For all that it is worth, this is not an in-depth explanation about core game mechanics, but rather a way for newer folks to have a more streamlined, smooth experience whilst progressing through the campaign and the World Tier system, as I've heard just a few of my friends and myself at times included suffered greatly due to misunderstanding the appropriate ways to handle a situation, or rather a specific enemy that has you 'outgeared', so to speak.
As such, we'll solely be discussing some of the 'core' mods that will, roughly speaking, see the most play. Please do note this details specifically weapons only due to armor mods being class-dependent and fitting more specific builds than what we're actively trying to achieve here, though they are equally as vital! That said, there's little point in using an armor piece beyond it's raw defensive value unless you are making use of a specific mod upon said armor. Devastator's Gravity Leap 15% heal through damage dealt, with 30% upon kill comes to mind, but it serves you no purpose if you aren't running Gravity Leap at all. Just little things to consider!
Weapon Modding & What To Look Out For.
There are some very, very basic mods that will help you out at any point throughout the campaign, some more than others, as is ever the case, though these differ greatly from class to class. Technomancer's innate healing ability through any form of damage dealt won't quite require as much raw healing through kills against something such as a Trickster, which only gains raw health through killing enemies in close range (And shield!).
Quite early on into the game you'll come across Dr. Zahedi, whom once saved will allow you to modify your weapons & armor at the cost of Leather & Iron, as well as Titanium for specific purposes such as upgrading rarity or leveling up an item to keep it relevant. He's an extremely vital piece to creating an enjoyable and smooth transition from early to mid-game and even endgame as he's the one you'll be chatting with often to create and toy with specific builds.
- Soul Devourer
Every killing blow dealt by a weapon with Soul Devourer will regenerate a specific portion of your health that varies by the level of the weapon you are using.
- Essence Thief
The simplified version of the above Soul Devourer mod, Essence Thief serves to generate health for every shot that connects with an enemy, albeit with a singular second twixt as a 'downside'. This fits superbly well for weaponry that deals high damage in a single shot; or can even be combined with Skill Leech & Weapon Leech to further increase your healing and thus overal survivability, as there's no condition of an enemy being slain!
A perfect mod for nigh any weapon, beyond maybe shotguns, but it's also best suited to builds based more around gunplay and firepower than anomaly based builds due to the fact it's solely dependent on critical hits, yielding a, surprisingly powerful, 30% critical hit damage gained as health. If you aren't too bothered about hitting your headshots or hitting weak points in general, this likely won't be for you!
Utility & Status.
- Clip Roller
Clip Roller is essentially one of those utility mods that helps out tremendously when you're dealing with slower reloads such as with Light Machineguns & Full-Auto Shotguns. When under 50% magazine capacity with the selected weapon that has this mod you may roll to reload all of your equipped weapons, essentially nullifying any reload you may require in tight situations, which may just occur midway through the game when the World Tiers start to weigh in a little harder.
- Perpetuum Mobile
Almost a must-have on Tactical AR's for gunplay oriented Technomancers and on Full-Auto Shotguns when paired with a Magazine skill such as Twisted Rounds due to the massive plausible uptime it can provide. Essentially, these magazine modifying skills count for the entirety of your magazine, but aren't currently limited to a set number of bullets, thusly, killing an enemy whilst you're under 35% ammunition in your magazine will refill the entire magazine without taking from reserves, essentially nullifying the downside of these abilities and thusly allowing them to serve for what is essentially, as an example, ten magazines instead of one or two if used correctly.
- Freezing Bullets
Who doesn't like freezing enemies in place, leaving them unable to react in any way? That's right; freezing bullets does exactly what you think it would do. Whilst not quite as efficient against Elites due to them often growing immune before they are killed for a time, it may yet save yourself from an untimely demise at times. Whilst it doesn't interrupt enemies specifically, it does give you extra lee-way in how you'll approach a situation, or how you may instead advance forward. Simple, but effective! It also combos quite well with Icebreaker, but that's a more endgame oriented mod you won't come across often unless you get lucky.
- Ashen Bullets
A little more 'damage' oriented than Freezing Bullets due to the intricacies with Pyromancer and specific armor mods, it is essentially the same as the aforementioned with a downside of not quite lasting as long. This is somewhat off-set due to the Pyromancers skill tree, but generally with the right armor mod combinations and an Ashen Bullets modded weapon you just might find yourself locking down enemies, especially those pesky Alpha's.
DPS & Raw Damage.
- Gravedigger's Frenzy
Yes, Gravedigger's Frenzy & Striga share the exact same picture, but they are vastly different. Gravedigger's actually grants you an additional 50% damage increase to your Critical Damage upon hitting a critical hit for five seconds, with a ten second cooldown. Essentially it's an Elite-focused mod that can help you burst down stronger monsters through focused fire and hitting your headshots consistently. It might not seem like much; but just imagine your shotguns or sniper rifles hitting for 50% extra per shot whilst they already absolutely decimate enemies, just like tactical AR's.
