Anthem's 'Day-One' Update Fixes Some Things And Breaks Others

Anthem’s “day-one” patch dropped last night, and while it addresses a host of performance issues, bugs, and other frustrating problems, the update has also broken the game’s frame rate for many players on PC.

One of the most prevalent criticisms of BioWare’s new loot shooter during its early release period has been its gruelling loading times. The long wait can be annoying in any game but especially in Anthem, where load screens occur mid-mission as well as every time you go to load up your inventory.

Since yesterday’s 5 GB update went live, lots of players, including myself and other Kotaku staffers, have noticed significant improvements in this department. Unfortunately, the new patch has introduced other problems, including noticeable hits to the frame rate on PC and more instances of rubber-banding.

Where I was getting a frame rate consistently in the high 50s on medium settings, it now frequently dips below 30. Even weirder, the frame rate isn’t capped during load screens now, so it sometimes hits over 1,000, making the GPU sound like a wind tunnel. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, who had been getting 70-80fps prior to the patch, said Anthem started running closer to 50 following the patch until he lowered some of his graphics settings.

Kotaku’s Mike Fahey said he also noticed a dip, and it’s clear from the game’s subreddit and official forum that other players have as well.

Mark Darrah, the game’s executive producer, wrote on Twitter that for some people the issues appeared to be related to Nvidia changing their settings as a result of the update being installed. Meanwhile, someone on Reddit claimed to have fixed their performance drop by changing the default format for their audio down to 16 bit 441000 and messing around with the texture filtering options in Nvidia.

Needless to say, people’s mileage has varied and this isn’t the type of thing most people want to be trying to diagnose after a big patch.

Some of the update’s improvements have worked out. Colossus Javelins can now revive fallen comrades while holding their shield up, something that has rescued my squad on a number of occasions already. Weapons and gear now also have numbers next to them showing how much their stats have been boosted by accompanying modifiers, making it easier to compare and contrast different Javelin builds.

Other fixes haven’t worked as planned, at least in my personal experience. While loot is supposed to drop from bosses at the end of Stronghold missions now, I still haven’t seen it happen. Not that it would matter a whole lot if it did, since the mission completion timer often starts at three seconds or less, sometimes whisking me away before I even realised a fight was finished.

The warnings for not being in the right mission area don’t appear to have changed much either. I still routinely find myself flying close to squadmates on our way to fight some enemies only for the game to flash a timer counting down to when we’ll be transported to the objective. It really defeats the purpose of embarking on adventures in a big open world.

The day-one patch even removed a significant feature from the game. As confirmed by Darrah on Twitter, quickplay for Stronghold missions is not an option at the moment.

“We will reenable it once several issues are resolved,” he wrote. Quickplay is basically Anthem’s way of loading you into a mission started by someone else to fill in any gaps left by departing players. Doing so nets you bonus experience, which can add up to a lot when it comes to Stronghold missions. At various points in the game it can be one of the best ways to grind.

In all, these problems have really put a damper on what otherwise appeared to be an update full of worthwhile improvements. While BioWare said in a livestream yesterday that this week of early access for EA subscribers on PC and Xbox One has provided valuable feedback that’s reflected in this patch and will shape future ones, it’s clear at this point the game would have benefited from even more time before release.


Comments

    Yeah, this is a nail in the coffin for me. I wont be picking it up. I really wanted this to work to push other companies (Bungie, Ubisoft) a bit hard. But from every thing I have read people are saying this is a dumpster fire.

      Yeah, I held off buying, and played the demo, didn't think it was bad, but not amazing.

      I think it's a wait for a discount, or subscribe to Origin premium for a month, get to end game, and then unsub.

        I did the premium thing and have had a blast so far.

        Initially i preorderd this, then cancelled it when they revealed that it was only Origin Premium for early access. I'm honestly not a fan of subcription based access to a game library let alone made to feel like i'm being forced down that specific access route and so i didn't sub either. Then the more information they released and was leaked the more i didn't feel like giving them money for the product they were pushing.

        Turns out i missed out on a train-wreck, i might grab it if it's on sale when they have end game content and a market worthy/stable/playable release.

      mind you it's a very beautiful dumpster fire though

      I'm considering getting the game but I have a whole bunch of friends playing. if I didn't Anthem would be a hard pass since the bugs in the current iteration of the game is pretty damaging (there's a reddit thread where a user has been trying to complete a stronghold 14 times before giving up)

    Honestly though I feel sorry for the players that went out and paid for early access to the game, having to deal with these issues. If I was one of those players I would be looking for some kind of refund. But some people also haven't had any issues so I guess it is just tough luck.

      If you've been playing during the last week, it's because you've paid for Origin Access (Premier or Basic), for me personally.. I'm happy with the $20 I've paid to play the game. If I'd paid $100 for it, yeah.. I'd be upset, but for $20 I'm not complaining too much.

        Is that just got early access or does that $20 give you full access to the game from now?

