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BioWare keeps tinkering with their co-operative shooter with RPG elements Anthem behind the scenes, and as a result we get this development update that outlines the latest changes to the game’s loot system. By the looks of it, the main goal there is to create a satisfying loot experience propped up by improved gunplay and enemy responsiveness.
Here’s more on that:
I hope this finds you well and I appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through the right timing for new information. We’re excited to share with you our next blog, but we also want to be respectful of the larger conversations happening in the world.
Recently I started answering questions on Twitter and asked all of you to name some of the changes you would be most interested in hearing about – the response was pretty awesome. Lots of good topics and themes and an excitement to know more about where we are going. So, to kick this off we thought a good starting place would be to go over our high level goals and changes we are exploring with loot and equipment.
Before we get started though, we love that we are able to share the progress and give a peek behind the curtain. That said, the ideas, images and video clip below are works in progress and all subject to change. Remember how the sausage is made…
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
Create a Rewarding Loot Experience
- 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
Keep it Accessible and Immediate
- 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
Reliability of Equipment and Rewards
- 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
Scale for the Future
- 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
Aligning around these goals has really helped us focus on the right priorities as we continue iterating and seeing the progress in our internal playtesting. It is early days though and we will continue to test and experiment over the coming months, hopefully with your feedback.
- 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
Other Areas of Exploration
In addition to loot and equipment, there are some really good improvements to the feel and types of items we are supporting. Gunplay is overall more responsive with enemies reacting to hits near instantly with improved client-side prediction, we are looking into the role of melee items and builds, and of course, being able to spend skill points to unlock new types of equipment and synergies. One of the things I am most excited about is seeing all the awesome new weaponry concepts based on our factions.
Until Next Time
I hope this helped give some context to the changes we are testing around loot and equipment and what future blogs may dig into. Changes like these are exciting to us and hopefully to you as well, but I want to set expectations that there is a lot of work behind each of these and in some cases a rather large tech undertaking – this is not an “easy fix” and will take time.
Thank you again for your interest, curiosity and passion for Anthem. Please keep engaging online, asking questions and continuing to be part of making the game better.
Stay safe. Be kind to one another. Stronger together.