Update: BioWare has dropped a hot fix for the problem, as promised. Freeplay instances should be working for all players now.
A fix has started to go out across servers. Within the next 1-2 hours you shouldn't come across an empty Freeplay.— Jesse Anderson (@Darokaz) March 1, 2019
Anthem's rocky start continues as patches lead to fixes, which lead to more patches. Yesterday marked the release of a hotfix that made Anthem's loot system a bit better. Previously weapons were rolling inscriptions—additional bonuses like "+100 Percent Fire Damage"—that didn't benefit the weapon at hand. Part of the planned patch to remove Common and Uncommon item drops from level 30 content didn't make it in, and is getting pushed to a later date.
Players today noticed a new issue though. Freeplay, Anthem's open-world exploration mode, wasn't spawning enemies. Players were joining Freeplay instances with no enemies and no wildlife either, just huge expanses of dead world. Anthem's Stronghold instances were also kicking players out upon spawn.
Anthem global community manager Jesse Anderson said BioWare has noticed the problem and is working on a fix.
You may have noticed that Freeplay in #AnthemGame is a little more empty than usual. The team is working on it!— Jesse Anderson (@Darokaz) March 1, 2019
It's likely the issue will be quickly hotfixed sometime today, but it's another stumbling block for Anthem overall. Anthem itself launched in a rough state, with fun core gameplay, but a number of design decisions that worked against the kind of loot shooter it was trying to be. After one patch, the loot drop rate was raised; Bioware quickly and quietly changed the drop rate back to intended levels, causing the community to ask for significant improvements for loot.
Even a former Diablo 3 game designer chimed in with potential fixes for Anthem's loot. The community requests led to the patch and hotfix yesterday, which improved loot inscriptions, but caused this problem. It's similar to the trials of Bethesda with Fallout 76, where its first big patch broke more than it fixed.
BioWare remains committed to fixing Anthem long-term though. The studio offered a 90-day roadmap, with new content like another Stronghold, the Elysian Stronghold Chests, and the Cataclysm, which is supposed to be the hardest content in the game. Hopefully the promise of more in the future is enough to keep the community happy, especially with The Division 2 and Destiny 2's Season of the Drifter coming soon.