Anthem Players Have Turned Avoiding Bad Loot Into A Game

Illustration for article titled Anthem Players Have Turned Avoiding Bad Loot Into A Game

Anthem’s most dedicated players spend almost as much time complaining about the lack of loot as they do grinding for it, so why are they now avoiding so many of the game’s shiny objects? Because most of them are useless junk that isn’t worth dealing with.


The game limits the amount of loot players can collect while out on a Freeplay or Stronghold mission to 50 items. Once you’re capped, you won’t be able to pick up new stuff—and you won’t be able to drop any of those items you’ve already snagged until you go back to the Forge and see what they are. For high level players searching for only the rarest stuff, it’s important to keep those slots open in case that Legendary they’ve been desperate to find turns out to be the 51st item. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see players trying to weave between piles of loot in order to only pick up the stuff that’s actually worthwhile, which are indicated on the ground as orange pyramids rather than purple or blue ones.

Illustration for article titled Anthem Players Have Turned Avoiding Bad Loot Into A Game
Screenshot: Zealouszelotz

I’ve done it a couple times just on instinct because my overall inventory is almost full and breaking down new items is always a chore. On a few missions more recently, I started noticing that other people were getting really into it, and players have now started sharing some of these moments on the game’s subreddit.

Gif: Elie195

The new loot ritual is a testament to how a game’s systems can interact in complex ways to produce unexpected results. While less rare gear can be broken down into the ingredients required to craft Sigils, consumables that give players special buffs for the duration of a mission, it doesn’t take long to stock up on those resources. The game’s 250 slot vault, meanwhile, fills up quickly since players are encouraged to shift between different Javelins builds, each of which has dozens of unique Masterwork items associated with it. Players don’t have the time or patience to mess around with lower-power stuff.

Gif: VaultDudeYT

For that reason it’s not uncommon to see players lash out at piles of loot that don’t have anything good in them before flying away. In another clip recently shared on the game’s subreddit, one player tried to do just that, but a lightning storm had other ideas.

As one player in the thread wrote: “Legendary drops: literally less likely than being struck by lightning!”

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The Weary Luddite

I’m so curious as to how Anthem became what it is, given the 6 years of development. I really tried to like it, taking the story slow despite playing early access (and optimistically dropping $100 on a year of Origin Access), and there were actually some good character moments. I could appreciate what they were trying to do, bringing storytelling to a genre that has never once had a compelling story. I think the two just don’t mesh, though - people play loot games for loot, and most skip through the stories, bad or not.

Thing is, after taking my time and putting ~50 hours in, I have a decent amount of legendaries, and there’s just... not much to do. The endgame basically doesn’t exist. That’s why they haven’t turned on the loot faucet intentionally: once you have some legendaries, there’s not much left to do.

Do the same mini-dungeons over and over again (with their awful and unrewarding bullet sponge bosses)? Run around an empty map in freeplay with random people you don’t know, with no chat, hopping for a decent-but-probably-useless legendary drop?

That’s about it. There’s just... pretty much no content, and no gameplay loop with any incentive.

It’s puzzling, and it would be really interesting to see a post-mortem on just what exactly went wrong during the game’s development cycle for this to be the end result.