Anthem’s Playerbase Is Dropping, Making It Hard To Team Up

Anthem has been off to a rocky start from day one, and it has only gotten worse from there on out. Recently, Bioware announced that they are delaying all of the big planned content indefinitely until all the issues have been fixed.

But this now creates another problem – with no new exciting content to look forward to, players have no reason to stick around. The issue is getting so bad, that it is now hard to find other players to team up with and play. This makes it even worse if you are playing on higher difficulties, since you’ll often be alone for the mission, making things way harder and even less fun.

One can only hope that EA allows Bioware to keep working on Anthem and bring it up to the standards expected of modern Games as a Service.

So much for the “Bob Dylan of Video Games”.

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Anthem Delays Most Of Its Planned Content Indefinitely

Anyone who has been following Anthem since release will know how rocky the road has been for both the game and the development team at Bioware. Mediocre reviews and core issues with the game itself aside, the game and the studio have been dogged by stories of crunch culture, and a general lack of vision.

So it should come as no surprise that all of the content planned for Anthem has been delayed indefinitely, while the team works on fixing issues that have been hampering the player experience in the game.

Bioware just recently added the ability to change weapons and gear while in the field, ad also choose new mission after completing one, instead of having to go to the home base everytime.

Here’s the announcement from Bioware:

Hey Everyone,

It’s been 10 weeks since the early access release of Anthem. While we have been quiet publicly, we have been hard at work in the background and we wanted to provide an update on the state of the game.

The Past 10 Weeks

We have learned a lot since the game went live. We have heard a lot of feedback from all of you, and we have been working diligently to improve as many things as we can in the short term.

We’ve fixed a lot of bugs and made changes which we believe begin to point us in the right direction for the future. That being said, we know there is a long way to go before Anthem becomes the game we all want it to be. So where are we at today…

Game Update 1.1.0

Game Update 1.1.0 went live today and includes some new content and improvements to the game:

  • A new Stronghold called “The Sunken Cell”
  • Access to the Forge anywhere in the world
  • Ability to launch a new expedition from the end of expedition menu without loading into Fort Tarsis
  • Access to contracts without having to run around and pick them up

There are a bunch of additional fixes and improvements – the patch notes for Game Update 1.1.0 can be found here.

There is also a livestream later today where we will show you the Sunken Cell Stronghold and some of the other improvements in Game Update 1.1.0

Act 1 Calendar

While we have delivered many of the Act 1 features on time, we are not going to hit all the goals on our Act 1 Calendar.

We have been prioritizing things like bug fixes, stability and game flow over the new features of Act 1. We set aside time for this work, but the reality is there are more things to fix and improve than we planned for. While this is the best thing to do for the game, it means some items from the calendar will be delayed.

Features delayed:

  • Mastery System
  • Guilds
  • Legendary Missions – Phase II
  • Weekly Stronghold Challenge
  • Leaderboards
  • Some Freeplay Events
  • Cataclysm

We want to make sure everything we add to the game has a purpose and fits with our long term goals. When we have information to share on the items above, we will do so.

Cataclysm

The Cataclysm is an important addition to the game and it’s currently a big focus for the team. The Cataclysm will bring new challenges and rewards and pushes the story of Anthem forward. As our work continues, we will share more with you in May.

Loot

We have heard your concerns around end game loot. We agree that our loot and progression systems need to be improved and we are working towards this. When we have more information to share, we will.

Communication

A lesson we have learned is we have been talking about things too early. There are so many factors that can cause us to pivot on our plans – whether it’s bugs & stability issues, player feedback, or complications with a feature that require us to take more time to deliver it. Our goal is to tell you about new content and features once the work is closer to being done.

At the same time, we want to provide more ways to get your feedback and for you to tell us what you think is fun (or not fun). To facilitate this we plan to introduce a Player Feedback Environment (PFE), an opportunity to get your feedback before we go live with major features (in the short term for PC only).

Closing

We know you have been waiting for these updates, and that you might not be pleased with where we are today. We understand and respect these perspectives.

The only thing we can say is this – We Believe in Anthem. We believe the game will be great, but we recognize getting there will take a lot of hard work. We want to do that work and we want you all to join us on the journey to get there.

Thanks for taking the time to read this update.

Now we need to wait and see if they actually work and improve the game, or if they cut and run. Remember Mass Effect Andromeda?

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Bioware Top Brass Responds To Scathing Kotaku Expose Regarding Anthem & The Studio

Earlier this week Kotaku reported on the troubles at Bioware and how that lead to the state of Anthem at launch. Issues plaguing the studio included lack of vision for the game, gross mismanagement, incompetence, falsifying demos, constantly changing the game’s theme and structure, employees being overworked and stressed, and a lot more.

Bioware’s Casey Hudson has now officially responded to the article and addressed the studio saying the following:

Hey BioWare,

I wanted to get a note out to you to share my thoughts on the Kotaku article and the online discussion it has raised.

