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ANTHEM | Bioware

ANTHEM STATE OF THE GAME DIARY

Time to suit up and grind it out.

by Felipe Parada

One of 2019’s most anticipated games has landed and has already generated a lot of controversy. Game crashes, a broken loot system, and even the game suffering from a lack end game content are just a few of claims that players are reporting. Although there are a dedicated few who are really enjoying the game, the masses are voicing their extreme displeasure, but is all this negative press is warranted? Need we be reminded that these games go through a evolution process that completely restructures the game for the better?

I am one of those dedicated few that are thoroughly enjoying the game. So I decided to suit up and dive in to the world of Bastion. With my trusty journal in hand, I document my journey and seek the title of Grandmaster. We'll get to see the evolution of ANTHEM starting with its disastrous launch. Getting to the title of Grandmaster won't be easy be as the enemies won't be the only thing that I have to worry about. So let's begin the State of the Game Diary.

 

Anthem has landed. February Release:

  • 2/22/19 - ANTHEM is finally here, but its not without its controversy. Of course there is a one day patch (1.02) but nowadays it's almost the standard. Instead of listing the slew of changes you can just check out the patch notes here.

 

My opinion? Here is where the issue starts. All the gaming outlets and individuals with EA Access Origins Prime (that's a mouthful) reviewed a game that was already out of date. The patch notes alone show how much the game was changed. Yet everyone plowed ahead with the “ANTHEM SUCKS” reviews. And the “YouTube influencers were all over it even though the reddit threads and YouTube comments painted a completely different picture. It's still early, let's see how it develops.

 

  • 2/23/19 - What was surprising was the fact that there was a day 2 patch (1.03) that addressed a small fix to “Gunslinger’s Mark” as the buff granted by the component would stack much higher than intended. HDR on consoles can now be properly turned on (yay!). Also some quality of life changes were sprinkled into the mix. Nothing really major but it's good to see that Bioware notices these things.

  • 2/24/19 - Patch 1.04 is up and running and addresses loot drops along with inscriptions. Also apparently there was an issue where changes to personalizing their Javelins weren’t being applied. I haven't noticed any major changes but I believe affects more of the end game. I also think that these patches fix a lot of the PC issues because I have yet to encounter anything “game breaking.”

 

Overall I am having a lot of fun with the game despite all it's negative backlash. The flying mechanics are super fun and the moment to moment gunfights are tight. Some weapons do feel the same but that is a minor complaint. I think in its current state, there are more things going against it than working in its favor. Unfortunately we often focus too much on the negative but I'll Keep plowing along.​

The world of Bastion is absolutely gorgeous.

ANTHEM | Bioware

So it Begins. March (Less than 1 Month in)

  • 3/2/19 - The only big issue I was when I encountered a Titan. It was during Freeplay when a group of us decided to take the hulking beast head on. An interest firefight ensued with the combo strings flying around. Once we defeated the Titan it just disappeared, no dying animation, no nothing. But we did get all the rewards so it wasn't all lost.

  • 3/4/19 - Reports are coming in that ANTHEM is killing the PS4, LITERALLY. PS4’s are shutting down and breaking. Like I said previously, I have had NO issue with the game other than some texture pop in effects and the one time a Titan disappeared. Upward and onward with ANTHEM

  • 3/6/19 - Anthem Developer Livestream. Been Irvine and Jesse Anderson address major bugs and crashes plaguing the game. Showed new build of Anthem scheduled to go live on 3/12.

  • 3/7/19 - So after scavenging the internet for some guides and tips, EA finally posted a Guide to Inscriptions. That's great……….but it’s on reddit. This is where I have to agree that Bioware dropped the ball. This vital piece of information should have been in the menus, not deep within reddit.

  • 3/9/19 - Today is a rather significant day because 2 things happened. I finally managed to finish the single player campaign and Patch 1.05 dropped. You can check the full patch notes here. Just as a side note, Although the official patch note states that it’s 1.03, on the PS4 it's listed as 1.05 and I don't know why. This patch is really significant because the community has been waiting for these hotfixes since launch. The patch addresses Bug Fixes and Quality of Life Improvements. Some of the more notable fixes address are stability across all platforms, loot changes, the removal of respawn restrictions. One of my personal favorite fixes is that Players may now launch an expedition from anywhere within the launch bay and Fort Tarsis. THANK GOD! It did get a bit tedious having to run all the way back to the forge just to launch a mission but thankfully Bioware has listened to the community.

