I’m going to take a break from complaining about games that people haven’t played in 5+ years and instead start complaining about a game so popular that basically everyone is still playing it: Outside. In keeping with the usual spirit of my blog, though, I’m going to talk about by referencing lots of old content that most people don’t even know exists. For example: You damn kids don’t even know that non-human play is a thing that exists. Get off my lawn.
So, little known fact: Each of Outside’s expansions is standalone and they don’t name them. If you bought Outside in a store, you probably got a generic box that just has the Outside logo or else you might’ve gotten the Anthropocene (and yes, we’ll be talking about that can of worms in a bit) box that has the pictures of the monkey people on it. They’ve stopped printing that box because that build turned out to be completely non-viable and as of the server data for the date of this post literally zero people are playing it, but I’m getting ahead of myself. If you go to a store and buy a copy of Outside right now, or if you download it from their website, you will be getting the latest unnamed expansion for Outside, not the game’s original release. If you are one of the eighteen gazillion people who got into Outside (relatively) recently, you probably bought the monkey-man box or the generic box that contained the monkey-man disc, which means you probably did not buy the box with the mammal megafauna on it, aka Expansion Fifteen, aka the Neogene Expansion, aka (for some dumb reason) the Ice Age Expansion.
So first of all, let’s clear up that confusion about names before it gets any worse. I’m sure that last paragraph has done enough damage already. The devs periodically release new expansialone editions of Outside and older editions are discontinued from store shelves, although not always from their online store. Each expansion has a bunch of features, usually including some, but not all, features introduced in previous expansions. Fans nickname these expansions as they come out, and usually there are several competing nicknames. Using Expansion Fifteen as an example, the fancy greek/latin name is Neocene, which roughly translates to “double new,” because it’s newer than Expansion Fourteen, which was the most recent expansion when the greek/latin naming scheme got started.
The greek/latin name for Expansion Fourteen was originally the Holocene Expansion, which roughly means “most recent,” but now that name is usually used for whatever expansion happens to be literally the current version of the game (Expansion Fourteen is now called the Paleogene, which means “old recent,” or less literally “the one that used to be recent but now isn’t” – peel back the dead languages and these nicknames are pretty ridiculous at their core). This is especially useful because the name of the game’s current version can sometimes be super controversial, as proposed names for expansions are often based on the current meta, but the meta shifts drastically even over the course of a single expansion’s lifetime, so the current popular name for the current expansion is often really short-sighted and describes a fad that ends up lasting like two months instead of actually being an expansion-defining feature or build or whatever.
Okay, so hopefully we’re all on the same page now: The Holocene is a non-controversial way of referring to whatever expansion happens to be most recent because Outside does not name their expansions because the devs hate us all. When I talk about pre-Holocene, I’m talking about older expansions, which include some content that human-only players might not even realize exists in the game.
Even if you got into the game only during the current Holocene, you’re probably aware that it is possible to play as an animal if you own an earlier expansion. What you might not realize is that this used to be the entire game. And now that I’ve caught up Holocene-only players with the veterans, this brings me, at long last, to my point:
Outside is about humans now.
The Anthropocene is real, and unless the devs clear the board with another meteor strike, it’s here to stay. Veterans have a hard time wrapping their head around this, but after the events of the last few in-game centuries (since about the Industrial Revolution, mainly) it’s completely undeniable. Expansion Sixteen is not a demo box with one playable build to get people to buy the Neogene. The current human dominance is not just a phase in the meta that will pass. I know people said the same thing about previous apex builds and it was dumb. This time it’s for real. The Advanced Tool Use ability that humans get is goddamn unstoppable, and everyone who buys the current version of the game from store shelves spawns with that shit for free. Well, for $60, but they don’t have to build up any evolution points at all, is what I’m getting at.
First of all, let’s talk about how human players now regularly use Advanced Tool Use to give themselves insane buffs. Their equippable weapons are easily the best in the game, and no, this is not balanced by the fact that they have to make and maintain them, because they have supply chains figured out to the point where mid-level humans can walk up to a specialized weapon manufacturer and get a ranged weapon with stunning damage and absolutely unprecedented range in like ten minutes. Same deal with armor. The paradigm where humans’ biggest defense was offense and, failing that, a really high pain threshold? It’s gone. Human equippable armor is the best in the game, bar none. Humans have had armor that puts elephant hide and turtle shell to shame for a while now. When a human wants to play a tank build, they have the option of driving a literal tank. That’s definitely way harder than getting access to standard human weapons, but it’s an option at all. Humans have no natural venom, but they can extract venom from players who have it and use that. They can breathe underwater for orders of magnitude longer than they’re supposed to. They can move faster than a cheetah using a personal vehicle that a huge portion of mid-to-late game humans have easy access to. Their immune system is through the roof. Sure, they need it to keep up with all the diseases their nutcase population density attracts, but they have it, so what do they care? The list goes on. Advanced Tool Use may have just been kinda neat at launch, but once human players set up supply chains and distribution networks, it became overwhelming. Humans who get lucky with their spawn – and not even extremely lucky, just kinda lucky – will spawn in an environment that poses little threat to them through the early game and which will provide them ready access to an obscene number of equipable items that replicate signature abilities that other builds invest half or more of their evolution points acquiring. Not just one such signature ability either, but almost any ability they want.
More importantly, though, let’s talk about how humans can reshape the entire game world. A lot of veteran players don’t realize just how deadly serious the “modify your environment like never before” advertisement was. This is not about how humans get to build huts and that’s neat. It’s not even about how the wisdom sharing system can be used to make trains and skyscrapers and stuff. It’s about what happens when a whole bunch of human players get together and build a shitton of stuff in close proximity. An apartment building is not just a really fancy shelter you can put wherever you want. Veterans who say that the amount of time and effort required just to make a shelter is prohibitive would be right, except that an apartment building is so much more than just a shelter. It’s a biome. Playing in a city – whether as a human or an animal – is as radically different from playing in a deciduous forest as a deciduous forest is to a coniferous or tropical forest or a grassland or whatever. Human players can put new biomes on the map. Anyone who acts like this isn’t a big deal because the biomes move around all the time is deluded. Changing biomes used to be a dev power. Now players can do it with a trait that everyone who owns the Holocene gets for free.
Remember that Ice Age event that transitioned us into the current expansion and defined the meta for a while? Remember how there was a sort of tease a few in-game centuries back where the Ice Age kinda came back but not really? That wasn’t the devs being cute. That was human players accidentally messing with the climate across multiple servers, and they were just getting started. Have you noticed a lot of plastic hazards in your ocean servers lately? That’s not a dev patch, that’s humans. Your forest biome is suddenly a grassland? Humans. High-tier tiger builds suddenly shockingly uncompetitive? Humans. You’re trying to squeeze an extra 5% hit rate out of your claw attacks and the human players have developed a stockpile of mega-weapons that can literally wipe out all megafauna on every server. That is an asteroid-grade event and human players can make it happen whenever they want, the only reason they don’t is because that would suck as much for them as everyone else.
Outside is about humans now.