Picking a Main in Anthem

I don’t know about you–but I always struggle with picking a main. It can become quite an ordeal. We now have a little less than a day to wait before the VIP Demo let’s us in for a peek. We’ll get the see first hand the Ranger and one other Javelin of our choice.

This is really good! Unless… Like me, all of them sound exciting to you for one reason or another.

What can hopefully help put your mind at ease a little then is the knowledge that in Anthem it’s a fair bit more difficult to go wrong. In fact, the Javelin exosuits are less ‘class’ and more ‘build’.

Huh?

Your in-game persona is a human. A freelancer. A pilot. You level up as a pilot, picking talents as you go that buff things such as your flight time before overheating.

After the tutorial mission (played in the Ranger), you will be able to pick any of the 4 Javelin’s to unlock first.

Javelin’s unlock at:

  • Level 2 – This is your first pick immediately following the tutorial.
  • Level 8
  • Level 16
  • Level 24 / 261

So in essence? Don’t worry about it. Well, I mean… Worry a little bit. You should have an idea of what to try first! But just know there is no wrong decision that is going to lead to you rerolling if you find you don’t like a given class as much as you thought you would. :)

While playing with a given Javelin equipped, Anthem will use a ‘Smart Loot’ system which weights drops toward things useful for that Javelin. But you still will get the odd thing for the other Javelins from time to time — so should you ultimately decide, ‘Oh no… I’ve made a terrible mistake’ or heck, simply decide new day–new you one morning, you can get a running start at another pick.

OK! But… What do the Javelins actually do?

I’ve posted a series of profiles on each Javelin for you to look at if you’d like some help deciding. (Note: At the time of writing this, I’m pending a review on the Colossus and Storm to update them to the new format I put the Interceptor and Ranger into.)

These will be updated with more detailed information (such as which skills Prime or Detonate) after we get our hands on the game. :)

For now, here’s a quick overview of each!

The Ranger is being toted as the versatile, jack-of-all-trades Javelin. You have a medium amount of health and shields and a medium degree of mobility. The Ranger is also capable of dealing all elemental damage types — giving it a good range of options when it comes to dealing with heavily shielded (lightning, frost) or armored (acid, fire) enemies.

Consider the Ranger akin to a Soldier in playstyle, with grenades, rockets, and a good range of weaponry.

The Colossus is big, bulky and extremely tough despite the total lack of an energy shield like all other javelin’s enjoy. Also though? Slow. Slower at least. The concept of ‘dodging’ is utterly alien to the the Colossus. Making up for this lack the Colossus gains two things:

  1. It packs an actual physical shield which they can use to deflect damage and more enjoyably shield charge and slam the puny enemies out of the way… even while flying.
  2. It is the only Javelin at launch capable of wielding the heavy weapon class, including the likes of Grenade Launchers and Autocannons.

The Storm fulfills the ‘space mage’ role. Elemental fury–fire and ice with a side of lightning–is how the Storm likes to get things done. A real AoE and status building powerhouse. Lightly armored this is not a Javelin you want in the thick of things up close and personal if you can avoid it. To aid with that, the Storm forgoes a standard dash move and when dodging performs a short-range teleport (or ‘blink’).

You can also hover for longer than the other Javelins in the storm, gaining a bonus to your energy shield while you do. Just watch out–there’s no real cover up there.

Last but not least The Interceptor. This is your super agile, super nimble rogue or ninja type. With it, you can rapidly move about the play field cutting ribbons off your enemies with you dual-wielded, dual-bladed daggers. If you like zipping around with triple-jumps, regaining shield while you do, and all at top speed? Then getting up close and personal with the Interceptor could be for you.

Decided now?

Yeah… No… Me neither.

I mean, I’m becoming fairly certain I’ll start out with the Ranger, focus on becoming the single-target boss-killer powerhouse of the team. So that the demo is giving everyone the Ranger to start with doesn’t bother me terribly.

But what next? Even the Interceptor representing the rogue playstyle — not something I typically go for! — looks fresh and exciting.

The tanky Colossus would more closely align with my typical play style, as I nearly always go Healer or Tank.

But I’m quite hyped to try out the damage-dealing, status-spreading Storm, too. I think this will be the class I test out for our free choice during the demo.

So… What do I DO then?

If you really cannot decide–then nothing is going to beat first hand experience.

Even if you can’t make (or don’t want, for reasons of story spoilers, etc) to participate in the demos — know that in the live game, you’re going to have each of the 4 Javelin’s unlocked before the end game.

You’ll have had ample opportunity to test and learn and see what works best for you.

And if they’re all truly holding equal spot in your heart, then just blind pick one. If you’re disappointed with what you unlock at the time — at least you’ll have a clearer idea of what you really wanted. ;)


What to expect when you’re expecting… (an Anthem Demo)

There is a lot of information floating around about the upcoming Anthem demo–some of it not quite right. So I’m here to help distinguish between what we ‘know’–that is, we have it direct from an official source–vs. what has merely been speculated.

Little does this Grabbit know how soon, or how much, it’s peaceful existence is about to be disrupted by a horde of new Freelancers…

What we’ve been told:

BioWare’s Mark Darrah and Michael Gamble have been busy beavers on Twitter, providing information and answering questions on what we will get in the demos.1

The playable level range will be 10-15.2 You will be dropped into the thick of it at level 10, without the benefit of the tutorial, nor having had the ability to run through customisation of your pilot/human avatar like you will in the full game.