In regards to the to Story? Overall I was pleased with story but it did seem to end right when it started to get good, but that is normal with video game stories nowadays. I did like that fact that there was a set-up for a larger story with the possible addition of a new race. It’s exciting but we have to wait and see where Bioware takes it.

 

Now the grinding begins, I managed to find a Masterwork Machine Pistol, Unending Battle, during the last mission of the campaign but the buffs were not all that great. I’m looking forward to see what new weapons I can find playing on Hard difficulty and taking on the Strongholds. I think this is where the game is going to make or break me. Just as long as there is some sense of progression, I’m sure Ill be fine. I still haven't encountered anything game breaking, I guess I'm just lucky. Upward and onward.

A TALE OF 4 JAVELINS

All the Javelins of ANTHEM have their own unique abilities which make them all very deadly.

ANTHEM | Bioware

We’re in the Endgame Now

 

  • 3/10/19 - I finally unlocked all the javelins and the Endgame is in full swing. Out of all the javelins, I think that the Ranger is still my #1 go to javelin while the Colossus is at #2 although each javelin has a very unique play-style that can produce some really cool combos. It really depends on my mood. Now is where the real work begins. I have run the Tyrant Mine Stronghold mission a couple of times trying to complete some weapon and Gear challenges. It's a pretty good mission, similar to Destiny’s “Strike” missions. The Diablo-style weapon loot system has its hit and misses but overall I am slowly finding better weapons.

  • 3/12/19 - Got another Masterwork Weapon, Artinia’s Gambit Light Machine Gun. I got it while running the Tyrant Mine Stronghold Mission. I have no idea how long I've been playing the game since there isn't any stat tracking. It feels like I've put in at least 30+ hours but I could be wrong. I'm gonna keep grinding away and update my findings.

  • 3/19/19 - Managed to pick up another Masterwork Weapon, Papa Pump Shotgun during the Temple of Scar Stronghold Mission. I have noticed that the drop rate for Masterwork items are far and few between. I know Bioware is planning on releasing a new update addressing these issues. Let's see if they can come through.

  • 3/26/19 - The much anticipated patch 1.04 (patch 1.06 on PS4) is up and running. You can see the full patch notes here. This patch is supposed to completely rework large portions of the game. I'm not going to be able to delve into it tonight but it's already downloaded and waiting.

  • 3/28/19 - I finally was able to sit down and try out the new update for Anthem and I am pleasantly surprised to see all the changes. A lot has been updated but the most notable changes are the ability to access the Forge straight from the menu and adding the option to launch a mission from anywhere in Fort Tarsis. This cuts down the unnecessary downtime in Fort Tarsis tremendously. What surprised me the most is the reworked loot system. I ran The Tyrant Mine and The Temple of Scar Stronghold missions and was rewarded with 3 Masterwork items. Those items  were: the Thunderbolt of Yvenia Marksman Rifle, the Elemental Rage Assault Rifle, and the Amulet of Winter Component for my Storm Javelin. After about an hour and a half of gameplay I finally feel like I'm making progress. Next up is my quest to open up some Elysian Chests.

Studio in Crisis (2 Months in)

  • 4/2/19 - How Bioware’s Anthem Went Wrong exposé released by Jason Schreier via Kotaku. The article paints a picture of a studio in complete crisis. Anonymous developers discuss how the game’s two studios suffered a “stressful and tense” relationship. From a broken engine, to constant re-writes, the companies “crunch-culture” led to many employees leaving the company mid-production bringing team morale to an all-time low.

 

After reading the article, I am a bit more surprised at the reaction from the community than of the article itself. Don't get me wrong, it was a very well written exposé by Jason Schreier, but he just confirmed what we were all speculating. This should be no surprise. This type of game development is the norm nowadays. This is why the “Games as a Service” model will never work, it just allows the developers to release a half finished game. Need I remind you that The original Destiny, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Diablo 3, Fallout 76 all had similar problems to Anthem.

