Edited by Michael Darsch
Irving, Aussie Ranger
Lead Producer Ben Irving was at it again, joined by Senior Level Designer Emily Taylor, as we were led through a Legendary Contract mission, showing of a part of Anthem’s endgame. Ben had published a poll on twitter earlier in the week to vote on what Javelin the community wanted to see played next. While it was a close race, the Ranger won in the end. Ben was playing using a keyboard and mouse, and his Javelin was outfitted with a heavy pistol, a double shotgun (a shotgun that fires twice per trigger pull), Spark Beam, a Sticky Grenade, and Muster Point, which increases weapon damage. He was joined by three others, Emily piloting the Colossus with a Flamethrower, Gameplay Designer Darrin McPherson, whom you may remember from the customization stream writeup, and BioCamden, whom we weren’t officially introduced to but were later told in a discord chat the he was the Development Manager for combat, piloting the Interceptor. They were playing on Hard, were all at level 30, with an assortment of epic, rare, and masterwork gear. You can watch the full stream here.
After the usual disclaimers, which were finally given at the start of the stream instead of in the middle, Emily began to explain a little bit about how we acquire these contracts, and what they are exactly. “As we were looking into adding more quests into the world, aside from the main story line, we could have just sort of sprinkled them around the Fort, but we thought it would be more fun if you could do smaller quest lines so they could build up to a bit more meaning and help you get to know specific people. So we picked one person in each of the factions that we’ll sort of focus on to give you those quests.” There are three faction agents that we will be interacting with throughout the game. Freelancer Yarrow, whom Emily specialized in making quests for, Arcanist Mattias Sumner, whom you all know from The Lost Arcanist mission, and Sentinel Brin, whom we’ve most recently heard from in the EA Game Changers clips posted online. Once we have completed these characters’ story lines, we’ll be given a contract. Once that contract is completed, we’ll be given a Legendary Contract, which is repeatable content that allows players to continue to gain faction reputation with the faction of their choice, known as Loyalty. Whether loyalty is an actual stat or is just part of a greater tiered challenge, we’ve yet to see. There are daily contracts to do for each faction, tasks that they are responsible for in Fort Tarsis. These missions will be slightly randomized with different objectives that shuffle themselves up each time. We’ll dive a bit more into that in the following contract.
Loyalty is gained by completing these contracts. Whether this is an actual stat that does something, or is part of a challenge, we have yet to see.
Freelancer Yarrow, as seen from the Fort Tarsis stream.
How to Complete A Contract
This particular legendary contract that the team played was for Mattias Sumner, called Disaster Protocol. They began atop a Strider in the rain, which cools your Javelin but doesn’t prevent you from overheating, instead it gives you a permanent cooled status so your heat build up is relatively slower than if it was a normal, sunny day in Mirrus. The team continued to their first objective, which was to silence a Shaper relic. This consisted of picking up relic fragments and returning them to the relic to deactivate it. The relic creates enemies and creatures and we were lucky to see the team fight a Legendary Ursix, along with a swarm of Elite Digester, Worker, and Soldier Scorpidons. We could see the Ursix bash its enemies within reach and throw rocks at those that were further away or hovering. We also saw it leap towards the Freelancers in an attempt to punch them with its meaty fist. It took some minor coordination, along with Ben remembering that he had a relic fragment on his back, to complete this encounter and defeat the Ursix.
The second objective was the somewhat the same, as is the nature of these types of randomized missions. The team was again tasked with silencing a Shaper Relic, but this time there were several Legendary Brutes that spawned, instead of an Ursix. These Brutes continued to spawn until the relic was silenced. The contracts get harder and harder as you progress through the stages. Unfortunately, a bug in the build prevented them from progressing to the third stage, which meant they had to start over.
After a quick restart, their first objective was the same, but for the second objective, they had to rescue an Arcanist (starting to see a pattern here…) that was trapped in a cage, surrounded by Frost Wolven. They were to clear the predators in the area, and open the cage. It was fairly straightforward.
The final objective was to stabilize some research devices that were set up in an area, while fending off wildlife that was attracted to the devices.This included three Elite Lesser Ash Titans and a new enemy we hadn’t seen yet, Elementals. While I was unable to land a good picture of these, imagine three oblate rocks floating around a sphere of energy that defined the element type (e.g., Frost, Lightning, etc.). While the latter were relatively easy to dispatch, the Titans could take a beating. In addition to having a larger health pool than most enemies, they also have extremely hardened skin, making them take virtually no damage. They are only vulnerable when casting their skills, which involved a mix of flames rippling across the ground, explosive energy appearing near the Javelins to detonate on them, and explosive energy appearing around the Titan if people got too close. If you attack their weak points while the Titan is casting, and cause enough damage, you can interrupt their attacks. The team tackled each Titan one by one, eventually overcoming their foes. Each Titan dropped their own loot, and the team was awarded with more loot at the end of the mission ranging from uncommon to masterwork tier.
