Anthem – is it worth going back?

Disclaimer: I played ~60 hours of Anthem before giving up. In making this opinion piece, I played three more to check whether patch 1.04 (landed 26 March, through the week) made much of a difference. The question: is it worth going back to Anthem?

Initially, like most people drawn in by the hype, I loved this game. Flying about and blasting aliens with space magic seemed pretty cool, cool enough after the beta to get me into an Origin Access Premier subscription. I was hooked.

Like The Division 1, Destiny, and Destiny 2, it had a few rough edges on launch but most people seemed to accept that this was just how AAA games are now – launch a bit broken, get better sooner or later. Look at how much both Destiny games were a year in, look at how Division 1 was after a year, it’s just the way it is.

Go forward several weeks: 60 hours in and not a single legendary had dropped for me. This was my Storm javelin at the time – mostly Masterworks – at gear level 648:

I’d spent maybe 35 of those 60 hours at level cap, doing harder (GM1 and GM2) content, knowing that I would never get to GM3 unless the Legendary gear started dropping (and my gear score improved). It was a time of some angst amongst commentators – the flaws in the game (low or nonexistent legendary gear drop rates, lack of end game content, connectivity issues, low in-game player interaction, awkward navigation) were well known.  There were a lot of angry posts in gaming forums and Facebook player groups, and a lot of backlash from the remaining faithful waiting for the day when BioWare would fix things.

Around the same time WoW patch 7.1.5 and Destiny 2 Season of the Drifter dropped, and I started to play Anthem a lot less – maybe one stronghold a day in the hope that something Legendary would drop. It is fair to say that I gave up altogether on Anthem when The Division 2 launched.

Now, with patch 1.04 dropping on 26 March, what has changed? We’re supposed to be getting cool stuff from Elysian Caches, Legendary Missions, and finally, a better chance at better loot.

Recent comment on Reddit and YouTube would indicate the opposite – patch 1.04 seems to have nerfed the loot rate even further. So I tried for myself.

  • I went through three runs of Tyrant Mine, Normal, GM1, and GM2. A Black Ice Focus Seal Legendary did drop for me in the GM1 run – along with two Masterworks (I kept the Legendary for gear score alone). This was my Storm javelin after the GM1 run:

  • Many blues and purples dropped from Normal and GM1 – apart from the Legendary, nothing unusual there
  • No disconnect per se, but at the end of the GM2 run I got stuck on a loading screen before the triumphs would normally be shown – after 20 minutes of this screen I gave up and restarted the game

  • After restarting the game, I went to the forge – and there was no sign of any additional gear from the GM2 run. I know that there were masterworks in there, who knows what they were because the game doesn’t tell you until the end of the run.

Conclusion: given that the 40 minutes I spend in the GM2 run were completely wasted (and that this is not the first time I have lost a whole run’s worth of gear), I am going to stay away from Anthem for a while yet. I’m pleased about the one Legendary item, but I remain convinced that there are better ways for me to spend my weekend while the game is still broken. A no, for now, from me. Your mileage may vary – leave a comment below if your experience has been wildly different to mine.