K, just finished trying out vast majority of all the newly implemented things in this update and am ready to give an adequate feedback. I am not sorry for taking so long, it was all due to the timegating. Your decision, DE, not mine.
Now, I'll segment this into the parts as they were written in this post:
Starting off with the acquisition method.
It. Was. Hell. I went in completely unprepared for those missions, where I didn't know Mods didn't apply and Gear items couldn't be used. It was challenging, no doubts about that. The reward was good, absolutely, a guaranteed part of the new Warframe is a good reward for the difficulty of this mission. But damn was it punishing. It felt like what Nightmare missions should probably be, because these missions were an actual nightmare. If it's ever decided to make more missions with these same nightmarish restrictions, at least have the decency to put a REALLY GOOD reward at the end, like a built Forma, an Orokin Catalyst blueprint, some free-use Platinum, I don't care. It HAS to be of equal or higher value to these current guaranteed Grendel parts, that's all I demand.
About the Frame itself. He seems… fine. The synergies are there, he's durable for sure, and while his whole kit seems to forcibly revolve around his first ability, that's not exactly a novel concept in Warframe (*cough*Nidus*cough*). His 3rd ability seems a bit incomplete, like it should have an additional effect, his 4th ability is a bit hard to steer and his 2nd ability could use some bigger indicators of what buff we're getting on the next use. Other than that, he seems to play nicely.
Melee changes phase 2:
So far, pretty good. Some of the combos take you out of toggled sprint, but I think that is unintended and would easily be fixed, right? The rest of it is nicely implemented, thought. It actually gives melee combat a much needed variety and control. I'm just sad that grab combos are gone, I loved the rapier one.
Vauban & Ember reworks:
Starting with Vauban-
It's an ok rework. Kinda of emphasizes the fact that Vauban's a Supporter frame, not a Defender, since I can't seem to protect anything within the new Bastille from being devastated by a baker's dozen of ranged enemies outside the ability's range. Tesla Nervos is fantastic now. At least compared to the old iteration. I sometimes forget to use it in missions now because I'm still used to it being useless, but it's actually a direct upgrade now to have it out and working. The lack of guaranteed proc chance or even being able to mod for it is a bit of a thorn in the side, and it's very noticeable when in the middle of an intense firefight. The charging animation is kinda goofy, but it gets some chuckles out of me so I'll give it a pass. Minelayer now has such a fluctuating degree of utility that I'll have to segment my opinion on it. Tether Coil is fantastic in concept, but the execution is kinda of a letdown. Limiting it to 2 enemies at a time and not allowing that limit to be modded make this ability pretty much negligible. Flechette Orb is… unexpected and disappointing. It does… nothing. At all. Shoots some nails all around, and that's it. It's like a direct downgrade to the Azima alt fire and that itself is mediocre even with mods. Vector Pad is basically Bounce Pad with a different name and is just as useless, let's not sugarcoat it. Overdriver is probably to best part of Minelayer and the one I'm constantly using to the point where I sometimes confuse it for the whole ability rather than a part of it. It does, however, have some details I'd like addressed. First off, trying to apply it to allies is a nightmare. The orb somehow tracks me first and just re-applies to buff to me and nobody else. I'd prefer it being changed to deploy a pickup for allies, only triggering the auto-apply if there's someone without it on nearby and otherwise staying as a pickup that can be manually walked over to refresh the effect. Now back to the rest of the abilities. Photon Strike is such a cool-looking ability, I'll admit that. But if I'm going to do some fancy anime-style flourish in midair to drop the preverbial bomb and it only detonating after a few seconds for added flair, that thing better be the absolute highest, single shot damage in the entire game *unmodded*. And I really mean it. This ability, for all the buildup and style it has, *deserves* to unload an absurd amount of damage in a single hit, no questions asked. Because, as fast as the game has become, in public squads, all the enemies I painstakingly gathered up in one place more often than not just get evaporated by a hail of gunfire from my teammates before the giant, satellite laser has a chance to claim a victim. I'd like the thing to be so oppressingly powerful and flashy that my teammates will instinctively let the ability finish just so they can witness its power. And finally Bastille, or was it Vortex? Bastortex? Doesn't matter, it's perfect. Combining the best of both the old abilities was the winning formula here, don't change it any more.
Now about Ember-
It's a pretty good rework. Again, compared to the old. The new passive ability is great. Well, the old one was basically non-existent, so the bar wasn't set that high, but it's still great. The new combo effect on Fireball is a bit unexpected. I was hoping it would have something extra, like comboing 3 times would result in a unique finisher, like the fire staying like it did in the old rework or maybe it shooting out in multiple directions around Ember. But as it is, it feels more like a placeholder for something better. Hopefully that'll be filled out. The new Immolation is fantastic. Never expected a frame based on hellfires to actually have a defensive ability. The last minute change on it's overheat effect is also unexpected, but pleasing nonetheless. I was ready to accept the self-explosion from overheat draining all energy, but this continuous drain that gives you a chance to do something about it is nice too. But the fact that you can just toggle the ability and snuff out the fire instantly is a bit weird. I wouldn't mind it keeping memory of the heat levels that would come back if the ability was turned back on too fast. It's convenient, yes, but a bit cheap-feeling. Also, damage reduction is nice and all, but the ability leaves me expecting something more. Maybe contact damage like Nezha's Halo, or boosted Bullet Jump explosions, something that takes advantage of being literally on fire. Only other thing I got to point out here is the activation animation. It feels very, very unprofessional to just re-use Khora's animations like this. I don't really like it, but that may just be me nitpicking on account of already being tilted at Octavia's roller looking exactly like a Grineer Roller repurposed. The new Fireblast ability is perfect. Does what the old Fireblast did well and even more, I have no complaints about this ability. As for the final new ability, Inferno, please decide if you want it to be line-of-sight or area-of-effect, because trying to mix both just makes it weird to handle. Also, I'd like it to be like Nidus' Virulence in that, when holding, it would show a visualization of all the available targets. Maybe also show how much energy total is going to be consumed. Not to make it a charged ability, mind, just add some targeting info to it. Otherwise, it's pretty good. Although it sometimes doesn't target stuff like Turrets, but that's probably a coding thing.
