PSA: Not Using Outriders' Mods Makes The Game Much Harder
The modding system in Outriders can be a little unintuitive at first glance, but once you start messing with it, you'll wonder how you got by without customizing your gear.
Outriders can be a tough game once you start to get into it. Despite access to a host of different ludicrous superpowers, you're still human at the end of the day, and if you get nailed with enough bullets or slashed by enough monster claws, you're going to die. You can mitigate some of that incoming damage with Outriders' cover shooter mechanics, but because of the way most character classes recover health, you need to be constantly slaying foes. If you're not using equipment mods to help with that, you're kind of playing the game wrong.
There's a pretty deep and robust modding system in Outriders, but it's easy to overlook. First, when you're introduced to the system, you don't really need it yet. Second, you go through so much gear in Outriders that you might be thinking, "I'll wait till I get the really good stuff before I start making changes." Unfortunately, that's a mistake--by not modding your gear, you're likely making the game much harder than it needs to be.
Gear mods can give you significant perks for your armor and guns, making your abilities and status effects a lot more powerful. Even relatively early in the game, you should be tuning your gear to fit the powers you like and the enemies you expect to face to give yourself the biggest advantage you can. But to do that, you need to understand how mods work and how to create character builds, even with less-than-optimal gear. Here's everything you need to know about modding in Outriders, including why you should be doing it.
How Modding Works
In order to start modding your gear, you'll need to progress the story of Outriders far enough to rescue Dr. Zahedi. That happens pretty early in the course of things, and once he joins your team, he'll allow you to make changes to your equipment back at your camp and truck. You require two kinds of currency to mod items: Leather for armor and Iron for weapons. You can get Iron from those blue metal hunks sticking out of rock walls scattered throughout the game; Leather comes from creatures you kill. Both kinds of currency will also drop from weapons you dismantle.
Once you're regularly earning items with blue icons, representing the second of four equipment tiers, you'll start to see that they come with special mods. These mods each have their own tier, indicated by a Roman numeral 1, 2, or 3. The better the gear, the higher the perk tier it can take. But even at the first level, these mods are significantly helpful, especially on armor. Your armor mods convey a bunch of upgrades to your class abilities, often giving you shields, extra health, or extra damage on a specific ability.
While you'll constantly be swapping whatever gear you're using for new stuff with higher numbers in Outriders, you'll want to pay attention to the upgrades your mods give you. You can customize your gear by swapping mods between pieces to get exactly the loadout you want, synergized with the abilities you have equipped, by visiting Zahedi. To unlock a perk in the modding menu, you need to dismantle a piece of gear that already has it. Once you've done that, you can add the perk to one of your gear's mod slots, so long as you pay a small fee in Leather (or Iron, if you're talking about guns).
The Benefits Of Modding Armor
Especially as you start to climb up toward World Tiers 7 and 8 and beyond, the difficulty of Outriders can increase significantly. You'll find an ebb and flow as you earn better gear, but you can mitigate big difficulty spikes with your equipment mods. At almost all times, you want to have mods on your armor that benefit the abilities you use most, or at least, are using at the time. If you're wearing armor with mods meant for abilities you don't have equipped, you're completely wasting it.
Armor mods can make a decent ability phenomenal very quickly. For instance, the Devastator's Earthquake ability is pretty solid--it deals damage in the area in front of you, goes through cover, and can interrupt enemies when they're attempting to attack you. But mods make it significantly more powerful: one gives Earthquake a huge damage upgrade; another gives you a second Earthquake charge so you can use it more often; another gives you armor based on how many enemies you catch with the ability; and another inflicts Bleed on enemies hit by Earthquake, which synergizes with other Devastator skill tree upgrades. If you throw a few of these on your armor, suddenly you can use Earthquake way more often and have it protect you and heal you much more easily. If you like Earthquake, or any other ability, you should be using the perks that bolster it.
The thing about these mods is that they make it much easier to stay alive in a fight. Character classes in Outriders all heal themselves through combat, and with the Trickster and Devastator, you need to be constantly pushing the attack to heal yourself and stay alive. (It's a little different with the Pyromancer and Technomancer, but in both cases, dealing damage and killing enemies is key to survival.)
So every time you return to your camp, talk to Zahedi and switch the mods on your armor to bolster your abilities. Be sure to also dismantle the gear you're not using and don't need to sell to increase your store of mods. Getting into this habit relatively early will cut the difficulty of some of Outriders' toughest fights because you'll have huge advantages, with your abilities healing you more and doing more damage.
Don't Forget Your Weapons
It's less important than modding your armor, but modding your weapons is also a good idea, especially if you're doing a lot of harvesting and have materials to spare. Like armor, you can swap the mods on your guns by dismantling weapons you're not using and then changing the mods equipped to the ones you are.
This is a very good idea if you start to notice that there are certain weapon mods that synergize with your character class (like Burning and Ash with the Pyromancer) or that give you an advantage (like freezing allowing you to take enemies out of the fight as the Devastator). Think about which mods work best for your character and how you play, and also how you can use your primary, secondary, and sidearm weapons together based on their mods. For instance, nailing an enemy with a few Toxic rounds from one gun, then freezing them with the other, can let you rack up damage without that combatant threatening you. That gives you time to handle the rest of his squad, or gives you options for dealing with tough Altered enemies that like to chase you out of cover or hit you with Anomaly powers.
The point is, you get huge benefits from having modding your armor and weapons with mods that work together. Outriders will continue to get tougher and tougher as you climb its World Tiers; spend the time to mod your gear so that you can stay powerful even against amped-up enemies. You'll have a much better time working through Outriders' story with the right alterations to your equipment.
We've got lots more Outriders coverage to help you get through the game. Check out our rundowns of how to pick the character class that's right for you and where to find guaranteed Legendary gear, and read our Outriders review.