Anthem off the Games List

Tomb Raider (2013) — Revisiting my campaign from years ago. Hurrah cloud-saves.

I resisted moving Anthem off the side-panel ‘Games of Interest’ block even after declaring my time done with it in the immediate future. I resisted in large part because I was still interested to see how it would unfold from here. How the early roadmap might play out.

I’ve changed my mind. I don’t care. I can’t care. You might have seen the Anthem expose article from Jason Schrier already, if not, Asmiroth wrote a most excellent condensation of the article. Asmiroth covered essentially everything I would have, had I not been distracted by another post topic on the night.

The revelations of the article give me a mixed sense of optimism that — if given the time — that the Anthem ship may yet me turned around. That’s a mighty big ‘if’ truthfully. But it isn’t this doubt that is the other part of the ‘mix’ I was talking about. The other part is a sense of betrayal. The much vaunted dev transparency for Anthem was a sham. An absolute have.

The worst part is of course being an active participant in the sham. There were many clues early on. I don’t just mean in hindsight, either. When the revelation was made that there would be no inventory, no loot display, nothing of the kind while ‘playing’ the game was made. When this was presented as a ‘design’ decision I remember thinking it incomprehensible that any developer — especially one experienced with RPGs like BioWare — would actually make that call.

When the demo rolled around and there was a load screen to access the inventory? That suspicion clicked more firmly in place, and yet still hope was held onto. Ah well. Live and learn. I still hope to be able to reinstall some day in the future for a great, more complete experience.

Full Changes to the Game List

Removed

  • Anthem
  • The Elder Scrolls Online

Nearly Removed

  • Final Fantasy XIV

Added

  • Far Cry: New Dawn
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Tomb Raider (2013)

I didn’t login to The Elder Scrolls Online at all last month, with Final Fantasy XIV taking the MMO spot in my life. Nothing has put me off ESO, it’s entirely likely I’ll be back. Just… not now.

FFXIV itself is living on the edge with no major activity from me in a while. Still. I hold hope that I’ll get back to it again soon. Not having to do any side-quests is such a win for me.

As to the others I added? I suspect they’ll be short-lived, all being one-and-done campaign style games. Tomb Raider I’ve gone right back to the start of the current trilogy though. I never quite finished it at the time, but going to give it a go again now that the entire series is available. :)

Time to Loot Journal: March 2019

March was a trying month, with the Christchurch terrorist attack claiming 50 lives in the end. I struggled for a short time in even knowing how to continue posting here afterward. Not to acknowledge it would by far have been the greater crime, but how does one follow that with another post on something so relatively trivial as ‘gaming’ right afterward?

The solution in my case was to acknowledge the struggle in making that cognitive and emotional leap between the two topics. To acknowledge that gaming had a place in decompressing and spending time with friends in a space where, at least for a moment, the constant flood of news could be put to one side.

In any case! To happier things. This journal format is inspired in large part by Wilhelm’s Month in Review series. I don’t have the historical backing to even look back even so far as a year as yet, but that — and longer — is certainly the aspiration. Kudos too, to Endgame Viable for starting (as I can tell) the use of ManicTime to track gaming-time over the course of the month.

Blog This Month

I made 15 posts this month, down from 22 last month. I did wonder whether the pace would be sustainable or not and honestly even now I’ve still not settled into anything recognisable as a set pattern per se.

There are a grand total of 47 published posts (including this one), so the first mini-milestone of 50 should come early on in April. :)

Most Viewed Posts:

  1. Heart of Rage: Tips for the Monitor
  2. The Division 2 Private Beta — The Dark Zone
  3. Scar Temple: Tips for Scelos
  4. Transition from Social to Solo
  5. Epic Store Claims Another Exclusive

Only #4 and 5 on this list were actually posted this month. The Heart of Rage tips — despite the significant nerfs to the difficulty of the fight and a declining player base — has a little more than 8x the views of #2!

Games This Month

GameHours% Gaming Time
The Division 246.950.2%
Final Fantasy XIV22.223.7%
Far Cry: New Dawn7.98.5%
Anthem5.55.9%
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice4.44.7%
Far Cry 53.63.8%
Fallout 761.81.9%
Devil May Cry 50.70.7%
Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem0.50.5%

For a total of 93.5 gaming hours, out of 241.3 total ‘active’ hours on the computer, or 38.7% of the active hours spent gaming.

