Greetings, Close-Combat Tenno!
This rather lengthy Dev Workshop will cover the overall progression with our Melee Rework and some of the changes that you can expect to see when Phase 2 is released in Update 26. Update 26 brings change to Warframe - it iterates on the game and Melee is no exception. For months Phase 1 has been in your hands, and it’s time for Phase 2. What follows is a detailed overview of our design direction and intentions with this new Phase.
We want you to know how your use of melee and feedback on the systems have helped form Phase 2, and how some changes are included to allow for a more cohesive Melee experience. Our tools made Spin attacks optimal at the cost of the more interesting Melee system, and we’re trying to rectify that overall.
Previously we made several changes to the Melee system (as detailed in the Melee Rework Phase 1 Dev Workshop thread) including:
Introducing a new quick-melee attack
Full VFX overhaul on elemental damage types
Aimed Slam Attacks instead of impacting directly below an airborne player.
While select changes are to be rolled back (yes - see below before you react), the rest of the system served as a good foundation for this much more expansive Phase 2.
Please bear in mind that these changes are not set in stone, and some aspects of the new Melee system will be tweaked during the usual QA process. There are some more features being added later on, introduced in Melee Rework Phase 3 at a later date.
So what is covered in Melee Update Phase 2?
1 ) The Return of Equipped Melee and Manual Blocking!
2 ) Dodge Cancelling and Tactical Dodging THE COMBOS
3 ) Stance Changes, Combos and You!
4 ) Smoother Combo Transitions
5 ) Combo Counter Rework THE TOOLS
6 ) Changes to Slam Attacks
7 ) Goodbye Channeling, Hello Heavy Attacks and Lifting!
8 ) Weapon Stats, Mastery Limits and General Melee Changes
9 ) Mod Rebalancing / Functionality
10) Exalted Weapons
11) The Screens: Arsenal Changes THE TECHNICAL BITS
12) Aim Assist
13) Sticky Fingers when Equipping Melee! THE FUTURE
14) Channelling 2.0 AKA “Rage Mode” and Future Plans!
As you can probably tell, this Dev workshop is going to be a bit of a lengthy one, so make sure you sit comfortably, drink a nice cup of Greedy Milk and get ready to read all about how you can better turn your enemies into salsa with your favorite melee weapon!
1. Equipping Melee and Manual Blocking!
One of the bigger changes added to the Melee Rework: Phase 1 was the addition of fluid swapping between melee and Primary / Secondary Weapons. However, some players preferred the ability to manually block, making some of their builds less easy to manage. While we restored manual blocking for players playing ‘sword alone’, it wasn’t quite the same.
The good news is that both functions are back! Holding the weapon swap button will equip melee fully again, and the aim button will manually block when in this mode. Holding the Weapon Swap button while Exalted Melee is in play will also lock you into Exalted Melee mode!
Check out a clip of this in action from the Devstream!
We also have redesigned the utility of blocking: Blocking will now prevent 100% of damage, with a blocking angle that is dependent on the melee weapon equipped. All successful Blocks will also add to the new Combo Counter!
In the above example, sword and shield weapons (such as the Silva & Aegis) have a blocking angle of 70 degrees, centered on the front of the player, where as a dagger weapon (such as the Dark Dagger) will only have a blocking angle of 45 degrees. (Previously all weapons had a locked blocking angle of 45 degrees upon the introduction of Auto Blocking.)
2. Dodge Cancel and Tactical Dodging
One of the older and larger complaints of the melee combo system has been the animation locks. Completing 7 step combos feels great, but the animations completely lock you into the movements. We are introducing two new ways to put more control in your hands:
Dodge Cancel - Allows a player to activate a dodge any time during a melee attack to end the combo immediately and dodge out of the way.
Tactical Dodging - Dodging while blocking now performs this Tactical Dodge, keeping the distance short, and allowing you to remain within melee range. This is an effort to not break the flow of combat after cancelling out of an attack, but also if you need to make a quick escape!
Here is a clip of Dodge Cancel and Tactical Dodge in action!
3. Stance Changes, Combos and You
By far, the biggest change you will see in the new Melee system is the alterations made to Stances, as well how Combos interact with one another. In the old (current) system, Combos are an effect of button presses, all leading into a chain of animations. In Melee Rework Phase 2, attacks are buttery-smooth and adaptable!