 

Bioware’s response was:

 

“We chose not to comment or participate in this story because we felt there was an unfair focus on specific team members and leaders, who did their absolute best to bring this totally new idea to fans. We didn’t want to be part of something that was attempting to bring them down as individuals. We respect them all, and we built this game as a team. “People in this industry put so much passion and energy into making something fun. We don’t see the value in tearing down one another, or one another’s work. We don’t believe articles that do that are making our industry and craft better.”

 

Typical response for the developer. They are in crisis mode as of the moment and what they do within the next couple of days is crucial. All hope is not lost though, It seems like Bioware is dedicated to supporting the game and fixing a lot of the bugs that continue to plague the game. The first patch “post-exposé” will focus on the loot drop issue. Players should now receive Components for the javelins that they are playing with. Lets see how things unfold.

  • 4/8/19 - New Patch 1.04.02 (patch 1.08 on PS4) has dropped and focuses on fixing an issue surrounding loot drops. You should start to see loot drops for the javelin you are using rather than the ones NOT being used. You can find the full patch notes here. After running one Stronghold mission, I still find myself getting a lot of repeat Masterwork Items, namely Elemental Rage and Artinia's Gambit, but I did manage to nab Vanguard’s Tolken during a Free Mission.  I think it might be time to head into Grandmaster 1 difficulty.

  • 4/15/19 - Finally made my venture into Grandmaster Level 1. I ran the Heat of Rage Stronghold Mission and still seem to be getting duplicate Masterwork items, still no Legendary drops. I was able to nab 2 New Masterwork Items during a Legendary Contact Mission, Truth of Tarsis and Symbiotic Surge. The grind continues.

  • 4/20/19 - During a Stronghold fun, I managed to get the Masterwork Siege Breaker Sniper Rifle. Although I have been seeing a lot more Masterwork loot drops, I still getting a lot of duplicate drops. The good thing is that I am getting Masterwork loot drops that are in accordance with the Javelin I am using.

  • 4/23/19 - New Patch 1.10 (patch 1.10 on PS4) has dropped adding a new Stronghold called The Sunken Cell. Plus you can now finally access the forge menu during missions, Hallelujah! There are some re-balancing of components and weapons.You can find the full patch notes here. I tackled the new Stronghold mission and was pleased with how it came out. Ralner's Blaze AR, Elemental Ops Component.

  • 4/24/19 - Bioware announces that it will Delay Anthem’s Entire Roadmap.

This announcement comes as NO surprise. According to Anthem’s roadmap, the only content that actually made it to the community was the Sunken Cell Stronghold mission. Don't get me wrong, the additional stronghold mission was a welcome addition but it is a bit concerning that Anthem just can't get the game to work. If you look at their roadmap, February, March and April have been removed. May just lists “The Cataclysm Starts,” That’s it. Everything else is locked away. It seems like Bioware isn't sure about the future of the game. I’m not abandoning the game quite yet as the additional content has injected a new found life into the game. The real question is how long this will last before the community abandons the game again.

  • 4/27/19 - Today was a productive session. I managed to nab the Fist of Stral, Solvent Green Assault Launcher, Voltaic Dome and Rejuvenating Ammo Masterwork Items. The loot drop rate has drastically improved. Finally found my first Legendary, Avenger’s Boon. Getting showered with Masterwork items really gives me the sense of progress now. Hopefully Bioware can keep it up.

Bioware Goes Dark (3 Months in)

 

  • 5/1/19 - Started off doing a legendary mission and received Unending Battle Legendary for my troubles. It’s a nice way to start the session but it ended up slowing down to a crawl because I received nothing else of noted worth. Just another day in the world of Anthem.

  • 5/2/19 - Multiple outlets report that lead Anthem Developers have left Anthem to focus on Dragon Age 4. Bioware still assures the community that fixing Anthem is still their top priority.

  • 5/9/19 - I’ve noticed that the player base is dwindling a bit. Matchmaking has been taking a bit longer and a lot of the stronghold sessions have been filling up to capacity. This might be an issue because a lot of the best weapons come from stronghold missions.

