Originally planned for May, the Cataclysm will now begin in mid-July, with PC players getting a chance to get their hands on it early on Anthem‘s new test server, which goes live sometime next week. The event will last eight weeks, with the Cataclysm itself only being available for the last six weeks of the event. The first two weeks will feature new in-game challenges and vanity rewards, but nothing new on the gameplay front. Once the Cataclysm arrives, players will have access to three new story missions and a brand new playable area aptly titled “The Cataclysm”.
The Cataclysm is an open area that can be freely explored unlike a stronghold, but players’ time in the area is limited due to the unstable conditions of the region. When players enter The Cataclysm, they’ll have a clear goal: complete various objectives to earn points and eventually defeat a final boss before the time limit expires. These objectives are variations of freeplay events found in Anthem‘s open world, and the opposition players will face are the same Dominion troops they’ve spent hours fighting in the base game. To spice things up in The Cataclysm, certain modifiers called “Inversions” will be active, providing a twist on standard gameplay by doubling shotgun damage or decreasing cooldown times, for example. These Inversions will rotate on a weekly basis.
The Cataclysm also comes with an array of new rewards to be earned. These new weapons and armor will be released over the course of the event and they’ll be entirely new pieces of gear, not just reskinned items from the base game. These items will be 5 levels higher than those already available in Anthem, which raises some questions about players that miss the event being able to catch up to the gear score of those who participated in the Cataclysm. The new gear can be obtained via “war chests”, loot boxes that can be purchased from a new vendor in Fort Tarsis with currency earned during the event.
Is this the huge content update Anthem needed to kickstart its decaying player count? It looks like the answer is no. Fans on the game’s subreddit are not happy, and a host of promised features and tweaks haven’t been mentioned since the delays last month. The game’s roadmap has been updated though, but not in a good way. Any and all timeframes for updates have been removed, leaving only a vague “Act 2” and “Act 3” locked below a list of features “Currently in Anthem“. These features are exciting pieces of content like “daily, weekly and monthly challenges” and a weekly microtransaction store refresh. These are the bare minimum for live service games like Anthem, and the fact that they’re being touted as noteworthy “features” is a testament to the embarrassing lack of content in the game.
Loot has been an issue since launch, and the few changes BioWare has made to the loot system have been met with unhappy complaints. These problems have still not been addressed, despite BioWare saying they’re not happy with where loot is either. The mastery system, the rest of the legendary missions, and even guilds are still nowhere to be found despite being planned for early April. “Act 1” of Anthem was supposed to conclude with the Cataclysm event in May, and now that event won’t happen until mid-July, with the entirety of the other content planned for Anthem currently MIA.
The future of Anthem is looking grim, especially with the game being notably absent from the EA Play lineup, and if BioWare continues this horribly slow drip-feed of content and this incredibly sparse communication schedule, then it’s a very real possibility that Anthem might not even have a future after its initial roadmap.