The genre that doesn't have an official name yet, the one consisting of games like Destiny, Division, and, now, Anthem, draws a lot of inspiration from dungeon crawlers. Anthem, the most recent new IP within the connected or loot shooters genre, could benefit from a few shifts in design after a turbulent launch and one of the Diablo 3 developers offered up a few ideas.
Travis Day, a former Blizzard developer who served as a lead designer for Diablo 3, specifically tackles the loot system in Anthem. Across the board, he offered feedback on the lack of incentive for the random strongholds, player agency, difficulty, and even simplifying item stats. This excerpt from his lengthy Reddit post focuses on "Risk vs Reward:"
"This is a pretty common pitfall that a lot of games run into, the games I worked on included. It's always going to be subject to some amount of individual perception about what is easy vs what is hard. At present it seems that the 3 strongholds have different relative tuning of the final boss encounters, the Tyrant < Temple of Scar < Heart of Rage in terms of overall difficulty. The first time I went to fight the Heart of Rage boss it took 30 minutes for my group to defeat the end boss, relative to the time it takes to kill the Tyrant this felt wildly disproportionate. My take was that they didn't have many dungeons so they wanted them to effectively be tiered in difficulty, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any reward incentive to justify the scaling between the 3 dungeons within a given difficulty setting. Even ignoring that particular case the difficulty between the Tyrant boss and the Scar boss is vast based purely on the invul windows and the difference in fighting swarms of spiders vs swarms of scar enemies.
There are a number of potential solutions on that front, whether it's bringing the dungeons into the same relative difficulty scale or increasing the rewards to match the difficulty. Either direction is reasonable depending on the design goals, but at present it's considerably mismatched in both directions."
BioWare Development Manager Camden Eager responded to Day, thanking him for the feedback and stating that he'll be passing it along to the rest of the team. Anthem earned a 5 out of 10 in our official review, so it clearly has some opportunities for improvement. Thankfully, for BioWare, the fans enjoying the game, and those that may be on the fence, similar titles had troubling launches and improved over time. Listening to feedback was a key for The Division and Destiny developers and it should be impactful on Anthem's future as well.
Anthem is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Stay tuned to Shacknews for additional gaming and tech updates.
Charles Singletary Jr posted a new article, Diablo 3 dev offers ideas on fixing Anthem design
I will read this when I'm not stuck on a network that's blocking shacknews :(