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Anthem beginner's guide: 10 tips for getting started

Anthem is finally out, and not just for Origin Access Premier members! Anthem is going to frontload you with a buttload of proper nouns to make sure you know that this is a sci-fi game. And then you blast through that sci-fi nonsense in Iron Man cosplay with a few friends while shooting bad guys and bugs, crafting gear, and exploring a massive world in the midst of a million tiny cataclysms. We don't blame you for wanting a couple tips for getting started in Anthem. 

It feels like a lot at first, but don't worry. Anthem is pretty simple despite its complex dressings. Here's a few tips to keep you on the right track.

 About those proper nouns...

Anthem's story might feel pretty complex, but all you really need to know is that it's a battle of good versus evil at the start. There's a ton to dig into in the Cortex, a glossary that details the varying factions, cultures, and classes at the heart of Anthem's volatile world. But if you're not into reading, Destiny lore expert My Name is Byf put out a great Anthem lore primer that'll get you up to snuff in just over 20 minutes.

Don't worry about crafting early on  

Spending crafting resources on a weapon you'll out-level in one or two missions just isn't worth it. For the early game, you'll pick up usable loot within story missions and Free Mode.

Play missions on Hard, but stick to Normal for Strongholds 

With a four-person squad, you'll breeze through missions on the default difficulty without any strain. Bump it up to hard for better rewards and a bit more challenge, just enough to make you think about the combo system. More on that in a bit. Strongholds, on the other hand, are stupidly difficult on hard. Wait until you gear up before taking them on.

 And don't worry about consumables either 

On the launch screen you might notice a tab to the far right for consumables. These are one-time-use items you craft that grant a buff towards specific abilities, resistances, or weapons. If you're flying through the story on normal, don't worry about using these. They're not necessary at all. Save those resources for endgame challenges.

Picking up ammo refills your mag instantly 

If you're trying to keep the DPS up, don't reload after firing off a couple shots. If you see ammo on the ground nearby, jet over to it to instantly refill your magazine without a long reload time. This is especially nice for shotguns and LMGs. 

Dive to cool your engines

Anthem actually tells you to do this, but from playing missions in public matchmaking I get the impression a lot of people missed it. If you want to get to the next objective without touching the ground, get used to flying way up then diving down to take the strain off your engines. You'll gain some speed and the sound of wind rushing by will grow louder as your heat meter diminishes. Couple this technique with skimming over shallow pools of water, diving into deeper pools, or dousing yourself under waterfalls to keep your engines cool for as long as possible. Rain will also cool your engines down.

Learn to combo

Anthem completely fails to teach players about its most vital combat technique. If you're getting frustrated with some particularly hard-headed enemies, it's probably because you're not using combos. We put together a complete Anthem combo guide back when the demo hit, but it still applies to the final release. Give it a read and tell your friends. Combat is more fun if you're collaborating. 

Make quick turns by hitting the hover button mid-flight, finding a new direction, then hitting the fly button 

The mouse controls aren't great, especially when you're flitting around the battlefield or searching for glowing orbs to unlock a gate. This makes tight maneuvering much easier. 

Tinker with the flight and swimming controls 

We've yet to find a universally sweet spot, but there are now three unique sliders that change how flight and swimming relate to mouse movement. Keep your sensitivity close to your aim sensitivity, but start by turning response and precision down to zero and work your way up. 

You can get coins from chests in freeplay 

Don't depend entirely on your weekly Alliance System payout to get money. Fly around in freeplay mode and you'll occasionally get big coin dumps from the chests scattered about.

 Salvage in bulk at the vault 

It's best to salvage on the mission recap screen, but if you get lazy and let the gear pile up, just head to the vault in Fort Tarsis. You can mark items as junk and salvage them in bulk all at once. 

James is PC Gamer’s bad boy, staying up late to cover Fortnite while cooking up radical ideas for the weekly livestream. He can still kickflip and swears a lot. You’ll find him somewhere in the west growing mushrooms and playing Dark Souls.