One of the highlights of creating a character in Borderlands from Gearbox Software and 2K Games involves mapping out one's skill tree. The idea is that when a character levels up, the player earns a skill point that can be spent on a number of different upgrades unique to his or her character class such as increased ammunition, health boosts, attack bonuses, and so on. The catch is that some of these upgrades are only available after other upgrades are unlocked and there aren't enough skill points in the game to unlock them all, so there's a definite strategy involved when it comes to choosing which way to enhance one's character. With multiple character classes available each with unique skill tree elements, it's highly unlikely that any two Borderlands characters are exactly alike.
Now with the sequel, Borderlands 2, on the way to the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC, it's time to plan your skill tree progression all over again. There's no need to wait for the game to release next week, however; Gearbox has released a skill tree simulator of sorts that allows you to set up your character's progress right now while experimenting with different options and combinations. You'll have to wait for the game to see the upgrades in action, but at least you can get a head start on things. For example, I'm mapping out the Gunzerker-class character Salvador with plenty of Brawn and Rampage boosts. It's never too early to have my eye on health regeneration and an increased rate of weapon fire.