A dark example when you kill Bloodwing. The reason she doesn't drop any loot is because she's not an animal native to Pandora, meaning she's not an Extreme Omnivore that finds guns delicious.
Why do many of Pandora's creatures have some form of split jaw? Biological competition led to the convergent evolution of creatures with the ability to eat things bigger than their own head in one bite.
Why do the shit-huts have guns and ammunition inside of them for vault hunters to find? In case of the situation where if someone ambushes you on the toilet, you're prepared!
During Tiny Tina's tea party, one of her comments is, "I read the most EXTRAORDINARY thing the other day, Sir Reginald. Something about slag experimentation. I forgot the details." Only later does the meaning of the comment become clear: she's reminding Flesh-Stick of the Cruel and Unusual Death he sold her parents to.
Phaseshift. To a tech savvy person, when Angel is using it in the beginning of the game, they assume that she is simply modulating the phase of a reference signal to open a door, which would make sense. When she uses it again, she is changing the phase of another reference signal to shut down Sanctuary's shields. So there is not any reason to assume or suspect that she was a Siren and not an AI since she is using tech jargon to do exactly what she says she is doing.
Relearning action skills:
The reason why everyone needs some time to relearn the action skills they brilliantly showcased in the train during the intro? They were just thrown out of an exploding train! They need time for their bodies to recover and to fix their gear so they can use their abilities. And the reason why you start with all your weapons and abilities in True Vault Hunter mode? You're a true Vault Hunter who doesn't let petty things like exploding trains wreck your ability to kick ass.
Or you've just been concussed to hell and back and need to remember you can do that.
Alternatively, according to Gaige's ECHOs, the skills are actually pre-existing programs that exist in the Vault Hunter's ECHO HUD...but wait, didn't we lose those in the crash? Fortunately, Claptrap happens to find another one just lying around and gives it to you. None of the data on it is relevant to you, so you give it a hard reset. You're basically starting over from square 1. In True Vault Hunter mode, you're a 'true Vault Hunter'; you've prepared for such an occasion and have a back-up of all your data on-hand and ready to go. The same can apply to your SDU inventory.
Handsome Jack once makes an offhanded remark of how only six Sirens can exist at any given time, and that he knows of three. Lilith and Maya are obvious, seeing as how he was hunting the former during the quest you hear of this and had a wanted poster of the latter, but anyone who's finished the game knows exactly who the third one is. On top of that, it's easy for anyone who played the first game to assume the third Siren is Steele, making The Reveal that much better hidden.
Why are there specifically SIX sirens at any one time? There are four players who could all be sirens, and 2 NPCs who were sirens in each game. Steele and Angel in the first, Lilith and Angel in the second.
Why is the med station in Overlook disabled? So you can't abuse it during the fight to defend the beacon.
When Angel started missions in Borderlands 1 by saying "Would You Kindly," everyone thought it was a random indirect BioShock reference. Except she really was manipulating them the entire time. Not with mind control, but still.
Why doesn't Roland have any missions for you outside of the main ones? So when he dies, you don't lose any.
The initials of Ordered Chaos is OC. The initials for overclocking are also OC. When one considers what Anarchy does to Gaige, it could be considered overclocking her.
Angel spends the entire game cutting off her curse words, because her father chides her on language. Therefore, it is entirely and brilliantly fitting for her struggle for freedom that the very last word she utters to Jack is "asshole."
The Golden Gear mini-quest and trip up to Mount Hellsfront is one big shout out to the Lord of the Rings, complete with ersatz Ring and Gollum. It is also full of hazards that can quickly reduce players to Fight For Your Life mode, but lacking in any enemies that can be killed to gain a second wind. And with a recent update making it so that entering a vehicle after taking the "ring" fails the mini-quest, you're gonna have to do it the hard way and walk. As such, it is nightmarishly difficult to make the trip up the mountain alone, but much easier to do it with a companion to help you to your feet when you go down. Just like Sam and Frodo.
Whenever you reload a Maliwan weapon, such as an SMG or sniper rifle, all the lights on the sides go out, but that's not all — if the weapon has electronic sights, they'll also go out while the magazine is out, further emphasizing that Maliwan magazines do more than just hold bullets. Contrast Dahl or Torgue weapons that keep all lights on no matter what you do.
