Welcome to A Modder's Compendium
I've played Borderlands all the way through a couple times now. I didn't find very many interesting guns the first time through, so for the second round I started looking into modding. Lo and behold, I discovered how to construct guns, and suddenly the game was awesome! I could finally use combat rifles for something! It was great. I played with a varying assortment of constructs, and found a whole new joy in finding new combinations of parts that yielded completely unexpected outcomes. All was well and joyous. Then my curious mind wondered how much further it could go. A friend got a stock shotgun and a rose omega shield online, and I thought, well, it's silly over-powered, but that indicates the game has more flexibility. I tried to look into it further, but found the majority of the modding forums to be completely outdated and apparently very weak in their communities. Most of the data I got was wrong, and although luckily it didn't ruin my save completely, I had plenty of disturbing freeze-ups and a couple of times I was worried I was going to fry the x-box. So here I am. I found a good solid community. I've been editing here for a little while now, and as much as I've seen a few people that are very touchy about modding, I've seen plenty of people curious and posting for help. I don't know everything about modding. I don't even know very much, but what I do know, and what knowledge I can gather, will be laid out here. Any contributions are greatly appreciated.
The ethical implications of modding Borderlands are plain and clear. The intention of the developers was of course for the game to be played as it is presented. That is the common desire of new gamers, and bringing a contrasting gameplay preference to online matches is inconsiderate to say the least. As this is an unregulated area of the game, courtesy is all that prevents people abusing it online, however the internet is notorious for it's lack of courtesy, Does that mean that modding should be patched altogether, or that public matches should be moderated more? That is for the developers to ponder. The only decision you get to make is what you are going to do with the knowledge. You can either use it, and I'd ask you to use it responsibly if you do, or not use it, and choose to continue playing the game legit, but with the knowledge of what is out there, and what you might be in for if you decide to try a random online match.
Playing with modded items responsibly it very straight-forward. Keep it out of the online public matches. Offline solo or splitscreen is obviously your turf, and private matches online, arranged with disclosure of intent to use modded items are fine, as long as everybody knows what they're getting into. I would recommend you keep a clean unmodded character for playing online legit, and a second character for experimentation.
Dealing with modders while playing legit can be quite frustrating. Methods discussed in the Vigilante section should only be employed in circumstances where someone is actively trying to bother you, and not just trying to play along with a crutch. When dealing with such a "crutch" player, often duping or donating better gear is far more effective, and can yield a useful team-mate.
Accessing Your Save-Data
In order to begin modding, you need to have access to your save-file data, and you need a computer with the appropriate software to view and edit it. To gain access to your save data, different methods are appropriate depending on the system you use.
Hard-drive transfer cables are available, although USB thumbdrives are a cheaper easier alternative, since the patch in April. Thumbdrives must be at least one gig.
I don't know - anybody have expertise?
X-box, Windows, Modio Method
Using Modio is easiest. Plug in your device once you've got it formatted by the X-Box and your save file is on it. In Modio, click on the main button (the big one with the M) and select Explore Device. Then drop down the file menu in the window that pops up and click Open/Close Drive. Once it loads your device, select the appropriate User Profile and navigate in until you find your Borderlands save data. Right click on the file you want to mod and extract it. It should save it to your desktop. Then fire up WillowTree and edit away.
Once you've finished editing your file, pull up Modio and open up that main menu again. This time, click open file, and select from computer. Select your edited file. Once the little window pops up, make sure to click the Rehash/Resign button, and then click Save to Device. Once the device interface loads, select the appropriate user profile to save the data in (if it's a bunch of indecipherable numbers, you can compare it to the line in the middle of the "Open file from computer" window) and double click it. From there, you're back to the x-box.
I don't know, probably pretty easy - input welcome
Editing Your Save-Data
Editing save data was originally a very complex task involving HEX editing and lots of trial and error, heavy on the error. Now there is a wonderful utility out called WillowTree . Once you've downloaded it, use it to open your .sav file. From the first tab visible, moving to the right you have a tab with your character's basic attributes, then the weapons portion of your backpack, followed by the items portion, then your skills, then quests, ammo pools and ECHO logs.
Constructing Weapons and Shields
Weapons are generated by very strict rules, and anything straying too far outside those rules gets deleted as your character loads. Gearcalc has been developed to simplify this process, letting you choose weapon or shield parts from lists, and restricting lists of other parts appropriately to follow the rules. This is the easiest, safest, and least shunned method of modding.
Items designed in gearcalc can be exported to clipboard and imported from clipboard into WillowTree, although you'll need to set the level and quality sliders appropriately.
Constructing Class Mods and Grenade Mods
Class mods are more challenging to build, as there is no gearcalc for them, however they can be assembled within WillowTree, and can be planned out using BLModding . I plan to write up a more clear and concise set of tables here soon.
Scorpio Stock Guns
These are the unimaginative overpowered uberhax of reknown. Remarkably easy to create, these guns take the joy out of the game to some extent in that they turn it into a rather bland shooting gallery event. This has drawn both the attention of kids who want to look cool, and people who aren't impressed. This is one of the reasons for the anti-modding movement. If you find one of these, have some one give you one, or make one yourself, for goodness' sake, don't brag about it. It's like bragging that you flipped over the chess board when you started losing. Probably not going to impress most people.
The main draw of these weapons is the potential for a metagame where everyone duels with Rose Omega shields and Stock Weapons. This would allow damage multipliers to be exaggerated and a whole new level of strategy to develop.
Not sure on this one yet. Will fill in later. Metagame.
Haven't learned much here yet. Nothing that's worked yet, anyway..
Modding Your Character
There are modded items that have surfaced that don't serve any purpose but to annoy people. I don't know how to make them, nor would I post it if I did. These are something that really are only useful for hurting people. Well, actually, the only one I know about is a negative health-regen mod. If anyone has pictures or stories, please post them..
Online there will always be jerks abusing modded items. Maybe even a friend of yours. Sometimes, people are randomly vindictive. Whatever the case, if somebody is harassing you, sometimes booting them just isn't enough. Sometimes you need to show them up. The standard methods of dealing with this is to either use Trespass with the Hunter or always save out with a Vengeance equipped. When you load in with it the effect glitches and all your weapons obtain the effect.
Has anybody developed any mods to counter the negative health-regen or anything like that?
So what's the point? Excessively overpowered guns, seemingly infinite shields - alone they ruin the game. Used exclusively in duels, these heavily modded items add a new echelon to player vs. player matches.