Prone to Rant

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I love it when a game makes me seem like a whiny madman. I regularly read reddit, but very rarely comment about anything. However my frustration levels with Anthem have been growing to the point where I occasionally want to vent. I mean I try my best to keep this blog fairly positive, or at least balanced… but the Anthem reddit has been a salt mine since release so I figured it was a safe place to vent my frustrations. After today’s patch still announced no relief to the loot woes… I wound up venting at the nearest thread basically stating that apparently Bioware considers the current state of the game to be working as intended. To which I threw this lengthy comment.

So they have stated that loot isn’t where they want it to be. However it has been 52 days since the launch of the game and there has been a constant drumbeat from the player base that “loot is broken”. They have “accidentally” fixed loot twice to much praise from the players, so I find it hard to believe they do not understand which levers need to be pulled to give us what we actually want.

What I do believe however is they do not understand the kind of game that they built. They seemingly created Destiny with Flight… but with the loot system from Diablo 3 without fully understanding what makes either game tick. In Destiny… Exotics are these rare drops that feel super special when one happens, but that only works because every Exotic Weapon that you get is a curated roll and in the case of the armor that has some variation you have a way of re-rolling the stats. Diablo 3 on the other hand has a lot of variation in the loot and with that a bunch of crap items that are immediately going to get sharded… but the drops are plentiful which makes up for the fact you are going to keep very few of them.

If they want to continue to be Destiny with Flight and Diablo 3 Loot… then they need to make the tweaks and turn on the fountain of loot that makes that concept work. Either that or they need to change Legendaries so that they drop as perfectly curated rolls for optimal play if they want them to still be as rare as they are currently. The current combination is an incongruous mess.

I don’t want to abandon hope… I really don’t. However after gearing up all four Javelins to Masterwork level, and with the very limited content that is currently available there isn’t much for me to do right now other than decide either to walk away and cut my losses until “Year Two” and everything magically gets fixed like it did for Destiny, Diablo and The Division… or to keep slamming my forehead into the brick wall until I am dizzy enough not to care about the lack of legendary drops in GM2.

I had heard the term “Reddit Gold” before but never really understood what it was. I had to get Ashgar to explain to me how exactly it works because I legitimately had no clue. Apparently someone paid money to give me an award for that post? Anyways the funny bit about this when I got home and I did my daily run of trying to get a key and then doing a stronghold to use said key, the game decided to actually drop a legendary.

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It is actually a fairly good legendary at that, if you are the type of person who enjoys playing with sniper rifles.  I run with Siege Breaker for one reason and one reason only… it can freeze targets.  Otherwise I would probably never use a sniper rifle in this game, and unfortunately because I know I squandered my luck on this drop it will probably be another week before I see something else.  There was someone in the comment thread that theorized that they are working on some sort of a Stronghold challenge similar to Nightfalls in Destiny 2, and that maybe it would reward guaranteed legendaries.  There is still supposed to be a large patch in the works for some point this month, so I guess we will wait and see.  In the mean time I am trying to decide if doing dailies to get crafting materials and crappy decals is worth logging in on a daily basis.

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Since I complain that Anthem is a game that wants to be Diablo 3 but doesn’t exactly understand Diablo 3 Loot….  I decided to play some actual Diablo 3.  The last few nights I have been hanging out before bed working on my Crusader on the Switch version, and last night I wound up playing while upstairs in my office piped through my Elgato HD.  I find it weird that my default method for playing consoles right now is through a capture card, but it more or less works other than the fact that it doesn’t take amazing screenshots of the switch given the amount of upscaling that happens.  Over the weekend I finally beat the main story and now I am focused on running Rifts and doing bounties.  Over the last two nights I have worked my way act through act doing a full set of bounties…  only to realize that apparently the season that I started playing on is over and that didn’t count towards the normal seasons journey achievement.  Ultimately I am progressing too slow to really be worrying too much about seasons in the first place.

Right now I just want to hit 70 so I can gear out in the Thorns set which is hands down my favorite way to Crusader…  and a play style that I thought would translate well to handheld mode.  By the end of the night I managed to hit 58 and just a little bit away from 59, which means right around the corner I will start being able to collect Deaths Breath and finish unlocking the rest of the stuff in camp.  Additionally it means that I will be able to start Cubing some of the low level drops that I have gotten like the Heart of Iron that I managed to get during my 40s.  I am still only playing on Hard and have not ratcheted up the difficulty at all…  but without Haedrig’s Gift I feel like that ratcheting process is going to go way slower as I try and painstakingly collect a set of Invoker gear.

It would be nice of Haedrig’s Gift worked for pretty much any character to be honest, season or not.  The highlight of the night was seeing my very first Menagerist Goblin on the console and it dropped one of my favorite pets… the Flaming Skull.  At some point I will have to test out how grouping works as I know a handful of my friends have the copy on Switch.  That said this is largely a before bed solo grinding game for me as I find it incredibly relaxing.  I do however wish there was a way to link your Blizzard account and get some sort of cross play going on.  I somehow doubt that is going to be a thing anytime soon unfortunately.

 

Oracle of Our Age

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We all knew it was coming, but yesterday Kotaku’s Jason Schreier posted his break down on what happened during the almost seven year development odyssey with Anthem…  formerly known as Dylan and formerly known as Beyond.  The truth is I had not made the connection there to the original Dylan prototype that was shown off and Anthem…  and I also did not make the connection to the leaked Beyond name and Anthem.  I somehow thought both of those were scrapped concepts… and I guess in truth they ultimately were.  If you have not had a chance to read the article then I highly suggest you do so.  There are so many ways to write a post mortem of a game…  but Jason always seems to land that perfect mix of giving damning evidence with a non-hyperbolic touch.  In most of these tales the staff are the heroes struggling to make the best product they can while caught in a bad situation, and the tale of Anthem really is no different.

What rings true about this for me at least is that I have a lot of friends in game development who have been willing to open up about the process behind closed doors.  This is a trust I have not broken other than speaking of these moments in generalities about the industry as a whole without specifically naming names.  Ultimately that is probably why I continue to get the treatment of folks willing to talk about them to me.  However the anecdotes I hear tell me that the tale of Anthem or Destiny or Andromeda…  are not unique to those specific companies but instead a problem with the industry as a whole.  There is a manifest destiny that they can punch through any game development cycle with enough hours spent and enough midnight oil burnt…  to the detriment of the employees family life and often times sanity.

