Yesterday’s post and the follow up reactions that continue to flow through the twitter thread that I started a few days ago have been interesting. Firstly I have no problem if someone simply checks out of the game because it isn’t for them. This emerging genre of “MMO Lite” games just isn’t for everyone. If you didn’t like Destiny, Division, Warframe or even Monster Hunter World in the way its interaction worked… then you are not likely going to like Anthem either. Of those I am not a fan of Warframe at all really, and was luke warm towards Division… but Destiny and Monster Hunter World were strongly in my wheelhouse. My commentary in general has been about folks going out of their way to express their anger over the game. The thing is… the game has flaws. They are not big enough flaws to keep me from enjoying it, but there are definitely flaws there.
This morning I thought I would take a bit and go through some of the things that I wish the game did differently. As such this post is more or less going to be my wish list for Anthem. Be warned this is likely going to be a train of thought post with little organization. As is often the case with unorganized content… this is going to be in a bullet list form. May god have mercy on your souls.
- Mini Map – The world of Anthem is very intricate with full usage of lots of different levels of verticality… as such flying from point A to point B is never that clear and as such I find myself opening my map often trying to figure out where the hell I am going. One of two things happens… either I overheat and go crashing down wherever I happen to be hovering because I could not be bothered to get to safety before doing so… or I get sniped by a Scar. I would love some form of a mini map that we can toggle on and use for navigation purposes.
- Waypoints – In a similar vein… the game does a good job of giving you waypoints on missions to reach the objective with icons that show where you should turn next to get there. I want the ability to set my own waypoint in the world and have this same advisement system turned on to direct me there.
- World Events Markers – I want to see all active world events at all times. The world is too big for me to efficiently stumble across an event, and god forbid if you are doing it on harder difficulty modes with randomly matched people… that you will get any help in doing said event you magically stumbled across. Guidance towards events would be beneficial.
- Strider Redeploy – There are many different Striders out in the wilds… there should be the ability to redeploy at a Strider closer to the action. I mean it happens if you die, but there should be a more formal system that allows you to pick a new strider and respawn closer to wherever a World Event is happening.
- Corpse Waypoint – One of the most frustrating experiences I have had is you are working on a World Event… and then you die… and you have no clue where the World Event was happening in relation to the Strider that you just spawned in on. Would be cool if you got a bonus of some sort for going back to the point of your death and taking down whatever mob killed you.
- Larger Freeplay – I ultimately expected Freeplay to be more like Patrols in Destiny, where you are randomly matched with whoever else happens to be in that area and as you move between sub zones… you get a different population of players. The problem is right now when you go into Freeplay, you are matched with 3 other players… who are often times on completely different ends of the map making the challenge of actually completing anything very difficult unless you bring your own four player team. Essentially Freeplay needs two modes… matched with 4 players and a subzone matching system like Destiny Patrols.
- Better Hit Advisement – right now there are often times when I am being hit by something but I have no clue by what. Last night there was a moment when I thought I was being hit by something in front of me… but in reality a shotgunner had snuck up behind me and was hitting me in the back. I would like to see them implement a sort of “your damage came from this direction” system.
- Better Quickplay Incentivization – Quickplay should be something that is incentivized better than it actually is. Right now there are problems with about half of the Quickplay sessions being in some form of a bugged state, and that is something I am sure they are working on. I’ve seen reddit commentary from Devs stating as much. What concerns me more however is that after you have finished leveling… there really doesn’t seem to be much of a reason for playing Quickplay especially once you are completely decked out in level 36 purples. At the end of a match for Quickplaying in… you are pretty much guaranteed two pieces of loot and I have NEVER seen these be a Masterwork. Joining Quickplay should be considered a positive thing for the community given that you are filling a slot in a group that was otherwise empty… more often than not because someone abandoned a mission. There should be some reasonable reward for doing this thing that helps out the community as a whole.