The Division 2

No surprises with this one being my main game of the month.

I am a little surprised in retrospect at how relatively few hours I got out of it with the launch content relative to Anthem though. There is no doubt in my mind that The Division 2 is the more fleshed out and complete package of the two titles and has left me with the more positive impression overall. But it would appear that the gear stratification and knowing we have another tier releasing very soon has been very effective at putting me into a ‘hurry up and wait’ mindset.

I still haven’t reviewed or really even posted a detailed set of impressions on The Division 2 yet, but that is still something in the works.

Final Fantasy XIV

I jumped both feet back into FFXIV only earlier this month.

In part there was a gap until The Division 2, but mostly because I had worked myself into a bit of a frenzy for it after exposure to the Shadowbringers Trailer1.

While it wasn’t the plan to replace ESO, in retrospect it seems obvious there was no other outcome. Both are strongly story focused MMOs that serve a similar role in my gaming line-up.

That initial mad-rush and hyped feeling is gone. Heck, at the launch of Division 2 I almost regretted it because it meant less FFXIV time! But even with this, I still do want to dive into more and be ready — if I can — for Shadowbringer’s launch. Guess we’ll see how it fares this month. :)

Far Cry: New Dawn (and Far Cry 5)

I covered these only the other day in my admission of falling back into the impulse / ‘it’s on a sale’ purchasing habits. *cough*

Far Cry 5 would’ve likely rated a bit more time except I’m playing it exclusively in co-op and the friend I’m playing with was away from home over the weekend since we picked it up.

New Dawn on the other hand… I might be approaching the end of my time with. Maybe. I felt myself drifting from it a bit yesterday. But what I might do instead is break away from the more ‘completionist’ aspects of it and beeline the main story.

Anthem

*sigh* Moving on.

More seriously, I acknowledged putting Anthem on hold this month but I’d all but put it down by the end of February.

Each patch, including the last 1.0.4, I’ve dipped my toes back in against my better judgement ‘just to see’ which is why it has even broke the 5 hour mark.

I was looking at my review the other day in light of current feelings to see if I still stood by it. I do, for however I feel about it now I can’t deny the 90+ hours of joy it brought earlier.

Give this game another year and it could be something truly special.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

I also talked about this one (very briefly) in my last post2.

I’d barely touched it at the time — you know, a whopping two days ago. Endgame Viable posted some spoiler free quick thoughts — so far I agree with all of this bullet points, but none more so than prior Dark Souls experience not necessarily being helpful.

Overriding previous muscle memory reactions with the completely different set that Sekiro requires is no easy task (so far). I haven’t tackled any of the ‘major’ bosses yet, but have 3 mini-bosses under my belt so far (not counting the ‘tutorial’ one). The first one took me the longest when I was least familiar with the controls.

Fallout 76

Wait, what?

This was something of an experiment. After the overwhelming degree of negativity surrounding Anthem I started to wonder. Did Fallout 76 deserve the hate it received? Had it been improved by its patches already? For $20 on sale at the beginning of the month, I was willing to find out.

Look, I probably didn’t give it an entirely fair shake. Would it have received more of a look-in if I wasn’t actively hankering to play FFXIV at the time? Possibly.

But I didn’t get on with it. I’d be reluctant to say it deserves the hate it gets now based on less than 2 hours, though. It looks to have a pretty good 2019 roadmap including a main quest-line, so perhaps I’ll give it more of a shot later on down the road.

Devil May Cry 5

The screenshot over to the right there is from before the main menu loads.

It’s about all I feel qualified to really write about the title so far. I held on buying this one for a while, thought I might even wait on a sale. I loved DMC 4 though, and ultimately the praise DMC 5 was getting was too much to say ‘no’ to.

When will I play it though? … That’s… That’s a great question.

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

Despite the low played time this month, Wolcen likely deserves a full post of its own.

It’s an ARPG that has been on a very slow burn, development wise. I Kickstarted it (back when it was still going by ‘Umbra’) over 4 years ago. What I played was not the full release, oh no. That is probably coming sometime shortly before Star Citizen. What I played was the newly released ‘Gameplay Beta’ which is, to be fair, quite the extension over the technical betas they had running last year.

