Fair to say that Anthem has, so far, been one of 2019’s major disappointments. BioWare’s highly-anticipated loot-shooter landed with what can politely be called a thud six months ago, and it wasn’t long after launch that the studio essentially scrapped its post-launch roadmap and hunkered down to rethink things. Now it seems BioWare is finally gearing up for the Cataclysm, an in-game event that was meant to change Anthem’s landscape and add more to do for end-game players.
A new set of ‘Pre-Cataclysm’ challenges are available to play in Freeplay mode now, and these all have to do with crystals. You can find them under the heading ‘The Oncoming Storm’ in the challenges tab in the menu. One has you destroying crystals scattered around Bastion, another wants you to complete three ‘Crystal World Events,’ and another requires you to defeat crystallized enemies.
Players who complete these challenges will earn some coin and some limited-time decals to use on their javelins. All in all, not a massive addition to the game, but these are supposedly just a two-week prelude to the main event, the Cataclysm.
Dedicated players – there still are a core bunch of them – have been checking out changes seen playing in Anthem’s PTS, and have compiled their findings on Reddit. When the Cataclysm kicks off, it looks like it’s coming with new masterworks and legendary weapons and gear, new story missions, and a new Cataclysm-specific currency you can collect to open warchests.
Here’s how the Anthem endgame looked in EA’s promotional material. This video touches on Cataclysms.
But what will likely appeal to more players who, like me, jumped into Anthem early and then wandered off, is that it seems the Cataclysm is also removing the Luck stat from the game and increasing loot drop rates across the board, and melee damage is being removed from gear score scaling calculations. Drop rates have been a consistent complaint among players since Anthem launched, and the way melee interacts with gear score has caused no end of weirdness.
For now, you can head into the game to try out the pre-Cataclysm stuff right now, although players report that not all instances of Freeplay will have them active. If you don’t see a peculiar-looking storm on the horizon when you load in, players on the Anthem subreddit recommend dropping out and reloading.
I felt crummy when I uninstalled Anthem a couple months ago, because it was a game I had high hopes for. I’m not massively optimistic that the Cataclysm is going to fix Anthem’s core problems, but it’s got me curious enough to think about downloading it again to find out what’s changed.