Hands-On With the Technomancer and Outrider’s Crafting System
People Can Fly’s new IP, Outriders, may not be on your radar yet, but the RPG looter shooter published by Square Enix is shaping up to be an incredible experience. Abandoning the commonly accepted conventions of looter shooters like micro-transactions or season passes, Outriders will be a fully complete and contained experience out of the box. We have provided some in-depth content about the first three playable classes in Outriders (Trickster, Pyromancer, and Devastator) but People Can Fly and Square Enix also gave us a chance to go hands on with the recently announced fourth and final class: The Technomancer.
As a fan of Outriders I was giddy to see what kind of powers and surprises the Technomancer would have to offer. The game is designed as a classic RPG first with looter shooter mechanics second, so each class follows a well established archetype with plenty of room for customization to suit your style: Trickster is the rogue, Pyromancer is your caster, and Devastator is of course your tank. So what roll does Technomancer fill? In two words: Necromatic Engineer. While the other three classes are more about fulfilling certain roles, the Technomancer was built with the lore of Enoch in mind and its powers evolved from there.
What it Means to be a Technomancer
The Technomancer’s core focus is ordinance. While playing as the Technomancer I was blown away by it’s ability to conjure scrapped together gadgets and weapons on the fly, with the Pain Launcher being one of my absolute favorite skills. Dropping a small missile turret next to you, it fires a devastating volley of explosives in a straight line for an incredible distance. Whats more, the Blighted Turret and Cryo Turret are both deployed after throwing a small device like a grenade. This felt so good to pitch deep into the thick of the enemies for a much needed distraction, not to mention how well this plays into the Technomancer’s signature healing ability: damage output.
For a class all about firepower, it will heal based on the sheer damage you can put out. Whether coming from your gun or your powers, the Technomancer regenerates health based on the damage it lays on the enemy. Quite possibly the single coolest power the Technomancer has is the Tool of Destruction. Pressing the button will see it summon a rocket launcher out of thin air, but holding in the button will summon a minigun instead. It feels seriously cool to scout a group of enemies closing in and to simply conjure a volatile and high power weapon out of thin air. As mentioned above, the classes each fit a role but can be tweaked across their respective sub-classes to suit different roles. The Technomancer is unique in that it is quite possibly the most versatile utility class of the bunch. It may be a jack of all trades, but it certainly isn’t a master of none.
Looking over the impressive unlockable perks, my best understanding is that the Pestilence subclass is a long range/ sniper specialist, the Tech Shaman is all about buffing the strength and reducing cooldown of gadgets and turrets, and the Demolisher enhances your explosive, close range, and defensive capabilities. You might also be interested to know the Technomancer is the only class I have seen so far with a skill specifically for healing all of your allies and active turrets regardless of range. It was absolute chaos going hands on with the fourth class, but I was not expecting the sheer intensity of the insurgent battle in the trenches. People Can Fly perfectly captured the grim, haunting reality of trench warfare. The constant onslaught of enemies rushing in was overwhelming and required serious planning and split second decisions to overcome. Outriders wants you to feel godly with the incredible powers and weapons at your disposal, but I don’t think people understand just how intense combat will be to put those skills to the test.
I also got a chance to look at the crafting system for Outriders and I am so impressed at the potential for customization. While you won’t be changing the aesthetic of your weapon, you’ll be too busy tweaking its core and advanced mechanics to make it your own. Each weapon has six stats: three are the same across all guns; range, accuracy, and stability. The other three stats will change depending on the class of weapon (and possibly a little RNG.) These changing stats can be upgraded six times each to augment their unique strengths through crafting. I also came across the Swap Variant option which – depending on the weapon type – will let you change your firing method. This can be single shot, burst fire, full auto, – and as the developers told me – high power rounds with a lower rate of fire; There are sure to be plenty of options when the game launches.
Crafting options don’t stop there however. Weapon rarity denotes how many mods a weapon can hold: blue has one, purple has two, gold presumably has three. It also looks like there is a difference between gold and orange rarity, as orange would be more akin to class-specific exotic gear. There are three tiers of mods you can equip with each tier denoting both the power of the mod and rarity of encountering it. You will need to find a weapon with the desired mod and dismantle it to learn how to craft it, but some of the mods I encountered were just mind-blowing. Claymore, my favorite mod thus far, summons a large sword made of energy directly above the enemy and drives it straight down on top of them with a four second cooldown.
Lastly, Outriders will let you spend resources to upgrade the rarity of your gear or craft an entirely new weapon out of scraps. Got a nice set of blue armor you just can’t part with? You can increase its rarity and power all the way up to gold. That being said, the developers did suggest it might not be the most viable decision for the greatest builds, but you absolutely can do it if you want (sometimes we get an emotional attachment to a gun, am I right?) and you know somebody out there will want to try taking their starting rifle and take it into the end game.
In my short time with the game I got to experience a war-torn mountain side, the deep-rooted encampment of Trench Town, and the sheer horror and misery of trench warfare. Each setting was beautiful in its own right and incredibly detailed. People Can Fly have stated there will be a wide variety of biomes to explore and I can’t wait to see what else Enoch has in store. It would be incredibly wrong to dismiss Outriders as “just another shooter” when there is so much rich gameplay, lore, and customization to get lost in. With so many options of gameplay for all four playable classes and incredible combinations of powers in the thick of battle, Outriders is a game you can’t pass up this holiday season.