When in the Caustic Caverns picking up the Apocalyptic Log of the Dahl expeditionary mining group, one log has the security chief Booth, outraged upon being continually ordered to "harvest" the friendly and intelligent crystalisks, threatening the Corrupt Corporate Executive in charge of the mining with the fact that that her team has guns, while the miners only have pickaxes. Turns out the executive has a gun, too. When you find the security chief's tombstone, there's a pickaxe stuck in it, a final insult from the executive.
About the Bandit brand's weapons having misspelled names. Looking at it, you'd think they'd be lacking the most rudimentary education. Then it hits you: that's why they're here. Without basic education, they would've resorted to crime to support themselves, and would then have been too uneducated to cover their tracks, resulting in their being caught and dumped on Pandora as convict labor.
Why doesn't the player character stop Handsome Jack from releasing the Warrior when they have the chance? Simple. All of the player characters — with the exception of Maya — are some flavor of Blood Knight, and they may have allowed Jack to unleash the Warrior simply for the sake of having something big to fight. Maya, on the other hand, probably figures she can kill the Warrior and prevent anyone else trying to use its power again.
Why is Pete the raid boss of Campaign of Carnage? Of all of the "badasses" you have to fight, only Pete fights you man to man. Sure, his arena is tricked out to give him an advantage, but he doesn't fight you while augmented in a vehicle like the rest. Pete may be crazy, but he isn't a coward like the rest.
Hyperion makes massive use of robotic troops, far more than the Crimson Lance, and have relatively few actual human soldiers. Why? Because Jack is such a Bad Boss that he has a hard time recruiting anyone into his army, and most of those are just the engineers who are pressed into combat whenever the Vault Hunters show up.
Why did the Eridians create the Warrior in the first place? So that if the Destroyer got loose, there'd be something capable of putting it back in its can.
Angel's commentary when you first reach Sanctuary is inconsistent with what we see. She says it is "slightly less dangerous' than the rest of Pandora, and that it is the "last refuge for murders, thieves, and outcasts." Yet in Sanctuary itself, you mostly encounter peaceful, if desperate, people trying to live their lives free of Hyperion tyranny. With very few exceptions — one murder case, and a standoff between a group of adventurers over who stole their money — there's little crime. It isn't until you learn that Angel works for Jack that the reason for this becomes apparent: she's pretty much just reciting Jack's script, and Jack labels everyone opposed to Hyperion as baby-eating psycho bandits.
Why doesn't Angel actually know anything about Sanctuary? Because there aren't any security cameras in town that she can see out of, and she's only wired into Hyperion tech, and Sanctuary is a Dahl ship.
During an early mission in Sanctuary, Marcus mentions how corrosive weapons are his personal favorite. It seems like a throwaway line, but then one remembers that due to proximity, Marcus' most regular customers are Crimson Raiders, who spend most of their time fighting Hyperion. And since Hyperion fields mostly robots, Raiders are more likely to buy corrosive weapons than any other kind. Naturally, he makes the most money off of corrosive weapons. No wonder he likes them so much.
During the Toil and Trouble mission, if you killed Mortar on the way up, Brick will wonder why the bandits don't just give up, since you just killed their leader. A rather ironic statement so soon after Roland's death.
A bit of fridge brilliance with the above; It is Brick who is saying it. Brick was only helping Roland, and was never under his command. As far as he's concerned, he's not fighting for his dead leader and his cause, but to avenge a fallen friend. It goes deeper if you did the quest Bearer of Bad News before this, as killing Roland was the last straw, Brick has made it his own personal goal in life to kill Jack; everything else is just a bonus.
The choice of opening song when compared to the one from the first game — Similar melodies and titles, and the themes match their respective games quite well; the first was upbeat and centered around getting money, while the second is darker and relates to heroism.
The second song is also subtle foreshadowing, with one of the lyrics being "This ain't no place for a hero/to call home". And in this game, the most clear-cut, unquestionably heroic character ends up getting killed, while his more morally questionable allies all survive and mourn his loss.
Even more foreshadowing when you look at the subsequently released Pre-Sequel. The Pre-Sequel deals heavily in themes as to what constitutes a hero, and whether or not there is a "true" hero to the Borderlands universe. Pandora ain't no place for no hero.
