Well here we are… it is officially the day that Anthem launches… and by launches I mean if you paid a bunch of money you can get access to the game today. I know several of us did this thing ahead of purchasing the PC version, because in doing so it gives you a discount off the game purchase price in the first place. The only problem is things are way murkier than they have been in the past. There are now two tiers of Origin Access… the $5 a month basic customers and the $15 a month customers. We are now in an era when you need a spreadsheet to explain when exactly you get to play the damned game. EA support of course did this thing… and while I am grousing about it I do not necessarily blame Bioware for this apart from the fact that they allowed themselves to get bought years ago.
So if you are dumb like me and went ahead and ponied up for a month or two of Premier… then you can start playing Anthem legitimately today at 9 am Central Standard Time. I will unfortunately be at work and given that we have freezing rain going on outside I have no clue what my commute is going to look like. As such I will probably get a super late start tonight and am hoping the servers are stable by the time I actually get home. If you have Origin Access basic… aka the $5 a month that used to be the only thing that was available… you get to play a 10 hour head start. Something of note… if you are in this camp Origin loves to not fully close games. I had this happen to me with Andromeda and saw all of my hours tick away while I slept. Make sure the executable for Anthem is good and dead in Task Manager to prevent this from happening to you.
For everyone else… you get to start playing next Friday, which is kinda screwed up that the folks who are paying the $15 premium are going to get one full weeks worth of game before the folks who simply ordered the game. This is a frustrating situation and I am weak as fuck for playing into the “buying early access” game model. The real question is… I have no clue what this is going to do to the grouping dynamic and how far of a gap between characters is completely reasonable. We didn’t really pay attention to levels during the demo but wound up largely within a level or two of each other given the very limited range that was possible. We all mostly capped out at 15 by the end, and while I think we pulled in someone who was around 10… it wasn’t really a noticeable issue.
I am hoping it will be simple to help pull players up and do group content together regardless of the level gap. This gets into the other major problem with Anthem… there is no guild/clan system going in at launch. This combined with how dodgy the Origin client is in general has made me contemplate some sort of alternate way of collecting people who are going to be playing and also occasionally available for grouping. As such I set up a google sheet this morning to start collecting Origin account information. Because I didn’t think of a better way to handle this… there are two parts to the system… the Sign Up Form and The Roster sheet. I will be manually copying entries from the Form over to the Sheet… which is honestly the only way I could think to do this without either manually sharing out the Roster or giving everyone Edit access which would go horribly wrong.
Why would I do this thing you ask? Well it is simple… Origin is this walled garden disconnected from the other various gaming networks. It for whatever reason does not seem to understand that we want to group up with people we might know from other platforms and as such has no way of importing users or getting suggestions from other platforms. There is no twitter or facebook integration, and most certainly nothing like the Steam integration that Epic Games Store has. So you are stuck trading ids with people on a one by one basis and I figured something like this… would allow a large number of us to catch up in one pass and turn the friends list in Origin into something that is actually useful. Right now at the time of posting the sheet only has my information but I will be updating it throughout the day and keep posting new names at least once daily after that.
So to summarize:
Hopefully this smooths out the bumps given that this is a bit of a new venture into MMO territory for the Origin client given there was no integration between Origin and SWTOR. If you think this is a really dumb idea, then I am more than willing to accept those comments. If you think it is a good idea however… fill out your info and lets get ready to fly some mech suits!