In the original game I used Mordecai for both Sniping and having an animal friend to attack for me when I could, but by the end I found myself switching between a Sniper Rifle to soften things up and SMGs for high DPS.
I've started this one with Axton, just defeated Boom Bewm and I'm not feeling him. He probably gets better, but I feel as if I'll be relying on the torrent too much.
I was looking at both Gaige and Zer0, the latter because he's somewhat like Mordecai. Salvador seems pretty good, but I want something to help or an out.
And enough with My Little Pony!
I also started BL1 out with Mordy, and Zer0 was my main in BL2 until UVHM came out and I wanted to try something new. But I recommend either Gaige or Maya, both of whom I have leveled to 61 while poor Zer0 sits at 52. But Zer0 is also a good choice, I just needed a change of scenery. As for Axton. I played him to lvl 17...let's just say he will not be a high enough lvl to buy cigarettes anytime soon.
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Zero's sniping will disappoint you.
I would suggest Maya actually, she has really good crowd control (converge) and the phaselock can really help you out of a jam if you pick up some healing points.
She also has a skill that adds massive damage increase to an enemy with over 50% health left (perfect for your sniping crave).
She's just an overall well rounded fun character.
Gaige is fun, but can be very difficult to build, and Deathtrap will end up frustrating you more than helping. He's no bloodwing.
Sal is a powerhouse, and you can virtually give him any automatic weapons to dps enemies down with. Coupled with his great health regen, you should be able to take baddies fairly easily.
Sniping is kind of a no no with him though :/
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typing this on mobile, sorry it's not organized betteri used Mordecai in the first game. Axton is my only level 61 character, his turret capabilities are crazy. His turret can get shields, shoot slag, shoot faster bullets and rockets, be deployed from super far away, deploy a nuclear blast, and can be deployed as 2 turrets. Zero is an absolute beast as he can't be touched in deception and has massive melee capabilities. His kunai ability is amazing. Maya is awesome because of her ability to contain a single enemy in phaselock, even bosses. She is a great team healer but is my least favorite character. Gaige has some really unique skills and her mechromancer can last FOREVER if you or it gets a single kill it adds 5 seconds to its duration (forgot the skill name but it's on the leftmost tree I believe). It has great melee damage, can recharge your shields, causes several kinds of elemental damage (shock and fire from lasers mostly) especially with the last skill in the middle tree, and can hold a copy of your shield. Sal is the king of damage and ammo regen. Gunzerking any two guns means ridiculous damage potential...pretty much anything (regulars, bosses) is screwed, especially if you're using slag in one hand. Krieg is an awesome melee character. His rampage mode tears through any ground enemies with ease. Flying enemies are his only weakness. He's better with a love thumper shield and low shields. One of his skills make him a badass psycho, which reduces damage taken and makes melee damage 100 percent. His other skill worth noting (I dont like the fire tree personally) is called bloodsplosion and when you kill an enemy it explodes into a nova of that elemental type, very useful and damaging. Some say he's an absolute beast because of up close damage and others dont like him because you go down a lot. Just pack up close weapons and you're good.