In a post over at Reddit, Diablo 3 designer and ex-Blizzard developer Travis Day posted up his thoughts on Anthem's loot and reward system. As a member of the Diablo team during the Loot 2.0 update that turned Diablo III into a great game, his thoughts on how Anthem handles loot and the surrounding communication to players is well worth a read.
One of the issues with Anthem that we highlighted in our review
was how it fails to properly communicate its mechanics and systems to players. In terms of the loot specifically, Travis points out that weapons and items can roll with 'Dead Affixes'. Stats that simply do not affect the game in any way. This comes down to little icons (that aren't explained) that appear next to item stats that dictate whether they apply to your character or the item specifically. As an example a Sniper Rifle could roll with a stat that increases Assault Rifle damage, but only apply to the Sniper Rifle.
Having items roll affixes that are sub-optimal is standard practice for this kind of game but I think there should be a hard distinction made between "bad" and "literally doesn't work". Currently this causes a considerable amount of confusion for players learning the game as their initial assumption is to think anything an item rolled will work on the item it rolled on.
He then goes on to talk in-depth about the concept of risk and reward and how Anthem doesn't currently feature ways to incentivise its more difficult challenges and Strongholds. He then goes on to talk about the difficulty spikes found when going from Grand-master 1 to Grand-master 2.
Given the structure of loot in this game, the relative power level of any 2 given players doing the same content at end game can be enormous. Players goal is to find better items and continue advancing through the content and challenges. As it stands the difficulty jump between GM1 and GM2 is big enough that once you reach the point where GM1 feels trivial and attempt to enter GM2 you find enemies feeling like bullet sponges who 1 shot the frailer classes in the party. I love a good challenge but going from "this is trivial" to "this is hard and definitely not worth the time and energy" causes players to continue farming content that is "easy" without ever feeling they should put themselves in positions where they are reasonably challenged.
It's a great read so be sure to check it out
, with Travis offering potential fixes and ways things could be improved. Since it went up, BioWare have taken notice of the post with the feedback already passed onto the team.