The article mentions many of the problems in the development of Anthem and some of our previous projects. And it draws a link between those issues and the quality of our workplace and the well-being of our staff. These problems are real and it’s our top priority to continue working to solve them.

What we found out-of-bounds was the naming of specific developers as targets for public criticism. It’s unfair and extremely traumatizing to single out people in this way, and we can’t accept that treatment towards any of our staff. That’s why we did not participate in the article and made a statement to that effect.

When I was offered the opportunity to return to BioWare as GM, I came into the role knowing the studio was experiencing significant challenges in team health, creative vision, and organizational focus. I was – and continue to be – excited to help drive improvements in those areas because I love this studio, and above all I want to create a place where all of you are happy and successful.

I’m not going to tell you I’ve done a good job at that, and on a day like today I certainly feel like I haven’t. But some of the steps we’ve taken towards this include a more focused studio mission and values, so that we have clarity on what we are here to do and how we define a high standard for our studio culture. We updated our studio structure around a matrix so that department directors can be fully focused on individual career support and well-being. We are defining better role clarity so that people can succeed better against clear expectations. And we are putting in place production changes that will provide for clearer project vision as well as a significant post-production period that will further relieve pressure and anxiety on teams during development.

But I know there’s much more to do, and we will talk in more detail about other actions we have been planning in response to internal feedback and postmortems at next week’s All-Hands. As always please continue to provide feedback on further steps we can take to make BioWare the best possible place to work.

I’m committed to getting us to a place where we are delivering on the highest expectations for BioWare games, through a work environment that’s among the very best in the world. With your help, we will get there.

Please let me know if you’d like to talk in person and I will be happy to set up time to hear your thoughts.

Casey

Soon after the article was published, developers from other studios, both big and small have come out expressing similar concerns about their workplaces. This also poses questions to the games industry at large regarding crunch, unionization, and more.

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Five Things You Need To Know About Anthem

When BioWare’s next game Anthem, the game that lets you fly around in awesome mech suits, was announced, fans of the developer were perplexed. A studio that is widely known for their exquisite narrative driven single player games were developing an online multiplayer focused game in the same vein as Bungie’s Destiny franchise.

Here is what you ‘MUST’ know before you step into a javelin suit and fly around the world of Anthem.

  1. You get to fly around in Javelins
Image result for anthem

Basically, rudimentary versions of Iron-Man’s armour. Each of these Javelins has their own playstyle and controls differently in both combat and traversal. The four Javelins that will be available in the game initially are:

The Colossus- Tank
The Ranger- Allrounder
The Interceptor- Stealth Assassin
The Storm- Mage

2. There’s a Story

Image result for anthem story

After the Gods mysteriously disappeared leaving behind their tools, which harnesses the Anthem a pure source of creation, humanity has struggled to survive the savaged and seemingly in-complete world, carving out their existence in Fort Tarsis, one of the last bastions of humanity. Now, an old foe has begun to rise once again as the Dominion has started to rise in the North. They want one thing and one thing only and that is to control the Anthem and use it to subjugate the rest of humanity.

As a Freelancer, one of those cool Javelin wearing dudes, you are tasked with protecting Fort Tarsis by venturing deep into the world and trying to stop the Dominion at any cost.

3. You can choose and customize your abilities and look

Image result for anthem microtransaction

Anthem will allow players to change the loadout of their respective Javelins to suit their specific playstyle. And while each Javelin does sort of have a pre-defined role (such as the Colossus being the tank) there is still a lot of flexibility in how you can set-up each Javelin’s abilities.

The players will be able to change the colour of their various Javelin armour pieces, add decals, and even change the specific material type that each armour piece is made of.

Anthem will separate cosmetics from gear meaning that you will be able to change the look of your Javelin without it affecting your perks or armour score. 

4. There’ll be a ‘LOT’ of killing

Image result for anthem combat

As a Freelancer, you’ll be tasked with beating the living daylights out of various enemies and creatures. This means you’ll need access to an arsenal of weapons. Anthem will have all the weapons you’ve come to expect in games such as these, from heavy machine guns to hand pistols and even sniper rifles with most weapons having some sort of perk attached to them depending on their rarity.

5. There will be microtransactions (Boo!)

Image result for anthem microtransaction

Anthem is, after all things said and considered, an EA game. It lays in the shadows of a cursed land, or shall I rather say cursed publisher. As of yet, EA has said that the microtransactions will be cosmetic only, but EA is not a publisher that I can trust.

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EA has filed a New Trademark for Jade Empire

EA has filed a new trademark for Jade Empire on 22nd January 2019. While not much it can mean a couple of things so let’s start speculating what they could be.

Before we start though lets talk about Jade Empire itself. Before there was Mass Effect, before Dragon Age came this gem. A game inspired by Chinese Mythology and Martial Arts that had the “trademark” BioWare world building and story telling. They decided to not work on the sequel for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic but instead chose to work on Jade Empire.

While the game was received well and was even ported to PC after a lot of requests from PC fans, the game never got a sequel something that almost all major BioWare games have received.