This rework of Combos applies to every Stance, not just the weapon types. For example, Tempo Royale (a Heavy Weapon Stance Mod) will still have different Combos than the Cleaving Whirlwind Stance, even though both Stances fit the Heavy Weapon melee type. The difference now, is that both share a design that uses common movements and attack types.
We also wanted melee attacks to feel more intuitive. For example, if you are aiming down the sights of a primary weapon or blocking incoming fire, and then hit the melee button, you most likely want to get in close! If you are not inputting a movement key while meleeing, it’s usually a sign you want to finish off your target. We wanted the new Combos to reflect that that existing movement, and so the new inputs reflect that situational awareness.
In most cases, the following improvements can be applied to any given Stance Mod equipped to a weapon (not just individual weapon types!):
Forward Combo (Forward + Melee) - This allows you to attack without initially interrupting movement with the first 1-3 swings (depending on the weapon Stance). The last attack in the sequence will loop seamlessly into the first, so that you can keep a level of mobility while attacking.
Forward Tactical Combo (Forward + Block/Aim + Melee) - This move is usually a distance-closing opener, bringing you closer to the enemy and getting you within range to continue a harder-hitting string of attacks. The beginning or end of this combo can have a slam effect, allowing you to control the enemy, and during the mid-point of the combo, attacks will be large and sweeping, allowing multiple enemies to be hit.
Neutral Combo (Melee button only) - Hard hitting, movement-free attacks to allow a player to destroy their target. The last attack can either have a knockdown effect, or throw them into the air and hold them there, if one set of strikes does not finish the job.
Neutral Tactical Combo (Block/Aim + Melee) - First hit will likely be a longer thrust or throw of a weapon to increase range. Further attacks will be hard-hitting, and will often finish in a ragdoll effect or a Lifting Attack, as opposed to a knockdown or stagger. Lifting attacks are detailed in Section 7 of this workshop.
Air Combo (Melee while Jumping) - Perform a combo in the air without sacrificing movement.
Hover Air Combo (Back + Melee while Jumping) - Holds the player in place while the combo completes, and overrides the slam attack angle to keep the action going!
Pro Gamer Move Example: Use the first, opening attack in the Forward Tactical Combo (Forward + Block/Aim + Melee) to close the distance on the target, then transition into either a Neutral Combo (Melee Only) or a Neutral Tactical Combo (Block/Aim + Melee) to finish off the target.
4. Smoother Combo Transitions
In the old system, only the first follow up attack inputted would remain in ‘memory’ and would execute at the end of the initial attack animation. Any kind of input entered after the initial follow up was ignored until the next attack had started. In the new system, the next attack is being constantly updated, depending on the last input received.
This allows for last-second decisions on combo changes to occur immediately after the first attack has finished. No more waiting for a combo attack animation to end before you can start spamming the attack button again! Embrace the fluidity!
5. Combo Counter Rework
The Combo Counter will be getting a new functionality pass. Rather than just providing flat bonuses to damage, the Combo Counter will now also act as an expendable resource for new heavy hitting combat: HEAVY ATTACKS! This will replace channeling's key binding, and Section 7 below covers those changes. This counter will be increased in a more granular and rapid way, and can be built by using melee attacks, blocking damage, radial damage from Slam Attacks and hits from a thrown weapon (such as the Glaive).
As an expendable resource the Combo Counter should be easy to replenish, and the changes made should reflect how easy you can acquire and spend the Combo Counter resource. In addition, the ‘heaviness’ of an attack will have a measured difference on the amount of Combo Counter it increases. As a general rule, lighter, swift attacks will give lower additions to the Combo Counter than slower, heavy attacks will. Swing for the fences, Tenno!
A SIDE NOTE: as a result of this new Combo Counter system, certain Mods are changing, but there are also some Mods whose stats will remain untouched, such as Body Count, as it retains the same functionality. The Mods that will see some changes are listed below, in Section 9.
6. Changes to Slam Attacks
The ragdoll effect of the Slam Attack is being removed (with some weapon-specific exceptions *cough*JatKittag*cough*), however it is being replaced with an effect that will push enemies back or knock them down, giving the player some breathing room, and setting the enemy units up for follow-up attacks.