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I know folks who have left the games industry after finding out how generally unstable it is, and found a much better niche in the world of the corporate sector.  Growing up… building games was my dream as it is the dream of so many people.  My path however lead elsewhere as subtle circumstance after circumstance lead me to the comfortable safety of managing a group of developers.  However these side stories that I have been trusted over the years have told me that I ultimately made the right decision.  I could not handle the instability and the fact that the majority of folks who work on a title wind up getting laid off and having to find a brand new workplace in-between releases.  Then there is the problem of only having specific locations where a group of studios tend to clump… and of those… the only one that is really palatable to me personally is Austin Texas.

The tale of Anthem weirdly gives me hope and renewed patience towards the game as a whole.  If they could make the core mechanics of the game feel so good within effectively the last six months of production…  imagine what Anthem would have been given another year of development time.  I also feel hope because now the game as a whole seems to have been transitioned to the Bioware Austin live services team, and quite frankly I have a lot of faith in that group.  Opinions may vary but I feel like they have done an excellent job with the growth of Star Wars the Old Republic, which is another one of those games that I return to regularly to gobble up the content that has been put into the game since my last visit.  I feel like it is a better game today than it was at launch by a large measure, and this is in spite of the weird monetization schemes that the game has.

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What I am ultimately hoping is that EA will give them time and space to grow Anthem into a really amazing game at some point down the line.  The issues are large, but only really something that kicks in once you slam into the concrete wall that is the progression scheme.  Shortly after the release of the post Bioware made what feels like a very hollow response, which tells me two things.  Firstly they only read the bullet points that Jason Schreier claims to have sent over before publishing the article and wrote the piece entirely based on that.  Secondly however it tells me that the points that were made rang true and set them on the defensive.  All of this seems really odd given the level of transparency we have gotten from the community team about the state of the game, which makes me think this came from a highly disconnected corporate level instead.

Right now I am pretty much logging into the game on a nightly basis, but only long enough to do whatever challenge grants me an Elysian Key.  The last couple of nights I have not stayed in long enough to actually run a Stronghold to open said Elysian Chests.  However even the rewards that you get from these chests show that the order of operation has been to take a pat of butter and try and make it spread across an entire loaf of bread.  So many of the vinyls that you get are lackluster or are simply resized and less cool versions of the ones that come from the paid shop.  The team is struggling to add meaning to the game without having a backlog of content to put in place.  I love the core of what this game is so hearing about the struggles and what they accomplished in spite of them…  makes me want to stick around and see how things evolve.

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That said I also don’t necessarily begrudge anyone who does not care at all about the heartache and struggle that the employees went through, and simply points at the bottom line that they paid for a finished game and didn’t get one.  If you are in that camp… then it might just be time to cut your losses and return later when there is the inevitable patch that fixes everything and gives this game their “Taken King”, “Forsaken”, or “Patch 1.8” moment.  The fact that I can rattle off a list of moments in Anthem’s direct competitors timelines where the games went from sorta crappy to pretty awesome over night shows that this is not a unique problem they face.  Even Diablo 3, which is the title they kept holding themselves up to has their “Loot 2.0” moment that fixed so much of the game.  I will be holding out for that day and continuing to poke around in the meantime.  Feel free to just use this blog as a litmus test for when it is a good time to check it out again.  You know without a doubt I will be making happy posts if that day comes.

 

Clones of Fort Tarsis

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The other day I noticed that there were three NPCs with the same face standing in line at this meat shop.  I figured it was probably just a weird occurrence with the NPC generator putting the same model all clumped together accidentally.  However last night I noticed that there were 4 standing in line…  and when I turned the corner there were two more.  I made a post on twitter about this and by the time I got back to the game as I had simply alt tabbed out, they were ALL within the frame of a single screenshot.  Sure there are subtle differences between each of them but they ALL have the same face.  This leads me down a path that I was talking about in Slack the other day…  but there is no such thing as a random number generator.  Effectively you try your hardest to create randomness with a computer, but you will never quite get to truly random because in my experience trying to write them over the years…  they have a tendency to get stuck.  This makes me wonder if a lot of the loot generation within this game is suffering from a stuck sequence.  Imagine if you will a D&D encounter table…  with the really interesting encounters happening towards the top of that scale.  Imagine also that you have percentage dice that for whatever reason don’t want to roll anything higher than a 85.  I have no clue why loot is as fickle as it is, but a when you see things like our six clones it makes you wonder.  Additionally not in this shot there are two kids running around with the exact same face, so this may be fairly common in game and I just didn’t notice it until recently.

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As far as content in Anthem goes…  they have at least roped me in with the whole Elysian Chests thing.  At a minimum each night I do whatever the daily challenge is that rewards a key, and then run at least one Stronghold to open that chest.  So far I have gotten a bunch of shitty crafting materials and a handful of extremely lackluster vinyls.  The ones you purchase off the shop apply a design to the majority of your lancer, but the ones you get for free…  are in general a sticker on your shoulder and maybe something on your helmet.  Again very disappointing as compared to what I went into that system expecting.  However the limited nature also triggers my desire to catch them all before they disappear.  I am certain that at some point in the future this game will pull its head out and become extremely fun, and I sorta want to make sure I don’t have pangs of regret by not getting something cool along the way.  After a very long dry streak I did manage to pick up a Legendary version of the weapon I use for priming targets, so I am super excited about that.  I would have probably rather had some defensive stats on it, but I will deal with it as is because it is lime green and not orange.  I also wish that 50% physical damage was not limited to the weapon, but oh well you cannot control the rolls in Anthem.

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Other than Anthem I spent a significant amount of time playing Breath of the  Wild on Cemu, and have cleared my second Divine Beast.  I did the Zora Beast first and then since it seemed to be the next closest worked my way through the Goron area.  I found the second Divine Beast way easier than the first one, but I am not sure if it was simply that I went into it knowing what to expect or if it was simply that the fight was much easier.  There was a mechanic that I glommed onto pretty fast during the second boss that largely trivialized the encounter, so maybe it would have been rougher had I not tried that.  Now I have made my way over into the Gerudo are and am trying to figure out how to sneak into the town.  I’ve already seen the next encounter which is apparently a giant robo Camel?  So effectively you have an Elephant, a Salamander/Lizard thing, a Camel and a Giant Birb?  I say Salamander largely because in Japanese games they tend to be fire aligned, and a lot of other lizard types are lightning aligned.

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Regardless still having a blast finally getting deep into this game, and key is one small tweak that made the experience immediately better.  There is a plugin for Cemu that allows you to disable weapon durability, keeping you from having to play the game of constantly swapping weapons.  That one tweak changed the experience from something I bounced off of out of the frustration of trying to keep finding more decent weapons to use, to something I have dug into hard and am loving.  This was my biggest complaint when the game released, and not shockingly once it was gone my experience felt so much better.  When playing on the Switch I made a conscious decision to go for the Zora area because I had read online that you could get a repairable weapon there.  So much was my focus on trying to stay fully equipped that I altered my path just to make sure I could keep some reasonable gear.  Take weapon durability out of the game and I just wander freely without a concern of getting into an area and not having any weapons.  It has been a liberating experience, so much so that I really think there should be a toggle in the official game to disable the stupid durability system.  In the meantime however I have Cemu and it gives me that functionality.