It is similar in concept to Diablo 3’s adventure mode. There is plenty to like about Wolcen, I think one day it is going to be an excellent title. But I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone yet.

Still though…

Making it Official: Anthem on Hold

Warning: Some elements of the negativity drive might be spinning up in this one.

In case it wasn’t clear — I’ve put Anthem to one side for the moment. This started out in a fairly happy and OK space. The revised expectations I put on the game during the second demo weekend were all met if not actually exceeded.

And despite my warning at the top of this post, I’m not yet ready to make any dramatic style, ‘I’m done forever!’ type statements. I may not even be done for long. But without any doubt, for the moment at least, I am done.

I was near to just letting that fact slide until I was ready to revisit (likely in April after the alternate player progression, new stronghold and some other fun bits were added.)

Then this tweet happened:

There are two more in the thread, one which indicates they believe they can take ‘Months’ to fix this.

Rather innocuous sounding if unaware of the context, I know. You may recall Isey’s post from a couple of days back urging BioWare to claim and own the increase to the loot drops people were seeing. Isey warned of the anger that would stem from taking this away a second time.

Prophecy fulfilled.

The video is well worth a watch for a summary of the reactions at the moment and the camps forming around the change.

I get what BioWare is after. They are making an effort to chase down a long tail of play through masterwork and legendary scarcity. They are following a philosophy of, ‘People will stay longer if there are still gear optimisations left to be made.’

What they’re perhaps not understanding yet, is that even with their loot improvements — their loot game simply isn’t strong or engaging enough to have that effect yet. Scarcity plus relatively uninspiring loot is becoming a player-churn driver rather than they player-retention driver they hoped for.

Once you’re decked out in ‘Somewhat OK’ masterworks in the Javelins you personally care about, the shine wanes fairly quickly. What should be the best part of a loot game — the refinement and optimisation of your build — is entirely missing or is too dispiriting to try chasing after for very long.

This could potentially be addressed in a number of ways, and a raw increase in the number of drops exchanged for your time invested is possibly the bluntest instrument in the toolbox. I acknowledge that. But it’s also the only one BioWare has right now.

They can clearly switch it up quite quickly, something that would not be true of introducing alternate, more delicate, options such as a reforging ability1 or adding more diversity to the masterwork/legendary effects and items pool.

But… Chad’s response really got under my skin in this instance. I’m not even 100% sure I can adequately articulate why, either, other than to say it is some awful mix of condescension while also being completely tone-deaf. There is a lack of empathy or understanding there so complete it makes me not want to hear from Chad again. Certainly he should refrain from tweeting again on issues like this, and possibly it should be reconsidered whether he is the right person for ‘Head of Live Service’.

*sigh* I’m a bit surprised at how much this tweet chain resonated and in such a negative way with me. Text is a poor communicator of ideas at times, and I’ve been trying to keep myself open to this fact. Interpretation of the emotive content (or lack thereof) is always going to be subjective at best. I acknowledge that. And yet I feel it so completely with this I know I’m going to be hard-pressed to be convinced.

Like I said earlier, I’ll be back to check on progress again. I’m not ‘done’ done, I’m not even ready to take the game off my ‘interested’ list. There are plenty of distractions (too many, in fact!) here now or coming soon. All the while though, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for a strong April and May in Anthem-land!

Improvements to Anthem Loot Incoming

Unfortunately, the patch cannot fix this item. The new loot generation rules will not be retroactive. Still; it should prevent this happening again!

Ben Irving has now detailed what the loot improvements coming today or tomorrow are. They’re a really positive start that should make getting a Masterwork or Legendary more rewarding, if not necessarily more frequent.

