To put it as bluntly as possible, shit hit the fan over the weekend in the Anthem community. After a brief bug made the loot system in the game actually enjoyable, BioWare quickly acknowledged and then corrected the bug and has since received massive blowback from fans.
Players were showered with loot in a way that many seemed to feel was fair and fun, without being crazy like the Loot Cave was in Destiny 1, but BioWare didn’t see it that way.
At any point this weekend, you could have visited the Anthem Reddit and read post after post from players very upset about the change expressing frustration ranging from angry to calling for boycotts and just straight up quitting all together. As of Monday 3/11, nothing has really changed:
In fact, a post from the mods to try and consolidate the upset posts has been downvoted as fans rallied around the idea of wanting to rub BioWare’s nose in it as much as possible by allowing r/Anthem to be completely engulfed by the negativity around the change to the loot drops.
Throughout its development, BioWare developers frequently visited/posted on r/Anthem so it’s quite likely that they are very aware of the current feedback towards their change.
Other similar games like Destiny have weathered storms such as this, but none this “perfect.” You have EA & BioWare together (two high profile and sometimes controversial companies), the reviews aren’t great, and Anthem has had so many other stumbles since its launch, like bricking some PS4s, it all rolls up into what must be a nightmare for everyone involved in the development/business side of things over there.
What should BioWare do then? Just let fans have what they are asking for, and find a way to “fix” it later.
BioWare has been handed L after L since launching Anthem. Very little, if anything has gone right and the game desperately could use some good PR.
The right move would have been just to leave it from the get-go, but the toothpaste is out of that tube already. It’s not too late, though, to roll back the changes, let the fans have this one and then regroup.
I totally understand why BioWare wants the loot drop rate to be where it is now. It prolongs the longevity of the game and gives people more to work towards rather than just handing everything out.
Destiny 2 had that same problem shortly after its launch where loot was so easy to get that there was quickly little worth playing for. However, Destiny already proved itself as a franchise, and Destiny 2 was still well put together in spite of that massive problem.
Here’s the thing BioWare can do that’s unique to live games and I’m not sure it’s realized yet: simply revert the loot to what it was (where fans liked it), which will buy them some time, and then follow that up with loot better or more interesting than what fans are currently grinding.
Vertical gear progression is something very common in MMORPGs, looter-shooters, or anything like those games. It’s the idea that you get gear knowing that the developers will shortly offer you something better for you to chase in the next update.
Every game doesn’t do this, and some opt for horizontal progression (throwing more of equal power to provide additional set options), or a combination of the two (Destiny would fall into this category).
Right now though, Anthem doesn’t have an identity at all other than being the game that everyone loves to hate on. Placate fans in the short term, and figure out a long term strategy and get that going fast. That’s the only clean way out of this firestorm that I see right now for Anthem and BioWare.