New Anthem bug makes level 1 weapons more powerful than endgame equipment, damage numbers meaningless

EA’s troubled loot and shooter Anthem has had another wrench tossed in the gears or, if you’ll excuse the terrible pun, into the gear system.

It’s been a wild week for Anthem bugs, after one patch removed enemies from the game, and a crashing bug was bricking people’s PlayStation 4 consoles. Now, the game’s Reddit community β€” in particularly the Reddit user YeetLordSupreme β€” have discovered that the game’s entire gear system is pointless. Why? It turns out the best guns in the game are in a lot of cases the ones that you start with at level 1.

YeetLordSupreme tested level one guns and masterworked level 45 items against one another by tracking the number of bullets it required to take down some of Anthem’s best goes in the endgame, and the results would shock you.

Or they would shock you if we hadn’t given the game away a couple of paragraphs ago: in many cases it turns out that the level 1 items would outperform the level 45 items. The results of this test, in full, were that the level 1 Defender Rifle is the best gun in the game.

If you try to conduct this test yourself, you’ll quickly see a flaw. YeetLordSupreme found that his level 1 common Defender Rifle did 286 damage against a normal Scar Trooper. Meanwhile, his level 45 Rainer’s Blaaze rifle did 1184 damage against a normal scar trooper. However, the Defender Rifle still dropped the enemy closer, revealing that damage numbers actually don’t mean anything.

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It’s unclear what the culprit is here, although Bioware’s technical design director Brenon Holmes and community lead Andrew Johnson confirmed that it was a bug in a Reddit thread discussing the issue, and Holmes has suggested that it could potentially be the level scaling system that lets friends play together.

Johnson issued an official statement: “Hey everyone β€” thanks for the feedback on this. I have confirmed with the team that this is in fact a bug related specifically to the default items on a loadout in combination with higher level gear you have equipped. It’s not functioning as intended and the team is working on it for an upcoming fix.”

There’s something almost horrifying about this glitch. Anthem, like many MMO games, is a Skinner Box that encourages you to partake in the game for the reward of better gear: several repeatable missions and events are placed before you and the deal is that you’ll be rewarded with a new item for taking part.

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However, to know that none of the damage numbers or gear even matters, and actually that everything you earn actually makes you a tiny bit worse, is pretty harrowing.

This isn’t a dig at developers Bioware, this is an unintended bug that’s causing things to react weirdly. There’s even the suggestion that it’s some weird weapon scaling combining with high-end armour and equipment sets to make the starter weapons so powerful. Still, there’s something vaguely nihilistic about the fact Anthem’s damage numbers and weaponry don’t seem to matter.

We’ll keep you up to date with all this Anthem weirdness as it happens, but if you encounter any bugs, you can reach out to us at @TrustedReviews