Loot Problems



Shocking to no one I spent the majority of my weekend playing Anthem again.  It was a bizarre weekend for those of us who spent both Friday night and Saturday playing because some things happened.  Firstly the the 1.0.3 patch that we were expecting to land on the 12th launched a bit early on the 9th around 7 am, meaning when I woke up for the day I had a significant patch to download.  However Friday night…  they did the thing where they accidentally set the loot drops too high and we were getting Masterworks left and right.  Once again the community thought this was intentional…  because ultimately it is what we have been clamoring for all this time.  However with the launch of the patch it was rolled back…  and it has been a bit hard to separate the good of the patch with the bad of having loot nerfed again.


Anthem has a loot problem, namely that it is way too stingy with Masterworks but more importantly too stingy with Legendaries.  All told I have gotten 4 Legendary drops in what is now 164 hours worth of play time.  Dividing that out it is me seeing a Legendary drop every 41 hours of play time.  There are folks out there who have racked up similar hours and have yet to see a single one.  It was the futile hope of the player base that when we removed Whites and Greens from dropping in post 30 content… that it would have a positive effect of skewing the number of Masterworks and Legendaries we would get.  However as some testing has shown…  essentially every green and white drop was replaced by a purple…  which is awesome if you are just getting started but more disenchant fodder once you enter the hunt for Orange and Lime (that’s what I am deciding to call legendary green).  There is an interesting post that was up on the reddit over the weekend…  where a player farmed 200 drops with +95 luck before and after the patch, linking to the original thread but going to post the data here for reference.

Pre-Patch Numbers

  • Common: 17 items at 8.5%
  • Uncommon: 24 items at 12%
  • Rare: 34 items at 17%
  • Epic: 102 items at 51%
  • Masterwork: 21 items at 10.5%
  • Legendary: 2 items at 1%

Post-Patch Numbers

  • Rare: 28 items at 14%
  • Epic: 163 items at 81.5%
  • Masterwork: 7 items at 3.5%
  • Legendary: 2 items at 1%

The original poster went to the trouble of documenting all of their loot with screenshots, but accounting for randomness it does appear that the Common and Uncommon slots are now just Epic items, which again is great for people getting a start in the game but bad for anyone who has collected a set of epic gear which now happens frighteningly fast under the current loot environment.


All of that said… I am still enjoying myself and have managed to cobble together gear for three different javelins at this point.  I will probably be starting on the Storm at some point soon once I have spent a bit more time fine tuning the Interceptor.  Right now I have something that I would call a proper build on both the Ranger and the Colossus, and I will be farming content until I reach that point on the Interceptor as well.  How I am getting there…  is because I am exploiting the fact that Strongholds drop a guaranteed ability and Legendary contracts drop a guaranteed component.  While I only have three legendary contracts available to me each day, it seems that Quickplay on Grandmaster 1 difficulty tends to place you into a Legendary Contract more often than not…  and doing this nets you a guaranteed component as well.  Stronghold Quickplay similarly nets you a guaranteed ability drop…  however in my experience this is bugged out the vast majority of the time and not really worth your effort.


Now I realize there are a lot of players out there that have been having issues with the game nonstop since release.  However for the most part I had not…  until this weekend when I started heavily relying on Quickplay.  That functionality seems to be far more buggy than the rest of the game, and I am wondering if the majority of the issues that players have been encountering have revolved around trying to do this abbreviated path to loot.  Normal Quickplay seemed to stick me in far fewer bugged out instances than it did before the patch, however when something went wrong… it went REALLY wrong often times causing me to have to either go through a loop of being bounced back to the loading screen like the above screenshot… or having to hard kill the client.  Starting Missions, Contracts, Strongholds and Freeplay myself all resulted in predictably smooth gameplay…   however any time I dared to mess with Quickplay I was effectively playing with fire.


Another byproduct of the patch is that overall Javelin power feels like it has increased, and a side effect of that is that none of the lower difficulty ranks seem to be anywhere near as populated as they were.  Thalen reported issues getting full groups on normal difficulty as he was playing through the story and leveling, and I personally experienced a challenge getting groups at hard difficulty when I was attempting to finish getting the epics on my Interceptor.  So one of two things has happened… either the average player has released that they can now crush Grandmaster 1 thanks to the power scaling, or more likely a lot of players have just stopped messing with the game out of frustration over various issues.  Neither case is great for the game as a whole because it makes it harder and harder to onboard a supply of new players.  Grace will be starting up this week and I will be curious to see how that experience is as a new player and whether or not the matchmaking is as quick as it was for the rest of us that started out.  Side note since I have done this pretty much every week, throwing out a screenshot of the Alliance contribution screen…  I have yet to hit the hard cap for the week.