        Yeah fair call, I know a few friends that had the Origin Access and basically got Anthem for "free". I didn't hear them complain about any issues either, but still feels like the early access players were 2nd Beta testers in my opinion not that it counts for anything lol.

    What really gets me about games like this is that it doesn't make sense when a game like Apex Legends can come out with almost no problems. Yes, different game, different systems etc. But Anthem has been in development for YEARS. What goes on in a studio that they can't get these fundamentals right over the course of years?

    And yes, games are complex things, but how can one game release so polished, while another comes out as clearly half baked? Where are the years worth of work that's gone into making this thing?

      I suspect most of the blame lies with the game engines.

      Apex Legend is built on a modified version of Steam, and any bugs were dealt with in Titanfall 1 and 2.

      While Anthem is built on Frostbite which continues to be poorly optimised and unwieldy for anything that isn't Battlefield.

      You pretty much nail it in your post. Different systems.

      Making a map for a game is relatively easy. With rare exceptions its static assets that don't move. Pop in a few randomised drops, like supply crates, and you're done when it comes to BR games. You just need to get the shooting right.

      Make an RPG or PvE game though and you have all the moving parts to consider. They add massive complexity when you have to look at the shooting, the mob movement, mob AI, mob skills, NPC's, quest advancement, dungeons, etc etc. Those, depending on the engine being used, may or may not need extra coding added on top.

      There are more moving parts in a PvE game versus a PvP game like Apex Legends. That doesn't mean people cant get it right, just that its harder.

      You also have differences like a players PC setup, ISP's doing funky things, or just routing in general. All things the developers have no control over. From what I'm seeing all these issues seem to be on PC for example. What are things like in Xbox and PS4 world where the setup is far more consistent?

        That's fair. And I'm not really vested on this one at all - after all the negative coverage, I'm not picking this one up. But still, there seem to be so many fundamental things that are just not right on the money, even after years.

        Like, Loading screens. Who would have ever thought that way of gating everything would be good? And I'm sure that would have come up in play tests, and yet is still there in release.

        Borked Menu. Again, play testing would surely have highlighted how unintuitive that apparently is.

        Hub based RPG/Loot shooter mechanics. This one really boggles my mind. So many reviewers have come up saying that the way the story is delivered in the hub is just dull, and is totally at odds with the core looting/shooting mechanic of the game. And again, this surely would have come up in playtesting, and yet.....

          I played a fair bit of the demo because the whole home-brand Iron Man game premise is so good and it's hard to not want to be hype for that. I honestly don't really understand how anyone could have played the demo (I got an early demo thanks to forums) and pressed on thinking the game would be functionally any different on release. For a big budget release the number of poor design choices is amazing, not to mention the feel of the game being very rough in general with input lag, poor hit detection, messy gameplay presentation (especially with a few players in the mix) and (personal opinion) god awful hub world full of dead eyed NPCs.

          It's just such an underwhelming release, especially when you consider that the gameplay premise of flying cool robosuits and upgrade treadmilling is so strong. It's like they never played any of this game's far superior PvE looter contemporaries.

          Also!! The hub world is where you're meant to be able to /flex and show off your hundred hour investment in getting neon running lights and fully sick armour parts for your rig, not first person grandpa walk around talking to NPCs. For someone out to loot and shoot it's like Homer following the tortoise. Come the fuck on bioware...

            I know right? The game seems totally tone deaf in the current marketplace. Like it's been made in a vaccuum in the absence of Destiny, Destiny 2 or the Division. or even in the absence of Bioware's other games, which integrated game and story so well. And so, yeah, it begs the question... wtf happened?

              I think you basically answered your own question.

              I know we all wanted EA to do something different but deep down did we really expect EA to not be EA?

    I'm perhaps lucky but haven't really had any issues pre or post patch. I acctully really like the game that I'm able to look past the issues and shortcomings.

    it's not mind blowing - i'd say a 7/10. i really enjoy the combat but the quests are such predictable snooze missions.
    flying around is epic tho! i turned my javelin into a red and yellow mashup to look like iron man :)

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    I don't mind the game. It's okay so far from the trial. Picked it up from Harvey Norman today for $55. Pretty good price so why not.

    No change to load times for me, and they're still absurdly long even off an SSD... And I do notice a hit to framerate.

    So they released a patch that makes me no longer even want to launch the game. One way to do it I guess.

    Will wait till the game's complete before I consider buying. Either that or wait till it comes out in Humble Monthly... then again EA are such stooges that they rarely support this charity.

    I don't know why people are calling this game a train wreck or a dumpster fire or complaining that there not going to get it due to some issues that dont affect everyone.

    The game itself is great. I personally only have a few minor problems that are not show stoppers and the graphics are simply amazeballs.

    People need to realise these days money is more important than quality. Every game releases bugged these days. Complaining about it does not solve the problem obviously.

    So while you complain i will enjoy playing. :)

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