I like these. But I still have stuff to point about it. First off, they become available WAY too early. Making the Larva enemies appear starting at Mastery Rank 5 minimum (the minimum Mastery for War Within) is much too early for players. Bump them up a bit to appear only to players at Mastery Rank 10+ so they are actually ready for how infuriating it will become to have you drops randomly held ransom by some chatty rogue. The methods to fight the Lich are also very tedious. I shouldn't need to kill around 50000 Thralls just to get a clue at a single kuva rune thing that won't even be in the correct order. I'd prefer the required number of kills lowered to, maybe 5-7 per rune clue. I would also appreciate that data to also be acquired via other methods. Like, for example, random consoles on the level that randomly become dark-red glowing-smoking indicating that they have Kuva Lich Data. Using the new Parazon to hack them could yield data on the rune clues. Or maybe keep the clues coming from Thrall kills only and have the consoles instead reveal the order of the runes. The possibilities are fairly limited, but still an improvement over the current system. While fighting the Lich itself is almost like yet another damage-sponge boss, it's the method to power them up that actually makes it annoying. Needing to get killed in order to boost the Lich's level is very irritating. The fact that our revives are no longer bought and refresh to max on each mission doesn't change the fact that it feels very, very bad to have our hero be Bane'd for nothing more than a number increase. Please add some other way to boost the Lich, like some unique random event where it begins gathering power to level up, and we can either interrupt it or let it finish. In fact, adding that as a mechanic in the Lich fight itself would solve 2 problems: the killing you being the only way to level them up and the fact that some people just don't try to interact with their Lich when it shows up, leaving it to wreak havoc on the mission, usually being very detrimental on missions with a protected objective, like Defense or Rescue. Give the Lich a unique move where it starts gathering power, and if not interrupted, will level up and then leave the mission satisfied. Maybe also make the Lich itself leave after a certain time passes (or a certain number of "kills" but with no interaction) after it showed up, so it won't stay forever in the mission, giving the option to keep it's level while still also getting rid of its presence. And please, add something more to the level up of the Lich, like increasing the Weapon base element bonus or something. Make it worth to level it up for more than just "a challenge". Other than the encounter itself, I'd like some more interaction with converted Liches. Like meeting them personally somewhere, and most definitely an option to go around and kill them for the weapon when they've outlived their usefulness. Maybe even manually select which Lich to bring into missions, rather than have it be a random occurrence (they belong to us now, so why not?). Other than the above mentioned things, I am fine with the new Kuva Liches. They may be far more complicated to interact with than their inspiration (of which I did indeed play the game, loved it) but I understand that some modifications must be made to make them fit in Warframe.
I like this new tool. But the new mechanic it introduces of "mercy kills" is a bit clunky to use. Whenever a random enemy becomes available for mercy kill, it more often than not just gets destroyed by whatever I was already using to kill it before I get a chance to get close for the stylish kill. Maybe raise the HP threshold at which mercy kill becomes available, drastically raise the enemy's damage resistance to Synthesis Target level so we actually get a chance to mercy kill it while it's under fire (and in that case, reduce the chance of enemies actually becoming available for mercy kills so the whole map won't instantly be flooded with hard-to-kill enemies that I need to either spend extra ammo or individually stab one by one). Just make it actually available in a fight. And maybe also add a few extra parazon mods that interact with it, like guaranteed double or triple loot drops from mercy kills, or an AoE fear to all nearby enemies after a mercy kill (brutalize kills), actually give players a reason (and a chance) for them to go out of their way to perform these stylish kills as opposed to just gunning down everything in sight and getting loot at the same monotonous pace.
Only thing I'd like to point out here is, why the whole new Exilus Adapter item for this system? Why can't we just use the old Exilus Adapter? It's not like the concept is that radically different. Plus it would save some resources on new code and pictures for it, not to mention it would be a hell of a lot more convenient for players, so why add all this needless bloat?
Currently there seems to be a bug with the capture of wild Vasca Kavats where the Echo-Lure isn't moving the cursor correctly. Making us have to guess at which speed to move between the instantly moved 2 points. The creature itself is pretty neat. Really have a menacing and intimidating feel to it, not just the sounds it makes, but also the way it moves and attacks. It's a neat addition to the Kavats. A unique, monstrous strain to mirror the Helminth Charger for Kubrows. I like it. Now all we need are more "natural" variants on Kavats to match the Kubrows and we'll all be happy.
Other things of note:
The new options menu UI is nice and fancy, but did it really need to mess up all my controls like that? I went into a panic when the sprint button wasn't doing the dodge roll until a guy in Recruit chat was kind enough to make the PSA about it.
And that's all I got. It better be used somehow since I'm giving it for free.