Anthem from the Outside

Anthem early release (PC only, $5 for 10 hours, $20 for unlimited per month) was last Friday, so that gives us 4 solid days (Monday was a holiday for a lot of people in NA).  Where are we?

Day 1 patch notes for starters.  Or maybe the patch highlights, since sprinting in Tarsis isn’t listed.  Some pretty important things there – in particular the items under “high level fixes” that deal with simply accessing the game.

I know in the demo my load times were absurd – 2 to 3 minutes in some spots.  Not to mention the sheer amount of loading screens.  Seems the case now too, with the general recommendation to move to SSD.  Which, you know, cool for desktops that have them.  Less so for laptops.  Not sure how that would impact console players, so I guess we’ll see how that works out after Day 1.

There are various youtubers providing their “reviews” or “impressions” of an online game that’s technically still in beta.  Plenty of blog posts.  Gaming sites have early impressions as well.  I don’t quite understand how people can comment on “end game variety” by this point, but I guess they need the clicks.  If you’re curious about the game, I’d avoid browsing Reddit – that’s for sure.

Fair to assume that those playing the game right now are the same people who were more than looking forward to the game.  Passionate I would say.  Not the streamers, I mean the players.  The next wave coming, those in the “it looks interesting” camp, that will be the real test.

Related to this are the (insanely?) dedicated players who are already at level 30 and in full legendary/masterwork gear.  Quite a few used the a “loot cave” for easy farming, and it would seem that Strongholds (dungeons) are giving great rewards just from the chests (without killing the boss).  I know the latter example existed in the 2 demos, since bosses don’t visibly drop loot and account for ~30% of the total dungeon duration.  Curious as to how all this fits into BW’s player models for content consumption.  I mean they certainly expected a portion of players to go for gold, but where do they need to find the balance?

In some previous posts on the demo, I had a couple things that I thought needed addressing.  Sure, a lot of QoL things, in particular flight/swimming controls, load screens, and the UI.  It would seem a lot of those items are being looked at on the 22nd.

I’m sure I will have a few thoughts on Monday after having a decent sit down.  For now it will be just taking in the scenery.  Fingers crossed.

3 thoughts on “Anthem from the Outside

  1. The ‘Day 1’ patch notes refer to the Feb 22nd official launch date, sprinting in Tarsis is already a thing as of the 15th Feb pre-release launch, and it helps, but it does still feel very slow when held up in comparison to the Javelin movespeed!

    And while the Feb 22nd is being toted around as the official launch date, with a ‘Day 1’ patch and all, I don’t blame people too much for running their reviews on what’s there now. I can only imagine that the review-copy access the big sites had access to would be running on this build. The intense hyping of the negativity in the service of clicks has been a disappointing but interesting phenomenon to watch. There are definitely plenty of valid criticisms to be had about the game; many of which WILL still exist after this Feb 22nd patch.

    But the general impression being delivered in some quarters is that the game is some sort of unrecoverable mess that not only isn’t fun but will also not likely ever BE fun. When the truth of the matter is even through the issues that currently exist, there is plenty of enjoyment to be extracted.

    Now; whether you feel it is OK to support the commercialisation of AAA-Early Access (which is basically what this game is trying to get by us, even more blatantly than looter-shooters which have come before) is another matter. I could even see some merit in taking that stance. But it’s not the stance I’ve really seen anyone taking or verbalise at this stage.

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    • I am going to take a side bar on this, relating to BfA. Mechanically BfA had some serious flaws – beta reports were filled with them, then purged when the game launched. When the shine of something new wore off (2 weeks or so), the house of negativity took over. These were not QoL issues, they were core mechanics. Near everyone had a look behind the curtain before launch.

      When I look at Anthem, there are plenty of technical issues and QoL issues. That’s the whole AAA-early access vibe here. I’d be surprised if the big ticket ones were fixed in a month, and the general ones before “act 2”.

      Mechanically, there’s just not enough there to figure it out. Feels a bit less worrisome than what the Division provided, but I’d rather let time sort that part out. Not that I have any faith in BW’s ability to understand those intricacies, but more that I have my fingers crossed that they actually did market research on Destiny/Division/Warframe on what is reasonable.

      I do think it folly to expect something like Apex Legend’s level of pure polish out the gate. Can’t recall the last online game that was able to pull that off.

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      • (Typing this one from my phone, apologies in advance if any oddities from autocorrect slip through that I don’t catch.)

        The bugs and general technical state, for me, are only a small portion of the early access impression given off by Anthem.

        Moreso, it is about the scarcity of content at the end game, the lack of variety in creatures, enemy factions and biomes.

        Fortunately, after some 40 hours of play already, I can say with some confidence that the game play is mechanically sound and a very strong foundation for what is to come.

        There are issues, yes, some of more concern to me than others, but I feel that if given a chance by EA to develop anthem will truly fly. I have some degree of confidence here that launching rough and early was actually in their business plan, but we’ll have to see.

        I guess this is part of the early access feel too. You buy in on belief that things will continue to improve, because you believe in what they trying to achieve.

        Whether that is a fair ask from a publisher giant like EA?… Eh. 😉

        On the BFA front, while I did play launch (raided through the first tier to completion) I’m already done.

        I didn’t realise there was a lot of discontent from the beta actually. While I was playing I thought it pretty OK I guess, but not up to legion’s standard.

        Add to that I’ve been progressively drifting from WoW since end of cataclysm, and my stay this time was very short.

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