One final screenshot of note…  since I played a bit of Warframe this weekend…  I am pretty sure these two chests in the hanger area are a nod to that game.  Anyone has played much Warframe will notice that they have a lot of lockers scattered throughout the ships that look suspiciously similar to these.  Also oddly enough playing a lot of Anthem has somehow made Warframe feel more manageable?  I was not nearly as motion sick playing it yesterday as I have been in the past, and the way too zoomed in perspective did not feel anywhere near as bad as it had after playing the whirling ball of death that is the Interceptor.  I still greatly prefer Anthem, but I have a feeling I could probably start to finally delve into Warframe if I so choose.

So where we are left is that Anthem needs to make a lot of changes quickly.  Chad Robertson the Head of Live Services chimed in over on twitter with some comments to this whole situation.  It spans several tweets so quoting rather than just pasting the thread for ease of consumption.

We appreciate all the feedback from the community on the game. We love the passion and share it. We’re not yet fully happy with the game’s loot behavior either. One of the downsides of moving so fast to improve is that we’re making changes to complex loot systems in several areas and it’s then harder to know how it’s performing. In the next few months, we’re expecting to make significant changes, but we’re starting with some incremental ones so we can better navigate that evolution. Our goal is to ensure the best possible player experience.

So while I appreciate this comment, because they are actually saying words in reference to problems…  which is a step above a lot of studios out there.  The biggest problem that I have with this comment is the fact that he mentions the time frame of “the next few months”.  I am not entirely certain that they have months…  and more likely have weeks to sort this out before players simply give up and file this game in the bin of “check back for year two” like so many of us did with Destiny.  We already see the signs in matchmaking of players dropping out of the system, which is a bad sign.  Additionally the temperature of the Reddit has shifted drastically over the last few days, which was a different situation than the inflammatory YouTube community…  they were positive and hopeful and I think were pinning their hopes on the patch from March 12th fixing a lot of the major issues…  namely with loot drops.  That however has drastically shifted to a community demanding fixes now, because Patch 1.0.3 did not deliver the solace they were hoping for.  While I am still playing the hell out of this game… I cannot say they are necessarily wrong in their frustrations.

There have been two situations where supposedly accidental loot changes have “fixed” the game.  In both times the game felt so much better because it didn’t feel bad when you got another Masterwork with crappy rolls, because you knew another one was right around the corner.  The unbridled excitement of actually seeing a legendary drop, and knowing that this wasn’t a once in a career thing…  made you care less about also getting crappy rolls on it too.  Loot needs to flow like water Diablo 3 style so you can pick through the dross and cobble together something resembling a proper build.  Nothing is more frustrating than getting a bunch of abilities you don’t care about… when you have a specific style of play that you enjoy on your character…  but feel forced to use the Masterworks because the item level increase makes them just flat out superior to using a proper build.  All of this felt less of the case when the loot was accidentally generous…  and the players will not be satisfied until we get something resembling that state again.

Masterwork Colossus



Last night I managed to push through to Masterwork Colossus.  It might not be the most optimal build but I was just mostly going for being able to experience what having a heavily armored Chonky Boi feels like.  It is pretty good but all in all I still feel like it is really sluggish to play as.  I need to spend a night running a bunch of strongholds in an attempt to get better abilities, because the currently batch I am using doesn’t really make sense even in the simplest of terms.  However they are both orange and as a result I am using them…  because based on my experience with the Ranger… it generally makes enough of a difference to make it worthwhile.  I am deeply looking forward to the March 12th patch and seeing how the game feels after that because it sounds as though they are giving the weapons a little loving.  My next goal in the queue is to start branching out and trying other weapon combinations, seeing as I have mostly just used a handful of weapons the entire time I have been playing and I have a vault full of interesting sounding Masterworks.

The truth is I did not have a terribly productive night seeing as I spent most of it trying to fight falling asleep.  I am still coming down off being used to consuming three or more Energy Drinks a day…  and as a result everything feels way harder than it should.  I could have probably gone to sleep around 7 pm last night but my wife was not ready until around 9:30 so I managed to hold out until that point.  I spent a lot of the night doing more passive things like watching YouTube than I actually did running content in Anthem.  My hope is as we clear the weekend I will have distanced myself from the influence far enough that I will once again begin to feel like myself.  The further into this I get… the more I realize how much it was actually needed.  I am going through some of the basic signs of withdrawal…  constant headaches, dizziness, muscle aches, alternating between feeling like I am freezing and feeling like I am burning up.  I realize it is nothing like ACTUAL withdrawal but man it still sucks.

My hope is as we make it to the other end of the weekend that a lot of these symptoms will lessen.  Yesterday however was pure hell to make it through, and there were several times that I contemplating going to the vending machine and just saying fuck it.  So yeah that is my world right now and until I get on the other side of this I am probably not going to be doing a lot of thought provoking content.  I hope you have an excellent Friday and an even better weekend.  Tomorrow I get donuts…  so there is at least that to look forward to.