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And finally… I have seen the second credit roll of Stormblood and am officially ready for the release of Shadowbringers.  This one was way shorter than I was expecting, and largely entailed a single quest chain.  So here is where I am going to complain about Square Enix because they have started doing something that drives me insane.  There have been a few quests towards the tail of Stormblood that involved a bunch of cut scenes and multiple phases…  all without checkpoints so if you fail at any point you have to complete the entire sequence over again.  I absolutely failed the final quest of this expansion a few times until I sorted out the dance of the fight, and each time…  it forced me to play through a sequence that was largely on auto pilot and un-fail-able…  before getting to the REAL fight.  They need to quit this shit and divide things up into multiple quests.  That said I did enjoy the tail end of Stormblood quite a bit and I am looking forward to Shadowbringers continuing things.  Overall I think Stormblood was a much stronger expansion than Heavensward was…  however nothing holds a candle to just how great the post release content was for A Realm Reborn.  Stormblood however was way closer to that, so I am hoping this means a return to wider themes.  Based on what I saw at Fanfest Tokyo, I am guessing that is absolutely going to be the case.  Heavensward had its moments, but there was way too much horrible Elf politics for my tastes, and the Dragons were not much better.

How was your weekend?  Do anything interesting in game or in the real world?  Drop us a note in the comments.

Friday Smorgasbord

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Anthem Loot Issues

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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.

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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

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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.

Borderlands 3

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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.

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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.

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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.

Losing Hope

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Despite my own admonishment yesterday morning I allowed myself to get a little hyped about the possibility of finally getting to cut loose in Anthem and make progress again.  I should not have done this, because once again…  Anthem is a buggy mess following the 1.0.4 update.  This starts early when you are greeted with an empty news screen, which isn’t the end of the world but was sort of a harbinger of events to come.  The patch included a bunch of quality of life improvements, some of which exist like the summary screen you are seeing above showing all of my gear and sort of giving us the beginnings of what I hope will ultimately become a stats page.  Additionally there is no load time to get into the Forge and you can access it anywhere within Fort Tarsis just by bringing up the escape menu.  However the whole being able to see what World Events are active thing does not appear to be in the game, because in none of the four or five freeplay sessions I joined last night could I actually see any events up and active.

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One of the big tweaks that was supposed to be coming was an increase in the general quantity of good loot that we would be getting from doing stuff…  namely anything that rewarded a chest or from the bosses at the end of Strongholds.  This appears to have completely broken and now those Stronghold bosses are no longer rewarding the guaranteed Masterwork at all, and instead just seem to give you a fist full of purples and blues.  I spent a significant amount of time on Hard mode running content with Neph last night and something seems to be broken there as well.  Previously when running with friends on a sub Grandmaster difficulty I would see a lot of those “Starter” Masterworks dropping.  In spite of doing three Strongholds and a could of contracts I saw zero Masterworks which was previously unheard of…  just doing anything on Hard seemed to reward me a handful of those starter weapons.  I did manage to get a single Legendary but it didn’t actually drop anywhere that I could see it and instead was the harbinger of another bug…  apparently players can pick up your loot and then stuff just randomly shows up in your inventory.  I mean I am thankful in this case and in truth I think loot should work more like Destiny in that if it drops it automatically gets tossed into your inventory without having to pick up anything.  Sidenote… I took this photo because if you notice three characters are the same base model standing side by side which is a little uncanny valley.

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The other big thing that was touted with this patch was the introduction of Elysian Chests at the end of Stronghold missions.  These were supposed to sweeten the pot and make us want to start running strongholds again with a touted inventory of a couple hundred cosmetic items available for us to find.  When they were announcing them they stated that there was also a chance of crafting materials and gave the example of 30 Masterwork Embers…  which seemed like a reasonable trade for a cosmetic item.  Getting 30 Chimeric Alloy on the other hand is not worthy of giving up a cosmetic and just feels like shit given that this is the most basic generic level 1 crafting material that you can gather up spending five minutes running around in freeplay.  It feels bad wasting your daily key on something like this, and there are thread floating about showing that four chests were opened and all four gave low tier crafting materials.

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I did however manage to get a Vinyl later in the night, but that just spawned another bug with the patch.  When you get something cosmetic from an Elysian Chest, it won’t show up in your inventory until you have logged out of the game and logged back in.  Even then…  I am not sure if Overcast is bugged or what but it doesn’t seem to appear on my Lancer at all so not sure what it is actually adding but it certainly looks nothing like that icon…  which I am assuming is a generic icon for all cosmetic rewards given that it shows a bunch of materials in the background.  Additionally this patch was supposed to allow us to stay in flight longer…  but it feels like it has had the opposite effect given that I no longer have the longevity in air that I did before and seemingly diving no longer lowers heat as much as it did.  Basically…  we got 1.0.4 and already desperately need 1.0.5 to fix the shit that was broken again this time.

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The problem for me is that I am ultimately losing hope that they will manage to pull their shit together.  What I used to view as being scrappy and responsive to issues…  I am just now seeing as a very sloppy development methodology that apparently involves little to no quality assurance.  The fact that loot was bugged at the end of Strongholds…  should never have made it into production on a patch that was touted as fixing Strongholds.  It took exactly one time running a Stronghold to notice “hey… we are not getting our guaranteed loot”.  The fact that loot is still as stingy as it is now is a complete sin, given that was the beat being pounded fervently like a drum from day one… that Diablo only works if the loot flows like water allowing you to account for the completely useless items that you get and shard.  What we are left with is signs that Bioware has nothing up their sleeve and are just trying to eek out for as long with the limited an repetitive content that is available, and rationing of Legendary and Masterwork drops is seemingly their master plan in trying to make this content last until they can create more.

I had fun playing with Neph but there was a slight pang of bitterness as I didn’t even see starter Masterworks as was regularly the case when dropping down to the lower tiers before.  Right now I am contemplating starting a brand new Pilot just so I can have a set of Javelins that match the level ranges of my friend still down in the lower rungs, hoping to maybe be able to get them up in level enough to run the higher stuff with me eventually.  Tam, Ash, Kodra, Waren and Shiana have all moved back to Warframe which is apparently having a great streak of content to engage with…  and Thalen, Grace and Neph are all way down in the level range and fighting against the fact that there is limited queuing available sub Grandmaster 1.  Then there is the problem that if you want to solo this content you will end up getting effectively half of the experience as if you were grouping…  because the Alliance bonus matters that much.  Neph for example played the game entirely solo other than a bit of running around and doing World Quests and as a result finished the main story and all of the side content at level 15…  whereas I was something closer to 22 from never not grouping.