Loot Change Highlights

  • Greens and Whites have been removed from the level 30 loot pool. It’s unclear however whether or not that shifts the probabilities of the higher rarities up, resulting in a higher chance to obtain MW or Legendary. It is entirely possible that the roll chances have remained the same, just with any loot that comes up as Green or White no longer actually dropping now.
  • Inscriptions to better fit their items. Some inscriptions have literally no way to use them. Two main versions of this issue at the moment:
    1. Item Specific (Cog Icon) inscriptions that cannot benefit the item it’s on. e.g., Cog Icon buff to Grenade Launcher damage on an Assault Rifle.
    2. Suit Wide (Javelin Icon) but on an item specific to a Javelin who cannot benefit from it. e.g., Ice Damage increase on a Ranger specific component. The Frost Grenade does no damage. Ice Effect is useful, but Ice Damage is not. Note: The Javelin-wide but still not useful issue is not specifically addressed in Ben’s Post. We will have to see if this is fixed with this patch or not.
  • Reduction in number of Masterwork Embers required to craft. You need 25 Masterwork Embers to craft a Masterwork gear piece at the moment, this is dropping to 15. Craft 40% more MW’s than you could before! … A bit painful after having crafted a bunch recently. But great going forward! ;)

Inscription Change Details

The changes detailed here are what give me some hope that despite the Javelin-wide but still not useful issue not being addressed, it may actually still be resolved.

Currently the inscription pools are extremely broad and generic. The example Ben gives is ‘Weapons’ as a single pool of possible Inscriptions.

When this patch hits, later today or tomorrow, every slot and type will have its own pool of inscriptions to draw upon when being generated. Further, each potential slot for an inscription on a piece of gear will have its own pool to draw upon.

Worth noting too, despite there being no indication of this in the current Anthem UI, there is a concept of Major and Minor stat-types already. Major inscriptions as you might expect focus on increasing either your damage or your survivability. Minor are more utilitarian or quality of life in nature.

I do query then some of the Major stat choices, for example, on the following item which one is meant to be Major?

Is Shotgun Ammo is meant to be the Major Inscription, with a minor DPS increase through less reloading required? Or maybe the Ammo Drop is, because picking those up also prevents need to reload? Either way, that’s still fairly unexciting as a Major.

What Will These Changes Mean?

Anyone coming to the loot-grind phase of the game now are definitely in for a better time of things. The confusion that items with dead-inscriptions has created for people has been fairly immense, leading people to believe they were missing or just not understanding something.

If you’ve already been on the loot-train like me, it’s going to depend on how far along and how lucky you got! These changes are a great start toward making loot drops more exciting though, with far less likelihood of something disappointing coming your way.

I have some fairly strong items (e.g., I’m not sure I’ll ever get to replace my legendary Pulse Blast at the current item level cap), but plenty of others that are just filling in space.

If you’ve lucked out on God Roll items for most of your gear already, it doesn’t help at all with the variety of items on offer unfortunately or in increasing build options. But at least the Roadmap shows that new items are coming with a fairly regular cadence, starting March.

These changes also mean my interest has been refreshed. I’ll jump back in more after it lands to check-out the changes first hand and see if I can get my Ranger into a state that GM2 feels good to play.

Coming Games of Interest — March 2019 Onward

There is a lot coming out over the next little while that I’m quite interested to play. Normally, I’d just take things as they come. Really ‘seat-of-my-pants’ it. I still might. But I can feel the end of my tether fast approaching with the launch content of Anthem, so want to put down something of a plan. Well, less a plan, more a sketch of a plan. Rough though, very rough.

I’m currently sitting at 75-hours played and still enjoy the core gameplay experience. Enough so that I’m quite likely to finish the post-story Trial of Valour. There’s also a bit still to unpack in the Anthem Roadmap which will help going forward.

This wasn’t unexpected, after my second weekend with the demo I revised my expectations.

…if at launch, I can get somewhere in the region of 50-80 hours of it, accounting for going through the story, finishing up with the reputations and challenges I care about, perhaps getting into a decent set of Masterwork gear (with some legendaries scattered in) to such a point I can get into and do the Grandmaster difficulties? Then I’ll be happy that it was money well spent.

Naithin (2019), Anthem Impressions – Two Demo Weekends In

I am exactly there, and will end up with more hours than anticipated. Bonus. But this post isn’t meant to be about Anthem, it’s the ‘What’s Next’ post!

What’s Next?

The Division 2 — March 15th 2019

I have no plans to spend any time with the upcoming open-beta. I got my fill of the demo content during the private beta when that was on, in which I played a good amount of the early game PvE, the Dark Zone and the endgame PvE.