Energy Saving Mode


I have no idea at all what I want to write about this morning.  So for some back story I am struggling a bit to get my shit together right now.  Unfortunately this condition is self imposed.  While I no longer necessarily identify as Catholic, I still find myself doing some of the trappings of my upbringing…  like my wife and I often go through the motions of giving up something for Lent which officially began yesterday with forehead smudge day… aka Ash Wednesday.  Side note…  there was a guy in legal who was completely on point with his smudge because he somehow got the priest to give him a Harry Potter lightning bolt.  That is a tradition that I do not necessarily miss, because growing up as the only smudgehead in a baptist town…  was not a joyful experience.  However the concept of giving something up for the roughly month between the start of Lent and Easter is still a useful practice because it sort of helps me do things that I had been contemplating already.

For me personally…  I gave up pop and energy drinks…  the later being my real crutch that has lead me to my current state of stupor.  I was drinking an excessive amount of them…  often times I had one on the drive into work after having already consumed my morning cup of coffee.  Then if I went out at lunch I would pick one up on the way back to the office.  Then at night I would often times start the evening off with one as well.  Three a day on average is a lot of that to take into your system…  not to mention the actual monetary cost of it given that they are all pretty much $2.50 each (even though we bought flats of them at Sams to blunt the cost a bit).  Yesterday I was doing okay for most of the day but hit a wall around 3 pm…  then was completely out of it last night.  This morning I am feeling groggy as hell, which is in part why I could not come up with anything meaningful to talk about this morning and dove deep into the source of my misery instead.

Right now the wife and I are both trying to do this thing, since she too consumed energy drinks…  but in nowhere near the frequency.  Most days it was still one of them and occasionally two of them.  What we have ruled as “in bounds” are Coffee and Tea, so we can still have that first cup of coffee in the morning.  Also any sort of additive to water is also in bounds like those little drink mix packets.  Essentially the entire purpose was the exorcise the position Energy Drinks have held in my life and also to keep me from just falling back on Mountain Dew as a replacement by also banning pop.  We will see how this goes but the end goal is to get off of them while doing Lent and then hopefully not return to them shortly after?  I gave up Monster a few years back…  but I rationalized that I was specifically giving up Monster…  and not all Energy drinks… and just wound up leaning on the occasional Red Bull instead.  This time around however I am trying not to give myself much wiggle room to simply follow the letter of the law rather the intent.


On the gaming front, I spent some time last night working on Chonky Boi and doing the Legendary Contracts.  From them I managed to pull two different Masterwork Grenade Launchers that represented the last weapon type that I did not at least have one MW for.  Sentinel’s Vengeance is the only one that I can really see myself using in the long run, as the other… Insult and Injury is a bounce type Grenade Launcher.  Functionally how the one I like works is that the grenades stick to the target and upon detonation applies an Acid area effect priming the target seeing as the grenade appears to explode three times qualifying itself for a small hit streak in the process and proccing the perk.  The one I don’t like bounces the grenade once and then explodes meaning that too often you hit the target with a grenade… it bounces off.. and then explodes in a way that doesn’t actually trigger damage.  The core problem I have with heavy weapons right now is how cumbersome they are to reload, and as such I have swapped back to a more normal load-out.


The whole reload thing wouldn’t be so bad if you could reload while sprinting…  because the second you hit that booster to get out of harms way it interrupts the reload animation which is maddening.  Last night I also pulled a Masterwork Heavy Assault Launcher in the form of Black Powder which is far from ideal but I am using anyways because I like seeing orange rather than purple.  It actually does a really good job of mopping up targets that didn’t die from a melee smash.  I still feel like I cannot quite get the swing of Colossus, but I also am on this path that makes me not want to stop until I have filled every slot with a Masterwork.  At some point I am sure I will be doing the same process on both the Storm and Interceptor…  but in part I have been holding off on those for grouping with my friend Grace when she starts the game.  I like the Storm and Interceptor far more than I do the Colossus so in theory this experience of gearing up my least favorite of the suits…  has been interesting.  I like the look of the Colossus and I want to like it as a whole… it just feels awkward and I cannot move in it the way I can with other frames and it feels bad.  I mean I think that is the point, given that you are supposed to be this giant immoveable wall…  but the way that shields have a cooldown makes it feel like I am left sometimes with no real way of dealing with incoming damage.  In a traditional MMORPG…  this character would have a healer backing them up and it would make it feel much better than it currently does.

Now however I need to get to work and try and survive another day caffeinated way less than I usually am.

