True Vault Hunter Mode, often abbreviated as TVHM, is a game mode available to players once the story of Borderlands 2 has been completed on Normal Mode. True Vault Hunter Mode is a mode whereby players can replay the campaign on a more difficult setting retaining all of their skills, Levels, XP, guns and equipment. Players will be offered a replay of the campaign in True Vault Hunter Mode after completing the final mission and seeing the credits roll. This mode would return in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and in Borderlands 3.
Borderlands 2 / Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
True Vault Hunter Mode poses a new challenge for players and offers a more realistic experience in which some factors of the game have been modified to pose a greater difficulty. Some of the differences in True Vault Hunter Mode as opposed to Normal mode are:
- Increased Enemy Health: Foes will have far more health than they would in Normal mode, even if the enemy is of the same level as the character. Proportionally the enemies' health will be greater.
- Elemental Efficiency: Elements receive a much larger bonus/penalty versus targets they are strong/weak against. In the case of an enemy that takes less damage from a certain element, they will gain extreme elemental resistance (i.e loaders will heavily resist incendiary damage as if they are all HOT Loaders, compared to only resisting it partially)
- More Badasses: Badass variants of common enemies are more frequent in True Vault Hunter Mode, which in turn makes combat more challenging.
- New Enemies: Due to the rise in difficulty in True Vault Hunter Mode some of the Normal mode enemies have been renamed. New enemies also appear: The Psycho can spawn as the Armored Maniac, which is essentially an armored version of the original enemy. Another example would be enemies like Blaster Nomad and Blaster Goliath, both of which are absent in normal mode.
- Better Loot: Due to the nature of difficulty increase and the fact that the game becomes more difficult, in True Vault Hunter Mode there is a higher chance of enemies dropping better loot. Chests will also contain better loot.
- More XP from Missions: In True Vault Hunter Mode the player will gain substantially more XP from missions than they would in normal mode.
- Post-Game Level Scale: Once the story is complete, all enemies will scale with the host's level, up to level 50.
In Borderlands 3, True Vault Hunter Mode is essentially unchanged, with two major exceptions:
- Scaling: Enemies, loot and missions always scale to the host's level, similar to Borderlands 2's Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode.
- More Anointed Enemies: While True Vault Hunter Mode in Borderlands 3 does not introduce any new enemies, anointed enemies, who only appear in Normal Mode as minibosses, can now spawn as normal enemies in any map with COV, albeit at a lower rate than regular badasses. As with badasses, the types of anointed enemies that can spawn in a given map depends on what types of non-badass enemies can spawn in said map.
One strategy is to kill The Warrior a few times in normal mode before beginning True Vault Hunter Mode. This farming tactic benefits characters with extra loot and experience before setting out on the harder difficulty level. It is also possible to use the Tier 3 rematches in Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage since the enemies can scale up to level 50, so they drop high(er) level weapons, making the start of the game simpler.
Some players recommend avoiding optional missions that reward unique/legendary items until the Warrior is defeated. This is because after the Warrior is killed, the missions, along with the reward items, will scale to the characters' levels up to level 50, making the reward items considerably stronger. That being said, the usefulness of such items diminishes as enemy levels continue to rise in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode.
- Vault Hunters will most likely reach or be close to the level 50 cap by the end of this mode.
- When the Warrior is defeated, all zones are reset to a fixed level 50. This affects enemy levels, vending machine items, and missions that have not been accepted. Missions that have been previously accepted retain the level they were accepted at. Such missions' difficulty indicator may not reflect actuality.
- When the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack is installed while at level 50, the amount of XP rewarded in True Vault Hunter Mode is greatly reduced. However, without the Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode upgrade packs, it is impossible to gain any experience.