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I've just spent the last few hours trying to complete the boss battle with Wilhelm in Playthrough 2 of Borderlands 2. No matter what I try, I can't win this battle, and quite frankly it ticks me off so much that I now really dislike this game. I came in at level 39 and Wilhelm was 42, so I left the map and came back in at halfway through level 41, thinking it might be a closer match. However, that hasn't helped. I see loaders that spawn with skull and crossbones indicating that they are leveled above me, even though their numerical level is 39 or 40. That makes me think something's wrong.

At this point, I've respawned so many times I'm almost out of cash, and the closest I've gotten to whittling down his health is to about one-third. I've got a nice shotgun that can take care of the energizing surveyors, but they spawn a lot and don't give me a chance to battle Wilhelm much. I've tried the tactic of keeping a distance and sniping him, but that's no good because the surveyors rebuild his shield. So I've been trying to stay close and blast his critical spots at the mid-section and face, and that does take good chunks of his health with critical hits, but it's risky because of his melee spin and laser blasts, not to mention his missile launches. I'm playing as Zero, so the decoy helps, as it can give me time to run behind him and blast critical spots before it disappears.

In any case, I'm wondering how others have finished this level. It's times like this that I wonder what the developers were thinking when designing the level, or if it truly is a bug somehow, because it just seems way too difficult and takes the fun out of the game.

  • Simplest way to make a fight easier is to bring a friend. I don't recall having particularly much trouble with Wilhelm in playthrough 2, though I don't play as Zero – Ben Brocka Nov 8 '13 at 13:33
  • I have also never had a problem with him - but then, I'm always doing all sidequests and am almost always overleveling content. Did you try rapid-fire shock weapon to keep his shield low? – Orc JMR Nov 8 '13 at 13:54
  • No friends that play. :-( I also do all of the side quests and optional challenges. I thought by getting to his level things would be easier, I actually leveled up to 42 during my many re-spawns last night. Just got very tedious and annoying. – Alan Nov 9 '13 at 1:28

11 Answers 11

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First of all, you might want to reconsider your build. My experience with Zer0 is that his builds are highly situational, and using the wrong one in certain situations can make you feel very under-powered. I used his left (sniping) tree for the majority of playthrough 1, but after getting to the second playthrough it started feeling underwhelming-- I'm now back to it, but the other builds served me better in some situations. So, consider heading to a New-U station and re-speccing. I've found that his kunai (last skill in the center tree) can be devastating against certain enemies.

Second, you might want to grab some new guns. Guns start to decay in usefulness very quickly after playthrough 1, so if you've been using the same gun for a few levels now it's probably time to replace it. Grind a bit, or spend a few of your Golden Keys in Sanctuary. The difference will astound you.

Third, take out his surveyors first, always. They are a massive pain in the butt and trying to kill Wilhelm with them healing him is an uphill battle. But leave the other bots he spawns if they're not a huge nuisance-- you can use them for second winds.

Lastly, use your elements. Shock is THE best element overall, since it has no damage penalty against any kind of enemy and in playthrough 2 deals double damage against shields. I recommend a shock sniper for Zer0-- he'll dominate with it. Apart from that, definitely bring a high DPS corrosive gun, and slag, slag, slag. Zer0's kunai can apply slag, but if you're not using that build I'd recommend getting some slag grenades-- that way, you'll be able to slag him without switching guns.

  • 1) I am definitely spec'd with sniper skills, and will check out the other skill trees. 2) I spent time doing optional quests to raise my level, and got some good guns in the process. A high-power, quick-reload shotgun is what I was last using, and it sounds like corrosive may be needed. 3) Agreed. 4) I had tried a shock sniper with 2500 damage, which was good at range but didn't seem as effective close-up as the shotgun. Wish I had shock on the shotgun, I would have been through by now. – Alan Nov 9 '13 at 1:22
  • In my experience, there are two good ways of getting high sniper DPS with Zer0. The first is to get a Jakobs sniper with really high damage and aim for few but powerful critical hits: Jakobs snipers get a higher bonus to crit damage than other manufacturers. The other is to get an elemental sniper (either a Maliwan or Vladof) with high fire rate and low recoil, and try to get as many stacks of Critical Ascenti0n as possible. Going for multiple crits can make you die quickly, but your enemies' health will drop insanely fast as well. – JMcMinn Nov 11 '13 at 0:28
  • Oh, and sorry for rambling, but you may want to try something other than a shotgun if you notice you're dying quickly-- obviously, the closer to Wilhelm you get, the higher your DPS, but the harder it will be to evade him-- and with a squishy character like Zer0 evasion can be indispensable. – JMcMinn Nov 11 '13 at 0:30
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Wilhelm is weak to corrosive weapons - IIRC, when I faced him the second time I knew this and he died to a corrosive SMG in less than a minute.

If you do Tina's "You are Cordially Invited" then you should have a weapon called the Teapot or some such, it works quite well against him.

  • I've tried corrosive grenades, which helped me get to the one-third health. I do have a corrosive SMG with damage specs in the low 600s. I thought I had tried that, but may have overlooked it due the lower rating compared to other weapons. I do also have Tiny Tina's Teacup revolver, which is around 1500 damage, and will also give that a try. I have another corrosive revolver at 2400 I had tried, but wasn't having as much of an effect on his health as the high power shotgun I was using. I will try the corrosive weapons again, thanks. – Alan Nov 9 '13 at 1:09
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I finally beat Wilhelm in Playthrough 2! A big thanks and +1 to everyone that provided answers. I'm answering my own question only because comments don't allow enough space for the following details. I ended up not re-spec'ing my character, and stayed as Zero just to see if switching my fighting strategy would help. With the tips people gave me, it did! In the end, combining slag/corrosive elementals were the key. Plus, I'm sure, just plain luck!

