Health determines how much damage characters can sustain after their shields are depleted.
In general terms, health is represented as a value that is proportionate to the level of a character, gradually increasing as the character progresses in level. Enemies also have similar health values, although these can vary widely from small, weak creatures with low health, to more robust end bosses with greatly enhanced pools of health. Damage inflicted by enemies, or harmful interactions with the environment, will subtract from a character's health value until the point of death. In the case of player characters, reducing the health level to zero merely inflicts the crippled condition, which offers a small window of opportunity to survive.
A player character's own health level is displayed on the HUD in the bottom left of the screen. When this level drops below 50%, the unfilled part of the health-bar will flash. After it drops below 40%, a red exclamation mark will flash above the health bar. The health level of allies and enemies can be viewed when they are bracketed in the HUD's targeting reticle. The status of allies' remaining health is also displayed in the top left corner of the HUD, and will provide a similar low health warning when they sustain significant harm.
New characters begin the game with 100 health. Each time the character levels up, it gains another 15 points to its total health. This allows the character to achieve an unmodified total of 1000 health at level 61, for characters with access to The Secret Armory of General Knoxx. As of Patch 1.4.1, which increases the level cap by eight levels, a level 69 character will have an unmodified health of 1120.
- Brick has the largest number of ways, and the most effective, to increase his maximum health. Aside from his Hardened skill, he can use either a Berserker or Titan class mods to improve on his own health, or a Centurion or Skirmisher class mod to increase the whole party's health (including his own).
- Roland can increase his maximum health through the Fitness skill.
- Mordecai's only skill or class mod that can increase his maximum health is through the use of a Truxican Wrestler class mod obtained from one of the Loot Midgets in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx.
- Lilith does not have skills or class mods to increase her maximum health.
- Torgue Tough Guy shields provide a 30% bonus to health
- Torgue Muscleman shields provide a 40% bonus to health
- Torgue Macho shields provide a 60% bonus to health
As with many other bonuses and buffs in the game, the bonuses described above stack additively, rather than in a compounding manner.For example, a +60% bonus from a skill, a 39% bonus from a class mod, and a 40% bonus from a shield will effectively give a Level 69 character 2676 health (+60% +39% +40% = +139% health. 1120 * 239% = 2676.8 ).
Strategically, when planning character builds, maximum health has an even larger effect than simply the total amount of abuse a character can take before dying. This is because many health recovery and survivability-related skills and abilities are based on a percentage of maximum health, including Berserk, Blood Sport, Die Hard, Aid Station, Stat, Inner Glow and Riotous Remedy. Thus, increases to maximum health also improve the rate of healing with these skills, exponentially increasing a character's durability.
Base health appears to follow the exponential function
Health = 80 * (1.13 ^ level)
In other words, each level increases a character's base health by 13% relative to the previous level. Equivalently, the base health doubles every 5.67 levels. At level 50, base health is 36,058, at level 61, base health is 138,316, and at level 72, base health is 530,564.
Most classes also have talents and/or class mods which improve (or, in the case of some mods, decrease) maximum Health:
- Salvador has Hard to Kill, which improves his health by 4% per rank in addition to providing a small health regeneration bonus. The Beast and Slayer of Terramorphous mods directly boost maximum health, and the Titan, Legendary Berserker, and Slayer of Terramorphous mods give points to Hard to Kill.
- Axton has Healthy, which improves his health by 6% per rank, and Forbearance, which improves his health by 1% per rank in addition to reducing status duration. The Pointman and Slayer of Terramorphous mods directly boost his maximum health, the Legendary Soldier and Slayer of Terramorphous mods grant points to Healthy, and the Specialist mod grants points to Forbearance.
- Maya has Restoration, which improves her health by 3% per rank in addition to providing the ability to heal allies by shooting them. The Banshee mod negatively affects Maya's health, but grants shield bonuses. The Matriarch and Slayer of Terramorphous mods boost her health, and the Nurse mod boosts the Restoration skill.