- Better Grandmaster+ Incentivization – Right now Grandmaster rank doesn’t necessarily feel like it is respectful of my time. There is a big jump from Hard to Grandmaster and while I am struggling along… I am also feeling like I don’t have an awful lot to show for my effort. Other than weapons… which you can get in Hard mode and below I have 1 Component and 4 abilities that are all from the same slot… none of which really help me to be more efficient in Grandmaster so that I have a hope in hell of moving at some point to Grandmaster 2. I also feel like I have a better shot at loot in running World Events than doing QuickPlay or Strongholds, given that anything that drops other than orange gear is largely useless to a player once they have reached Grandmaster. I hope that the Anthem team takes the post to heart that Travis Day from Diablo 3 loot 2.0 fame made on the Reddit.
- Mass Dismantle System – This goes hand in hand with a comment I made above… that once you reach a certain point in the game any drops that are below purple are completely useless to the player… and honestly MOST purple drops are completely useless. The current dismantling system is cumbersome and what we really need is a version of the Diablo 3 Smith system where you can say “dismantle all of a specific color” so I could grind all whites, greens, blues… sift through the purples manually… or once I am fully orange grind them as well. This needs to exist in all three places where you can do this functionality… on the post mission screen, the vault screen and the forge screen. Similarly there needs to be a way to flag items as “Do Not Dismantle” and then let you grind everything else without that status.
- General UI Tweaks – Anthem is a game without a great UI. Many things are cumbersome or obtuse. I think there just needs to be a general pass rethinking how the players interact with the UI and improving its responsiveness. Additionally especially when Dismantling there are times when the UI just bugs out and you have to exit and get all the way back into the menu structure to get it responding again. UI/UX needs a lot of love here, because as a long time developer myself… I can look past it, but it will stop a lot of users straight in their tracks.
- Ease Transition Between Hard and Grandmaster – This is mostly important because of the stinginess of the loot system right now… means I feel like I am struggling transitioning between Hard and Grandmaster and that there is nothing much that I can do to ease that transition. The feeling I get is like when you can first step into Torment 1 in a Diablo Season… and you can kill stuff… but you aren’t doing it efficiently and nowhere near fast enough to push through a Greater Rift in time. This gets eased a bit as you get better loot to drop, but in Diablo… you can always drop down a tier to make it more efficient while still getting the same loot. There is a barrier between Hard and Grandmaster in that you simply cannot get the items you actually need to progress… namely components and abilities to drop at a Masterwork level in anything below Grandmaster 1. So I feel stuck, in that I have limited ways for me to actually better my situation. I will grind through this barrier, but a lot of people will not and will get hung up here. Essentially the only difference between the itemization of these tiers should be the frequency of drops. So Hard… Masterworks should be super infrequent but you do have the ability to get anything from the pool… just super rarely. Grandmaster 1… Masterworks should be more plentiful, on a similar loot timer to Diablo 3… if one has not dropped in X minutes then drop one while Legendaries should be super rare. Grandmaster 2… timer to Masterwork lowers and the frequency of Legendaries increases as well. Grandmaster 3… hot and cold Masterworks running out of the Tap and again ratcheting up that chance of seeing a Legendary. I don’t think you ever want Legendaries to feel common… because I can see them like Diablo to continue adding tiers of difficulty on top of GM3.
I am certain the second I stop this list I will think of another dozen items that should have gone on it. I may add those throughout the course of the day as I am off doing other things. However like I said… I am more than happy to admit that Anthem is not a game without flaws. However I view it as a work in progress as ALL MMOs are… since they have a live patching cycle that comes along and tweaks things. I am sure all of the systems that are in the game now were put in with the best of intentions, but seeing how users interact with your creation often times makes you view it in a completely different light. I learned this as a developer years ago, and you have to be willing to react to the situation post release and be willing to admit you were wrong about some of those cool features that you really liked in the development cycle.
Was there anything I should have put on this list? Chime in with comments to let me know what I missed.