I have been playing more Anthem this week than Destiny, which is a phrase I never thought I’d say again. I’ve been diving pretty deep into Anthem’s Cataclysm event, which may not be the franchise-saving addition the game needs, and yet simultaneously, is starting to turn into something pretty enjoyable.
A lot of my initial complaints about the Cataclysm have turned into things I either understand or embrace the more I play. Examples:
The storm damage is bad: I understand this one now, particularly once I realized you get double points for doing things in the storm, killing enemies, finding secrets, and I get why you have to have some kind of limit on that capability.
The timer is bad: The timer rarely feels all that restrictive due to how much time you can add to it through secret runs or completing events. Usually I’m finishing with several minutes left on the clock and I think I’ve only run out of time once ever.
Other people are idiots: Some of these puzzles are more complicated than random groups are capable of solving without communicating, which led to a lot of “lost runs” initially where teammates actively hampered the solving of a few of the arenas. But over time, more and more people have figured out how to solve the puzzles, and the truly dense may have given up the activity altogether. I went from half my runs being ruined by bad teams to 95% of my runs being successes in just a few days.
I have enjoyed slowly learning about the secrets found all over the map, tiny puzzles that produce golden orbs that multiple your score at the end for big bonuses. I now have set “runs” I do where solve X amount of secret puzzles in specific places between arenas. I keep exploring and slowly add more to the rotation as I amass more and more points.
Some people have gone hard with the secrets, and a “good” Cataclysm run usually has two people fighting the boss and two people out finding secrets with an 8x multiplier on for max points, and then they join at the end for the final kill. This is how I started getting 2 million+ points per run, and I know some people have gone much higher.
The difficulty curve feels a lot smoother now. I can comfortably run GM2 on all my javelins now, and I can survive GM3 if I want to deal with the beefy enemies, but I feel like it may not be worth the trouble. And one thing I definitely have noticed is finally, finally the game has increased legendary drop rates. Previously, I was getting 1 legendary in maybe 5 stronghold runs. Now, in the Cataclysm, I am dangerously close to averaging 1 legendary per GM2 run. Sometimes I get none, sometimes I get two, and I’ve seen others land way more. Removal of Luck, so you don’t have to worry about stacking that, has been a godsend.
More legendaries means more actual builds I can work on. I got three legendary acid items for my Interceptor that has allowed me to craft a disgustingly good poison build that can wreck even in GM3. I finally feel like I’m making actual progress.
Also, the currency system makes you feel like you’re actually earning cool stuff at a good clip for the first time in the store. You can do 2-3 good Cataclysm runs and get enough shards to buy yourself a full set of sick cosmetic armor, something that may take weeks in the non-Cataclysm store. You feel like you’re actually farming for attainable things. I also like how BioWare has linked a bunch of challenges to decals and wraps, kind of an evolution of the Elysian Cache system.
Is there anything I still don’t like? Yes, I’m not a fan of the timegating of new items. While I think BioWare is loosening up a little bit today with reset and offering a few more items, I dislike the idea that the only way you get the new items added to the game is through war chests, and those selections are limited by week. There should be a chance to drop any item, even new ones, while playing the game, even if there is a “targeted farm” with a chest per week. I don’t want to wait four weeks to get my first support item or blade slinger weapon or whatever it’s going to be. I also don’t understand why all the new items are +5 power but all the old ones are lower, which throws off the entire Gearscore system for reasons I don’t understand.
Three things are probably true:
1. I am generally enjoying my time with Anthem’s Cataclysm.
2. This is probably not a big enough addition to cause some massive Anthem resurgence and I still worry about the overall future of the series.
3. I will drop this like a hot rock the second Borderlands 3 gets here.
But until then, sure, I’ll farm this thing. I’ll farm the hell out of it.