The first step in being a successful technomancer in Outriders is to choose it. While Outriders classes are flexible (and if you’re playing solo, you won’t have the opportunity to be a purist), the fundamentals of the class you choose should be compatible with the game you want to play.
By choosing a technomancer, you’re getting:
+15% damage at long range (which means 18 meters and beyond)
+15% weapon leech (heal whenever your weapons do damage)
+15% skill leech (heal whenever your skills do damage)
+15% damage is the biggest class-related damage bonus in the game. (The only other class with a damage bonus is the pyromancer’s +10% ability power. Devastator and Trickster class bonuses are for survival at close range.) This damage bonus only applies at long range.
So to play to the strengths of technomancer, you need to be someone who enjoys fighting at long range. The sniper rifle that you find shortly after the prologue is a useful test of whether you’re going to enjoy technomancer: if you find it satisfying to clear most of the enemies in that scene with a sniper rifle, then you can enjoy technomancer. (Note that technomancers will find this easier than other classes will, due to the 15% damage bonus for long range.)
Close range fights with a technomancer tend to be over very quickly. You’ll have no difficulty dealing with the first 1 or 2 enemies who make it to close range: your melee attack will stop them long enough that you can either headshot them or run away. But this is not a class that should be seeking out a close range fight.
Technomancer is for people who want to hang back, see the whole battlefield, and reach across it with their weapons.
Early tools (levels 1-5)
In the early game, what you want to be doing is sitting back with your sniper rifle popping heads from a safe distance. The problem is that your enemies will not want you to do that, and the first thing they’ll do to prevent it is that they’ll rush you. Staring down your scope lining up the perfect shot restricts your view of the battlefield, and many’s the novice technomancer who has suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves in melee combat.
This is where the proximity mine (your first skill) comes in very very handy. While it’s useful as a grenade, it’s more useful defending your flank. What you do is:
- Pick the piece of cover you’ll be shooting from, and which side you want to shoot from.
- Throw the proximity mine in between the side you won’t be shooting from, and the place where the enemy is
- Line up your shots and pop heads with the sniper rifle
- If you hear an explosion nearby, stop looking down your scope, and use your melee attack on the guys who are trying to stab you
- Now that the stabby guys are frozen by your melee attack and almost dead, shoot them in the head
If you’re fighting from far enough back, then by the time you’ve fought off one wave of melee attackers, your proximity mine should be available again, and you can repeat this as many times as you need to.
The other thing that will happen is that the survivors of your murderous headshot spree will start to cower behind cover. This is where you need to close in a bit, and either:
- Throw the proximity mine like a grenade to flush them out of cover (don’t forget that you can hold down the 1 key and the game will show you where the mine will land)
- Take advantage of the fact that your melee attack reaches through walls to freeze them from the other side of cover before popping up and headshotting them at point-blank range with your assault rifle
Level 3 – The Cryo Turret
At level 3, you get the cryo turret, which is a great defensive tool, and a delightful attacking tool.
At long range, the cryo turret can be combined with the proximity mine to cover both flanks. There’s few things more satisfying than having someone try to rush you, get frozen by the turret, and then he’s the easiest headshot target in the world.
At medium range, you can throw the cryo turret past your opponent so that he has a terrible choice to make:
- Stay still and be killed by the turret
- Leave cover and be killed by the technomancer
At close range, you can throw the cryo turret straight down while running away. With a little luck, it’ll freeze the guy who’s chasing you. With slightly less luck, it’ll damage them and provide you with some emergency health in the process.
Level 4 – The Pain Launcher
The pain launcher is a messy, inaccurate weapon with OK damage and a longish delay before it goes off. It’s useful because:
- It reaches behind cover
- It interrupts enemies
- It hurts the entire pack of enemies, not just the guy at the front
The worst thing about the pain launcher is that it has to deploy next to you before it starts firing. This is especially annoying if your teammates are using the same piece of cover that you’re using. Explain that you need to reserve a piece of cover for technomancer use at the beginning of any big fight, and your teammates should be supportive.
Boss rooms are a different challenge to other fights, due to a relative lack of cover, and enemy abilities that make it extremely dangerous to set up in a sniping position. You simply cannot afford to be staring down a scope during a boss fight.