So let’s get into the nitty gritty of what new things we saw. First up, the Spark Beam. We’d known about this piece of gear for a while, but we hadn’t seen it up until this stream. It is essentially a thin, purple laser that comes from the Ranger’s wrist, targeting a single enemy with sustained damage. This seemed slightly lackluster during the stream due to the size of the beam and damage output, but there are still tweaks to be made, and builds to be made around using it.
A new HUD element, the party list, also made an appearance in this stream. It shows your party members’ names, their current shields and health, as well as a small directional radar that shows where they are in relation to you in case you need to quickly find them. This was something the community had been asking to see, so it was nice to finally have it in game and shown in real time. Post launch, we may even get an ultimate indicator!
The Ranger fires its spark beam against a Legendary Ursix.
The Party UI is shown on the left of the screen, giving players information about their party members’ status and position.
Ben took the time in between stages to show players the long awaited keyboard and mouse settings. While he didn’t go to deep into them, he showed players that they had individualized the sensitivity sliders for each action. For instance, you could change your flight sensitivity individual to your swim sensitivity. In terms of the Keyboard rebinds, there is a small but good rebind section for each type of action you can take in the game. These are also all separated out to their individual traits.
Some mouse settings for Anthem.
Key Bindings for different Javelin actions.
Finally, we have the loot screen. We’ve seen this before in previous streams, but it was our first time seeing the animation for looting a masterwork weapon. It was also our first time seeing a masterwork WITHOUT an innate perk. Ben later clarified on twitter that this is something new they added in to add more masterworks to the loot pool. On the final screen, we’re able to see all of the loot we picked up during the mission, and you have the option to salvage your loot here. Anything not salvaged is sent to your vault where you can then peruse later to outfit your Javelin. Ben was able to obtain several weapons, some Ranger gear, as well as a piece of Colossus gear.
Look at all them purples!
Our first look at a masterwork without any unique inscription.
We have one last stream before the game launches according to Darokaz, so keep yourselves strapped in for more Anthem news in the future.
As always, we’ve put all the questions and answers down here. Some minor edits for clarity.
Can you please fly as high as you can?
Ben flew as high as he could before being stopped by Ripstream turbulence and is pushed downwards. Was a solution the team came up with to help control playable space. It looked like he was also taking minor bits of damage.
Your Javelin was cooled the whole time. Was it the rain affecting that?
What happens if you don’t pick up loot?
Ben: “We have some systems for this […] but basically if you don’t pick up a masterwork or legendary item, we’ll mail it to you. But everything else you basically lose if you don’t pick up. The reason for that is if we just sent everything to you, you would never bother looking for loot and picking it up. Discovering that loot and finding that loot is an important part of the game, so we really want to encourage people to […] look around, and pick up the loot. They’re pretty easy to see in the game […] so it’s pretty easy to pick them up and we want that to be a conscious thing. We give you a little bit of protection on super rare stuff, so you don’t lose out on it.”
Are you going to add a dab emote? (This was spammed in chat for a long time).
Ben: *Laughs* “Uhhh…sure.You could dab all day. We might have one we’ve captured already. You capture and create it, then you have to process it in game, so I forget if we have one in game or if we’ve just got one in the pipeline that will come eventually.”
Are there different sizes of Titans?
Ben: “Yeah, there are small and big titans. Of those there are elite and legendary versions.”
What happens if everyone dies and goes down?
In the case of a party wipe, your team would start at the last checkpoint. In terms of the mission played on stream, that would be the start of the third stage of the contract
What are the recommended PC Specs?
You can find those here: https://www.ea.com/games/anthem/buy/pc-system-requirements
Can you invert your Y-Axis for keyboard and mouse controls?
Ben: “On keyboard and mouse??? Uhhh…no. Is that a thing? Did anyone in the history of all time do that?” Ben later found out that this is a thing, and it is also a thing in Anthem.
What would your best advice be for people who are going into the VIP demo next week?
Ben: “Strap in and get ready! The whole point of this is that we want people to get a full cross section of the game. I would go in there, I would find some forums, I would make some friends, start getting ready for the people you want to group up and play with when the game launches. I would try a couple of Javelins out; play around with your weapons and abilities to see what your favorite is so that one day one, you can optimize and get ready to play. But most of all, just have fun, and if you want to invite some friends, there will be a way to give out some codes to invite a couple friends in.”