Outriders: Worldslayer bucks the live service trend

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Last year, Outriders bucked the live service trend of most modern shooters. Its content updates were rare but significant, instead of thinly stretched additions that begged players to not put the game down. That approach meant I stopped playing Outriders months ago, but its Worldslayer expansion is regaining my attention.

Harkening back to the classic era of DLC, a meaty expansion called Outriders: Worldslayer is on the way. Launching in June, Worldslayer will significantly expand Outriders’ story and extend the endgame in a way that no Outriders update has yet. Developer People Can Fly gave me an overview of what the expansion will add, and I even got to go hands-on with the first couple of levels in Worldslayer.

While it’s not revolutionizing Outriders, Worldslayer plays to the game’s strengths and will energize and extend playtime by hundreds of hours for hardcore players.

For whom the bell tolls

Worldslayer takes place immediately after the events of Outriders’ plot, and its story is as over-the-top, gruff, and hilariously edgy as ever. The raging Anomaly storm is exponentially worsening despite the player’s efforts in Outriders’ campaign. In fighting it back, the expansion brings players to plenty of new places on the alien planet of Enoch and forces them to take on the Insurgents and their altered leader, Ereshkigal.

In the first two levels of Worldslayer, I explored the snowy Glacier’s Edge and the abandoned Driftwater village. Although the game’s linear-level design approach hasn’t changed much with this expansion, the combat and enemy design have only improved. Enemies of all sizes, shapes, and forms attacked me from the ground and the air, and using my Altered’s powers was essential for survival.

Glacier’s Edge was a short and story-driven level where the stakes of the worsening anomaly and Ereshkigal were teased. Still, it capped off with a thrilling fight against a giant Snow Behemoth that wasn’t afraid to quickly charge at and decimate me if I got its attention. Meanwhile, Driftwater is as eerie and atmospheric as you’d expect an abandoned fishing village to be.

Although the game’s linear-level design approach hasn’t changed much with this expansion, the combat and enemy design have only improved.

It turns out that Driftwater wasn’t as abandoned as I thought, as my team was ambushed by Insurgents when looking for a boat. This culminated with a new boss called the Fisherman, a ghost of myth tied to Driftwater and the town’s bell. He wielded two sharp blades and could quickly spin towards me and chop down my health bar if I wasn’t careful. This fight kept me on my toes, and I’d consider it one of the best Outriders’ boss fights yet.

Outriders is now in top form, so Worldslayer gives People Can Fly the chance to continue engaging players with more story content and new levels to explore and fight hordes of enemies.

The grind continues

While my early look at Worldslayer’s campaign was promising, this new story content will eventually end. After that, players will dig into an endgame grind that culminates in a mysterious raid. While People Can Fly isn’t sharing much about that raid just yet, we know how progression is getting reworked as part of Worldslayer.

Outriders fight a large enemy in Glacier's Edge in Worldslayer

First off, some changes are coming to the World Tier difficulty system unique to Outriders. Challenge Tiers will be replaced with 40 new Apocalypse Tiers. The first 15 tiers will be available to all players, but those who buy Worldslayer can exclusively access Apocalypse Tiers 16 through 40. Completing these tiers grants Apocalypse gear, which can have a third ability mod and be up to level 75. Expect some wildly powerful character builds to come out of this expansion.

Character progression is also getting some significant additions. Players will gain Pax Points as they complete Worldslayer objectives and can use those points to progress through two new subclass skill trees for each class. These new skills should make that character I used for dozens of hours feel a lot more fresh.

If that’s not enough, Worldslayer players will also constantly gain experience to raise their Ascension level. With each level, players get a point they can use to buff stats like their health, armor, and critical hit chats. Although they are just percentile stat buffs, there are 200 Ascension points to earn. People Can Fly says maxing out Ascension points will take upwards of 360 hours. The new story and levels might initially draw players back to Outriders, but the addition of these progression elements affirms that Worldslayer’s real goal is to extend the runway of content for its hardcore players so the adventure won’t end for a long time. People Can Fly has just chosen to do this with one large expansion, not a drip-feed of weekly content.

Expect some wildly powerful character builds to come out of this expansion.

The only major caveat of Worldslayer is that it won’t be available through Game Pass. That’s unfortunate for new players intrigued by this content, but the hardcore players that will get the most out of Worldslayer likely won’t mind buying the game and its first paid expansion. If you weren’t in love with Outriders before, Worldslayer probably won’t change your mind, but if Outriders was one of your favorite games of 2021 and you’re looking for more, it’ll be worth the wait.

Outriders: Worldslayer will release for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Google Stadia on June 30.

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