Borderlands 2 online co-op problems, and how to fix them

Sep 25, 2012

The first Borderlands had terrible online co-op. Not in the gameplay sense (it’s one of my favorite co-op games), but rather in its networking implementation. It used GameSpy for online matchmaking and hosting a game generally involved port forwarding, something that many people, myself included, do not have the authority to configure.

When Borderlands 2 had begun development, it was announced that it would not require port forwarding like its predecessor. Many fans rejoiced, myself and my 2-man co-op team included. None of us currently have the option to set up port forwarding as we are all behind shared gateways, and this has caused us a lot of problems with online games as of late.

A few days ago, my co-op buddies and I tried to start a Borderlands 2 online game. And then we spent the rest of the day doing exactly that. You see, the online implementation is not nearly as seamless as I had hoped, and our networking problems were both confusing and annoying, to say the least.

It went something like this:

  • Player 1 (me) couldn’t connect to anyone
  • Player 2 could connect to me, but no one could connect to him
  • Player 3 couldn’t connect to anyone, and no one could connect to him

You might want to visualize it like the following directed graph:

Well, except that Player 2 could only connect to Player 1 half of the time. What a shitload of fuck.

Yesterday, a friend told me about how the free VPN tool Hamachi solved similar problems he had encountered with the game. Despite the Hamachi FAQ clearly stating

If you are behind a router you must forward the port’s UDP/TCP traffic from your router to the machine.

it did in fact work without any port forwarding of our own.

  1. Download and install Hamachi (the unmanaged version is adequate and needs no account)
  2. Turn it on
  3. Have one player create a network
  4. Have the other players connect to it
  5. Start the game as you normally would

And everything should work. Immediately after launching the game, we were able to join each other and continue the campaign. Looking forward to playing it some more.