Home Gaming Anthem is retooling itself to be a sandbox that respects your time

Anthem is retooling itself to be a sandbox that respects your time

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Bioware isn’t ready to throw in the towel on Anthem yet, and it looks like the team over at Bioware Austin have some big changes in store for the beleaguered game which has spent the last year and a half on the sidelines. There’s no pithy one-liner to be found here, as even a fresh joke is the equivalent of beating a dead horse.

I genuinely do want Anthem to succeed, even if it takes a couple of years for it to become the next big redemption story in gaming ala No Man’s Sky. No one wants to see a studio fail, or not be given the chance to turn their fortunes around.

Anyway! A new blog post detailed the latest changes for Anthem, such as increased loot drops, chasing after specific loot without “relying on randomness alone,” and a sense of accomplishment by making loot feel “exciting and more noticeable” when it drops. One of the other major changes will be a completely overhauled inventory system that looks like it was copying Destiny 2’s homework:

Anthem Updates (2)

“A good player experience depends on the loot system being extensible and robust, and a lot can go wrong,” Studio director Christian Dailey wrote, with refreshing honesty.

A lot did go wrong. We fell short here and we realized that building something new from the ground up was going to be required – starting with taking a long look and understanding the best in class of the many great games that inspire us. Based on this research, along with your thoughts and feedback, we planned some high-level goals and changes we wanted to try.

In case you’re interested, here’s the rest of the update notes that showcase the changes coming to Anthem in the future, in which the game is aiming to be always accessible and not a constant time-sink that the live service genre relies far too heavily on these days:

Respect Your Time

Anthem Updates (1)
  • Increase the frequency of Loot Drops
  • Loot is viable more often; All items are better and more competitive, but there’s still a chance of getting something exceptional
  • All loot rarities have strategic value throughout progression

Embrace Choice

  • You can pursue specific loot without relying on randomness alone; Quests; Specialized Vendors; Unique Loot Tables
  • Modify your loot, including rerolling inscriptions and leveling up items

Create a Rewarding Loot Experience

  • Loot feels exciting and more noticeable when it drops, and is celebrated when collected
  • Rare enemies (aka “walking treasure chests”) create exciting moments to get a burst of loot all at once

Keep it Accessible and Immediate

Anthem Updates (3)
  • Reveal and equip loot right away
  • Complete revamp of the equipment sheet – including a detailed stat sheet (not shown) 
  • The equipment sheet can be accessed from anywhere, allows you to easily see what you have equipped in each slot

Reliability of Equipment and Rewards

  • Each item has an inscription “budget”, based on its Power and Rarity 
  • No more useless items because they were missing must-have inscriptions (see “Increased weapon dmg by +225%”)
  • Exceptional items are about getting the exact types of bonuses you want, instead of maxing values on every bonus

Scale for the Future

  • Your power cap can be easily increased, and the loot system scales accordingly
  • Advanced telemetry data allows us to identify trends and make meaningful balance changes

Aligning around these goals has really helped us focus on the right priorities as we continue iterating and seeing the progress in our internal playtesting. It is early days though and we will continue to test and experiment over the coming months, hopefully with your feedback. 

Other Areas of Exploration

In addition to loot and equipment, there are some really good improvements to the feel and types of items we are supporting. Gunplay is overall more responsive with enemies reacting to hits near instantly with improved client-side prediction, we are looking into the role of melee items and builds, and of course, being able to spend skill points to unlock new types of equipment and synergies. One of the things I am most excited about is seeing all the awesome new weaponry concepts based on our factions.

Last Updated: August 3, 2020

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