I had a weekend to enjoy the end game of Anthem and while I am keen on the game (clearly), I have continued to admit much work needs to be done. The good still very much outweighs the bad in pretty much every way on your journey to level 30.
Now at level 30 and running “elder game” activities at Grandmaster 1 (of 3) I am understanding a bit more the frustration with the end game loot. The system is pretty simple – there are repeatable Strongholds (Dungeons, basically) and Contracts which are 3-4 random encounters done for various factions in Bastion. While the Strongholds are straight up repeated content the contracts have a lot of variance and feel fresh enough each time I play one. You get Epic gear to do GM1, and then Masterwork gear to do Grand Master 2, and then Legendary gear (and buttloads of skill?) to do Grand Master 3. (Did I just say buttloads?)
Running a GM1 Stronghold gives you a guaranteed Masterwork Ability, and if you are lucky you will get one other Masterwork item. Along with all of the legendary and below items – all of which you have already outgrown. You really only need Masterwork and Legendary items – although some Epic ones can still get good rolls and replace what you are using.
Running a GM1 Contract grants you a guaranteed Masterwork component, of which, each Javelin uses 6. This is good in the way that it lets you target what you want, but bad in the sheer lack of volume of drops. With inscriptions being improved (But still random) getting a Masterwork just isn’t good enough to move you to the next level of the game. You have to get one with good rolls.
Here are the ones I got this weekend from playing, to show the variance. Some are good for my playstyle, some are just good overall, and others are a bit of a letdown. When you get an orange drop you want it to mean something!
I did gallery format for easier viewing, and for some reason are missing two pictures of weapons – both the best two of the bunch. I have a Heavy Pistol that does 200% damage while hovering, and was lucky enough to get some legendary components that give me +50% thruster life – meaning I can hover that much longer. That is my favorite Ranger weapon (but my Colossus can’t use it). I also have a Shotgun – Papa Pump, with decent stats.
Siege Breaker, the Sniper rifle has a bad damage roll bonus +5%. That could be as high as +300% depending on your luck. The Aim speed and recoil bonuses are fine, and bullets ARE physical damage so the +15% P damage is also good. The Hit Streak (3) shots freezing the target is a nice primer, as long as you have a good long range detonator. As long as you are in a group that has good detonator potential this is OK as a perk. Overall this is a bad roll group on this so was disappointing.
Vanguard’s Badge is a component that really wants the Ranger up in and close – which isn’t bad because a Ranger Melee is an electrical attack that primes enemies. With those low damage mods it’s hard to come by a kill with it. What is GREAT about this one though, is the 25% increase in Ultimate refresh. I currently go Shotgun / Pistol with my Ranger so am often in meelee range so this works. (For the Ultimate refresh alone, if nothing else.)
Airborne Advantage is about as disappointing as it comes, unless you have a pure harvest build. It gives a decent bonus to impact damage but that comes with a negative modifier. I’d be fine with that if it was a really nice improvement (+100% or more) but giving up 20% of damage in one area to get 50% in another isn’t that exciting. (MWs shouldn’t have any negative attributes). Hovering increasing resistances by 10% is pretty much junk too. +10% LMG ammo is useless to me (I don’t use LMGs) and the harvest bonus is only good if you are high end crafting and do a build specific to harvesting for freeplay.
Argo’s Mace(1 of 2) is another ‘meh’ masterwork. it refreshes 5% faster (not noticeable), gives +19% to A-Rifle ammo (I don’t use), Gives a +15% drop rate to Repair (health) from enemies (meh) but does help speed up my grenade slot by 25% – which is OK if I have a Masterwork grenade or something great there (I don’t). The electric explosion perk isn’t triggered often as it doesn’t do enough damage to defeat enemies at GM levels. You have to time it really well when enemies are down to a sliver.
Argo’s Mace (2 of 2) yes, I got a second one – in the same run, even if it was a bit better. Minorly so. +15% speed is OK on the item – I get to use it a bit more often. The +18% Pistol ammo suits my ranger since I use a pistol, the +17% LMG ammo is not. The +50% damage is not terrible as well, and the perk suffers from the issues. of the two this one is a bit more useful UNLESS I have a great grenade option (I don’t).
Tip of the Spear the first one that got me a bit excited – the rolls aren’t fantastic but 50% combo damage increase (in a game that combos are frequent) feels good. The restoring of 40% armor is also nice. This item becomes an AMAZING item if the % rolls are better, but due to the number and frequency of Combos this felt good to get.
Grand Entrance my first Colossus MW was a happy one for me. One of the joys of the Thiccboi playstyle is flying towards a group of enemies with the shield up, and hitting the melee key which has you crash down and do an AOE fist slam. It’s glorious. This component creates an explosion at that point of impact. Fun all around. The support ability benefit is nice (I run shields – +25% strength, so having that longer is great with the playstyle and the +20% pickup radius is nice for when you are in the thick of things and I do use a MW grenade launcher (By default, but still use it) so the +19% ammo is also OK.
Insult And Injury is a MW grenade launcher. I don’t love Grenade launchers you have to arc the projectiles and they can skip and miss targets. This one will bounce before impact exploding which helps with some misses, and the Bulwark effect is OK (But something you don’t really notice when it happens. +9% Max armor is always welcome on a Colossus, and the increase in mag size and damage for the item itself is OK. +15% Ammo pickup isn’t that big of a deal since I am always in the frontlines I never, ever run out of ammo.
Vassa’s Arc is a decent item that I am happy to use, even with the bad rolls on it. The lightning coil is a great item to jump into a group of enemies and release, and it pulse attacks. So basically with every pulse you are getting a large electrical explosion. It’s pure chaos. That part is fun. Being able to reuse it 15% faster is OK, the +3% Shotgun (which I do use) is such a poor bonus roll (again, could be as high as +300%…) I don’t use the +15% Autocannon Damage. +9% to all Javelin damage is ok because that affects every ability and weapon.
Coming from MMO land where every upgrade feels great because it is a clear path upward it was a disappointing weekend. The Pistol (sorry again for no picture) was the only one that felt AMAZING, with the +200% damage on hover plus other bonuses. I am definitely in the camp of two changes that need to happen:
- Masterwork Items should have minimum bonus roll thresholds that are higher than epic. For example, Epic items may have a minimum bonus of +3%, but Masterwork should have a minimum bonus of +50%. Legendary should have a minimum bonus of +100%. This way some MW items can still get really lucky and outshine a legendary, but it’s disappointing to get loot with +3% damage, and an epic with +15% damage. Masterwork should normally always be better. To balance things, you could even put in a maximum – and have those numbers overlap a bit
- More loot needs to drop. Significantly more. If the luck of the role is the differentiator, then you need lots of rolls to make it fun.
One thing I think we can all agree on – that no end game loot should feel “bad”. And of my 11 drops this weekend, 10 of them were underwhelming / disappointing. I don’t expect god rolls on everything, but getting goOd rolls here and there would make the time investment feel better.