I am getting frustrated at this point, and super close to just giving up.  I want Anthem to be a great game and in some aspects it is… and in other aspects the Bioware team does not seem to understand what sort of game they want it to be.  After seeing the second failed patch in a row that seemingly caused more havoc than it cured…  I am starting to fear that we will have to wait for whatever this games “Taken King” or “Patch 1.8” ends up being, when they finally grasp how to make it fun and rewarding.  The gameplay feels fun…  but the rewards feel like a mockery of what they should be.

Anthem Patch Day

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Today is in theory a big patch day for Anthem that should be clearing up a lot of the ills that the game has.  However I am not exactly holding my breath.  What I mean by that is I am certain that there will be in fact a patch today, Game Update 1.0.4.  What I am doubting is if it will fundamentally improve the situation for those of us stuck in the limbo between Grandmaster 1 and being able to feel viable in Grandmaster 2 and beyond.  What is needed to fix this is Legendaries, and not only that but viable Legendaries.  Both patch 1.0.3 and the server side loot tweaks were supposed to give us some remedy, and while I have seen a greater frequency in Masterwork drops it has done nothing to help fill my screen with lime green.  Ultimately knowing that today’s patch was on its way served to disincentive me from playing the game at all… because why should I invest any time at all in a largely broken loot system when if I just waited a week there would in theory be some fixes.

I think where I am with this game is that I really enjoy the moment to moment game play, but now that the progression train has slowed I am struggling to stay invested given that there is such a limited pool of content available to players.  I think the Elysian Caches will help somewhat because it gives a long tailed chase mechanism… and quite frankly what better reward is there than things that make your Javelin look awesome.  So that alone will make Strongholds worth running again.  Additionally there are the Legendary missions that should produce some replayability of existing content and given how enjoyable some of those story missions were… I can see that helping as well.  Quality of life changes like being able to see what World Events are active at any given time will also be a welcome change.  The main problem I foresee is that the game really needs fresh content to add to the mix, because as it stands three Strongholds just isn’t enough…  when a good deal of us have every line of dialog in them all memorized at this point.  I would prefer never to hear again about not wanting that omelet.

I will of course be checking it out tonight and I am hoping that I am wrong, but I am sort of trying to tamp down my expectations so I don’t turn into one of the heaps of rage that inhabit the main reddit.  Once again I highly recommend LowSodiumAnthem if you are hoping to stay a fan of this game rather than wading into the mire of hatred of the official Reddit.  Bioware Devs post on both locations.

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What I wound up spending most of my time last night doing however was playing some more Breath of the Wild via Cemu.  The screenshots don’t exactly do it justice of showing off just how damned good this game looks running in 4K resolution.  I am consistently impressed by just how good it works, but then again…  the developers of Cemu have been tweaking and refining this for roughly two years now with a lot of community modding support that adds in compatibility fixes.  I’ve surpassed where I was progress wise from the Switch and have put in around nine hours of gameplay so far, almost all of it stable.  The instabilities thusfar have involved encountering something I have not seen yet and having the emulator pause to build shader cache.  There are in theory downloadable shader caches that would fix this problem…  but I have not really spent any time investigating how to get my hands of them.

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Essentially everything about this process is sort of caveat emptor… but seeing as I have done this level of nonsense many times in the past it didn’t worry me too much.  Suffice today however there has been copious amounts of virus scanning before I interacted with anything that I acquired in this process.  This is probably the first time however that I have seen modern emulation give a game that is on a current platform a run for its money…  or in this case greatly improving the visuals.  I know there is similar magic you can do with a 3DS emulator, but thusfar I have not really had the horsepower to really make those games perform to their fullest at 4K resolutions.  However if you are interested in that sort of nonsense then I would point you at the Simply Austin Youtube channel to see examples of what can be done.  It is so bizarre to me how far emulation has come from the days of me trying to play Final Fantasy V on ZSNES and having to apply a frame skip to get some semblance of something playable, to being able to run modern games on high end PCs.

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Please note… that while I totally support emulation, I don’t do so as a dodge to getting free games.  I have a closet full of classic game systems, and in the case of both Cemu and Citra the Wii U and 3DS emulators respectively I have owned all of the games that I have tried playing.  Especially in the era of struggling game studios…  they need you buying the games instead of figuring out ways to get free copies.  I didn’t exactly have clean hands throughout my high school and college years, but now I think in part I buy so many games as a way of making up for my former warez peddling past.  If Nintendo for some reason started releasing these games on PC… I would likely lose all interest in emulating them in the first place.  However I somehow doubt that is ever going to happen, and as a result…  Nintendo consoles will always be the most widely supported emulation platforms.

 

Incentive Not To Play

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anthem-screenshot-2019-03-21-08-28-04-100

I am still very much in vacation mode this week and as a result the posts are happening way later than normal.  Yesterday Bioware hosted a developer stream and you can check out the VODs on Twitch or Mixer or if you are like me and prefer a bullet point list there is one up on the official Anthem Reddit and a slightly different one up on the Low Sodium Anthem Reddit.  Unfortunately both of them seem to have missed at least one detail, but if you are interested in the Reddit at all… I highly suggest the Low Sodium version for overall better reading experiences.  Ultimately they went over a bunch of changes to the game for both performance and quality of life as well as adding a few new systems in.  First up there are the Elysian Caches that will spawn at the end of Stronghold missions and upon opening will reward either crafting embers or vanity items.  I with it was BOTH and not either…  and there will honestly be hell to pay if one of these chests starts pooping out lower tier crafting embers instead of Masterworks.  The example they gave was 25 Masterwork Embers…  which honestly is nowhere near as relevant to me as a Vanity item…  so I am hoping that isn’t the majority we get out of these chests.  Ultimately each player can get a key through a daily quest and if you have four players with four keys you end up with four times the loot at the end.  Opening a chest grants items to everyone in the mission, so I have a feeling we will probably start saving these keys to run with our friends rather than with random people.

