Video games are a big part of my life, and I wish I wanted them to stay that way.
After 37.6 hours in game, I am now the not-so-proud completer of The Outer Worlds on its hardest difficulty, supernova. I had my ups and most definitely had my downs on my journey through Halcyon, but it is finally over, and I lived to tell my story. In this case, the story is going to be all about what you need to know to beat the game on supernova difficulty and how to do so as fast and easy as possible.
Like in any good RPG, we must begin this guide to beating supernova with the basics. Without further ado, let's jump into placing your attributes and skills.
Attributes, Skills, and Aptitude
Like any other RPG you choose to play—in general—the mechanics of the entire game are based around how you choose to distribute your skills. Firearms, melee, speech, technical skills... The Outer Worlds doesn't break away from the basic formula for success of an RPG game. Therefore, you should not break away from the formula of success for a successful RPG player and try to brute-force your way through the entire game while also expecting that "perfect ending" feeling.
No, you need to take a look at how I allocated my skills, attributes, and aptitude as pictured above. That is what supernova demands of you, and the only exception would be taking one point off of intelligence and temperament each, then putting those two points onto perception. However, you need to take note that the only reason you'd do this is to ensure you hear all the dialogue in the game; perception has no tangible effect on the game—by my standards—and thus I find it to be a useless skill to invest in even if it doesn't hurt to do so.
The most important skills you need to focus on are persuade, lockpick, and hack. These three skills should be taken to at least level 100 for each of them, and this is because every single mission in the game will require at least one of them to get you through without hassle. My best advice, however, is that you max out your persuade skill and then use armor mods to push your hack and lockpick skills higher rather than investing more skill points into them.
If you'd rather not have lockpick and hack skills to make earning money and passing quests way easier, then don't invest in them at all. Yes, you heard me right, put those skill points into sneak instead; this is because sneak is the next all-important skill in the game. On supernova difficulty, the sneak skill is your best friend and you won't have an easy playthrough without utilizing it.
Where you place any excess skills or your aptitude is up to you, as I can only hand you the basics based on making the game as quick and easy as possible while on the hardest difficulty. Which moves me into my next point: Putting a whisper mod and a scope on everything!
See Far, Shoot Quiet and Hard
As if it even needs to be said, it is upon you to put whisper mods and scopes onto every single weapon in your inventory—and I'd say put them on your melee weapons too, if such a feat were possible. This is for the sole reason you aren't going to have a smooth ride through Halcyon on supernova if you decide to go loud and proud throughout your entire playthrough. If you prefer going loud, having every area turn into a bloodbath, then be my guest; I don't recommend anything less than pure stealth and guerilla tactics.
Almost every single weapons vendor and vending machine in the game offers scopes and whisper mods, and preferably you want to buy the scopes that extend your range rather than just how far you can see. Sure, a 4x scope is cool when you want to hit an enemy from far away, but it is going to do nothing as far as keeping your damage output where it needs to be. Thus we come back to my advice, extend that range and silence that shot.
Every weapon in your inventory should look like the weapon I have pictured above, with the exclusion of throwing damage-type mods into the magazine mod slot.
Using the appropriate damage-type on the appropriate enemy becomes crucial once you hit the latter stages of the game, and those damage types are as follows:
- Physical: Arguably, the most useless damage-type in the entire game. It can't break through armor, it has no special properties, and all it does is stagger. If you have a physical weapon equipped, well, it is time to hit the workbench and mod that sucker.
- Corrosion: Good for damage-over-time effects against armored opponents. Not ideal, but also not as terrible as physical-type weapons. If you can't find a better-suited weapon for the job, pick a corrosive-type!
- Plasma: If you plan on taking out a bunch of unarmored creatures, then you need to bust this damage-type out. It is almost the same as corrosive weapons, but it lands between physical and corrosive damage on the effectiveness scale. Only use this type in the beginning stages of the game.
- Shock: The only damage-type worth using against auto-mechanicals. If you use this on organic enemies you can put a shock debuff on them, and all that does is slow them down for a second or two.
- N-Ray: The second-to-best damage-type in the game, and one you need to keep an eye out for. This damage is effective against all types of enemies, and even has an area-of-effect trait that will hurt anything nearby the enemy you are mag-dumping into.
