With the launch of Anthem fast approaching, EA is finally pulling back the curtain on the game, with the latest livestream tackling gear and progression. Missed the stream? We’ve got you covered.
The stream was led by Anthem producer Darrin McPherson and lead producer Ben Irving and a lot of what was discussed should be pretty straightforward to most of you reading this, but let’s dig through it.
One thing interesting to note about Anthem is that it separates personalization and customization. You can set up your Javelin to look however you like without cramping your style. No mecha clown suits in this game (unless you want to look silly, of course).
Both your character (Pilot) and items will have levels in Anthem and these items will be split across five different hardpoints on your Javelin. Some aspects of the game will also be gated by your Pilot level. One example given was that while you can equip two weapons at a time in Anthem, you won’t be able to do this until you reach Pilot level four. Gear score is also a thing in Anthem and it works by simply adding up all the power levels of your individual pieces of gear.
The first major topic covered on the stream was rarities. Anthem will feature six item rarities (Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, Masterwork, and Legendary) and they all work the way you would expect, with the exception of the last two. Masterwork gear is what you would normally consider Legendary gear to be and Legendary gear will basically just be a powered up version of the Masterwork stuff you’ll be using. Item rarity is also somewhat gated by your level. The higher your level the more likely you are to find items of higher rarity. You’re not likely to be running around in Epic gear at low level. Of course, tackling difficult content will also increase your chances of finding better loot.
Items generally work the same way across the lower rarity tiers with the only key difference being in how many affixes (called Inscriptions in Anthem) can be rolled onto the item. For example, a Firewall Mortar will always have its wall of flame effect no matter what rarity you find it at, but you’ll be able to have more affixes on it in higher tiers.
This all changes once you get to Masterwork and Legendary gear. At these levels, a special property is added to the item on top of its base effect. We were shown a Masterwork Assault Launcher called Argo’s Mace and this came with a bonus electric explosion on enemy defeat. A Legendary version of this item would be identical, with two key differences. The first is that it would be more powerful in terms of raw stats. The second is that its Inscription pool would be larger. A Legendary Argo’s Mace could roll Inscriptions that you may not be able to find on a Masterwork version of the item.
Status Effects & Combos
Another topic touched on was status effects and combos. Gear that applies status effects can prime a target for a combo detonation and the rate at which a target is primed by a status effect varies depending on the item’s rate stat. Some items may take a while to prime an enemy while others can prime them for a combo very quickly.
Combo detonator effects vary by Javelin type as well. The Colossus will create an AoE explosion around the target; the Ranger will deal massive single target damage; the Storm will chain the effect to enemies; and the Interceptor will give itself an aura of the primed effect that it can spread on contact with enemies.
Crafting in Anthem is considered a supplementary activity. You’ll be able to craft things from recipes you find, but the main source of the item hunt is intended to be killing creatures and tackling content. Recipes you acquire will scale with the level you craft the item at so you won’t need new recipes for specific item levels. If you want to reroll an item’s Inscriptions you’ll either need to craft the item again or loot it again. Ouch!
Components and Builds
Components are an item type that let you sort of support your build or playstyle. Each Javelin can equip six different components and these components can do simple things like give you more damage for a certain element or lower cooldowns on grenades. You can also use higher tier components to help define a build you’re going for.
We were shown an example Ranger build that focused on creating a rotation fueled by massive amounts of explosive AoE damage. The build consisted of a couple of key components:
- Airborne Advantage – Reduce cooldowns by 50% while hovering
- Combined Arms – Defeating an enemy with one ability boosts the damage of the other
- Defensive Bulwark – Restore 100% shields on triple kill
- Tip of the Spear – Using Ultimate increases damage of other abilities by 50%
- Last Argument – Not a component, but a Masterwork grenade which fills up some Ultimate charge for every double kill.
The idea is to hover to lower cooldowns, boost ability damage by firing your Ultimate, and then use your amped-up abilities to AoE kill as much stuff as possible to fuel your Ultimate charge so that you can do it all again. This wasn’t an item set, but just a build idea put together by Darrin McPherson.
We eventually got to see the build in action, but it didn’t work out quite so well due to the difficulty level set. That said, I can see how it would work in my head and I do think it’s neat that we’ll be able to put together builds like this for our Javelins in Anthem. Hopefully the possibilities for this sort of thing are significant. I’m not expecting Path of Exile style builds here, but there should be many ways to play.
And that’s it for last week’s livestream. The final livestream for the year is set for this Thursday. We’ll be back next time with a recap, so be sure to check back soon!