Anthem Loot Issues
First up in the Friday Smorgasbord is some more Anthem discussion. I have been playing pretty much every night since the patch drops and at a bare minimum completing the steps required to get a key to unlock a “cosmetic” chest. That is in quotes largely because I am still getting way more useless tier 1 materials than I am actually getting decals or materials. At least they came out and stated that there are no armor pieces in the Elysian Chest, which is I think in part what we were all hoping to get. The vinyls have all been super lackluster at least compared to some of the other vinyls available in the game. On the loot front there is an article from Paul Tassi at Forbes that pretty much sums up what is wrong with the game right now… it is literally all about the loot. He suggests increasing the drop rates by 300 to 400% and then still questions if that would be enough for the sort of game Anthem actually is… but the Devs apparently don’t understand that it is. RNG can be amazing or it can be a harsh mistress. For example Wednesday night I had a grand ole time where I managed to rack up three new legendaries during the course of the evening… a component actually for the right class from a GM2 Legendary Mission, and then two new weapons… one each from GM2 Strongholds. This still felt stingy to me, but at least was something. Last night however I walked away with nothing really of use from doing two legendary contracts and a stronghold all at Grandmaster 2 level.
There are so many things in this game that just feel bad as the player once you reach what currently passes for an end game. The truth is there is nothing that would normally be classified as end game. The game has no PVP so no super serious equivalent of the Trials of the Nine would ever exist in Anthem. Similarly there is nothing along the lines of a Nightfall and there is most definitely not a raid that can be completed weekly with a group of other players for a shot at amazing rewards. There are no weekly bounties that you can complete that guarantees you an item that will be an upgrade, and we are completely missing something similar to exotics that have a guaranteed curated roll. So what is left is a lot of grinding and perfecting your builds, which is maddening when it is entirely dependent on the slow trickle of Masterworks and Legendaries. I have friends that are doing GM2 nightly… that have yet to see ANY Legendaries and consider me extremely lucky that I have had multiple. While the game desperately needs a true end game… the more pressing problem will always be the loot and until they open the floodgates no one is really ever going to be completely happy.
Divine Beast Vah Ruta
I eventually took a break last night and returned to my Cemu Breath of the Wild play session. When I was last playing I had been working my way into the general area of the Zora kingdom to tackle the first of many Divine Beasts. I am not sure if there is a chosen order, but the furthest I managed to get with this game before setting it back down again… was to head in this direction. So last night I made it through the sequence of annoying lightning attackers to get to Zora land and made my way about collecting Lightning Arrows. I set about collecting the arrows while avoiding the Lynel… which went fairly quickly given that pretty much every tree in the vicinity had at least three stuck in it. There were a few times I had to duck out of view and wait but managed to get it taken care of then glided my way down to where I was meeting Sidon to make the run on the Divine Beast. I made it through the sequence surrounding disabling the “defenses” and started on the first level of the dungeon before I finally called it for the night. I do like that Breath of the Wild pretty much just lets you do a save state wherever you happen to be in the world. I greatly appreciate its mobile roots allowing me to pretty much abandon ship whenever I need to. So tonight I am likely to return and actually finish the first of the Divine Beasts because I am finding the gameplay way more compelling when playing it on the PC… I am weird like that.
I had to work yesterday and was in meetings… so I completely missed what apparently was a mess of a reveal at Pax East. However I did manage to watch the nice and pristine YouTube videos later that afternoon. I have to admit at first I was not super impressed with what I saw, but largely this was due to my own false expectations. In my mind when I think of Borderlands 1 and 2 Trailers… I am actually thinking of the Game Intro sequences which are absolute masterpieces. I forgot what a Gearbox Borderlands reveal trailer actually looked like… and judging it by those standards this one is a better trailer than the ones that came with either 1 or 2. For example the original Borderlands Trailer… feels absolutely nothing like what we think of as the Borderlands Style. Then with Borderlands 2 we pretty much got a very similar type of reveal trailer as we just saw with Borderlands 3… like shockingly similar. So by those comparisons… Borderlands 3 comes out just fine.
I feel like there were probably story beats that I completely missed because I never played the Telltale Games spinoff game. What I was hoping for was some semblance of the story beats that we would be seeing in the new game. For me what makes Borderlands as a series special is a mix of the interesting characters, quirky humor, almost MMO style questing, intersting gunplay, the faucet of loot, and a bunch of interesting character class choices. The trailer doesn’t really give me much to go on other than there are a bunch of guns… one lady can become shiva, another pilots a mech and then you have two gunner classes that while visually different didn’t do much to actually distinguish themselves from what we saw. There were characters shown that I recognized as being part of the Tales from the Borderlands series but that I don’t know much about. I would be lying if I said I would not be playing it, but I am also not nearly as hyped as I thought I would have been at this point. I am sure as more tangible information comes out about the game I will get more so.
I am guessing based on what are the villains that we are going to see a way more raider-centric storyline than we did with Borderlands 2. The biggest problem with my general sense of disappointment after watching the trailer for the first time… is that I was ultimately expecting this instead.