Melee Rework: Phase 1 introduced the global use of ragdoll effects on Slam Attacks, so this is the second item to be rolled back, and replaced with a better way to rain down death from above! A .gif shows this off better than words alone, so enjoy a visual of what to expect:
7. Replacing Channeling with Heavy Attacks and the ‘Lifted’ Status
Channeling will be saying its final farewells in the Melee Rework: Phase 2 update, and instead is being replaced with a new form of Heavy Attack, as well as a new Lifted status effect. As we said before, Channeling Mods will also be changed to support this new system, as well as providing a larger pool of utility to choose from in your builds.
These are the changes planned:
Heavy Attacks (Alt-Fire for Melee) - Heavy attacks can now occur at any time, simply by pressing the Alt-fire button while you have melee equipped or in your hand. This costs all of your Combo Counter (affected by Mods), so make sure you lay down the hurt! If you don’t have any Combo Counter active, you will use a Heavy Attack, but it will not benefit from any damage bonus from the Combo Counter.
Heavy Slam Attacks (Jump + Alt-Fire for Melee) - This new Slam Attack will create a new effect on targets, known as the LIFTED STATUS. When a target is Lifted, it is held suspended in the air, allowing a player to follow up on attacks while the target is held helplessly aloft. Again, if you do not have any Combo Counter active, this will act as a Heavy Slam attack without a damage bonus, and minimal Lifting Status.
Here is a clip of this in action!
8. Weapon Stats and Mastery Limits
With this new change, there is a broad-sweeping review of Melee weapons and how they function with the new system. Expect the following changes to all melee weapons across the board:
Mastery Rank - Weapons will be reviewed to make sure their function and power are aligned with an appropriate Mastery Rank, similar to passes made on Primary and Secondary weapons. Full details will be in the Update Notes!
Base Damage - Since the Combo Multiplier will apply to Heavy Attacks only, the base damage of all melee weapons is going to significantly increase. Expect to see some big numbers! Full details will be in the Update notes, but every weapon is going up.
Base Range - Along with damage, range is also being increased to make sure you get the most chop for your buck. While base range is being increased, Range Mods are going to have a different calculation applied to them. This is detailed in Section 9.
Mod and Arcane Channeling Functionality - As mentioned above, any Mods or Arcanes with functionality tied to Channeling will have their stats altered to increase Lifted Status, Heavy Attack damage and Combo Counter modifiers.
9. Mod Re-balancing and Functionality Changes
Since the base damage of melee is being buffed some notable Mods are getting a balance and/or functionality pass. With the wide amount of changes happening to Channeling and Heavy Attacks, some Mods have had to be reworked into other systems or have had changes to the way their damage scales.
For full transparency, some of these are nerfs to specific Mods, but we felt these were necessary to truly allow Phase 2 to be treated as a new beginning for melee. Our intention is to create engaging melee and Modding variety, which is not possible when there is a one-best loadout or single Mod that can kill almost anything in the game. We love killing things effectively, but we also want the combat to be engaging and feel powerful. Spin attacks still exist, but the repetition of them is something we’re trying not to force you to use. To reiterate: Select tools made Spin attacks optimal at the cost of the more interesting Melee system, and we’re trying to rectify that.
At the moment, the current list of mods and their proposed changes are listed below.
Amalgam Organ Shatter - Will be changed from Charge Attacks to Heavy Attacks.
Blood Rush - Will now scale differently, using a stacking multiplier based on the Combo Counter, raising (X)% per Combo Counter tier (something much easier to achieve in Phase 2). We will provide the final % pending more testing.
Condition Overload - Now stacks at a maximum of 3 Status Effects, however damage is being increased from 60% to a higher percent to balance the change. Final % to come.
Corrupt Charge - Adds a large amount to the Combo Counter, but significantly reduces the time it takes for the Combo Counter to drain.
Covert Lethality - Is being removed from Dagger Weapons and is now being applied to a new system that is shipping alongside Melee Rework: Phase 2 (hint: Parazon).
Dispatch Overdrive - Increases player movement on a Heavy Attack hit.
Enduring Affliction - Increases the Status Chance on enemies suffering from the Lifted Status.
Enduring Strike - Increases the Combo Counter when hitting Lifted enemies.
Focus Energy - Add Electrical damage to an attack, as well as increasing Combo Counter generation.
