A dedicated Anthem fan has used the power of maths to reveal something worrying about the game: loot doesn't really matter.
In a post on the Anthem subreddit titled Power-Scaling: Why Loot Doesn't Matter Anymore (Math), user TermperHoof analysed the power scaling system added with the recent patch 1.0.3 and found "playing the game as intended will only result in diminishing returns, worthless inscriptions, useless components, and pointless weapons".
TermperHoof said they spent "three days and three sleepless nights of spreadsheet writing and testing, not to mention countless loading screens" in order to come to the conclusion 1.0.3 "BROKE the game".
So, what's the issue? The problem has to do with an item not mattering much when it comes to damage. Rather, currently, the Power Score is all that matters. However, your combined Power Score is pointless. Anthem instead averages what you have equipped that isn't level one and combines that number into a variable to select an arbitrary multiplier that's not related to your equipment.
TermperHoof went into detail on how they worked out this arbitrary multiplier, and what it means for the game. It turns out this multiplier has no relation to your Power Level or Power Score. Rather, it's just a number on a chart, and TermperHoof figured all the numbers out for Power Levels 30 to 75.
"If you want to find out the arbitrary multiplier for your Power Level, simply remove all Damage Modifying gear and literally melee anything," TermperHoof explained.
"As long as your melee is 100 at level 1 (just put on a Default set to double check), take the Melee Damage Number you see and divide by 100, then divide by 7.466, and you'll get your Arbitrary Power Level Multiplier."
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TermperHoof found the multiplier at Power Level 75 is 22.622, which is "insanely high".
"So high in fact that it will inadvertently overwrite inscriptions. This means you're constantly playing a game of diminishing returns, and your true goal is to try and keep your Power Level higher than your Power Score."
So, it's better to wear any weapon as long as it's your highest available of Power Score, regardless of inscriptions. Ignoring your higher Power Score weapon in favour of another that looks more powerful and offers better inscriptions will reduce your overall damage output dramatically, TermperHoof said.
"The weapon and its inscriptions no longer matter, it is just fundamentally more optimal to wear a total trash item that has a Power Score of 61 or 75, just because it can potentially double if not triple your overall Melee/Ultimate output due to the arbitrary modifier - quite possibly making either of those vastly more powerful than any weapon or ability in your arsenal."
This has implications for epic loot, too. No matter what the inscription on epic loot offers, its Power Score is 38. So, you're better off by replacing it with something with a higher Power Score. What you should do, TermperHoof recommended, is only wearing something of the highest Power Score and equip as little as possible.
"Just the simple process of removing any Epic item will keep your Power Level significantly higher, where passively removing the equipment can be more beneficial than any inscription could ever provide," they said. "As it allows you to exploit a multiplier, rather than restrict yourself merely to additive damage."
TermperHoof didn't sound particularly thrilled with their discovery, despite the attention it received on the Anthem subreddit.
"And all of the gear I spent dozens of hours crafting and rolling on, utterly useless," they lamented. "No additive damage inscriptions can ever compete with a passive damage multiplier running behind the scenes.
"This isn't some sort of bug, this is a fundamental design flaw. At this point, the game is lying to you about how much damage you're doing. This is why there is no stat sheet, as there isn't anything worth recording. If you play the game thinking your Power Scores, weapons, abilities, components, or the inscriptions attached to them matter - then you're doing yourself harm. Follow my advice. Realise that as of 1.0.3, none of it matters anymore and just become melee and ultimate spamming gods."
After the thread went live, Anthem community manager Jesse "Darokaz" Anderson stepped in to say the issue will be fixed in the next update, 1.0.4.
"Instead of using how many items you actually have equipped, the calculation will be done by how many slots you have unlocked," Anderson explained.
"This means at level 30, for example, your average Power Score will be divided by 11 even if you have empty weapon/gear/component slots."
This isn't the first time players have discovered issues with the way Anthem works. Earlier in March, players found level one weapons are stronger than endgame ones.
BioWare is currently battling to keep the embattled Anthem alive after a launch that's fallen flat. "Anthem is here to stay," Anderson wrote in an impassioned reddit post this week. "Do we have a lot of work to do to fix parts of the game? Yes, and the team is committed to making improvements and releasing new content."
On that note, a server-side update went live yesterday that made notable changes to the loot drop rate in specific scenarios. Masterwork and Legendary drop rates have been increased for Grandmaster 2 and Grandmaster 3 difficulty levels, and Masterwork and Legendary drop rates have been increased for harder enemies at all difficulty levels.