So... this letter feels like it's been a long time coming, though I've never actually felt the need to write it until now, mostly due to blind luck. As this letter is intended for DE, I will be addressing the devs directly unless otherwise stated. But before I get into the weeds, I would like to say something upfront to my fellow Tenno: I realize that my opinion on this matter will likely be extremely unpopular. I have no illusions about that. Believe me--I'm used to it. The way I think is very different and contrary to most of my species, and thus, my opinions on everything in life are typically very unpopular. In this case, I expect that once this post is done, the community will come flying at me with blood-thirsty rage. That's fine. I understand. But I really feel that this needs to be said, and I need to be heard.
DE, I want to make it very clear upfront that Warframe is one of my favorite games of all time, and you are one my favorite developers of all time. In fact, some time ago, I wrote a now archived post explaining why I think you're one of the best devs in the business. I'm not telling you this to try to earn brownie points with you; I'm telling you this in order for you to understand that all criticism stated in this letter is only because I love and care about the game so much, and respect and appreciate you as developers. If I didn't, then I'd simply take a hike and find another game. I would never bother spending hours composing such a letter on a forum for a game that's just crap, and not worth my time.
Now then, to the matter at hand. "Goodness", you say. A "double shot of rework goodness".
So, I am adamantly, vehemently against the proposed removal of Ember's World of Fire, as I made emphatically clear in the dev workshop thread. To reiterate, I realize and admit that I have been known to overreact to changes from time to time, and for that I apologize. I often dread big changes, and fear that they will be the end of the world. I've said one or two things I regret, years ago, but I've long since learned to be less reactive, more optimistic, and give myself to time to try things before getting bent out of shape. Nearly all of the time, I find that I adjust to changes very quickly, and after a couple of days of playing, I've forgotten that anything is even different.
That is why I have been continually asking myself if I am overreacting this time, and I keep coming to the conclusion that I am not. World on Fire has been one of my favorite abilities for the life of this game. It is one of the most fun for me. Ember was the very first frame I ever built, and after six years and more hours than my next top five most played games combined, I've never tired of her. I wasn't in favor of the changes to WoF awhile back, but I adjusted to them quickly, as I usually do, and I love her all the same. Losing WoF entirely is a crippling blow. It is horrifying, and I am shocked and appalled that you would do something that radical. I am more upset, angry, dismayed, and depressed over this than I can say. I am truly sick over it. Needless to say, I am writing this letter largely in the hopes that you might reconsider.
From what I have seen, a great many players seem to be of the mind that WoF is boring, and they typically seem to be opposed to one-dimensional specialization, and always-on, toggle, "set and forget" abilities. You seem to be of the same mind, as reflected by the direction that warframes and their abilities have moved over the years. That's your prerogative, of course. And that's fine. I'm not complaining about that, nor am I vilifying other players for their opinions. However, I feel very strongly that it is unfair and unethical to completely remove a long established ability like WoF, which is a staple and a favorite of many (albeit probably not a majority, I'll admit). I understand that changes and tweaks are necessary and inevitable in a game like this, and it's entirely up to you how new frames will function, but I don't think it's right to completely take away something so beloved to many of us, which has been the core of a frame for so long. I could launch into a lengthy dissertation about why I think WoF is still great, and why I don't think Inferno will be as fun or unique, or why I cannot foresee any situation in which Inferno would be preferable over Peacemaker or Miasma, or why I'm shocked that you dumped her best ability while keeping her worst (Fireball) but I actually think that that's a little beside the point. This is goes much deeper than Ember.
