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(Anthem) What's It Really Like?

awesomeocalypse

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The difference between Anthem and all those other games is that Anthem is an online only experience. There is no acclaimed single player narrative making people feel like they got their money's worth while devs iron out kinks in the multiplayer, the flawed multiplayer is all there is
 

ShadowbaneX

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The difference between Anthem and all those other games is that Anthem is an online only experience. There is no acclaimed single player narrative making people feel like they got their money's worth while devs iron out kinks in the multiplayer, the flawed multiplayer is all there is
This is a big issue for me. I couldn't believe the game was over as soon as it was. I was only level 22 or 23 and I think I took my time getting there. That's at best 20 hours of story, as I spent a few hours wandering around in free play to get used to the controls and completing the Legionnaire's Challenge and helping people. If I had to choose, as much fun as flying around is, I'd take Andromeda over Anthem in a heartbeat.
 

Nightward

IntranationalManOfMisery
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I'm very curious why it is you're convinced you're likely never going to get any Masterwork drops? Seems a strange position unless you learned everything you know about loot drops form r/AnthemTheGame, which is so clogged with wall-to-wall whining that someone created an alternate called r/LowSodiumAnthem
Anthem drops are ridiculously, utterly broken though. The high-level ones are absolutely drip-fed, and good luck getting Legendaries. There is a very real reason that people are complaining about the drop rates, and it's that the drop rates are terrible. I've done at least a hundred Stronghold runs so far and on most of those all I got was the guaranteed drop from the boss (except for the time they broke boss drops). Things are marginally better now in that I usually get one other Masterwork, but even after almost 200 hours played, almost all with the Colossus, I still haven't got a full suite of components. It is legitimately bad, and infuriating as a result.

Masterworked items are what passes for end-game content, basically. Which is incredibly poor design.

It's interesting. At the start of the article, the writer says EA and Frostbite wasn't the main problem, but as the article goes on it seems to me those were the main issues, because all the other issues (lack of direction, writers and project leaders departing) are EA's fault.

It feels a bit like he's saying "Well, the main problem wasn't the carnivorous poodles, it was all the deaths caused by carnivorous poodles. But don't blame the carnivorous poodles!" That's where my "He doesn't dare say out loud that EA is the biggest problem"-alarm starts ringing.
I didn't read it that way. I mean I'm pretty sure that there was an unspoken understanding that Frostbite is going to be used EA wide and it is very clear from the last three games that used it from BioWare that they have no idea what they are doing. However, that one is on BioWare, not EA, because they could have iterated on their expertise but haven't, and that to me is indicative of their systemic "We don't make mistakes, so we have nothing to learn from" attitude at the management and leadership level. Writers and project leaders leaving is likewise a BioWare issue, and also ties into the issues they have at leadership level- it seems that nobody at that level is willing to lead, so things drift until deadlines approach and then everyone panics rather than having a holistic plan and working on things in manageable chunks.

Speaking as a player, I wish they would get rid of Frostbite completely. On the graphical level it doesn't look particularly good, performance-wise it's a complete and utter disaster, and on the flip-side you have things like the RED Engine being crash-developed and working wonders by comparison. For a while it baffled me, but in hindsight it's clear; upper management actually believes they aren't making mistakes, so there's nothing to learn from past failures.

I don't think there's much chance of pulling the plug. The plan has always been to support and improve the game for multiple years as a live service; it's just that the first six(?) months will largely be geared towards getting the game into the state it should have been in at launch.

Also, I'm not personally that put out since I paid for the full-price game — because there's no subscription fee, there's no season pass, there's no paid story DLC. I have access to Anthem and all that it will become, at no extra cost, so long as I'm patient enough to wait for it. Sure, it would have been nice if they got their ducks in a row and put out a more polished game on launch day, but it is what it is.
On the other hand, this is at the end of several games with mixed reception at best from the fans. And after they pulled the plug on Andromeda's DLC, I can't say I'd be too surprised to see EA if not BioWare simply writing it off. They;ve comprehensively failed to provide a game at the level it should have been at already and there's blood in the water.
 