The boring and the most probable reason behind the filing of this new trademark is EA continuing to maintain rights to the intellectual property. However, there could be more to it.

The original release of the game was in 2005 for the original Xbox and the PC release came in 2007. It’s been more than a decade since then and maybe EA wants to push out a remaster of this game. An HD remaster for the Xbox One or maybe even a complete new remaster although highly unlikely could happen.

A sequel could also be on the books as BioWare have been known to work projects in parallel so maybe after Anthem launches, a team could start working on pre-production for the next Jade Empire title. We know they are working on a new Dragon Age title so maybe after that it’s time for Jade Empire to make a return since Mass Effect won’t be back any time soon.

Anthem looks interesting and even though it is being developed by BioWare, it is quite different from their previous story-driven RPG titles. After Mass Effect Andromeda, the next story-driven RPG is going to be the Dragon Age game and if that fares well, we could very well see a Jade Empire series.

BioWare haven’t had the best track record lately and with both Gregory Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka retired, both who were the main force behind Jade Empire it might not happen. Maybe working on something that hasn’t been in the limelight and having an IP that could be soft-rebooted might help bring back the charm of the old days or maybe even move it forward in a good direction.

I would like to remind you that this is all speculation based on a new trademark being filed and could very well be nothing but a new Jade Empire game would be pretty cool.

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Anthem Won’t Have Lootboxes or Pay-To-Win

Anthem will not have lootboxes according to the Lead Producer Michael Gamble in his tweets which has put fans at ease.

He stated that lootboxes didn’t have any place in the game and will instead only have cosmetic microtransactions for those who want to partake in that.

He also went on to say that while in the demo cosmetics cost 25 Coin, that won’t be the case in the main game as they will be cheaper and they’ll also give you some Coin to spend on cosmetic items.

From his tweets, he’s making it pretty clear that Anthem won’t have any Pay-to-win microtransactions or RNG based lootboxes where you gamble away your money in hopes of getting something good. Nor does it seem like they’ll be forcing you to pay for items that you may want as it seems like the premium currency “Coin” will also be obtainable in game and will only be used for cosmetic items.

A lot of people who were interesting in the game were concerned about this but this brings a little bit of peace to mind especially since there’s been a lot of positive feedback about the game.

After what went down with Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare really needs to make this work. The game is highly focused on the co-op aspect but we really hope they don’t skip out on the story and characters in the world because that’s what made people fall in love with BioWare games in the first place.

Anthem’s demo will be available from 25th-27th January for folks who have pre-ordered the game on all platforms. The open demo will take place from 1st-3rd February for all platforms and will be available for everyone to try regardless of if you have the game or not.

Anthem releases on 22nd February with Early Access for Access members on 15th February.

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Can Your PC Run Anthem? System Requirements Revealed

We’re a month and a half away from the release of BioWare’s Anthem and we finally have the PC System Requirements for the game so let’s take a look.

Anthem PC Minimum System Requirements

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 3570 or AMD FX-6350
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 760, AMD Radeon 7970 / R9280X
  • GPU RAM: 2GB Video Memory
  • Hard drive: At least 50 GB of free space
  • DirectX: DirectX 11

Anthem PC Recommended System Requirements

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 3.6GHz or AMD Ryzen 3 1300X 3.5 GHz
  • RAM: 16GB System Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060/ RTX 2060, AMD RX 480
  • GPU RAM: 4 GB Video Memory
  • Hard drive: At least 50 GB of free space
  • DirectX: DirectX 11

These are decent system requirements for a game that looks visually breathtaking. However, it feels that this might be the requirements to run the game at 720p 30fps on low for the minimum requirements and 1080p high 30fps for the recommended requirements.

Another thing to note is that the recommended requirements include GTX 1060 or RTX 1060 for the GPU which is weird because there’s a $100 difference between those two cards and huge delta in terms of performance as the RTX 2060 is much more powerful when compared to the GTX 1060. Since they announced that Anthem would support DLSS, maybe the RTX 2060 is for DLSS at 1080 as well as RTX if they announce that in the future.

BioWare’s previous game, Mass Effect Andromeda wasn’t received too well thanks to the bugs, the horrible facial animations and texture and the overall lacklustre game. How Anthem fares will directly affect the perception of the company in the eyes of longtime fans who were disappointed by Mass Effect Andromeda.

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Anthem ‘Lost Arcanist’ Mission Gameplay

IGN has posted 15 minutes of Anthem gameplay footage showcasing the “Lost Arcanist” mission from start to finish with a three-person team made up of the Interceptor, Storm, and Colossus javelins.

Anthem is due out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 22, 2019.

Watch the video below (MP4 version available here).

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Anthem CES 2019 Trailer

Electronic Arts debuted a new trailer for Anthem at Consumer Electronics Show 2019.

The 4K resolution trailer features never-before seen Javelin, enemies, and environments.

Nvidia also announced that the PC version of Anthem will support Deep Learning Super-Sampling (DLSS).

Anthem is due out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 22, 2019.

Watch the trailer below.

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