I won’t be taking any time off work for The Division 2 as I did with Anthem, so there will be a better pacing to the content it has to offer, I think. How I’ll split the time between Anthem’s content drops and this, I don’t quite yet know. It seems likely that this will be my primary game from March 15th for a while though.

Outward — March 26th 2019

Outward has somehow flown under my radar until very recently. It looked great even back in a 2016 PAX West trailer too. Now that I have seen it, I want it yesterday. Today would be next best.

If it has also passed you by until now — the concept puts you in the shoes of a nobody in an otherwise high-fantasy world. Your victories will be small in scale, but no less meaningful for it to start. Getting a backpack is a milestone to remember.

It will have survival elements, which is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. I won’t deny they certainly can be a nuisance if the frequency of needing to eat, drink, etc is too high.

The detail going into it have me incredibly interested. Oh, also? It features co-operative play, even local split-screen co-op. :o

I’ll be taking a look!

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr Expansion — June 4th 2019

You might remember in an effort to fill a gaming-gap, I started an adventure back into The Elder Scrolls Online.

I was really enjoying my adventures there and I still have… many hours ahead of me to finish the story content already available. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the original main story quest, and estimates for Morrowind and Summerset expansions put them in around 30-hours each to get through.1

There’s almost no way I’ll be ready for Elsweyr’s story at release. Not if I want to do things in order at least, which I do. ESO does scale all content to whatever you are if you’re personally more keen to just jump straight into what’s new.

That’s probably OK though, as ESO is going down a path similar to Guild Wars 2’s ‘Living World’ episodic structure, with a full year of content planned around the return of the Dragons to the world. The longer I wait, the more of this there will be. ;)

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Expansion — July 2nd 2019

Being honest, there is a huge element of FOMO2 going on with me and this title at the moment.

I’ve played the title before and never made it to end game. I was disheartened by frequent reports of end game raids being essentially unplayable from the Oceania region. Using the datacentres in Japan helped, but apparently still wouldn’t be enough for top-tier raids.

For the type of player I am3 this told me not to bother. I really don’t know how to play an MMO casually. Or more to the point, how to enjoy doing so.

If I make a return to FFXIV, it might be with a new perspective — less focusing on it as an MMO and more playing it for the story and the journey. Something I’ve done in my approach to ESO so far, and you know- I think it’s working.

Also? Gunblades. Yiss!

Heart of Rage: Tips for The Monitor

Moments before disaster struck. Here’s some tips to avoid this happening to you!

Learning the Scelos fight last night taught me something about Anthem. It’s difficulty shares some parallels to WoW. Anything below Grandmaster and the mechanics can be preeeetty much ignored (or at least not fully understood) just like in WoW’s normal dungeon or PUG Raid (LFR) difficulties.

Crank that switch up though and things start to matter.

In order to do this as a Stronghold, you need to have gone through the encounter as part of the Story so you would have seen it already. But as a bit of a recap The Monitor-ascended has three-major phases to it.

  • Phase 1: The ‘ow hothothot’ phase, where the floor, the sky, the boss the boss’s weapon (and sometimes your Javelin) are lava.
  • Phase 2: The ‘ow I’m melting’ phase, but this time it’s acid burn.
  • Phase 3: The ‘ow-‘ ZZzzzT! Lightning phase.

Of the three I think the first phase is the roughest to get through, especially if you’re not sure what’s going on or if enough of your party doesn’t know what’s going on.

So let’s fix that.

Phase 1: Fire

If you take only one thing away with you from these tips, take this:

Shoot the balls of fire on the ground.


The first time I encountered this mechanic, I assumed it was intended that we find a safe spot on the ground and run to to it. That’s a trick, a dirty- dirty- trick.

Fire, fire everywhere.

By the time they’re ready to go critical and explode, they’ll be covering about 95% of the arena floor. You can fly above and treat the floor like lava during this phase, but this is risky business if you get knocked out of the air before they’re finished turning everything at ground level to bacon.

There is a secondary bonus to destroying the Meteors before they can detonate as well. Destroying the meteors gives you a crazy amount of ultimate charge. Destroying even a couple each round of meteors will see you being able to get several Ultimates off before it pushes into Phase 2.

