Kuva Lich experience is till underwhelming as no changes have been made to the actual game cycle...
> Murmur farming:
Is frankly quuite boring you just slog through the usual missions with the only objective of downing the 4-5 or so thralls that spawn among the regular troops... that's it, the actual objective of the mission is completely irrelevant...
Enemies are higher in level so there's a reason to use decent builds and weapons but still there's no payback, you get the usual drops of the node (stolen by the lich) and reduce it influence on the planet only for it taking root somewere else in the solar system... (more about that in the enxt section)
- all "endless" missions are constrained to a single "rotation" duration with a limited number of thralls to "interrogate"
- lich controlled nodes are ghost towns, it's improbable to find other players with lich territories overlapping on yours to share missions with, resulting ofthen in a solo farm again in a multiplayer game
Actual mission objectives are irrelevant to narrative! Only consequence of doing murmur missions is removing lich influence on node ina purely mechanical way.
- Capture mission: hunt the target, collaterally take down any thrall that spawns, hope the lich doesn't interfere when capturing your target... the assigned capture target isn't even a thrall or in ant way connected to the lich! I was on Jupiter and I got a corpus target on a grineer controlled tile (ok what??)! Why isn't the target itself a source of informations/murmurs?!
- Spy mission: crack the vaults, no effect on murmur advancement, risk of lich spawn and automatic fail.
- Survival: you are there as a diversion... no contest to fighting the lich, just doing the usual boring mission, with a single "rotation" of duration, so no infinite murmur farming.
- Defense: one rotation and you leave, actually defending the objective has no effect on murmurs, thralls are just there... and, again, you can stay only a single rotation of 5 waves
(also a critique to defense missions in general: what the heck happens to the target after we leave? it would be cool seeing the next team coming in to replace us or a recovery crew actually hauling the target away!)
> Kuva lich "birth/ascent" feels "random"
We don't risk anymore accidentally giving rise to a Lich, still Liches start as some no name weakling, "die" and suddenly return with troops, equipment and resources that would make Sargas Rhuk green with envy... this sudden power growth makes no sense bestowed on a mere "mob", I'd rather have a ranked grineer with at least a number as a name, as origin for a lich - a unit or multiple units appearing in kuva related missions as part of the garrison, as some kind of miniboss.
>Star map grab and control
Lich influence spreads unrealistically fast! We do need those occupied nodes for thral grinding with how the current system works, but it would be ebtter if it wasn't the case.
Current rate of expansion is unbelievable and sudden, conflicting with both established canon and suspension of disbelief (were did the grineer suddenly find all that manpower, ships and resources without us noticing they were ammassing all that material!?) with Kuva Lich leveling jumpstarting even faster and unexplained territory grabbing...
Turning territorial Lich expansion in invasion missions would be believable and make use of what's already ingame without straining credibilityt .
- We would get agency in how far and how fast lich influence encroaches in the Origin System while mantaining a realistic rate of propagation: the more we would engage in disrupting invasios, the slower our Lich expansion on the star map.
- Thrall hunt would be contestualized by us headhunting the lich lieutenants, to derail its invasion efforts by decaitating its troops chain of command.
- It would justify conflict with our lich as, the more we make nuisances of ourselves, the more it'd be motivated to hunt us down, through proxies or personally, much like Alad V and Vay Hek send assassins after us when interfering too much in their factions invasions!
- Routine missions outside of Lich influence could get spawn additional objectives depending on current Lich threath rating in a manner similar to the old mission objective changes with the Lotus or assassin spawns: during an exterminate or other mission we could be notified that an alliy has been captured by lich forces and needs immediate recue, or that the ship we boarded has been rigged for selfdestruction in a "reverse sabotag"e in which we attempt to prevent the reactor from going critical or to flee in time, one of the players liches sends an hit squad to interfere with the mission, and so on...
- Invasions would/could get a "final" extra mission targeting a lich lieutenant in command of that expedition, to stop the attack for good. Success would substantially raise lich attention towards us: while it could afford to ignore us as a minor setback, losing trusted officerswould mark us as priority threats, very much like killing bosses marks us for Stalker reprisals.
- Spawning of mission node/s hosting our lich base for us to discover and raze to the ground through multiple missions, with location revealed through research or happenstance (like being captured by lich troops).
- It will tie-in easily with wathever the nature of Empyrean will be, including launching preemptive attacks on lich forces to postpone or completely derail ongoing planetary landings.
> Investigating kuva lich requiem is boring, repetitive and "disconnected" from regular game cycle
Connecting to what I discussed about changing liches territorial expansions, DE needs to give us alternative ways to accumulate murmurs or actual hints.
