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Outriders Gets Pause Button

Outriders Gets Pause Button and Update Leave a comment

The sci-fi shooter had a rocky opening weekend thanks to server issues, but that didn’t deter fans. Once online issues cleared up on Sunday, the game reached 125,000 concurrent players on Steam. Considering how much launch issues have killed games like Cyberpunk 2077Outriders seems to have made it out of that tricky patch relatively unscathed.

The server headache has led to a bit of discourse about the game’s use of an “always online” model. That’s usually reserved for live service games like Destiny 2 where players are never truly alone. By comparison, Outriders can be played entirely solo. The fact that it can’t be played at all when servers are down is a bit of a head-scratcher.

While the game falls into that modern pitfall, it skirts around several others. In fact, it fixes some of the worst things about online games … both on purpose and by accident.

Have you tried the new pause button?

Naturally, there are still plenty of gamers out there who think that Outriders should just have a straightforward pause feature that works off-the-bat if you’re engaging in single-player. But this workaround is certainly better than nothing, and has led to more than a few statements of ‘finally a use for Ansel’. Although obviously, it doesn’t help AMD graphics card owners (or console players for that matter).

As you may have seen, Outriders got off to something of a shaky start with some server-related and cross-play issues, and various bugs on PC including crashing and stuttering with DX12, but the developer has been commendably upfront in the ongoing process of dealing with these.

Outriders patch scheduled for next week – launch window players getting free loot

Square Enix has announced that its first big Outriders patch will roll out next week, which aims to fix some of the sci-fi shooter’s bugs, crashes, and performance issues.

In a post on Steam, Square Enix explained that it hasn’t got a firm release date for the patch yet but that it is currently scheduled for “next week” as the developer is using this week to “identify as many severe issues as possible, fix them and then thoroughly test the changes across all platforms.”

“We are doing our utmost to deliver you a stable patch as soon as possible and we are continually looking at ways to bring the patch release day earlier,” the post reads. “This is why we are not yet committing to a patch release date, as we may still be able to release the patch before such a date.”

Square Enix went on to say that it will share a release date for the patch as soon as it can, encouraging players to keep an eye on the Outriders Twitter account for more updates.

In addition, Square Enix announced that it will give a free “appreciation package” to those who played (or tried to play) Outriders during its launch weekend. While the details are apparently still being worked out, the package will be available to all players who played Outriders between March 31 and April 11 (UTC timezones), as well as those who played outside that window but have fallen afoul of a bug leading to an automatic inventory wipe restoration.

The appreciation package gives players’ highest level character a “level-appropriate Legendary Weapon” and a “level-appropriate amount of Titanium”, as well as the emote “Frustration.”

“These are our intentions, but these details are subject to change based on what is technically feasible for us to do,” Square Enix wrote in the post. “We are still determining when the appreciation package will be delivered.”

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Outriders patch: what does it fix?

Outriders

(Image credit: Square Enix)

The first big Outriders patch aims to fix a host of performance issues and bugs, as well as stabilizing Outriders crossplay to make PC-to-console crossplay viable again.

In addition, Square Enix has said it believes the patch will reduce the chance of the inventory wipe bug happening as often, while backend updates were rolled out earlier today to help with re-balancing.

Here’s the list of fixes from the patch notes:

  • Will Fix a performance issue where GPU is not being fully utilized. This should help with stuttering and DX11/12 issues
  • Once platforms have been updated to the same patch version, cross-play across platforms will become viable again
  • Overall stability improvements for the matchmaking service
  • Crash Fixes
    • Will Fix a multiplayer crash that could result in client players having their inventory wiped
    • Will fix the crash when completing the “A Bad Day” side quest.
    • Will fix the crash that occurs in No Man’s Land when your language is set to Spanish (Yes, we know. Video game code is a magical thing).
    • Will fix crash on launch issues
    • Will include many more “random” crash fixes
    • These fixes will address the majority of crashes reported, as there are only a handful of root causes but the crashes they generally appear in a number of places
  • Will Fix a multiplayer crash that could result in client players having their inventory wiped
  • Will fix the crash when completing the “A Bad Day” side quest.
  • Will fix the crash that occurs in No Man’s Land when your language is set to Spanish (Yes, we know. Video game code is a magical thing).
  • Will fix crash on launch issues
  • Will include many more “random” crash fixes
  • These fixes will address the majority of crashes reported, as there are only a handful of root causes but the crashes they generally appear in a number of places
  • Will fix the HUD disappearing in certain cases
  • Will fix bugs that interfere with players re-spawning in multiplayer Expeditions
  • Will fix bugs with players getting stuck on geometry (including when using Gravity Leap) or falling out of the world.
  • Will change the default matchmaking setting from “Open” to “Closed”.
    • You will still be able to manually change this setting to “Open” through your game settings
    • This change will prevent players from joining games where the host didn’t intend to play in multiplayer. It will also cut down on AFK lobbies
    • This will also help improve matchmaking times, as the queues will be less likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of constant matchmaking requests generated by “open” games.
  • You will still be able to manually change this setting to “Open” through your game settings
  • This change will prevent players from joining games where the host didn’t intend to play in multiplayer. It will also cut down on AFK lobbies
  • This will also help improve matchmaking times, as the queues will be less likely to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of constant matchmaking requests generated by “open” games.
  • Many other minor fixes and improvements

