From Destiny and The Division to the wonderful world of microtransactions, “looting” has become a driving gameplay element behind many popular titles. The most popular modern variation of the mechanic involves assigning an item a random drop rate. That approach encourages users to spend hours grinding for certain items and rewards them with the high of finally earning a particular piece. However, there are some who believe that such an approach adds a kind of cheap “gambling” mechanic to a game.
So does The Outer Worlds utilize a random looting element?
“We do have random loot tables that you’ll draw from,” says Brian Heins, senior designer on The Outer Worlds. “So, in some cases, you can get a really awesome weapon or item earlier than you may have planned, but it’s a very small chance on the table that will occur.”
While that element of randomization adds some thrill to the game’s lesser encounters and random environmental looting, Heins is quick to point out that not all of the game’s best gear is hidden behind random rolls.
“Basically, we also have certain items that are pre-placed in the environments,” Heins says. “Players are going to be able to get unique weapons or cool pieces of armor that we placed on planets as rewards.”
Heins does specify that some of the better items in the game are indeed just kind of sitting there in pre-planned spots and players will often need to go out of their way to find them. In other cases, though, finding such weapons will be tied to completing some kind of challenge in the game.
“There’s one guy that you can meet relatively early on in the game who is a bit of a power maniac,” Heins says. “If you manage to take him on and defeat him you can loot a named weapon from him that is actually very useful throughout a good portion of the game…We tried to do that whenever possible. [We tried] to have the loot you acquire from other named NPCs help tell you more of their story.”
Interestingly, The Outer Worlds abandons an older RPG convention slightly by allowing you to equip most of these powerful items when you find them. However, you may have to wait until later in the game if you want to be able to use them properly.
“Any weapon you find you’ll be able to use and equip immediately,” Heins says. “Based on your skills, though, it’s going to depend on how effective you are with that weapon. Say, for example, you find a really great handgun, but you haven’t been putting points into that skill. That weapon might degrade more quickly and you’ll spend more resources repairing it over the course of the game. Soon, though, you’ll be able to use it very effectively.”