Anthem Update – Javelin Gameplay & Builds

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Hello Friends!

Here we are again with the NEXT Anthem blog. Better late than never…really excited to share a glimpse into the thoughts and ideas behind the great work the team has been exploring. I hope this finds you well and everyone is staying safe.

As discussed on Twitter, this blog will focus around the ideas being tested with Javelin gameplay, builds, and skill trees. The design team (with your feedback) has put together what we feel are the main opportunities for improvement with the current systems and the high level goals we’re experimenting with. Side note: the picture above is not Star Destroyer ASCII art, but an actual skill tree in Frostbite! 

Please remember, the ideas, mockups, and direction are all works in progress. We are testing and exploring ideas that we are excited to share with you for your feedback, but things can (and usually do) change. 

Javelin Gameplay and Builds

As we’ve spent time engaging with all of you, and avidly playing the game, we’ve seen and heard a common theme: “Anthem doesn’t offer satisfying Javelin Builds!” We want to improve this too, so we’re excited to hear what you think about the changes we are trialing around the concept of “builds”:

  • Choice and Experimentation in your Loadout
    • All items are categorized to one of the 11 available equipment slots
    • Weapons are either Primary or Secondary, allowing distinctiveness in their role
    • Mods and Artifact slots replace Components
    • Manage Equipment and Abilities in your Loadout Screen

  • Reliably Create Builds
    • Abilities are unlocks, not drops! Play with the Abilities you want, when you want
    • Empower your Abilities by equipping them with Mods
    • Builds are defined by the synergies of Specializations, Abilities, and Equipment
    • Inscriptions improve build synergies, but are no longer the primary factor

  • Provide Choice and Progression through Skill Trees
    • Each Javelin can level up, awarding Skill Points
    • Skill points can be spent to unlock Abilities, Passives, and Stat Boosts
    • Each Specialization has its own Advanced Skill Tree

  • Expand on the Fantasy and Playstyles of Each Javelin
    • Javelins have access to multiple specializations that cater to different styles of gameplay
    • Each Javelin now wields a powerful Artifact that can be customized

Exploring Skill Trees

When considering how you grow and become more powerful in Anthem, we observed that Pilot Level isn’t a satisfying measure of your progress, so we set out to answer the question, “What would it look like for Freelancers to become more skillful at piloting each Javelin?” We’ve been exploring the idea of Javelin experience and levels which allow you to permanently unlock Abilities for your Javelin that you can then customize further with Mods. 

We’re currently testing these ideas via a new skill tree system. In this system, each Javelin would have a “basic” skill tree where all the baseline Abilities, Passives, Triggered Abilities, and Stat Boost for your Javelin can be unlocked. 

We would like you to be able to focus on the specific style of gameplay you like best about your Javelin, so after the basic tree is completed, we’re also testing the concept of Specializations. Each Specialization would have an Advanced Skill Tree where you’ll unlock Specialization-specific Abilities, Upgrades, and more. 

What is an Artifact?

We’ve heard from you that Components feel like nothing more than stat modifiers. With that in mind, we’re also experimenting with a new Artifacts system to replace them. Artifacts are pieces of super powered tech that set your Javelin and Freelancer apart. Each Javelin type would have a distinct Artifact catering towards its class fantasy. For instance, your Ranger’s rocket pod would be upgraded into the Skyfell Launcher Artifact, a pair of back-mounted pods that transform into powerful rocket launchers.

These Artifacts would change in appearance, depending on what parts you equip. There’s also an opportunity to allow for more interesting decision making. The parts you equip would contribute to a powerful passive ability generated by the Artifact. 

Thank you!

I wanted to close with a thank you to the community for being engaged and providing constructive conversations and feedback on social media. We can’t respond to everything, but we do see you and we appreciate all the feedback you provide. Thank you for your input and patience. 

I also want to give a special heartfelt shoutout to the Anthem team. This is a group of passionate developers that are dealing with the stresses of the world (as we all are), and the trials and tribulations of game development, but continue to bring a passion and enthusiasm each day to make the game we all love better. THANK YOU! 

Until next time, friends. Stay safe, be kind, be well. Stronger together.