Chonky Boi



Monday night after finishing a significant number of contracts and stronghold runs I opted to spend a little time on my Chonky Boi in Hard Mode normal contracts to start building out enough gear to make something functional.  I’ve been spending a little time now that I have the Ranger in a good spot, working on the other javelins and Colossus seems to be the one I struggle the most with.  What I expect is for it to be this unstoppable juggernaut… and what happens in practice is that I am constantly having to run away from the fight and find red chicklets on the ground to heal myself back up.  In my hard mode travels however I came across one of the last “drops in any mode” Masterworks that I did not currently have…  the Fist of Stral which is based on Cloudburst one of the two Autocannons that don’t require much in the way of spin up.


Also in my travels I picked up my second Legendary in the form of Glorious Result a Heavy Pistol.  This is not exactly my jam but I spent a little time checking it out and playing with it.  It is somewhat unique in that it fires two shot bursts and it feels a bit like using the Crimson Hand Cannon from Destiny 2.  That was not really my moment of joy and neither is this weapon, however I do dig the fact that it reminds me of Ghostbusters with its “Scarbusters” paint job.  This is largely going in the vault as more of a collectible than something I am actually going to use, which is a little disappointing for how few and far between Legendary drops are.


After running a bunch of regular contracts on Monday night I managed to cobble together something resembling a decent build and last night I opted to do my Legendary contracts as Colossus to start piecing together a reasonable assortment of components.  I also had time to run one Stronghold as Colossus which was manageable but still as a whole the suit feels unwieldy, especially considered to the much more nimble Ranger that I am used to.  Right now I am running the Fire Wall ability as primer and Siege Cannon as my detonator, and it seems to work for most things…  and thankfully I managed to pick up a Masterwork Rubidium Furnace so I can continue with that build.  That is the worst part about easing your way into Grandmaster 1 is having to abandon what was a build that felt good… and deal with whatever luck of the draw got you.


Overall for the night I got several components including my third Legendary drop…  which I was sorta kicking myself a little bit that it happened while playing my alternate frame.  The biggest thing I am noticing is that as I get better gear I seem to be getting more pips of armor…  which means I can survive significantly more damage before I have to run away and find skittles on the ground to recuperate that health.  Not having and over-shield is still fundamentally weird and feels not amazing…  but I think I am starting to hit that break even point in Grandmaster where it largely feels the same as Hard mode used to.


I’ve not really talked about it much on the blog but I have been using a really cool website called Anthem Archive to look up various gear options.  What I would really love for them to do is implement some sort of a profile system that allows us to either run a tray resident app that uploads our loadouts, or for Anthem itself to have some sort of an API that they can access to pull the same information.  I also wish it would allow you to link to a specific item… so that I could have included links to each one of those components so you could find out what exactly they do.  The site as a whole isn’t quite there yet…  but it is the best that we have and I am thankful to have ANYTHING at this point.  I however have been spoiled greatly by the utility that Destiny Item Manager provides for Destiny/Destiny 2.

Legendary Weekend



Good morning folks.  Shocking to no one I spent pretty much the entire weekend playing Anthem.  We had some winter weather come in and I became the Oklahoma version of “snowed in”.  Aka we could easily get out if we really needed to but the yard was indistinguishable from the streets and figured it just was not worth the hassle.  As a result we drew upon our heavy stores of meals and just stayed snuggled inside with the cats.  This meant that I spent a significant amount of time on the couch in my blanket cocoon playing Anthem remoted into my gaming machine upstairs via Parsec.  I am still shocked at just how damned well that works… but I have found a hitch in the set up.  It appears to be blocking voice chat either on the microphone transmission side or the key press side.  I need to sort this out, but for the time being it means if I want to do proper group activities I have to go upstairs.  Which means 99.9% of the time I am just pugging everything…  including Grand Master 1 Legendary Contracts and Strongholds…  which in truth is what I spent most of the weekend doing.


As of right now I have a Masterwork or better in every slot other than the support item.  I have no clue at all how one upgrades that and gets a Masterwork Muster Point, but I am hoping they add in a new type of activity that has a guaranteed drop for those.  For those that did not already know this…  if you do a Legendary Contract on Grand Master 1 or higher you get a guaranteed Masterwork Component at the end of the mission.  Similarly if you do a Stonghold on Grand Master 1 you get a guaranteed Masterwork Ability at the end, and in my experience you often get at least one additional masterwork somewhere along the course of the run.  The best run ever saw me getting 1 off each of the chests and two off the final boss.  As such once I burn through my Legendary Contracts, my jam right now tends to be running Hive Tyrant over and over because that appears to be the fastest of the strongholds, or at the very least the one everyone knows the best.  Regardless I have collected enough components to feel like I have some semblance of a build working there as well.


I am still relying heavily on my Double Detonator build that I talked about on Friday, and have officially given up on using any weapons other than Ralner’s Blaze which is not necessarily a part that I think I covered.  When the perk states that it ignites the target after a hit-streak of 5… what that means in practice is after landing 5 hits on a target you apply the ignited status effect, which means that target is primed and ready to combo.  So even though I don’t technically have a primer in my build… I have two solid ways of priming targets either through this amazing weapon or through my melee primer.  As such I stopped using a second weapon and instead just run a second Ralner’s Blaze so I never run out of ammunition and can always swap to a backup version to continue priming targets.  So often people are running a frost AOE primer… which allows me to swoop in with a frag grenade and get to detonation city…  but even if I am alone I can prime single targets all day long. A B D…  Always Be Detonating.


