Home Gaming A bug in Anthem makes level one weapons more powerful than end-game ones

A bug in Anthem makes level one weapons more powerful than end-game ones

2 min read

BioWare’s Anthem is an easy target these days, so taking shots at its faults seems like picking low-hanging fruit. However, there’s a bug in Anthem that’s too weird to ignore. One of the best things about RPGs and looter-shooters is the grind. Because of that grind and how you level up, the more you play the more powerful you become. You become stronger, your abilities become more dangerous or effective, your guns become better and you start dishing out more damage. Only that’s not the case in Anthem at all.

After a cursory bit of digging, a player on Reddit discovered that the gun you get with you default loadout at level one does more damage than some of the hardest to get, most sought-after guns. YeetLordSupreme did numerous tests on weapons and discovered that the starting weapons in the game do more damage than level 45 masterwork ones. It means that the damage numbers assigned to the guns are arbitrary, as are the numbers flying off of enemy heads, because a level one gun takes enemies down quicker than bigger and badder weapons. This applies to abilities, too.

“I have tested this with various weapons and enemies, and while the numbers vary, the results are always the same: the level 1 defender rifle is by far the most effective weapon in my inventory. It melts literally fucking everything.”

Responding on Reddit, BioWare’s Technical design director Brenon Holmes confirmed that tis isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.

“We’ll need to investigate this, scaling systems are supposed to allow low level players to play with high level players to be effective against high level enemies. This is not intended, something ain’t right there …”

Community lead Andrew Johnson confirmed that a fix is coming.

“I have confirmed with the team that this is in fact a bug related specifically to the default items on a loadout in combination with higher level gear you have equipped. It’s not functioning as intended and the team is working on it for an upcoming fix.”

It’s possibly down to the game’s level scaling algorithms, which lets lower-level players play with stronger partners. Either way, it’s brought up some interesting questions around game design and the way that games trick players into feeling powerful. If nobody’s really noticed that higher levels don’t make you more powerful and are tripping on the power fantasy anyway, does it really matter?

Last Updated: March 7, 2019


  1. Raptor Rants

    March 7, 2019 at 07:59

    If I were behind this game I’d be embarrassed. How long was development? Something in the region of 5 years?

    And where’s the QA? Surely they should have tested the level scaling extensively?

    This, gentleladies and gentlemen is why I don’t do day 1 or pre orders.


    • Pariah

      March 7, 2019 at 08:07

      To be fair this is not something you’d test in QA. You just wouldn’t. At lvl 30, you’d be testing lvl 30 white -> legendary rarity stuff. You wouldn’t put on a lvl 1 thing and go “hey let’s see how this works”.

      This is why it’s unreasonable to expect a relatively small team of devs (and much smaller QA team) to pick up every little bug that’s in the game.

      I wouldn’t be embarrassed about this at all. This isn’t obvious, this isn’t something ANYONE in QA or dev would check.


      • Sandelk

        March 7, 2019 at 08:30

        Actually this is something that should be easily picked up in testing, as you should be verifiying the damage numbers across the entire game in the backend and not just the play through experience


        • Pariah

          March 7, 2019 at 10:00

          You’ve never done QA, have you?


          • Sandelk

            March 7, 2019 at 10:49

            Actually I’m a QA Architect at one of the biggest tech companies in South Africa. This could’ve been picked up in a Unit test on he code and not even required a play-through.

      • Raptor Rants

        March 8, 2019 at 19:36

        That’s the thing though. Scaling to make sure lower level players can join is a specified feature. So yes, during QA someone HAD to test the scaling. They had to gooi a level 1 on there with a bunch of level 30s or whatever. Yes they had to make sure the scaling was functioning as intended. So sadly, missing this is QA means the scalable feature that they pushed and told everyone about, didn’t get tested properly.

        I’d 100% understand if this was a usual grinder where there is no scaling and where your level limited your choices of what content you could do. But that’s not how the game was designed. It was designed specifically so that level 1 and level infinity characters could jam together with scaling . So sadly it was a massive miss in QA.


  2. Kromas

    March 7, 2019 at 08:07

    “BioWare’s Anthem is an easy target these days, so taking shots at its faults seems like picking low-hanging fruit.”

    This feels like a biased statement.


  3. Yondaime

    March 7, 2019 at 11:31

    This Game is starting to sound like a joke…


  4. Llama In The Rift

    March 7, 2019 at 09:09

    Smells like a trap…use said guns and get banned for “exploiting” a PvE game.


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