- Zer0 has Ir0n Hand, which improves his health and melee damage by 3% per rank. The Survivor and Slayer of Terramorphous mods boost maximum health directly, and the Infiltrator, Slayer of Terramorphous, and Legendary Hunter mods boost Ir0n Hand skill.
- Gaige has Potent as a Pony, improving health by 4% per rank (and 2% per rank for Deathtrap). The Sweetheart mod improves maximum Health for the team, while Slayer of Terramorphous provides a personal bonus to health. The Roboteer mod gives points to Potent as a Pony.
- Krieg has Feed the Meat, which improves his health by 10% per rank but also increases his shield recharge delay by 0.5 seconds. The Slab and Legendary Psycho mods boost Feed the Meat.
Max health is equal to base health plus health from shield multiplied by one plus percentage increase (i.e. skills & vitality relics) plus health from current COM. The formula looks like this:
MaxHealth = (BaseHealth + ShieldHealth) * (1 + RelicHealth + Skills + BadassPoints) + ComHealth
The Steps are as follows:
88668 Max HP
Aside from improving a character's maximum health, it's also important to ensure it isn't lost completely. There are many ways to restore lost health.
Healing Kits and Insta-Health Vials can be either found, or bought from a Medical Vending Machine. Healing Kits can be carried in a character's inventory and used in between battles, while Insta-Health Vials are consumed immediately when they are picked up or bought. In Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, there is a larger variant of the Insta-Health Vial, that heals for more.
Shields made by Tediore always have a health-regenerating function (the exception being the Tediore starter shields that a player must buy at the start of the game, during the Fix'er Upper mission). Furthermore, Wee Wee's Super Booster has very fast health regeneration similar to a Tediore Panacea shield, and the Rose will regenerate 33% of the character's maximum health when the shield is depleted.
Transfusion grenade mods have a vampiric effect, emitting homing wisps that steal health from enemies and gift them back to the character who threw it, or the character's closest allies to the grenade's targets.
If a character has at least two health points more than 50% of maximum health, he/she cannot be crippled by a single enemy attack; instead, the character's health will be reduced to an extremely low value. This mechanic is known as health gating and is intended to give the player a chance to recover or escape in the face of extremely powerful enemies. The health gate does not protect against damage-over-time effects or environmental damage such from exploding barrels.
Understanding health gating is important when fighting raid bosses because their attacks are often powerful enough to completely deplete health and shields in the absence of the health gate. A player may prefer to keep their maximum health low (such as by using a Turtle Shield) when fighting raid bosses so that health regeneration and other effects can more quickly bring their health back to approximately 50% after being hit, ensuring that they remain protected by the health gate.
- Bonus maximum health from class mods and shields is not filled up when a game is joined. Upon entering, the character will appear to be lightly 'wounded' and will need to 'replenish' the extra health to bring it up to its boosted total.
- Shields manufactured by Torgue always increase the wearer's maximum health.
- Shields manufactured by Tediore always provide health regeneration (except the low-level basic shields from the Fyrestone Med Vendor at the very beginning of the game).
- Levelling up will fully restore a character's health to its new maximum health limit.
- Main article: Crippled
If a character is crippled but unable to get a second wind, this will result in death. When this occurs, the character is teleported to the most recent New-U Station and restored for seven percent of its money as a reconstruction fee. If his or her remaining wealth is less than seven dollars however, the fee is waived.
Exiting a map by falling off the known map, entering a kill-zone, or being hit by a car will result in an instant death bypassing all normal considerations of health depletion. Such kill-zones may be as little as a step down onto a lower elevation in some cases. Death by falling incurs the usual reconstruction fee, although T-Bone Junction noticeably presents an exception to this rule.
In Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, death will also restore about a third of the total ammo capacity for all weapon ammo types, excluding rocket launcher and grenade ammo, upon respawning. This doesn't happen if the character died instantly to an environmental hazard and didn't trigger a de-digistruction animation (such as being run over by a train or falling into a killzone).