The highlight of the weekend was getting my very first Legendary drop…  and it was off some random mob in freeplay.  I am super thankful in that I got a good lego on my first attempt, and didn’t get something like a sniper rifle like my friend Shadoes did.  Even better…  I got the same assault launcher I had already been using in my current build allowing me to just swap everything over without changing much.  Now if I could get a Legendary Ralner’s Blaze the luck gods would really be smiling upon me.  One of my only complaints with Legendaries is that there appears to be no re-roll system in that you cannot learn the pattern in order to craft more of them.  That is the thing that I like the most about Masterworks is that you can just keep crafting more until you get the set of inscriptions you really wanted.  Legendaries…  appear to be entirely on random chance for you to get one to drop in the first place…  and even more so you are up a creek if you didn’t get a good role.  Like…  Sniper is a worthless inscription for me personally…  but everything else is pretty reasonable so I still consider myself extremely lucky.


Since it was interesting last week, I figured I would throw this up again this week.  This is what my Alliance leader board looks like this week, and quite honestly I am not entirely certain why Wei and Maeka are giving me more gold than the others.  The closest I can figure out is that the bar continues to go up even after hitting rank 10… and once it fills one more time you start getting a message that you have reached your maximum alliance rank for the week.  I hit this and I am guessing that both of them have hit it as well…  meaning they are now worth 2345 instead of 2105…  which incidentally I should also be worth that 2345 if you get everyone else to rank 10 on your list as well.  That means the if that logic olds…  while I have 11,005 incoming for how the board is set up currently… a theoretical “maximum” contribution would be something like 11,725 gold if you could somehow get everyone to that full bar rank 10.


That said I am not expecting the gold train to last that much longer.  I am playing a truly silly amount of this game, and I thought I would post my hours played just to prove it.  At this point I have put in 132 hours in effectively 16 days that the game has been out… which works out to be 8.25 hours a day.  Now there was some heavy skewing there because we have had a few weekends where we didn’t have much planned and also I was fighting some respiratory nonsense so that had me home sick during part of it as well.  Regardless of how you slice it though… I have been playing a significant amount of Anthem and really show no signs of letting up yet.  I spent some time working up Interceptor and Colossus last night but most of that time has been spent on the Ranger working on getting to the point I am at right now.  I still think the game needs a lot of tweaks, but for now I am enjoying the game that is… as well as being hopeful of the game that is to come.

Double Detonators



This morning I am struggling more than I do on the average morning.  I did not sleep well last night and wound up not falling asleep until almost midnight.  Then that got compounded by the fact that I kept waking up every so often for unknown reasons.  It was one of those “the bed is not comfortable” sort of nights.  As such I feel like I can’t really get into any higher logic yet.  I didn’t even make coffee this morning until my wife noticed that she didn’t have a cup…  I knew something was off but could not quite put my finger on it.  That has since been remedied, but suffice to say I am not firing on all cylinders…  which is evidenced by the fact that I just backspaced the word cylinders several times until I got it right.

Last night I spent some time testing out the new loot system and it does in fact seem to be giving better options.  Gone are the days of getting a Light Machine Gun with weapon only (gear icon) Heavy Pistol effects on it…  but what has arrived instead are a lot of instances where you just get a suit wide weapon bonus in general rather than it being something specific.  I have not gotten anywhere near enough items to test this out more thoroughly but it seems like they might have dropped some of the nuance and landed on the side of “make this more universally useful”.  In fact those gear only inscriptions seem to be the exception rather than the rule now, with most things just simply giving Javelin wide effects.

During the course of the night I ran three strongholds, still focused almost entirely on Hive Tyrant since it is fast and predictable.  The first first one lead me to believe that they maybe tweaked the drop rates at the same time as applying this patch.  That first stronghold rewarded me 1 weapon, 2 abilities and the every so sought after component.  However after tweeting that out and making a fool of myself…  the second stronghold rewarded only the guaranteed masterwork ability that you get for completing the mission.  On the third stronghold however, I did manage to get one additional masterwork to drop…  meaning I got a weapon and an ability.  This is still better than Wednesday night when I chain ran strongholds and got nothing but the same ability over and over.

As such I thought I would go over my build this morning and talk about my choices a bit.

