Built by Eridians as an eternal prison for the Destroyer, Pandora has highly unusual features for a celestial body. Everything from aggressive fauna to unpredictable climate to sources of deadly mutations is specifically designed to attract, challenge, and at the same time repel conquerors, researchers and adventurers of all sorts.
The major forms of fauna on Pandora aggressively protect their territory; an approach is usually met with immediate attack. Pandora has many different creatures that are seldom friendly towards the Vault Hunters. These include skags, larva crab worms, scythid, spiderants, drifters, rakk, rakk hives, varkids, sand worms, bullymongs, threshers, boroks, scaylions, crystalisks, and many other dangerous creatures.
There are many undiscovered species on Pandora as well. Patricia Tannis also mentions there are many species of bugs. Some of these bugs are the glowing green flies seen when approaching a skag pile or toilets.
In the Parched Fathoms, one can see large structures resembling barnacles, while in Wurmwater there are many terrain features that appear to be made out of old, dead coral. This may indicate that some kind of marine fauna existed on Pandora, despite drastic climate changes, or these creatures are hibernating during Pandora's apparent dry season.
An intelligent species encountered on Pandora are the guardians, however it is revealed they are AI-controlled husks or models of Eridians. No actual Eridians are encountered, and these Guardians are believed to be protectors from the extinct Eridian civilization.
There are a variety of plants on Pandora, although the local flora is sparse in many areas. The majority of the vegetation present is similar in appearance to flora found in the south-western United States. One of the most common plants or plant-analogues resembles cacti with orange glowing 'eyes' found throughout the desert-like environment of the Arid Badlands and beyond. This particular plant is possibly the "cesium cactus" referenced in the mission briefing for Big Game Hunter.
Other types of flora encountered include:
- Mushroom-like growths can be found in the Arid Badlands and many of the cave areas (probably used as food for local animals and human settlers).
- In the Rust Commons, there is some plant life, including moss-like plants on the ground and large, sunflower-style plants that grow with 3 heads (apparently dangerous to settlers). Lily-pads appear in the large pools of water. Wild grasses, weeds and flowers can be seen to bloom in small patches throughout the zones.
- Dead, blackened trees can be found on various parts of the world. This may be seasonal and they just haven't awoken yet. One is located in the town of New Haven.
- Bladeflower Plants can be found in Skag Gully and elsewhere. T.K. Baha asks the Vault hunters to collect the seeds from them. They are the main cash crop of Pandora and are edible.
- Some of the local plant life introduced in Borderlands 2 are actually dangerous. Firemelons are a prime example, as they explode when disturbed, setting everything around them on fire.
GeographyThe areas of Pandora encountered in the story consist of snowy or volcanic-ash-strewn mountainous areas, large desert valleys and coastal stretches. The terrain is criss-crossed with canyons, ravines, rocky outcrops and plateaus. Large bodies of water are also present bordering several of the zones. Due to the repeated presence of raised construction it is likely that many of these areas are much wetter environments during different times of the Pandoran year.
- See also: Maps of the Borderlands
One can roughly divide human settlements on Pandora into three different groups.
The first are military encampments established during the Crimson Lance occupation. These are huge, well fortified structures and bunkers, made of steel and concrete. In-game examples include the Crimson Enclave (designed to control the heart of the ECHOnet) and Fort Knoxx.
The non-hostile civilian establishments constitute the second group. Due to general lack of resources, the inhabitants laid their hands on the only material they had in abundance: scrap metal and garbage (however, occasionally there are more well-made structures made from wood or bricks, like Helena Pierce's office). Although not exactly solid or cozy, these buildings offer some proper conditions and facilities (like power, canalization, etc.), making them a good place to rest or make business. Without proper organization, many of these settlements were constructed virtually ad hoc, turning towns into densely populated mazes of blocks, stair flights, alleys, backyards, etc. When the fauna of Pandora turned hostile and the crime-levels soared, it became necessary for every town to hastily assemble rudimentary fortifications.