Explaining Outriders issues

Outriders

(Image credit: Square Enix)

In addition to details on the upcoming patch, Square Enix also gave an explanation as to why Outriders has such a rocky launch weekend.

“tl;dr: Our team worked throughout the Easter weekend and around the clock to resolve the server issues players were experiencing,” the post reads. “We completely understand how frustrating this experience will have been especially given the huge amount of players eagerly anticipating the launch. We had enough server scaling capacity but our externally hosted database was seeing issues that only appeared at extreme loads.

“We’re committed to full transparency with you. Today, just as we have been over the past year. So we won’t give you the expected “server demand was too much for us.

“We were in fact debugging a complex issue with why some metric calls were bringing down our externally hosted database. We did not face this issue during the demo launch earlier this year. Our database is used to hold onto everyone’s gear, legendaries, profile and progression.”

For more information, read the more detailed explanation on Steam.

AVOIDING LIVE SERVICE MAKES IT FEEL MORE ALIVE

First, there’s the intentional side: Outriders is not a live service game, period.

The third-person shooter tells a focused story that isn’t going to get an influx of content every week. What you see in the current game is what you get until it receives a traditional DLC update. It may look like Destiny 2 thanks to the loot system and space powers, but it’s a complete package on day one that probably won’t evolve much over time. And it definitely won’t have a daily and weekly grind cycle.

That’s entirely refreshing in an era where every studio wants to hook players for as long as possible. With no battle pass, seasons, or weekly challenges to speak of, the reason to keep playing Outriders is that … it’s fun. It delivers strong shooting and lots of missions without leaning on the promise of good content down the line. It’s an online experience that isn’t trying to make players commit to another ongoing game. The game is already here. And it’s pretty good.

That’s been a real challenge for online games like Anthem or Marvel’s Avengers. Both feature perfectly fun gameplay, but lifeless endgames. Fans went in expecting an experience that would keep them enthralled for a long time but were ultimately let down when the games did not deliver on those lofty promises.

Outriders instead focus on the upfront quality of the content, not what’s coming down the line. The result is a game that features exciting action that is enjoyable right away, not gameplay that seems like it’ll get better over time.

outriders character classes multiplayer squad

WHY IS OUTRIDERS ALWAYS ONLINE?

With that philosophy in place, it’s a little odd that it still opts for a restrictive “always online” model at all. It seems to go against what makes the game so appealing for players who are disillusioned with live service trends.

Ironically, one of the best things about the game is a bit of an accident that bypasses its frustrating online model. Since the game is always online, players can’t pause the game. That makes sense in a game like Destiny 2 where there are always other players kicking around. It’s totally unnecessary in a single-player game where you’ll never bump into another human.

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PC players who have an Nvidia GPU can get around that in a clever way. Outriders supports Nvidia’s Ansel feature, which is a tool built for screenshot capturing. It allows players to pause a game and pivot the camera around to get a shot. For PC gamers playing solo, it becomes an accidental pause button in a game that doesn’t have one.

outriders enemies weapons guns altered

Having the ability to pause a game may sound minor, but it highlights another small annoyance in modern online games. You can’t get up and go to the bathroom unless you’re prepared to leave an instance altogether. The fact that there’s a way to do it at all in Outriders is a welcome tweak that we pray becomes a full-feature eventually.

Outriders successfully resists some frustrating online eccentricities, but it could still go further. By divorcing its single-player content from its always-online mode, the game could truly be free of the modern design annoyances that plague some of today’s biggest games.

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