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[Suggestion] More power to Auras and Stances


Reifnir

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Ahem. 

 

Below is a rather lengthy piece of text I put together after the latest devstream mentioned Elite Alerts. You know, the "alerts - rewards - auras - mods that add capacity - stances too, then - something for veteran players to do!" chain of thought. Then I remembered about how Focus system is still in a rough shape... One thing led to another and all of a sudden I decided to formulate a fan concept of some gameplay elements I would like to see added. Oh, and new players - beware, some of this stuff is NOT spoiler free.

 

 

 

First off, some points I based the entire thing off:

 

A) Auras and stances see very little love in general. Sure, we get a moderately useful aura here and there (Stand United, Shotgun Amp), some decent ones (Growing Power), and a stance or two once in a blue moon, but nothing changes on a larger scale. That's boring. 

 

B) Focus schools being what they are, there isn't much incentive to grind Focus beyond getting the mandatory meta nodes. Naramon's combo counter, Zenurik's energy regen, Madurai's Void Strike, Unairu's Wisp, Vazarin's insta-revives. Beyond that, dozens of situational, gimmicky or downright useless nodes await, and while Focus 3.0 will come someday, I believe we can breathe some life into it while we wait with a lot less effort. There's also a growing issue of veteran players who maxed out the entire focus system and are accumulating Focus points that have no use whatsoever. 

 

So why not introduce a system that in one fell swoop, gives Focus points utility *outside* of leveling nodes you don't care about (or maybe you have the entire Focus maxed out already, eh?) AND adds some serious spice to aura and stance mods without being too groundbreaking, and maybe throw in some QoL for good measure? I'll start a long way off, but this is how I see it:

 

Additions to facilitate the power-up

 

A new Orbiter segment gets added into the game. Placeholder name - Focus Nexus Segment. Its blueprint can be acquired as a quest reward for completing one of the Operator-related quests (Saya's Vigil? The Sacrifice? Chains of Harrow?), retroactively mailed to players who finished the quest already. Alternatively, it can be a Tenno Lab research project as soon as the clan Warlord completes the necessary quest, but that may be unnecessarily clunky, so it's just a thought. Another option is simply purchasing it with Quills standing. 

 

When built, it appears in the Operator room (the one with the Orokin tendrils, not the quarters!). Perhaps it should only be possible to interact with it as an Operator.  Its function is to channel Focus Points from any given school into a physical form, kind of the reverse of what Eidolon/Synthetic shards do. For the sake of consistency, let's call the resulting item an Inert Mastery Shard. You can gradually form a shard (similarly to how you charge a Focus Node) using points from any Focus School you can spare, and it takes 100,000 cumulative points to create one Inert Mastery Shard. Note that in its raw form, the Inert Mastery Shard cannot be converted back into focus. It also cannot be sold for credits or traded. Possibly there should be a limit of no more than one shard craftable during a day. 

Another item, the next step for this is a Scintillating Mastery Shard. The blueprint is either bundled with the Focus Nexus Segment BP if it's a quest reward, as two are indispensable for the whole thing to work, or purchased separately from Tenno Lab/Quills.

Manufacturing cost is 1 Inert Mastery Shard, 100 Void Traces and 2 Argon Crystals, and it's a 24-hour build. Hell, maybe even a 48-hour or a 72-hour build timer for what it does. The resulting shard can be used for many things (but still cannot be sold or traded to other players), as explained below.

First off, by spending a Scintillating Mastery Shard players can bypass the 24-hour lockout on Mastery Rank tests. Considering it's somewhat costly and takes a while to build, you'll still think twice before going into qualify mode without practicing, but at least this gives you some breathing room for when the test fails for one reason or another, like lags, sudden CAT-astrophy, spilled coffee and all that. 

Second, a Scintillating Mastery Shard, unlike its Inert counterpart, CAN be converted back into focus, just like Eidolon/Synth shards. Effectively, it gives you a costly and slow alternative to juggling different Focus Lenses, because you can move Focus Points from one school to another like this. 

 

 

 

So... Why did we need all the stuff above again?

 

Now, we come to the juicy part. Remember I mentioned auras and stances? Here's how it relates to the new shards...

 

Two new rooms need to be added to the game. I'm a bit on a fence here between adding some stairs descending into two separate Trial Caves (placeholder!) in Teshin's room on a relay, or having an entirely new room, some sort of Trial Hall added to the Clan Dojo build list. In any event, we need two sets of trial entry points - one for Melee Stances, and one for Auras. For now, I decided to go for "halls", for the sole reason it sounds better than "caves" to me. Let's call them Hall of Blades and Hall of Radiance, for a lack of better term at the moment.

