This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
BioWare’s Anthem is an online shooting game that has been on our radar for a long while, with its massively multiplayer structure and space-based setting causing commenters to peg it as “the next Destiny.” Early impressions, including our own hands-on preview, note that the game has potential in abundance.
And now, with Anthem flying onto PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One this week, we thought it was time to brief all of the new Freelancers that are dropping in for the first time. With that in mind, here are eleven tips to help you earn the sweetest loot, blow up the biggest monsters, and have the best time possible…
1. Know your Javelin
Javelins are the suits of armor that Freelancers (that’s you) will use to protect the game’s key location, Fort Tarsis. There are four classes of Javelin, each with their own inherent strengths and weaknesses…
A true “Jack of All Trades,” the Ranger has plenty of options for firepower and is able to equip all but the heaviest of weapons. Its ultimate ability is a “Multi-Target Missile Battery,” which is great for clearing groups of enemies or simply dealing huge damage to a larger foe.
The smallest of the Javelins, the Interceptor is fast and has the passive ability to build shields while traveling at high speeds. The Interceptor’s ultimate ability makes it faster and more lethal than ever – using two Assassin’s Blades to dance around foes, all while remaining invulnerable. It’s perfect in a pinch.
The largest Javelin by some margin, the Colossus cannot use pistols or SMGs, but it makes up for that by being the only suit that can hold Anthem’s heaviest weapons. It’s also the most durable option, able to soak up incredible amounts of damage. Its ultimate ability is a Siege Cannon, a powerful three-shot weapon that damages a huge area.
Arguably the most challenging Javelin to learn and pilot, the Storm is a lightly armored suit with plenty of utility for experienced Freelancers. Focused on hovering and elemental strikes, the Storm can fire weapons and hurl fireballs in equal measure. Its Elemental Storm ultimate ability is a devastating barrage of frost, electricity, and fire.
2. Falling with style
While each Javelin class has its own idiosyncrasies for players to learn, one thing they’re all very good at is flying. Soaring through the air is not only great fun once you get the hang of it, but it’s also incredibly helpful for tactical retreats.
While flying, your Javelin can overheat, which means that landing in order to cool down is sometimes necessary. Or, you can maintain altitude by flying under waterfalls/close to rivers, which will also cool your suit.
It’s worth noting that, while all Javelins have the same flight speed, some of them are more maneuverable than others: the Colossus can’t make the kind of turns that the Interceptor can make, for example.
3. King of the castle
Fort Tarsis is your home base, where you can kick off your boots, get into your comfy clothes, and have a cup of tea between missions. Other than the social hub, where you can see and interact with other players, Fort Tarsis is a solely single-player area viewed from a first-person perspective. It is here that your story will progress throughout Anthem’s campaign, and it’s worth exploring: there are various side characters that can offer new lore and the occasional quest that you’ll want to complete to hoover up as much experience as possible.
4. Mod ’til you drop
Unlike similar titles such as Destiny, each piece of loot in Anthem serves to augment your Javelin’s characteristics rather than its visual appeal. Dividing up cosmetics and stat-boosting items, this essentially means that each handy “Component” you add takes up a slot in your Javelin while leaving your fashion sense entirely up to you.
What this means is that you can tailor your Javelin to suit your playstyle. Want to focus on dealing damage? Add a mod that increases the recharge of your ultimate. Want to keep yourself alive for longer? Install something that boosts your shield.
Some components are tailored for specific classes. While a mod which is made for the Interceptor might work with your Ranger, its effects will be much more noticeable on the Javelin it is primarily designed for.
5. Tiers for fears
While on the subject of loot, it comes in six different tiers – Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, Legendary, and Masterwork. Aside from boosting your “Gear Score” (more on that in a moment), as the tiers progress, they’ll come with added “Inscriptions.”
Inscriptions are perks that are unique to a specific weapon or component, and they increase in effect as you reach higher tiers of loot. In fact, Legendary or Masterwork tier weapons come with two Inscriptions, so it’s worth chasing the best gear.
All of these pieces will add up to form a total “Gear Score” which will be used to gate the content that’s available to each player. If your Ranger reaches the Gear Score threshold of “Legendary,” for example, it will make it easier to complete missions than if you were to use your “Epic” Colossus.
BioWare has also stated that more Masterwork items will be added post-launch, meaning the loot treadmill is unlikely to slow down for some time.
6. Blueprint to success
As with many persistent online titles, material farming is a must. Around Anthem’s open world you’ll find chests with materials, plants to harvest, and old gear with salvageable parts.
Combining the requisite amount of materials with a weapon blueprint (earned as loot), you’ll be able to craft even snazzier weapons. These will come with challenges, which when complete, will increase the chance of even better blueprints for that weapon type appearing in the wild.
With so much of the game’s gear being down to randomized drops, this is a nice way to supplement that system by being able to earn a specific item.
7. Consume, consume, consume
Aside from augmenting your Javelin, it’s possible to give yourself a short-term attribute boost by equipping consumables before setting out on a mission. These boosted abilities range from increased damage, to improved resistance to certain elements, to being able to fly further without needing to cool down. Only one consumable can be applied at the beginning of Anthem, but after reaching level 20 and level 30, second and third slots will be unlocked.
Forming a squad of four friends and exploring Anthem’s world is some of the most fun you can have without alcohol, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a challenge. Missions scale to the size of your party, so enemies will be tougher the more friends you bring along.
Interestingly, each enemy will also scale to the player they are fighting – so you’ll do a similar amount of damage to an enemy as your squad mate, but their damage numbers may be higher or lower than yours depending on level. This is a great way to allow people to play with friends regardless of level.
9. Combo meal
Firing guns is all well and good (and it certainly feels great in Anthem), but your abilities should be your primary means of extinguishing life. You may notice that the abilities in your HUD can come with one of two different icons: a bullseye and what looks like a four-pointed star. This is where Combos, a huge part of Anthem’s combat mechanics, come into play.
The “bullseye” icon indicates that an ability acts as a primer, which will set your enemy up for one of those “four-pointed star” attacks (which are known as detonators). Linking these abilities up, by combo-ing a primer followed by a detonator, can lead to huge damage and a fireworks show of explosive, fiery death. Lovely stuff.
10. All friends here
Since Anthem is launching without PvP modes, we’re all in the same boat here. You’ll want to work with your friends, tailoring a squad with the ideal ingredients for each mission you tackle.
Every obstacle will require different tools to overcome: a mission with a tough boss may need your Colossus to deal ridiculous amounts of damage, while another may require it to take a fair number of hits and draw fire for your team.
The keys to success, particularly in tougher missions, will be collaborating with your team and using the right components to push your Javelins one way or the other.
11. Higher risk = higher rewards
On the subject of mission difficulty, you can select this before leaving Fort Tarsis. As you level up, more difficulties will be unlocked, including Grandmaster. A big part of Anthem’s loop is likely to be replaying earlier missions on higher difficulty levels in order to earn greater rewards – and therefore be able to take on bigger challenges. With that in mind, try and squad up and take on as many challenges as possible.
Anthem is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.