An Anthem player has discovered that the default level 1 Defender Rifle is actually the best weapon in the game.
But it’s probably due to a bug.
Anthem, like most games, offers their players a default weapon to start off with. It’s nothing special: just a regular old assault rifle-type weapon that does a moderate amount of damage so you can get to squashing baddies right away. As with most starter weapons, the intent here is that you’ll toss that old rifle as soon as you find something better.
Well, you shouldn’t do that in Anthem, because that starter rifle is actually the most powerful weapon in the game.
Allow us to explain with testing courtesy of Reddit user YeetLordSupreme, who posted his discovery to the Anthem subreddit yesterday. In his testing, he uses a Ranger equipped with Airborne Advantage, Convergence Core, Defensive Bulwark, and Firearm Calibration core components, which are all basically just damage boosters. A pretty standard Ranger setup, currently.
In one weapon slot is the humble Level 1 Defender Rifle, while in the other is a Level 45 Masterwork Rainer's Blaze Rifle. You can tell which one should be better based on the larger and more grandiose title, but also by the damage numbers. The Level 1 Defender does 286 damage to a regular Scar Trooper, while the Masterwork Rifle does 1184. That’s roughly four times the damage of the little Defender.
You’d think then that the Level 45 Masterwork Rifle of Doom is the clear winner--not so. While the numbers say one thing, real-world performance says another. To kill that Scar Trooper, it took the Masterwork Rifle 6 bullets. The Defender Rifle? Four.
That means despite the numbers, the Defender is actually 33% more effective than the top-of-the-line rifle of all-encompassing awesomeness.
Other players chimed in to confirm the test and realized that they’d been grinding away at better gear for no reason.
BioWare employees quickly responded to confirm that this is, in fact, a bug, and the numbers that pop up are what the rifle should be doing in terms of damage, but due to some complicated interaction with the other high-level gear the player was wearing, those damage numbers were being invisibly inflated beyond what they should be.
The bug is scheduled to be squashed on the March 12th update. Until then, bust out those level 1 Defenders that have been collecting dust since the game’s release in February--they’re currently Anthem’s best bug squasher.