 

 

 

The Hall of Blades contains four Trials, very similar to how Mastery Trials work in Simaris' chamber. They are assigned a base Element from damage 2.0 each - Fire, Cold, Toxin and Electricity. Similarly to MR trials, only one trial (per hall!) can be completed per day, and you can both Practice (no daily limit on this one) and Qualify, but there are some key differences.

First, attempting to Qualify costs, you guessed it, a Scintillating Mastery Shard, and the Shard is consumed regardless of succeeding or failing. Risk and reward, eh?

Next, Hall of Blades trials serve one purpose - to upgrade a basic Melee Stance to one of the four elemental variants. This works by passing a trial with a melee weapon and a maxed stance mod you want to upgrade equipped, and trials are weapon restricted - melee only, no Warframe abilities, no consumables, no companions. Maybe no Operator, too, and if we want to push players even more - tests may spawn you as an unmodded Excalibur with an unmodded copy of your weapon, just the stance mod. Note that failing a qualification only consumes a Scintillating Mastery Shard, you don't lose the stance mod. Any weapon can be used - as long as it can equip the stance you want to upgrade, so if you want to work on your Tempo Royale, slap it onto your favourite Galatine Prime, War, or even a Heavy Blade Zaw and give it a try! 

When a Trial is completed, the stance in question undergoes several changes. 

1) The stance mod becomes a 5-pip Legendary, with a capacity of 7 as opposed to the usual five, regardless of what rarity the original stance was. So yes, on top of it all, it gives you 4 more capacity to play with when used in a matching Stance slot. It also becomes unranked, so you'll need to spend some Endo and Credits to max it again. Trading tax of 1mil as well, perhaps, being Legendary and all. 

 

2) The stance mod receives a flat random bonus that adds to the base stat of the weapon you equip it on. Chosen from a pool of either +20% damage, +5% crit chance, +5% status chance or +10% attack speed. Maybe more, but you get the idea. Didn't get the bonus you wanted? Well, time to farm another Tempo Royale or Cyclone Kraken then! 

 

3) Finally, the stance mod receives an elemental component, corresponding to the Trial element - a base amount of innate elemental damage (affected by mods!) on top of IPS and/or whatever element the weapon already has, somewhat in tune with Plague Star zaws, but coming from a Legendary upgraded stance this time. That also means that running a stance you're planning to use on Silva&Aegis through a Fire trial will "merely" buff its Fire damage, not add a stand-alone element for all you Condition Overload users.

 

The Trials themselves should not be weapon or stance-specific, but element-specific instead, and pretty challenging, too. Not in the way of bullet-sponge monsters, but in terms of clever and inventive ways to use the elemental procs and deal with elemental hazards along the way. So far those are very, VERY rough ideas, but I'd like to see something along the lines of:

 

Heat

Spoiler

The Trial stage is burning, both fire patches and random Heat procs on your frame for just being there. The mission is a Defense run, with unique wave composition - enemies spawn in pairs (4 pairs, 8 enemies at a time?), some distance apart and are invulnerable unless you land a Heat proc on one of the paired enemies and while it's still burning, find and set a matching member of the same pair ablaze, which kills them both. Pairs are visualized either by a "link"-like color-coded tendril or by eximus-like auras. To ensure you can inflict that Heat proc in the first place, area should contain modified health pickups (fixed spawns, like in Index etc) - Burning Blood orbs that give you a buff that guarantees a 5-second long Heat proc on your next two melee attacks... And set you on fire as long as you're buffed, too, so you'd better work quickly. If you want to be cruel, maybe make Burning Blood orb debuff burn your health by a percentage of your max health instead of fixed damage? Oh, and enemies will still try to destroy the defense objective, for added fun.

 

Cold

Spoiler

 

An Extreme Cold condition variation of a Hijack mission. With melee only. The hijack objective (a vehicle transporting a Cryotic Core) travels on its own, and does not lose health over time.

Enemies that spawn are melee-only (no teleporting shenanigans) or kamikaze types. The catch? They're invulnerable, and completely ignore the player, going for the vehicle instead. Did I mention that the escort vehicle is much more fragile than normal and can't take many hits? Well, it is.

The enemies can be affected by cold procs to seriously slow them down. The way to get that guaranteed cold proc buff? Jump onto the vehicle you're escorting, and touch the Cryotic Core - which will freeze you solid for 3 seconds and then give you a 30-second Cold-proccing buff. Timing the buff, learning the enemy spawn locations and spawn rates should be the key here. 

