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It seems like forever since the Anthem Next overhaul was announced, but it’s still in the works. Despite delays due to the COVID-19 epidemic, Bioware is still plugging away at a major revamp designed to revitalize the game after its poor launch. Today, Studio Director Christian Dailey detailed some of the changes to the loot and equipment systems that the Anthem team has been working on over the past year or so on the Bioware blog.
Bioware officially announced the Anthem Next rework in February 2020, but the studio has been working on gameplay adjustments since shortly after its launch. Despite securing a fairly sizeable player base early on, many agreed Anthem suffers from fundamental gameplay flaws, some of which are centered around meaningful and exciting loot drops. Oddly, the game actually started off with a decent drop rate, but that was actually a mistake that was patched around a month after the game’s launch.
The loot and equipment systems are being rebuilt from the ground up for Anthem Next. Below are some of the changes planned:
Satisfying Loot Experience
A good player experience depends on the loot system being extensible and robust, and a lot can go wrong. A lot did go wrong. We fell short here, and we realized that building something new from the ground up was going to be required – starting with taking a long look and understanding the best in class of the many great games that inspire us. Based on this research, along with your thoughts and feedback, we planned some high-level goals and changes we wanted to try:
Respect Your Time
Increase the frequency of Loot Drops
Loot is viable more often;
All items are better and more competitive, but there’s still a chance of getting something exceptional
All loot rarities have strategic value throughout progression
- You can pursue specific loot without relying on randomness alone; Quests; Specialized Vendors;Unique Loot Tables
- Modify your loot, including rerolling inscriptions and leveling up items
Create a Rewarding Loot Experience
- Loot feels exciting and more noticeable when it drops, and is celebrated when collected
- Rare enemies (aka “walking treasure chests”) create exciting moments to get a burst of loot all at once
Keep it Accessible and Immediate
- Reveal and equip loot right away
- Complete revamp of the equipment sheet – including a detailed stat sheet (not shown)
- The equipment sheet can be accessed from anywhere, allows you to easily see what you have equipped in each slot
Reliability of Equipment and Rewards
- Each item has an inscription “budget”, based on its Power and Rarity
- No more useless items because they were missing must-have inscriptions (see “Increased weapon dmg by +225%”)
- Exceptional items are about getting the exact types of bonuses you want, instead of maxing values on every bonus
Scale for the Future
- Your power cap can be easily increased, and the loot system scales accordingly
- Advanced telemetry data allows us to identify trends and make meaningful balance changes
In essence, these changes look like they bring Anthem more in line with the gear system in Destiny 2. That’s not a bad thing, as Anthem was always meant to be a scalable game-as-a-service. Destiny has had its own issues with gear, but Bungie has managed to keep players grinding for years now.
The changes to Anthem‘s loot and equipment systems seem like they’ll provide a firm foundation for the future. However, we haven’t gotten any info on what new content will be available. Anthem‘s endgame is currently lacking. A lot needs to be added if Bioware wants the game to measure up to its competition.
It remains to be seen whether Anthem Next can be Bioware’s A Realm Reborn moment or not. No release date has been announced for the patch. Furthermore, the game’s poor reputation means a full relaunch will likely be needed to rekindle interest.