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5 things we learned from the Anthem developer livestream

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Anthem lead producers showed off about 45 minutes of open-world gameplay last week

BioWare/Electronic Arts

Anthem lead producers Mike Gamble and Ben Irving led a stream of the upcoming game on Anthem’s official Twitch channel late last week, during which the two spent about 45 minutes flying through the game’s open world, engaging in events and fighting off hordes of enemies. While plenty of the game is still a work in progress — including some icons displayed on the stream — the stream did show off a lot of new stuff for Anthem fans to get excited about.

We combed through the gameplay and found quite a few details about the game we didn’t know before — or that the stream helped flesh out. So we’ve put together a list of everything we learned from this developer gameplay.

It’s role-based

We knew that each Javelin, Anthem’s mech suits, had particular strengths, but it seems like that could play into a deeper type of role playing. Gamble — who played the Storm Javelin — stated that he was playing a support class. Irving’s Interceptor Javelin was also set to a melee build, which allowed him to deal heavy damage up close.

One of the more interesting parts of the demo happened only a few minutes in, when the two producers stumbled upon an event. Gamble started attacking an enemy with a shield, and stated that he had “aggro” — a common term in MMOs that refers to an enemies focus and who they’re attacking. When you take this combined with the Colossus’ Taunt ability, it seems that the idea of taking and holding enemy aggro exists in Anthem.

This of course means that the World of Warcraft “holy trinity” of tank, healer — or in this case, support — and damage potentially exists in Anthem.

Anthem - three Scars with the sun behind them BioWare/Electronic Arts

There are public events scattered around the world

Since most of the gameplay is free-roam, the developers spent most of their time running through events around the world. These seem very similar to the public events in Destiny, where players gather together in a public space to complete an objective.

The first event that Irving and Gamble stumbled on is to secure a vault, which essentially just devolves into killing all the nearby enemies that are trying to assault a treasure chest. But in order to open the chest, the two needed to collect large energy pulses on the ground. The enemies make their appearance after the first energy pulse is captured.

The second event seems a bit more tricky, and takes them quite a bit longer to conquer. In a lush, jungle area, they activate some kind of relic. One of them shoots the relic and keeps the incoming enemies at bay while the other flies around the area looking for tiny orbs to carry back to the relic.

While both of the events involve collecting and flying, the areas and enemies seem pretty varied. Unfortunately, this livestream didn’t show much in way of rewards — although the developers did state that there would be upcoming streams focused on other aspects of the game.

Enemy factions have Javelins too

At one point, the producers start talking about an enemy called a Valkyrie. This enemy type belongs to the Dominion faction, and is basically just a Storm Javelin. The two spend some time trying to deal with the Valkyrie, specifically using the strategy of “take out its shield so it falls to the earth.”

Interestingly, this is the same issue that’s plagued Gamble for the entire stream. Throughout the gameplay demo, Gamble would talk at length about how the Storm wants to stay in the air, and he would have to scramble whenever his shields were knocked out — sending him plummeting back to earth.

Enemy factions in Anthem will likely have Javelins similar to player-controlled mechs, and players will then have to use specific strategies against them.

Anthem BioWare/Electronic Arts

Gear abilities help you refine your play style past a simple Javelin choice

The Anthem Javelin is meant to define your playstyle. You can play the beefy Colossus or the support oriented Storm, for example. However, the abilities that players have access to are gear pieces, which are attached to their Javelins in specific places.

In the stream, Gamble had access to a “wind wall,” which came from a gear piece attached to his Storm Javelin. He was able to put up a massive wall which could protect allies from incoming fire. Irving had access to the Target Beacon, which allowed him to target a specific enemy and debuff them, making them take increased damage from allies for a period of time.

These gear pieces are unique to each Javelin, with two damage-oriented slots and a single support slot. Each Javelin has five different damage choices and two support choices per slot, leading to a total of 12 different abilities.

Anthem BioWare/Electronic Arts

Cosmetics will be separate rewards, disconnected from power

Gamble and Irving’s Javelin’s were kitted out in some cool looking cosmetics, with Gamble’s Storm looking like a crash test dummy. Toward the end of the stream, the two answered questions about how cosmetics will work in Anthem.

While they haven’t gone into great detail about it, the two did confirm that power and visual customization will not be tied together. Power is earned through all sorts of stuff in game, but cosmetics can be acquired through playing the game, completing difficult challenges and through monetization options.

Players will then be able to take cosmetics that they earn and apply them to their favorite mech suits, showing off either the cool things they’ve done or how much money they’ve spent to all their friends and random allies.