Since Outriders’ launch last week, players have had to contend with a number of issues, from server connection problems to inventory wipes. But even when players do get into the game and everything is running well, some are finding their experience is hindered. Specifically, players who chose the Devastator class are discovering that they are not as valuable as other Outriders classes.
Reports on forums, social media, and the Outriders subreddit share the frustration that Devastator players are feeling in the endgame Expeditions. Once a Devastator joins an Expedition group through Outriders’ matchmaking, some find that they are either kicked from the team or the other players leave.
Devastators as a class in Outriders are best compared to Tanks in MMOs. They can withstand a lot of damage, but their focus is not on dealing damage. Plenty of Devastator builds can still pack a punch, but those are not the most popular builds and players have to get lucky with mods in order to bring everything together. Still, the best things about Devastators is that they rarely will go down.
For Expeditions, however, the only goal is speed. Getting through the endgame encounter as fast as possible is all that matters if the team wants to get a Gold rating and the best rewards. As a result, the need for being tanky or survivability trumps pure damage. Pyromancers, Tricksters, and Technomancers have it a lot easier when it comes to dealing damage with a basic build, even after Outriders nerfed some damage perks and abilities.
The community’s sentiment around Devastators and some in-game teams' treatment of the class have called to mind similar situations in games that Outriders seeks to emulate. Both Destiny and Tom Clancy’s The Division have had to contend with situations where the community devalued certain players and some were even kicked from groups.
When Bungie first announced that Destiny would not support matchmaking for its endgame, players knew that they would need to rely on either their friend groups or outside sites in order to put together raid teams. LFG sites appeared that were focused exclusively on Destiny, and many players were able to get raid completions with total strangers.
At the same time, the lack of matchmaking fostered an elitism within the Destiny community that the game has struggled with even to this day. For Vault of Glass, raid teams ranked the three classes based on their utility, with Hunters sitting at the bottom of the totem pole. There were plenty of LFG posts that would say the group was looking for a Warlock or Titan, without any mention of Hunters. The same happened for players without the Gjallarhorn; they were seen as less valuable to the endgame team.
To Bungie’s credit, the developer did help curb the elitism. The Crota’s End raid made Hunters essential and future systems gave players paths to high-powered DPS weapons. Nightstalker Hunters then become a pivotal subclass for endgame content thanks to its Shadowshot Super debuff. But most remember the early days when it was hard for certain players to find a team.
Tom Clancy’s The Division players experienced a similar elitism, despite the fact that its endgame supported matchmaking. In fact, the treatment of players in The Division feels a lot like what Devastators are experiencing in Outriders. Players would matchmake into a group for an Incursion, Division’s endgame encounters, and if they were not high enough gear score they would either be kicked out of the group or teammates would leave.
Now Outriders are facing the same situation that Destiny and Division players know all too well. For Destiny and Division, the solution was a little more complex, but Outriders has a few easy possibilities. One is to eliminate the timer on the endgame Expeditions, as those prioritize killing fast and nothing else. If the Gold level rewards were tied to deaths, fails, or something that favors Devastator’s survivability then the class would be just as essential (if not more essential) than any other class.
The other solution is to buff Devastators in a way that gives them more utility when it comes to dealing damage. Yes, Devastator players are capable of packing a punch, but only with a highly curated build. While Technomancers and Tricksters can deal high damage with minimal customization, Devastators need to spec a very specific way.
When People Can Fly announced the first round of Outriders balance changes, players were hopeful that Devastators would get some love. That was not the case, but hopefully, the developers have seen the forum messages and will do something to improve Devastators’ utility on an endgame team. Balance is tough in any game like Outriders, but finding it is the key to community health.
Outriders is available now on PC, PS4, Ps5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series.