The Average Gamer

Borderlands 2 – Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep (DLC) Preview

Borderlands 2’s final piece of DLC has finally been revealed! Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep (with its lack of pluralisation still throwing me off) will be hitting your respective gaming platform on June 25th, and will be included as part of the Season Pass if you’re into that sort of thing. I was given a chance to get my loot-ridden hands all over it and play the up-coming DLC myself, as well as sit down with the Lead Writer Andrew ‘The Leak’ Burch to talk about the plot and influences which brought it into fruition. Any potential spoilers have been hidden, simply highlight the text area if you want to see them – don’t say I didn’t warn you. Let’s roll!


TTADK, or Dragon Keep as I will be referring to it from now on, is based in a fantasy world loosely based on the game of Dungeons & Dragons, as well as almost every major fantasy story/game/location known. Lilith, Brick, Mordecai, and Tiny Tina are playing the Borderlands exclusive board game “Bunkers and Badasses” (though you can play as any character you want in-game), and somehow Tiny Tina was given the title equivalent of ‘Dungeon Master’ – leaving her in charge of damn near everything ever, and your job is to sit back and enjoy the fantastical ride.

Tina essentially becomes the narrator, and lead plot creator, throughout the entire DLC. Tina is the one who makes everything happen, while throwing in a few one-liners and jokes in as she goes. The ‘Dungeon Master’ position boils down to Tina being the driver of the plot.

If Tina decides she likes skeletons and dragons, with a pirate ship thrown in for good luck, then BAM! Suddenly skeletons riding a pirate ship followed by a dragon will appear as you play, with Tiny Tina narrating her twisted logic and excited as it happens. It’s a simple method of delivering gameplay and plot, but it works really well.

GolemThere has been some dialling back of Tiny Tina’s character. She’s still the crazy, whacky, slightly psychopathic girl we’ve come to know and love, but not quite as loud and in your face as she was in Borderlands 2. I loved her in the original game, thought she was hysterical and was one of my favourite characters, but for those who felt she was too over-the-top and hyper will get along with Tina a bit better in Dragon Keep.

However, fear not ye who are not well-versed in the ways of D&D – there is something in here for everyone. Dragon Keep references so many other fantasy works it would be nigh impossible to list them all, but the key ones worth name-dropping include: Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Dark Souls, and a slew of board game related stuff.

DragonIn true Borderlands 2 fashion: if you know of it, there will be a reference. There are: spiders, mimics, dragons, wizards, treants, dwarves, skeletons, orcs, knights, golems, and more! There are also pixies. Damn annoying pixies that reminded me of Navi from The Legend of Zelda.

There are some returning characters, from both previous Borderlands 2 DLC and the original game, who are tied in with the main plot of Dragon Keep. The biggest shockers, at least that I saw, were: [SPOILERS]Torgue, Ellie, Maxxi, and the biggest shock: Roland[/SPOILERS]. This helps tie all the DLC and original game into one neat package in Dragon Keep. Gearbox claims that this DLC will be bigger than all other pieces of DLC combined, so who knows who else could be hidden away who I didn’t run into.


The gameplay is everything we have come to expect of Borderlands 2. The quests are hilarious, self-referential, loot-filled, and incredibly tongue-in-cheek. The over-arcing plot with Tiny Tina is quite a stark contrast to the rest of the DLC, but it helps bring closure to both Tina as a character and Borderlands 2’s original ending. There will be some fetch quests, quite a few fetch quests, but there will also be a lot of dragons. It’s a really satisfying balance of looting, killing, exploring, and laughing – everything Borderlands 2 was made to deliver.

Overall: I’m excited for Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, more so than any previous piece of Borderlands 2 DLC. I love the wit, the setting, the plot, and especially Tiny Tina. I’m a Season Pass holder, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it again on June 25th. Any Borderlands fan would be doing themselves a disservice if they don’t at least give this DLC a consideration. Bring on the dragons!