The expanding rings around each meteor are safe to be in before they explode, you can run right in close as you’re destroying one to make sure you don’t accidentally get hit by an explosion from another nearby meteor.

There are no adds to worry about in this phase either, so you can position yourselves as you see fit around the room. I’d suggest not stacking too tightly due to the leap attacks and fire orbs, but if you see someone who is struggling with clearing a patch of safety around them in the Meteor phase, it’d be better to hang out nearby and help them than to let them take that damage repeatedly. It’s intense.

Three other things to pay attention to in this phase though are:

  1. Pay attention to the boss even while shooting the meteors. Use your abilities to get the meteors down quickly so that you don’t get blindsided by a leap attack. If The Monitor kneels down and is facing your general direction, jump, dash to the side and jump again. Your aim is as much horizontal distance as possible. If you’re a Colossus, err… die I guess? I suppose you could try out your shield. That might work. ;)1
  2. If the fiery orb is floating above the ground — it’s a trap! You can’t destroy those ones, they just simply explode. Mechanically they’re very similar to the stationary fire-orb explosions that Titans do. Just back away from these and don’t let them explode on you.
  3. At the midpoint of The Monitor’s second pip of health, watch out. You’ll also hear a voice-queue from your Freelancer, ‘Chase him down!’ to signal this is about to happen. You’ll get a wave of Meteors with a lot more health. You probably cannot kill these fast enough alone to avoid them detonating. If you’re nearby allies (or are on voice and can co-ordinate coming together as you near this point in his health) you might be able to focus fire one and carve yourself out a safe spot. If not, every person for themselves! Fly up immediately and aim for an outer edge of the arena. You should be able to find a safe spot to land and wait out the detonation, possibly ressing the less fortunate after it goes off. ;)

#3 signals the end of this phase — you’ll have time to regroup before flying to the next arena if needed and bring up your fallen if needed.

Phase 2: Acid

After all that for Phase 1, Phase 2 and Acid will probably feel like a cakewalk.

The main new addition here is Mordant Elementals who will be a near constant companion during this phase. Like any other elemental you’re likely to encounter in Anthem, they would love dearly to come up to you and give you a hug.

It’s just a shame that their hugs come in the form of an acidic shower.

Work on killing these rather than letting them build up, but you can achieve that simply through pretending to want a hug and walking up to them — to jump and dash away right after if you’re one of the more agile Javelins.

Meanwhile, The Monitor won’t be jumping around as much any more and slamming halberds through your party, but he will Teleport around the place. You’re generally most safe to stay positioned on the platforms in the room, although despite appearances the liquid at ground level will not innately damage you.

As well as offering splatter-hugs, Mordant Elementals who you gain sufficient distance from will instead spit acid at you. Yes, rather unpleasant.

The Monitor will do this too, but it will come in quite a wide torrent. For this reason it’s best to keep some distance from him. If he teleports nearby your platform, relocate to another.

On top of this, The Monitor will occasionally bring back his explosive orb trick — of course, this time attuned to Acid.

Once The Monitor is down 3 pips of health (50%), this phase will be over and he will teleport away again. Know that the elementals will not stop spawning. You should just leave as soon as the next waypoint marker appears on screen; not keep fighting the elementals in the room like I did for a while. ;)

Phase 3: Lightning

The final phase, and the second most difficult in my opinion.

The main new mechanic here to watch for is domes of exploding electric energy, which then course a wave across the entire arena floor. These can come from any direction and often overlap each other.

It does damage at ground level, so staying above it — either by hovering as much as possible, standing on the various pieces of machinery in the area, or timing your jumps to pass it by harmlessly beneath you is up to you. Learn the sound it makes though as the wave starts, as it may save your life.

Taking a single wave probably isn’t going to kill you, but taking one followed by a sequence of homing electro balls might.

Now, YMMV on this — but I found with my latency2 I had to jump a bit before what was visually suggested to me. In the video I’ll include below, you’ll see a few instances where I jumped over and still took the damage, and a few more where it appears I landed ON the effect and got by unscathed.

As you approach the final 1.5 pips of health, he will go berserk — crouched in the centre sending continual shock waves out. It is my belief that the orbs of light in the barriers in the arena are meant to protect you from the wave attacks.

