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.

About Slonshal!

Slonshal! is a greeting in the Tanu language from the Pliocene Epoch books of Julian May – the story of human exiles from the future trapped in a distant past – they walked into a war between the Elf-like Tanu and the Dwarf/Goblin Firvulag.

The Pliocene Companion explanation of Slonshal is eloquent but misses the mark a little for me – “Hail” or “Your health” doesn’t quite capture the fierce joy of it. In the books of my memory it is used more as “good game!”, “nailed it!”, or “we got them!”.

This brings us to what I had in mind for this blog and its accompanying YouTube channel – talking about the joys (or otherwise) of modern MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games). I don’t have an agenda to push, I am not important enough to attract sponsorship, and doubt that it will ever generate ad revenue worth the effort, so it is just me.