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I've been playing Borderlands 2 on Xbox recently (havent played the first yet) and am wondering how the save game works.

If I hit Start and select Save and Quit from the menu then load my game again later it always returns me to the start of the level, meaning I have to go through and fight the same enemies again to get back up to where I originally saved. However, all my characters stats and items are saved.

Is the save meant to happen this way? I would have thought you would have loaded at the closest New-U machine rather then all the way back to the start of the level

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The spawn location after exiting the game and re-entering is sort of based on the save point locations. Some are valid for game restarts; others aren't. It will spawn you next to the most recent one that is valid.

I don't have the exact rules figured out for which are and which aren't. But take into consideration that there are several "start of the level" points. So which should it choose? And since not every level has a New-U machine, or since maybe you got to the area but didn't find the New-U, it can't spawn you at one of those every time. Or maybe you were playing at one, then someone joined, walked by a spawn point further back, then you exited before getting to the next one. But maybe that save point wasn't a valid spawn location. What if you're in another player's online game in a zone you haven't accessed yet in your own game; where should it spawn you when you go back to single-player then? It's not going to spawn you so you are stuck in a zone out-leveling you so you can't fight your way to a New-U station.

I haven't tested to figure out the exact rules for how it picks them yet. But feel free to edit this answer once we do — if we feel it's important enough. I'm not sure if I think it's a big deal; most areas don't take that long to fight/drive through unless you're under-leveled for them.

In summary, yes, it is by design that you don't always spawn at the exact last save point you walked by; but it isn't completely random either. It spawns you at the most logical point based on a spawn-point rule engine of some kind.

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There are two types of save points: New U and Fast Travel (FT) stations.

  • If you die you go back to the last New U or FT that you went past.

  • If you save & quit and restart you'll go back to the last FT station.

The FT and New U stations look similar until you activate them for the first time: then fast travel stations have a glowing globe over them once activated and can be used for travel. If the globe is orange you can travel away but not back to the station.

Some levels and boss fights don't have a fast travel station, if you restart you go to the start of the level.

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I use save + quit to quickly get to an FT station when I'm too lazy to walk to the nearest one. This is definitely the right answer. –  Sadly Not Nov 7 '12 at 18:36
    
I think this answer should include a third option: If you last passed through a normal "gate" between locations (sorry, I can't find the official name) you'll respawn at the exit of that gate (both if you die and if you save/reload) –  Ben Jackson Nov 15 '12 at 0:59
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@BenJackson those 'gates' are the end of one level and the start of the next - most levels have a FT station right at the start that triggers when you enter, but where they don't (for instance Lair of Terramorphous) you spawn at the start of the level. –  Keith Nov 15 '12 at 10:07
    
So, to sum up - assuming that FT stations are also NewU stations, if you die you go back to the last NewU you passed, if you restart you go to the last FT station? –  Allen Gould Jul 30 '13 at 18:50
    
@AllenGould Remember, restart as in a "shut down the game, reload it up" kind of restart. Saving and quitting should also tele you back to the closest FastTravel I believe. –  lumbricus lubricant Jul 30 '13 at 21:06
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