Looking at both games, how CAN you buy something like a rocket launcher from a vending machine? The same way you get everything else: the vending machines are just another digistruct platform. It also explains why a Vending Machine can work even though it's been stuck in a massive sandworm for days; as long as it can maintain a signal to Marcus and transfer credits, it can digistruct and buy guns from and for the Customers. The limited stock could also be the machines manually rotating their stock; it always has that many guns for sale and so Marcus doesn't need to keep track of his inventory; he just takes the entire stock out and replace it with a new set, then takes whatever guns weren't sold from the removed stock and put it into the next set for rotation.
If the vending machines are digistruct platforms then the stock isn't actually limited. The Catch-A-Rides can make as many cars as you want. So why do they act like there's a limit? Marketing. If there's a new set of guns every day, customers will check the machines every day. People will be more likely to buy something if they think they'll never have a chance to get it again.
This also explains how there are Eleventy Zillion guns. Dahl and Maliwan aren't designing and manufacturing a thousand different variations on every model of pistol they make. They design the parts, Marcus scans them (so when you sell a gun to a vending machine it isn't the gun that's worth anything, it's the scan of its components), and his vending machines procedurally generate guns from the compatible parts. Just like the game's engine does.
Role-playing was originally created for psychological treatment. Yeah, Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep just made a lot more sense.
There are subtle hints throughout the DLC campaign that despite dialogue to the contrary, Tina is well aware that Roland is dead. The story mission where you meet up with The White Knight is called "Denial, Anger, Initiative"; Two-fifths of the Five Stages of Grief, interrupted with a gaming term, indicating that Tina isn't ready yet to accept Roland's death. Additionally, The White Knight has you find a sword for him. This sword has the power to revive the dead.
It goes deeper than that. Take a look at the names of the locations in the DLC, most of them are named after the stages of loss: the Forest of Tranquility (the time before anything bad has happened), the Immortal Woods (Denial), the Mines of Avarice (Bargaining), Hatred's Shadow (Anger), and the Lair of Infinite Agony (Depression). Deep inside, Tina definitely knows that Roland is gone.
The jewels that the Queen leaves behind for you to follow her? It isn't until the end that you realize that those jewels are Butt Stallion's leavings.
Roland appears as the White Knight in Dragon Keep for a good reason. The historical Roland and his more fantastical depiction in French history present him as a glorious knight wielding an unbreakable sword. And, appropriately, just like the historical Roland, the "real" Roland is killed in battle and his killer escapes immediate vengeance at his allies' hands.
Krieg doesn't appear with the other Vault Hunters on the train in the intro. The reason: going by his backstory movie, he was on the train, or at least, hanging on the side of the train.
During your final assault on Handsome Jack, your path is blocked when a section of a bridge elevates to create a gap you can't cross. Brick recommends you steal some explosives from a rival gang in an area called Sawtooth Cauldron. On reflection, there seem to be some plot holes in this sequence. The Sawtooth leader won't send the elevator down to allow you to reach the top of his tower, so you have to destroy his favorite Buzzard, a flying vehicle, to make him angry enough to send the elevator down. As well, when you do steal the charges, they are stolen and deployed using those flying vehicles, begging the question, why doesn't Brick just have his Slabs just pick you up and drop you off at your destination? Very simply, Brick saw an opportunity to have the Vault Hunters, easily one of the strongest forces on the entire planet, wipe out and emasculate a rival faction of bandits for him. In light of recent events in the plot, the Vault Hunters would probably fail to question such a roundabout way of crossing the gap, as long as they were at least on track to kill Jack.
Tiny Tina's parents might have inadvertently given her a chance at the best life they could have. Because of the grenade her mom smuggled in for her escape, Tina is now wildly obsessed with explosives, which led her into contact with the Vault Hunters and eventually Mister Torgue, owner of the largest explosive manufacturers on the planet and Friend to All Children. Torgue himself thinks that being nice to kids and treating ladies with respect is the highest level of badassitude and eagerly enjoys Tina's company, as well as being able to give Tina a job where she can legitimately put her skills and love to use. For all the crap Tina had to go through during her early life, it's nice to know there's a chance she can be truly happy in the end.
