Anthem – Should we expect a Swansong or Dirge?

Anthem feels like a slow moving train wreck. Horrifying to watch yet somehow fascinating. It almost has that “lone wheel bouncing away from a burning wreck” feel to it. Of course, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as the internet would have me believe, but it certainly isn’t good. It always seems to remind me of The Division’s launch, yet it went on to become quite a solid title.

Anthem is in the news again because a wide variety of people are now reporting that they’re having matchmaking issues with the highest level content, and that means it takes absurdly long to complete. So long that it’s faster to spam lower difficulty content to farm drops. As always, I can’t really speak from experience, because I don’t own it. I might, maybe, would consider it for no more than half price, if only so I could speak for myself instead of repeating others.

It would seem to me, though, that if people were already finding it more efficient to farm the slightly lower difficulty content, then that’s where most of the people will be. Why spend twice the time for slightly better drops when you can get double the loot rolls in the faster runs?

Of course, I see a lot of people also saying that the content is balanced for full groups and isn’t designed for the smaller matchmade parties, but this isn’t a unique problem. I need only look at dungeons from, say, FFXIV, to see the exact same setup. That said, XIV doesn’t allow dungeon runs to start with less than the designed party either. You can turn that off, but it has a lot of side effects, like no XP and loot from mobs, I believe.

Still, if you can’t find enough people to do the content then it’s reasonable to assume the population is either very low or focusing on other content. You see this with old alliance raids in XIV. You can stay queued as long as you want but there aren’t enough people trying to queue for them to actually put a proper group together. If you intend to run it you’ll have to find or create a pre-organized group, and that’s probably going to have level sync turned off so you don’t need 23 other people.

What it is, though, is very bad news for Bioware. I fully expect EA to announce it’s closure in a year or two, especially if this doesn’t turn around for them. I would also be working to downplay all this “the new Dragon Age is based on Anthem’s engine” talk. Not saying it has any bearing on the actual product that is Dragon Age, but it’s not an association you want people running around with.

EA has a quarterly earnings call a week from today. Maybe this will provide some manner of insight into how all this is actually playing out on the business end. While I suspect there’s a good game in there somewhere, the news that the timeline of updates has been put on hold would seem to indicate a lack of resources. Either EA pulled the funding because it was deemed a failure and not worth the expenditure or because Bioware has its hair on fire trying to start/produce/finish another high profile title while making sure this one doesn’t burn the house down around them. I personally would expect a dirge, but then again, I would have said the same about The Division back when it launched too.

Y’all take care, and take everything with a grain of salt. The plural of anecdote is not data.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s