Finding the right cadence of endgame activities is key for a game like Outriders, which straddles the line between RPG and loot-shooter sensibilities. While Outriders is mostly a story-based game about wrecking enemies with ridiculous weapons and physics-manipulating powers, it also borrows a lot from live games--including the need to keep players engaged long-term with activities that kick off once the main campaign is done. Outriders' upcoming expansion, Worldslayer, is bringing a big new endgame activity to the game, one that looks like it's taking smart ideas from other games.
People Can Fly gave GameSpot another look at Worldslayer during Summer Game Fest 2022. In addition to more hands-on time with Worldslayer's new story campaign, which included a little more content than what we played back in April, the developer provided a deeper, hands-off dive into Worldslayer's endgame and answered questions about what players can expect from it.
That endgame activity is a replayable dungeon called the Trial of Tarya Gratar, which will throw challenges at players that you won't find anywhere else in the game. The dungeon looks to be built in a similar way to other locations and missions in Outriders, where you run up against a series of battles as you progress through a space. Unlike other spaces in Outriders, though, you'll run through Tarya Gratar repeatedly for additional loot--and according to People Can Fly, you can even farm certain encounters to tune the kind of loot you receive.
The dungeon is also split up into specific locations that you'll want to pay attention to as you hit them. As you move through an area, you'll reach "crossroads," which sound like they serve as something of a checkpoint on your run. From a crossroads, you can find side paths that often lead to "troves," which are special encounters, and boss arenas, which you'll have to clear to advance deeper into the dungeon.
The trove locations are the ones you'll probably want to pay attention to the most. These are side encounters that lead to a big loot chest, but to reach them, you'll have to fight through a tough group of enemies. The upshot, however, is that in addition to getting a bunch of loot for winning those fights, you'll also get specific kinds of loot from troves. Knowing which trove drops what gear, like gloves or chest pieces, allows you to seek out the particular kind of gear you want or need by playing those troves over and over.
In fact, Tarya Gratar sounds like it'll be imminently replayable. A complete run through the dungeon will take around two to three hours, People Can Fly said, with runs ending when you finish Tarya Gratar, die too many times along the way, or quit a run and return to the base camp location where you start. If you leave the dungeon, however, you can head back in and run it again--and get more loot on the next haul.
Tarya Gratar will have its own challenges, though, too. The dungeon is home to special enemies and bosses you won't find elsewhere in the game. These include the Shadowbeast, a creature that can cloak itself and has the ability to silence players, briefly shutting down their special abilities and forcing them to rely on their guns. Shadowbeasts are augmented by new elite enemies called Beastmasters, who can control the cloaked monsters and use them to hunt you.
During our play session, People Can Fly developers mentioned that one of the pieces of feedback they'd received from players was a desire for more involved boss mechanics, like those seen in other loot shooters such as Destiny 2. Worldslayer is an answer to that request, and it sounds like you'll find challenging bosses that require more tactics, planning, and coordination to take down, especially if you're with a group of other players.
We saw a little of that in our hands-on time with Worldslayer, which constituted about an hour of the story campaign. The early portion of the story sends the player's Outrider to try to infiltrate a place called Black Gulch, where they're hoping to meet with a scientist who might know something about the deadly, intensifying storms plaguing the game's world of Enoch. The trouble is, the scientist is part of the enemy Insurgency faction, and Black Gulch is deep behind enemy lines.
In the portion we played, we twice faced off against mini-boss characters, including the Night Fisherman from April's preview, and a new enemy called an Executioner. While perhaps not true full-on boss fights, both enemies presented new attacks gimmicks. The Fisherman could fling a pair of blades out, snagging you and drawing you toward him for a big attack, while the Executioner likes to leap across the battlefield and land hard with an area-of-effect attack. In both cases, the enemies require a new slate of tactics to deal with them effectively. That's opposed to Outriders' other major human enemies, who tend to wander the battlefield as armored bullet sponges, forcing you to use the same strategy of relocating and chipping away at their health over and over again.
Though we've only seen a few glimpses of it so far, Worldslayer seems set to greatly improve on what Outriders offered at launch. New content and story mean players will have lots of new stuff to engage with, while the experience has been improved via quality-of-life adjustments, like how loot and leveling work, how you can change the difficulty, and how you can chase gear over the long term. From the looks of things, Outriders players should be getting what they want with the Worldslayer expansion, but we'll have to see how all the additions come together with the base game when Worldslayer launches on June 30.