On the ever important loot front they stated that they are greatly improving the loot from chests and from the bosses at the end of strongholds, meaning that while you will still get one guaranteed drop you will have a higher likelihood of seeing additional Masterworks and Legendaries instead of the seemingly fixed 2 purples and an orange allotment that we seem to get now.  I am hoping this actually maps out into something that feels like progress because for me at least the 1.0.3 loot changes have not actually worked out to being more Legendaries.  Again I am at the end of the curve where I shard everything I get from pretty much every bit of content I run.  Another big change is that they have removed the loading screen for the forge and put in what appears to be the start of a stat screen where it now shows on a single screen everything in your load out.  Legendary Missions are going in which will be retreads of story missions but at harder difficulty and with what they are calling an Apex monster at the end of each, which is going to be like an Ancient Titan or a Luminary or something that is big and that already has its own higher baked in chance of dropping good loot.  However the biggest improvement that I am looking forward to is that supposedly World Events will now show up on the damned World Map… so you can navigate your way to them instead of wandering around blindly hoping one will spawn.

I am in this weird place with Anthem where I am super excited to see the changes continue to happen, but it also disincentives me from actually playing the game right now.  Why would I spend hours grinding in frustration when all of the activities are in theory improving their loot chances with the next patch?  Right now it is targeted at Tuesday, so I will be looking forward to them and hopeful that they actually provide what feels like a benefit rather than just something that maths out over a high number of iterations.

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In other news I joined LeavingSafeArea as it appeared to be the Clan with the highest density of folks that I know.  Not that I am actually providing any sort of tangible benefit to the clan yet, but I did roam around a bit last night in the area of the White House dedicated to that sort of thing.  Apparently in the post apocalyptic future we have randomly floating screens that seem to be projected from nowhere in a very specific location?  Whoever this Enforzer person is has a MASSIVE lead on the rest of us.  I am still very much in wander around aimlessly mode and explore the city.  I knocked out a handful of side missions last night and then struggled to queue for the next main mission.  I am not sure if I have missed the boat when it comes to running those missions with other players, or if I just need to bump up the difficulty to catch back up with the train.  Right now I am still digging the Marksman Rifle and Shotgun Combo… and have upgraded what represents that combo more than a few times at this point.  I miss my preorder shotgun, because none of the options I have found in the wild where anywhere near that good…  however I had to walk away when I started getting options that were 2000 more damage.  Still enjoying myself but I have to say… the most excited I get is when I see a new cosmetic item drop.

Reevaluating Siege Breaker

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anthem-screenshot-2019-03-13-20-28-17-23

Some time back in the land before the 1.0.3 patch seemingly screwed up my legendary drop rates…  I picked up this weapon the Siege Breaker.  I had mostly ignored it given that sniper rifles are not exactly my jam, but them noticed the perk.  Three shots in a hit streak causes it to freeze the target.  Now this only works if the shields are down, but unlike a lot of the other abilities does not require you to hit a weak point.  This means you can do some freaking awesome crowd control tricks with this weapon, especially on shutting down cannons and turrets that are way the hell across the map from your current position.  It does little unfortunately to most of the sniper types given that they are highly shielded.  Even with knowing this I still didn’t really use it much because once again…  I am not a big fan of sniper rifles.

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Then in my travels I stumbled across a suggested Ranger build for easing into Grand Master 2 and given that I was feeling less than effective there I opted to give it a shot.  First off the build in truth is a tweak of the sort of build I was already going through which relied on the double detonators of Recurring Vengeance and Last Argument that I have already written about before.  Essentially this means you have to prime the target through other means, or in this case with either melee or siege breaker.  Other than Siege Breaker it relies on Divine Vengeance that also seems to have a small chance of catching the mob on fire and priming them as well.  Divine Vengeance has the interesting perk of causing a large fire explosion every time you land three weak shots in a row…  and since this fires four round bursts it is pretty easy to get a proc pending you can dial in on a weak point.  What I did not realize is that these explosions seem to have a staggering effect and do a somewhat effective job of secondary crowd control and even have a chance of knocking flyers out of the air.

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As far as components go the build relies on a bunch of them that either increase survival, boost damage or cause you to get your combo faster…  and quite frankly that last one is greatly increased by Last Argument that can fill half a combo bar if you get a really good multi target combo off.  The goal is to always be able to combo something, and when in doubt use Divine Vengeance to mop up the little trash mobs along the way.  So far it seems to be working extremely well and I feel way more comfortable roaming around in freeplay and doing GM2 strongholds.  That said I didn’t have any luck last night with the drops since I firmly believe my account is now cursed post 1.0.3 seeing as I had been getting pretty much one Legendary a night up until the drop of that patch, and have gotten exactly one since.  I hope they come up with a more permanent and generous solution in the near future, but I am booned to finally have a build that I am comfortable doing solo content with.  I also need to hook up with Weiward at some point and do group content since we are both largely in the same position of just needing to farm a ton of legendaries.

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At some point the very needy Kenzie the cat wanted to snuggle so I went back downstairs and chilled out on the sofa playing some Division 2.  I wound up grouping up with other players for the first time and running a story mission with some randoms.  I am not sure if that upscales based on the number of players that you have in a party, because if not…  wow that was going to be a rough story mission.  Unfortunately I seemingly clicked on the wrong mission and wound up running one two zones over instead of the one to open the zone I was organically planning on moving into.  I am effectively finished with the first area and now will be moving into the second.  For the seasoned players… is there a sort of check list somewhere in the game so I can see visually how far from finishing a zone I am?

At this point I am in need of both weapons… and the trusty shotgun seems to be peforming worse than it was previously.  I forget who suggested that I would need to swap around level 8, but they nailed it.  The only problem I am seeing is that replacement shotguns don’t have anywhere near the capacity of this one.  The game seems to indicate that I might be able to upgrade the weapon…  but I have a feeling that is more endgame stuff and not something I can realistically do right now given that I have no clue at all what the crafting component that I am missing is.  All in all still enjoying myself but while Anthem is something I am still gearing up to play very seriously once I get a group of AggroChatters up to the appropriate level (or quite honestly Grace)…  Division 2 is my solo jam.

Challenges and Division

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Last night unsurprisingly I spent most of the night playing Anthem, and noticed that the lighting in the launch bay is really rather good.  They should add a photo mode functionality in here so you could get good shots of your javelin for all the fashionlancers out there.  I also spent a good deal of the night hanging out with friends on voice, even though we weren’t actually doing the same things.  One more friend made it through the final quest in the main story, so looking forward to maybe just maybe having a group that will be ready for shenanigans soon.  In the meantime I have been working on various weapon achievements or challenges as the game calls them.  I finished up the two weapons that I had related to Light Machine Gun and made an attempt to start on Machine Pistol…  but I just do not think that weapon is as good as it should be.  Since it has such a high rate of fire and such a relatively low operating time…  it should be dealing a lot more damage than it actually is.  I am taking this queue off of how SMGs felt in The Division where they were an up close melt machine.

