Outriders: a close-up look at the Pyromancer class

What are Pyromancers and what can they do? We dig into this incendiary class.
By Duncan Heaney
Tags: Outriders

When we call Outriders an RPG shooter, we’re not kidding around.

Not only does the game have brutally satisfying combat and a dark sci-fi story, it also features a flexible upgrade system that gives you an incredible level of control over your character and playstyle.

But you have to start somewhere - and that means first picking a class. Three have been revealed so far: the Pyromancer, the Trickster and the Devastator.

Today, we’ll give you a preview of the warmest of these - the Pyromancer!

Some people just want to watch the world burn - those people are called Pyromancers.

As the name implies, this class is all about manipulating fire. These powerful Outriders have total control over this devastating force of nature, and use it to create walls of searing flames, encase enemies in blistering cinders and much more.

In short, Pyromancers are hot stuff - but how do they play, what can they do, and will they be the right class for you?

People Can Fly answer: What is a Pyromancer?

To help answer those questions, we asked the people who’d know best: the developers themselves.

Here’s what Bartek Kmita, Game Director for Outriders had to say:

“So the Pyromancer is basically a fire mage - a powerful fighter who controls heat.

This class plays really well at mid-range, though by selecting and equipping the correct skills and upgrades, you can tailor it to be quite effective at close range instead.

Regardless of your play style, Pyromancers are effects specialists - they can incapacitate a lot of enemies all at once, as well as mark them with skills to drain their health - and increase yours.

It’s a good choice for anyone who likes to deal with multiple people at once. The more enemies you fight, the better it is for you - so it’s a great class to choose if you want to be able to deal effectively with big crowds!”

What can Pyromancers do?

In Outriders, skills are as important as weapons - and just as effective. The Pyromancer’s skillset is particularly explosive.

Their suite of abilities allow them to control the battlefield, keeping enemies on the move and taking out whole swathes of them at a time.

Here’s just a taste of what you’ll be able to do in the full game:

  • Thermal Bomb: this spectacular skill homes in on an adversary and sets them ablaze. What’s more, if you kill them while they’re on fire, they’ll explode and damage everything around them. It’s perfect for dealing with enemies grouped together - you can essentially turn your attackers into living weapons!

  • Ash Blast: Covers all enemies around your character in ash, immobilising them for a short time. This is fantastic if you need to give yourself a little breathing room when surrounded by angry people with guns. They’re sitting ducks too, so if you or another player immediately follows up with a powerful attack, there’s nothing your hapless foes will be able to do about it.

  • Heatwave - launch a wall of flame ahead of you, incinerating any enemy that’s unfortunate enough to be in the way. It causes a satisfying amount of damage, and even sets them on fire too!

  • Overheat: deals damage to enemies in a large radius. It'll hurt any enemy it hits as standard. However, if they’re already burning, things get super spicy - Overheat will severely damage those unfortunate foes. What's more, it combos well with lots of other abilities, making it an incredibly useful support skill too

Not only are these skills satisfyingly flashy, they also all feel uniquely useful. And these three are just a small sample - there are even more to unlock in the full game.

How the Pyromancer plays

As the game’s Director, Bartosz Kmita, says, Pyromancers excel at mid-range. Their incendiary skillset makes them particularly adept at crowd control.

Their ability to bypass cover with their skills means that it’s very difficult for enemies to hunker down safely - they can also force them away from parts of the battlefield, or freeze them in place for an easy kill. A skilled Pyromancer owns the battlefield.

They’re less adept if a powerful enemy decides to get up close and personal, mind you. In those cases, it’s often a good idea to back off a bit and get some distance so you can bring the heat.

That doesn’t have to be the case, of course. As mentioned, Outriders features a flexible upgrade system that lets you spec your character for specific playstyles. So if you want a Pyromancer that’s more efficient at close range, you can do it - you just might have to make a few sacrifices in other areas.

Another big influence in how Pyromancers play is the healing system. In Outriders, every class restores health in a different way - and it has a dramatic effect on how you approach combat.

Some reward close-up kills, others have more specific criteria - for Pyromancers, the simplest way to heal up is to take down an enemy that’s burning.

That simple requirement encourages you to constantly use your powers. You’ll find it’s beneficial to experiment with different combinations to make sure that you always have a way to keep foes flammable.

As you can tell, the Pyromancer is a tactically rich class with a lot to discover. If the ability to own the battlefield with fire and brimstone sounds like a good time, then you should definitely keep it in mind.

Outriders releases for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One and Steam Holiday 2020.