After playing Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon’s Keep I was fortunate enough to sit down with Andrew ‘The Leak’ Burch, Gearbox’s Lead Writer, prior to his rather unfortunate Tweet, to talk about Tiny Tina’s Assault of Dragon Keep’s narrative, history, and influences:

Andrew Burch

Andrew Burch, Lead Writer

From playing Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, Dungeons & Dragons must have been a big influence. What were your key inspirations for the DLC?

The very initial inspiration for the DLC actually wasn’t actually Tiny Tina or Dungeons & Dragons. It was originally: what if Handsome Jack had a nephew, and this nephew ran a base full of robots, and he ran that base like Dungeons & Dragons. What we liked about that idea was that it would be cool to have a character who could suddenly change the gameplay and landscape on the fly.

It was an interesting way of doing crazy shit while still remaining narratively justified. We thought about it and decided we didn’t want to fight robots any more. We’ve done that, there’s already a bunch of DLC, what if we just go the whole hog and do the Dungeons & Dragons thing?

Each of our DLC packs had a theme. DLC 1 was sand pirates, DLC 2 was monster trucks, and DLC 3 was safaris. As a result of people really getting onboard with this fantasy D&D idea, this is the biggest DLC we’ve put out by far. There’s more original art, quests, and content than all of the other three DLC packs put together. The whole team was taking inspiration from stuff like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Dark Souls and all sorts of fantasy backgrounds. There’s even a quest that’s about how weird it is use one piece of art to reference another piece of art, that in itself also references Game of Thrones.


What’s your favourite D&D mention in the DLC?

There’s a quest called “Roll Insight”, where you have to solve a riddle and roll your insight stats to see if that works, [SPOILER]but you don’t have an insight stat to roll so instead when you’re about to solve the riddle a huge “D20” dice falls from the sky and crushes the guy and Lilith says “Brick, what did you do? Don’t roll the dice on the board. You crushed the piece,” and Brick’s all “I’m sorry,” and then the quest just ends there. That’s probably my favourite[/SPOILER].

What is your favourite mythical creature in the DLC?

I really like the pixies. The pixies are really cool because they’re frenemies. If you attack them, accidentally or on purpose, they will try to kill you. If you can get close enough to them, and hit the ‘Use’ key, they’ll become your friend and give you buffs. Random buffs, but they will always help you out in combat. They’re pretty awesome.

What are your favourite reference in the DLC?

There’s quest that’s about references, the one I mentioned earlier, and Game of Thrones. There’s a whole section there where Tiny, Brick, and Lilith have this 30 second conversation about which is better: the books or the show? It’s like word-for-word the conversation you always hear people having in discussions like that in real life. You never get to hear that in video games or Borderlands because there’s such a set storyline, whereas this way you get to hear a bit more of a casual and laid back side of the characters. Except maybe in Bioware games, they’re pretty good.

Flamerock Town

Why did you choose to bring back certain characters from Borderlands 2 in TTADK? [SPOILERS]

There were three thoughts: the first was what are the characters that people want to see more of? And that was: Torgue, so we brought back Torgue. The second was what are characters that we haven’t had in any of the other DLC? That was: the original three Vault Hunters and Ellie. The third was what characters work best with Tina’s ongoing problems: dealing with people’s death. We brought in a lot of slightly perverted versions of characters we already know, but the way they exist in her head. They’re all just a little bit tweaked, because that was how Tina saw them.

Who was your favourite character to write? For this DLC specifically.

Tina was fun to write, I tried to tone her down her bit because she’s a very divisive character, I knew she was going to be there the whole time so I tried to make her a little bit less shrill and dial back a bit of her intensity. Torgue was fun to write because I wanted to use him and Ellie to comment on geek culture. There’s a mission called “Fake Geek Guy” where [Ellie] doesn’t believe that [Torgue] is a real geek because he works on his body. Meaning you have to go around collecting geeky questions to prove he’s a real geek. It was fun to role-reverse the exact opposite guy you would expect to be in that situation being discriminated against for whatever reason. It’s the least subtle quest, because it’s about my personal irritations.

Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on June 25th. It will be included in the Borderlands 2 Season Pass.

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