Primary Weapon – Cycle of Pain – LMG


This is one of the new acquisitions of the evening, and I am largely using it because the Sledgehammer with its slow rate of fire but decent punch with little recoil is my favorite archetype of the Light Machine Guns.  The perk called Marksman’s Swiftness makes it so that weak point hits increase weapon rate of fire by 10% for 10 seconds… and this stacks to 10.  In practice what this seems to mean is that if you can nail the weak point you get an improved rate of fire without added recoil making this thing just melt targets.  It reminds me a lot of how it felt to tear through things in Destiny 1 with Fabian Strategy, which is a weapon that only I seemed to like…  but I loved it.

Secondary Weapon – Ralner’s Blaze – Assault Rifle


I’ve dropped Thunderbolt of Yvenia from my secondary slot for the time being only because this is also a brand new weapon and I am getting used to playing with it.  The perk is really vague, but what it means in practice is that you seem to constantly seem to be igniting targets given that it is fairly easy to hold this on target.  I like the feel of it quite a bit and it seems to do a reasonable job of just deleting lower tier trash mobs, which admittedly is nice that Grandmaster finally feels like that for me.

Assault Launcher – Recurring Vengeance – Seeking Missile


This is a new acquisition from the night…  Recurring Vengeance which is an impact detonator and seems to pack a much harder base punch that the Argo’s Spite.  In my experience lots of people rock crowd control abilities, like frost or fire fields…  which means with double detonators I can just constantly sit back and be always blowing things up.  If I do need to prime my own targets, this allows me to use my melee way more liberally given that I get one of the primer melee options as a ranger.   So far the one two punch of melee to Seeking Missile can just delete a lot of targets, or at the very least make them hurt significantly.  If need be I can follow up with another melee and my next attack to finish it off.  While I don’t have any of my favorite combos in Masterwork form…  this works well enough for the time being.  I love the perk on this one that allows me to get back my charge if I can finish off an enemy with this attack.

Grenade Launcher – Last Argument – Frag Grenade


I am super thankful that I managed to pull this ability, because Frag Grenade is sort of the most basic utilitarian detonation option for Rangers.  It doesn’t have the best package of inscriptions….  namely I wish it had something other than sniper seeing as I will probably NEVER use sniper in a serious way.  However the fact that it buffs my E ability by 31% speed is pretty phenomenal…  so even if I don’t manage to kill the target I am going to get it recycling pretty fast.  The perk of Last Argument which is hitting enemies causes you to gain 700% Ultimate Charge… which I assume is 700% of the amount you would normally gain for hitting someone with a grenade?  Whatever the case what this means in practice is that my ultimate charges really fast…  and I love this.  For those who have fought Hive Tyrant, you will know that it disappears every so often and you have a trash round to fight through.  I got enough ultimately during the trash out to predictably have my Ultimate or as I keep trying to call it… Super…  up for the next Hive Tyrant burn phase.  This is so damned amazing and makes me way more free with using my Ultimate knowing I can get it back pretty fast by lobbing grenades.

As far as the components go… right now I am just using the ones that fit this build the best for the moment.  However only having two Masterwork components so far greatly limits me.  As I said at the start of this… doing group content… having double detonators makes this work insanely well as someone is constantly applying a status effect that you can exploit.  In solo play however I find myself priming with melee a lot more often to get my own combos…  which still makes double detonators a very viable option.  I like to always be making things explode, even though the ranger explodey options are nowhere near as over the top as the other classes.  What I need to improve on is more efficient use of my DPS boost aura during burn phases.

What are your thoughts about a double detonator build?  What are you finding that is working really well for you… and more important if you are a Grandmaster Ranger…  what the hell build are you leaning on?  I am just happy that I feel like I have pushed out of that “high center” feeling phase to where I finally feel like I am a contributing member of the stronghold and not just being hopelessly carried.


Anthem Wishlist



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.

Anthem Hatred



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Normal Masterworks


This morning I thought I would do something a little different and try some show and tell.  One of the data sets that I have been thus far unable to find is a list of all of the Masterworks that can drop in the sub Grandmaster 1 modes.  The devs talked about this during one of the streams but there is a partial loot pool available before you enter the Grandmaster difficulty levels.  There are a few Masterwork weapons that can drop in Easy, Normal and Hard difficulties as a sort of way to help ease your progression into the Grandmaster tiers.  However no one specifically calls out what these Masterworks actually are.  Seeing that GM1 drops you off the deep end into a pool that includes all of the the rest of the weapons, components and inscriptions…  if you are wanting a specific weapon that CAN drop at lower tiers…  it will be by virtue of a smaller loot pool much easier to get in a lower mode.

I apparently have been extremely lucky, combined with the fact that I have been running content with friends nowhere near my level range…  which means we are choosing Normal difficulty instead of something more difficult.  I am still seeing a significant number of Masterworks dropping for me personally, and as such have pieces together most of the weapons available in this loot pool.  I have a sneaking feeling that there is an Auto Cannon and a Grenade Launcher available as well… but seeing as I do not main Colossus I have yet to see either of these.  I have however been spending a lot more time on the Colossus in an attempt to get one of them to drop so I can complete the list.  Additionally this will let you see what I mean by there is some Diablo DNA in the way this loot works.

