Borderlands 2: Meet the Siren

25 Feb 2012

IGN introduces us to Maya, one of the four characters we'll be able to "shoot and loot" with when Borderlands 2 hits this September. And to give us some additional details on where the Siren fits into the grand scheme of things, the article features commentary from creative director Paul Hellquist and art director Jeramy Cooke:
By leveling Maya and earning more skill points, you can customize the advantages of phaselocking. Paul Hellquist, creative director at Gearbox, explained more. "She's got support trees so she's also kind of a mystical healer and she uses her ability to grant health bonuses to herself as well as the team. If the team or yourself kills the person who has been phaselocked then it grants health to the party. She can use her phaselock ability to revive another player, which is an exciting one so you don't even have to be near somebody to get them up – she can revive people from across the battlefield. Then in some of the other trees she has things that allow phaselock to affect more people. She has an ability that the phaselock sphere shoots out these additional projectiles that then lock those characters in their places as well so she can go into a more control-oriented role."

Though she'll have options for healing, support and crowd control roles, she'll also be able to deal out plenty of direct damage by investing skill points in the Cataclysm tree. "She has a skill called Helios," said Jeramy Cooke, art director at Gearbox, "and what happens there is, when a target gets phaselocked you get a huge [area of effect] explosion and targets in that radius can get set on fire." Hellquist added that the decisions you make with skill point allocation also affect the visual appearance of the phaselock ability, so if you were to join someone else's game and observe their phaselock, you'd have an idea about their skill build, like how armor sets in some MMOs give away class specializations.

In terms of what phaselocking is like mechanically, you highlight an enemy with a cursor and initiate the phaselock. It's not a projectile attack, so you don't need to lead targets to hit them or anything like that. Then affected targets hover above the ground for the duration of the effect. "We had considered doing like homing projectiles," said Hellquist, "but it reduced the player's ability to actually choose exactly who they wanted to take care of, so it lost a lot of the strategy because the homing projectile would just kind of find someone and you were like 'I didn't want this stupid skag pup, I needed the badass gone.'"
To celebrate the reveal, Gearbox has also released a piece of concept art for the "sleek, simple, sexy" character.