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I am slowly working on the Challenge of Strength after wrapping up the Challenge of Valor, and quite honestly…  it seems like it is going to be relatively easy to complete.  Valor required you do complete certain objectives…  and Strength is just “Kill a Bunch of Stuff that you are already killing a bunch of anyway”.  Sure it might force me to vary up which activities I do, but just by running contracts and Quickplay you encounter a lot of the above.  The  200 legendary kills is going to be the slowest bit, and as I checked at the end of the night…  I feel like the Elite kills step is going to come the quickest by far.  The only problem I have with these and the whole gain a ton of faction quest…  is that they are not terribly interesting or interactive.  In both cases they end up just being “play many hours of this game”.  I am hoping with future content drops that we get some more interested long tailed quests.  It sounds as thought my friends will be around quite a bit this weekend so as such I am going to try and make myself available to run Strongholds and such.  However I will bow out if we have four given that I outgear the lower tier content and I don’t want the experience to feel like getting carried.

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On the other things to do front… I was in The Division 2 just long enough this morning to create my character and run through the intro tutorial.  Division traditionally has not been my jam but I am still interested in playing through this as a largely single player experience.  I didn’t do a lot of grouping last time around…  and maybe that was what harmed my overall adoption rate of the game?  We will see… I have a handful of friends on my UPlay list but if you want to add me I am BelghastStern there.  Essentially if a service already has a Belghast…  which is weird because I thought I invented the name…  I go with BelghastStern.  For years I was the only Belghast on WoWhead… and then a handful more showed up.  I am happy enough with my character, thought I wish there was a clean face option…  I am not big on military fantasy as a whole and as such smudge sticking your face is not really my jam.  I am also sorta disappointed that we could not pick two sleeves in the tattoo options but whatever.  All in all I am cool with this being my avatar going forward… I strayed away from my traditional black hair and went with dark maroon because I thought it looked cool.

Ignoring the Boycott

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allmasterworksstacked-sm

First off we are going to start this post with me flooding you with a big damned image.  Last night I managed to cobble together a set on the storm that tips the scale over to Masterwork, meaning that I now have all four lancers to that level.  To make it better… I am using very few of the general purpose masterwork inscriptions…  I believe I have one on the Storm and one on the Interceptor.  The Colossus and Ranger are what I would consider to be in a state of a proper build that I actually want to keep playing.  The Ranger is by far the most tuned and I love the whole double detonator thing because it allows me to prime with either Ralner’s Blaze or more often the case my Melee and them BOOMY BOOM BOOM!  The Interceptor and Storm are both trying to find workable builds…  I love Ten Thousand Suns that I got last night on the Storm so that is likely going to stay.

At this point I have put one hundred and seventy four hours into Anthem since it launched.  To that point… I keep getting various people asking me if I will be participating in the player boycott this weekend.  For reference the official Reddit has organized effectively a walkout to occur from March 11th until March 15th… which is already supposedly occurring.  I mean I get that there are frustrations with the game and I have posted my own, but doing a walkout like this only serves to show how generally impotent the anger of the internet actually is in the grand scheme of things.  For a period when the game is supposedly under protest I happily got Quickplay missions on Grandmaster 1 all night long, and got rapid matchmaking when I decided to run a contract or a stronghold.  The same went for freeplay and I actually had several instances of spontaneous grouping to run around together without any means of communication and do a bunch of events.

So if the boycott is in fact happening…  I am not seeing any signs of it other than maybe an improved community spirit?  Like I said the game is not perfect but the game is pretty much the same as every other live services game that I have played.  You have to understand…  as a gamer I land more on this side of the community than the single player one.  I am used to playing through bad launches, horrific bugs, and a general stonewalling of information to the player base and still figuring out ways to carve out my fun.  Out of those three issues… only one actually exists in Anthem… which is the fact that it has an awful lot of unintended bugs.  The servers have been pretty stable for me from my personal experience…  even though that I know lots of other players have complaints there…  I have been able to play when I wanted for however long I wanted which is not always the case with an MMO launch.

On the last point…  unless you have been through an MMORPG launch that was on fire and burning down around the players…  you will probably not appreciate the last point.  The communication from Bioware has been excellent and their response to the things that ARE fixable quickly…  has been exceedingly fast.  It is hard to explain to a user what is an easy fix and what is a hard fix.  I have multiple copies of this xkcd comic hanging around the development area, because it is the truest explanation I have ever seen of this disconnect between you and your user base.  I think as a developer myself I tend to be way more forgiving of the wobbly awkward stage as a game learns to stand… especially if it is the first time a given company is doing quite this thing.  When I see a bad bug I am more aligned to thinking “ugh that is going to be a bad night for one of the devs” instead of wanting to smash my computer and run off to the internet to rage about how I have been wronged.  I’ve been called at 1 am to fix a mission critical problem because some “VIP” user was complaining about it…  I know those feels.

What I have been impressed the most though about in this process is the level of unvarnished truth that is being dropped on the community from the development staff, and the willingness of Bioware to show it.  The official reddit has turned on the developers plain and simple and it has been something sorta sad to watch.  What was a pretty free an open environment where a good number of staffers felt comfortable making random comments…  has turned into something significantly more hostile.  However regularly there are folks still wading into the sea of anger to deliver serious explanations.  For example there was a thread where a user saw his very first Legendary drop in 80 hours of gameplay…  only to have it locked behind an invisible wall in a dungeon.  You can read the entire thread here if you so choose, but the most important bit is the answer given by Ben Irving self identified as the Stronghold Lead.

Dear /u/Darthchrisshaw I just wanted to pop in here and apologize for a terrible player experience that I am directly responsible for. As the Stronghold lead the buck stops with me. I can offer explanations but at the end of the day, that doesn’t change the experience.

What I really want to do is come in here and explain what we are doing about this so you don’t continue to suffer these situations in the Strongholds.

  1. We’ve disabled every “backtracking” fog wall in the Temple of Scar and Heart of Rage. So as of the next patch, forgive me for not having the exact dates as I’m at home, it should be the next scheduled patch in March. Internally it’s called 1.0.4. So once that patch lands you should never run into this situation again in either of those strongholds. (This is different from forward-blocking fog walls which are necessary, those remain in place.) I’m not currently aware of any back-tracking issues in Tyrant Mine, but please call me on it if I’m missing an issue.

  2. Going forward we won’t be using these types of setups unless they are for some reason mission critical to the mission. I’ve yet to see a mission-critical backtracking fog wall so my expectation is that you’ll almost never run into this again. And if you do it’s likely a bug.