The Cult of the Vault Challenge might just seem like they used some kickass words in rhyme, but the symbols are hidden so well and in such random and ridiculous places that you are bound to look up at least one of them just to complete one, let alone all of them. The only way to complete the entire achievement, especially the really long ones (such as the Sanctuary one) is to either search every nook and cranny of the entire game, or collaborate with a bunch of other people. In short, you either become a highly obsessed cultist trying to find all these symbols, or you form your own cult looking for them!
No explanation is given or even hinted at as to why Handsome Jack has a vault symbol on his real face, but if you think about it, it's highly symbolic. Most of the psychos on Pandora wear masks with a vault symbol on the front. Jack's vault symbol on his face being hidden by a mask symbolizes the fact that, beneath his veneer of order and civilization, Jack's just another psycho.
When you defeat Wilhelm, Angel notes that you're stronger than the four Vault Hunters of the first game. At that point in the game, you're likely around Lv. 16-18, which means you have 700-900 HP, the only stat that grows automatically with levels. In the first Borderlands, a Lv. 50 character had about the same amount of HP! You're literally more resilient than the first four Vault Hunters! Comparing the backstory of both generations of Vault Hunters reflects this; Roland left the Crimson Lance as a young soldier, while Axton is a seasoned veteran. Lilith taught her Siren powers to herself and was mostly an adventurer, while Maya spent her entire youth training her powers under the guidance of a religious order that has researched Sirens. Mordecai was only traveling around for hunting and looting, while Zer0 is a professional assassin with a long history of jobs. Brick is a badass normal brawler, while Krieg is an escaped lab experiment and Salvador has killed Psychos on Pandora before Brick was even born. Even Gaige has the advantage of being a genius at technology. All the new Vault Hunters are either more experienced or are more suited by nature than the previous ones.
Why are Hyperion weapons a bit difficult and frustrating to use? Simple: You are meant to dislike Hyperion for the most part, and an easy way to do that, gameplay-wise, is to make them produce frustrating weapons.
A Gaige character who specs in Anarchy will find that Vladof weapons are extremely effective due to their high rate of fire. This actually makes canonical sense, because anarchy is the Vladof M.O. They live to help cause strife and overthrow governments.
Every time Claptrap has problems opening a plot-critical door, it seems like simple Rule of Funny to show off how hopelessly incompetent and useless Claptrap is. Quite the opposite — he can't open the crashed drop barge in the Windshear Wastes because Jack locked it down specifically to have Angel help the Vault Hunters and gain their trust and when confronted with the door to Hero's Pass, Claptrap is facing Hyperion's best security measures, designed specifically knowing he would be trying to open it. This turns a frustrating apparent failure into Claptrap's Moment Of Awesome when he overrides the security measures and opens it anyway. Which would explain why the door directly leads to a flight of stairs, as it ensures that Claptrap can't hack anything beyond this point.
In Oasis, you get a quest from Aubrey Callahan III to destroy her grandmother's old ship so that nobody knows she's related to her grandmother. Except, take a good look at her name, Aubrey Callahan III. Making her grandmother Aubrey Callahan I, and her heritage obvious. She never catches on to this.
Tiny Tina's Psycho mask that she wears on the side of her head. At first it simply look like a trophy. However, taking her behaviour into account, one might see it as a hint that she is halfway between sane and being a Psycho herself. Her encounter with Roland and co. most likely prevented her from completely slipping into the latter.
Mordecai and Moxxi:
At one point, Mordecai reveals he was temporarily married to Moxxi in between the games. This may seem to have come out of nowhere, but, Moxxi has a confirmed taste in strong men and, more to the point, specifically appeared for the first time running Moxxi's Underdome in hopes of finding a man badass enough to take as her next husband. It only makes sense that one of the previous games' Vault Hunters would have been her first choice for Mr. Right #4.
Stemming on from the above, why would Moxxi dump Mordecai and hook up with Handsome Jack? Multiple reasons. Firstly, though the player is Late to the Party, Handsome Jack was originally a Villain with Good Publicity; naturally, Moxxi's eye would be attracted to a man who was handsome and seemingly heroic. Secondly, Moxxi has well-established Gold Digger traits; an incredibly wealthy and powerful CEO in Hyperion Corporation would be very attractive, compared to a vagabond bounty hunter. Thirdly, Moxxi is used to always being the center of attention — but with Mordecai comes Bloodwing, Mordecai's beloved pet and ally, who already needs regular care and attention to fulfill her role as Mordecai's battlefield partner. As Moxxi makes clear during the Rakk Ale sidequest, she resented the fact she had to share Mordecai's attention with Bloodwing. Put all these together, and it's no wonder that Moxxi divorced Mordecai and tried hooking up with Handsome Jack... until she realized he was a Psycho with a nice-guy fašade.
