Update:In a comment on the original Reddit thread, a BioWare community manager has confirmed that this is a bug. BioWare says it will be looking into the issue.
Something is weird with the damage numbers in Anthem. Based on some experimentation by players, it appears that the standard, level one rifle defaulted to beginning players, is actually more powerful than rarer, more advanced weapons found later in the game. This has led users to believe that the damage numbers output shown in Anthem during fights aren't indicative of the actual damage done by weapons.
One Reddit user who experimented with how damage works in Anthem posted the following discovery on the Anthem subreddit today: The level 1 weapon is stronger than higher level guns, despite Anthem's damage numbers saying otherwise. To reach this conclusion, the user tested a level 1 common Defender rifle, with a level 45 masterwork Ralner's Blaze rifle.
The level 1 rifle shows that it's dealing 286 damage per bullet against a normal Scar Trooper. The level 45 rifle shows it dealing 1184 damage per shot against the same Scar Trooper. So the higher level rifle should kill the same enemy faster. According to the user it takes six bullets to kill the Trooper using the higher-level weapon, which should mean it would take the level 1 rifle five times more shots to do the same.
Instead, the level 1 rifle takes four bullets to take down the Scar Trooper that requires six bullets to take down using the higher-level weapon. The user said they tested this using various weapons and enemies, "and while the numbers vary, the results are always the same: the level 1 defender rifle is by far the most effective weapon in my inventory."
Based on the findings, the user has drawn two conclusions. Either the level 1 rifle is bugged, or the damage numbers displayed during combat aren't the actual damage done to an enemy. The latter would suggest that Anthem's core combat is based on incorrect data.Card
Other users have recreated similar experiments, and posted gifs comparing the damage done by a level 1 weapon and a higher-level weapon. You can see in this gif that the more powerful Ralerns Blaze rifle does slightly less damage in three shots than the second, level 1 rifle despite the damage indicated.
BioWare technical design director Brenon Holmes actually commented on the findings in the same Reddit thread. "We'll need to investigate this," says Holmes. "Scaling systems are supposed to allow low level players to play with high level players to be effective against high level enemies. This is not intended, something ain't right there...."
Anthem has a system that lets any instance be played by all players, regardless of level or strength. Holmes seems to be saying that there's an issue with the scaling system at play here. But whether this is just in instances, or all parts of Anthem's combat is unclear.
We've reached out to BioWare for an update, but this is yet another bug discovered in the live-service action game. And these issues are all culminating in what a rocky launch for Anthem, which has been seeing issues since the early access period.