The third and the last group is loosely made of bandit camps of various kinds. These gangs reside in various places, occupying defunct industrial installations, inhabiting natural dwellings, or simply stacking up near the roads and towns, hoping for easy prey and loot. Their buildings are relatively simple: mostly huts and shacks, offering little more than primitive shelter, storage, and sometimes toilets. Only the most notorious leaders and the biggest groups manage to reach some kind of higher organization; some of these bases even achieved their own names, like Thor Digtown, Lockdown Palace, or Midgetville.
Millennia before the events of Borderlands, a highly advanced Eridian civilization (said to not be gods nor demons, but people who were literally able to pluck stars from the sky) created Pandora and its moon Elpis in an effort to stop and imprison the cosmic entity known as The Destroyer. The planet itself was constructed with an impenetrable but unstable Eridium mantle, and a giant Eridian weapon known as The Warrior was used to protect it from those who attempted to stop the Eridians' work and gain favor with The Destroyer. A Siren named Nyriad completed the sealing of The Destroyer, leeching all the collective energy of the Eridians to perform this monumental task at the cost of their lives and civilization.
To keep The Destroyer fed and sedated, the Eridians spread rumors of what became known as "The Vault" to lure unsuspecting treasure hunters to their demise every 200 years. Little is known about what else the Eridians have done on the planet, but by the presence of various ruins and the famed Vaults containing The Warrior and the Guardians, it can be inferred that it was used as a remote prison location for other dangerous entities as well.
The Atlas corporation arrived at some point before the events of Borderlands. The company set up facilities in the search for the alien technology that was believed to be hidden on the planet. Outposts were established during this frenzy of activity, and new colonists began to settle in and around these makeshift archaeological digs.
Little or nothing was found, however word spread about the anticipated cache of technology within The Vault. Rumors soon circulated, triggering a second wave of fortune hunters to touch down on the marginally developed planet. Many of these people were heavily armed, highly driven, competitive, and had no affiliation with Atlas.
The Commerce Grid was most likely established as these freelancers started trading amongst themselves and Atlas employees. The Fast Travel Network was also likely established during this period to help facilitate the easy transmission of goods and services.
Decades before the events of Borderlands, the Dahl corporation arrived upon Pandora. The Crimson Lance, and by extension Atlas, still held the strongest controlling interest on Pandora at that time, so it is likely that Dahl entered under the pretext of mining Pandora's abundant mineral wealth. This was a boon to the local populace as it meant a sudden, prolonged influx of supplies, products, and materials for expansion. With the material came a new wave of trained, educated specialists, managers and planners. A new city, dubbed "Haven", was founded close to the Headstone Eridium mines, well away from Atlas interference.
New outposts were founded around mining resources. Prefabricated refineries and other large industrial facilities were quickly erected and put into operation to process the ore. In addition to the vast quantities of industrial might, slave labor was imported to Pandora in the form of off-world convicts.
The Dahl Withdrawal
In the previous decades, Dahl investment on the planet has reached its peak, with the only real regular contribution being a steady trickle of off-world convicts, and a few essential goods. A kind of economic homeostasis has been reached; life was about as good on Pandora as it had ever been (which isn't saying much).
A little over two years before the events of Borderlands, Patricia Tannis took her first steps onto Pandora. The ECHOnet was established, or at least perfected, with technical expertise from Tannis. The first key fragment to the Vault was also discovered in or around Headstone Mine. Atlas somehow received word of the discovery, and deployed a large unit of Crimson Lance to Pandora, the 3rd Starborne Brigade out of D Company. Faced with the impending invasion of Atlas's soldiers, Dahl was forced to abandon their plans for Pandora and flee the planet.
The Dahl withdrawal was messy, leaving hundreds, if not thousands, of employees and their families behind. Little effort was made to take the heavy, expensive mining machinery off-world, apparently having been deemed too unimportant to risk more casualties or delays in extraction efforts. Among the resources that Dahl left behind was their mining vessel Sanctuary, which the Crimson Lance annexed into a large human settlement and put under martial law. As to Tannis, she was directed to abandon her work, although ultimately her research into the Vault gave her incentive enough to refuse her orders and she remained behind.
