Addendum post to CU 1-6 release, thoughts on Anthem

So it turns out I’m a liar.  A 10 hour work day has a way of throwing off your ability to think rationally, and thus I couldn’t write about anything, and thus couldn’t post yesterday.

Anyway, this chapter 1-6 is the longest I’ve written of the Chaldea Untold series, and closer to my releases of Stop Calling Me A Demon King.  An important step in getting my mental muscles back into shape.  I also made a few edits for spelling and Magecraft instead of magic since those are exact terms in the Nasuverse.  Check out the chapter here if you wanna read the updates or have not read CU 1-6 yet.

Also, the property deals are nearly completed. It’s likely I’ll be moving in mid April.  I’m hoping my new work site will be less stressful, which will lead to more energy for my hobbies.  If not… well there is a shortage of people with my qualifications in the area.  I’d probably be able to transfer over into a job in a hospital, or get a job working for local heath care offices.  But the daily unpredictability is something of a draw for me, so I’d miss that.  But it’s not worth daily exhaustion.

On the topic of the recently released chapter, I’ve finally been able to get some distance from the constant exposition of the Fate: Grand Order game in establishing the setting, and can start doing character stuff, which was the reason for my writing this in the first place.  And the reason I had to start at the beginning, and go through so much establishment and exposition is because there will be many readers who don’t know a god damn thing about F:GO and I didn’t want them to be left without a clue by just jumping straight to “the good stuff.”  And in accordance with the game, it was about this point where the player was given a free (or “welfare” as the game terms it) servant of the 2nd to highest ranking, a 4 Star Servant.  The servant the new player gets is random within a set number of potential candidate Servants.  This is also not a self insert story of my own game experience.  For instance, I got a completely different Welfare 4 star than Ritsuka got.

Ritsuka’s path is his own, after all.

And this chapter would, under normal conditions, have been written and released a good while ago.  But the Anthem open Demo weekend happened.  I got enough time with it despite having to work all three days of the Demo, and I feel comfortable sharing my findings with people who are interested.

First, the game is a loot shooter.  The most obvious comparison is Destiny, but the comparisons don’t really hold water.  Destiny is all about getting equipment with higher power rankings, because your Light Level was everything that mattered.  gear was secondary, and stats translated to “Grenade More.  Punch Harder. Nuke Faster.”  And as a result the game play variety really fell to “What type of gun am I equipping?”  Especially since 90% of the time, you were just using your gun for damage outside some well times Ultimate Abilities.

With Anthem, gear is about creating Synergies of bonuses on that equipment.  As such, there is more to gear than equipping the Highest Stat.  You’re going to be thinking about how this bonus reinforces that one, or mitigates this weapon, or compounds with this ability gear.  And yes, abilities are based around the gear you equip.  You can choose the element combinations of your abilities to create combo damage boosts to wreck enemies, and define roles in combat squads as you choose, instead of selecting from a pre-existing set of roles.  It promotes the creation of pre-sets for each of your 4 Javalin suit types so you can swiftly change load outs before missions.

Gear is also FAAAAR easier to get, and when you get ones you don’t want, far more rewarding when you junk them.  You obviously get the “Parts” that are used for crafting new items, but you also get Embers of the same rank.  Which are used as a component to BUILD YOUR OWN GEAR.  As you play the game and reach higher heights, you unlock the restrictions on building your own gear of every available level in the game.  Meaning you can craft the gun and components for your Javalin power suits that you want instead of being wholly reliant on RNGesus to provide.  And a great way to get those Embers outside of junking components is world exploration outside of missions and raids.  I actually got Embers for a Masterwork component from completing a pretty difficult World Event on my own that I stumbled across on NORMAL difficulty.  Enough embers for at least 2 items.  Which means, you don’t necessarily have to junk Masterworks or Legendaries to be able to build your own, and promotes exploration in your flying power suit.

And the flying is super fun.  It’s about as much fun as web slinging around Manhattan in the newest Spider Man game, but without the acrobatics. And you have to let your engines cool every once i a while.  But it’s just rad to enter into a fight by pulling up on the control stick, equip a sniper rifle, hover for a few second, and head shot some nasties before you Super Hero Landing on the scene.  It’s so hard on the knees, though.

The story snippet I saw was also pretty baller.  Typically in online games and TV, the primary job of characters is to Be There so they can React when things happen, and should they be put into a dangerous position, their safety is at risk, but by the end of the episode the situation resolves and they are restored to Default, so they can React to the next Event.

Bioware shows their story commitment by having the Event really change the situation with the characters involved in a way where they will never be the same again.  There are also characters in the game where you don’t go on adventures with them, but your interaction with them will change how their lives work out.  Particularly one struggling actor who tends bar.  He seems to attract the attention of, well… troublesome women… and he asks you for advice on how to handle things.  So you can literally give him the worst advice to see if his life turns into a smoldering ruin, or give good advice to try and help him out.  Choose your own adventure stuff.  I predict that there will be people doing multiple playthroughs to make videos of all these characters and how their lives worked out and posting them on Youtube.  But for the grace of God goes I, because these people really are interesting.

And the thing about difficulty levels… Easy is actually Normal mode.  Everything is at baseline difficulty, and when you get to Normal, you start getting multipliers to enemy skill usage and damage ratings.  The game comes with a built in “Are you crazy?” set of difficulty levels so people can gear treadmill as much as they like… even in Open World exploration!  So you’re not going to be waiting on the Devs to release the new harder maps and missions, because you can rerun the old ones at higher difficulty ratings right off the bat, and search for world events at Master 3 difficulty once you qualify for the challenge ratings.  It’ll keep the world fresh, and you can return to previous maps and STILL find a challenge, instead of having entire regions become ghost towns because they drop beginner level shit and everyone is crowing the servers for the newer maps.

All in all… I’m very optimistic about Anthem.  It just remains to be seen if their servers can handle the opening day player load.  If the reviews don’t talk about massive stability issues, I’ll be dropping 60 bucks on it.  If anyone wants to join me on PC, they’re free to do so. I have no friends list since this will be the first time I’ve had Origin on my PC since Inquisition.

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