Anthem NEXT Update

Clearly we’re at the point where base Anthem is dead, and everything is focused on NEXT. We’re a few months shy of 2 years from launch from the base game, with nothing new for over a year. I guess all the chips are in this new pile.

A blog post due in August is finally up. I’ve read it a few times now, and truthfully everything in there is a solid decision point. In terms of “decisions that should have been made years ago”, the only thing that really matters is that abilities are unlocks and not drops.

For those not recalling Anthem’s skill system, javelins at max level have no abilities. You need to equip items to get access to abilities, and those abilities are limited by your class. The drops have stats, and for nearly every item in the game, there are god rolls and then garbage. Inscriptions made it even worse, since they allowed for tweaks of base abilities, had god rolls that made things broken, and were next to impossible to find.

So that change is more than welcome, there’s no point in having NEXT if that’s not the foundation to build from.

The rest of the post talks about drops that add modifiers to abilities, a skill tree, and specializations. Which if you look at every other looter/shooter, is baseline structure. It’s hard for me to emphasize how fundamental that this be the case and how mind blowing/infuriating it was when Anthem launched.

At this point, I can’t say that there’s anything bad in here. The devil is clearly in the details and balance. At no point did I ever have a problem with the moment to moment parts of Anthem, they were kick butt. Everything wrong with Anthem was the mechanics that prevented players from experiencing the game. It really felt like no one played the game outside of the battles. It was like a 4 course meal of AAA lobster, nachos, curry, and tiramisu. Each piece is great, but they just don’t go together.

In that respect, if you look at Anthem NEXT as a parallel to FF14’s relaunch, things are rosy. That EA/BioWare are willing to invest in this is amazing, clearly seeing some value in the IP/assets already in place. We’re ~6 months since the new direction was launched, and this is pretty much where I expected things to be. EA’s fiscal year end on March 31, ain’t no way we’re going to see anything launched by then. So I guess we’re looking at March 2022 as the end date for all this work.

Aside from Dragon Age, I don’t know what the devs would be working ont. I sure wish them luck in this.

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