  3. We will continue to strip these out of the existing content as we move forward with continued bug fixing and quality of life improvements. I can’t offer specific timelines for when we’ll have a complete pass on the game at this time.

  4. Until the patch lands, if you end up in this situation bring up your map and hold down LS (Left Stick) on the controller or Y on your keyboard, this will respawn you and should put you on the correct side of the fog wall. I have yet to see this fail to respawn you in the correct location.

Again I want to reinforce none of this is an excuse and I truly do apologize that we weren’t able to correct this prior to launch or until now. I can only promise we will do better by you and the community in the future and try to win your trust back.

I cannot put into words how rare that level of interaction is with a game dev when the game is under stress.  Similarly there is a big thread that Global Community Manager Jesse Anderson posted on the same Reddit trying to address some of the common threads that were being discussed.  It was plain, unvarsnished and shows a level of candor that I am just not used to seeing.  I mean I occasionally have back channels to friends that are working on these games… and have heard similar things from them but told in confidence knowing that I would not be sharing it publicly.  Instead we are seeing this information just thrown out there plainly…  and the reaction Reddit is having is telling.  Having things explained is really doing nothing to quell the tide of reddit gold earning rant threads.  I’m going to repost the full comments here for those who find Reddit a toxic experience and tend to avoid it, just so you can see what I am talking about.

I am going to preface by saying this will be a long post, none of what you’re about to read comes from a place of hatred, please understand that every one of these concerns comes from a place of compassion and hope.

I would also like to note that while I am going to be as thorough as possible with this post, nothing said in this post is to be taken as community’s unanimous opinion, these are my opinions and since I am also human, some of these opinions could differ or not be right from the perspective of many others, that said, Bioware let’s talk.


Whats going on?

I am sure no one that is currently still sticking around can forget how responsive, jovial and outgoing the dev team was pre launch, 50% of your audience for the game probably came from the aspiration you guys showed and the love you guys showed to a game that was your brain child, every forum I went to everyone I spoke to, would always end their conversation with, ‘They have made mistakes in the past and it’s EA, but this dev team is much more vocal and not hiding anything, so I think I can trust them’.

Where did that bioware go, even during the VIP Demo crisis and during the demo, you guys were certainly not shying away from any kind of criticism, you went into battle head on took on challenges that came out of nowhere and still came out somewhat victorious on the other side, lots of youtubers and streamers actually commended the transparency that the dev team had during that whole fiasco.

Now with this post my intention is to compile and present the issues, feedback and solutions I as a fan of this beloved game have, I am sure there are many that will share my thoughts and many that wont, it is also entirely upto you to respond or not, but I am writing this for the sake of letting you know how some if not most of the community feels.


Communication –

1. Pre-game release vs Post game release –

Although I touched up on this subject previously I feel like we really need to talk about this first, you are keeping the community blind of what is going on, we don’t know if you’re working on the issues, if you’re reading our feedbacks, if you even visit the sub anymore, the discord especially was filled with a bunch of blue named (dev) messages everytime I went into any channel, there were devs having casual talk, devs asking for opinions, devs asking about people’s javelin colors and even devs who wanted to team up and play the game with the community.

Where did all of that go? Right now this subreddit and the fanbase in general suffers from lack of knowledge about a game they paid money for even through the fact that your previous game had major failures and your parent company happens to be the most despised company in all of gaming, it is one thing to acknowledge issues and then ghost the community, but it is another to not even acknowledge the issue and just burrow your heads underground hoping the storm would pass.

2. Aggravating the community by acknowledging trivial things over major issues –

In the past 4-5 days the community has been up in arms about a major issue that has been plaguing the game, the loot issue, it got to a point where several gaming news websites started talking about how there was no developer response at all, even through all that, most of your community, understood that it’s a weekend and people have lives to live too,

but you took that for granted and not only did you not even acknowledge the loot issue even after the weekend, you started replying to issues that were apparently already fixed but were just minor bugs and to add fuel to the fire, EA help tweeted out that tweet about coming ingame and helping you figure what’s wrong with the game, do you really need more feedback than there already was? do you really want to sit and test other (not so important) issues during a time where you’re on your last straw rather than fix the major issue that’s looming over you? I don’t even want to talk about the ingame cosmetic that went live called ‘making it rain’ I’m sure that was a automated rotation, it still comes out as bad taste.

3. Being confidential about the patch notes –

This is another thing the community had to discover all by themselves and even then at first you said, there are no hidden patch notes, any unlisted change you see is probably a bug/glitch and then you go on to make a post titled ‘Missing notes from 1.0.3 update ‘ I can’t look at this from any point of view where it doesn’t look like a shady business practice, this only creates more distrust in your practices and creates a rift between you and your community where now we don’t even know if the patch notes we get fix things or break more things that are not even listed,

Stop treating the community like first time gamers who have to be given the bare minimum knowledge of your work and they’d just nod and move on, there are people in this community finding issues and bugs in your game that you haven’t found through multiple stages of checking ( if you even had them), even if most of the community doesn’t care for it, it is your obligation to make patch notes and ingame descriptions as clear and detailed as possible.


Not Learning from previous mistakes

1. Andromeda –

The amount of negligence it would take a company to go through a disaster of a release like Andromeda and still come out the other end with similar practices is astronomical, you through your own admission agreed that Andromeda was not the game you wanted it to be and that it was probably your biggest mistake as a gaming company,

You announced Anthem with confidence of showing something the gaming world has never seen, promises that made andromeda’s promises look silly, you created a loyal fanbase long before the game had even finished production, the community through it’s admiration reminded you multiple times that they will not tolerate another incident like Andromeda, everyone was waiting with gleaming eyes for a game that was in production for 6 years, something revolutionary,

and you know what, Anthem is a great game and a revolutionary game, but you through your learning of new things in making this newer greater game, forgot your lessons from your previous game and soon became what you once were.

2. EA Hate –

Anyone stepping into the production of Anthem full well knew the hatred and doubt that comes from your community just because you happen to ally with EA, I don’t want to talk about EA’s malpractices through the years thanks to EA not even being secretive with their sinister actions, the hatred towards them is very well justified,

holding hands with a company like that, putting their name upfront and claiming you’re bringing change, doesn’t have a very hopeful image in people’s eyes, the community still doesn’t know how much of your production was handled and or scrapped by EA, you are not going to tell me with a serious face that Anthem in its current state is a Game made by one of the most leading AAA companies that took 6 years to make,

Now why I mention this topic is, to show you Bioware that we know some of your decisions are made with your hands tied because of corporate overlords looming over your working shoulders, we as a community understand that, but the only thing that can fix this issue, is communication and nothing else.

