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

Loot shooter revises the "loot" part.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

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

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.]

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)

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 22 comments about this story
22 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for thenephariouson

It's good to see Bioware responding to the feedback, in the modern age of online evolving games, this is nice to see.

I'm enjoying it and like others have said, no its not perfect, but it is fun and will only get better over time.

Avatar image for jinzo9988

"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."

I hope and they probably do realize that while players are complaining about this, they're also shooting themselves in the foot by easing the grind because this is supposed to be a "live service" and the quicker you let people "finish" the game, the quicker the player count drops... and you don't necessarily get everybody back when the next piece of content drops. There must be grind in a game like this, or much of the point of playing goes out the window.

Avatar image for cappy

@jinzo9988: True. They have to strike a delicate balance. Too hard, and the player count will drop too, because it just isn’t fun enough. But it makes sense that they start erring on the too grindy side, and then tune from there. If they erred on making loot too easy to get, and players ended up getting to the end of the loot cycle, you’d have to devalue or take back the gear from players to fix things, neither of which is a real option. By making it too hard in beginning, they can tune it to make it less grindy without too much damage, as long as they do it quickly enough.

That said, while I really want to like this game but, based on what I have read, I’m afraid there are fundamental problems that they can’t fix with this game engine, most notably the loading screens. That might not bug some people, but it is a deal breaker for me, as I have limited time to play. Does anyone know if they do as Destiny 2 and allow me to read lore and mess with inventory during most of the load screen? That would at least help a little.

Avatar image for Barighm

If you've been reading the actual complaints about loot, you'll see Bioware barely scratched the service of this problem.

Avatar image for edwardnygma

@Barighm: Was that a misspelling or a clever twist of wordplay? :)

Avatar image for boesyboy

@Barighm: i think you meant surface mate ;)

Avatar image for asana86

this game cant compete with division 2 or destiny 2 ,its simply trash

Avatar image for dashaka

@asana86: you’ve played it? Because I’m about 17 hours in and I’m having a lot of fun. Also, you just compared it to a game that’s not even out yet (division2), and a game that people universally think is absolute shit (destiny 2), me included.

I doubt you’ve played Anthem, based on your generic post, making your statement one of the worst I’ve seen on here in my 10 years on Gamespot, congrats.

Avatar image for tman08

A bit amusing I get a Division 2 trailer to this above video. Anthem was DOA and will soon be completely irrelevant. No matter how they try to repair this crippled game. 6 years to make a proper game and we get this? A bit embarrassing for a "AAA Developer".....

Avatar image for dashaka

@tman08: How many hours have you played in anthem?

Avatar image for tman08

@dashaka: Your point being? I played 20-25 hours on a friends retail copy. How many hours have YOU played? The game is repetitive and lazily put together. I can only assume your question was an attempt to discredit me and say this game is amazing for those that played it.....its not.

Avatar image for dashaka

@tman08: Ok, so what did the main characters friend do to him in the story? About 8 hours in?

It’s ok, I’ll wait while you frantically google it.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k

@dashaka: Way to be exactly what he thought you were.

Avatar image for tman08

@dashaka: Lmao. Nah I'm not even going to feed your attempt to discredit me. Nice try though. I've played the game probably more than you and I can be dissatisfied with a product if I want to. You obviously like repetitive games and are in love with this game (for whatever reason), which is fine. Me along with others miss having a properly released game from either Bioware or EA.

Avatar image for dashaka

@tman08: Exactly what I thought, you haven’t played it. How sad do you have to be to waste time online bashing a game you haven’t even played? Lmao. Pathetic bud, pathetic.

Avatar image for tman08

@dashaka: Lol. And I quote "How sad do you have to be to waste time online bashing a game you haven’t even played? Lmao. Pathetic bud, pathetic."

hmm.....Someone is quick to judge someone that doesn't agree with their viewpoint (despite me actually playing this game), yet criticise someone despite literally doing this in the comment reply above mine...

