Outriders Leveling Process Is Way Too Long

My Outriders Trickster, named Lincoln, dinged level 30 just as the final boss keeled over and died roughly 26 hours into the game. Were this typical single-player RPG, there would be something immeasurably satisfying about hitting max level just as the credits roll. Unfortunately, in a game like Outriders, everything that happens before level 30 is just the tutorial. Had the leveling process ended sooner, there’s a good chance more players would have the opportunity to experience the crunchy and satisfying builds that are possible with the right gear and abilities. As it stands, the Outriders campaign and leveling process is a fatiguing experience that goes on far longer than it should.

In a single-player, story-driven RPG like The Witcher or Dragon Age, players don’t expect to hit max-level by the end of the game. Your character will continue to earn stat increases and new abilities every few levels, but most RPGs are only designed to get you about halfway to the level cap during the main campaign. Even in Pokemon, it’s reasonable to finish the game somewhere around level 60, with the option to continue grinding all the way to level 100 if you really want to.

Action RPGs are completely different. In games like Outriders, Diablo 3, and Destiny, reaching max level is just the first step to building your character. While leveling in games like this often comes with power boosts, the skill and abilities you unlock are not automatically given to your character as upgrades. Instead, power is typically spread out across one or more skill trees, allowing players to pick and choose the skills they want to equip their character with. This is why most ARPGs expedite the leveling process. The sooner your character reaches the level cap and unlocks all of the available skills, the sooner you can start customizing your loadouts and defining your playstyle.

The problem with Outriders is that it treats the leveling process like the meat of the game, when it ought to be treated like the appetizer. ARPGs are very different games before and after hitting max-level. While leveling, the gear you find will always scale with your level, offering a near-constant stream of upgrades to your character. This is an important part of the leveling process because it provides you with the opportunity to experiment with different weapon types and weapon modifiers as you level up. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t have a sense of what gear is right for your build while you’re leveling because whatever you are using at any given moment will likely be replaced the moment you level up. This process makes power acquisition feel fast and fun early on, but it’s important that the rotating door of gear slows down eventually so that you can start to define your playstyle and focus on acquiring the gear you want to use in the long run.

But that never happens in Outriders. Instead of slowly figuring out the strengths of your class and building an interesting playstyle around your gear and abilities, Outriders keeps the carousel of disposable gear going for the entire runtime of the campaign. The joy of slapping on new gear just to see what it does eventually becomes exhausting because nothing is meaningful and everything you pick up will need to be replaced within minutes for the entire 26-hour campaign.

That’s not to say you can’t experiment with builds and loadouts during the leveling process, and in fact, I think it’s essential that you slot useful mods into your gear every chance you get. It doesn’t cost very many crafting materials to swap a good mod into your armor anytime you’re back at camp, and some mods can make a huge difference in combat, especially if you’re trying to push the highest World Tier possible. The problem is that the constant gear churn even makes gear modding tedious and repetitive. Once you figure out the three abilities you want to use, there’s a good chance you’ll just slot in the exact same five armor mods into your new gear every single time you return to camp. It’s not a process that sparks joy or creativity.

Outriders would have been much better off had it let you hit max-level at the halfway point in the campaign. After 12 hours, I felt pretty comfortable with my abilities and I was ready to dig into the meatier customization that the game has to offer. If I could have started focusing on finding gear with the stats that I want, it would have allowed me to start engaging with the modding tools and gear upgrading options much sooner. Unfortunately, most players will likely end up hoarding 100% of the crafting materials they earn throughout the campaign, just waiting to get a piece of gear they won’t replace a few minutes later. Outriders has fantastic build potential and interesting loadout systems, but it takes way too long to see them.

Next: Outriders Complete Guide And Walkthrough

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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.

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