But I found this to be somewhat unreliable. Watching the video back though, here’s what I think the situation is — I’ll be testing this further on future runs, but also happy to hear from any of you on it:

  • The barrier cannot protect you from the initial explosion that sources the energy waves,
  • The barrier also cannot protect you from the homing lightning balls.
  • But it seems that the barrier can protect you from just the waves of energy. I think when I take damage from a wave, I have juuuust inched my way out the back end of the barrier and therefore lost it’s protection.

If this is true, it might be an easier means of avoiding damage from that mechanic, but it isn’t infallible so keeping mobile except in times of dire need might work just as well and is probaaaably what I’ll continue to do.

Shortly after he goes berserk, he will fade out of existance. (No grand strider entrance this time.)

Well done, you’ve beat it! :D

The Video

If you want to see this in video form, you may. But note it is completely unedited and not narrated. On the plus side, that means the bloopers are also intact. ;)

I benny hill an elemental around a platform for a while in, launch a grenade at a different unsuspecting platform and fire a devastator round into an equally unsuspecting wall. Fun times.

Nonetheless, the attempt was successful and it might help in visualising some of what I’ve talked about.

Scar Temple: Tips for Scelos

The type of reward, you too may have, if you follow these 27 easy tips! (Note: Likely not going to be 27 tips.)

Went into Scelos fight tonight on Grandmaster 1 after previously only having done Scar Temple on hard. To start with, Scelos was an exercise in frustration. “Oh for Fart’s Sake,” or perhaps something, um, similar, was heard over our Discord on more than one occasion.

The core problem was that we were over-cocky bastids at this point. Even Legendary Contracts on GM1 were starting to give us that feeling of super-human power again. Take that attitude into Scelos’ lair though, and he ain’t having a bar of it.

In case you’ve not yet seen or done this fight full-stop; the basic mechanics of it are that Scelos has fused himself into the form of a very large Escari shell, with all the fun and games that entails. Waves of devastating missiles and withering machine gun fire being the specials of the day.

Add to this though that every so often three giant shield generators around the room will power up and render Scelos invulnerable. Each generator must be taken down before Scelos can be damaged again, but also during this phase additional Scar support units will spawn in, with increasing intensity each time this phase is activated. Note that even while shielded, Scelos would love nothing more than to ruin your day with an unasked for Missile-enema.

Queue the tips — aka: The things we did wrong on the first two attempts that we corrected for the third.

  • Be mindful of where the fans arethey will hurt you if you’re taking their blades to the backside. They also activate with very little warning. Fan activation appears to be boss HP based rather than time alone, but it isn’t directly related to passing from one ‘pip’ of Scelos’ health into the next. Nonetheless, crossing that threshold is when we started to be extra alert for the fans starting, and making sure the cover we were currently using wasn’t right in front of one.
  • The scar waves with the activation of the fans are finite — kill them. Don’t feel pressured into doing the fans quickly in order to reduce Scar spawns. They do stop on their own without taking the fans down and should be dealt with accordingly. The first fan phase or two is not that scary, but if you ignore them they will hang around until dealt with, on top of the less friendly waves that come later.1
  • Moving in a group (or at least pairs) from cover to cover is good during the shielded phase. Pack mentality for handling the scars is the way to go. Focus fire the threats (Hunters, Scouts) then take out the little guys. If Scars spawn right into your cover, fly low and fast to another clear cover. You can barrel role (or shield) your way through this cleanly most of the time. Move around the room in a circle, clearing fans as you go and is safe. If there are Scars up in another part of the room, have someone not focus the shield to keep watch on what’s happening on the ground rather than in the air on the generator beams.
  • Opposite is true for the damage phase — spread out for this. Assuming you’ve cleared the Scar reinforcements out before downing the final fan beam, you can and should safely spread to different sets of cover around the room. Scelos’ turret tracks very quickly but still must aim to fire. The current target of Scelos’ ire would ideally notify rest of the team that it is (briefly) safe for them peek and poke with prejudice. Bonus points if you can get that poke on ol’ Scelos’ bad knee (a common weakpoint for Escari).