3. Upcoming games –

This doesn’t entirely fall under the section of previous mistakes but instead gauging threat and preparing for mistakes, the genre you picked already had really big shoes to fill, games like Warframe and Destiny existed in the looter shooter arena long before you stepped in and these were companies that at their current state had very happy fans, your mission was to see that and create something that is so out of any of their imaginations that actually manages to steal some of their fanbase, not only that, you had games like Division 2 right around the corner,

Yet the way the game came out and is being carried out, shows zero care into the product you claim is the ultimate looter shooter, instead of taking from the communities your competitors had, you created a community that came for your game and now is turning to your competitors thanks to your way of handling feedback, you are literally handing out business on a silver platter to your competitors.


Discarding Feedback

1. Community Feedback –

Another topic that has been mentioned plenty above, but you know why this needs its own section, you in your current state do not deserve the community that is carrying you on its shoulders, they are being civil and respective in their way of giving feedback, yes there are people that just come here to create hate and anger, but you know who your core community is, those that play the game everyday, go through the countless bugs and issues and still come out the other end to say, let me write about this to bioware, maybe they’ll fix it soon,

You need to cherish the community you have, it is already in dwindling numbers, please don’t make the reset go away, because you abused their trust in you.

2. Forgiving Fanbase –

No other company, has gone through something like Andromeda under the partnership of a company like EA and still managed to have a fanbase that said, ‘you know what? it’s fine, mistakes happen, go ahead and take 6 years to create an amazing game and we’ll stay here waiting for you’. I am sure just like me many of your fanbase has been mocked by their friends offline and online just because we still support a company that allies itself with EA,

I am a good example for this, I have friends that never believed a single word that came out my mouth about anthem, yet I still managed to convince them that on the other side of that game is a production team that actually cares about their fanbase, I told them the conversations I personally had with the devs on twitter, this was new for anyone who heard it and they could slowly see the passion I had in the game, through their trust on my their trust on your company grew, I brought them with open arms and confidence into the demo plays, but what did you make me look like? a idiot that trusted a company that was never to be trusted, yet here I am a month later, writing to you about why I still love this game,

Most of your current fanbase is composed of people like me, some would call us outright lunatics for still sticking around and we’re starting to think we are, please prove us wrong.

3. Doing your work for you –

Carrying over from the previous topic, not only do you have fans that have stayed with you through thick and thin, but you have fans that are going through stats and statistics, graphs and experiments and giving you detailed information of what’s wrong with your game and how you can fix it, not many games have the players doing the developing for them, yet you have this golden opportunity laid out in front of you to work with your community and create something that both of you can pride yourselves in and you’re throwing that away.


Lack of Content

1. Hull of a game –

Let’s finally get to addressing the Elephant in the room, the game itself, a game in many ways or atleast in it’s AAA sense has to come with a few guaranteed factors-

1.A good story line

2.Rich character development

3.Enough content to last till your next content cycle

4.Things to keep your players occupied in terms of visual customization and vanity

5.Good gameplay mechanics

6.Good and plentiful rewards

7.Polishing.

anyone can tell you Bioware that anthem does not check out on majority of these points, ofcourse depending on who you ask the things that check and don’t check out might differ, but I am sure that everyone will only have 2 if not 3 things in that list they think you’ve achieved and you know this to be true,

the problem here doesn’t come from the fact that you happened to make a bad game, the problem here stems from every single point I’ve made above, each of those tiny twigs and branches joining together to create what happens to be a major problem for everyone involved in the production of the game and the fanbase through defending you.

2. Looter shooter without any loot –

I don’t even know where to start with this, do I start with the fact that end game content doesn’t even rewards end game loot or do I start from the fact that there isn’t even enough end game loot in this game to make it rain end game loot,

people think the problem is masterworks and legendaries are dropping too low and that drop chances need to go up, but I think the problem is a little deeper and a little more dangerous than that, something that’s making you stay silent,

There isn’t even enough masterwork and Legendary loot to drop for end game content, there is such little diversity in master work and legendary loot right now, if I were to run a dungeon and come out the other end with all master work and legendaries 60% of those will be duplicates just because of the fact that there isn’t even enough items to fill my bag without creating duplicates,

I don’t really know how you’re going to solve this issue, coz by god you took 6 years and did this, but the right thing to do now, is to open the loot floodgates and have people atleast have the illusion that you actually have tons of loot variety in this game.

3. Armor and cosmetics –

Ok I actually am quite annoyed with the current community about this, even after all the shit you’ve pulled and all the abuse you’ve done to your community, they are still open to give you more money to buy vanity items and what do you do? give them 2 proper items and 4 trivial items every few days,

One of the biggest catches for your game was the freedom to customization, you showed us so much customization during those live streams before the demo that people were actually overwhelmed, yet the game launches and you don’t even have things that you had ready before the games completion, how do you show people 10-15 armor variations 6-7 months prior to the launch yet the game launches with 2-3 armor variations and end game doesnt even provide any vanity,

It truly baffles me that anyone wants to give more money to you, but alas its their money, but I just hope you can take that money without feeling guilty.


Turning a good game bad

1. What could have been –

Anthem could have been so much more if it actually hit all the promises made during its E3 press release and during its production cycle, it was the ultimate looter shooter that was to come and prolly obliterate the gaming market with its presence, but that was not what we got.

2. What it currently is –

I don’t even know what the game currently is, probably a shallow pool of the ocean that was promised, fading community and false promises, the game is not what it was meant to be and not what it deserves to be.

3. What it could be –

It still isn’t too late to save Anthem, with simple communication and progressive fixes we as a community and the developers together can fix this game, it probably wont be what it was initially supposed to be but alteast we can create something that is worth staying for, I pre-ordered No Man’s Sky and regretted it very much after launch, but because of the communication that kept coming from Hello Games people stuck around to hear their side of the story and the game right now is galaxies better than it once was and I’m sure Anthem is no exception to that change.

Conclusion

In conclusion I just want to say, we as a community still believe in you, we still believe in this game and we still believe that all of this will pass and we can make something great out of this and all we ask in return is for you to speak to us.

EDIT: I hit submit way too early, sorry about that, first time writing something like this!

The thing is… I applaud the hell out of the Anthem team for the way that they communicate with us.  I also applaud whoever decided to create a second Reddit called LowSodiumAnthem so those of us who are still very much enjoying the game could have a place to discuss it without getting bogged down in the sea of rage.  Please note, this is not me stating that the game is perfect… and I have shared many of my frustrations.  However I also want to share my joys and I still enjoy flying around and doing content and am not going to stop due to some boycott.  Especially when said boycott doesn’t appear to be changing the state of the game other than maybe having the absence of angry players making the grouping experience better?