- Storm Whip
As simple as; "Free damage!" - Storm Whip offers you a set amount of free lightning bolt damage every two seconds, regardless of distance, as long as you connect with said enemy. This allows even pistols to serve dutifully at AR ranges if you're out of ammunition or ill-equipped, and it serves even better on weapons that don't possess a massive damage-output such as LMG's to really give them that bump of damage to make suppressing fire all the more worthwhile.
- Anomaly Surge
Just like Storm Whip, Anomaly Surge is essentially a free DPS increase, albeit at the cost of only activating through critical hits. However, unlike it's partner-in-crime, Anomaly Surge has a relatively small AoE to it (2M's), which may just bring enemies out of hiding or tear apart groups of enemies such as the small Perforo's.
- Death Chains
Ever had trouble with specific World Tiers or enemies that really just have you pinned and unable to move? Death Chains deals a remarkable amount of damage over three seconds, whilst being able to be applied every two seconds. Consider it equal to something such as the Toxic debuff or even Bleed, except unaffected by your class trees and instead just the raw item level of your weapon. Connect one shot, no matter the weapon and widdle away at that pesky boss' health!
Beyond this any and all mods have their respective use and can fit into an awful lot of builds, but these were personally the most worth keeping an eye out for with my current playtime, with which I'm already working on a third character to bring it through to the endgame. As mentioned as well, these mods are meant more for early to mid-game than they are endgame, as you'll inevitably find better mods or the upgraded versions of some of the listed mods as you progress, just use these as a guideline for when the going gets rough!
Passive Boosts; What are they?
As the name implies, these boosts are either always active effects right out of the gate, or they activate upon kill, critical hit, etc-. Essentially, this allows you to further bolster your build and weapons without putting too much work in. From simple Firepower & Anomaly Power boosts to increasing your Armor & HP whilst in the thick of it, there's something here for just about everyone. Especially later on into the game, these can be quite powerful and should never be underestimated, albeit mainly for those with very specific Melee builds such as with the Devastator or the gun-oriented feel and gameplay of the top class tree for any and all classes.
As fair warning, most of these are tier 2 mods with the occasional tier 3 and thus aren't found on blue gear whatsoever, instead serving a purpose in the mid-game and end-game with Legendaries.
- Firepower & Anomaly Power.
- Melee Damage Boost & Cooldown Reduction.
- Maximum Health increase for every nearby enemy up to 3 enemies.
- Inflict Status X on hit. (X being any of the ailments)
- Grant extra Armor.
- Bonus percentage damage for X weapon type. (X being it's respective weapon type)
- Status Duration reduction.
- Healing & Revive bonuses.
- Bonus percentage damage against enemies affected by X status. (X being it's respective status)
- Bullet Deflection & Shield Explosions.
And even more; with varieties on them all in turn. From killing blows to activating upon rolling, getting in cover, sprinting, reviving and more, every aspect of the game has a passive mod that'll be of some use to you. What the important question is though, are they worth taking over another armor mod? Such is genuinely up to you and how you handcraft your build! Experiment away, and I'm sure you'll find what works best for you.
DPS & Raw Damage.
There's a myriad of ways to increase either, but the most prominent one simply has to be summed in one word; Mods!
Mods make up the majority of the ability of a weapon to deal either massive damage, serve to keep you alive or outright support a party of friends or randoms due to the amount of mods that can suit whichever you require it for. From the simple Storm Whip offering you damage to the 'play-it-safe' Essence Thief granting you health for every hit, you may readily imagine the possibilities when double-modded weapons come into play.
White & Green weapons offer nothing but their base values, whilst Blue weapons offer a singular mod slot whilst Epic & Legendary weapons will always offer you two slots, of which only one can ever be modded as to not build broken weapons or armor combinations right out of the gate. That's where loot comes into play, after all, but nonetheless! The latter two will be your go-to for the endgame and late mid-game, allowing you to start properly building your character up to your playstyle.
For example, a purple weapon may drop with Anomaly Surge as it's first mod, whilst the second one is some random, 'useless' mod to you personally or simply one you'd wish to replace, you may then find Zahedi and switch around the mod you wish to change into one that fits you best. To that end you can even end up with an Anomaly Surge & Gravedigger's Frenzy tactical AR, which thusly becomes one mean headshot-machine with free damage through the Anomaly Surge mod whilst also buffing your DPS by 50% with Gravedigger's Frenzy to absolutely destroy enemies.
Likewise, you can combine Essence Thief with something such as Freezing Bullets to dampen your DPS output, but instead make for a supportive build that's meant more to keep you alive. Experiment at your own leisure!