All demo players will start with the Ranger. At level 12 we will be able to select a second Javelin of our choice to test.3

The demo was branched from the final game code base ~6 weeks ago.4 This has a few distinct call-outs of its own. Namely, 6 weeks worth of bug fixes are missing from the demo build.

Tweaks to mouse and keyboard flight controls made since the branch for a more nuanced control experience are missing from the demo.

Some things have been renamed for additional clarity in the final build, that will still have their old names in the demo.

Balance in terms of the economy and the difficulty have not been updated to the final state either. Mark Darrah confirmed5 that in general, the demo build is easier than what we will experience in the final build.

This will be an important note if you, or your friends, are concerned about the seeming ease of the game. The demo is not going to be representative of the final game difficulty. More on this in the next section.

In a similar vein to the difficulty, the gear drop rates and overall economy of the game do not reflect final game state either.

Demo will be a 30gb download6 This proved to be incorrect! For PC at least–the Origin download for the Anthem Demo weighs in at 44GB.

Progress will carry over from VIP demo to the Open demo, but not live.7

So this is what we’ve been told–if I’m missing anything, please do let me know. Oh. Actually. There is one more thing. I guess. The preload is live right now. Also, VIP friend keys are available. Just a small detail. ;) Take a look at the official EA Anthem demo page for information on starting the preload on your platform of choice, or take a look at this Reddit Post for advice on grabbing your friend VIP keys.

Demo gets a trailer

This short (30 second) trailer popped up this morning. Little bit of a new scene and dialog from Matthias.

This way lies speculation!

…And information which might well be official that I read previously and cannot now put my hands on the source.

Either way–take this section with a healthy dose of salt.

It seems the demo build we’ll be getting our hands on is more or less the same build that certain content creators in the ‘EA Game Changers’ programme were given access to late last year.

This build we believe was optimised for ‘shorter play sessions’, to which I take the mean that the XP gain and loot drop rates will be inflated over what BioWare would consider ‘normal’ for the final product.

We will level faster, see more items and potentially items of a higher grade than we will see at the same levels of pilot and difficulty in the launch product.

What is also somewhat murky is how many Javelin picks we will get to test during the demo sessions. From this twitter thread, we can confirm that all four Javelins (i.e., Ranger, Colossus, Storm and Interceptor) will be available to choose from. But not how many we will have access to on a single account.

The level cap of 15 would suggest two, and two has been discussed in various twitter threads the devs are on without contradiction or correction. My advice here would be to expect only two, then if it ends up being four, bonus!

There has been some discussion that we might all be given the Ranger to start and then get to choose only one other Javelin. My suspicion is that this is confusion over the base game and getting the loaner Ranger in the tutorial before making a choice on your actual starting Javelin.

I predict therefore that we will have open choice of two Javelins. Just two days now til we can confirm ourselves!

I was wrong with that prediction, and this has now been cleared up in full! BioCamden has posted on Reddit in the past hour that the Ranger will be the first unlock for everyone. At level 12 we will be able to pick another Javelin to try.

As a parting note: I am still likely to have another VIP friend key or two to giveaway–if you’re still needing one, let me know in the comments!

Anthem Javelin Profile: Colossus

This series of posts is aimed mostly at those dipping their feet into the waters of Anthem for the first time. If that’s you – welcome! If that’s not you… well, also welcome! But more in-depth content to come once we get our hands on the game. :)

Bioware's Anthem: Line up of the four classes, left-to-right, Ranger, Colossus, Storm and Interceptor. The Colossus is in colour as the focus of the image, with the other three in greyscale.

Big, bulky, extremely tough despite the total lack of an energy shield which all the other javelin’s enjoy. Making up for this lack the Colossus packs an actual physical shield which they can use to deflect damage and more enjoyably shield charge and slam the puny enemies out of the way… even while flying.

The Colossus can play the tank for your team with an actual taunt ability. But it’s no slouch in the damage department either, being the only javelin capable of equipping the heaviest of weapons–the likes of the grenade launcher or heavy machine gun.

Detonating a combo as the Colossus will set off an AoE blast, perfect for clearing out swarms of lesser enemies.

The Skills

Ordnance Launcher Gear: Shoulder mounted weapon abilities, offering options for close range (Lightning Coil, Shock Coil), long range (Mortar, Burst Mortar) or even a little bit of control in the form of the Firewall Mortar which will deny an area of ground to the enemy.

Heavy Assault Launcher Gear: Like the Ranger, the Colossus packs a set of wrist-mounted weaponry options. Just… with a much larger wrist, offering the likes of the long range Heavy Cannon or Railgun. Deal some up close damage with the Flame Thrower or Flak Cannon. Or increase the damage taken on enemies you spray with your Acid Spitter.

Support Gear: Taunt enemies in an area, forcing them to direct their attention at you for the duration of the effect, or use the Deflector Pulse to give all nearby allies a buff to their damage-resistance.

Ultimate–Siege Cannon: Essentially a mini-nuke launcher. You have a limited time to fire off a salvo of three rounds of… well, ultimate destruction.

I can see every team wanting one of these along for the ride. Whether they choose to taunt and get up close and personal, or still keep a bit of range while applying a damage mitigation buff to the team–they’re going to be worth their weight in gold… and that’s a lot of weight! ;)

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