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Expert Tips Anthem Doesn't Tell You

Anthem is the newest entry in the ever-expanding loot and shoot genre, developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. The game is designed as a shared-world experience, encouraging teammates to fight together against hordes of enemies and gigantic bosses on co-op missions. Players take on the role of Freelancers — valiant adventurers who don powerful exosuits called javelins to defend human strongholds from dangerous creatures lurking outside the city walls. Many of these creatures are brought about by the Anthem of Creation, an almighty force that is also responsible for the futuristic technology and mysterious phenomena found in the world. The main story follows the Freelancers' attempts to stop a villain named the Monitor from commandeering the Anthem for his own insidious purposes.

A mixture of elements from third-person shooter and action-role-playing games, Anthem has been praised by critics for its striking visuals and mechanics. However, many new players might miss out on several aspects of gameplay that are never fully explained. The tips listed here focus on lesser known intricacies such as flying mechanics, crafting improved gear, or finding your bearings underwater, and will help every Freelancer step up their javelin game.

Cooling javelins

Although each javelin class in Anthem has its own unique abilities and playstyle to master, every player needs to learn how to fly. Skyrocketing through the air is not only a fun way to travel but also a great way to escape from enemies when your exosuit is soaking up too much damage. When making these tactical retreats, pay close attention to make sure your suit does not overheat. 

The most common way to cool down a javelin is by landing or diving straight down at high speed. However, many players do not realize that they can cool off their exosuits much faster by taking a dip in lakes or flying under waterfalls, allowing them to stay airborne for longer. For a few seconds after being exposed to water, javelins will gain the "cooled" buff that slows overheating and turns the heat gauge blue. This buff will also appear when Freelancers are hovering close enough to rivers or flying in the rain.

Item icons

Many pieces of gear include bonuses to javelin performance. When looking over these items, two icons appear that are never actually explained but play a large role in how gear works. One of these icons resembles an exosuit, and the other looks like a gear or cog. 

The suit icon means that the bonus applies to all equipped items, while the gear signifies that the bonus only applies to the current item. For example, a bonus marked with a suit icon from a new weapon that increases attack damage will increase the damage of all of your javelin's attacks and abilities. However, if this very same bonus is marked with the gear symbol, only that weapon will deal increased damage.

The next time you're deciding between two loadouts, keep an eye out for these extra bonuses. They might just give you that extra edge you're looking for.

Primers and detonators

When players are examining their seals, which allow Freelancers to swap out their javelin's abilities, they may spot two other confusing icons. These unexplained seal icons look like either a dot within a circle or a four-pointed star. The dot within the circle signifies that the ability is a primer, and the star icon means that the ability is a detonator. These two types of abilities are very important to distinguish from each other, as they can be used to set up combos by chaining them together in the correct order. 

In order to execute a combo, Freelancers must first successfully land a priming ability on an unshielded enemy. After the enemy has been primed, hitting it with a detonator attack will activate the combo, dealing massive damage and applying an additional effect depending on class. Combos do not need to be accomplished individually, as Freelancers can use their primer and detonator abilities in conjunction with their teammates. However, it is important to note that the combo and corresponding bonus effect will be activated by whichever javelin hits the primed enemy with their detonator ability. Furthermore, the priming effect is instantly removed from enemies as soon as a combo is successfully landed, and must be primed again for another combo to take place.

Charging ultimate abilties

Each class of javelin has a devastating attack that passively charges while in the exosuit, known as an ultimate ability. Freelancers can help speed up the charging process for their ultimate ability by defeating enemies, but there are faster ways to charge it. One of the best ways to quickly charge an ultimate is by helping out teammates as much as possible. This includes assisting allies with kills and reviving them if they are ever knocked down. Keep a close eye on teammates with less armor, like Storm and Interceptor javelins, during difficult battles so that you can be ready to quickly revive anyone who gets overwhelmed.

There are also certain items that can be equipped to help players build up their ultimate charge faster once they reach higher levels. For example, some rare items can have bonuses such as "ultimate cooldown speed," which reduces the time an ultimate ability takes before it is ready to use again. 

Class combo abilities

Another aspect of Anthem that most newcomers miss is the fact each class of javelin comes with a different ability that affects the way their combos work. As mentioned above, these additional effects correspond to whichever Freelancer detonates a combo, not the javelin who primes it. Each of these unique class abilities is designed to complement each javelin's playstyle. 

For example, since the storm class relies on elemental attacks and inflicting status-effects, the Storm's bonus effect passes any elemental effects from the enemy hit by the combo to nearby enemies. The bruiser Colossus class has an area of effect explosion centered on the target of the combo that damages all nearby enemies with non-elemental splash damage. The agile Interceptor gains an aura that inflicts the same elemental effects as the comboed target to nearby enemies. Finally, the Ranger deals bonus non-elemental damage to a single target affected by a combo.

Using different elemental attacks

In Anthem, some enemies are more susceptible than others to damage from certain types of elemental attacks. Fire attacks, for instance, are useful against tanky opponents with the regular red health bar because they will take damage over time. Fire attacks are also helpful against foes with armor and physical shields, but very ineffective against opponents with energy shields signified by a blue health bar. 