The strategy I used was to start with a slag pistol, then switch to corrosive SMG to whittle down his health a bit. Since the slag effect doesn't last long on Wilhelm, you have to repeat this. And when surveyors would spawn to heal him, I'd switch to my high-power, quick-reload shotgun to take them out in single blasts. There would usually be at least four that would spawn.

I found I could duck behind the ice stack at the far end of the plateau next to the burning barrel, to shield from his laser blast and missile launches. Even then, I got into sudden death several times, and luckily had a surveyor nearby to get a second wind. I would run in a clockwise circle around Wilhelm, throwing out my assassin decoy as often as possible to misdirect his attention to get in close for a quick shotgun blast or more while he was slagged.

Finally, when his health got below a quarter, I used slag grenades instead of the pistol. That let me focus on just two weapons, the shotgun and SMG. In the end, I used 5 of 8 grenades, being very careful to throw one only when the slag effect had just worn off -- I didn't want to waste any grenades.

Using this strategy, I still died a few times, and it took me 45 minutes of game play to beat Wilhelm. But I did it, and my frustration with the game has subsided a bit. The encouragement from everyone helped a lot, and I'm ready to continue PT2, knowing that this isn't even the hardest map! :-/

Here are some details of my skill level and weapons, in case it helps anyone else.

Character Level 42, Shield 8719, Health 19342

Weapon                      Lvl Damage    Accuracy Fire Rate Reload Mag Size Other
--------------------------  --- --------- -------- --------- ------ -------- ----------------------
Jakobs Handy Coach Gun      40  1566 x 13   42.1     14.5      2.3     2     +11% dmg
  Shotgun (green)                                                            2 ammo per shot
Hyperion Amplified Impact   37  1500        97.6      4.6      1.9    20     SLAG 18% chance
  Pistol (blue)                                                              Firing increases accuracy
Bandit Bulets Go Fasterifed 37  646         90.4      8.6      3.5    50     CORRODE 11.5% chance
  Barfy SMG (green)                                                          846.6 corrosive dmg/sec

Hyperion Rubberized Slag    36  11890       Radius 464, Fuse Time 0.1
  Singularity Grenade (green)

Eridian Relic (white)       35  Corrosive Damage +13%
Bandit Survivor Class Mod   39  Max Health +1767, Health Regen 47.9
  Assassin (green)
Anshin Hippocratic Adaptive 37  Max Health +3011
  Shield (blue)
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The key to killing Wilhelm is to shoot him in the face when he is creating his Shield Surveyors. It destroys the surveyors and causes him to stop making them. Kill all the gun loaders then keep moving in circles. I did it with 17th level Zero, a shotgun, and a corrosive sniper.

  • Pretty late but good answer. – Ave Apr 11 '15 at 20:12
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There is a kinda glitch to how i got past this boss at only lvl 14. Going off my memory... as you enter- just to the left is a bus that you can jump on... now i don't no if this happens often but it happened to me... while on the bus- the boss was just spinning in front of me but i was just far enough for it not to hit... so i took as much time as i needed and aimed for its head- an easy kill.

  • Nice glitch to find! – Alan Feb 4 '18 at 4:14
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I used a really powerful corrosive rocket launcher, corrosive shotgun, shield depleting assault rifle and a shield depleting pistol with corrosive fragment grenades and a corrosive shield.

I'm playing as Axton at level 50 and defeated him pretty quick. I just nailed him no stop.

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This boss fight against Wilhelm for me was quite easy. I didn't use any fancy tactics cause I don't know any.

I am just at level 17 but there was one reason I could defeat him so easily: I used a really good shotgun to first destroy the repair surveyors and every time Wilhelm tried to spawn new ones I blasted those with my shotgun. Really, if you just keep shooting Wilhelm with a high damage gun, he doesn't stand a chance. Oh and by the way remember to stock up on ammo.

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I managed to kill him at level 13. I used the Torgue “Waka Duuurp!” To get his shields down, then hit him with a corrosive grenade to finish him off while he made his shield surveyors. The key is high damage and area affects.

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Neel down behind the barrel under the train tracks near the edge of the cliff. He cant get you there nor can his surveyors. Then just shoot him in the head until hes dead. The other robots cant get you there either. Its kind of a glitch, he just spins and spins while you shoot him.

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I was a level 16 and I found it very easy to kill Wilhelm. I have a 1,081 x 3 rocket launcher with an explosive bonus. I used my stealth skill as an assassin to get a bigger bonus on the first shot, knocked most or all of his shield down, then hit him another 4 or 5 times before running to let my stealth skill recharge. Rinse and repeat. It only took me one more time to kill him - used a total of 10 rockets and I missed at least once when he was jumping. I didn't even have to worry about surveyors.

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Took me a lot of tries mostly due to a low level friend keeping a lot of bots at the bottle neck that killed me so often trying to get out the gate. But I did beat him. Train hide, electric sniper then run to him and slag shotgun to death. Played siren level 15 first play through.

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