Borderlands - A Guide to The Secret Armory of General Knoxx
by: D.W. McGinley
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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You’ve opened the vault, laid waste to Zombie Island and took down all the best that Mad Moxxi had to offer. It was great, but you crave more. More advancement, more challenge, and most importantly, more loot. It’s time to raid the Secret Armory of General Knoxx.
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Are You Ready for the Armory?
The newest Borderlands DLC can be played, like the others, at any level past 10. Unlike the others, it's aimed almost exclusively towards players who already have characters at level 50.. The Secret Armory of General Knoxx raises the level cap from 50 to 61, which makes going at 50 a no-brainer. It also adds a whole new set of guns to mix, but you won’t start seeing them until the mid 50s at least. You can certainly go earlier if you want to see what's new, but you won't truly be reaping the rewards until you get to later levels.
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Gearing Up to Take Down General Knoxx - What to Bring
If elemental guns were important in previous Borderlands expansions, they’re essential in the Secret Armory. Some new twists on familiar enemies mean that the old tactics won’t work anymore. There’s a lot of Lance, so it’s essential that you have a good corrosive weapon.
Of course, even the best Pestilent Defiler won’t do anything when matched up against the new chemical Lance soldiers, who are completely immune. If you’re more used to taking your Hellfire to the party, you’ll be in a bit of trouble when you face Lance Pyros, who don’t take fire damage, but dish it out in spades.
If you don’t have the best gear going in to The Secret Armory, don’t worry. You’ll be getting levels and gear quickly. Orange gear doesn’t exactly become common, but it’s no longer the rarity it was during the original content. There’s an all new rarity – pearlescent. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one or two during your playthrough.
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Building your Character for the Armory
For the last two pieces of Borderlands DLC you’ve needed to create very specific character builds. Killing zombies as efficiently as possible and surviving the Underdome’s challenge of sheer endurance took a certain type of character.
The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is a bit more forgiving. There’s a wide variety of enemies, and pretty much any solid level 50 character will work. If you don’t mind playing conservatively, start with one of the recommended Mad Moxxi builds and go from there.
With a level cap of 61, you’ll be getting 11 more skill points to work with. That’s enough to get all the way down all three talent trees, which is especially nice if you’re playing a hunter. Putting points in Relentless, Bird of Prey, and Trespass makes Mordecai a bonafide killing machine.
One thing you’ll definitely want to think about is ammunition. Some of the enemies in Knoxx can take a lot of damage, and there will be times that you get low or run out of ammo completely. If you don’t have any ammo regen, you’re going to want to bring more than one gun type. If you’re a Soldier, for example, bring shotguns and combat rifles, even if you're specialized in one. Plus, once you’ve got your primary gun’s proficiency up to level 50 max, there’s no reason not to start working on another one.
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New Challenges Await - The Enemies of The Secret Armory of General Knoxx
There’s a whole new world of Midgets in the Secret Armory General Knoxx. You’ll see Badass Midgets, Loot Midgets, and even Skag Riders, which are dynamite or hatchet wielding midgets riding Skags. Remember, if you kill the Skag first, you’ve still got the midget to contend with, so like Captain Reynolds says, “Shoot the man, not the horse."
Skags and bandits don’t change too much. They’re tougher now, but they’re still the good ol’ punching bags you fought in the regular game. There's a lot though, and it can feel a lot like Mad Moxxi's Horde Wave if you're not careful. You’ll get to fight prisoners later in the expansion. They’re not too much different from the bandits, but they do have some great bits of added dialogue.
Devastators are an amazing new addition that tend to accompany the Lance. The giant mechs shoot a flurry of shots that not only damage you, but obscure your vision. Their size makes them a joy to take down, and it’s not too hard if you’ve got a good elemental weapon. Stack a dot or two on them and watch them fall.
The toughest of the new enemies are the Drifters. They’re giant bug like creatures on tall spindly legs. They shoot corrosive goo that takes vehicles out in as few as two shots, and the only way to crit them is to shoot them from below. They’ve got three weak points and you can only hit each of them once. The best strategy here is to take them out at a distance from your vehicle – they’re deadly if faced on foot.
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Doing it All - The Completionist Achievement
"Completionist" is an achievement (or trophy for the PS3 players) that you’ll get for completing all the quests in the new Borderlands DLC. It’s fairly straightforward, but there are two parts that end up being a bit tricky. The first is the completion of “You. Will. Die.", the quest to kill the well named Crawmerax the Invincible. It’s incredibly difficult, so much so that it’s got its own separate guide.
