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Worldslayer, by Square Enix.

Worldslayer, by Square Enix. (Square Enix/TNS)

Outriders was built as a standalone game without microtransactions. Everything in the game was accessible and could be earned. That didn’t mean that People Can Fly’s loot shooter was perfect, but it did have appealing features and a better-than-average story about a planet colonization gone wrong.

Although it isn’t a live-service game, that didn’t mean Outriders narrative would end when the credits rolled. People Can Fly has refined the campaign and made fixes to its end game, and naturally, that work has dovetailed into the franchise’s first expansion — Worldslayer.

It’s the first piece of paid content for Outriders. It won’t be part of GamePass. It’s a digital upgrade that features a new campaign, enemies, environments, gear and powers. The expansion continues where the campaign left off as players searched for drop pods. During one of those missions, players encounter something unexpected and that leads to them to face new altered named Ereshkigal, who wields a new and mysterious power.

With the expansion, players can expect a level cap bump to 40, and slew of other changes including the discovery of level 75 gear. Challenge Tiers will be replaced by something called Apocalypse Tier that’s open to everyone. To help players out in this new difficulty, players will have nearly a hundred new Legendary items, including weapons and two new class-specific 5-piece legendary armor sets, and several 3-piece legendary armor that any class can use. These legendaries also have new mods built in as well.

That’s fine and good, but what everyone will want is the Apocalypse Gear, which are new variations of Epic and Legendary items that have a third mod slot. The third mod is random but the deeper players dive into the game and grind, the more likely that mod will be legendary, according to Lukasz Osinski, associate lead of game design balance.

Lastly, the progression system will have an upgrade with new PAX class trees that evolve Pyromancer, Devastator, Technomancer and Trickster further by adding a new sub-class specialization. Worldslayer also has Ascension, which is a long-term system, that lets players add up to 200 points to certain aspects of their Outrider giving them minor bumps to traits such as armor, health or attack power. It’s a way to reward those who pour hundreds of hours into the game.

Osinski said the team mulled over the idea of a new class, but it was out of the scope of what they wanted to do. Instead, they wanted to polish what was there by adding the new PAX tree, in which players can spend 5 points. Three come from the campaign and another two can be obtained in the end gameSpeaking of which, Osinski and Rafal Pawlowski, a combat level designer, are keeping mum on that. The only detail they’re offering is that it’s called The Trial of Tarya Gratar.

Most of the work and the design philosophy behind Worldslayer can be seen in the new environment and new enemies. In the two locales I encountered, Glacier’s Edge and Black Gulch, I ventured through an icy wasteland and a swampy ghost town. Each had enemies that reflected the type of environment. In Glacier’s Edge, I fought a lot of wooly-mammoth-type monsters. As I ventured through caves, I encountered variants of some familiar foes.

Black Gulch had more conventional troopers, and they seem to come out of the woodwork. It was the type of environment where taking cover was mandatory while the Glaciers Edge felt more wide open while I had to handle hordes of enemies.

From what I played, the past improvements and the new content make Worldslayer an intriguing prospect. For longtime fans, the extra adventure and gear will get players in. For newcomers, the ability to jump in and join veteran friends is available with an instant level 30 boost. It’s something to look out for when Worldslayer comes out June 30 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, PC. The expansion will cost $39.99, and a bundle that includes the full game and Worldslayer costs $59.99.

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