Anthem is a mostly-multiplayer game. Your off-the-clock time in Fort Tarsis, wandering around talking to NPCs, is a solo venture, but when you're shooting stuff in the big world outside you're generally going to be doing it with other people. It's possible to fly solo if that's your thing, but BioWare wants to encourage players to stick together, and producer Ben Irving recently took to Reddit to explain how it aims to do that.
If you played the Anthem demo that ran over the weekend, you probably noticed that you were racking up "Alliance experience" at the end of each mission. That experience is earned every time you complete an expedition—a mission, contract, freeplay, or stronghold—and added to an "Alliance System" pool that also includes Alliance XP earned by the other people your group, and the people on your friends list when they're playing without you.
At the end of the week, you'll be awarded Coin, Anthem's in-game currency, based on how much Alliance XP was pooled. There are a few conditions and restrictions—only the top five people in your friends list count toward your Alliance XP, for instance, so you can't add thousands of people to your list and reap the rewards of their work—but simply put, the more co-op play you take part in, the more Alliance XP and Coin you'll earn.
Longer-term, BioWare plans to incorporate support for Guilds, which won't be available when Anthem goes live. Irving didn't share any specifics about how they'll work, but they'll "play a critical role in helping players form organized groups with people of similar interests and play styles," he said. "Our goal is to release guilds as soon after launch as we can. Details on timing will come as soon as we have our plan locked in."
How BioWare managed to come within three weeks of releasing a major, multiplayer-focused shooter without having "locked in" a plan for guild support is a question that I cannot answer, but I do have to wonder.
Anthem is set for release on February 22, unless you're an Origin Access Premier subscriber, in which case you can get started on it a week early on the 15th. James recently took one of Anthem's endgame missions for a spin, and Jarred has your update on the performance and settings. Our expectations have been tempered by the demos, but here's hoping the full game surpasses our first impressions.