Assault Rifle – Elemental Rage


I got my first masterworks to drop sub level cap… and this combined with the next one that I will talk about dropped at the same time.  Unfortunately I have not earned a higher light version of this weapon, but I have been working on unlocking the pattern so I can craft one.  The perk of this weapon is Veteran’s Furor which cause a buff to stack anytime you hit an elite enemy.  When you gain a stack of 20 there is a audible sound queue to let you know that your buff is completely primed…  at which point your next elemental damage ability deals 5% bonus damage per stack so more than likely you are going to use this for 100% bonus damage when you hit a full stack.  Other than that it is based off the Defender Assault Rifle which is my favorite of the available options and full auto with manageable recoil.

Heavy Pistol – Avenging Herald


This was the second weapon I got and ever since have gotten a lot more of them.  This is considered to be one of the stronger early Masterworks because of the fact that its perk can stack.  The perk Raptor’s Deadeye gives you 200% increased weapon damage while hovering, and this is a suit level ability and not specific to this weapon.  So that means you can throw this is your second slot and utilize it with whatever primary weapon you have equipped.  Additionally the buff stacks if you are dual wielding these, which could be extremely brutal for storm builds given that the weapon has a shockingly long effective range for a pistol.

Light Machine Gun -Artinia’s Gambit


This was the third weapon that I got to drop, and honestly end up using it more than pretty much anything else because I tend to favor LMG/Assault Rifles greatly.  If I spent the time to earn the Elemental Rage pattern, this would probably get tossed in the vault because it is not necessarily particularly good.  The perk doesn’t have a name…  but it causes a detonation to occur when you reload the weapon.  However it specifically calls out “immediate area” which should instead be read as point blank range.  This is useful if I am feeling froggy and decide to melee something as a ranger which primes the target… and gives me a fast way of detonating said target while I am still up close and personal.  However for other uses it isn’t terribly effective.  If it would detonate the whatever I was targetting…  then it would be a really great option for detonatorless builds.

Machine Pistol – Unending Battle


Prior to getting this weapon I had never really used a Machine Pistol in part because it didn’t seem like an archetype that I really was super interested in.  However this is effectively a submachinegun from any other game… up close melt machine that does nonsensical damage but you have to pretty much be at point blank range.  The perk is called Gladiator’s Wrath and feeds into this role for the weapon because hitting an enemy in point-blank range increases weapon and melee damage by 110% for 5 seconds.  It would have been better if it was some sort of a stacking buff, but I will take it and it really does make this weapon helpful for clearing anything that runs up on you.

Sniper Rifle – Wyvern Blitz


This is the weapon I have used the absolute least, but pairs nicely with the whole hovering makes weapons awesome trope.  Snipers are just not my thing, but having used this a little bit it seems perfectly reasonable.  Pending you can hit a weak point…  doing so while hovering increases the damage by 40%…  and if you have an Avenging Herald in the second slot…  it gains another 200%.  I really can’t say much since I don’t use this style of weapon much… it seemed adequate for sniping things.

Shotgun – Papa Pump


Papa Pump has probably the best name of any of the weapons I have encountered and is an upgraded version of the Scattershot…  which is a weapon that really wants to be fired in close range.  One of the interesting things about this weapon is that reloading gives it a 100% boost in damage… and this stacks to 2.  What this means in practice is if you are in a situation where you can pump this twice in a row as it were you can get a 200% boost for 15 seconds which is probably more than enough time to unload one entire round of shots.  I have not been able to use it much but this seems like it is going to be a boss melt weapon, or at the very least taking out elite and legendary mobs.  It helps that it looks as cool as it sounds.

Marskman Rifle – Thunderbolt of Yvenia


While the “Scout” is not exactly my favorite of the Marksman Rifles it does a reasonable job of representing the closest thing we have to the Destiny Scout rifle in Anthem.  The unnamed perk is that the weapon has a 33% chance to strike the mob with electrical damage…  that does way more than the actual shot.  In practice this just nukes whatever you are targeting whenever the proc occurs, and it also has a side effect of completely wrecking mob shields.  This was the very last weapon that I saw drop in the list I am showing off today, but it has immediately become my secondary weapon because my preferred build out for Ranger is a LMG/Assault in slot one and a Marksman in slot two giving me a lot of flexibility of engagement range.  So far I am super happy with how this weapon feels.

Just to summarize what I said before.  All seven of these weapons can drop in any of the game modes, including Easy if you get lucky enough to see a Masterwork drop there.  I am not really sure if there is any rhyme or reason about how Masterworks drop, but I have tended to see them most off from boss encounters and treasure chests at the end of world events.  My first pair of Masterworks dropped from the encounter that asks you to fight three titans at the same time… and each one dropped from a different titan.  I’ve been fairly lucky in that I am getting a couple a night regardless of what I happen to be doing.  Where I am less lucky is in actually getting components and abilities to drop while doing Grandmaster 1 content.  Regardless I thought I would give the players who might be reading my blog and have yet to hit the level cap a preview of what they can get from the lower level modes of the game.

