited for a solution. So, I sent a personal message to Chris Faylor, community manager at Gearbox, requesting information regarding this. Expectantly he pointed me to 2K Games’ PR team for an official statement on the matter and then moved on to my personal issue. While I didn’t specifically ask for a season pass in my support ticket, I did expressly show interest in obtaining one in my PM to him.
“We only offer those when the user asks,” he told me, and then said that he would get my ticket redirected so that it would find the right people. It never did, as I received a support ticket closed email after my issue had already been fixed.
In the mean time, I still really wanted to get my hands on the new DLC. Having nothing to lose, I deleted all of the extra content for the game, including the compatibility packs which some users were reporting helped the issue. Unfortunately, this mainly helped those who were currently having issues with autosave freezing, not those who had already essentially been bricked by the bug. I reset my cache and removed everything except the save but the problem ultimately persisted I experienced some degree of success with the cache reset (removing all of the updates) and playing offline. The issue was being created by one of the updates. But Xbox Live wouldn’t let me access itself until I downloaded all the updates, keeping me from downloading the new DLC and the old one at this point. I wasn’t willing to risk playing without all the content as I had no idea what playing with a character that had content from the DLC would do when it could no longer find it on my HDD.
I even attempted one of the most outlandish fixes I’d ever heard of. The instructions had me move my save to a flash drive and then take it out as soon as the game finished accessing the save, therefore preventing the autosave from causing freezing. The only problem was that you then couldn’t save, another no go. Besides, I was beyond the point of no return when it came to that.
Luckily my friend had an extensive history in modding and was able to reassign my save to a different profile so I’d be able to play it. Because I was still lacking the content which he wanted to play with me, he purchased the 800 Microsoft Points ($10) for the content and we played. In the end, the content didn’t matter because I couldn’t reassign the save to my original profile and doing so in the first place had cost me all of my badass rank, skins, and heads. It was a long arduous process which was made more difficult because of the implications of a season pass. Gamers want the content that they pay for, and any, and I mean any complications in accessing that content are met with swift anger and backlash.
Gearbox fell victim to bugs that were reportedly affecting a minute portion of their users, but a large enough group to create backlash while Rockstar unfortunately had no one to blame but itself and the current state of the industry. Yes, everyone thought Max Payne 3 was going to sell well, and yes, everyone knows that popular games have post release support which could capitalize on a season pass,. No, Gearbox had no way of knowing that this could happen, and no, I certainly can’t stay angry at Randy Pitchford who only returned kindness and care to those who spewed hatred toward him. But the industry needs a reality check. Issues like this are happening, and happening more than they should in an expanding medium. For now, though, take nothing for granted. Just ask those of us who have purchased content like this. We certainly don’t.