In BioWare’s first livestream for Anthem since the game’s release, the developer was focused largely on next week’s update, which will fix many of the game’s bugs.
Anthem is set to receive its first major post-launch update next week, BioWare confirmed during yesterday’s livestream. The patch will address many of the bugs that have plagued Anthem since its launch last month, including an issue that causes the game to crash on PlayStation 4 (and in some cases shut down console itself).
In the first developer livestream since Anthem‘s official release, BioWare spent much of the time discussing the fixes coming in the upcoming patch. While we’ll have to wait for the patch notes to be released (likely on the day the update is pushed live), BioWare did touch on a number of key fixes.
Most notably, BioWare assured that they’ve discovered the root issues causing the game to crash on PlayStation 4 and that those problems have been fixed. They also sought to set the record straight on rumors regarding PS4 consoles being bricked by the game. According to lead producer Ben Irving, in all instances of the PS4’s hard crashing, they’ve discovered that the PS4 can be powered back on.
BioWare also addressed the most recent discovery that a Level 1 Defender rifle does the same damage as a Masterwork or Legendary. Irving confirmed this was an unintended bug and that it is an easy fix.
In total, the patch notes will probably contain around 300 changes, according to BioWare. But the update isn’t only focused on fixing bugs. BioWare has also made some quality of life improvements and has tweaked annoyances in some of Anthem‘s game design mechanics, including frustrations that have to do with downed players.
Irving explained that many of the changes made are short term solutions designed to improve the current state of the game and create a more enjoyable experience while they work on longer-term solutions. The goal, according to Irving, was to focus on changes they could make quickly that would temporarily alleviate player frustration.
One such instance is the way Anthem will handle players being downed. To address the frustration of being downed and the possibility of a teammate not noticing or helping, the update will remove many of the game’s respawn restricted areas and replace them with a respawn timer. The length of the respawn timer will vary depending on the situation, but Strongholds will have a 30-second timer. Irving noted that some areas will still have the respawn restriction in place, but he didn’t cite a specific reason for that.
Other things you may notice while playing is that the crashing animation, specifically for the Colossus, has been shortened so you’re not out of commission – either from crashing or overheating – for so long. You’ll also be able to start an expedition from anywhere in Fort Tarsis rather than having to go to your Javelin. BioWare has made tweaks to Quickplay backfilling, like loading into dead missions, which should hopefully result in a more enjoyable and stable experience.
On major bug that won’t be fixed in the update is the dreaded health bar glitch.
Basically, this is going to be a massive update that hopefully makes Anthem a less frustrating game. As I mentioned in my review, the combat mechanics are great, but the game is being held back by bugs and odd design choices. While some of these are only temporary solutions, I look forward to seeing what BioWare has planned in the long run.
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Speaking of the long run, BioWare said that the plan is to still release content featured in the 90-day roadmap. Things still seem to be on track for March, and the goal is to have Elysian Chests in the game by the end of the month. Of course, roadmaps are always flexible, so we’ll have to see what this first patch does.
Even further down the road, Irving touched on features BioWare is looking to implement. This includes Masterwork support gear and a page to display your stats, though there’s no timeline for when either will be implemented.
Overall, it was a very informative stream. The bug fixes and changes are certainly a step in the right direction, but I’m a little disappointed in the seemingly lack of overall direction for the future of Anthem. It’s understandable that BioWare is focused on bug fixing before they shift fully to post-launch content, but I would’ve like to hear some more specifics for how they plan to address certain issues. The responses “We’re working on that,” and “It’s something we have planned to address down the line” don’t do much to ease my concerns.