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Outriders stream gives a first look at loot, abilities, and difficulty

People Can Fly also take the first deep dive on the Trickster class

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Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Outriders is a new third-person shooter from People Can Fly, the studio that brought you Bulletstorm. On Thursday, the studio dropped a 30-minute deep dive into the game’s systems — the first in a monthly series of information dumps.

In May’s developer video, People Can Fly revealed the game’s loot and difficulty systems, and detailed the Trickster class. Here’s everything you need to know from the livestream.

Outriders gameplay

Outriders Pyromancer character
A Pyromancer slinging fire
Image: People Can Fly/Square Enix

This month’s video starts by focusing heavily on Outriders’ gameplay and story. A Pyromancer, one of the game’s four classes, takes on a story mission called “Salvation.” The mission takes place in The First City (seemingly a shot across the bow at The Last City in Destiny) which used the engine from a giant spaceship for power — before the engine went nuclear, and mutated the land nearby.

The Pyromancer uses three weapons and three abilities to literally burn through a small army of mutated creatures. At one point, a co-op partner joins the mission, and the two battle together to complete the story.

During this gameplay session, we see characters pick up crafting materials and make dialogue choices. People Can Fly made a point to mention Outriders’ in-game glossary, saying that the team doesn’t want players to have to “work” to enjoy the story. The studio also revealed its flexible UI system, which players can tweak to display only the information they want to see.

Outriders difficulty

The first half of the video focuses heavily on the game’s difficulty. Outriders operates on a “World Tier” system. As the World Tiers go up, the game gets harder, but loot drops more often. It’s very similar to Diablo 3’s numerous difficulty settings, or the World Tier system in The Division series.

Players will start on World Tier 01, an easy difficulty designed for people who want to focus on the story. By earning experience, players can level up their World Tier to 02, 03, and eventually up to 15. Players unlock World Tiers by gaining experience, but also lose progress toward their next World Tier when they die. The goal, said People Can Fly is to keep people from reaching certain World Tiers before they’re ready — players will only gain new World Tier experience when playing on their highest available difficulty.

As players climb higher, they’ll unlock new loot and resources for upgrading their World Tier. Each step also increases different drop rates for rare items and Legendaries. Starting at World Tier 04, players can equip loot that is at a slightly higher level than their own player level.

The higher the World Tier, the more impressive players’ loot will need to be. According to People Can Fly, the highest difficulties will require players to have powerful character builds already in place.

Outriders loot

Three heroes in Outriders fighting
A group of Outriders players battling together
Image: People Can Fly/Square Enix

Outriders is a loot game at heart, and players have a ton of different options to customize their avatars. Each character can wear five different armor pieces and equip three weapons at once — similar to Destiny 2. Different gear changes a player’s look, and astute players will notice a button dedicated to customization (although the studio hasn’t shown what that menu offers yet).

The gear itself is unique and has a variety of perks associated with it. For example, the Voodoo Matchmaker is a standard assault rifle with two unique perks: Ultimate Damage Link and Exposing Bullets. The former gives shots a chance to deal “shared damage” with other enemies. The latter means that bullets have a chance to inflict the “Exposed” status effect on enemies. The weapon tooltip shows off other stats like Firepower (damage, presumably), weapon Leech, healing received, close-range damage, clip size, rate of fire, damage, reload, crit multiplier, accuracy, stability, and range.

Armor in Outriders also offers perks. The video shows off some impressive ones for the Trickster class, including a set bonus that alters some of the character’s abilities. The Trickster has an ability called Slow Trap, which creates a time bubble in an area around them. The set bonus shown in the video has an ability called Time Shell, and prevents the player from dying while inside the Slow Trap bubble.

In the gear menu, players can also see a variety of resources, which are presumably used to craft new gear or upgrade existing pieces.

Outriders abilities

There are four playable classes in Outriders: Pyromancer, Trickster, Devastator, and an unannounced class. While the fourth class is unknown, it seems People Can Fly may be teasing players who have a keen eye. In the Accolades section of the video — which appears to comprise in-game achievements — there’s a brief glimpse at a section called Class: Technomancer next to the other three classes.

Each class has eight abilities to choose from, and can equip three at a time. Players can also spend skill points on a skill tree, which can help move players toward specific play styles within their chosen class.

In the gameplay of the Pyromancer, we see an ability that launches a line of fire, another that stuns and burns an enemy in place, and one that freezes an entire area. We don’t know much about the Devastator's abilities. And if Technomancer is the fourth class, we don’t know anything about it either. But People Can Fly did a deep dive on the melee assassin of Outriders: the Trickster.

Outriders’ Trickster class

Outriders Trickster skill tree
The skill tree for the Trickster class.
Image: People Can Fly/Square Enix

Tricksters are close-range characters that are all about getting into the action and then jumping out before taking too much damage. People Can Fly revealed four of the class’ eight abilities.

Temporal Slice creates a kind of blade out of the Trickster’s hand, which they use to cut through a group of enemies, slowing them and causing them to explode. Borrowed Time gives the Trickster a shield and leaves a clone behind. Reactivating Borrowed Time sends the Trickster back to their clone’s location. Tricksters also naturally heal when killing enemies close to them.

Slow Trap drops a time bubble around the Trickster. Inside, time moves very slowly for enemies and enemy bullets, but allies move at close to normal speed. Slow Trap is also the ability that players cannot die while using — if they have the Time Shell set equipped. Hunt the Prey highlights an enemy, and reactivating it teleports the Trickster behind that enemy. This heals the Trickster and slows the enemy. Abilities recharge quickly, and players are meant to use abilities like Borrowed Time, Hunt the Prey, and Temporal Slice in tandem.

Astute viewers can also see a brief tooltip for an ability called Twisted Rounds, which fills the Trickster’s current weapon with Anomaly bullets. It’s not clear if this is a Trickster-specific ability or a different kind of perk — or what Anomaly bullets are.

Like all classes, the Trickster has three skill tree branches. The first is Master of Space, designed for movement-heavy builds and close-range attacks. The Harbinger tree is for players who want to take and mitigate a lot of damage. The Assassin tree is for heavy skill damage.

At the end of this month’s presentation, People Can Fly did a brief Q&A. When one community member asked if Outriders will be a “games as service” game, the community manager said that Outriders will be a “complete” experience at launch. It’s currently unclear if Outriders will be updated with new content after the game is released.

In June’s Outriders video, People Can Fly will showcase a new area, story characters, and the Pyromancer class.

People Can Fly will launch Outriders on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC via Steam, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X this holiday season.

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