  • 5/14/19 - Still no word from Bioware in regards to the new roadmap or upcoming patches, this is not good.

  • 5/21/19 - Been running stronghold missions but I keep getting A LOT of duplicates. I’m starting to get a bit frustrated with my progression. I was doing great a couple of weeks ago when the drop rate increased but now I feel that I’m back at square one. The Legendary drop rate has come to a complete halt. Let’s keep in mind that the Anthem social media outlets have been dead for over a month now and it seems like the game is left in limbo. There have been rumors here and there that Bioware will make a huge announcement during E3.

  • 5/29/19 - Whoa, Wait a minute! Bioware lives! Bioware hit us with another update 1.2.0. You can check the full patch notes here. It’s nice to see that they are still hard at work trying to fix the game. Still no sign of the Cataclysm but Bioware is set to have a developer livestream outlining some small details of what the Cataclysm will be. For now it's time to head back to the world of Anthem and test drive the new patch.

Something is Happening! (5 Months in)

  • 7/17/19 - If you notice the date then you'll know that I have been out of the game a bit. Sadly the game has been dying a bit since Bioware decided to go dark. The player base has been dwindling and I am afraid that my worst fears are coming true. Still not giving up, I decided to log in after some rumors have been circulating that something seems to be happening in the world. It seems that a lightning storm of some sort is slowly starting to manifest itself, you can see what the storm looks like here. Could this be the start of the cataclysm? Is the world finally beginning to rip itself apart?  

Cataclysm is Here!

 

  • 8/20/19 - I wanted to hold off on updating the log so I can get a good amount of time playing the cataclysm. I'm happy to say that the cataclysm event is the content that Anthem desperately needed…...back in May. It reminds me of playing the greater rifts from Diablo 3. New story content was added to introduce the cataclysm mechanics. The addition of the leaderboards and seasonal gear really livens up the monotonous grind. Overall, I'm having fun with the cataclysm and I am happy to see that Bioware can actually make some good content. 

 

Now that the cataclysm is here there is only one concern. Bioware mentioned that is will only be an 8 week event (2 weeks of the pre-cataclysm and 6 weeks of the actual cataclysm), so what happens after this? What additional content does Bioware have planned for Anthem? Remember that the roadmap was abandoned to help fix this game. My concern is that Bioware put all their eggs in one basket, the basket meaning the cataclysm. Bioware shows moments of brilliance but they cant help but get in their own way. These next couple of weeks are critical for the game. Let’s see what happens.

 

  • 9/1/19 - So after getting in some good amount of time with the cataclysm, there have been some ups and downs. One of the biggest drawbacks is that the game seems more unstable now than before. I get dropped at least once per session and the game crashes constantly. The loot drop rate still hasn't been fixed. During one cataclysm run I received 3 (that’s right 3) of Artinia's Gambit, 2 were the same exact drop and 1 of them had different stats. You can't imagine how frustrating this is. I did manage to get my javelin to Masterwork level but it seems that it’s getting harder and harder to make any progress. 

Time to Say Goodbye!

 

  • 10/16/19 - Cataclysm was a blast but it wasn't enough to keep me engaged. I tried, I really tried. But sometimes you have to come to terms with the inevitable. Let's face it, EA abandoned this game. As much as they say that they're dedicated to this product, their actions say otherwise. They had difficulty just making the game and it shows.

I really tried to get on board with this game. I defended this game for as long as I could but the game is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with “live service” games. It’s depressing how fast this game was abandoned, not only by its players, but by its developer. Maybe one day I’ll get back into it but for now, there are other games that need my attention. I'll try to update the log as best as I can. 

Future of Anthem

 

  • 11/15/19 - Bioware is still committed to Anthem, that’s great considering the community thinks otherwise. There are talks about Anthem 2.0 and rebooting the game just like Square Enix did with Final Fantasy 14. I honestly think that patching this game will not work because the foundation is broken. I think it’s just best that Bioware kills off this iteration of Anthem and focuses on the new and improved Anthem.

Check back for more updates. How has your ANTHEM experience been so far? Leave comments below and share.

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