Kuva Liches 2.0 Rework Ideas
Kuva Liches start as Larvlings that gain the strength of the Warframe that kills them, and become super soldiers that return from the dead until the correct sequence of Requiem mods are used to sever their immortality. A quote from the Kuch Lich at Tennocon 2019, "Your voltage ran through me. My organs fried. My mind shattered...Killed me over and over and still I grew stronger."
However, the current design of the Kuch Lich system creates a Kuva Lich that does not return from the dead because it nevers dies. Whenever the incorrect requiem mods are used on it, the Lich counterattacks and kills the player's Warframe. This system does not follow the theme of immortal Liches returning from the dead and adapting to their enemies, nor does it bridge the different aspects and gameplay of Warframe (a goal Steve talked about at Tennocon 2019). Instead, it has become another island of content grind that the Tenno play while ignoring the rest of the game.
Interaction with the Kuva Lich is mostly limited to Lich missions because little progress can be made outside these missions, so the Tenno must go out of their way to defeat their personal enemy. These Liches fail to act like vengeful archenemies because interactions with them feel empty due to their lack of influence on gameplay and consequences. Their effect on gameplay is limited to petty amounts of resource theft and a single death from an incorrect Requiem mod. These results have little significance both inside and outside of Lich missions.
The hunt for Thralls is equally repetitive to the actual fight against the Lich, where the player uses brute force to wear down a tanky enemy that stands still and fights back with more brute force (which is a fight that is very similar to the Wolf of Saturn Six). There is more variety in the Lich’s appearance and personality than the strategy to combat them.However, the initial concept of the Kuva Lich still holds merit, and with adjustments, it can be a very fulfilling and enjoyable experience. Here are some suggestions that I think will enhance the Kuva Lich experience.
1. Kuva Lich Design
Currently: Kuva Liches do not die when attacked with the incorrect Requiem mod and will kill the Warframe in return in order to level up. The Lich starts with all 4 abilities from the progenitor Warframe.
A) Kuva Liches do not level up when they kill the Tenno but when they die. When the player kills their Lich with the wrong Requiem mod, their Lich will die only to glow and revive with a new found strength. When the Lich spawns for the first time, it starts with only one copied Warframe ability from the progenitor Warframe. With each subsequent death and level up, the Lich increases its stats and gains another stolen Warframe ability from the Warframe that deals the killing blow (this Warframe may be different from the progenitor Warframe). This results in a Lich that may hold abilities from a variety of Warframes that have dealt the final killing blow.
B) The killing blow involves using the parazon to stab the Lich with a Requiem mod equipped. When the correct mod is used, the Warframe will stab the Lich and execute the Lich like how a Thrall is executed, but the Lich will stand back up to fight until all 3 correct mods are used. When the incorrect mod is used, the Warframe will stab the Lich, but unaffected by the incorrect Requiem mod, the Lich will grab the Warframe’s throat. Then the Warframe kicks the Lich away and performs a Special Execution to kill the Lich (similarly to Mortal Kombat Fatalities). After the execution, the Lich’s body will glow and regenerate as it did when it was first born, granting it a level up and new ability. These special executions are great aesthetic details that add more personality to the fight against the Lich, show off the Warframes' unique abilities, and stays consistent with the Lich remembering how the player "fried it's organs".
Special Execution Examples:
- Frost freeze blasts the Lich into solid ice and punches the Lich in the face causing the top half of his body to shatter into pieces and his lower half falls back lifeless.
- Volt expels lightning out of his hand (possibly shouting, “Unlimited Power!”) and lifts the Lich into the air and slams it into the ground.
- Mag uses her magnetic powers to lift the Lich and crush its body into a ball and lets it falls to the ground.
- Wisp teleports in front of the Lich and kicks him to the ground, then opens a Sol gate point blank and melts the Lich’s face off.
- Nidus uses Virulence to impale the Lich and hold it in the air, then unleashes his maggots who crawl into the Lich and eat him inside out until the Lich’s head explodes with puss.
C) Each time the Lich is killed by the player, their appearance develops further showing scars and other signs of injuries to reflect their history dying to the Tenno and regenerating.
- If the Lich is killed with Heat/Radiation damage or Wisp’s special execution , the Lich will regenerate with burn scars on their face or a cooling system on their helmet.