The off-world convicts were also left behind. They broke out from their various labor camps, using the materials and weapons of their former guards and eventually codified into feudal and tribal arrangements. A number of bandit lords rose to prominence among their number, each controlling various regions, some arranged in loose hierarchies with lesser leaders showing allegiance to the more powerful gangs. Haven was overrun by the bandits, prompting the residents to establish a new town further to the west, finding building materials easy to come by within a massive dump - New Haven.
The bandit lord Sledge, in possession of a Vault key fragment, rallied other unnamed bandit tribes under his banner. Through force of arms and ruthlessness, he terrorized the areas surrounding Headstone Mine in the effort to find more key fragments. Another key fragment initially found by Tannis fell into the hands of Krom, a rival bandit lord. Tannis, with her own agenda to open the Vault, had her transmissions intercepted by the Crimson Lance force led by Commandant Steele, who herself coveted the key to the Vault and began to hatch a plan to seize it for herself. And as all this was going on, four Vault Hunters sitting on a bus were suddenly contacted by a Guardian Angel. Guided by her, the Vault Hunters recovered the pieces of the Key and opened the Vault, releasing The Destroyer only to blast it into submission.
Fall of Atlas
After the opening of the Vault, Atlas began to suffer a string of disasters. The first was the death of Commandant Steele during the Vault's opening, causing significant chaos in the ranks of the Crimson Lance. General Alphonso Knoxx made an (admittedly half-hearted) attempt to restore order to Pandora, but was also killed. The Atlas CEO was later poisoned and killed by Professor Nakayama of Hyperion, according to Nakayama himself.
Atlas was ultimately forced to leave Pandora, abandoning what remained of the Crimson Lance. With no sense of command anymore, the Lance went rogue. Some of them sought refuge in Old Haven and essentially shot at anybody that moved, but they were later wiped out by the Vault Hunters. Others were mentioned as having joined bandit tribes. After the events of Borderlands 2, Atlas was revived by former Hyperion Employee Rhys.
The Hyperion Age
Five years later, Handsome Jack, now leader of the Hyperion corporation, took all credit for the opening of The Vault and became an overnight trillionaire with the discovery of Eridium (caused by the Destroyer's defeat cracking the planet's mantle) and patenting of E-tech technologies. He then took on the task of 'liberating' Pandora from its outlaw population using an army of loader robots, starting with the destruction of New Haven and its residents. He then proceeded with the goal of uncovering a second Vault, this time to gain control of the ancient Eridian weapon known as The Warrior. Combating the Hyperion takeover was the Crimson Raiders, a resistance force made up of former Vault Hunters and Crimson Lance that operated from Sanctuary, though it alone was clearly not enough to so much as put a dent in the corporate giant's power.
In order to stop others from awakening the Warrior before he could, Jack sent an off-world communique, hoping to attract treasure hunters to Pandora, where he would have them killed before they reached their goal. Little did he know that some treasure hunters don't die so easily, and six Vault Hunters who survived Jack's attempt to kill them joined with the Crimson Raiders, destroyed The Warrior, and killed Handsome Jack.
Following Jack's defeat, Hyperion presence on the planet became minimal due to the hostility of the native population and the lack of a clear goal providing a reason to be on Pandora. Hyperion presence was mainly relegated to the Helios space station until its destruction, which ultimately ended their occupation of the planet.
The Children of the Vault
Over the course of the next seven years, the bandit tribes were united under the banner of the Children of the Vault. Led by the Siren Tyreen Calypso and her brother Troy, they began a campaign to release the seal on Pandora and take The Destroyer's power for themselves. The Crimson Raiders tried to fight back against the growing force of the COV's united strength and the Calypsos' live streamed propaganda, but their efforts continued to dwindle until a new group of Vault Hunters arrived to join their ranks. Together, they were able to ultimately kill the Calypsos before they could destroy the universe.