- Special Effects: These are a very rare type of weapon, usually science and pristine weapons, and the effects that they dish out are specialized and widely diverse. Keep an eye on these, as it is upon you to discover what type of special effect a weapon has based on what it does to the enemy you are shooting.
It can become a bit redundant, but you need to make sure you master your equipment and their corresponding hotkeys. Switching damage-types mid-battle quickly and effectively will save your life. Luckily, you have tactical time dilation to assist you.
Don't Forget to Dilate
One of my favorite mechanics in this game is Tactical Time Dilation (TTD), and you are going to learn to love it as well. On lower difficulties it isn't really a necessary part of the game, everything goes down in a few shots that don't even have to be critical. When playing supernova, however, you're going to discover that it takes more than one sneak-attack-headshot to bring down high-level enemies, and that is where TTD comes into play full-swing.
Popping TTD on and off effectively takes quite a bit of practice to get used to, but the best way to get used to it is to drop down into stealth, turn on your TTD, take aim at your enemy's head, pop their dome, and then turn off TTD. This is especially important in rooms where there are multiple guards, a dog, and auto-mechanicals staring right at one another. TTD can mean the difference between a room full of the blood of your enemies, and staring at your own innards as they fall from your insides.
Once you start racking up flaws, you're going to see just how effective TTD becomes. However, you need to understand how to place your perks in order to make the most out of those flaw debuffs.
Take Every Flaw
Although there are those who would argue me vehemently, you need to take every single flaw that you are offered in-game. Take too many long falls and now you're acrophobic? Take that flaw! Does drug consumption plague you every second of every day? Take that flaw! Spend too much money and now vendors caught on to how gullible you are? Take that flaw!
With every flaw that you take you are also given a perk point, and with only 16 perk points available through natural leveling you're going to want every single flaw you can possibly pack on. If you chose the optimal build I offered you earlier, you've needed to take every carrying capacity perk available to you so that you don't have to keep finding vendors after getting encumbered. Make sure you spend those perk points wisely, though, because you need to offset your lack of having companions.
A small, insignificant point to be made here, but you don't need to have companions in your party.
Ditch the Idea of Companions
Though The Outer Worlds offers you the choice of having companions, I advise that you take them on for their side-quests and then dismiss them from your service. Their side-quests offer necessary experience for leveling up earlier on in the game, but they also limit your ability to hammer out damage. As you progress further and further into the story, you're going to want to be able to hit your enemies as hard as you possibly can.
In combination with the perk that boosts your damage 5% per flaw you take, you'll get 10% more if you have no companions, and that means you'll be able to take even the highest level enemies out in as little as two critical hits. For an individual such as myself who likes to speed-run games at their highest difficulty, this damage output is invaluable. So, ditch those silly companions, inject some flaws into your butt cheeks, and up that DPS potential!
All this being said, I think I've covered the most-important facets of beating supernova difficulty quickly and easily, but there are still some finer nuances to touch on such as choosing your character's gender and how to manage your inventory.
Some Final, Finer Nuances
To close this guide to beating supernova difficulty out, I'd like to give you some final pointers for getting all you can out of The Outer Worlds. The first pointer being which gender you choose to play as, because I know how important that decision is to some people. I say to always play as a female, even though I chose male for my supernova playthrough, because females typically get a more, "unique," feel to their dialogue trees and relationships.
My second pointer is to collect every weapon, armor piece, drug, and scrap of food you can find. Armor and weapons are necessary because you need their parts for repairing your equipment; always break them down, but they also sell for a pretty penny if you need a few extra bits. Food items can be a lifesaver in those dire moments, but equally so, they are abundant and sell for a decent price in bulk. Make sure you do everything you can to amass a collection of crap in your inventory.
The third and almost-final pointer—thank God—is to get used to the idea of stealing everything that isn't nailed down. Your greatest source of income, as in almost any RPG, will be stealing anything you can get your hands on. You should be able to amass a hefty sum of bits within your first few hours of playing, and you're going to need it for all the tinkering on your weapons.
Fourth and finally, make sure you are regularly visiting workbenches to tinker with your weapons. Damage output is key to your success, and the only way to truly up your output halfway through the game is to tinker. Tinkering is expensive, but if you follow this guide you'll be sailing through all supernova difficulty can throw at you.
Remember, this guide isn't the best choice, it's Spacer's Choice! Good luck on your run through The Outer Worlds on supernova!
© 2021 Kyler J Falk