- If the Lich is killed with Toxin/Viral/Gas damage or Nidus’ special execution, the Lich will regenerate with the Nox helmet.
The purpose of these changes are to create a more immersive experience with the Kuva Lich conflict and develop more unique characteristics for each Kuva Lich.
2. Kuva Lich Interactions and Connections
Currently: Liches and Thralls are only encountered in Lich missions and that limits Murmur gain and Lich progression to those missions. Kuva Liches will steal small amounts of mission rewards on planets within Lich territory.
Reworked: Kuva Liches will send Assassination squads of Thralls to kill the Tenno in regular missions (and the number of Thralls increase with the Lich level). These Thralls can be executed for Murmur gain allowing Lich progression outside of the previously designated missions. There is a greater chance of Assassination Thralls spawning on planets under Lich territory. The Lich missions within its territory can still be played as a faster method of Murmur gain and for a possible Lich encounter. Lich mission have a greater enemy spawn rate because fighting in enemy territory should yield greater numbers of enemies and more aggressive combat. In Spy missions, there is a 15% chance of gaining Murmur when perfectly cracking a vault. These changes allow for Murmur gain outside of Lich missions and reduce the need to grind the same missions, thus preventing player burnout.
Liches will only steal mission rewards (at a much greater percentage than before) from the rival player when it kills its rival Warframe (and steals an even greater percentage if it kills the Warframe multiple times). If the Lich deals the killing blow to its rival Warframe, it will perform its own execution on the Warframe and place a Kuva Collar on the defeated Warframe. The Kuva Collar is an ugly collar that will be placed around a defeated Warframe’s neck and be a symbol of shame and defeat. It can only be removed when the Lich is defeated. Other Warframes in the Arsenal will be unaffected by the collar. The collar will provide a single random debuff to the Warframe.
Kuva Collar Debuff Examples: The Warframe takes 25% more damage from the Grineer. The Warframe will be targeted and attacked more aggressively by the Grineer (even if there are other Tenno in the squad). The Warframe has -25% sprinting speed. No effect except for looking ugly and ruining your Fashion frame.
These changes connect the Kuva Lich content to other islands of content and bridges them together. They also create a more significant and personal consequence to losing to your Lich.
3. Kuva Lich Boss Fight
Currently: The Kuva Lich fight has 3 phases in his health bar where he behaves exactly the same throughout the fight. The only way to fight the Lich is with brute force and high damage. The Lich will sometimes grab and throw a Warframe.
Reworked: The Lich spawns right in front of its rival Warframe, and if the targeted player runs away and reaches a certain distance, the Lich teleports to him (like a Flameblade or Warden) and performs a knockback slam. The Lich will prioritize attacking its personal enemy over his squad mates (like the Stalker). When the Lich initially spawns, it falls from the air and performs a superhero landing that creates a shockwave and knockback. Liches often spawn a long distance away from the rival Warframe, so this teleporting ability can bring the Lich to the player and reduce backtracking through the mission.
The Lich will no longer grab the Warframe and throw them as an attack. Instead, the Lich has its own parazon, which it uses to stab the Warframe and hold it in the air while draining the Warframe's energy. During this short period, the player being held can use his Operator to attack the Lich with a Void Blast and free their Warframe. Having more energy will make the Lich take longer to drain the Warframe. If the operator is too late, the Warframe will be drained of all its energy and receive a Lich mark for the duration of the mission. If 3 Lich marks are accumulated, the Lich will execute the Warframe and instantly kill the player. Having this counterplay with the operator in the Lich fight makes the fight more interactive and enjoyable.
If the operator is within range of the Lich while the Lich is fighting and not draining a Warframe, the Lich will grab the operator and throw them into the ground (like they do currently with Warframes) and send the operator back into the Warframe.
Kuva Liches have weak points on their armor that can be targeted (similarly to Sargas Ruk, Lech Kril, and the Ambulas). If these weak points are destroyed, the Lich will be debuffed and become easier to defeat. This avoids the same problem as with the Wolf of Saturn Six where the boss was much too tanky and the fight was too long.
Debuff Examples: A shining light is located on 3 parts of the Lich’s armor, and when they are shot and destroyed, the Lich’s chest piece or helmet will fall off and the Lich loses a great amount of armor stats or headshots will deal 10 times more damage. The Lich has a tubing mechanism (like Lech Kril) on its back, and when they are destroyed, the Lich becomes vulnerable to status damage.
