Over the last few weeks I have been thinking about systems that would greatly improve the feel of Anthem. Right now it is clear that the loot drops are not cutting it… but the problem with that is that there are no other systems to make up for the lack of RNGesus’s blessing. So if you return to the roots of loot bonanza… Diablo 3 Loot 2.0… you will see a system that not only has freer loot drops but also a lot of systems that help you curb bad luck by systematically spending resources in an attempt to brute force your way to fortune and glory. You have the Rift system and its blood shards currency that allows you to keep regretting your decisions as you feed more to Kadala for utter crap, but you also have the Kanai’s Cube that allows you to gamble large amounts of resources to again push your luck and try for that item you actually wanted. So it set me to thinking down the line of how would I introduce some tweaks to the system to help curb the sting of bad luck.
The Regulator Scavenger
We already know that the regulators are resourceful and efficient, but what exactly do they do with some of the things they happen to come across in their travels. Surely they can’t be breaking everything down into materials for Sayrna to sell in the market. Surely there are items that they deem way too good to destroy, and want to sell at a profit. So the theory here is to introduce a weekly NPC sorta along the lines of Xur from Destiny or Baro Ki’Teer from Warframe, that shows up and has several items to offer for a price. In theory I would suggest that each week they had an inventory that had curated legendary rolls of either a piece of gear or component for each of the lancers along with a single weapon… modelling what Xur sells most of the time. I figure you have two options for placement… if the systems allow it I think it would be fun to place them somewhere out in Freeplay sorta like the modern version of Xur that roams the wilds. If the tech does not allow it… then I would have them operating out of a back booth in Max’s bar in Fort Tarsis which is already a regulator run establishment.
Stable Shaper Relic
Kanai’s Cube allows you to gamble resources in order to try and improve the quality of your items as well as allows you to re-roll existing items. So along these lines you could introduce a quest chain that comes from Matthias Sumner to go retrieve a stable shaper relic macguffin that the Outlaws or Dominion have discovered… if you wanted to make it even more lore rich attach it to the super duper secret arcanist organization that I am not going to talk about because spoilers. Through the course a few missions you would track this item down and retrieve it and once obtained it would be set up in the area Matthias is in and offer you a handful of transmutation options. Some ideas mirroring Kanai would be:
- Burn Resources to Transmute a Purple Item into is Masterwork Variant
- Burn Resources to Transmute a Masterwork Item into is Legendary Variant
- Burn Resources to Re-Roll Stats on a Legendary
- Burn Resources to Copy Inscriptions from One Item onto Another
Basically you are giving the players a costly way to have some control over what they can get in the game. After 171 hours spent in game I am still missing a lot of masterwork weapons with no actual way of targeting them. For those curious… that list is Close Encounter (Heavy Pistol), Rolling Carnage (Shotgun), Balm of Gavinicus (Grenade Launcher) and finally Endless Siege and The Last Stand (Auto Cannons). It would be nice to have some way of saving up resources and then dumping them to get a version of that weapon so you could at least unlock to do achievements.
Actual Legendary Contracts
Firstly… Legendary Contracts are a massive misnamed thing given that you are guaranteed a Masterwork at the end of them and I have NEVER gotten a Legendary to drop while doing them. So I would first off rename them to Masterwork Contracts and leave the frequency at daily. However then I would slide in another set of contracts that were on a weekly timer that gave you one guaranteed Legendary from completing them. I would divide them up so that who you were doing the contract for dictated what sort of item you got. My suggestion would be something like this…
- Brin – Legendary Component
- Matthias – Legendary Gear
- Yarrow – Legendary Weapon
I think that split fits the theme of each of those NPCs pretty well and gives you a weekly shot at getting SOMETHING Legendary that is actually under your control. I would divide up the new Masterwork Contracts similarly among what sort of item they reward to give better control over those items.
Legendary Chance from Stronghold Completion
Right now a Stronghold rewards you a guaranteed Masterwork ability upon completion… if you shift that guarantee away from running strongholds and place it instead on the Masterwork Contracts I talked about above you free up the guaranteed item for something useful to finally start dropping. People bail on the boss kill because after a point nobody needs those Masterwork gear items. I’ve reached the point where an orange has to be a god roll for me to take note of it, and what I actually need are legendaries. First tweak I would make is to have the guaranteed loot at the end be a completely random item and not limited to gear… so you could get a weapon or a component. Next I would shift up some of the details as follows.
- Grandmaster 1 – 1 Guaranteed Masterwork or better drops, a 50% chance of getting a second drop, and a 10% chance of upgrading any drop to Legendary.
- Grandmaster 2 – 2 Guaranteed Masterwork or better drops, a 50% chance of getting a third drop, and a 15% chance of upgrading any drop to Legendary
- Grandmaster 3 – 3 Guaranteed Masterwork or better drops, a 50% chance of getting a forth drop, and a 20% chance of upgrading any drop to Legendary
Additionally I would like to see each chest in the dungeon have one guaranteed masterwork or higher drop just to keep the run interesting. This has several benefits… firstly you incentivize playing on higher difficulties and also reward players for joining the currently extremely buggy Stronghold Quickplay. It also keeps players from wanting to bail before you get to the end boss, because it actually drops things that are going to have a reasonable chance of upgrading.
I am a big proponent of crafting systems that are actually capable of producing useful things for the end game. Anthem has at low levels a really interesting concept for crafting in that using an item keeps unlocking better versions that you can craft. This completely dies out when you hit Epic but it doesn’t necessarily have to, and I would borrow another concept this time from World of Warcraft. Gear has the chance of upgrading in rarity as you craft it, so a blue pattern can occasionally produce a purple item. The idea is that crafting a purple pattern has a very rare chance of instead producing the Masterwork variant of the weapon again giving you a targeted but very expensive way to burn through resources and gamble on getting something good in the process. Similarly I would add in the same sort of system to give you a rare chance of upgrading a Masterwork to the Legendary variant upon crafting. If I had my druthers, I would skew the percentage chance of this happening based on some sort of a scale that keeps track of how often you favor a specific weapon. Say you use a Defender variant Auto Rifle all the time… you would have a higher chance of proccing an upgrade than if you were trying on a weapon you never use at all. There is some dark math there, but I am just presenting the idea for someone else to chew on.
Reduce Chaos with Pockets of Control
The idea behind all of these systems is to tamp down the randomness of luck and give players a handful of ways that are under their control that they can feel like they are moving that needle forward. All of these systems complement loot changes and are not necessarily an either/or scenario. Running around free play with a harvest set should be as viable way of seeing progression as grinding strongholds over and over… with the first being a slow and tedious method and the later being a faster and more action oriented. It gives players choice in how they want to attack moving through the systems, and serves as a great way to remove excess materials from the system like the 1600 epic doodads I have clogging my bank. Also it would be SUPER NICE if we could just see how many of a thing we have on the vault inventory screen rather than having to go to the forge to see that.
What are some of your thoughts on how to build out systems to add richness to this system? What do you think of some of my suggestions? Let me hear from you in the comments.