BioWare’s Anthem is finally out in the wild. As more and more players dive in, there’s a lot to be learned about the upcoming title and quite a bit that you need to know before dusting off that all-mighty powerhouse of yours. Here’s what you need to know to get you started.
Updated – 3/17/2019 – 5:38pm: Added links to brand new guides.
Now that the brand new IP from the critically acclaimed studio BioWare – the minds behind Dragon Age and Mass Effect – fans around the world are finally diving into their brand new online-focused game. A game that places them in the shoes of a Freelancer that calls Fort Tarsis their home and base of operation.
However, there’s a lot more to take in than what BioWare openly decides to tell you. The game is massive, it has quite a bit to it that’s waiting just below the surface, and luckily for you, we’re here to help alleviate some of that stress and get you on your way into becoming one of the best Freelancers Anthem has to offer.
But, you might be wondering. How much is there really to learn about the game? It can’t be that big, can it? Well, actually, there is and we have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to talking.
Anthem is and isn’t a third-person shooter
When you first look at Anthem, there’s no doubt in my mind that you may begin to consider BioWare’s to be a third-person shooter, one that follows in the steps of games like Digital Extremes’ free-to-play Warframe or even Bungie’s critically-acclaimed FPS meets loot-based shooter series Destiny.
On the surface, looking at trailers, it certainly seems that Anthem is that kind of game, but truth be told – it’s not. I highly, highly advise breaking away from that form of thinking. Unlike the aforementioned titles, Anthem is in a league of its own and it stands out quite well thanks to that.
Rather, Anthem is more akin to games like Mass Effect, Jade Empire, and Dragon Age in the sense that there’s an extra layer of depth to the game itself. Every class (Javelin) is unique and each offers a very different playstyle from one another – something we’ll touch on in the very next section.
Getting things back on track, Anthem is an exploration title, one that brings its story to life through the use of multiple different formats. You’ll often find that the world itself comes to life, each set piece telling its very own and very unique story. On the other hand, you have your Codex, just as you did in Mass Effect, Jade Empire, and even Dragon Age. This Codex is your go-to place for any form of story you might wish to learn.
Lastly, you have the story that unfolds as you play, each bit unfolding through various missions you will undertake. If that’s the kind of game for you, then you might just enjoy this squad-based adventure title. Now, let’s talk about those Javelin’s, shall we?
Each Javelin is unique in how it plays and each offers a very diverse approach to gameplay
When you get ready to select your Javelin, you’ll notice that each of them has a small description of what they can do when out in the wild and deadly world of Anthem. You’ll learn that the Javelin’s also come with their own unique approach to combat, each one of them coming with unique abilities, items, and accessories that they can equip.
For example – the Storm is a powerful caster-style Javelin, which makes it a viable long-range combatant since it can hover from afar, using mobility to its benefit and burning its asunder with powerful elemental abilities and how they combo. On the other hand, you have the Interceptor; a lightning fast rogue-like attacker that fully takes advantage of its close-range combat capabilities, getting the most out of its melee attacks, close-range weapons, and agility.
Of course, there’s also the ranger, your jack-of-all-trades that excels at all forms of combat. It’s unique approach to combat is more akin to the Soldier skillset in Mass Effect: Andromeda. It excels at almost every class of weapon, using grenades, and even rocket-like attacks to trigger a combo-chain or even amplify the abilities of its fellow Freelancers in any combat scenario.
Then there’s the Colossus, the tank of the lot. If you thought Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster packed some serious heat, you haven’t met these guys at all. These Javelins are some of the meanest on the market and pack some major explosive heat, excelling at close-range combat with grenade launchers, light machine guns, and even combat shotguns. When they aren’t blasting away at their enemies with their primary weapons, they can charge into combat, using their shields to bash their enemies into dust.
While each one is vastly different in how they play, you’ll want to learn to master them all. This means learning how their combo chains work, how each one can alternate between melee attacks, unleashing their abilities, and ultimately utilizing their Ultimate attacks in order to increase your odds of survival. While there’s not a tutorial on how combo chains work, we’ll have you covered in this guide, but that’s for later.
You’ll unlock Javelins through your Pilot Level
When you first start out, you’ll find that you’ll have the choice to select which Javelin you want to use. Based on this decision, you’ll get the option to choose between one of the four Javelins you can use and unlock the rest as you go. But, now, you might be wondering: How do I unlock the others? Well, leveling up your Pilot Level, which is slightly different than that of your Javelin’s power level itself.
- Level 2 – Earned upon completing the tutorial
- Level 8
- Level 16
- Level 26
The biggest thing to note here is that you’ll find yourself at Level 2 upon completing the games introductory mission in the Heart of Rage itself. Once there, you’ll find you’ll give your second one in a few hours time and be well on your way to gearing one or the other as you go.
In order to unlock your next Javelin, you’ll need to go to the Fort Tarsis hub and simple head over to the forge, move through the steps on the Javelin Unlock screen, and choose which one you want to unlock next. Remember, each of them plays differently from one another and they each requires their own set of gear in order to grow more powerful than the one you’ve been progressing with. Just don’t craft gear for your new one yet, save those materials.
Which brings us to our next point.
Save your crafting materials for end-game gear
If you’re like myself, the first thing you’ll want to do when you get into Anthem is craft your little heart out while you can. You’re going to want to stay on top, you’ll want the best gear, the best appearances, and you’re going to want to ensure you can do as many combo chains as you can in order to get as much experience as possible.
