As February 22nd draws closer and closer on the horizon tension and animosity around Anthem grows. Its coming demo release for the Press/VIP on the 25th through the 27th and for the plebs on the 1st through 3rd draws my attention for the opposite reasons Bioware and EA want it to. Recent tweets from Mark Darrah at BioWare are the fertilizer to my continuing concerns over anthem.
This Tweet from Mark highlights the “difference” between the demo, AKA bait, and the real game, AKA switch. Point number 4 and 5 are soft pitch monetization talking points. For an online co-op game to have an economy that is in their own words is “completely different” then the demo that they are showing us pre-launch should be greatly concerning. Why would the economy need to be completely different? Point number 1 of Mark’s tweet shows that we are going to start somewhere in the middle of the story. So that VIPs the Press, and the plebs can I have a pseudo real experience of what game content will look like. I would think this means they’ll be updating things like, where your Javelin is currently at in progression, what weapons you start with, the content that you have access, and skills. If they are able to do these things in the demo with your character creation and attributes why are they simply not able to create an equivalency of currency in game for the player in the demo that equals where the player is at in the story at the start of the demo? This is a blind! They do not want people to see what the real economy will look like and the are placing these disclaimers out front of the Demo to obfuscate liability farther down the road after launch. I believe this has a direct correlation to the degree of grind they will have in the game.
Number two balance is super different. What on Earth could they mean? I’ve heard that this is referring to the difficulty of the game being dumbed down. There seems to be this growing movement inside the quote gaming journalist community end quote that games are too difficult. And that publishers and producers need to create gaming environments in which the journalists are not challenged to greatly otherwise this could have a net negative effect on pre launch game reviews. I believe that the balance that they are referring to cuts significantly deeper then the superficial padding or the crib for Journos. I believe that the balance that they’re referring to is the amount of grind that it will take to actually level inside the game. The point of balance and economy are one in the same. This is incredibly important as EA and Bioware have already confirmed that there will be monetization of the game with an in-game cash shop at launch. (IGN Below)
While they have been very direct that this will be cosmetic only, this is completely inappropriate for a triple A title, at full price; charging for cosmetic things at launch. They are openly admitting they have created content pre launch to use at launch to sell to you on top of the 60 dollar price tag. Oh how I wish the cynical brit, Total Biscuit was still alive. Secondly every time that we have heard this from any major publisher that the cash shop in game will be only cosmetic, it always turns out to be not true. This tends to be especially accurate when it comes to EA. Example Star Wars 2 Battlefront. Everything that you want you can get in the game. That is a completely true statement in regards to Battlefront 2. You can get everything in game, and items in the cash shop are completely cosmetic. The definition of cosmetic I believe EA and I have different definitions of.
While there will be no PVP at launch, Bioware has been very specific in saying at launch. They have not said, we have no current plans, or PVP is in a state of development that may not be completed. In IGN’s recent Article regarding Anthem published on the 22nd, monetization was buried close to the bottom. In it they discuss how cosmetic the cash shop will be. I thought that the Javelin suits in Anthem had unique play style and specific strengths that made them unique. This sounds like something that is much more then cosmetic. If PVP where introduced under these specific cash shop parameters, which lets be honest FPS as a genre centers around PVP, the entire balance and competitive edge could revolve around whether or not you have the most recent OP javelin from the cash shop. I am going leave here because I could go one all day about Anthem. If this changes one persons mind, then all my work was worth the effort.