Anthem has had its issues since launch. After reviewing poorly, the game seemed to enter a cycle of endless bug discovery. From players loading into missions with missing health, starter weapons doing more damage than endgame weapons, and now Support items nerfing your ability to do damage. The Anthem boycott has been organised to try and give players a way to show their unhappiness.
Organised by Reddit user Afinda, they have given a voice to the community with regard to Anthem’s main problem. It simply doesn’t respect players’ time. Things came to a head recently when a bug caused increased loot drops, which the community was happy with. Suddenly playing the game felt rewarding, and people had a reason to log in. Unlike many of the other bugs that Bioware have struggled to fix, this was patched out rapidly, and the game returned to its previous state. No real loot drops, no real reason to stay playing when you reach the endgame.
It is turning into crunch time for Anthem, as even the most diehard players are being driven away. Competing games like The Division 2 will be releasing soon, and others such as Destiny 2, and Warframe have both released fresh content in the last week.
Opposing Points Of View
From the outside looking in, there seems to be a stark divide between what Anthem players want and what the developers want. Anthem is a cooperative looter shooter with no real way to cooperate, and no real loot. The game lacks basic features that limit your ability to play well with others, and it also lacks decent rewards when you do actually partake in the game’s content.
The loot issue is certainly the most pressing, but Bioware has advised that it plans on looking at this over the coming months, and that timeline appears to be the straw that broke the Javelins back. As such, from March 11 to March 15, players plan to simply not play the game, and let the diminished player count speak for itself.
Normally I don’t know what to make of these player driven actions, but something about this one feels different. The Anthem subreddit is awash with complaints about the game, and has been since launch. Many players say they have already stopped playing, with many more pointing out they haven’t even bought the game, and have zero reason to maintain the Origin Access memberships that allow them to play it.
It is easy to imagine a world where this isn’t even an issue, where a game designed around loot to drive player retention actually had a decent loot system in place. Sadly, Anthem isn’t even the first game to run into this particular problem, it is merely the latest.
The good news for Bioware is that other games that had rocky starts also ended up righting the ship, from Destiny, to The Division, to Diablo 3. What remains to be seen is if the Anthem Boycott can have enough impact to make Bioware sweat.