Hitting Level Cap



This weekend was the weekend I entered the end game of Anthem or what currently exists as a placeholder for what is likely coming.  On Thursday I finished the main story quest and because I spent time burning down side quests between steps in the main story quest…  it meant that I more or less also finished the sidequests at the same time.  I have a handful of contracts that I could be doing but instead Friday night I opted to level through QuickPlay, seeing as that appears to be a game mode tailored for my proclivities.  I’ve talked before about my favorite way of playing Monster Hunter World is through what I refer to as “SOS Roulette” in which I just accept SOS flares from other players instead of starting my own missions.  QuickPlay is sort of like that in that you are helping to fill the party of a mission already in progress.


When QuickPlay works, it works beautifully and it is a really fun way to hop in and revisit content you have already seen before and gives you a decent chance of earning rewards.  At a minimum even if you join as the mission is finishing you see to get at least two on pilot level rewards…  so for example while I was leveling those were blues and occasionally purples…  but now they are purples and occasionally masterworks.  I said “when it works” because there are key issues with the system in the form of a number of very bugged quests that you can get thrown into.  Both of the two screenshots above are examples of endless missions that will never complete.  At least in the case of “Defeat Dominion Troops” you end up with wave after wave of things to fight allowing you to build up a bunch of experience before eventually bailing out.

On the positive… I got my first two Masterworks from a Quickplay that dropped from the very same mission.  The negative is that Masterworks are sorta like Legendaries in Diablo 3…  and anytime you get one to drop before you hit the level cap of 30…  it is a crying shame because there is no way of infusing it up to be a valid level.  For reference…  Purples cap out at 36 and Masterworks at 45…  so seeing as these are 38 at the time they were are really awesome boost in level but quickly turned into vault trash.  However one of the cool things about Masterworks is the ability to earn the blueprints, so at some point I need to spend time with Elemental Rage killing Legendary mobs so I can earn its blueprint and craft a proper level 45 version of it.  Basically if you are joining quick play and see either “Defeat Dominion Troops” or “Hunt Down Beast” as the active step in the quest…  you are likely going to be in a bugged instance because I have never seen either complete successfully.


I’ve come to realize that at its core… this game is “What if Destiny were more like Diablo 3”.  Which completely explains why I have latched onto it so hard because I love both Destiny and Diablo 3 and apparently this amalgam of the two with a touch of Bioware characters thrown in?  Moving my way from Normal to Hard and now to Grand Master 1 has felt a lot like progressing through the ranks in Diablo 3.  I reached a point where Normal was too easy… and then I bumped it up to Hard.  Now I have reached a point where Hard feels too easy… and I am dipping my toes into Grand Master rank 1 which seems like the equivalent of that jump up to Torment 1.  As such I am mostly Quickplaying my way into groups that are already doing GM1 because I am in that uneasy boundary between the ranks…  where I can kill things…  but just not efficiently enough by myself to take on waves of them.  It is that feeling of pushing too hard too fast into greater rifts and hitting a bit of a quagmire where you are not progressing fast enough to fill the bar in time…  but you are progressing.


I figure a few more pieces of gear and I will ease that transition since at the moment other than weapons I only have a single masterwork item that was usable.  Another thing “for reference” is this apparently is what the weekly maximum of the Alliance system looks like.  I currently have five players on my friends list who have capped out at Rank 10 and as such that gives me a maximum contribution of 10,525 gold that I am understanding the system should be given to me at reset.  It was relatively easy to hit the cap and if you are playing with friends…  it seems EXTREMELY easy to cap out each week.  We spent some time yesterday running around and killing the Titans for the current live event that ends in a few hours.  We actually killed enough stuff that we started to the cap of what you can actually store in your inventory.


All in all… still having an excessive amount of fun playing Anthem.  Sure the game has issues and we spent a good chunk of this weeks episode of AggroChat talking about those…  but I don’t feel like ANY of it is beyond redemption.  The only reason why we are concerned is because EA is notorious for making short sighted calls when it comes to games and studios.  I hope they give the time to Anthem to become the game we all think it can be.  If they can hit a cadence where there is almost always a live event up like the Titan hunt, and there is a steady release of more stuff into the world…  this game is going to be really enjoyable.  I can’t believe I am saying it… but I think for a live service game to succeed they are going to have to follow the model that something like Dragalia Lost does.  Have a constant string of new things for the players to engage with so that the waits between major content drops feel shorter than they actually are as a result.

What are your thoughts, are you enjoying Anthem or did you check out?