As much as I love this game (and I really, really do), I've have always lived in fear of the big reworks and changes. As I said, most of the time they turn out fine, but I've always known that at any time, anything I love could be taken away. As a matter of principle, I believe that it is unfair and unethical to make any changes so radical as to remove core gameplay components or drastically alter how warframes function. As far as I can recall, until now, every change that has ever happened to this game has either been an addition, a straight-up improvement while losing nothing, or a change that, while requiring some readjustment and acclimation at first, is better in the long run, and again loses nothing. Replacing artifacts with auras seemed like a big change, but we lost nothing. (Most players are probably going, "The hell are artifacts?" I'm really dating myself.) We got the same effects. Damage 2.0 or parkour 2.0 or melee 2.0 were big adjustments, but they were all a straight-up gain in functionality, and we lost nothing. Replacing void keys with relics--same thing. Every change requires a little acclimating, but everything's still there, and usually better than ever. And, until now, all of the warframe reworks (or, at least the ones that have effected me personally), have been similar--tweaks, but always preserving the figurative "heart and soul" of the frame. Each frame has something that makes them them--signature abilities that fans are very used to and love. Reworks have historically made quality-of-life improvements, subtle changes, and balance tweaks without removing the signature gameplay of that frame. Nyx has seen... I wanna say... two reworks? But she still mind controls and chaos's enemies. She's still Nyx. Nova saw a major change to M. Prime, but it's still M. Prime. I remember when Peacemaker was omnidirectional. Good times. I was sad to see that go, but I know it had to. Even I admit that that was stupidly game-breaking. But even after reworking Peacemaker, it's still Peacemaker, and Mesa is still Mesa.
This move with Ember is completely different. I've always lived in fear of the big reworks, but I never imagined something this drastic. I don't feel like we're getting an Ember rework. We're losing Ember, and simply getting a different frame in her place. The heart and soul of Ember is WoF. Unless I'm mistaken, she's one of only two frames with an always-on toggle aoe that allows free movement and combat during use. I love that type of ability. It's what has made Ember one of my absolute favorites for six years. Taking that away destroys what she is. Perhaps Inferno will be good, but it belongs on a new frame, not on Ember.
As I said earlier, it seems that you, as well as many players, dislike and discourage one-dimensional specialization and "set and forget" abilities. But I love them. It doesn't mean that I want nothing else, but I love that style of gameplay with Ember. It's your prerogative to move away from that with future abilities, but that doesn't mean it's fair or right for you to retroactively take away those abilities from long-established frames that some of us have spent a lot of time and resources upgrading because we love those abilities so much. I realize that many players will tell me that change is the name of the game, and I have no right to complain, but I disagree. I know change is inevitable, but I feel that I do have a right to respectfully complain when a change seems horribly unfair.
Furthermore, I believe that fans of a particular ability should take precedence over those who want the ability changed to something else. Many players will complain about any number of frame abilities being boring or unfun. Many players will say exactly that about WoF. But I do not believe that those players should take priority. Instead, players who love a given ability should be able to keep it, and new frames can be introduced to suit other tastes. Look at this way--let's suppose that Player A loves WoF, and Player B hates it and wants it changed. I believe it is demonstrably more unethical to change the ability. If the ability is changed, then Player B gets their way, but Player A loses what they had and loved. If no change is made, then Player A retains what they have, and Player B is no worse off than they already were, and moreover, new frames can be made to suit their tastes, which they can voice right here on the forums. I believe that taking something away from Player A is clearly worse and more unethical than taking no action and leaving Player B as is. I believe that Player A (in this case the ones who like WoF), should have the right of way. I realize that I am biased, but that doesn't mean that necessarily mean that I'm wrong.
This whole thing fills me with terror of what else may lie around the corner. What might you remove next? (Part of me is afraid to say anything here because I don't want to give you any ideas.) Is Banshee's Sound Quake on the chopping block? That's also one of my absolute favorite abilities, and another that many players will complain about due to it's non-interactive nature. What's next? Will Hysteria and Peacemaker be removed one day as well? My fellow Tenno may think that that's just crazy talk, but to that I would say--don't be so sure. Anything is possible, and that scares me. And that brings to another important point: just because something is old doesn't mean it's bad. Contrary to what you seem to believe, warframes and their abilities do not need to be dramatically overhauled and reworked annually in order to stay relevant. Small tweaks, yes, but not this--not completely changing what they do.
