Continued from my previous entry.

Playing Borderlands helped make me aware of some other ways of handling player resources. First, you have bullets. Bullets are essentially your mana points in Borderlands. You have, like, eight kinds of mana points, one for each major type of weapon — repeaters, revolvers, combat rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, machine guns, rocket launchers, and grenades.

Each gun you pick up amounts to a different kind of spell. You compare the stats of each spell gun you find to the others you pick up, and your character can typically specialize in one type of gun over the others. You have a melee option (which can be specialized by the berserker), but more often than not, your mana points bullets determine how long it is before you need a resupply.

You also have your character’s action skill, which is on a “cooldown.” You can use it periodically, usually to gain an early advantage in battle, or to turn the tide in your favor. It isn’t very often that you can use your character’s action skill more than once in a single encounter, but with a particularly long encounter, and with the right investment of skill points, you might actually need it.

Finally, your character has a shield, which is a form of regenerating hit points. Your shield generally constitutes half of your character’s health at a given time, and it’s what you lose first in a battle. Some enemies might be able to quickly deplete your shield, or bypass it entirely, but those are special situations. The idea of regenerating hit points neatly bypasses the need for potions or trips back to town.

I can’t help but wonder, though, if maybe there’s a greater problem. Why have a need for hit points at all? Why is it necessary for a “game over” when you run out of hit points? I understand the “death penalty” associated with allowing yourself to run out of an important resource, but why does it only apply to health? What if, for example, running out of money (or GP, or Gil, or whatever) was treated the same way?