DaShaka - 2 hours ago:

"Also, you just compared it to a game that’s not even out yet (division 2), and a game that people universally think is absolute shit (destiny 2), me included."

ahem.....did you PLAY The Division 2?

What Happens to Mary's sister when they encounter the Air Force One stronghold 6 hours into the story? Go ahead....ill wait for you to frantically google that. -__-

Pot meet kettle.....But, hey....keep being you, bud ;-)

Avatar image for dashaka

@tman08: Are you stupid? Or just ignorant? My comment was about judging a game (Division 2) without playing it. You’re literally just agreeing with what I said.

Regardless, even if I was saying that, which I wasn’t, you’re asking me to do something that I originally asked you to, without doing it yourself. You’re a special kind of stupid aren’t you?

Avatar image for tman08

@dashaka:Lmao. You literally criticised @asana86 for liking a game that isn't out yet PLUS calling it "absolute shit" without confirming you played it. How did you come to that conclusion of it being absolute shit? Plus the fact you didn't answer my question about whether you played The Division 2 or not proves you didn't. Yet start blindly accusing other people for not playing Anthem unless they answer your stupid pointless puzzles or trivia about the game. "Um, whats the name of the dog next to the purple tree on the 36th mission? AH! YOU DON'T KNOW!" -___-


Also, You DID say that, especially when I asked you to do something that you tried claiming I didn't do but did in fact do!

You should look up "hypocrite moron" in the dictionary....unless you already have a picture of yourself and dont need another one for your collection. smh.................#CantCureStupid

Avatar image for dashaka

@tman08: You’re reading comprehension is the only thing that is shit, go back, read it again. I said Destiny 2 is shit, not The Division 2. This is embarrassing for you. You’re an absolute moron lmfao. 🤣

Also, the simple question I asked is insanely easy to answer if you’ve played Anthem, it’s incredibly apparent and easy to answer. So again, you’re so clearly pathetic it’s laughable, or sad... nah, definitely both.

You’re right, you can’t cure stupid, but you should probably go back to school and try.

Avatar image for tman08

@dashaka: LMAO. The pettiness and effort by you to nitpick things in the defense of Anthem is down right laughable. I'm sure EA would be VERY proud of you.

"I’m about 17 hours in and I’m having a lot of fun"...Well Like I originally said, enjoy your repetitive gameplay and "Immersive" experience. I personally hit a mental brick wall after having to jump/load in to too many squads that were too far away OR when I had to find 4 hidden tombs & grind massively on those before progressing more into the story.

Some people also like to watch paint dry, so there's always something for someone to enjoy while the screen loads.....#MyLastComment #FeelFreeToHaveTheLastWordForNoMeaningfulReason #Cheers

Avatar image for dashaka


There you go, just ignore the fact that you made a mistake and are an ignorant twat. Your maturity and self loathing is ridiculous.

Regardless, your comment is so generic about the tombs, it’s clear you haven’t played and read that in a review. Those tombs you speak of require no grinding, by the time you get to them you’re already done with 95% of the requirements, and if by some maricle, even if you weren’t, it would take 30 min or less to “grind” ALL of it. As for squads being “too far away”, that makes no sense. When deploying for missions you all start at the same place, at the same time, but by all means, elaborate and explain it to me... oh wait, you can’t because you haven’t played it.

You’re so deep in your lie that you might actually start to believe it yourself. It’s so incredibly clear that you haven’t, it’s embarrassing, just stop. Man up, admit you haven’t played it and are just shitting all over a game you haven’t played because of your hate for EA. Is it perfect? Hell no. Is it enjoyable? Absolutely.

As for me defending EA, I hate them as much as anyone else (though not as much as Activision), but I’m not about to discard every game a publisher makes and jump on the hate wagon just because I have nothing better to do. I’m going to give games a chance and judge them myself.

Avatar image for ember_to_flame

Getting plenty of embers, not hard to obtain if that now was a problem.