And that’s basically it. Scelos hits hard and fast, but isn’t as unfair as first impressions may seem. An example: His missile waves do incredible damage and have a force component meaning you can be knocked about if hit. But they do have a fair travel-time component, and there is always time to react between the first salvo and the second salvo, even if the first pummels you.

Taking that first salvo isn’t too bad, but the second as well? Definitely no bueno.

And that should be about that. This level of co-ordination is likely going to be difficult with PUGs to start with while people learn what is required of them. If you’re playing in this scenario I think the best you can do is to attach to one of the group while in the fan phase, keeping the Scar population around them to a minimum, and keep working on the Scar if for some reason your group leaves them up into the next boss damage phase.

You really don’t want to have to be dealing with your cover spots from the boss becoming increasingly dangerous with Scar swarming around as well.

Otherwise, keen to hear how people are finding this encounter on the higher difficulties. I went from making grumpy faces at it to having a newfound respect for the mechanics after managed to shift out of the mindset that current gearing has allowed for in other content.

BioWare told us that Strongholds would be the pinnacle of challenge for the launch game content — and it seems they meant it!

Anthem Changes — Beyond the Patch

The February 22nd Day 1 Day -1? patch came out yesterday, in advance of the launch for all comers today.

It has a wide array of changes and fixes, with the official list of changes from BioWare here. It seems an incredibly positive list overall, and my experience with it so far would back that up. A PSA though: If you’re using nVidia drivers 418.91 (The latest as of Feb 22nd), this version of Anthem does not like it.

I personally had issues with the game hanging on quit with a black screen until force-terminating the game. Others though have reported jittery framerates and micro-freezes that reverting back to 418.811 seems to resolve.

Besides that, I also found a few changes not in the patch notes! I’m sure there are others, but here are some of the big ones I found not covered in the notes.

Alliance Ranks Provide More Coin

Feb 15th Build of Anthem
From The Feb 21st Build of Anthem

Not an insignificant boost. In the old screenshot one of my friends was at the time Rank 9 (of a possible 10) and was providing 540 coin.

Now you earn more than double that amount from at least Rank 6 upward.

A very positive change, but one I had momentarily thought was in place of what were previously pretty good coin rewards from basically any daily/weekly/monthly challenge available.

Thankfully the missing/reduced coin from these challenges is a bug. Hopefully one we’ll see resolved soon!

Stronghold and Legendary Contract Completion Bonus

Completing a Stronghold or Legendary Contract on Grandmaster 1 or higher difficulty now guarantees a Masterwork (with I assume, chance at a Legendary).

So even if you’re incredibly unlucky during the mission itself and don’t manage to get any MW’s to drop for you — just know one will come in the end.

A positive change and one that should keep people sticking around to the end. :)

Grandmaster XP Buffed

If you made it to Grandmaster difficulty before the patch, you might’ve noticed that the XP gain was tiny compared to what you would get on any other difficulty.

I had wondered if this was perhaps intentional to prevent dragging lower level characters along with you and power leveling them. (No idea if this is viable btw, you can take lower people in with you, but not sure what their XP would be like now.)

Turns out not though, and GM xp has been buffed by a factor of 8-10x.

End of a Legendary Contract on Grandmaster 1 difficulty. (Also? Go Ranger power!)

Ranger’s ‘Pulse Blast’ is Amaaazing now

OK, this one might’ve actually been in the patch notes. But it’s just too good not to mention.

Now with fancy shield-breaker icon

Pulse Blast is an absolute shield destroyer now. Don’t leave Fort Tarsis without one of these in your party for near on instant knockdown of Scouts, Hunters, Elementalists or any other pesky shield-wielder you care to name.

How’s my Build Coming Along?

Alright so not exactly patch related, but the MW drop increase from Grandmaster Strongholds and Legendary Contracts helped… so…

OK, just a tease then. Separate post detailing it all later. But here’s a screenshot showing what I’m wielding at the moment. :)

I can push the gear level up into the ‘Masterwork’ tier, but while (slightly) more survivable, it’s far less damage. So until I can get a good enough component to replace the Epic Armor one, or even better, a Masterwork or Legendary Bulwark Point — I’ll be happy with an Epic Javelin rating. :)

…Although I miiight have pushed myself into Masterwork ranked Javelin and done a mission just to get the achievement. *cough*

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