Anthem is a live-service video game, so that means it launched with some problems. And while many people are enjoying their time with the cooperative sci-fi shooter, its issues are dominating the conversation surrounding it. That put developer BioWare on its heels coming out of launch. But as the studio transitions Anthem from release to an ongoing platform, BioWare is revealing how it plans to attack updates and community concerns head on.
In a post on Reddit from late Wednesday night, BioWare announced plans to update how it handles loot in Anthem. This patch is going out today or tomorrow, and the studio wants to make sure that players feel like they are making progress while grinding.
One of the more frustrating things about the loot is that players can earn weapon upgrades called inscriptions that are specific to a gun but don’t actually improve the performance of that item. BioWare is addressing this by ensuring that an assault rifle inscription will never feature a buff for a pistol, for example. Instead, that inscription will either improve your assault rifle or the performance of your javelin suit as a whole.
BioWare is also preventing the game from dropping common weapons for players who are higher than level 30. And it is reducing the number of materials you need to craft one of Anthem’s high-level “Masterworks” firearms.
BioWare is trying to remain transparent with fans
I won’t say that a live-service game lives or dies on how well a developer communicates with its fans. It’s not that easy, and I honestly have no idea what it takes to keep a live-service game growing. But keeping an open dialogue with your community seems important, and BioWare is embracing this so far.
In its Reddit post, the studio didn’t just list its changes. Instead, it begins the post by summarizing the player-provided complaints.
“First off, thank you for all the feedback about loot drops,” reads the post. “This is what we have heard.”
The post then provides four bullet points that explain how Anthem is broken. This moment feels like BioWare is taking ownership over the fate of this game. It’s not shying away from problems. It’s no longer back on its heels.
Anthem probably won’t get Andromeda’d
It has turned into something of a meme that EA might do to this game what it did to Mass Effect: Andromeda. That means that people believe EA could cancel ongoing support for Anthem the same way it ended plans for Andromeda’s expansions.
But those two games are very different as is DLC and live-service support. For Andromeda, BioWare Montreal was going to have to get back to work on the game after years working on the original release. For Anthem, EA prepped BioWare Austin to specifically work on constant updates separate from BioWare Edmonton.
And BioWare Austin is the same team that launched Star Wars: The Old Republic. That massively multiplayer online game had its share of problems at launch, and the BioWare Austin team went to work and turned it into something that many people regard quite highly. That experience should help Anthem, and it’s one reason for fans of this game to have some optimism.