Item Level can make a surprisingly massive difference in your raw DPS due to the loss of damage you'd have if your main weapon falls behind. Keeping weapons up-to-date allows you to be dealing the 'correct' amount of damage to your opponents for your specific level & World Tier, which becomes extremely noticeable the further you go. Combining the correct Item Level with good mods makes for a far easy-going ride through the campaign, so don't be afraid to hold on to items if you're willing to put in the Titanium to level it up along with you! It's fair to note that the further you get into the game, you'll also be gaining more Titanium. Just a little FYI!
Surprise, surprise, the top-tree of all four classes is gunplay oriented and thusly buffs the capabilities of your weapons beyond what just good gear and mods allow. These passive buffs can range from extra reload speed to armor piercing, resistance piercing (for status builds!) and even raw damage percentage increases by a set amount or increasing the duration of specific useful debuffs, further kicking up your DPS if you're willing to invest in them.
AoE & Enemy Group Clearing.
AoE (Area of Effect) & it's clearing options.
Sometimes all you need to really get your grind going is the ability to clear multiple enemies on a single shot/kill. To that end Outriders has you covered, to a degree! Whilst these obviously deal less raw damage than a single-target mod, AoE based mods may readily prove to yet be a better choice when you're already dealing enough damage to tear bosses down. Ranges for these vary greatly; frankly, generally from just 2 meters to 5-6 meters, roughly at least. Take whichever works best for you or what you may require it for!
Whilst most mods hold their own, AoE is a little hit or miss. It mainly depends on how closely knit your enemies tend to be; so humanoid enemies won't actually be the best choice to use these on unless you get them when they spawn such as in Expeditions, for example. The beasts, however, that's a wholly different story. Perforo's are often tight-knit and make for an easy target for these mods. Let's look into a few!
Minefield; every killing shot on an opponent will spawn a series of mines that'll explode upon contact or when an enemy gets near; this only has a one second cooldown and is, unsurprisingly, very effective against beastkin. Even humanoids, in fact! If I am not mistaken, these also linger for a decent amount of time; so they may yet serve as tripmines instead. Nifty!
- Fusion Blast.
As simple as can be; shots that connect with enemies will deal a set amount of damage in a 5 meter radius of the target with a cooldown of 1,5 seconds. Free AoE dps!
- Bone Shrapnel.
Bone Shrapnel, a killer for Perforo's when you really need to wreck entire groups. Killing shots on enemies turn them into a bomb; exploding them instantaneously for a set amount of damage in a five meter radius; but to top it off, it also inflicts bleed. Great synergy with some armor mods and Devastators!
Basically the stronger version of Fusion Blast; as it has a three second cooldown but also deals higher base damage per shot within a six meter radius; essentially gaining one meter extra effective range to top it off. The choice lies with you!
Armor Piercing & Resistance Piercing.
As you can readily imagine, Armor Piercing or AP for short, is one way to increase your DPS to a degree as well. The same goes for it's counterpart, but what does AP do exactly? Well, for one it is unaffected by Volcanic Rounds, Twisted Rounds and Blighted Rounds as those skills have no synergy with AP solely due to game-mechanics. These skills turn your 'true damage' shall we say into 'skill damage', which benefits only from Resistance Piercing, which we'll get into below. Instead, should you choose to make use of AP, you will find that your raw damage values increase by a margin depending on what target you're facing.
Common enemies such as the Marksmen and Berserkers don't really have a lot of armor to begin with, so you won't see much of an increase there. Mini-bosses such as the Ironclads or Cremators for example, however, these do in fact have a substantial amount of armor where AP can actually be quite useful. As bullet-spongy as they can be, shredding their armor will significantly reduce kill times, as you'll find yourself practically destroying their fuel tanks (yes, that is a thing on Cremators!) and their tough helmets far easier than someone without AP. Truly, anything armor wise, even Captains to a degree and Brood Mothers can be taken down that much quicker when you pierce their though selves.
Resistance Piercing; how underrated you truly are. Whilst absolutely not the end-all of all options, it can genuinely help you out if somehow worked into your build and/or weaponry. All enemies have a certain amount of resistance to ailments such as Toxic, On Fire, Bleed, etc. Due to their resistances these ailments will deal less damage as a whole, essentially serving as armor solely for these ailments. Instead of taking five thousand damage for a simple example, they might only take half that amount, whereas if you have any form of Resistance Piercing you'll be ramping your DoT damage up in turn, negating some of the downsides. This becomes especially effective if you combine multiple ailments through weapon usage such as Proliferation to spread them across enemies or the tier three mod; Anomaly Mutation, which will mutate your ailments applied into a randomly different one every second. Try it out, just don't bank on it getting you to be invincible!
Survival & Recommendations.
Surviving the battlefield.