- Arid Badlands
- Dahl Headlands
- Rust Commons West
- Rust Commons East
- Salt Flats
- Jakobs Cove
- Parched Fathoms
- Windshear Waste
- New Haven
- Old Haven
- Jakobs Cove
- T-Bone Junction
- The Beatdown
- Tartarus Station
Some of the settlements under civilian control serve as bases of operations for player activity. These locations are generally stocked with many amenities from transportation systems to supplies, and also provide starting points for most of the missions available throughout the story.
Borderlands 3 Regions
- Covenant Pass
- The Droughts
- Ascension Bluff
- Devil's Razor
- The Splinterlands
- Guts of Carnivora
- Konrad's Hold
- Sandblast Scar
- Cathedral of the Twin Gods
- The Great Vault
- Destroyer's Rift
- The Slaughter Shaft
- The map that comes with the Borderlands GOTY edition states that the game takes place on the east coast of Pandora.
- Correspondingly, an in-game texture taken from Borderlands 2 (seen above) indicates that game takes place in "Northwest Coast Section 12".
- Despite Borderlands and Borderlands 2 sharing at least one location (Arid Nexus - Badlands/The Arid Badlands), the included map makes its specific location unclear. However, based on the location of its connection to the Eridium Blight, the Arid Badlands (and much of the previous game's areas) are to the north of most Borderlands 2 locations.
- There are a large number of stranded boats, bridges over dried up rivers, houses on stilts and towns with docks far from water, the town of Oasis in particular which is built like a seaside resort but has no water and has recently experienced a drought that has killed all the townsfolk except Shade. This suggests that the sea level on Pandora fluctuates wildly and that winter is a 'wet' season while summer is a 'drought' season. This unexpected rapid change in climate could have contributed to the hardships of the first settlers and led to the colonists adapting by storing water in the many water towers during the winter to survive through the summer.
- Parameters of Pandora as a celestial body from the lore are physically inaccurate and impossible. First off, as seen in the games, this planet actually does not rotate itself (it is tidally locked), and all available to visit regions reside on the side that faces away from its sun. So the 'rotation period' of 90 hours is actually an orbital period of Elpis, and the day-night cycle is defined by the reflected sunlight. That should have the following consequences: Pandora's sun is far more luminous than Earth's, and Elpis is much closer to Pandora than Moon is to Earth.
- If life on Pandora's far side is sustained by the reflected sunlight, then the Pandora's sun is a white subgiant star, and other side is heated to the point of melting, as well as entire surface of Elpis (if it doesn't have an albedo of 99.999%, but it doesn't). Pandora's atmosphere shouldn't actually exist in that case too because of solar wind evaporation.
- Elpis should have much lower orbit than depicted in games, and probably would be unstable to the point of gravitational tearing (so the 'crackening' is a very valid consequence from that standpoint, but it should be much more violent and would result in a formation of a ring system).
- It is highly doubtful that a habitable zone around a white subgiant star can even exist. If it does, habitable planet's orbit must reside further away from the star, and orbital period is much longer than described 10 Earth years. Also, with a given eccentricity, seasonal changes will be much more severe than a sudden flash-freeze or a drying up, but much slower.
- In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympius and gave it to man, Zeus punished Prometheus by creating Pandora. For fear of additional reprisals, Prometheus warned his brother Epimetheus against accepting any gifts from Zeus, but Epimetheus did not listen, and married Pandora. Pandora had been given a large jar (Pandora's box) and instruction by Zeus to keep it closed, but she had also been given the gift of curiosity, and ultimately opened it. When she opened it, all of the evils, ills, diseases, and burdensome labor that mankind had not known previously, escaped from the jar. As she quickly tried to close it again, all of the content in the jar already escaped, except for the one thing at the very bottom: hope.
- Pandora's moon is called Elpis. In Greek Mythology, Elpis is the spirit/god of Hope and the last thing freed from Pandora's Box.
- Pandora is one of many Greek Mythology references in the game.
- "Pandora" and "Prometheus" are two of Saturn's inner moons.