Unlike a lot of games these days, in Borderlands you do not naturally regenerate health. When you’re hurting, you’ll usually need to buy or scavenge an item that will restore your health. You can use health vials or kits, which both have different effects. Vials will restore you health instantly, so it’s a good idea to have a few of these on hand for when you’re in a pinch. Health Kits, on the other, restore a certain amount of health over a period of time. Kits usually restore more health than vials, but they aren’t nearly as useful in the middle of a battle.
Your maximum health increases with each level gained and can also be affected by certain abilities, shields, and class mods.
Shields are crucial to surviving on Pandora. They absorb damage and can have various beneficial effects on your person. You’ll receive your first energy shield early on and you’ll quickly understand its importance. Shields allow you to take so much damage without actually getting hurt. Only once the shield’s HP is gone will you start losing your own health. If you manage to stay unharmed for a few seconds, the shield will recharge and you can jump back into battle.
Shields are weak to shock attacks, but this works both ways, as enemies wear shields too. While you have to be sure to avoid these kinds of attacks, you can also use this to your advantage by wielding a shock weapon of your own.
There are thousands of different shields in Borderlands, all with varying abilities. Remember earlier when I said you don’t naturally generate health? You don’t, naturally, but certain shields will give you that ability. Other shields offer protection from specific elements and some even explode when depleted, which is great if you’re into the whole “best defense is a good offense” thing. Your shield will be your best friend so be sure to find the one that works for you.
When your health runs out, you won’t instantly die. Instead, you’ll fall to the ground, lose movement, and the screen will slowly darken, but you’ll still be able to aim and shoot. If you manage to finish off a baddie in this state you’ll get a “second wind,” which will refill your shields and a quarter of your health. It’s a good idea to keep a weapon on hand that’s especially effective for this, like something with a quick firing rate or even a rocket launcher.
You only have so much time to get a second wind, and that time reduces every time you get one. Once you die, you’ll respawn at the nearest New-U station and the timer will be reset.
When you’re on the ground, you can hit the reload button to instantly finish yourself off, which saves you time when there isn’t anyone around to kill.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com