Anthem Loot Inscription Overhaul Should Make Masterwork Grinding Better

Anthem Loot Inscription Overhaul Should Make Masterwork Grinding Better

Loot is a major problem in Anthem, but BioWare's starting to fix it.

It came in late last night, but as promised, BioWare outlined a few changes that will be coming to Anthem very soon. These changes are planned to go live sometime between today and March 1, and are focused primarily on improving endgame loot distribution. Loot drops have been a major issues for the Anthem community, ever since BioWare made a hidden change to loot drop rates last weekend.

BioWare detailed many of the player issues that these changes are meant to fix. The fix involves inscriptions, the bonus effects added to every weapon and item. The problem with endgame Masterwork and Legendary items is the inscriptions are rolled at random, meaning you can frequently receive items with inscriptions that provide no benefit. With the briefly heightened loot drop rate, players were happy: a Masterwork or Legendary might not have good inscriptions, but players were receiving so many, it didn't matter.

What could be in this chest? | Jake Green/USG, BioWare/EA

First up, the loot drop rate isn't changing back. Instead, the changes are focused on inscriptions. Rolled inscriptions should now either apply directly to the item they're on or provide a benefit to the entire Javelin. This applies only to new drops, not items you already have equipped or in your inventory.

As an explanation, Anthem lead producer Ben Irving said that previously, weapons had a huge Weapon pool that inscriptions were pulled from. Now, there are smaller item specific pools, like an Assault Rifle pool. Every Masterwork has four inscriptions in different categories: Major Primary, Minor Primary, Major Secondary, Minor Secondary. Primary inscriptions are focused on damage and survivability, while Secondary inscriptions are based on utility.

At max level (level 30), uncommon (white) and common (green) items will no longer drop. The problem is with these items in the drop table, players on Grandmaster, Grandmaster 2, and Grandmaster 3 difficulties could end up with loot they couldn't use. This only lowers the problem in front of the community, as rare (blue) and epic (purple) items will still drop and they're not useful for players aiming for Masterwork and Legendary items.

Masterwork crafting requirements have been lower though, allowing players to roll their own new Masterworks. It previously required 25 masterwork embers to craft a new Masterwork; this has been lowered to 15 masterwork embers.

This is only the beginning in terms of fixing Anthem's endgame problems. It's an excellent start though, making sure that more of the gear dropped for players is more useful. BioWare still has a few issues to address, including the scaling of enemy health and damage for Grandmaster 2 and Grandmaster 3 difficulties. Within the Reddit thread announcing the changes, Irving noted that the team is "looking into" the scaling problem.

There are still several other issues, even if you stick with Anthem's loot systems alone. Former Diablo 3 lead game designer Travis Day outlined a few of these issues in a Reddit post to BioWare. Day pointed to Anthem's Strongholds needing rebalancing, both in making sure that bosses and encounters feel uniform in difficulty and rewards reflect the challenge. He also explained that Anthem should spread its loot out across different content types, so players could directly target the gear they need.

BioWare has already promised several fixes and offered a 90-day roadmap for future content additions. These additions include the Elysian Stronghold Caches, which will put vanity gear as rewards within the game's current Strongholds. April adds a new Stronghold, the Sunken, and May will see the launch of the first Cataclysm, which will stand as the hardest content coming to Anthem. While Anthem got off to a rough start, it looks like BioWare is committed to making a much better experience in the future.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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