Outriders Worldslayer Impressions
Outriders was far from the perfect game when it launched. Technical issues threatened to devour the hardwon loot of your characters. Design choices at the end game meant focusing on DPS was the only way forward. While the game offered survivability and healing build options, you would likely be kicked from any attempt to join random groups if you dared take them. Even if you were playing with a set group of friends, there was the knowledge that anything other than max-DPS builds would risk holding the group back from those time-sensitive gold-level finishes and the better loot that accompanied them.
And yet, for all that, Outriders definitely had that certain something-something to make it all worthwhile.
Even within the constraints of a DPS-only focus, building characters was satisfying. There was an exquisite balance reached between RNG and player-agency in how it all came together.
So the fact that the Outriders Worldslayer expansion doubles down on these aspects is very welcome.
Building on Builds
The New Way to Hunt Loot — The Trial of Tarya Gratar
The campaign barely warrants mention. It’s over in a few hours (tops) and is essentially just the vehicle for unlocking access to the Trial of Tarya Gratar.
At first glance, it looks like the trial will be a randomised experience similar to the paths you wind through in Slay the Spire. You have junction nodes that offer, possibly, a choice of route. You have your standard progression rooms to fight in that move you toward the end, and alongside those, you occasionally have the option of entering a ‘trove’ room.
Troves typically have a focus item type, where after completing the combat challenge and associated boss, the ginormous treasure ches- trove at the end will drop a guaranteed legendary of the corresponding type and generally have a higher chance of dropping the slot the trove corresponds to.
But none of this is random. The path is the same every time. Troves are not an option in the sense that they adjust your path to the end. You can do all of them or none of them. In fact, only one choice in the entire run excludes you from any other room.
It seems clear to me that People Can Fly intended to do more with this system. The brevity of the campaign and the barebones nature of Tarya Gratar seem symptomatic of the fact Outriders never made its money back. Clearly, this expansion was put on a tight leash in budget and time to deliver.
One additional Trove room (not tied to a specific item slot, either) opens after a successful full run, but that is the extent to which Tarya Gratar shifts or changes. So… Be prepared to run the same content… A lot.
Despite the static nature of the content, I can’t deny it’s still a blast. Especially if you’re taking friends along for the ride, climbing the difficulties, grabbing that new loot.
Speaking of which…
What Is the New Loot You’ll Be Grabbing?
Without rehashing too much of what came before — it’s still worth noting the importance of weapon and armour mods in creating your builds.
Before Worldslayer, Outriders let you have a maximum of two mods per gear piece.
There is now Apocalypse gear, which can be obtained at either Epic or Legendary levels, with three mod slots. Not to mention there have been a bunch of entirely new mods added to the game to give you more options.
The balance between RNG and player agency is on full display in the options Outriders provides here. You can still choose one of the base mods to override with a different one. But the Apocalypse mod in the third slot is locked in place, along with what the stats on the gear piece are.
I’ve found this balance of factors to mean that you find good, exciting, usable gear on a fairly regular cadence — but still have that longtail ‘God roll’ to chase after if you so wish to.
My only real complaints are:
- How long it takes to grind through the Apocalypse Tiers (the new, full-game covering difficulty tier system). It is really slow going, and it’s per character so not exactly alt-friendly either.
- How expensive it is in resources to buy gear from vendors or level up gear that you want to keep.
On the latter point — I appreciate at least that drop pod resources drop throughout a run of Tarya Gratar (and the campaign, actually) — but they’re not exactly plentiful. If you need to collect drop pod resources (and you will), then you need to do the old expedition missions.
The old missions are good for resources, but terrible relative to the new endgame for loot. So definitely a trade off to consider.
The PAX Tree & Ascension Levels
Layered over the loot, you also have new skill build options. The Ascension Level system is essentially a copy and paste job of the Paragon level system in Diablo 3. The key difference here (despite what my screenshot of it above may lead you to believe) is that you can spend your points however you wish.
There is no need to spread them evenly across the categories. If you want to max out all your brutality options first before ever touching a skill in any other area — go right ahead.
The more interesting of the two systems though are the PAX levels. Not ‘interesting’ perhaps from a system design perspective. It’s simply a short talent tree, wherein you get five picks. You unlock the points to spend throughout your progress of the campaign through to the Trial of Tarya Gratar.
But each point you spend is a point you’re going to feel. Even the ‘minor’ nodes have relatively all big impacts and give you something to tailor your gear choices around, especially when combined with the talent tree from the base game.
The price for Outriders Worldslayer is very high given the content on offer. You’ll be asked to pay as much as you did for the base game ($64.95 NZD, $39.99 USD) for perhaps a 2-3 hour campaign and the single new end-game activity.
In essence: This is one for the fans.
If you didn’t enjoy the character builds and loot chase from the original release — nothing here is going to bring you back and especially not at full price.
I find it a shame that Outriders never met with commercial success and I have always hoped it’d get another shot at things. I’m not sure this was it though. Looking at SteamDB Charts, the initial launch peak concurrent players was 125k. So far, Worldslayer has hit a peak of just 12.5k or 10% of the initial playerbase.
And actually — I can’t assume that all of that peak is people who even bought the expansion. There were between 1-4k players in the lead up to launch.
In any case, I still hope that Outriders lives to see another day. I think People Can Fly get this genre in way that many of their competitors just don’t seem to. But after this? Who can say.