The other problem that a technomancer has in a boss fight is that it’s hard to use interrupts effectively. Your proximity mine (scrapnel) has a delay on it, even if you throw it straight at the boss. Cryo turret interrupts people when it freezes them, but it’s not going to wait for the boss to start casting his big ability before it does so: if you’re unlucky, he’ll be immune to crowd control (after recovering from a freeze) when he’s casting his big ability. Pain Launcher is slow to activate and very difficult to use for interrupts as a result.
The key advantage that technomancer has in a boss fight is that you don’t need to kill your target to activate self-healing. Whereas every other class will need to kill trash or to hide for extended periods when they take damage (and some boss fights don’t have any trash), you can remain focused on shooting the boss much longer than they can.
Progression strategy and class point spending
The most important thing you need to know about spending your class points is this: you can reset your class tree at any point, without cost, as many times as you want. So don’t stress over your choices, you’re not locked in. You can (and probably will) rebuild your class tree many times.
The signature weapon of the technomancer is the sniper rifle. If you’re keeping it simple as a technomancer, then your progression strategy is about putting bullets into the bad guys and making them dead. This means that you value Firepower more than Anomaly Power, and that you put your class points into the Pestilence path.
Weapon damage + weapon leech = more DPS and more survivability. The more damage bonuses you add via the Pestilence path, the stronger your self-healing gets.
Tech Shaman is primarily a defensive path: at high levels, it can be priceless in a group that needs more heals in order to survive encounters.
Demolisher is focused on Anomaly Power, which means skills and cooldowns and fancy stuff like that.
Pestilence is always increasing the damage that you deal. There is no such thing as overkill in Outriders.
Blighted Rounds (level 6) and swarming enemies
Blighted Rounds is the ability that seems to suck, until it becomes essential. When you’ve got a 5-round clip in your bolt-action rifle, an ability that lasts until you reload isn’t worth it.
And then you get the “Trick up the sleeve” mod:
And you combine it with “Spare Mag”:
And now this is no longer a fairly nice ability that doesn’t seem like it’s worth the cost. Now it’s an infinite ammo cheat with a damage bonus.
And then you work out how to use crafting so that no matter what gear you’re using, these mods are always available.
Blighted rounds is especially essential when you’re up against swarming enemies. These are the ones that come after you in large numbers, very quickly. What they lack in health, they make up for in numbers and in damage output.
With blighted rounds, the damage you do killing the front member of the swarm brings the rest of that group down to 50% health. Killing the second one has the survivors down to 25% health. By the time you kill a third one, the accumulated poison damage probably adds up to 12.5% health, and you can move on to the next group.
Optional Skills (levels 9-22)
The skills you get from levels 9 to 22 are great, but you need to understand why you’re taking them, especially since you’re giving up one of the earlier skills to add it in.
Tool of Destruction is for people who are focusing on Ability Power. The rocket launcher is a long-range option that ignores (and sometimes destroys) cover. The minigun is a close-range option that is especially good against swarms. But without ability power, they don’t do as much damage as regular guns. If you’re grouped with people who are focusing on ability power, and you’re bringing Adrenalizing Antenna (from the Demolisher path), then you should bring Tool of Destruction.
Fixing Wave is a really good healing ability that can be modded to become completely awesome. The fact that it has infinite range and hits the entire party every time is great, if you’re in a party of 3. But if you’re not in a party of 3, or if your group isn’t being slowed down because people need to be revived, then you should bring something else.
Cold Snap is a beautiful crowd control option that can buy you precious seconds when you might otherwise be overwhelmed. You should absolutely always equip the mod that gives it extended range when you bring it, but be careful about investing too many other mod slots into it: don’t sacrifice your damage output for crowd control unless you’re in a group with other technomancers who will maximize the benefits it gives.
Blighted Turret is a decay skill with an 8-second cooldown. Adrenalizing Antenna and Empowering Antenna provide massive damage bonuses to you and your allies for 10 seconds whenever you activate a decay skill. It’s also a turret that deals damage (and therefore generates healing) in an area, great for dropping on the floor while running towards safety.
