Lead Producer Ben Irving was joined by Community Manager Jesse Anderson for the first time on camera to discuss the new update for Anthem after a rough few weeks of being out. They had released six patches and hotfixes since early access, but had since gone dark to work on a hefty patch that was slated for March 12th, but released on March 9th after having the patch notes dropped on reddit. You can read said patch notes here on their official site now.
They began with discussion of investigation of crashes and bugs by a strike team of developers to try and tackle them all. Some of the fixes they made were specific to the PlayStation crashes people had been experiencing. Ben stated the following: “There have been some reports where a PlayStation can temporarily power down. So just to be clear, in all the instances we’re aware of, we’ve investigated in partnership with first party (Sony), they can be powered back up if you cycle it properly (booting it into safe mode).” They continued to discuss that they had found several issues causing these crashes and were allegedly addressed in the patch.
“I think we’re going to play the whole game today with our level 1 Defender, cause that’s the new hotness of what to play Anthem with,” Ben said jokingly, referring to the bug where a level 1 weapon was making short work of enemies in Grand Master (GM) difficulties. Their goal is to get that fixed quickly as it is a “super easy” fix according to Ben.
The team swapped over to gameplay using the patch build that was going to be released, and immediately, the first quality of life item appeared. The ability that was once tied to having a multiplayer squad was now available to solo players. You could now hold Y, Triangle, or R to return to your Javelin immediately from anywhere in the Fort or Launch Bay. The team jumped into Freeplay on their Colossus on hard difficulty.
After reviewing the inscription changes they had outlined in the previous patch, as well as going over removing common (white) and uncommon items (green) from level 30 play that was upcoming, they moved their focus quickly over to GM2 and GM3 difficulties. Ben stated these did not feel as rewarding for the efficiency required and there were internal discussions occurring to rebalance these difficulties. They are still taking feedback, but have a path forward they are working on as well, so keep submitting your ideas on their official forums.
While Ben talked about that, Jesse was attempting to demonstrate the new Colossus recovery from either overheating or crashing into a wall. You get up much faster and have the ability to react quicker to any heavy hits that you take. For those unaware, getting staggered as a Colossus was extremely punishing as their recovery times were relatively lower than other suits. While it has better survivability, it was still much more punishing to play this exo.
“I think we fixed…we made 300 changes. Sometimes five changes mean one patch note, but our main focus was anything that improved any kind of friction points.” Changes like this included not only the PS4 crashes, but crashes across the board. Of course this does not cover all the issues related to crashes, but whatever could be covered in the time given before going off to certification with consoles. One of the other issues that had come up was Quickplay backfilling into missions that were bugged. At the time of this writing, the patch is out that is supposed to fix this, but the Author has still run into bugged missions that do not progress. This is a very small sample size and should not be taken as the be all end all fact. Ben stated they addressed all the ones they know of from player feedback and reports, but that doesn’t mean they fixed all of them. They stated there are things in Quickplay they just need to get better at, but they believe they have addressed around seven or eight of the more heavily reported issues.
Using his fancy iPad with Twitch chat on it, Ben almost faked a question leading into his next question that they wanted to talk about, but admitted it before moving forward. The topic he wanted to touch on was the player downed state. Their current solution was to remove respawn restrictions from a lot of the game, and instead add timers to allow players to respawn themselves. In Strongholds and other endgame activities, the timers are set to thirty seconds, whereas in other areas it’s set to ten seconds. While not diving into specifics, there are still missions that have permanent downed status until revived sections.
Jesse then addressed some in game messaging regarding server shutdowns and tracking certain missions in your cortex. The latter is gone, so it won’t annoy players anymore, and the former will be much less frequent, with better messaging that their specific server is shutting down, rather than the entire game shutting down. During some Q&A, Jesse also stated that players should receive proper credit for defeating Titans in events when downed, as well as the loot that follows.
One of the things the community asked for was an explanation of loot. Chris King and Darrin McPherson wrote up a long post about inscriptions and loot that you can find here, explaining specifically what each inscription does and what all the symbols mean. Ben pointed this out during the stream, and it was put up soon after.
Stronghold quickplay has been added back in, but in the future, they want to make it better by allowing more rewards if you random into a Stronghold. For now, we just have the choice to randomize our Strongholds.
Our same loveable Colossus got another change in that they can run through destructible objects and not get stopped by them. While demonstrating this, they showed that Titans are no longer invulnerable to fire damage, and are able to be primed. Titans in general got an overhaul with more vulnerability times, and the ability to be damaged down faster, and what better way to damage them with than your weapons? Masterwork weapons across the board got buffed in damage, with a few exceptions that were not outlined.
The majority of this stream was going over patch notes, which was again, already pushed out (sorry, I write slow and I work a lot throughout the week), but there are some more of the major fixes and upcoming changes to Anthem. Before a quick summary, they also mentioned they are working on some options around the store and how to get things to us a bit quicker. Nothing major other than they are looking into it.
The goal is to continue to stream every two weeks to get feedback to the community and keep us up to date outside of their usual means. They will rotate people in and out as needed, and we’ll hear more from them soon.
As per usual, we’ve consolidated the questions down here that were asked during the stream, as well as their answers.
That’s cool with the removing of restricted respawn, but can you make the whole experience better?
Ben: “Yes, we should do that. That’s a longer term thing. Some of these things are ‘What’s a quick way to improve the experience and what is a longer term item?’ so on our longer term thing, I don’t have a timeline for it.”
GM2 and 3 Changes when?
Ben: “We certainly have ideas, but until we have a plan implemented, I prefer not to comment on it cause so many things can change in game development and I don’t want to give the wrong idea to people.”
Next content drop?
New content coming at the end of March, containing Elysian Chests and Legendary Missions. This is not a commitment, but it is a goal.
Any word on new events?
Have done ultralight events such as There Be Giants and Outlaw Outrage. Ben stated that while Outlaw Outrage seemed fun, it’s better to have directed events that target specific areas of the map, rather than the whole map. Also there was a named Outlaw on the map during that event that he didn’t see people talk about.
Support gear, what’s the deal?
Ben stated they would like to add Masterwork support gear, but they do not have a timeline for it aside from “soonish”. They would also like to add some new ones at some point.
Stats Page In Game?
Ben: “Yes, we think we should add a stat page, yes it’s important. We’ve been talking about it long before any reddit post, or image that gets sent to me every forty five minutes, has been around. We need to work out how quickly we can do it, and when we can add it in. We do not have a timeline for this, it could be soon, or not soon.”
What about the sound bugs?
Several issues were found around sound bugs, and the major ones have been squashes. There may still be more rare cases of it happening, and if there are, report them to their forum.
Ben: “One of the things that we weren’t happy about was how combat abilities that don’t have items, scaled. You don’t have a melee item, you don’t have an ultimate item, so how do those scale?” He continued: “As you push GM2, melee and ultimate scaling weren’t very good.” They have improved that scaling. As part of doing that, power score numbers increased. Masterworks went up from 45 to 61. Legendaries went up to scale as well.
Windwall and Bulwark Point?
Ben took a quick pool to answer the obvious question: “Who is using Windwall or Bulwark point in GM1 or 2? Oh no one? That’s right because it’s not worth using.” The scaling has since changed to make them more useful in endgame content. The duration time has gone down but the amount absorbed has gone way up.
Ongoing Progression, where is our XP going to?
There are plans in the future that were not gone into detail. Extending progression is part of the plan and one part of it is what happens to experience at level 30. Currently, the benefit is to increase your alliance tier and get more coins every week.