Outriders released last Thursday, 1st of April, to both praise and issues. We here at SAG and our best friend Lew have spent a lot of time this weekend playing it. Between the various server outages, we’ve spent around a full day of playtime over the long weekend. Yes we’re adults. What I want to focus on today is the Outriders World Tier system. Talking about what it is, how it works, and what I think of it.
Zack’s writing up our review for Outriders, which should be coming along sometime soon. We’ve been doing all available side content so it’s becoming a longer game than anticipated. This will make more sense later but we’ve been playing at a high World Tier the whole time. So things have been getting pretty tough and takes a little longer.
Anyway, let’s just get on with this thing, shall we?
What is it?
The Outriders World Tier system is a progressive difficulty modifier. That’s the gist of it really. There are obviously a few more specifics that we can get into.
So the main point about the Outriders World Tier system is that it dictates the level of the enemies. As you go up with Tiers, the levels of the enemy increases. This goes all the way up to 12 levels above your own. So at the moment, we are level 28 at World Tier 14, so the enemies gain 11 levels, so they are 39. This comes with the standard suite of enemy “buffs”, more health, higher defence, and greatly increased damage.
Every encounter becomes longer, harder, and more strategic as you increase the Tiers. This is especially prevalent when fighting some of the bosses. There are some that will literally one shot you, them being 10 levels higher than you will do that.
Increase World Tier
So how do you increase the World Tier? Simple, you play at the highest World Tier that you have unlocked. This will net you experience that will work towards the next Tier. As you fight your way through whatever horde you’re fighting, you’ll gain experience for both you and the World Tier. If you lower the World Tier though, you won’t gain experience towards the next one.
So let’s go for a practical example. If you unlock World Tier 2, activate it, kill some enemies, you’d gain experience towards World Tier 3. However, If you unlock World Tier 2, don’t activate it, and kill some enemies, you’d gain nothing towards World Tier 3.
The rewards are pretty fantastic and are the main reason that you’ll be grinding out the Tiers. So first off, the moment that you unlock the next World Tier you get an instant reward(s). This comes in the form of weapons and/ or resources. Mostly the resources are Titanium which is key to upgrading the higher rarity gear, but the weapons are more important.
At lower Tiers you’ll get a random blue weapon, which moves on to a random purple weapon. As you’re progressing these tend to be pretty powerful drops. However from when you unlock World Tier 12 up to 15 you’ll get Legendary weapons. Legendaries are the highest rarity tier, have unique skills, looks, and are just pretty great rewards.
Then there’s the more passive rewards that affect moment to moment gameplay a bit more. Firstly the gear level cap. This follows the level boost that the enemies get, meaning you can equip higher level armour and higher level weapons. This is 100% necessary as you make your way through the Tiers. Without this gear bonus you really wouldn’t stand a chance against mini-bosses let alone full ones.
Finally there’s the loot modifiers. The loot rarity and Legendary drop rate modifiers to be specific. These are kind of self explanatory but here goes anyway. The first increases the odds of the chance of higher rarity loot drops. So when you kill an enemy it has a chance to drop any old garbage. With a higher modifier, it’s more likely that that drop will be a purple Epic drop, so potentially useful.
The second, we haven’t experienced in our trio but is exciting if it works. It basically increases the likelihood that a Legendary will drop specifically. I can’t say for sure that it does work but how I guess it works is this. The chance that a Legendary item will drop as you’re killing is super low, like old school shiny Pokemon low. With this modifier the chance goes from “super low”to something like “still pretty low honestly”.
How am I finding it?
Let’s start off with where we are at in our campaign. We are all level 28, haven’t finished the story, finished all bounties, and have 3 ‘Hunts’ left. We have also progressed to World Tier 14 (out of 15, as a reminder). That’s as of writing this article.
Confession time. We had one encounter that we turned the World Tier down. It was doable however it was very long and we had some serious connection problems. Having to retry it like 5 times because of various connection losses and the like? It just wasn’t worth the time to go through it on World Tier 13. This is literally the first time in all 24 odd hours of play time that this has been suggested. This does give us a clear indication of the differences between Outriders World Tier. Lowing the World Tier very obviously and noticeably makes the enemies weaker and the loot worse.
Other than that one “hiccup” if you will, we have been on the up and up the whole game, progressing to World Tier 14 before the end of the game. The start of our game is unlikely to be particularly different to anyone elses playthrough. Even one of my solo characters I have can manage World Tier 9 pretty well. Where the real differences come into play is the requirements placed on the team.
As a team of 3 Outriders that are enjoying the game and are focused on progressing, it’s going so well. As the enemies get harder, the loot gets better, and the powers more powerful, the game is still fun. It’s definitely challenging and at times there’s a lot more cover taking than shooting. That in my opinion is a good thing, it just takes more thought.
What do I like?
Well pretty much the whole system and its implementation honestly. I wrote about how much I like Critical Mode in Kingdom Hearts, that’s my number one. I’m really close to crowning the Outriders World Tier a very solid second place. For a game all about murder and loot, it really is a fantastic risk – reward system.
For example, I love that you have to “level up” your world effectively. Going through the very challenging World Tier 13, just to get to the even harder Tier 14. It reminds me of the old Halo 3 Ranked gameplay. As you gain levels in Team Slayer, MLG, or Team Swat, you play against even better players. Outriders has the same feel but in a PVE environment and I’m into it.
Then there’s the rewards. Getting weapons or resources is always good, but getting guaranteed Legendary weapons is even better. It basically just means that no matter what, if you play enough, you will definitely get rewarded with extra Legendaries. Then there’s the increase in loot quality. I mentioned above about us having to turn the Tier down so that I can say, without a doubt, having a lower World Tier set gives you significantly worse drops. They are more likely to be of lower rarity and also of lower level. Making them entirely useless to us at the time.
This is subjective but I like the added teamwork required to actually make it through encounters as well. Before World Tier 10 or so, we were just goofing. Then after, when it got harder, we had to make constant call outs and use our self revives strategically and sparingly.
Stuff like this always boils down to preference and that’s fine. I personally love hard games and hard difficulties. The Souls series and other From Software games are among my favourite games ever. I like to play other games on the hardest difficulty, Kingdom hearts being a good example. So a little bit of a difficulty arc or spike is nothing new to me, I actively seek them out.
My personal opinion is that the Outriders World Tier system is one of the most balanced, interesting, and inventive examples. It gives you full control on how easy or hard any given encounter is. It lets you challenge yourself and friends or just have a breeze on your own. It’s whatever you want.
It also actively rewards you for trying to do more. Even if you just move up to say World Tier 5, you are still getting these bonuses. Just those bonuses aren’t as strong as they are on World Tier 15 for example. I’m here for being rewarded more and more for just playing a game.
Finally, it’s a difficulty system that enforces good teamwork and forethought at times. Yet, doesn’t disparage or prevent solo players from progressing. To me it’s a fair and well balanced system that has no real “blockers”. If you want to progress then you will, that’s it.
I really think I’d like more single player or PVE co-op games to incorporate something similar. Not the same of course but their own spin on the Outriders World Tier system.