Why doesn't Jack simply deactivate the New-U stations after he declares all-out war on you? Obviously, he wants to keep you alive and kicking for as long as it takes for him to get his hands on you himself. Furthermore, Jack wants to get rid of all the bandits and everybody else he doesn't like; you prove yourself quite adept at disposing of bandits, so why should he stop you?
Why is Brick so obsessed with punching in the main game and especially Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep? Because Borderlands 1 players denied him the chance to do so by endgame due to melee not scaling well.
A small one, but largely due to game scaling: The Morningstar gun will sometimes berate you for wasting ammo, saying that there are children who can't afford it. Naturally, children shouldn't be buying ammo anyways but by that point in the game, most ammo cost several hundred dollars. So only the richest of children can afford them anyways. This gets especially hilarious in True Vault Hunter Mode or Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, where one stack of ammo can equal half or a whole year's salary for an adult!
The opening song alludes to Pandora being no place for a hero. While this foreshadows the death of Roland as he is the only unquestionably heroic character in the game, it also foreshadows the death of Jack, the only person to directly refer to himself as a hero (Angel refers to the Vault Hunters as heroes, but they never directly acknowledge it).
A small one spanning both games, but one of the reasons that, on Earth, the largest land animal is the elephant is because of the square-cube law. By this logic everything from Crawmerax to Terramorphous to Vermivorous should not be able to exist, let alone be so damn hard to put down. However, in the first game, it's stated that you don't suffer fall damage because of the lower gravity of Pandora, which explains why such ridiculously large creatures can not only exist, but thrive on the planet; the gravity is so low here that they can grow to that size.
When Mordecai goes berserk following Bloodwing's death he begins raining shells down on the enemy that one-shot kill anything they hit with a huge explosion. What gun is he using, and why wasn't he using it before? He's using the Cobra, a monstrously powerful explosive sniper rifle from Borderlands 1, and he hadn't been using it before then because, by its lack of inclusion in the game, it's probably the only one of its model left intact and he didn't want to break or lose it. Tiny Tina later built copies of the gun after seeing what Mordecai was able to do with it, but hasn't built very many, accounting for its extremely low drop rate in the DLC.
You'll notice that in Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty, the Pirates all wield Vladof Weapons, like nearly everyone on Pandora. Why do they carry Vladof weapons? It's a Shout-Out to the pirates in Somalia, who carry AKMs. And why does nearly every enemy, from bandits to marshals to Hyperion soldiers carry a Vladof Rifle? Because AKs are often shown in media as "bad guy" guns and AKs are also well-known for being ridiculously common...
The Vladof corporation are shown fighting Dahl's private army in their advertisement. Given that Hyperion are the main "corporate oppressor" here, why Dahl? First off, Vladof loves fast rate of fire and full-auto, while Dahl prefers slow rates and burst fire. And more importantly, Vladof makes assault rifles based on the AK-47 family. Dahl rifles seem to be built off the M16. And who was the M16's biggest rival again?
You'll notice that, in the Campaign of Carnage DLC, that you can pick up pin-up portraits of Moxxi. These do not show up in your backpack and have no importance to the plot. So why are you collecting them? Reasons.
Why are there so few women on Pandora as compared to men? Several possibilities, some more horrifying than others.
In one of his ECHO logs, Handsome Jack chews out his assassins for murdering random women and doodling tattoos on them to turn in as "Sirens". Not that he has any moral standards, just that he's irritated they're trying to swindle him with such an obvious ruse, seeing as how there are only six Sirens in the universe and he already knows of three. He even says "I will admit it was mildly amusing the first dozen times you idiots tried it, but now my office smells like blood and marker fumes". Yeah, even though we can all agree that Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil, being murdered and basically having your corpse sold off as a faked alien isn't much better.
