Anthem - BioWare's take on Destiny

Good point! On the other hand, none of them had the purse strings in the hands of Electronic Arts…

Like the Master has said

With the noted exception of NMS, those other two games were in way better shape than Anthem at launch. I had a great time with The Division 1 - it just took them a while to get their shit together regarding what to do after you were done the story and max level. Diablo 3 was alright, until they activated the auction house, and then it was alright again after they canned it.

No Man’s Sky is an interesting one to bring up, because I think it kinda buttresses my point. Imagine how much bigger that game would have been, if the big update was part of the game at launch? Instead it garnered some press when the update launched, some people came back for a while, and the game quickly receded into the background again. Hello Games also have the benefit of largely being their own masters, versus Bioware.

My point isn’t that bad games can’t be fixed after launch - several of them have been. My point is more that it’s extremely hard to bring players onboard, when you do it after the fact. I’m sure we can all rattle off games that we got bored or frustrated with, then never came back to try again after they got some updates and patches, because you had moved on to other stuff.

Anthem does not seem like it is extensible or been streamlined to have new content or systems (all these “BioWare pls” posts from the player community with unsolicited ideas on how to fix things) easily (Frostbite!) injected into its game world. Everything (mocapped single player content etc.) seems like it would all require a lot of production effort in its pipeline. The new “live events” they hyped as part of their roadmap turned out to be broken more-of-the-same. The Scar Infestation or Outlaw Outrage along with the Shaper Surges were a big underwhelming joke. (IAMNAD, I Am Not A Dev)

Events when you are limited to 4 participants (not all four of which may be there for the event even) by design I would have to think would be underwhelming. They seem to be thinking MMO style events, but perhaps thinking more flavor changes like PoE does with its seasons would be a better choice?

I think the game could be fixed. Someone smart enough could copy enough already working design solutions from other games. I am unsure if it can be fixed and remain a “looter shooter” though. And it has a lot of negatives in EA, Frostbite, poor management track record, etc … as everyone mentions against it being successful implementing even a well though out set of improvements.

Uphill road for sure. And I’m sure EA would prefer it be as pay to win as FIFA. I’m still not sure I see them signing off on fixing it without some return on the investment.

This inherent limitation, combined with the isolation-by-bad-design of Fort Tarsis is what has me leaning towards things being fundamentally broken and unfixable. That and the gameplay loop of traverse-then-do-stuff-then-traverse-again present in all of the mission types has me thinking things are inflexible.

Nah, but you have to fix it differently. So if an MMO zone boss rare spawn is not going to be engaging, go with PoE style league event where the rules just change.

Which the IP supports well, and also allows for great public testing of design change ideas, and can keep game play fresh too. But then they are going more aRPGish than looter-shooter.

Also, looter-shooters are almost pure addictive game loop: do stuff-> get bigger number-> do stuff with bigger numbers. No gear improvements and motivation goes to zero. Just look at Anthem boards. ;) Most of the player base that is left are there for intrinsic rewards. They respond better to do stuff->get thing that modifies gameplay->do stuff slightly differently. Not that there isn’t crossover between looter-shooters, aRPGs, and even MMOs though sure. But if they fix it up as a pure looter-shooter, they’ll likely lose a measurable percentage of players that remain, in the hope of attracting the looter-shooter guys that are long gone and most unhappy.

I guess it is sort of, do you fix the game you have, working with what strengths it has, or do you rework more of it to make it the game EA ordered. Since it is incomplete, one direction may seem as good as another, but I don’t think so in this case.

Which is what the game has always felt like to me, but I seem to be in the minority there.

Right. It feels like they intended it to be more aRPG but that was shelved in favour of economic realities but leadership forbade them from benchmarking themselves against their competitors. The RPG part is walled off and even more underdeveloped compared to the looter shooter part. If the game overall is 1/3-1/2 finished, the aRPG only feels like less than 1/4 of that final product. To me at least. There’s been no compelling story reasons tied into the mindless grind of missions, no change to the world or town or characters. Just a rapid, meaningless change from 2 years ago to sudden redemption by returning to the Heart of Rage.

That’s a fair point, there’s not a lot of reason for the endgame to even exist without the loot chase.

It’s largely unearned and the promise of a greater world (the world isn’t even called Bastion I found out recently but that’s just the name of the continent) and other cities like Antium hinted at by the conversations is largely unfulfilled. What a game it’d be if there were actual strategy/trading/RPG layers and an overworld built out to service that and a multiplayer base.

Fort Tarsis should have been an actual place in the open world that you could enter and leave without a load screen, sort of like the Base of Operations in the Division games. It should have functioned as a seamless social hub, like The Division’s “safe rooms”. It also should have been bigger, and had areas were you could keep your javelin on within it.

Having it lifelessly partitioned off on the other side of an annoyingly long load, with nothing but AI characters largely standing in one place, was a baffling design choice. And with the Forge being available from anywhere, it’s borderline superfluous.

Alas, there’s nothing like this in the overworld map itself unfortunately. Just abandoned camps with never any live NPCs out in the field. Even to transition back to the fort itself, you have to go to a menu and press-and-hold a button to exit Freeplay mode.

Happy 3 months since Anthem “launch” day!

Some self-promotion:

In your list … an “Archdiocese” is a district not a person or title. Would be like saying “the city of New York” is the villain. Catholic family … makes no sense. Try “Prelate” if you want a person noun there.

Thanks for the correction :) I knew that one was “off” but didn’t know about Prelate. Obviously, I’m just trolling.

Yep, and I doubt reddit notices, or cares. I just did a double-take when I read it. Though if it were the bureaucracy of an archdiocese, yeah, those can be mean. Or maybe it is the whole Archdiocese, but zombified, and you get Diablo’s start. :) I admit that is what went through my head …

From the rumour mill:

Now there’s a scorching hot take!