anthem-screenshot-2019-02-26-19-10-42-93

Anthem Hatred

anthem-screenshot-2019-02-26-19-10-42-93

The last week or so have been really weird for me personally, because of the current climate surrounding Anthem.  It is making me realize how apparently vastly different my tastes in games are from that of the zeitgeist. I mean I have known for years that I am not even vaguely close to the norm for society as a whole.  However I didn’t realize that I was apparently so out of band for how the rest of my chosen community… gamers… felt about games.

See the problem at hand is I love Anthem.  It delivers on a player fantasy of controlling a mech suit and going through interesting combat with anime missiles while allowing me to roam around through this meticulously detailed and rich world with my friends while doing it.  That is a strong player fantasy for me… someone who grew up loving Robotech with all of my heart. Enough that I convinced my parents to take me to a Robotech convention as a kid.

However right now this game is reaping a heap of negative sentiments everywhere I turn.  The worst seem to be coming from YouTubers who are practically branding the game a serial killer and known toddler juggler.  I may be more on the defensive than I should be, because I do love this game… and I also loved another game that these so called “Influencers” completely destroyed.

Now we go back to the whole… my tastes seem to be out of band with the rest of society commentary.  I LOVED Mass Effect Andromeda. I thought it was a great game, and one that did not warrant the ton of bullshit memes that were dropped upon it.  Within a few days of the launch of the game a series of patches came through and fixed most of the issues that were so heavily meme’d on the internet.

However the influencer crew make their money by getting those early clicks within the first few days of the launch of a game.  If you listen to any major YouTuber that is willing to talk shop, they will tell you that they make the majority of their money in the two weeks surrounding the launch of a game.  This is so much the case that often times if a copyright flag happens after that two weeks… they don’t even bother contesting it because the potential money has already been made.

So in order to get those eyeballs they rely the human nature that we are way more likely to watch something that aligns to our hatred of something…  than we are to watch something that either goes against our feelings or aligns to the joy of a thing. This outrage economy has lead us to have people like Angry Joe…  that make a string of videos about them being angry about video games. That is the thing he does… he gets pissed off about things and dresses up in costumes while being pissed off about things.  If you want to be pissed off about something, then bam he has an entire channel full of it.

I’ve been engaging in this on Twitter over the last few days and I feel like…  this isn’t even about Anthem itself. There is a ball of rage about how things are working right now in the video game industry and it seems to have perched on top of this title.  People hate Electronic Arts with the deep burning hatred of a million suns. People are mad at Bioware and feeling wronged by Mass Effect 3’s ending, Mass Effect Andromeda and daring to make a game that is different from the traditional Bioware fare.  People are angry at the live services model and games being released in an incremental drip rather than one big single player epic for that $60… not to mention that the actual price of buying all of the content in most games tends to be something closer to $150 rather than that $60 price point we have stuck in our mind.

People are angry about the perceived lack of value in games right now, however… that $60 we paid in 2000 was worth just shy of 90 of our 2019 dollars.  Because we seem completely affixed with religious fervor to never paying more than 60 dollars for a product or preferably paying significantly less than that…  what we get as a result is missing features or in the case of Anthem a game that is being delivered incrementally as a live service throughout the course of the year.

Over the course of the last 10 days I have spent right at 80 hours playing Anthem and have loved the time spent.  The weekends skew those numbers… but I have legitimately put in almost 8 hours a day in this game. I loved the story and the characters I encountered.  I loved all of the little nuance and detail to the world and the moment to moment feel of the player fantasy of controlling a mech suit in a way that no other game has really delivered on.  So as a result it is hard to watch this thing that I have spent so much time enjoying being ripped asunder by the same people who did a similar hit job on Andromeda.

Which again leads me back to the original statement.  My tastes are apparently completely out of band for the tastes of gamers in general.  So not only am I not representative of the population as a whole, which I learned over and over growing up.  I am also not apparently representative of this adopted community of gamers. So basically.. Like often is the case I feel alone in a crowd of folks who feel massively different than I do.  So in the end… I am going to keep enjoying the game and hoping for the best… and putting on blinders to the people who are hating on it.

This week has been a weird one…  but I will move past it because I have a game that I am enjoying playing.  The folks that are bashing Anthem just have some hatred for something they are apparently not enjoying.  I will gladly take a game I am having fun with over being told I shouldn’t be enjoying it. Maybe at some point in the future my tastes will once again align to the Zeitgeist but for the time being I am going to latch onto Anthem with both arms and hold tight because this game takes me back to running around the living room with a Cyclone and an Invid Fighter having elaborate mech battles.

6 thoughts on “Anthem Hatred

  1. I am feeling really weird about all of this. I have access to Anthem… and yet I’m choosing to play Tyranny instead. Anthem just didn’t grab me like I hoped. It just feels… generic. The setting is cool, the graphics are nice, the play is ok… but it just isn’t making me feel like “wow, this is something I need to play right NOW”. I have a feeling that I will keep my origin access or whatever until I finish tyranny and then drop it… and pick up Anthem when it hits the 20-30$ mark 6-12 months down the line

  2. It’s really an interesting situation, and one that I’ve never felt so in the middle of. From that position the hate has certainly seen fairly intense, I’ve been worried about its impact on the future of the game, etc etc.

