All good looters have some RNG, though there’s a lot of debate as to how that RNG is applied. Diablo 3 went through two major revisions, with a horrible first pass under Jay Wilson, and then an amazing rebirth after Reaper of Souls. Games with any duration need to nail this down at the fundamentals, or they risk turning into Anthem 2.0
The good news here is that Outriders appears to get this part right, and mostly because of the combination of mods, limited stat pools, and weights.
I do want to start with the mechanic of levelling up a weapon. From 1-40, the costs are relatively minor, depending on the quality of the item. Blue items in particular are super mega cheap to upgrade. At 40, you need Pod Resources to upgrade an item, and you need significantly more every increase. Enough where it’s pretty much 1 run per upgraded item.
Every green/blue item can have 1 mod. Any purple/orange item can have two mods. If you disassemble an item with a mod, you ‘learn’ that mod and can re-use it as much as you want. You can replace any 1 mod on any item. There are tiers of mods too, with purple items having the best ones right now. Orange items have some solid ones too, but they are quite situational – and you probably want to keep their good mods on the item and replace the other one.
This mod effectively lets you slot 6x boosts of your choice based your playstyle. 90% chance you’re going to want to mod on something like Death Chains for some really high DoT damage. Rather than hunting for an item with a perfect mod while leveling (pre item lvl 50) you can use pretty much any drop.
Limited Stat Pools
This is the real smart part… each item only has a set amount of stat rolls possible, and you can’t roll the same stat more than once on an item. Here’s an explanation. Given that each class build has a favored set of stats, you’re really drawing from a limited pool of options. So let’s say I want with my stats… well I want
- Firepower Bonus (not Health or Anomaly)
- Long Range, and Short Range/Cooldown Reduction (not Status, Leech, or Healing)
Those are actually some decent odds!
One bit I didn’t get into is the randomness on the base stats of an item. Armor and Firepower roll in a given range for any item, and a fairly significant amount as well (25% it seems). This isn’t anything earth shattering, and as a general rule doesn’t mean much for Armor. Weapons though…25% is a lot. The range is set on drop and isn’t related to item level. Purple will roll higher than blue though! It has nearly no impact on the quest portion of the game, but does mean a whole lot in expeditions.
The gains from gear are not linear to the challenge from enemies. I’m at CT11, with ‘maxed’ out items for my level with the stat rolls I value. Enemies themselves are more challenging, either in new abilities from the champions OR simply having more hit points. The grunts aren’t so bad, but the champions and end bosses a heck more painful. The timers on expedition progress are generous enough to allow relatively easy movement of +1 CT per run, but I do die often enough now.
Right now, it seems the best path to CT15 is to find amazing rolls in the sub CT10 space, and then just upgrade them to get to CT15. Find an amazing weapon with a good mod, and same with 2 solid armor pieces. The rest can sort itself out.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to see the best gear drop quickly, but it does mean that there’s higher odds of finding something useful as you go through. It’s not the drop speed that we see in Diablo 3 now, where there are tons of catch up mechanics to optimize the RNG, but it’s a hell of a neat way to get people to keep playing!
More than anything here though, this goes to show that you don’t need a super complex loot pool to make it interesting.