Converted Kuva Liches can be summoned as a Lich Specter using a specter gear item. If summoned during a fight with another Kuva Lich, the converted Lich will grapple the enemy Lich and hold them still to create opportunities of vulnerability where the Lich will have a reduced armor stat and the player can attack freely. If the enemy Lich stabs the Warframe with the Lich parazon to drain its energy, the converted Lich can attack the enemy Lich and free the Warframe. This gives converted Liches more functions and establishes another strategy to combating the Kuva Lich.
A favorite Converted Lich can be equipped in the Arsenal to designate which Lich to summon, and the Lich can be customized with color palettes and possibly special Lich mods.
Kuva Lich behavior will change during the boss fight depending on how much health it has. The 3 health bars will also indict the phase of the boss fight.
Phase 1: The Kuva Lich spawns with his entourage of Thralls and uses his stolen Warframe abilities to attack the Tenno.
Phase 2: The Kuva Lich begins using super moves to attack the Tenno. These super moves are telegraphed by red highlighted areas to indict where the Lich will attack. The supermoves deals massive amounts of damage so the players must move to dodge the attack. During the charge up of the super move, the Lich will be invincible.
Super Move Examples: The Lich raises its arm and charges a ball of energy above its head, then throws the ball into the ground and causes a great explosion of electric energy. The Lich targets a wide cone in front of it and creates a great vacuum of energy that sucks in the players that are caught in the area of effect and brings them towards the Lich, then the Lich unleashes a series of attacks with an energy blade and deals a great amount of radiation damage.
Phase 3: The Kuva Lich summons a group of special Thralls with increased stats and drains energy from these Thralls. During this time, the Lich has greatly increased damage, armor, and speed until these Thralls are executed. Another purpose of these Thralls is to encourage squadmates to assist in defeating a Lich because this phase spawns more Thralls that provide Murmur and will benefit them. The Lich will also use new advanced fighting techniques.
Advanced Fighting Technique Examples: The Lich turns invisible and when in range of enemy Warframes, stabs them from behind with the Lich parazon and instantly gives them a Lich mark. The Lich summons a group of grineer units and disguises his appearance to match them, then when the disguised Lich approaches a Warframe, it slams the ground and knocks down and damages Warframes, but also reveals his true identity.
Brute force (which is the current and only strategy), destroying weak points, and summoning converted Lich Specters are different strategies to defeating the Kuva Lich, and having this variety makes the fight fresh and interesting. The counterplay strategies allow players to combat the Lich even if they do not have an optimal weapon set up with Rivens and maxed out forma polarizations. The brute force strategy is what forces players to use the “meta” weapons, such as the Catchmoon, which had such a high usage rate that it had to be nerfed.
4. Kuva Lich Relay Assault (A new idea)
Previously, Sargas Ruk attacked a Tenno Relay, and the Tenno fought to defend it and drive him out.
As a new mission event, the Kuva Liches attack a Tenno Relay, and the Tenno will once again fight to protect their Relay. However, this time, the 4 Kuva Liches of the 4 squad members will team up for a giant 4 vs 4 boss fight inside the Relay. The Liches will bring an army of Thralls that can be defeated for Murmur and assist in Lich Progression. However, the Tenno will not fight alone because Tenno operatives, such as the Rescue/Defense Agent, Syndicate Agents (from Red Veil, Steel Meridian, .etc), and Clem will fight alongside the players as NPC allies. The Kuva Liches and Thralls vs the Tenno and Relay allies will be an invasion event tracked as a Construction Status mission like the Fomorian Sabotage and Razorback Armada, and its progress will be measured by the number of Kuva Liches defeated. Entry to this mission will require an active Kuva Lich and a special key that can be built with Kuva as one of its crafting materials.
Entry into this special mission can require a key built from a freely provided reusable blueprint with Kuva as one of its resources.
This event has the Kuva Liches taking the initiative and bringing the fight to the Tenno rather than the Tenno finding and hunting them. It also provides a boost in Murmur gain in a mission with limited availability. This culminating showdown shows that the Kuva Liches can team up and fight just like the Tenno.