Where to get started.. Truly, it depends primarily on what class you chose to play. In my honest opinion, Technomancer may just be the 'easiest' to keep alive out of all four, whereas the Pyromancer is, again in my opinion, difficult to start with until you unlock Volcanic Rounds, at least.
As such, let's first discuss that what you already know.
Technomancers gain health through any and all damage dealt.
Pyromancers gain health through killing enemies affected or 'marked' by their skills.
Tricksters gain health & shield through killing enemies at close-range.
Devastators gain health through killing enemies at close-range.
Knowing such, Technomancers have a myriad of ways to keep themselves topped off, whilst Trickster will have to enter the fray and get up close and personal the same as the Devastator to ensure survival when we exclude mods. Pyromancers are a little inbetween as some of their skills can be used long-range, as well as the fact that Volcanic Rounds kills count as 'marked' kills, so they benefit more from mods such as Essence Thief when the going gets rough so they may avoid being absolutely decimated by bosses pinning them down in one spot.
Now, how do we handle this per class.. Well, let's get started with my own main, the Devastator into the Trickster, Technomancer & Pyromancer, in that order.
For the Devastator, being in the thick of it is your go-to. To this end I personally made far too much use of an auto-shotgun modded with Perpetuum Mobile and Anomaly Surge to swiftly deal with enemies and keep my ammunition topped-off. Essence Thief and any mod of your choosing on a tactical AR at this time will definitely aid in longer-range engagements to make up for some of those unavoidable sniper hits whilst you charge forward.
LMG's are also a perfect choice here when paired with Clip Roller and Storm Whip, Anomaly Surge or any other major damage mod you may have, whichever ends up fitting your playstyle. Pair any of these with your Golem skill and the "Heal for 15% of damage dealt, 30% on kill" Gravity Leap mod on your armor to avoid damage as best you may, but also healing yourself back to full right away with just one leap. If you're a fan of bleed builds however, the bottom tree Devastator with 'Blood Donation' has perfect synergy with Earthquake and it's inflict Bleed on hit armor mod, and this just so happens to be the go-to for many, myself included.
Much like the like-minded Devastator, you're going to be right in the thick of it all if you intend to keep yourself up and running. Luckily there's skills such as the Barrier that'll slow down time and catch bullets for you, allowing you to essentially have free-reign for as long as it's up. Intertwine this with the overtly powerful Twisted Rounds & Perpetuum Mobile on a narrow or slug auto-shotgun and you'll be absolutely demolishing content as long as you watch your ammo count. This becomes even easier once you gain an armor piece that adds one or two more magazines to Twisted Rounds to essentially keep it up throughout any content you may wish to indulge in. You really won't need much more than that, so use whatever you like best and you'll be through the game in no time.
By far the simplest for survival, any and all damage has a percentage that is returned as health, that being through weapons and skills. Better yet, as a support oriented class, the cryo-turret and rocket launcher/minigun are extremely effective in locking enemies down, taking down entire groups or just providing a continuous stream of healing to keep you up. Blighted Rounds makes this even easier due to the Firepower increase and the poison that'll just light enemies up until you run out. Truly, any weapon can be an effective weapon in the hands of a Technomancer. To top it off, their Blight Turret can deal major damage and their armor mods make the Technomancer truly a force to be reckoned with both at the start and at the end of the road.
A little bit of an iffy one, but early on Pyromancers are generally speaking the 'weakest' right up until they unlock Volcanic Rounds and slowly but surely build up their arsenal. To make up for this, they have extremely high kill potential to begin with and when played right, can end up yielding better results than the others, solely due to the fact that Anomaly Power & Firepower play a surprisingly large role for them in equal measure, which when paired together creates a symphony of destruction. If I was to give out slight recommendations, early on absolutely consider running Striga, Essence Thief or Soul Devourer to keep yourself upright. Later on, further building on your ignite abilities with armor and maybe even weapon perks, you'll be burning nigh everything to a crisp.
Changelog & Closing Words.
1.0: Guide made; subject to be improved upon as my knowledge grows. Further details, mayhap, etc.
1.1: Death Chains added to the mod list, Armor Piercing & Resistance Piercing section added.
1.2: Tidbits added to Devastator & Technomancer survivability.
1.3: Passive Boosts section added.
1.4: AoE section added; SO to Momo for the recommendation of one of the mods within!
Whilst this build is wholly made and meant solely for newer players, I may yet seek to improve upon this even further, little by little, as I explore the game further and bring all four of my characters to a suitable point in the endgame, allowing me to truly and properly fill in the blanks or even make additions that'll be game-changing. To this end I will try and keep up a little with the patch notes too, but please do be aware that I can't just opt in to change everything in one fell swoop.
If you catch something off or wish to add in recommendations for your fellow players, consider yourself more than free to do so! Yes, the purpose of the guide is to be relatively barebones and a lot to read, but only to avoid any unnecessary complications or misinformation.
Good luck, Outrider!
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