The second thing that you might miss when going through this expansion is the series of quests given by Thirsty the Midget. When you're in the Sunken Sea - the zone with The World's Largest Bullet and Lockdown Palace - you'll see a small lake just to the right of the off ramp. Inside of the hut on the lake, you can find Thirsty, a midget that has a pair of quests for you. He's easy to miss, but essential for the achievement.
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Taking Out the Loot Midgets - Sneaky Little Buggers Achievement
Loot Midgets are a really cool new enemy in General Knoxx. They jump out of chests, refrigerators and other lootable objects after you open them which can be absolutely terrifying if you're not expecting them. If you're playing through single player you should have no trouble, but if you're playing cooperatively, you may have to go back so each player can get one of each.
You can find three of the midgets - the Truxican Wrestler, Meat Popsicle, and Mini Steve - in Lockdown Palace. You'll find the Dumpster Diver in a dumpster, as you might expect, behind where you fight the boss known as Motorhead. The final piece of the puzzle, The Crimson Midget, is in a loot box outside of Fort Knoxx.
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Touring The World's Largest Bullet - A Sucker Born Every Minute Achievement
If you were level 50 before you got to The Secret Armory of General Knoxx by playing through the game twice or playing through the Zombie Island DLC, then you've probably got more money than you could ever need. There's a constant $9,999,999 showing when you hit up vending machines and it shows no sign of going down. You've got a near infinite supply of money burning a hole in your pocket and nothing to spend it on. Well then, you clearly haven't been to The World's Largest Bullet.
You'll see the bullet when you get into the Sunken Sea. There's even a quest that takes you there, so it's nearly impossible to miss. What you may not immediately see is the door with a money box on it. Just look around, and you'll see it. Use the money box and say hello to 10 achievement points and say goodbye to $8,000,000. As P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute."
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Paying a Visit to Mr. Shank - How to get into Lockdown Palace
The mission "Prison Break: Over the Wall" will send you on your way to Lockdown Palace, but it's not the easiest area to access if you're not paying attention. For starters, you'll need to get a Racer, since it's the only vehicle that will make the necessary jumps.
The first jump is from a small outcropping of rock that's right in between a mine and a waypoint. It should be easy enough to find, but it might take you a few tries to get the aim just right. You don't have to worry too much about speed as long as you hit the boost before you leave the ramp.
The second jump is from a roof to the outer prison wall. It's an easy jump to make, but it's easy to get the impression that you're supposed to jump all the way into the prison. Simply jump the car to the outer wall, and then walk around to the entrance.
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Taking Down the Man - Beating General Knoxx
With Knoxx, it's less about the size of the fight in the dog, but the size of the dog in the fight. He's the single most lethargic nemesis of all time. He's not looking for a win when you fight him, he's just doing his job.
That doesn't make the fight any easier. Knoxx is a tough guy and he's sitting inside an enormous custom Devastator suit. He doesn't take ongoing damage from elemental weapons and he's immune to a few special abilities. Luckily, there's one simple rule to follow when taking down General Knoxx. "n the brain and not the chest, headshots are the very best."
He's got a lot of life to drain, but consistency pays off huge. Headshots have the added bonus of throwing off his aim, which means you'll take significantly less damage. Just like taking down Zombie Island's Pumpkinhead, keep railing away at his skull and you'll have him down before you know it. Unless of course, he gets healed.
Knoxx brings some buddies with him, including a pair of Devastators, a pair of Badass Devastators and the biggest threat - four Lance Medics. As soon as these Medics spawn, they need to go down. If you don't kill them right away, they'll have Knoxx back up at full health, and you'll essentially be starting the fight again. You've got no more than ten seconds to eliminate the medics, so keep a watchful eye.
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Making the Most of the Secret Armory - A Primer in Efficient Looting
You'll have a total of three chances to loot the armory before you're locked out, so you've got to make the most of it. This is especially true if you're going it alone, without a co-op partner to help you loot. You're not going to find a load of pearlescent weapons, but on an average armory run at level 61 you should get at least a few oranges.
When you get into the armory, you'll find a platform that moves based on the direction you select. In front of the platform are nine forcefielded chambers. When you take the platform to a chamber, the forcefield drops and you can get in. You'll want to do this from top to bottom and as quickly as possible. Take the platform up, open the chests, loot purples and oranges, run back out and get to the next chamber.
It's a bit confusing until you've done it once, and even then it's hectic. If you're fast and efficient though, you'll be opening at least ten Lance chests, resulting in at least a few orange weapons and, if you're lucky, a pearlescent.