This has been a surprisingly difficult article for me to write. BioWare has done a decent job of pushing out fast fixes like the 300 changes announced as recently as yesterday that add a ton of things including items like a respawn timer, a fix that Defender Rifle bug, and add easier access to expeditions. In addition, even with its flaws, I’m genuinely having fun messing around with endgame builds alongside my friends who are still playing. Seeing what kind of dumb, or even borderline broken builds you can make is surprisingly fun, and it’s what keeps me coming back to a grind which mostly consists of running a few missions and hoping for god roll drops.
While I’m happy with the patches with each update, it seems like something else breaks or new problems rear their ugly head. Nvidia pushed out a patch that then caused performance issues, BioWare released an update that seems to have caused Tyrant Mine to disappear from the map, and PS4 users have experienced a ton of hard crashes. Yikes.
A ton of fixes are constantly being worked on in the background, and here I am trying to write my article about fixes they need to address in order to keep those of us on the grind to keep playing. So here are some more general quality of life items that would keep those enjoying the game invested a bit longer… before they’re taken away by the competition offered by Destiny 2 or Division 2 which is right around the corner.
MAKE THE LAUNCH MENU EASIER TO ACCESS
By far the worst part about Anthem is the disjointed experience exacerbated by the many, many loading screens. Going from Fort Tarsis into your Javelin hits you with a loading screen. Exiting that Javelin again hits you with a loading screen. Going into a mission from that point hits you with yet another loading screen. It’s infuriating, to say the least. Thankfully they’re going to add a fix that let’s us hop into the expedition screen from anywhere in Fort Tarsis, but why stop there? After a mission, I should also be able to launch another mission instead of having to go through two loading screens just to get back into the game. Once I set up my Javelin, why can’t I just open the map and launch into a game? It seems like an enormous oversight and one that prevents you from doing what you should be doing the most with Anthem: playing.
General stabilization needs to be a priority. The bugs I mentioned in the introduction like the PS4 problem aren’t something the player should be encountering. Items like being able to select and launch a Stronghold are a reasonable expectation. When I’m seeing stronghold missions disappear, or spawning into Strongholds that have no enemies inside, those seem like issues which should be addressed ASAP. The worst offender, which I think the majority of players have experienced, is the lag in hit detection for extra powerful opponents like Titans. Granted, BioWare has been working on a plethora of fixes and rolling them out quickly, but currently it feels like one step forward and two steps back as each “fix” introduces an entirely new set of problems.
ADD STAT BREAKDOWNS
One of the best parts of Anthem is putting together a Javelin build that does an incredible amount of damage. Today, the best way to achieve this is by having a pen a paper handy so you can collect all of the buff percentages and figure out where you land. That’s way too much math to ask me to do while I’m playing a video game. It’s an especially odd request because there is so much unused space in the UI that might be better used showing these statistics. Sure I could make an excel document that does the same thing, but I believe a simple fix would be if BioWare could display the calculations in the negative space of the Javelin menu. BioWare’s current comment on the matter? “Yes we think we should add a stat page, we know it’s important. We’ve been talking about it long before the Reddit posts started to show up. There’s no timing for it currently, but we recognize the community is right in that a stats page is very important.” Hopefully that fix comes soon!
EXPLAIN DAMAGE MODIFIERS BETTER
Powers need to be better illustrated. What do Impact and Blast damage do exactly? Quick, to YouTube Reddit and the IGN Anthem Wiki! Some of these abilities are poorly explained, and if your main abilities and builds are supposed to lean into those mechanics, then they should probably be a bit more fleshed out in the menus (if not showcased outright). Currently, players discover most of these core mechanics by word of mouth or external means, which is surprising considering how many tutorials I see in the menus.
LET US PREVIEW COSMETIC PURCHASES IN THE STORE
Currently in the “Featured Store”, Anthem has no way for a player to directly preview what they’re purchasing. Instead, you need to go through another loading screen (surprise surprise) to get into the Javelin menu, where you can then see what’s on sale this week… but only if you know where to look. This unnecessary barrier not only hurts sales but also showcases the haphazard construction of a lot of Anthem’s menus. A simple preview button would be great, especially for animations or emotes!
QUICK-CHANGE LOADOUTS SHOULD BE A THING
While the community is still split on the topic, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t enamored by that initial concept footage seen on the Xbox stage during E3. In said footage you would get a coveted, high-level weapon and be able to immediately equip it. The entire gear structure is odd, as it currently teases that you have something but doesn’t allow you to equip it until you go through all of those aforementioned loading screens (which I super-duper like if you couldn’t tell). It instead can lock you into a suboptimal gearset as opposed to allowing you to – at the very least – jump to one of your premade loadouts on the fly. I think being able to switch to one of the 5 presets you can create would be a good compromise, as at the very least you’ll have a few options at your disposal for any given situation.
To be clear: I’m having fun with Anthem, even with the plethora of problems I see unfolding almost daily. Bioware’s team clearly has something here, but it’s unfortunate to see Anthem’s potential be held back by so many odd design decisions and bugs. If BioWare can streamline their gameplay and smooth out its problems – both large and small alike, I have hope that the fun parts will shine brighter. For now however, I’d highly recommend taking the “wait and see” approach as things level out.
For more on Anthem check out our full review or hop into the wiki for some helpful tips.