A fan request over on the Anthem subreddit has sparked quite the conversation regarding what user BlueFlared1 is calling the ‘Black Market’. This request, while not an actual feature request for the final version of Anthem, is seriously interesting nonetheless. BlueFlared1 posted it right towards the end of 2018, but the feature has since made its way back up to the front page of the subreddit and is drawing a lot of attention. So let’s have a look at how this feature would work.

Premise

The idea behind the Black Market is to give us Freelancers a way to earn the items, cosmetics, weapons, or otherwise, that we’ve been grinding towards for weeks but can’t seem to get.

The Black Market would be an NPC vendor, or group of NPC vendors, that would travel around the map, or Fort Tarsis. The Black Market would have specific items for sale each time it appeared, allowing Freelancers a chance to get that weapon they’ve been trying to earn from a particular Stronghold all month.

Currency

Reading through the theory it seems to revolve around there being an in-game currency in Anthem that Freelancers can only earn and not buy. The Black Market seems to work in a similar way to how Xur does in Destiny 1 and 2.

Freelancers would be able to earn this Black Market Currency through any activity they might take part in, such as missions, Strongholds, Shaper Storms, and whatever else there might be in the final game.

The importance of not being able to buy this currency cannot be overstressed. Bungie allowed players to earn and buy certain currency in Destiny 2, leading to a lot of toxicity that nearly killed the game. They’ve now established a balance that puts some cosmetics firmly in the realm of being paid-for additional content, with the rest being available to buy through premium paid-for currency, or in-game currency earned through specific activities.

Frequency

The frequency at which the Black Market will appear isn’t thoroughly planned out right now. With the idea being based on the vendor Xur in Destiny 1 and 2, it would seem to make the most sense to say that the Black Market should also appear once a week.

However, with a game like Anthem, there could be hundreds of different items for Freelancers to grind for. Should the Black Market come too frequently it might cause some to not bother grinding as much, instead waiting for the Black Market to arrive with the item they want.

Of course this is the danger in Destiny 1 and 2 as well, but Bungie seem to have found a balance with the right equipment to sell each week. Generally current expansion weapons and armour aren’t sold until a new one has been released. This gives players the chance to earn them legitimately before they can simply be purchased.

The balance that needs to be struck here is with both the casual and hardcore Freelancers. Those who play the game every day and enjoy the grind will find it far easier to earn certain items. Casual players on the other hand will find it difficult to earn certain items simply because they don’t have the time to dedicate to a Stronghold or Raid.

Should Bioware include a feature like the Black Market, or indeed the Black Market, they’ll need to tweak this balance a lot before it’s right.

Link to the Story

Freelancers seem to believe that it’s important that the Black Market is linked to the story of Anthem. In a similar way that the Storm Javelin was stolen by humanity and is now used to defend it, the Black Market could have been sparked by a secret blueprint given to Freelancers somewhere in the story.

This probably isn’t in the game at the moment, and therefore wont’ be at launch. But it isn’t out of the realms of possibility for Bioware to add the feature and story justification in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see on this one.

Specific Buffs and Debuffs

Black Market items wouldn’t just be those cosmetics, Blueprints, or even weapons that we’ve been trying to grind out for weeks. Instead, Black Market items will be specific to the Black Market, probably that iteration of the vendor, changing each time they appear.

The way this would work is that those items would have specific perks, increasing flight time by around 8 seconds for example. However, the items would also have specific drawbacks, not being able to have an overshield for the specific activity for example.

With weapons this would also work in a similar fashion. A Grenade Launcher might have an extremely powerful perk, dealing 50% more Area of Effect damage for example. The caveat with this would be something like permanent damage being dealt to your Javelin with each use. Anther limitation such as only being able to use the weapon once every 60 seconds would also help to balance out the extremely powerful perk it has.

Basically it seems as though what it’s important to do here is create a sense of balance, whilst also creating a whole new class of weapons. Class might be the wrong word, but the Black Market won’t necessarily be a Faction so I think it makes sense. The items Freelancers buy from the Black Market need to feel special and specific to that vendor. I definitely see the importance of this, because it leaves the door open to make the legitimately earned versions of all Black Market items better in some ways, or at least available for use with fewer drawbacks.

Sell Unwanted Items

This last part is more of a suggestion from someone who enjoyed the idea of the Black Market. Making it possible to sell items to the Black Market for Black Market Currency might make it easier for Freelancers to be able to afford the items they want.

This suggestion even goes on to suggest that Black Market prices would change daily. If you don’t like the price being offered for your goods one day, try the next. Likewise, if you don’t like the price for a item from the Black Market one day, come back on another day.

That’s the entire feature of the Black Market, a really great one from the community. Let me know what you think of it in the comments.

Image Source: Amazon

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