Most players don't share my opinions, and most seem to dislike the less interactive abilities, but I do not believe that that justifies punishing those of us who do like those abilities. Make new frames more interactive, but don't punish those who love the abilities of the older frames, such as Ember and Banshee. It's also important to point out that people who think that WoF (or Sound Quake for that matter) is boring are under no obligation to play that frame or use that ability(s). There are plenty of options. They can use another frame. There are plenty of abilities and frames that I don't like and find boring, but I wouldn't demand that they be changed to suit my tastes. For instance, I don't like playing Trinity. I find her boring. I find Blessing boring. But I would never demand that Blessing, or anything else about her, be changed to appeal to me. That wouldn't be fair to those people who love Blessing, and Trinity in general. Those players' opinions should take precedence over mine, which is why I simply don't play Trinity, and choose other frames that appeal to me more. Once again, small changes and tweaks are necessary and expected in order for older abilities to continue operating well and being useful as the game's environment evolves, but that shouldn't entail stripping away the heart and soul of a frame by removing their signature ability and radically changing their entire dynamic.
At this point, I'd like to offer a solution to please everyone. In the words of Robin from Batman Forever... why not both? Similar to what you did with Bastille and Vortex, how about making Ember's 4th be WoF on tap, and Inferno on hold? Or, WoF, but when you deactivate it, it consumes the remaining energy for a meteor? The damage of the meteor would vary with the amount of energy consumed. That would add some strategy, as players would have to decide whether to let WoF run down, or end it early for a big nuke. Just an idea.
I would now like to momentarily shift and speak directly to me fellow Tenno. If you've actually managed to read this far, I'm sure that many of you are frothing at the mouth, blood boiling as you marshal your counter-arguments and reasons why I'm an idiot. Your opinions may be very different from mine, and I respect that. Also, I suspect that many of you may be thinking something to the effect of, "Holy s**t, dude. How f*****g pathetic do you have to be in order to get this upset over an ability in a freaking video game?" Well, no arguments, there. I am indeed pathetic. I won't go into the details of my life, as that would be highly irrelevant and tangential, but suffice it to say that it is a pitiful life indeed. While I have some talents, I am definitely a failure, and I'm the first to admit it. I am absolutely pathetic, but... that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm wrong.
Once again to you, DE, I suspect that you (as well as my fellow Tenno) may be thinking that it's ridiculously premature of me to be getting this bent out shape when the change hasn't even happened yet. I haven't even tried Inferno yet. I may end of loving it, right? I really ought to at least try it before writing a freaking book denouncing it, right? Well, as I think I've made clear, whether or not Inferno is good is beside the point. It belongs either on a new frame, or bundled alongside WoF, but not instead of it. This destroys what Ember is. Now, unless I've missed my guess, I suspect that you're pretty dead set on this change. I'm sure I can kiss WoF goodbye. When you said that you're open to feedback and changes, both before and after release, I took that to mean tweaks and changes to these new abilities. So, for instance, you might be open to tweaking how Inferno works, or changing how the Immolation gauge fills, or what it does on release, and things of that nature. I suspect that you're not going to be open to actually reversing this decision entirely and keeping WoF. I really hope that I'm wrong, however, and I felt that I should write this now because, if there's even the slightest chance that you might change your minds, then I figured it would be better and easier to make that decision before release, rather than put the new Ember out there and then implement some kind of damage control and reverse the change.
Please reconsider this rework. Longtime fans of frames/abilities shouldn't be punished because others may not like them. Please consider keeping WoF, or merging it with Inferno. Moreover, please consider what I've said here before any radical future reworks. I love this game, but I hate knowing that any of my beloved abilities or gameplay could disappear at any time. If this change has to happen, then I will begrudgingly replace my Ember loadout with Equinox. I already have Equinox Prime, but I never finished her. I'll polarize and potato her up so I can at least retain the gameplay I love to an extent with Maim. But then again, that just makes me fear the day when Maim might be removed as well. If I must switch to Equinox, may I make a request? Make an attractive deluxe skin for her that doesn't make her day form look like a Grineer Butcher? Not only is Ember one of my favorite frames in terms of abilities, but she's also one of my favorite frames visually, and I hate the thought of letting her collect dust while I use Equinox's day form, of which I am not a fan.
If any DE employees actually read this, then I greatly appreciate it, and thank you for your time and consideration. If any of my fellow Tenno agree with me, then I thank you for your support. If any respectfully disagree with me, then I respect your opinion. I expect that many of you will now come hurtling towards me like a horde of rage zombies from 28 Days Later. That's fine. Luckily, I am under no obligation to care what you think.
~Justin Case, Altara Warlord