These energy-shielded foes can be taken down much more quickly by using two different kinds of elemental damage. Electrical attacks are by far the most effective against them. However, ice will also do a decent amount of damage to energy shields. Physical shields, on the other hand, are resilient to ice and electrical attacks.

Alongside fire, the best way to take down foes with physical shields and armor (yellow health bar) is acid attacks. Since acid attacks reduce damage resistance, they are ideal for temporarily cutting through enemies heavy armor in order to deal significantly more damage.

Stick with your favorite equipment

After experimenting with different types of weapons and gear abilities, players should pick their favorites and stick with them for the long haul because the Anthem upgrade system favors Freelancers who use the same gear consistently to complete challenges. Every weapon and gear item (equipable cooldown skills found throughout the game) comes with a set of challenges that can be found in the menu. 

These challenges are usually straightforward and can be as simple as completing four missions with the item equipped. Finishing all of the challenges will unlock an enhanced blueprint for that item, which comes with an entirely different series of challenges. Players can earn the blueprint by completing the new challenges, which will in turn unlock more challenges for gaining even better blueprints. Although grinding for better blueprints can take some time, it allows Freelancers to keep improving upon their preferred weapons and abilities rather than swapping them out after finding better loot every mission.

Paying attention to debuffs

Many new players do not realize the full effects of the various debuffs they can use. These can be applied to enemies by hitting them with one of the four types of elemental attacks: fire, ice, electricity, or acid. Fire damage sets enemies on fire which causes them to actively burn and slowly take damage over time. Ice attacks are useful against powerful foes as they can freeze enemies, restricting their movement and allowing your team to get in some damage unscathed. 

Electrical damage is great against large groups of enemies since it electrifies a target, sending arcs of electricity to shock nearby enemies. Acid attacks are best utilized against armored enemies as they lower enemy resistances, making them more susceptible to damage. Although each type of elemental attack has unique effects best suited for different circumstances, these debuffs can build upon each other and help Freelancers dish out massive damage.

Use jumps and dodges to stay in the air longer

One of the most useful pieces of information about dodging mechanics that Anthem does not share is that javelins can stay airborne longer using the dodge and jump mechanics. By chaining together dodges and double jumps, players can cover large distances or avoid wide-reaching attacks. This strategy is especially helpful when Freelancers are soaking up too much damage in combat and need to make a retreat across a large area. 

By dodging, double jumping, flying for a few seconds, and then repeating the process players can stay in the air for much longer without their javelin overheating. The trick is to fly just long enough for the dodge cooldown to reset before dodging and jumping again to cover the most distance. The one javelin class this technique does not work for is the Colossus, which has a shield ability instead of a dodge. Conversely, this strategy is extremely effective when playing as the Interceptor, the only javelin that can perform a triple jump and dash.

Make extra coin from the Alliance System

One of the easiest ways to quickly collect coins is by taking advantage of the Alliance System. Any friends you have who play Anthem will generate coins for every Anthem player on their friend list as they gain Alliance experience. This Alliance experience is earned every time players complete an expedition, and the specific amount of Alliance experience gained is always equal to the regular experience Freelancers earned from the expedition. Alliance experience is contributed to your Alliance System pool and measured on a weekly basis. 

If Freelancers earn enough Alliance experience during one week, then their Alliance level will increase, granting players more coin with each tier they reach. At the end of each week, a player's Alliance level will be compared with their top five most active friends before being reset. Freelancers will always receive some rewards each week for being part of an Alliance but will earn much more the closer their Alliance level is to each of their top five friends. This means if you know someone will be playing Anthem often, adding them to your friend's list is a fantastic way to accumulate coins over time, especially if you can keep up with them.

Save your ultimate ability

Ultimates are extremely powerful abilities that can help players take down an entire mob of enemies or dish out devastating damage to bosses. While they can be useful for clearing out waves of enemies with ease, ultimate abilities take a while to charge and therefore are best saved as a last resort. Some of these ultimates, such as the Colossus' Siege Cannon or the Storm's Elemental Storm, can clear out large groups of enemies who have trapped your teammate in a chokepoint. 

Other ultimates, such as the Ranger's Multi-Target Missile Battery, are ideal when surrounded by fast-moving enemies. The Interceptor's ultimate ability, Assassin's Blades, allows players to shred through enemies by dealing heavy melee damage. Although different ultimates are suited for different circumstances, they can all be used to stay alive on the battlefield. The main reason ultimates are so useful is that, besides being capable of dealing massive damage, Freelancers are rendered invulnerable for the duration of the effect and are fully healed afterwards.

Finding your bearings underwater

Since javelins are equipped for both flight and deep-sea exploration, players often find themselves exploring ancient ruins underwater. The deeper players dive on these aquatic adventures, the darker it becomes, which can get disorienting. Whether you are searching the depths for a chest of coins or a forgotten tomb, it is important to know which way is up when you start running out of oxygen. Many players never realize that the best way to avoid getting turned around underwater is by tapping the hover button, which resets your javelin and points your view towards the surface. 

You can also hold down the hover button while underwater to stay permanently aligned while swimming. This means the Freelancer will only be able to swim left and right while holding down the hover button, ensuring they will not lose alignment again. This tip can help Freelancers find their bearings after wandering too deep and becoming lost in the murky depths.