Whilst still in development, BioWare’s Anthem has just come out of its first closed Alpha Test, in which the game is played internally while hot fixes and server adjustments are made on the fly, the same work method that will be applied to the game beyond its February 22, 2019 release date. It might be strange to see patch notes for a game that has yet to release, but this is BioWare’s encouragement for both team members and players alike to give as much feedback as they possibly can in order to ensure that Anthem remains a title worth giving your time to.
BioWare detailed some of the findings from the Anthem Alpha test as they continue to iterate and make adjustments ahead of the official February 2019 release of the game:
Loot is critical to upgrading your javelin and leveling up. Alpha players let us know that during their time in Anthem, loot drops weren’t frequent enough and were hard to spot out in the world. We’ve done a pass on the frequency of loot drops and will look for more feedback in future tests. We’re also investigating a way to make loot drops more visible in the world so they’re easier to find.
- We’ll be hosting more focused testing sessions on loot in the future.
- All loot is personal (not shared with the team), and we’ll make tweaks to ensure that’s clear.
- You will be able to access all loot obtained from a mission upon return to Fort Tarsis.
We wanted to help players ease into the dangerous world outside of Fort Tarsis. That in mind, we limited the difficulty of the first few missions and cut down on how many different kinds of creatures were roaming through them. Players let us know that they wanted more challenges sooner. We have now done additional passes to balance all three difficulty levels, and will be updating the game to introduce different creatures earlier and use more of them.
- Mission content in the Closed Alpha was limited, so some players felt there wasn’t a lot to do. We will be adding significantly more content into future builds.
- Critical expedition bugs were fixed.
Leveling systems, how to spend skill points, and how to use the Forge to equip gear were not always clear to our alpha players, because our tutorials for those features were not in place. Also, some leveling actions (like unlocking new javelins) were visible in the menus but not accessible during the alpha. We’re working to finish our tutorials and will seek feedback on their effectiveness once they’re in place.
- Players asked to extend the amount of time they can be airborne, which will be tied to progression and was not available in the Closed Alpha. This type of leveling will be tested in a future build.
Play With Friends
Multiplayer is an important part of Anthem, so we want to make sure it’s as smooth and easy-to-use as possible. Some of our alpha players mentioned they ran into difficulties trying to form a group with friends, and couldn’t always tell if their teammates had successfully joined their party. We’ve added several systems that we think will help: Join and Leave notifications when there’s a change to team make-up, tutorials, and making Add/Kick/Leave features accessible in different places.
- Some players felt it was hard to find their teammates. We’re iterating on some UI elements to help with this.
- We are planning to add a way to help players who get stuck in the world, details TBD
Even though Anthem’s playable Alpha isn’t public, these updates show that BioWare is intensely focused on making sure the game launches in an acceptable state. The updates should serve as welcome ones before Anthem‘s demo drops, with more to come as more and more players get their hands on the full experience. Don’t forget that you can also play the game earlier than its official release date if you can’t wait to get your hands on it to unleash all the fury.
How does this attentiveness to player enjoyment make you feel about Anthem‘s release? Let us know in the comments.