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Difficulty refers to the global Difficulty setting as well as the relative difficulty between different activities within Anthem.

Global Difficulty Tiers

There are multiple levels of difficulty in the game. The harder the tier, the better rewards you can expect.

From the expedition summary screen, players can select one of the following options (descriptions taken from the game):

Level Logo Details
Easy
Difficulty Easy
  • Recommended for players who want to focus on the narrative and exploration aspects of Anthem, or who prefer casual shooter-style combat. Easy difficulty offers easier enemies, but no bonuses to loot or XP.
  • At pilot level 25+ a small number of Masterwork weapons are available.
Normal
Difficulty Normal
  • Recommended for players who want an experience that balances difficult encounters, narrative and exploration. Normal difficulty offers some bonuses to loot at the cost of increased enemy health and damage.
  • At pilot level 25+ a small number of Masterwork weapons are available.
Hard
Difficulty Hard
  • Recommended for players who want a more challenging combat experience. A mix of teamwork and skill is recommended.
  • At pilot level 25+ a small number of Masterwork weapons are available.
Grand Master 1
Difficulty GM 1
  • Unlocked at Pilot Level 30
  • Javelin Power 425+ recommended.
  • Skill and javelin power are required to overcome the challenges presented at this difficulty level.
  • All Masterwork items are available: Additional weapons, gear and components. There is a small increase to the chance of receiving Masterwork items and a small chance of receiving Legendary items.
Grand Master 2
Difficulty GM 2
  • Unlocked at Pilot Level 30
  • Javelin Power 575+ recommended.
  • Survival at this level depends on your build, not your power. Strive to create a build that balances multiple components, weapons and gear.
  • There is an increased chance to receive Masterwork and Legendary items.
Grand Master 3
Difficulty GM 3
  • Unlocked at Pilot Level 30
  • Javelin Power 675+ recommended.
  • At this difficulty, a coordinated group of Freelancers with advanced, synergized builds is needed to survive.
  • There is a significant increase to the chance of receiving Masterwork and Legendary items.

Additional Details:

  • Anyone can join GrandMaster difficulties below level 30, if the squad leader is level 30 and selects this difficulty.
    • Possible bug/oversight, might be corrected later down the line
  • Legendary items can also drop on Easy/Normal/Hard, but seem to be limited to the same pool as the Masterwork Items (about 6 items, all of which are weapons)

Relative difficulty of different activities

Within one difficulty setting, the content varies in "relative difficulty" if compared to one another. This was mentioned in the Anthem Live stream from Feb. 20. [1]. The developers goal is the following ranking between endgame activities, from easiest to hardest:

  1. Freeplay
  2. Contracts
  3. Legendary Contracts
  4. Legendary Missions
  5. Strongholds
  6. Cataclysms

In regards to standard missions (aka the story missions, also called Critical Path) the devs explained that the difficulty is done in a way that starts from so called "easy encounter types" (not full range of possible enemies per faction, more foot soldiers, less heavys). The legendary missions are then re-balanced story missions for level 30 with "extreme encounters" (more enemies, full range).

References

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l60FTLfHv8
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