Focused Defense - Adds an additional 20 degrees to a weapons blocking angle.
Gladiator Mod Set - Adds a multiplier with the Combo Counter up to 60% for the whole set.
Guardian Derision - Will add more to the Combo Counter for blocking hits. (Note: The Taunt mechanic is still in place.)
Killing Blow - Pure, unadulterated damage buff to Heavy Attacks.
Life Strike - Heavy Attacks will now regenerate Health.
Maiming Strike - Changes from an additive buff to a stacking buff, but base functionality increased to a Significant % of the old version to balance the change. Final % to come soon.
Quickening - Increases Melee Speed, but lowers the chance to generate Combo Counter on a hit / block.
Reach / Primed Reach - Will now increase range in a way that has been normalized. In the previous incarnation, long-range weapons were getting too much of a benefit, while short-range weapons were barely seeing any increase at all.
Reflex Coil - Increased Combo Point Efficiency when using Heavy Attacks.
Spring-Loaded Blade - Will now provide a maximum of 3 additional stacks of Melee Range.
True Punishment - will still increase Critical Chance, but has a chance to not build Combo Counter on a hit / block.
Weeping Wounds - Increases Status chance in a Stacking Multiplier, increased to 60% at max level.
Again, some of these changes are subject to review and are still being finalized. We are sure that as Melee Rework: Phase 2 rolls out, there will also be additional balance passes as usability and effectiveness are used (or abused).
10. Exalted Weapons
As expected, all melee-based Exalted Weapons will also receive the Phase 2 functionality treatment, gaining access to the combo changes. For those of you who may have missed it, Wukong’s Exalted Iron Staff has already had this functionality implemented (with the exception of the new Heavy Attacks and changes to the Slam Attacks), so if you want a preview of the Combo system, you should check out the Monkey King!
11. New Screens: Arsenal Changes!
Part of Update 26 involves a change of the Arsenal Screen, and how information is displayed. In the current system, your Arsenal screen looks something like this:
In Update 26, this screen is being reorganized to include Loadouts, Companions and Vehicles in tabs, while also giving more information about a weapon when selected. See the work-in-progress example below:
As you can see, new stats for Heavy Attacks and Heavy Slam have been added, with channeling statistics removed. Please note, the stats in the above screen may not represent the final numbers, as we go through the usual balance passes.
THE TECHNICAL BITS
12. Selective Aim Assist
Aim assist can be a help or a hindrance depending on what type of attack you wish to perform. While the current system either applies to all or none (on or off), the new system will have more intelligence on aim assist on a per-attack basis. As a general rule under the new system, Aim Assist will be disabled for almost all attacks in the Forward and Tactical Forward Combos, and enabled for most of the Neutral and Tactical Neutral Combo attacks. Of course if you don’t wish to use aim assist at all, you can disable it from the settings menu as normal.
13. Sticky Fingers when Equipping Melee!
Another common issue in user feedback was the unequipping of Gear Items (like the Codex Scanner), or dropping the ‘football’ (usually a pickup for Mobile Defense or Sabotage Missions) when equipping melee or using a melee attack. This has now been changed so that you will no longer drop items or unequip Gear Items when either equipping melee or using a Melee Attack!
14. Lastly: Channeling 2.0 AKA “Rage Mode”
There has been a lot of discussion around this addition, and while it will not be included in the Phase 2 update, there is a lot of work being put into its application. This system is very special and we want to make sure that it is not just a cool addition, but that it has roots in Warframes lore, and a story behind it. This is something we want to implement with a lot of in-game fanfare and details will become available as progress is made.
For now, that’s it!
If you have any feedback on these proposed changes, please feel free to respond to this thread. Remember that feedback should be concise, constructive and civil. If there is something you don’t like, remember to tell us why, and what you would like to see instead, or if there is something you like the sound of, remember to tell us why you think it will help and how you would like to use it!
Thank you for reading this wall of text and expect to see Phase 2 arriving SOON™
EDIT: Seen a few replies concerned about the change of range to weapons such as the Cassowar. With that in mind, I made the following for you to see how things look side-by-side.
- Prime Reach 7/10 (120% on Public / +2.9 on Dev Build)
- Stance Mod
- No other Mods or Damage / Range Boosters