Gear and Crafting
Gearing is a very big and complex topic, and it’s the focus of the endgame. This guide is intended to get you to the endgame, not through the endgame.
Gear level is really important when choosing which gear to equip. Raw stats make a difference. Once you unlock crafting, it can be cheaper to add abilities to high-level gear than it is to increase the level of high-rarity gear.
Once you’ve unlocked crafting, be aware that there is no real shortage of iron and leather. This means that upgrading green gear to blue is a cheap and effective way of getting max-level blue gear. Get the gear to max level first, then upgrade the rarity, then adjust the mods.
Purple gear is great when you first get it, but level upgrades are expensive and there’s never enough titanium to do all the things you’ll want to do with it. Once it has fallen behind, disassemble your purple gear (and put the awesome tier 2 mod you just learned into a piece of blue gear).
Yellow gear might be endgame gear, but it might be better to disassemble it for mods and titanium.
Weapons and variants
Get to know the weapon variants, and work out which ones you like. My preferences are:
Bolt action rifles I go for the lightweight rifle, for higher rate of fire and bigger clip. The higher accuracy of the standard variant would only help me if I had better aiming skills.
Assault rifles I go for the tactical rifle, which has the best damage per bullet and good accuracy. The standard rifles don’t hit hard enough, and the precision rifles don’t have a scope, which means I struggle to use them for sniping.
Light machine guns I used to prefer the standard variant, but there comes a point where the swarms are so intense that you can’t afford to release the trigger. Once you’ve reached that point, you need the stability of the suppressing variant.
Automatic sniper rifles are something I rarely use. If I need the ability to put out a lot of bullets, I probably can’t afford to be looking down a magnifying scope. (Unless I’m in a group, killing swarms at long range.)
Rifles are less good for sniping than a bolt-action, and less good at close range than an assault rifle or LMG.
Submachine guns, shotguns and automatic shotguns are not weapons that I’ll usually take. But if I’m headed into a close-quarters fight against melee opponents and I don’t have the whole pestilence tree available (because I’m not levelled enough, or because the class points were needed elsewhere), then I might leave the sniper rifle at home and bring one of these. Maybe. It always seems like a good idea ahead of time, but it inevitably runs out of ammunition and I need to switch over to the LMG before the fight is over. This means the time I spent switching guns is time I should have spent deploying turrets.
A solo build at level 29 (end of main story)
Playing solo, you’re going to need to cover all the bases. You need to carry an assault weapon so that you can deal with close range threats and swarms. You need to carry a sniper rifle so that you have a way of dealing with enemy snipers (without a teleport, it’s impossible to get close to enemy snipers in the late game). You’ll need a crowd control option that reaches further than your melee attack. I run with cryo turret, blighted turret, blighted rounds, and the Pestilence tree.
Working with other classes
Devastators have a wonderful ability where they walk slowly across the battlefield catching bullets while the entire enemy team shoots at them. Take advantage of this to claim headshots. They also have the ability to impale enemies on a spike, which generates healing for nearby allies. Don’t waste bullets on an enemy that’s impaled on a spike, it will die when the effect wears off.
Tricksters have their bubble that slows time, and it slows enemy bullets. It doesn’t slow your bullets, so this is a wonderful opportunity to kill anyone who survives the Trickster’s arrival in the area.
Devastators and Tricksters both need to get close range kills to regenerate health. Focus on killing the bad guys who are behind them or who are sniping them, let them kill the bad guys that they’re facing.
Pyromancers are great at bringing enemies down to half health and putting them into a vulnerable status. They regenerate health when a burning enemy dies, and it doesn’t matter who kills that enemy. Shoot the enemies that are on fire.
Fixing Wave is a two-edged sword. Tricksters especially benefit from it, and they’re especially likely to use that boost of extra health to get themselves into even more trouble, and to die shortly after they’ve been healed. Tell them when you heal them so that they can manage their health more reliably.
Patch 1 Preview Update
At roughly the same time as this post went live, Outriders Patch 1 was announced. The developers have announced their intention to nerf the Technomancer and Trickster bullet abilities, which means that Blighted Rounds will be less lethal once the patch comes out. My read of the patch notes tells me that Blighted Rounds builds will still be worth using, I’ll be testing this soon after the patch is actually out.