What Can Anthem Learn From Other Online Games?


– You know, presumably
I don’t have to spend another 60 bucks every year
to get the latest thing, although you still see that. – Presumably. – Yeah, we still see that happen. (electronic music) Alright, thank you for joining us in our beautiful new public access studio. – Paul, thank you so much for having me. – Of course man, it’s my pleasure. – It’s been a long time coming. – Yeah, seriously.
– My return. – But the reason I have
you on the show today for this week is cause last week we got a chance to check
out the Anthem demo and this weekend, I guess,
it’s also coming out. – [Ethan] It’s coming back. – For everybody else I guess.
– [Ethan] Yeah. Last weekend was the VIP demo. – [Paul] Right. – For those of us who are worthy. (laughs) And this weekend will be the open demo and then there’ll be
another completely confusing release slate for the rest of the game. – [Paul] I think it gets more confusing. – [Ethan] Especially for
EA, EA just loves to, they don’t want you to know
when the game’s coming out or when you can access it, so. – No. What did you think
of the demo initially? The game itself, at
least as it is right now? – So aside from problems with playing it, you know, if you want to use
the killer app terminology, like it has a killer app and that is the second you press the thumb stick down and go into flight mode,
that just feels so good. – [Paul] Yeah. – [Ethan] It reminds me a
lot of Destiny’s headshots, and a lot of how it feels to
web-swing around in Spider-Man, so it has that thing that makes you want to just do it over and over again, which is key for a game like this, and so I think building out from there, the designs of the Javelins are cool, the sound effects and the visuals with fights and blowing stuff
up are really excellent, and that it looks like there’s a lot of customization options
for you to really kinda express yourself and build the kind of Iron Man suit you want. So, I think those tools,
everything people saw in the trailers, they all
hold promise and look legit. – But like you mentioned,
I’ve been playing on PC and every time I hit that
Shift Key and I go into that, like, you know – [Ethan] PC, Shift Keys, what, sorry. – Shift Key, oh yeah, sorry. – I’m sure that feels great,
does your keyboard vibrate? – No. – What’s the point then, you’re
missing half the experience. – It doesn’t. Yeah but it’s a rock-solid
60 frames per second. – Is it really? Some people
were having problems with PC. – Nah, I was, I mean, – That’s one of the remaining issues. – That was the other thing I
was about to get to is that, I did have some trouble
getting stuck on load screens, I know they kind of were
trying to adress that, and like, I would load into a level and the world itself wasn’t built yet, and I would get stuck in
this weird in-between space, but the moment-to-moment
stuff felt great, like, not a lot of like,
challenging vertical stuff, surprisingly enough,
considering you’re like, a giant war machine
that can fly in the air. – [Ethan] Right. – [Paul] At least, stuff
we haven’t seen yet. I’m trying to give the game
the benefit of the doubt, it’s still sort of in development but – And for many months
and potentially years to come, because it is a service game. – [Paul] Right, exactly,
that’s why we’re here, right? So it’s like what experience
do you have with service games, and what are some of your favorites that you’ve played along the years? – So it’s funny, growing up
I didn’t really have a PC that could play games well,
especially not online games. I mean, my family probably
had dial-up forever, and so I remember for the
longest time I always wanted to play Final Fantasy XI, cause I
was a huge Final Fantasy fan, didn’t know anything
about MMOs but the idea of being able to play
a Final Fantasy online where you create your own character and go out into the world
and kinda do your own thing, I was like “that’s so exciting”. Never happened because I never had that. So it was actually not
until I think Xbox 360 where I really started
to play games online. Outside of the Halo games
probably Borderlands 2 was the first one where
I spent a lot of time actually playing with other people. That era of game, multiplayer
was much more of an add-on, it was a thing that you put into your game because you didn’t want
people to go trade it back in, and also a lot of people were
trying to chase Call of Duty, and so everyone was like,
“well if we just have an online mode where people go
and shoot each other nonstop, then our game is gonna do gangbusters”. And of course that wasn’t the case, but I would say Modern Warfare 2 was one of the first games where, and that wasn’t the kind of game that was
getting tons of DLC or updates, – [Paul] Right. – [Ethan] But that was one
where I was playing it, you know, every week, and I
think that in the PC space it was really DOTA 2
that sort of got me into the hype cycle of not just
playing a game all the time, cause you know, back in
the day, people played Halo 2 online a ton, people
played Goldeneye with each other locally, but DOTA 2 was
the first time where it was a game that would get
constant updates, patches, new cosmetics, things that would keep you wanting to come back to the game, even though you’d been there
for thousands of hours. – Yeah, for me I think the first
