When you arrive 70 years late to the corporate party, you quickly realize that Halcyon doesn’t really hold your hand. Wandering too much gets you a faceful of swarming primals, who don’t take kindly to strangers. Not paying attention in combat could lose you a companion, and it can go downhill from there. That’s just the way things go in The Outer Worlds, especially on the harder difficulties.
To make things easier, here are some tips we recommend following as you progress through The Outer Worlds.
Get 20 Medical Early
You don’t need to be an expert in Medical by any means, but nearly any build that sees combat (so most) benefits from getting at least 20 in that skill. The early unlock gives you another drug mixing slot, which can be a real game changer. When you look at your medical inhaler in the inventory, you’ll notice multiple slots. The first one will likely house some Adreno, a classic from Spacer’s Choice “for life’s little ouchies.”
However, with a second slot open, you can add more to the mix, like one of the many, many drugs in The Outer Worlds. Now, when you use the medical inhaler, you’ll get the effects of both items at the same time. If you’re going for a melee build, swap in some Dervish Mist, which boosts your movement and attack speed. If you find yourself affected by status effects a lot, some Ollie Ollie Toxifree will fix you up.
The more you spec into Medical, the more slots you unlock. However, even with just two, you can make some mean medicinal cocktails to help you out in a pinch.
The Outer Worlds is (sort of) Pay-to-Win
Capitalism runs everything in Halcyon, from the factories to the bureaucracies. You might be a stranger in The Outer Worlds, but you can adopt your own form of capitalism to varying degrees of success. If you spec at least 20 points into Science, you unlock the ability to tinker your weapons and armor.
At any workbench, you can open up the tinker menu and choose any of your weapons or armor. Simply by paying money, you make your gear stronger. The cost goes up exponentially with every upgrade, but that’s nothing a little greed can’t fix. Everyone else around you is governed by greed, and as they say, “When in Rome,” right?
Tinkering ensures your favorite weapons can remain viable throughout the game, or at least until you find Mk 2 versions of them. Putting more points into Science makes tinkering cheaper in the long run, but you don’t have to do that. Just the option to tinker is more than enough.
When you build your character in The Outer Worlds, you’ll want to have a good idea of what they do. You’ll never be able to get 100 points in every skill, so it behooves you to have a plan as early as possible. Most problems can be solved multiple ways, but that doesn’t mean you have to be proficient in all those options.
Furthermore, you don’t need to worry about shouldering all the responsibility on yourself. Your companions can cover your weak spots. Parvati helped me get into most locked doors, and Ellie bumped up my Lie skill, letting me focus more on my weapon and sneak skills. Trust your allies to round out your capabilities.
Use Your Allies Tactically
When it comes to combat, every companion has their strengths. Some are more effective in certain instances—Vicar Max, for example, really excels with science weapons in hand. Meanwhile, SAM is perfectly equipped to take out robots (and only robots, really). The more you know about where you’re going, the better you can prepare your party composition for it.
However, all your companions share one thing: an extremely powerful active ability. The effects vary by companion, but nonetheless, all of them can provide a much-needed breather in combat. If you or an ally are in a pinch with low health, immediately activate one of those special attacks, particularly on a troublesome enemy. Most of your allies’ attacks have some form of crowd control, whether it’s knocking them back or disarming them. Save these abilities for when you’re in a pinch.
Don’t get Tunnel Vision
The wonderful developers at Obsidian implemented a useful quest marker system, so it’s hard to get lost in The Outer Worlds. Yet, don’t let that stop you from getting lost if you can help it. You’ll find all sorts of goodies by going off the beaten path. Best case, you find a piece of gear that makes you way stronger. Worst case, you can sell whatever you find to make more tinker money.
As an example, in my second time around, I wandered around Terra 2 more than I did the first time. I found a nest of primals on the northern side of the map, completely void of quest markers or NPCs. After slogging through all the beasts, I found unique machine gun called Ol’ Reliable, and it has lived up to its name ever since.
Move like a Speed Demon
Tactical Time Dilation is the newest evolution of fairly comparable VATS system from Fallout. It slows down time, letting you aim your shots more carefully. For melee builds, it doesn’t come in handy as often, but that just means you’re missing two essential perks.
In Tier 2, you’ll find the Speed Demon perk. This lets you move faster when TTD is active. In other words, you’ll be moving faster than everyone else, letting you close the gap more easily. To make this even more disgusting, pair it with Tactical Master, a Tier 3 perk. This increases your movement speed by 70% for the first five seconds of TTD.
Trust me, five seconds is all you need. You’ll run way faster than anyone else, and you still swing your melee weapons at near-full speed. If you reach 80 skill points in either melee skill, each swing costs less of your TTD meter. You won’t really be able to reach this build until you hit level 20 (unless you pick up some flaws along the way), but it’s still a destructive build that makes short work of almost anything.
Keep Spare Copies of Your Favorite Weapons (or Mods)
In The Outer Worlds, you’ll find five elemental types of damage: physical, corrosive, plasma, shock, and N-Ray. Each are more effective against certain enemies. For example, plasma works well on organic enemies, while corrosive melts armor and robots. To always have the advantage, it’s worth carrying multiple versions of some of your favorite weapons to always have them at the ready.
As an alternative, you could always carry spare elemental mods to continuously rotate damage types on your weapons. This can be useful for builds that can’t carry as many items, but keep in mind that you’ll be tied to a workbench to swap damage types.