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Often times, as quest rewards, I end up with a unique item. Most of the time, I take a look at it and go "meh, this is garbage compared to what I have now" and mark it as junk.

However, many of these items have special properties that overcome their junk stats. I've taken to checking the wiki every time I find a unique quest reward just to make sure it doesn't have any hidden, super useful properties, unique abilities, synergistic tendencies, or glitches that make them invaluable. Other times, they're just really junk.

Trying to figure this out is really irritating though, and I've sold items only to find out later that they were so awesome and I've lost my chance at having them. Other times I've filled my inventory with quest rewards that I never could quite understand the usefulness of. It would be nice if there was a summary of the really critical ones to keep.

What quest rewards should I hang on to long after their acquisition? What unique items should I keep, regardless of their stats?

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What quest rewards should I hang on to long after their acquisition?

Unless you're level 50? Almost none. Most unique rewards have a rather minor, but not solely cosmetic, effect. Here's a handy dandy list of all of the effects/names/red text for easy searchability. Your mileage may vary, and you might find some weapons more useful than I do.

That aside, here's some of the most important Unique items (items you can get more than once per playthrough excluded). These are usually not just "good" but they have unique, highly useful effects aside from stats.

  • Flame of the Firehawk: Repeatedly releases novas around a downed user, great for getting second winds. Despite also being legendary, this never randomly drops.
  • Evil Smasher: There is a massive exploit that will allow an Evil smasher to turn itself/any weapon into an extreme powerhouse. If you don't use the exploit, the gun is complete garbage, however.
  • Trespasser: Just like the Borderlands 1 Hunter skill, this sniper rifle ignores shields completely.
  • Moxxie's Bad Touch Notable because if you tip too early, you'll never get this gun again in that playthrough. It's one of the best possible corrosive SMGs, so try and get a level 50 one in TVHM if it strikes your fancy.
  • Sand Hawk Notable as a one-time only weapon which is amazingly useful with The Bee shield.
  • Aquetas & Veritas, Deputy's Badge & Sheriff's Badge: Both pairs provide buffs multiplied by each player with another item of the pair.
  • Pot O' Gold Drops money, and you have one chance to get this rare drop per playthrough. You may never see it again.
  • Love Thumper: Very, very long recharge time and high roid damage. Great way to buff Melee damage at the expense of shields. It's useful to extend skills that trigger on zero shields if you don't have The Rough Rider
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You forgot about the Fibber again! :-D –  Orc JMR Mar 8 '13 at 4:04
    
@OrcJMR I considered it, but I'm not sure that, unlike the rest of these, it actually holds up well beyond it's actual level. Which barrel is the special one any why, again? –  Ben Brocka Mar 8 '13 at 14:04
    
IIRC, the quest for the Fibber is level 50 on PT2 anyway. Barrels grant different bullet effects: first one's bullets drop parabolically and bounce (useless), other one shoots 7 slow pellets, third one ricochets and splits into 9. Third and second are exploitable with The Bee. Third one especially, as it rapidly shoots fast bullets for nine times the damage, though aiming ricochets can take some getting used to. –  Orc JMR Mar 9 '13 at 13:05
    
Is there anything in the DLCs so far that I should be on the lookout for? This is otherwise an invaluable resource, thanks! –  agent86 Mar 13 '13 at 18:00
    
@agent86 Sand Hawk is a DLC weapon. There are some other interesting ones but I'd have to look them over again –  Ben Brocka Mar 13 '13 at 18:03

The Fibber for a Gunzerker is invaluable no matter what level it is. It does more than 400% crit hit damge. Whilst gunzerking with this in the left hand, the weapon in the right hand gets this bonus as well. So you have your high damage weapon in the right for monster damage. My highest damage, single shot combo is with the Fibber in the left and the Lady Fist in the right. I don't bother even using the Fibber when doing this.

For the same reason Moxxi's Rubi pistol is just as valuable. 12% health bonus for damage dealt. Once again gunzerk with this in your left and high damage in the right.

The Pimpernel is arguably the best sniper in the game when used with The Bee.

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