    I’m sitting at about 80 hours in as well now, and have been enjoying my time immensely.

    However I will admit to a growing sense of discontent, or even disappointment that is more than just a coming out of the honeymoon phase, I think.

    It seems that I’m not really feeling this about what IS there in Anthem right now. What IS here is super fun despite any issues we may have.

    I think the disappointment I’m feeling is more rooted in what might have been, or possibly even SHOULD have been after 6 years of development and the limited content (in every possible area. Item diversity, monster diversity, biome diversity, mission variation and ability to occlude the mechanics, etc).

    I can only assume there have been technical hardships causing restarts (or near restarts) along the way, even if we assume 1-2 years of preproduction in that time. I would love to hear the development story of Anthem.

    I’ve been a bit reluctant to post more thoughts on this into the current climate, but that’s where I’m at for now.
    Naithin recently posted..Changing Times, Changing GamerMy Profile

  3. A few observations. When Andromeda came out, as you say, the “influencers” destroyed it and the herd was behind them in brandishing the pitchforks. Now, a few years later, if you go on reddit or some other big community of gamers, you’ll frequently find people saying “Y’know, I finally tried Andromeda and it’s really good! I don’t get all the hate.” Now some of that is because of patches, but most of it, IMO, is that the hate was manufactured.

    Same as with Anthem.

    And what’s worst is that a YouTuber could claim that every time you play Anthem EA sends a pedophile a check for $1 and the haters would completely believe it and take up the cry about how Anthem supports pedophiles. People are completely willing to believe any negative thing said about the game. (EG all the talk about how disastrous the launch was even though it clearly was a solid launch with relatively few issues).

    Fact is these days people just seem to love being angry. I’m not saying everyone should like that game or that it has no issues. It’s the anger and the outrage that really bugs me, and it seems self-perpetuating. It’s a damn shame. I can certainly imagine Anthem being my personal Game of The Year. I don’t see anything coming out in the next 10 months that I’m more excited about.
    Pete S recently posted..Playing just because it is funMy Profile

  4. Clicks are about sensational headlines. There are no “grey” youtube videos. So either it’s the second coming, or it’s going to steal yo’ girl.

    Rationally, Anthem has some serious flaws. Flaws that have existed in other games over the years (notably Diablo 3 until RoS). It is entirely reasonable to expect BioWare to not repeat those mistakes, when games small companies that run Grim Dawn or Path of Exile clearly avoided it.

    That doesn’t dismiss people finding fun within what’s there now. I certainly am.

    In terms of high level list of items to address, that are not already part of the roadmap:

    – The list of technical issues (random health, rubber banding, crashes, etc…)
    – The RNG itemization of drops (inscriptions are… not well thought out)
    – Freeplay working more like Contracts, with social tools to keep players together or bring them together quickly
    – The “normalization” of end game activity. Contracts and Strongholds should be of similar difficulty if they offer the same rewards. Strongholds need to be standardized – there’s ZERO reason to run anything but Tyrant Mines, since the other 2 end bosses are 20-30 minute bullet sponges. (Maw runs for the WoW fans)
    asmiroth recently posted..Anthem Quick ThoughtsMy Profile

  5. I am also enjoying the game through a lens of “great start, plenty here that gives me value and entertainment, and looking forward to the improvements and content additions along the way”. I’m not fanboy-ish about the game but appreciate what it does well and the things it needs to fix (and some of them are major, especially Freeplay – which, with waypoints and event notifications would be INCREDIBLE!) does not take away from the good parts.

    I don’t get all the anger either. Don’t buy it and don’t play it if you don’t want to. By why waste ANY energy on it at all if that is the case? And you hit the nail on the head. Youtube is a monetization platform for anger.

    That’s messed up. But less messed up than the people taking advantage of it for profits. They are worse than the overpaid CEOs of the companies they are spitting venom at. At least the CEOs are up front about it and don’t hide the fact they are focused money making factories.
    Isey recently posted..Anthem : Blogging in a Video WorldMy Profile

  6. Sadly, I’m in the camp that does not like this game. However I’ve tried to be constructive about that and also make it clear that I’m ok with a game being out there and successful and simply not be for me.

    However the main reason for my comment is your bit about the cost of games. I think that in a time when the CEOs for EA and Acti/Blizz are among the top 100 overpaid CEOs (in comparison to their employees), and with management recruiting with multi-million dollar incentive packages, all while laying off hundreds upon hundreds, that the greed becomes apparent, and I feel fairly confident in saying it isn’t on the consumers’ side.

    They can make $60 games without predatory lootboxes or other microtransactions that they’ve sussed out to be all but necessary for their games to have any lasting appeal.

    Because all of those extra charges haven’t been due to the rising costs of making games, but rather to increase Bobby Kotick’s billionaire status.

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