Like a Stick in the Wheels

Anthem  is doing a hell of a job getting in it’s own way.

It really is two different games.  The 1-30 part is good.  You can get a solid 20 hours of of that part, and generally not have issues.  Then you reach 30, and unlock Grandmaster 1 (GM1), and it feels like self-sabotage.

anthem - 0 gear.png

That’s right – 0%.  Devs put it to this value because a bug caused it to stack to infinity.  At least I get Ammo 33% faster from enemy drops.

The list of bugs I mentioned last post persist.  Still can’t get Tyrant Mine to show up… apparently I need to be manually invited to a run.  Hundreds of posts on the main forums, not a single answer from the devs.  That I found the solution on a major gaming website is more than telling.

Stability

In most any other space, I’d say stop what you’re doing, throw everyone on stability.  Anthem goes to extreme ends to make the gaming experience painful.  I am happy for those that are not having issues – more than happy.  When it works, the combat here is really solid.

But golly molly, what is with this game?  I get Bethesda not being able to tie their shoelaces without burning the house down, but this had 6 years of development and would barely qualify as alpha in terms of stability.  I’m sure in a month’s time this will be old news… but this game doesn’t have a month’s time.  It has 2 weeks until Division 2 comes out.

Focus

I don’t quite understand what Anthem is trying to do.  The story mode from 1-30 is 100% gone at max level, with the aside of talking to NPCs (which add entries to a practically hidden part of the game).  Which is fine.  The issue is that the game insists in putting you back into story mode (Tarsis) at every single step, and go through loading screens that are pointless.  Even the post-mission screen is useless aside from trying to sell you on the cosmetics.

If Anthem is trying to sell me on the looter/shooter, then it needs to actually make it possible to do that.  Looter specifically in that I get loot, I can try loot, and get to content that gives loot in a rapid manner.  Right now, the process is:

  1. Load the game (10s)
  2. Press space to load into Tarsis (30s)
  3. Walk over to the launch bay (60s)
  4. Load Launch Bay (30s)
  5. Collect all Legendary contracts (10s) (1 place to click, rather than 3)
  6. Load Expedition screen (10s)
  7. Launch expedition (30-45s)
  8. Complete Contract (~10 minutes) (or Tyrant Mine if it wasn’t bugged at ~25m)
  9. Load post-mission screen (10s)
  10. Skip post mission screen (or wait 30s)
  11. Watch loot screen and break down all non-purple items (10-30s)
  12. Enter Forge to see if the loot I got is an upgrade or not (20s)
  13. Clean out inventory (2m)
  14. Load back into Tarsis (20s) (Launch Bay takes longer than Tarsis to load, and is bugged 50% of the time)
  15. Turn around and enter Javelin
  16. GOTO 6

Step 7 is the one where I actually play the game.  Everything else is overhead.  If I’m doing contracts, that’s ~50% of my time not actually playing the game.

Quality of Life

There’s a long list here, but the more I think about it, the more it’s less about QoL and more about just plain basic functionality in a game made in 2019.

  • A functioning & interactive map
  • A way to quickly group up with people around you
  • Loot that actually feels rewarding (1% more ammo is beyond dumb)
  • Meaningful content that is balanced
  • Clear messaging as to how stats/inscriptions impact your player (a game based on number chasing should explain said numbers)

Suggestions

  • Increase Freeplay to 16 players (I realize this requires “smart” enemy scaling)
  • Have the game start you at the gates outside Tarsis
  • Allow players to teleport to Strider launch points they have discovered
  • Allow players to mark the map in Freeplay and allow other Javelins to teleport to them
  • Have the expedition kiosk a MENU item, not a location you need to physically go to
  • Have the forge a MENU item, not a location you need to physically go to
  • Pre-load the jump BACK into Freeplay when a mission ends, while you are looking at the loot drops
  • Set ranges to inscriptions based on rarity (e.g. MW rolls min 50% of max, Leg rolls 75% of max) so that it actually feels like it’s an improvement over Epic gear.
  • Launch the additional content now – with a time balance similar to that of Tyrant Mines – at least 2 new strongholds (for a total of 5 BALANCED strongholds).

 

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