Outriders: How To Progress Through Challenge Tiers

Outriders handles its difficulty curve differently than most looter shooters. Instead of a normal and New Game Plus variant, Outriders uses a system named World Tiers to dictate how hard enemies are.

Strangely, this system isn’t used at all for Outriders’ endgame activity, Expeditions. The game instead shifts towards Challenge Tiers, a system that behaves similarly but is only tied to this mode. Many players have gotten stuck at certain Challenge Tiers for various reasons, ranging from not enough damage output to getting one-shot. In this guide, we’ll go over what Challenge Tiers are, how to unlock them, and tips for bypassing progression blocks.

What Are Challenge Tiers?

Challenge Tiers determine the level of enemies and items you stumble across in Expeditions, Outriders’ endgame activity. This system is unlocked upon completing the main campaign. This system has no relation to World Tiers, and World Tiers have no impact on the loot received from Expeditions.

There are 15 Challenge Tiers that you can unlock, each increasing the rarity of gear you obtain when completing an Expedition. If you want to receive level 50 gear, the best gear in the game, you’ll need to complete Challenge Tier 15 (CT15, for short) Expeditions.

Unlocking Challenge Tiers

Similar to World Tiers, you unlock Challenge Tiers by completing an Expedition while at your highest unlocked Challenge Tier. For example, to reach Challenge Tier 10, you’ll need to beat an Expedition at Challenge Tier 9. Higher Challenge Tier unlocks also require Bronze, Silver, or Gold Expedition completions. In general, you’ll want to complete Expeditions with a Gold rating to further your Challenge Tier progression.

Challenge Tier Levels

Here’s a breakdown of the level of enemies and gear you can expect from each Challenge Tier.

  • CT1: Level 31
  • CT2: Level 32
  • CT3: Level 34
  • CT4: Level 35
  • CT5: Level 37
  • CT6: Level 38
  • CT7: Level 40
  • CT8: Level 41
  • CT9: Level 43
  • CT10: Level 44
  • CT11: Level 46
  • CT12: Level 47
  • CT13: Level 48
  • CT14: Level 49
  • CT15: Level 50

Completing Challenge Tier 15 Expeditions will grant the highest chance of legendary gear (25% four times per Gold Expedition) and level 50 items, the highest item level in the game.

Additionally, completing any of these Challenge Tiers will increase your equippable item level. For example, completing CT10 will raise your equippable item level to 44. This also allows you to improve item levels to that cap through the crafting system.

Bypassing Progression Roadblocks

Most players experience a progression roadblock at some point during their Challenge Tier climb. These roadblocks typically occur at CT4, CT7, CT9, CT11, and CT 15. Excluding CT 15, all CT tiers mentioned jump up two levels instead of one, providing a significant boost in difficulty for players that don’t have at-level gear. At these tiers, it’s recommended to play one tier lower to reach your current item level cap.

More specific advice is covered below.

Equip Your Highest Level Gear

Item level in Outriders determines your weapon’s intrinsic Firepower, your Armor rating, and grants passive Health and Anomaly Power bonuses as you reach item levels past 42. Needless to say, your damage and survivability will skyrocket if you equip your highest level items. Even if the attributes aren’t perfect, use items with the highest item level possible to increase your chances of survival.

Mod Your Gear

Mods can make or break your build. Since you’ll frequently be changing your items as you progress through each Challenge Tier, there’s a chance you forgot to swap your armor mods out for more beneficial alternatives. Don’t forget to do this!

If you’re struggling to kill enemies, you’ll want to equip weapon mods that either grant a flat damage effect (Claymore, Storm Whip, etc.) or scales your damage (Killing Spree, Anomaly Enhancement). Armor mods can also help with this (Bloodlust, Stand Tall).

For survivability, mods that increase your Armor rating (Damage Absorber, Mitigation from Death) are invaluable. These mods give a substantial amount of Armor that will frequently double or triple your physical damage resistance.

Finally, always remember to use mods that enhance your skills. The best mods for each skill will boil down to your build and playstyle, but anything that increases your damage output or survivability will work wonders at higher Challenge Tiers.

Focus On Attributes

Attributes are the passive effects that you can find on all weapons and armor. Effects such as Cooldown Reduction, Weapon Life Leech, and Bonus Firepower are all attributes you can find on your gear.

You have three weapons and five armor pieces on your character, each providing some sort of passive benefit. Take advantage of them! If you’re playing an Anomaly-focused caster build, focus on obtaining armor pieces with Cooldown Reduction and Bonus Anomaly. Focus on using attributes that benefit your playstyle. They make a massive difference if you optimize your character around them.

Scale Firepower Or Anomaly

There are two damage sources in Outriders: Firepower and Anomaly Power. Firepower determines how much damage your weapons and round-related skills deal, and Anomaly determines the damage of your abilities and melee attacks. Scaling these stats becomes paramount when you reach higher Challenge Tiers where enemies have copious amounts of Health. You should also consider investing in Armor Piercing or Resistance Piercing to more quickly kill elites with weapons or skills, respectively.

Increase Your Armor Rating

Armor reduces the amount of physical damage you take from enemy attacks. The more Armor you have, the more physical damage mitigation you’ll receive. Armor can mitigate up to 85% of physical damage from all attacks. Reaching this cap requires a different amount of Armor for each class, but every class can easily reach this cap by using Armor-scaling mods and high-level armor pieces.

A few common Armor-scaling mods include Damage Absorber and Mitigation from Death, both of which are class-agnostic T2 armor mods.

Farm Chem Plant

Chem Plant is the Expedition on the far left of the Expedition map. This mission is by far the easiest Expedition in Outriders, containing mostly fodder enemies and an easy final boss. The time limit for Chem Plant is lenient, making Gold completions trivial for most builds. If you need to increase your Challenge Tiers as fast as possible, run Chem Plant whenever it’s up.

Tip: You can refresh your available Expeditions at any time. To do so, launch any available Expedition. When you load in, abandon the mission. This will refresh your available Expeditions on the Expedition map.

Next: Outriders Complete Guide And Walkthrough

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Charles Burgar is an expert on all things tech and gaming. Graduating from Pikes Peak Community College in 2018 with an Associate of Science, Charles has spent his time dissecting popular video games, movies, and technology. With an understanding of games for as long as he can remember, Charles has a large interest in understanding what makes things fun. He is currently a Freelance writer for TheGamer and Game Rant.

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