- Parazon mods each have nice pieces of prose that would be interesting to somehow integrate in the process of unlocking the proper requiem!
- Fighting our lich before the final showdown does not feel involved or "personal"
<> Consequences for 3 completely wrong runes/ no runes equipped: mission failure and loss of transference to the defeated frame, with our lich evolving using its parts, this would be offset by being able to exclude 3 mods from the puzzle in a single mission and still be a very rare occurrence that helps establishing the lich as an actual threat for us personally. (obviously our downed frame wil be "replaced" by the lotus/ordis , or we could have to do a "zabuka-like" mission to recover it)
<> Defeating the lich with an incomplete requiem could let us down it temporarily, with it reviving again and again (just like we do) while hounding and taunting us relentlessly for the entire mission, deliberately going after our target and trying to prevent us from accomplishing it, until we complete our objective or its continued interference forces us to fail or to flee. This would impress how these new enemies are different and that we can't get rid of them easily or afford to ignore them without repercussions. (more interesting and challenging than the Lich simply fleeing)
<> Spy vaults in lich territory should offer actual information on requiem or lich palns, to enable us to prevent invasions or plan attacks on resourche depotsand other targets that would help cripple our enemy military effort, even eventually leading into "cascading" missions dedicated to raiding the lich treasure ships or storage depots, for profit or pure vandalism! Sabotaging a ship to suffer a catastrophic reactor meltdown or vent it's atmosphere and survive until we completely ransack its hold? (kuva in drops?) Tl:Dr spy vaults drop should be acces to lich related missions with bonus effects, better drops or something...
<> Capture missions should target kuva lich lieutenants for information (murmurs) and hints about its abilities and weaknesses (that should be completely unkown) and its main base "lair" actual location;
<> Defection missions would become their actual namesake, with rescued defectors contributing information to the player;
<> Option to buy information for reputation or favours (missions) from our allied syndacates, Maroo and Symaris, with hostile syndacates actively working to thwart us in our efforts ( we really need more interaction and conflict with syndacates as well, this system is completely frozen and unchanged since its introduction)
> General improvements
-- Non Lich-related missions could/should accomodate extra objective/s connected to our lich depending on its level, as already written above;
-- Lich-related missions could/should change dynamically or add objective/s on the fly for more variability and unpredictability (like sometimes happened in regular missions with capture missions becoming exterminate etc the coding is already in place even if I havent seen it happening in mission in a while now): doing spy vaults we could find the last one purged with a thrall on the run with the info we need - capture missions could be traps, turning into survival, defense or exterminate, and so on. This would keep us on our toes and maybe encourage generalist builds and frames over meta due to needing adaptability if a mission goes off the rails...
- Lich mission could be tuned as mini procedural assault mission;
-- defeat in Lich-related missions should have consequences, like losing part of our progress in stopping an onging invasion in that sector, opening a new invasion! Getting our frame captured and locking it in an escape mission like the Zanuka Hunter one - "actual" defeat (instead of scripted one) needs to be interesting as a narrative chance instead of being reduced to a purely binary win/fail switch.
-- rising enemy "pressure" connected to our progress in discovering our lich requiem, with difficulty ramping up every time we test an improved combination successfully on the lich itself: 1 correct mod in the sequence, 2, 3 + 1or 2 mods in the right place, with maximum level of conflict when requiem is discovered and the enemies hunt the player relentlessly before he gets access to the Lich base for the final showdown.
-- need to find and breach our Lich main base to actually access the final shodown after an assault mission! with the lich not permanently killable in other missions, setting the stage with better scripting for boss fights
-- better scripting in general for Lich AIin combat, use of abilities is damn random with ability sets with poor or no connection to parent frame actual abilities;
-- other returns from defeating our lich besides weapon and ephemera to keep interest in the system: kuva in decent quantities would be very much apreciated together with chances at rivens;
-- choice between murdering or converting our lich should net equivalent immediate benefits, choice should be purely "moral" and reflecting on our "aligment" that's been neglected since "The War Within"
-- instead of getting converted liches to pop randomply in mission and being ineffective at it to boot, give us their "specter" as tradable blueprint and/or reusable beacon, so we can choose to use it or not;
-- we kill our lich we get choice of two out built weapon, built ephemera, blueprint of their "specter"
-- we convert it we get choice of two out of reusable "specter beacon" and its blueprint, blueprint of weapon, blueprint of ephemera
I believe most of what I outlined could takes advantage of existing game mechanics and scripting and/or reuse existing assets - i.e. could be actually implemented without "reinventing the wheel"