thing that comes to mind is the same thing like Call
of Duty or even like the Battlefield series,
I was like “oh, cool, it’s the same game but I
get a couple extra guns, and like, a new map”
like, that’s really cool, it extends the lifetime
of this one game where presumably I don’t have to spend
another 60 bucks every year to get the latest thing,
although you still see that. – Presumably. – Yeah, we still see that
happen, but like Fortnite was the first time I think I
can recall where I was like “Oh, let me sign up for the
Battle Pass” or whatever, cause it gave you an
incentive to continue playing the same damn game over and over again and giving you these like little
extra rewards or whatever, but now I mean, I’ve played
Destiny, Destiny 2, Division, but none of the service
games for me in particular, and this is just like a
personal case, this is not like a statement about
service games in general, but for me being someone
who plays it occasionally, and not being able to
keep up with your friends who are playing it all the time, I mean granted it’s
kind of what we do too, we have to play a lot of
games at the same time, but not being able to keep up with them, – [Ethan] And that’s been
Destiny’s big problem, is – Right. – Balancing a game for the long term so that the people who
are playing every week or almost every day, feel like
there’s a reason to do so, and like they’re being rewarded for that, versus the people who
you want to bring back every couple months, when
there’s a new piece of DLC, or a major new update. And it’s really, you know,
I kind of think of it, there’s like three sort of
ways to approach service games, there’s one like the
Overwatch model which, Overwatch has a progression
system, but it’s mainly just the core match, is just
fun to do over and over, it’s like playing Smash
Brothers, it’s like playing Rocket League or Mario
Kart, and it’s just that it’s like the reason you could go be in love with soccer, and just continue to play soccer every week. Then there’s sort of
the progression system, which is what I think
Fortnite really nailed with the Battle Pass, and why
other games have adopted that, is even where you have a game
where you’re trying to keep everyone on an even playing field, adding in new cosmetics,
new perks or things that make it so people feel
like they’re earning stuff, and that they’re making
progress, things are changing, and so you want to go
back and sort of chip away at whatever you’re working on. And then the third one is
sort of like story stuff, so like MMOs coming out
with new expansions that are primarily like, you want to see what happens in this world. And I think, in large
part, Destiny has sort of revolved around both the progression but also sort of wanting
to see a new piece of this universe with
each new piece of DLC. And that’s why when looking at Anthem it’s interesting to see
which one of those three core pillars is it going
to really latch onto. – [Paul] Right. – [Ethan] And then which
ones will be incorporated but sort of just because
that’s what you do. Like will it have a sort of Battle Pass, or will its DLC be
primarily story focused, or is it just really going
to be about getting new skins and new cool stuff for your Javelin. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not it really is going to be story driven and so you’re really sharing
these great story moments with your friends and
that’s the fun part of it or if it’s really going to be more about a sort of Fortnite approach
where the story is in the world slowly changing over time
as there are new events and these sort of more
granular incremental approaches and that the core of
the game will really be you and your friends flying
around a swarm of enemies and then doing combos and then being like “Oh that was a great
fight, and look at all this cool stuff we got.” And then I feel like those
are the two main paths the game could go and I think
one will be slightly more disappointing to people, if it
doesn’t have the story stuff, but I think if it is story
based I think that’ll just be, as Destiny and other games
have proven, much harder to sustain over the long term. – Yeah, I think it has to,
eventually, like it sort of plateaus eventually and then, who knows. – Right, like none of this stuff feels sustainable to me, at least. – Sure, sure. – I remember there was a time
when I was playing Destiny, DOTA, Street Fighter V, and
Hearthstone, almost every night. Cause each one had like
little things I could get done to make a little bit of progress. And it was like, fun,
cause on the one hand I was playing these fun games
and I felt like I was doing a ton of stuff but it was
just like, at a certain point – I feel like I’m pulling a lab rat. – you’re just caught in, right,
you feel like you’re caught on a treadmill and it’s like,
what’s the point of all this? And so I think especially
with Anthem it’s like, are you going to be able
to offer something so that you can pull people
away on a routine basis but not necessarily try
to go head-to-head with The Division, Destiny,
Fortnite, Smash Bros., all these other games that are demanding of so many people’s time. – Yeah. – Like, can I get in and get out and will it have been worth it? – Yeah, yeah. I guess we’ll see.

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