But don’t. Don’t craft your little heart out until your fingertips are raw. You’ll want to hold off on this as long as possible, and thanks to how progression naturally pays off in Anthem, you’ll want to save these for when you hit the endgame portion of the game in its current state.
You’ll even want to hold off on those consumables for the time being. These items, as useful as they are, cost a lot of crafting materials, and when first starting out – these materials are going to be extremely limited until you dive into free roam as much as you can. But as a seasoned BioWare fan, let me tell you, just like in Mass Effect and Dragon Age – fortune favors the bold.
Farm as many materials as you can – enjoy the free roam a bit between your missions
I can already hear it, an ensemble of laughing BioWare fans. Farm. Farm until you can’t farm anymore throughout your adventures. If you see a plant or an ore off to the side – snag it. Don’t hesitate, just do it. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. These materials are plentiful and you’ll find them in all shapes and sizes throughout your adventures.
As I’ve already said before, this isn’t your typical loot-based shooter. It’s anything but that. This game has BioWare written all over it and stays true to BioWare traditions. Even if you’ve grabbed that plant or part once before – don’t hesitate to grab it again.
Avoid overheating your Javelin as much as you can and also – Weather will play a role in exploration
One of the biggest things you have to remember is avoiding overheating your Javelin as much as you can. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be like Tony Stark and his Iron Man suit. You can’t fly around as much as you want. You’ll have to land, fly just above a water source, or go directly through a waterfall in order to prevent any form of overheating.
As much as we all want to dart around like Iron Man himself, that’s not possible by any means. I often found myself overheating, falling hundreds of feet before hitting the ground and finding myself walking about after coming to. But too much of my amazement, I found that it wasn’t just my endlessly flying around that cause me to overheat or cool down faster than I’d fallen from the sky.
The weather actually plays a role in how your suit will act. If there’s a storm, you’ll find that overheating doesn’t happen as nearly as often as it did before. You’ll find yourself constantly cooling off, allowing for you to fly around a bit longer than before. Even if it means flying straight towards the ground, using that momentum to cool your thrusters, allowing you to dart back above the treeline as quickly as you went below it.
But flying isn’t your only mode of transportation. Your Javelin has an amazing ability to fly underwater, coating itself in that amazingly cool liquid around you and allowing you to test just how effective its water-tight seals actually are. Just keep your eye on that oxygen meter, I’ve managed to nearly drown myself a time or six.
Don’t be scared to enjoy your time and complete your challenges and partake in freeplay activities
One of the best things about Anthem is just how much content it actually has to offer. Whether you want to consume as much of the lore you can or complete the story in record times; Anthem has a lot to offer. When it comes to Freeplay activities and Challenges, Anthem comes with a variety of unique Challenges for you to complete and they come with a nice bag of goodies once completed.
Challenges will often reward you with incredible and unique items ranging from blueprints to types of vanity items for your Javelins to use. Most of those blueprints will be extremely useful moving forward, which again, makes me stress the point about: SAVE YOUR CRAFTING MATERIALS.
The same thing can be said about Freeplay, the free-roam portion of the game, which is necessary for you to do in order to complete some parts of the story. Additionally, it’s also rife with World Events, various quests, and new tasks for you to complete that rake in heft rewards such as XP, weapons, materials, and alliance rankings.
So don’t be scared to take your time, do a bit of side adventuring, and have a bit of fun while you can. But let me stress this. Alliances play a very important role in the game and that’s why we’re about to discuss them next. But most importantly, while you are exploring, take your time to enjoy the free-roam gameplay mechanics to work on both your alliances while you are at it.
Just don’t forget to grab your daily, weekly, and monthly challenges. They’ll help out quite a bit along the way.
Alliances aren’t just for replayability value, they are actually an important part of the game
If you’ve ever played a BioWare game or an MMO of any sort, then you know that factions, alliances, guilds, whatever you want to call them; play an important role within any game of this sort. In Anthem, that doesn’t change. Alliances themselves are extremely important and they also offer some amazing goodies for you to earn.
They come with the ability to unlock cosmetics such as the Freelancer alliance’s ‘Clean’ Javelin condition while also unlocking brand new crafting blueprints for you to earn. These crafting blueprints aren’t just to bring a sense of the quality of life to the game. They’re to let you see just how deeply crafted this game actually is and the unique approach BioWare has to a progression-based system.
Those looking for weapon sigils to enhance their combat capabilities may team up with the Arcanists as they have plenty of those to offer. Those favoring their Colossus Javelin may also prefer the Sentinels as they come with plenty of Colossus blueprints at Level 3. Thanks to this unique progression system, you will also find yourself earning quite a bit of coin in your pocket, which will make it so you don’t need to spend a lot of Shards (real-money currency) to unlock your cosmetic items.
Oh and that brings us to our next topic, microtransactions.
Everything can be unlocked through progression or optional purchases
Yep. The line above says it all. You can unlock every single customization through progression, which makes freeplay and end-game progression all the more important. But, don’t think that doesn’t mean that a few dollars here and there on shards doesn’t support the game by any means. It will and does. It just means spending money on optional vanity items is completely up to you and it’s a completely optional part of the game.
Personally, I may invest a few dollars here and there for some Colossus and Storm gear when I feel the need. Just remember, save your coins, they can be used for vanity items, but most importantly, you can use them to buy high-end crafting materials when you get to that point.
You might also like our other Anthem guides:
- Anthem: How to become an elemental fury with the Storm Javelin
- Anthem: Understanding how Elemental Effects work and affect your combos
- Anthem: Understanding Combos, Primers, and their Detonators
Anthem is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.