We're continuing to play plenty of Catalyst Black during its early access "Secret Service" period, and we're back to take a close look at the game's gear system. Take a look at a detailed breakdown of all things gear below, and make sure to check back in on our coverage of the game for new updates so you don't miss a thing!
Catalyst Black has a whopping seven different gear slots, with each one granting different stats and abilities to your character. The game is centered around players collecting, upgrading and dialing-into their preferred combination of gear to create a character that matches their own personal playstyle.
These main pieces of gear are as follows:
Primary (weapon) - This is probably the most straightforward piece of gear in Catalyst Black. Your primary weapon determines your standard tool for shooting opponents in a given match. Primary weapons can be battle rifles, rocket launchers, shotguns, and even mini-guns, each of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. You never run out of ammunition for your primary weapon, but you do have to be mindful of when you need to reload it.
Heavy (weapon) - In addition to your primary weapon, players also have a powerful secondary weapon they can unleash on foes, provided they've gathered collectible ammo for it during a match. Heavy weapons are things like mortars and sniper rifles, and hits from these weapons can kill most opponents instantly if used correctly.
Mask - Masks are the equivalent of an ultimate ability in other team-based multiplayer games, and they are the equipment that allows you to turn into a powerful creature. The ability on your mask has a long cooldown timer, so you need to make sure you're gathering collectible powerups throughout a match so you can use it as needed, particularly against groups of enemies.
Power - Powers determine the special ability you can use for your mask. By default, each player has access to the Sunder mask and Leap Slam ability, which basically means you can turn into a giant bear and can do a jumping attack that kills anyone in your landing radius. Powers are key to racking up kills while transformed.
Relic - When you're transformed using your mask, you also grant passive stat bonuses to nearby allies, and these bonuses are determined by the Relic you have equipped. Sometimes it's good to transform in a teamfight just to give your teammates a boost.
Ability - Abilities are pretty self-explanatory in that they are different kinds of cooldown-based... err... abilities you can use while in your normal form. Some of these include shields, healing, and leap attacks, all of which modify your combat capabilities beyond your base weapon loadout.
Trinket - Trinkets operate like Powers when your mask isn't activated. These are passive abilities that trigger under certain conditions while controlling your normal character. Some examples include graning a burst of movement speed after hiding in brush or getting a small heal after firing your Heavy Weapon.
Which gear is most important?
The way your gear all interacts together ultimately determines their importance, but the pieces of loot that make the biggest changes to how your character plays are probably your Primary Weapon and Ability. These two tools are always at your disposal and give you the most direct control over your combat options in practically any situation. Check out the video above where we show off gameplay using the rocket launcher, battle rifle, and chain gun to see just how big a difference changing out Primary Weapons makes.
So, if you're participating in the Secret Service and are looking to really shake things up, changing out or buying new Primary Weapons and Abilities is probably the best route to take. Once you're happy with the gear you're rocking in those two slots, you can expand to other items to build around that core.
In all of this gear talk, we have somewhat been simplifying things. All the loot in Catalyst Black also has other properties that can give you even more custom control of your character.
Each piece of gear comes with its own passive stat bonuses, and these are largely determined by the category (aka "banner") of the item in question. Non-mask-related items all have a banner, which imply a sort of role that the loot suits best. For example, a Trinket that grants a shield may be considered part of the "Protector" banner, and all gear under that banner gives your character more base health. As a bonus, equipping multiple pieces of gear from the same banner grants even greater rewards, meaning that you may want to decide what role you'll play on a team and spec in that direction for maximum stat bonuses.
If all that banner stuff wasn't enough, Catalyst Black also has things called Catalyte Mods, which are the final way you can tune your gear even further. Catalyte Mods are basically additional bonuses that can be stuck onto specific gear. The capabilities of these mods are defined by three adjectives and the potency of those capabilities determined by a rarity level. So for an example, the Choker of Phasing shown above has a Catalyte Mod that grants Determination (increased damage on reload), Mercenary (increased move speed after emptying weapon), and Recovery (increased health regen out of combat), and their overall bonuses are higher than the rare (blue) and uncommon (green) mods under it because it is an epic (purple) mod.
I think that just about covers what we know about Catalyst Black's gear currently. Be sure to drop us a comment if we left anything else or if you have other questions!