AND THE HISTORY OF THE LOOTER GENRE
By Matthew Byrd
Outriders isn't just one of 2021's biggest games so far; it's an entry into a fascinating genre known simply as the "Looter."
What is a Looter? It's a game that emphasizes finding weapons, gear, items...loot. Players typically find loot by defeating monsters, searching areas, and completing quests.
The signature of the Looter genre is randomness. Loot is typically distributed at random and assigned a sometimes random value or rarity. The thrill of not knowing what can drop next keeps you going.
Many early games used loot and gear, but 1990's Angband is considered to be one of the first games that emphasized randomization and exploring to find items of varying quality.
The looter genre hit the mainstream with the release of 1997's Diablo. That revolutionary RPG used a color-coded loot system that quickly addicted millions who never ever played an RPG before.
Many subsequent looter games followed DIablo's RPG formula. Notable looter RPGs included Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, X-Men Legends, and the Dungeon Siege series.
In 2004, Blizzard used the looter genre as the basis for a title that has become synonymous with addiction: World of Warcraft. It went on to become one of the most successful games of all-time.
2009's Borderlands helped popularize the use of looter mechanics in non-RPG genres. From that point on, developers and fans became obsessed with the idea of a "looter shooter."
2014's Destiny helped reshape the looter genre by incorporating live service elements. A series of constant updates meant that gamers could play these addictive titles for years to come.
Some of the games that followed Destiny's example (such as Anthem or Marvel's Avengers) have failed to recapture its success. The genre has since been criticized for its sometimes exploitative nature.
There are others who feel that the looter genre gave birth to loot boxes: a controversial microtransaction that has been compared to gambling due to the randomness of their rewards.
As a story-focused looter shooter with few live service elements, some hope Outriders can help resurrect that classic brand of looter RPG that has been replaced in recent years by online titles.
Can Outriders live up to the hype? You can find out for yourself as the game is available on PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and Stadia right now.