MadCow

Master of all evil bovine
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Jim Sterling doesn't hold back and rips into BioWare due to relevations from the Kotaku article. He's sounded pretty harsh before, but this seems pretty harsher than his usual self especially when it comes to the employee stress casualty bits.

 

Rainfall

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Jim Sterling doesn't hold back and rips into BioWare due to relevations from the Kotaku article. He's sounded pretty harsh before, but this seems pretty harsher than his usual self especially when it comes to the employee stress casualty bits.
Jim's a colorful individual, but he's pretty grounded. It's one thing to talk about bad business practices surrounding games, it's another to talk about working practices that actually ruin people's lives and health.

If I bought Anthem and I think it sucks... I've been cheated for 80 canadian dollars. Boohoo. This is something infinitely more serious.
 

awesomeocalypse

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Yeah, the flaws of Anthem were prompting a lot of people to ask "can Bioware bounce back from this?", but the revelations about how they treat their own employees suggest that maybe they don't really deserve to. That pains me a little because so much of my youth was spent lost in amazing Bioware stories, but tbh many of the key people involved in making my favorite Bioware games have jumped ship, and if what remains is studio of overworked, miserable devs being jerked into 5 different directions and subjected to constant crunch by clueless management and the rapacious directives of EA, then I don't really feel much inclination to show them loyalty or give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm enough of a selfish gamer that if a studio produces a genuinely great game but has a crappy work culture, as is often the case with CDPR and Rockstar for example (or, as Jim Sterling mentioned, Sakurai nearly working himself to death on Smash Ultimate), I'll still probably pick it up at some point. But if they're treating people like shit to produce games that in no way qualify as "must play", then really what do they even have going for them other than a storied name?
 

Pieta

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Let me just repeat myself and Jason Schreier:
The sad thing is, EA+BW are just the most visible right now, but the shit is endemic.
We are hearing this about Bioware now, but could just as well be hearing it about Rockstar, or CD Project RED, or Ubisoft, or Bethesda, or Sega, or Blizzard, or Telltale, or pretty much any other studio you know, including a lot of small indie companies. The entire industry is treating their workers horribly.
 

awesomeocalypse

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Let me just repeat myself and Jason Schreier:

We are hearing this about Bioware now, but could just as well be hearing it about Rockstar, or CD Project RED, or Ubisoft, or Bethesda, or Sega, or Blizzard, or Telltale, or pretty much any other studio you know, including a lot of small indie companies. The entire industry is treating their workers horribly.
Rockstar and CDPR are both pretty infamous for crunch culture, which they tend to either downplay or defend by pointing out that its the "senior" team and management that work the craziest hours and that it all comes from passion or some such shit. In reality, the main reason they get away with it is that, at least in the era of game companies being scrutinized rather than lionized for working stupid hours, they have made good games that were well-received by critics and players. If Anthem and Andromeda had been widely hailed as masterpieces, the term "Bioware magic" probably wouldn't be such a derisive meme right now, and even if a big expose did come out about their shitty practices there'd be a lot more people looking to downplay that knowledge so they could just enjoy the game (which was basically exactly what happened with RDR2). But because Anthem's rollout has been something of a shitshow that had a lot of people up in arms to begin with, this story was like pouring the gasoline of moral indignation on top of a lot of kindling of overall disrespect and resentment.

Not to say that the L's they are taking right now aren't well deserved, but I think the reason that this story is taking off to a much greater degree than similar exposes about other companies is that a lot of people have been disappointed with Bioware anyway recently, and this story provides the most satisfying kind of explanation for disappointment, i.e. that its the direct fault of some people acting like assholes.
 

Pieta

Very custom
Validated User
Exactly. You can get away with a lot of terrible stuff, but disappointing gameplay is not forgiven.

If Schreier put out that article two weeks before Anthem release, when people were most hyped, he'd be the one getting all the hate, not Bioware.
 
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