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Anthem did nerf loot drops, but only after accidentally boosting them


If you were zapping around Anthem over the weekend and felt a patch had made loot drops stingier, well, it did - but only because a bug had briefly made BioWare's looter-shooter more generous than intended. Oops. While BioWare are still patching away to fix problems since Friday's official launch (and its unofficial "early access" launch a week earlier), they're also opening up about longer-term plans for content updates. Three big blasts (or 'Acts', to use the official term) are due across the next three months, with the first hitting in March. Like other recent EA games, they seem to be in it for the long-ish haul.

First, the weekend's upset. Many players had an irksome suspicion that BioWare had definitely nerfed drop rates in a patch, and BioWare have confirmed they had. However, this nerf only came after an unintended buff at launch on Friday. This was simply correcting a mistake, BioWare say. Whether intentional or not, some did feel BioWare were making it less fun by forcing more grind. Looter-shooters, eh?

"In our Friday changes, one of the edits we made had the side effect of increasing certain drop chances. This was not intended," lead producer Ben Irving said in a Reddit post on Sunday. "Once we identified the problem we changed it back to how it was before. That was about 11 hours later."

At which point, players started feeling something funny was up and thought BioWare had sneakily nerfed drops. Not so, BioWare say.

Irving claims that "it took a little time for that message to make it around internally and to make sure we understood what happened and how to avoid it going forward." He added, "It's never our intent to make changes without being transparent, so we wanted to come in here to respond and clarify."

Looter-shooters designed for long lives hook players by giving them enough goodies to feel encouraged but not enough to be sated. Going by some reactions, Anthem may be a touch too miserly. Or maybe it just sucks to be so starkly confronted by the nature of the machine you're cranking.

As for the future, BioWare laid out their "90-day roadmap" on Friday. This kicks off with "Act 01 - Echoes of Reality" in March with new world events, better social features, and a new Cataclysm to fight through. Acts 02 and 03 are more vague, though I will say the teaser art for the third lump suggests BioWare will add a murderous conga line:

And yes, more fix-o-tweak updates are planned. BioWare's Chad Robertson said that we should see more improvements this week.

What's Anthem actually like? I wouldn't know. Despite downloading Anthem's weekend beta client, I never got around to it. I'm too deep in Destiny 2's looty-shooty to have time for another, y'see. However, Alice B has a review brewing and Alice L has some not-entirely-thrilled thoughts to share in this video:

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