Friday, 17 May 2024

Anthem’s Endgame: A Closer Look at What to Expect

Anthem, the highly anticipated shooter/RPG from BioWare, has generated significant excitement with its alpha period, press coverage, and VIP demo. While most people have had the opportunity to experience the game’s early stages, one crucial aspect remains unknown: the endgame. This is the phase of ongoing games like Anthem that becomes clear after investing dozens of hours into gameplay.

Recently, we had the chance to delve into Anthem’s endgame during a press event. Armed with a fully leveled character, we embarked on a quest for high-quality weapons, components, and abilities. Although we can’t provide a definitive assessment of Anthem’s post-launch engagement, our time with the game and insightful conversations with executive producer Mark Darrah shed light on what players can expect from Anthem’s endgame. Here are our four major takeaways.

Endgame Missions: Familiar Yet Exciting

Anthem’s endgame revolves around completing repeat missions and other activities in exchange for better rewards. During our session, we played a trio of missions with a fully-leveled storm javelin. While the first mission, The Tyrant Mine stronghold, was part of the VIP demo, the other two, Threat Assessment legendary contract and The Temple of Scar stronghold, showcased Anthem’s late-game content with some minor twists.

Threat Assessment felt immediately familiar, as we flew from one combat arena to another, completing objectives and vanquishing enemies. The encounters were enjoyable, but not radically different from the early hours of the game. However, The Temple of Scar stronghold offered a more satisfying experience. The encounters took place in large, vertical areas with intricate designs, allowing us to prioritize targets mid-combat using flight. The boss battle against Scelos, a quadruped Scar war machine, was the highlight of the stronghold.

It’s worth noting that although Anthem’s lush jungle biome is visually stunning, we were hoping for more environmental diversity at this later stage of the game. Nevertheless, it’s possible that BioWare is keeping other distinct locales under wraps.

Classes Shine in the Endgame

Fully leveled javelins provide players with a wide range of abilities, allowing for different playstyles within each class. While the basic gameplay remains similar, players can modify their abilities to create unique builds.

For example, in the VIP demo, our storm javelin’s explosion could be transformed into an ice blast that froze enemies, creating opportunities for easy follow-up combos. The variety of options available for each javelin allows for multiple people to run the same class in a stronghold, enabling coordinated teamwork based on specific combos.

According to Mark Darrah, players are encouraged to have a primary go-to class but should also explore other javelins. While BioWare does not want players to switch classes too frequently, they want to provide challenges that incentivize the exploration of different classes for high-level encounters.

The Loot Hunt

During the demo, we had the opportunity to experience the loot system in Anthem’s endgame. While we obtained a masterwork drop, the highest rarity of item in the game, it did not provide the kind of excitement we expected. The gear lacked the distinctiveness and panache we associate with rare drops in loot-based games. We hope that the final game will offer visually and mechanically distinctive gear, similar to what we’ve seen in other games like Diablo III and Destiny.

Additionally, we found that many of Anthem’s weaponry felt interchangeable, lacking unique characteristics. While class abilities provide a sense of uniqueness, we hope that the guns in the game will provide a more satisfying and diverse experience. Stat boosts are essential, but new and exciting tools will enhance the gameplay.

Mark Darrah assures us that BioWare aims to make endgame gear visually and statistically distinct. The team wants players to show off their impressive gear while experiencing meaningful bonuses that alter gameplay mechanics.

Loops to Pursue in Anthem

Anthem’s endgame provides players with a variety of activities to engage in, depending on their goals. Freeplay allows players to explore the world and gather materials for crafting. Contracts and strongholds, on the other hand, are geared towards strengthening the player and obtaining better gear.

The game also includes daily, weekly, and monthly challenges, encouraging players to use different weapons, abilities, and combos. This provides incentives for switching out gear or classes to accomplish specific objectives.

Anthem’s endgame does not force players to grind a single kind of activity or mission to obtain specific loot. The emphasis is on efficiency rather than a rigid structure. The game will adapt to the community’s needs and desires post-launch, with the potential for more anchored, specific drops based on player feedback.

FAQs

Q: Will there be more environmental variety in Anthem’s endgame?

A: While our experience focused primarily on the lush jungle biome, it’s possible that BioWare has surprises in store for players in terms of environmental diversity.

Q: Can players switch between javelins easily in the endgame?

A: BioWare encourages players to have a primary go-to class but also explore other javelins. Switching classes for high-level encounters is not out of the question.

Q: Will there be visually and mechanically distinct gear in Anthem’s endgame?

A: Mark Darrah assures us that endgame gear will offer distinct visuals and meaningful bonuses that alter gameplay mechanics.

Q: How will Anthem’s endgame activities be structured?

A: Anthem’s endgame offers a variety of activities such as freeplay, contracts, and strongholds. Daily, weekly, and monthly challenges further enhance the gameplay experience.

Conclusion

Our time with Anthem’s endgame provided a glimpse into what players can expect after completing the initial offerings. While some questions about the loot system and environmental variety remain, we now have a clearer understanding of what kind of game Anthem will be. Despite its departure from BioWare’s traditional style, Anthem promises an engaging experience for players willing to explore its rich world and master its diverse javelins.