 

 

Toxin

Spoiler

 

Something based off Ghouls event "excavators" - but this time, you're working against time (5 minutes?) and you don't get to gather some Grokudrul to power it. You need to kill enemies, that explode into toxic clouds (or maggots?), get infected and run to the excavator while poisoned to fill it up. 5 toxin doses delivered to progress a stage, 5 stages total to complete a trial. If you need to restore some health, you need to activate a medi-tower that is also present on the map. Using the medi-tower triggers a map-wide cleansing AoE that purges the toxins and heals you... Except it also kills all current monster spawns, and enemies killed by the cleansing wave don't spawn toxic clouds/maggots you need to charge the excavator. Oh, and it also resets the excavator toxin charge count to 0/5, so you'll need to balance when to heal, if at all. 

 

 

 

 

Electricity

Spoiler

A Rescue variant - but the tile is large, mostly open with some "tents" that can be used for shelter - and your Rescue target can be told to "Follow" or "Hold Position" - you want to lead them to the exit bit by bit, shelter from shelter - because there are Ceres-like lightning bolts from the sky, striking normally several times and then unleashing a torrent of lightning bolts over the area, guaranteed to kill the hostage if they're not inside a "shelter" area. Big discharge also spawns several lightning orbs that home in on you chase you at a walking pace - and you need to run into them while blocking with your melee weapon to charge it for several seconds - and only when your weapon is charged you can damage enemies that are holding position in all shelters except for the very first one. Probably a timed challenge, as well. 

 

Again those are very, VERY rough ideas of how "elemental" challenges could work. Maybe they should be less complex, maybe more - suggestions are welcome. 

 

 

 

 

Hall of Radiance is similar, but it works for auras, instead. 

The basic idea is the same - you get an upgraded Legendary version of an aura after spending a Scintillating Shard to attempt a trial. As with stances, auras become stronger as a result - they gain a fixed 11 capacity, regardless of what aura it was. So both a Legendary Steel Charge and a Legendary Energy Siphon would have 11 capacity, meaning a +22 capacity boost when sitting in a matched slot. 

Auras draw from a different pool of random bonuses when upgraded - +10 max base energy, +10(20?) max base health, +run speed, +parkour speed, +5% ability strength, +5% efficiency, +5% range... Along those lines. 

The Trials themselves should be quite different from the Hall of Blades, though - more difficult variations of Mastery Rank or Lua mod trials, or something else entirely, each unique to its corresponding aura. So, for instance, an Energy Siphon trial places you into a timed version of the Power Drift room, where you spawn as a Volt, regardless of the frame you had equipped, with no weapons at all (or maybe a Scana) - and the trial itself is a puzzle, with more orbs on the walls, and with every orb draining your energy and holding the charge for different periods of time - specified by a number displayed over it (numbers are randomized each attempt) and a limited amount of energy pickups scattered on the floor, the trial being about figuring out the optimal route and judging when/if to spend energy to cast Speed along the way. 

Maneuvering  around a maze where being seen by an enemy means failure for Enemy Radar, catching cetus wisps in a suda-like datascape where you are totally blind except for the minimap (and being careful not to fall off the map, since this means failure) for Loot Detector, running a gauntlet under enemy fire for Stand United, jumping in and out of three separate laser torture wheels (endurance drift) which fill tubes with varying speed - and drain at varying speed when you jump out to regenerate for Rejuvenation - that sort of thing.

I do realize that auras being handled individually makes it a lot of work, but Auras do feel like they could use some love.

 

As for fixed Legendary effects after completing an Aura trial, those should be rather powerful, IMO.

Legendary Aura effects:

Spoiler

 

Rejuvenation - on top of its normal effect, regeneration drastically intensifies outside of combat (no damage received for 5 seconds), restoring 10 + 2.5% of your max HP per tick, ticks every 2 seconds. 

Physique - on top of its normal effect, once your HP is depleted (phoenix revival-like trigger) doubles your max HP for 10 seconds and fully heals you, on a 2-minute cooldown (every aura maintains its own cooldown list for every player present in a session). 

Stand United - on top of its normal effect, each hit you take increases armor granted by a certain amount, which is 1 unit of flat armor and a 1% total armor increase per stack, up to 100 stacks. Stacks start decaying after no hits have been sustained for 3 seconds.

Shotgun/Rifle/Pistol Amp - on top of its normal effect, every kill adds a stack of multishot (0.25% per stack) and punchthrough (0.01 meters per stack), up to 100 stacks. Stacks last 3 seconds, before they start decaying at a rate of 2 stacks per second. 

Steel Charge - on top of its normal effect, every finisher attack by an aura holder provides a short (8 seconds) burst of speed and power to everyone affected, increasing attack speed by 25% and melee damage by 40%. Procs from other players don't stack, but refresh duration instead. 

