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Anthem Update Changes Inscriptions, Loot, And Crafting Are Changing [Update: Patch Available Now]

Loot shooter revises the "loot" part.


With live-service shooters where obtaining new weapons and gear is a big motivation for playing long-term, nailing how loot drops work is absolutely essential. But much like games such as Destiny, BioWare and EA's Anthem has struggled in this regard out of the gate. Now, less than a week after its official launch (and about two since its early access release), BioWare has announced plans for some major revisions to loot drops. In a lengthy post on Reddit, the studio summarized the pieces of feedback it has received from the community, as well as what an imminent update will do about them.

[Update: A new Anthem update is out now that is designed to reduce the impact of the tethering system. Alongside it, hot fixes have been rolled out that address some of the matters outlined below--masterwork crafting costs and useless inscriptions. Masterworks crafting is now less expensive, while items that drop after the hot fix's release should no longer feature inscriptions that don't make sense for the type of item it is. You can see the full patch notes for what is now live on EA's website. However, there are reports that one of these updates has broken freeplay, making it devoid of life. BioWare says it's working on the issue.]

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Now Playing: Anthem Loot, Masterwork Crafting, And Tethering Updated - GS News Update

BioWare identified a few key takeaways from its first week. Players feel inscriptions are too random and not useful for the item they're attached to, which leads to repeatedly seeking different masterwork items to find one with a good matching inscription. This has led to requests for more masterwork drops, or more useful inscriptions.

In response, the studio plans to do both. In an update set to drop February 28 or March 1, inscriptions for items will better match the items they're on, and masterworks will come more readily. The better inscriptions will only apply to newly found items, not ones already in your Vault. Crafting materials for a masterwork will reduce from 25 embers to 15, letting players craft them more easily. Finally, uncommon (white) and common (green) drops will be removed from level 30 drop tables entirely.

On the whole, these changes seem aimed at getting players better loot faster and easier. That should help ease one of the common complaints about the game, that getting the best gear in the post-game can turn into a grind. Coming just one week after launch, it also shows that BioWare is willing to be pretty nimble with its updates. You can check out the full outline from the developer below; the studio has also shared its roadmap for new content over the game's first 90 days. It includes new freeplay events, missions, cosmetics, quality-of-life improvements, a stronghold, and--in May--a big event called The Catalyst.

BioWare's take on the loot shooter has received mixed reviews on GameSpot sister site Metacritic, and in our own Anthem review.

"Anthem has good ideas, but it struggles significantly with the execution. It's a co-op game that works best with no one talking; it buries genuinely interesting character moments and puts its most incomprehensible story bits at the forefront; its combat is exciting until you get to the boss fights and find your wings have been clipped," wrote critic Kallie Plagge. "Even the simple, exhilarating act of flying is frequently interrupted by the limitations of your javelin, and you never quite shake that feeling of disappointment--of knowing, throughout the good parts of Anthem, that you'll inevitably come crashing back down."

If you're just getting started, check out our essential tips and consider playing solo. Or if you haven't picked up a copy yet, it's received a price drop on PS4.

Anthem Patch Notes

Summary of player feedback:

  • Many inscriptions are not useful to the item they are attached to
  • Due to this, players need to get many masterworks of the same item to find a “good one”
  • Players want the frequency of masterwork drops to increase to help with the above OR…
  • They want us to change how masterwork inscriptions work so that they are more “useful”

Plan for changes to go live on February 28th or March 1st (central US time)

  • Inscriptions are now better for the items they are on
    • This applies to new items earned in Anthem (not existing ones in your Vault)
    • If an inscription applies only to the item it is on (gear icon), it will be useful to that item. Otherwise the inscription will provide a Javelin wide benefit
    • For example, an Assault Rifle will not have an item specific +pistol damage inscription. It may have a +electric damage suit wide inscription (cool for a lightning build)
    • Some more information below
  • Removed uncommon (white) and common (green) items from level 30 drop tables
    • This was a highly requested change and we agree, so that’s that.
  • Reduced the crafting materials needed to craft a masterwork from 25 masterwork embers to 15 masterwork embers
    • As you salvage or harvest, you should be able to craft more masterwork items to get the inscriptions you are looking for
    • Now that inscriptions are more relevant to their item, this should yield better results for players

Additional inscription change details

  • Current: There are a large pool of inscription options available to roll on items, the inscription pools are generic (e.g. Weapons)
    • Every masterwork item has 4 inscriptions – Major Primary, Minor Primary, Major Secondary, Minor Secondary
  • Change: Each item type now has a specific set of inscription options for each of their inscription pools. The pools are smaller and are targeted to the specific item type
    • E.g. there used to be a Weapon pool, now there is an Assault Rifle pool and the assault rifle pool has 4 pools for each of the inscription types listed above
    • Primary inscriptions are focused on damage or survivability
      • Any item specific inscriptions (gear icon) will always benefit the item they are on
      • Javelin wide inscriptions (suit icon) will benefit damage or survivability across the whole Javelin
    • Secondary inscriptions focus on utility and can be targeted to the item (gear icon) or the entire javelin (suit icon)

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