Tom Quirk plays a lot of video games, but when he isn't, he is reading fantasy novels and watching way more television than is healthy.
Bioware’s multiplayer shooter Anthem has finally released to some mixed reviews, with many criticising the dull endgame and unsatisfying loot drops.
In the first of many steps post-launch to fix some of Anthem’s flaws, Bioware has announced some planned changes to Anthem’s loot system to make it more enjoyable. Although the patches may not fully fix all the problems players are having with Anthem, they may go some way towards helping the game realise its potential.
The latest update, which will go live in a day or two, will prevent common and uncommon loot from dropping during endgame activities. This will make ascending to the end-game more satisfying, and prevent player inventories from getting clogged up with common vendor trash at level 30.
Another effect of the patch will be the lowering of the cost of crafting masterwork items from blueprints, going from 25 masterwork embers to just 15. Finally, the randomised stats on each item (which are called “inscriptions” in-game) will be designed to be more specifically useful for the gear they’re on. This will prevent weird scenarios like the Colossus Javelin receiving gear that boosts machine pistol damage, a weapon that it can’t even equip.
Anthem’s lead designer, Ben Irving, states on the Anthem subreddit that “Many inscriptions are not useful to the item they are attached to…due to this, players need to get many masterworks of the same item to find a ‘good one.’ Acquiring in-game loot in a loot-based shooter like Anthem, especially at high levels, should feel rewarding and enjoyable, so it is encouraging that the designers are picking up on feedback to improve the reward loop.
These changes should hopefully go some way towards winning goodwill from dedicated players. According to Anthem’s 90-day roadmap, Act 1 of Echoes of Reality, which will become available in March 2019, will bring new challenges and means of social interaction. However, it would not likely fix many of Anthem’s more substantive flaws, such as the disconnected and unengaging narrative, or the generally repetitive gameplay loop.
There is also no word currently on whether loot drop rates, or scaling the quality of loot to mission difficulty, will be addressed in the near future. It is likely that this patch represents the first in a long line of patches steadily improving the feel of Anthem’s gameplay. In the reddit thread, a player complained about the lack of improved drop rates on higher difficulties, to which Irving responded with “Looking into this…understand the problem space for sure.”
Bioware is paying attention to what fans want from Anthem, it’s just a case of addressing the concerns.