Scavenger auras - corresponding ammo types regenerate on their own, Cycron-like. Multiple auras increase regeneration speed.

Sprint Boost - on top of its normal effect, every bullet jump increases sprint speed by 20% for 3 seconds, every 100 meters you run on the ground make your next bullet jump 20% faster and further-reaching (capped at 500 meters or 100% sprint speed and 100% more parkour speed). 

Corrosive Projection/Shield Disruption - on top of its normal effect, increases total damage taken by affected enemies by 5% per aura. 

Infested Impedance - on top of its normal effect also reduces the damage enemies deal by 10% per aura. 

EMP - on top of its normal effect, affected enemies have a 2.5% chance per aura affecting them to have their weapons jam on them, disarming them for 10 seconds. 

Dead Eye - on top of its normal effect, highlights enemy heads (or in case of moas and other enemies that have "heads" elsewhere - their otherwise vulnerable points) when using a sniper scope and extends the scope combo duration by 3 seconds per aura. 

Energy Siphon - on top of its normal effect, every 10 (20?) enemies killed by the bearer of the aura allows one free ability cast (energy cost is refunded after cast, similarly to the Smeeta buff) for everyone affected. 

Loot Radar - on top of its normal effect, adds a passive 5% (per aura) resource booster. With resources that drop in quantities of 1, provides a 5% chance (again, per aura) to get two instead of one. 

Growing Power -  on top of its normal effect also increases power range (25%) and efficiency (10%) per active aura buff. 

Brief Respite - on top of its normal effect, for 5 seconds after casting an ability all affected allies gain a flat 12.5% damage reduction

Empowered Blades - on top of its normal effect, Charged Attacks have a +50% base chance to be a Critical Hit

Speed Holster -  on top of its normal effect, for 5 seconds after a weapon switch, the weapon you switched TO deals 40% more damage. 

Toxin Resistance - on top of its normal effect, reduces the duration of toxins applied to players by 2.25 seconds per aura. 

 

 

Now, I know this is as rough as concepts and ideas get, and numbers are all placeholder (and do not account for the fact that 8-player raiding content might return someday), so feedback much appreciated, as are new ideas of constructive variety. Especially for Aura trials since I'm in a bit of a stump there at the moment. 

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First of all the rewards for all this grinding you've come up with are absolutely laughable. Whole +4 capacity for my fully forma'd sword? Wow! what a bargain! (At the point where a player could comfortably attempt this content, they would already have their gear forma'd, I mean, c'mon. So the only reward is small amount of bonus damage, on weapons that already oneshot all available content, (+5% attack speed, lol)).

And the grind, ho boi! Focus is already too huge of a grind. You've also made a whole orbiter machine and a useless item, just to build a key for your trials, why? And you can make only one a day. Yeah, I'm gonna stick to formas instead.

Second of all there is a reason why Rivens can be rerolled. "Just get a rare stance that people farm for literal months to get, haha". Are you serious?

Third of all, there is no way DE would make these trials played with only naked excal, what would be the point of acquiring frames and weapons if you can't use them all of a sudden? Mastery trials set a precedent here.

 All of these "clever"(read: artificially difiicult) traps and "challenges" are so cheese-prone it's not even funny. Not to mention, your aura upgrades do nothing to actually make them more interesting, you just power-creeped all of them a little (and when I say a little, I mean that nothing changed, useless auras are still useless, powerful stuff is just slightly more powerful, what's the point?).

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I really like the idea to be honest, the numbers are a bit all over the place (legendary growing power sounds like the unltimate aura ever) but the idea has potential. 

Imo having a sort of harder mastery test to add cool bonuses to equipment you own would be great. I wouldn't even really lomit it to aura and stances, but maybe there could be some sort of bonding cerimony with one weapon for each slot (one primary, one secondary and one melee) where you can do a trial with said weapon and get buff like the Gilding gives you. 

As far as the trials go the ones for stances look interesting, for auras imo stuff like a pumped up cross between mastery test and halls of ascension could be interesting. Like, a speed drift like circuit where instead of reaching the end you need to escort glowing balls if light by staying close to the until they're fully charged. There are a number if glowing orbs, they follow a procedural pattern of movement, and youhave a timer in several segments - like there are doors that close after a while and prevent you from going to the next piece of the circuit to finish the mission. 

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The numbers are as placeholder as it gets, I never thought of them otherwise.

The point of the whole thing is - that would give players another more-or-less meaningful thing to strive towards. 

And if there's too much powercreep, effects can always be toned down, for example, Dead Eye could lose the combo extender portion, keeping just the headshot highlighter and so forth. 

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