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Outriders reveals New Horizon update — which we’ve played — and a new expansion

People Can Fly revealed the first and final content update for this chapter of Outriders

Two Outriders fire weapons in a flaming cavern of cocoons Image: People Can Fly/Square Enix
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

New Horizon is Outriders’ first and final free content update, People Can Fly revealed in a pre-recorded video on Monday. The update is launching Nov. 16. The studio also announced a paid expansion, Worldslayer, coming sometime next year. Outside of a brief story teaser, People Can Fly haven’t revealed any additional details on Worldslayer.

In the meantime, the New Horizon update acts as a hybrid content boost and quality of life improvement, with new Expeditions to run, new gear to collect, and a variety of improvements.

In a media event earlier this month, I was able to go hands-on with New Horizon. Here’s a look at what it’s adding to Outriders, and my impressions after a couple of hours.

What is New Horizon?

People Can Fly started the broadcast by apologizing for the variety of technical difficulties present at Outriders’ launch — developers called “bittersweet” in a Q&A session. But while the development team has worked to fix these issues, players haven’t gotten any new content to play since. New Horizon changes that.

The big-ticket items in the free New Horizon update are all centered around Outriders endgame. Players will get four new Expeditions to run with their friends, and Expeditions are no longer timed, thereby reducing the pressure and allowing players to ratchet up the difficulty for improved rewards. The loot drop system has also seen improvements since launch, with better Legendary drop rates, duplication protection, and a more even distribution based on Expedition length, meaning longer missions will be more rewarding.

The punishing and difficult final missions in Outriders, Eye of the Storm, will now offer players a choice of Legendary, making it even easier to put builds together. And for players loaded up on Drop Pod resources, the Legendary merchant has some additional purchase opportunities, like a loot reroll and a random Legendary slot machine.

But New Horizon also features some highly requested quality-of-life features, like a transmog system that lets players customize their gear and weapons however they like. And People Can Fly is very clear — seemingly mocking Bungie’s horrible transmog system in Destiny 2 — that players can simply unlock gear cosmetics and apply them without spending currency or microtransactions.

People Can Fly has also buffed and balanced numerous skills and abilities in an attempt to create greater build diversity for players. And players will be able to group up with their friends on any platform with Outriders’ improved cross-play.

The New Horizon update will launch on Nov. 16 for Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

Is Outriders worth re-installing for New Horizon?

“Should I get back into Outriders with New Horizon?” was the burning question on my mind going into the update. I got both a Devastator and Pyromancer through the campaign at launch, but ran out of steam in the game’s endgame due to a variety of connectivity issues and bugs. Feeling like I’d missed the boat on the final Eye of the Storm mission because of the game’s initial problems — a situation I imagine a lot of day one players are in — I was hoping I’d eventually find a reason to return.

Almost immediately after booting my remote New Horizon play session, using s pre-built character in a group of other players I didn’t know, I was reminded why I sunk so much time into Outriders earlier this year. Rolling around, blowing enemies away and spamming skills is as fun as it was at launch, made even better by some noticeable skill improvements for my class.

New Horizon is definitely more of the same, but the lessons People Can Fly has clearly learned since launch shine through. Even on difficulties that were too high for our gear level, my team felt capable, but in a new way. The removal of the Expedition timer — something that never bothered me at launch — changed the feel of the entire mode.

Instead of rushing through every encounter, desperate to deal as much damage as possible, I could think ahead and play smart. As the tanky Devastator, I could focus on big groups of small enemies or a single large foe, rather than trying to juggle every enemy at once in an effort to finish on time. You can still fail Expeditions if all players go down (and we did on higher difficulties in our short playtime) but that necessary evil gives the combat encounters stakes.

At launch, Outriders felt like a great first draft. A game like the original Assassin’s Creed or Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, where you can sense that there’s something special here buried under People Can Fly’s first shot at a loot game. New Horizon isn’t the second draft I'm desperate for, but it’s definitely enough to get me back in the game and proof that Outriders is moving in the right direction ahead of its 2022 expansion.

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