Or, it could just be because the "criminals that would make good unskilled laborers" demographic is predominately male.
The Lab Rats' eyes have mutated so that something is strangely otherworldly about their eyes. They can project strange energy from their eyes, and they can also see something that has driven them quite insane. If you're playing Maya, when you Phaselock them, they see it more. Now, Siren powers are all based on phasing things into another dimension. They're seeing into another dimension... The same one that Sirens can access, which may be where The Destroyer is from.
Why does Gaige scream in pain while under the effect of elemental damage? Unlike the other Vault hunters, she's never had any training and/or experience to deal with that type of pain.
The fact that there is a skeletal arm in Herbert's Stalker Shrine to Captain Scarlett. Whose arm is it? Well...the Captain herself is missing an arm. How he got it is another question entirely.
What if Krieg's inner voice isn't unique to him? What if every psycho you fight has their own inner voice begging them to stop trying to kill you, and is silenced by your bullets?
The Hyperion Morningstar sniper rifle berates the player in the tone of a shrill, crabby old woman. Where did Handsome Jack get the idea and tone for this firearm? To Grandmother's House We Go suggests his grandmother was extremely cruel and abusive to him.
Tiny Tina being incredibly sure that Roland is going to show up any minute at the game table is already sad... and then it's revealed in the climax that she knew the entire time that he was dead, and was trying to give him a happy ending in her story. This raises the question: How much of her psychosis is genuine, and how much is a desperate act meant to put on a happy face? Especially if you consider this is the second time she's lost a parental figure in her life...
When you're making your rounds around Sanctuary before going after the Warrior, Tiny Tina will come up on your ECHO and read you a "poem." It's really just her saying "Kill Jack" over and over for a few seconds; when you take into account what happened to her parents, it sounds less like a poem and more like a Madness Mantra.
During the Out of Body Experience quest, you help a destroyed Hyperion Robot put its AI core into a new body. If loaders can be destroyed, but their AI cores salvaged and reused, maybe ALL the loaders you face later in the game are reincarnations of the ones you already destroyed. Not only are you facing an immortal enemy, but you're also facing an army of immortal enemies that probably get more and more vengeful with every battle. How long until every loader in existence is out to kill you?
In Candlerakk's Crag, part of the Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt downloadable expansion, there is, in the background, the skeleton of what appears to be a skag the size of a small island. It's near the area where the New-U station is, off to the left. Pandora already has a reputation for being a Death World in its current state, but if that thing was actually alive at some point in time, how long has Pandora been one? Furthermore, what could kill something that size?
Out on Terramorphous Peak, there's the skeleton of something huge lining one side of it. The obvious thought is that Terramorphous killed this creature before it slept, but a closer look shows that the skeleton looks like it could fit a thresher. What if Terramorphous isn't unique? In addition, the skeleton appears to be LARGER than ol' Terry. If it is indeed a Thresher, it's likely that this is the skeleton of Terramorphous's mother.
Apparently, Crabworms are intelligent enough to understand the concept of revenge. As an addition, they also grow to be the size of a skyscraper after at least 5 years. This isn't good for anyone.
A small one during "To Grandmother's House We Go" Quest is where Jack's grandma's body ended up. Next to the bed are a few burlap sacks. You also find the "disciplinary tool" on the bed, which is a buzzSAW axe.
The Lab Rats are mentioned to be "genetic abominations created by Hyperion", via a tip in the menu screen. What is Hyperion known for doing other than gun-manufacturing and being douchebags? Slag mutation.
One of the the jokes Shade's comedian "friend" tells you in the Captain Scarlett DLC is "What did the dying man say to the other dying man? Don't attach an ECHO recorder to my corpse and pretend I'm still alive!" Shade was doing his Of Corpse He's Alive routine before everyone in Oasis was dead.
In the Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, Tiny Tina reveals that she's been living exclusively off of crumpets for the last few years and has no plans to change that. This may have been Played for Laughs, but considering that her parents are dead, and by the time the DLC takes place Roland is too, it takes a much darker tone if you know that people with post-traumatic stress disorder occasionally develop eating disorders.
Once again, the New-U stations bring up some questions, especially since your enemy, Hyperion, is the corporation in charge of the damn things. Actual questions or theories should go on Headscratchers or WMG, respectively.