Does anyone know the exact time it takes for FFYL stacks to "expire"? It seems like a couple minutes at the least, because I've had FFYL last like one second even though the last time I was downed was in a fight a couple minutes beforehand.
My only theory, which feels consistent most of the time, is that you have FFYL health that regenerates while you aren't down, very slowly. When you drop into FFYL again, you have your remaining health. So, if last time it was a really close call, then you can expect to die very quickly if you get downed again. This has been consistent throughout Borderlands 1, but I don't think this is the case in BL2. In BL1, there's the issue of enemies that actually deal direct damage to your FFYL health and such. In BL2, it might just be a stacked debuff or something, since I know I've gotten really close calls. I just don't remember going down right after them.
If you think my name is silly, you should call me either Rob or LaughingThesaurus. No need for being strictly formal on a message board, right?
If you keep dying in a short time, it gives you less and less health. The loading screen will tell you
Firstly that loading screen tip is only useful for people with systems slow enough to actually be able to read the text on them. I've noticed more than a few recent games that rarely ever give you enough time to read those tips because data loads too fast. :-/
Secondly it's not a second wind problem as it's a FFYL problem he's having, and I've noticed a problem with Fight for Your Life myself. I don't know if it's the same thing the OP is seeing, but I've noticed that it repeatedly ends early. I can still have like 5-10% of the countdown bar remaining and my character will just up and die on me.
Now I can kind of understand multiple consecutive deaths causing the timer to count down faster (which isn't the same as the screen tip you're describing), but that doesn't explain why it just prematurely ends with a sizable portion of the bar remaining.
Stop complaining. I could have done this more painfully. - Dryad from Sacred 2.
so if the enemy keeps slapping you as you're down, your bar zips away as if it never existed
Absolutely not true. Going into an area with three Badasses knocking me immediately into FFYL, I can tank them all the way to the bar's emptiness.
...It's the reason why the FFYL mode is absurdly broken in this game, often, it's better to incap yourself for the sake of not being knockback'd and not taking damage, and getting the bonus health and shields for Second Wind.
OT: Like others have said, each subsequent death over a set amount of time will reduce the duration of the next FFYL. It's like, dying two minutes apart will give you a 10% reduction, while dying 30 seconds apart will give you a 50% reduction (making up numbers to make a point). Over time of not dying, your FFYL will go back to full duration.