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(Another) Archwing Thread


TheErrant
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I know this conversation has been had plenty of times before. I know I'm not the first to bring this up. I know a lot of stuff just dropped with the Profit-Taker update, and I will try to take that into account when writing this. I also know Railjack is coming, and hopefully will address a lot of this as well. But I wanted to go ahead and make this thread because I have yet to find what I consider a comprehensive thread about archwing issues and ideas for improvement. I found a couple of good, but limited videos and that's about it. And so, here's what I hope to do with this thread:

     1) Provide a comprehensive list of my issues with archwing's current implementation and provide specific ideas for improvement.
     2) Identify things done right and steps in the right direction.
     3) Show that we see the progress that's being made, that we still care about archwing, that we still see its potential, and that we haven't written it off.

Anyway, let's get started.

The Archwing Mod System

Honestly the archguns appear fine now, with all the mods recently introduced for elemental/status, crit/status chance while aiming, etc. Kinda hard to farm compared to their non-archwing counterparts, but I think once more people have gotten them and the price to trade for them goes down we'll see general rumblings of approval there. One thing to consider adding is an on-kill crit damage mod like Bladed Rounds/Sharpened Bullets. The archmelee, however, still needs a bit of work.

While the new archmelee 60/60 mods make status builds viable now, the only two archmelee weapons with the base status to make a reasonable status build is Knux. Obviously I don't speak for everyone but I'd consider a status build reasonable if three 60/60 mods and Sudden Impact can get it to 80%, which requires a base status chance of ~23.6%. While I'd like to see a mod like Condition Overload for archmelees, there aren't currently really any enemies in the archwing part of the game tough enough to make it necessary, in which case your status weapons are relying solely on status procs for their viability. As it stands though, archmelees don't have the requisite attack speed to make status procs outside of Viral very meaningful, even if most archwing enemies didn't already die in a hit or two from a weapon modded to that level. Which brings me to Furor; 10% attack speed is just too low. At least bring it in line with Fury, if not also introducing a primed version and/or some kind of Berserker equivalent.

Meanwhile, the archmelee with the highest crit chance is Centaur at 25%, and the only mod that boosts crit chance for archmelee is Tempered Blade which, while substantial, isn't enough by itself to make any of the current archmelees a reasonable crit build. Again, I don't speak for everybody but I'd personally consider 75%+ crit chance reasonable for a crit build. Maybe a mod to boost crit chance on kill, or a mod tied to the combo counter similar to Blood Rush or the Gladiator set bonus. And of course, if we're going to tie mods to the combo counter, we'd need a combo counter mod similar to Body Count/Drifting Contact/Gladiator Rush.

As for the archwings themselves, I have no major complaints. My only real minor complaint is the disparity between the power enhancement mods--20% strength vs 30% duration, 55% efficiency and 60% range? Primed Morphic Transformer sort-of fixed the disparity in power strength, bringing it up to 55% max, but as a primed mod it's a lot rarer and harder to obtain. I'd be interested to hear about the thought process behind what looks to me like some fairly arbitrary decisions on the numbers here.

Level Design and Movement

The Grineer maps are basically open space, which while that's good for freedom of movement, it's not very engaging. Meanwhile, the Corpus levels are cool-looking but full of narrow tunnels and obstacles that confound any attempt to move through them with speed. The Corpus trench run tileset definitely evokes memories of the Millennium Falcon's run through the Death Star in Return of the Jedi (even the name is an homage), and while I think that's a very cool idea it's still obscenely frustrating to nick every little buttress or jutting metal protrusion in a tunnel and keep having to stop, or missing the tunnel mouth and faceplanting into the wall around it. An increase in tunnel width and/or a reduction in the amount of clutter in said tunnels would go a long way toward reducing this frustration. Additionally, I was watching a Youtube video earlier that mentioned the idea of basically sliding along smooth surfaces if you hit them at a sufficient angle instead of getting stun-locked. I think those two things together would ease a lot of heartache over getting stuck/bouncing around in the levels.

As for movement in general, there's not much else to say except that I agree with other people who say that the directional change when aiming is rather off-putting. Example: you're boosting forward, you turn the camera around, press the aim button, then suddenly you're careening off in the other direction. I'd personally prefer to either keep drifting in the direction I was moving, like you do when aiming while airborne in non-archwing, or reduce speed, and/or come to a stop.

Also, some of the underwater portions of the Uranus levels consist of long slogs to get to another portion of the level with not much else going on in the meantime. Maybe populate these areas with some more enemies to give us something to do on the way, or even have underwater objectives (capture targets, mobile defense points, enemies for extermination). The underwater spy area is a good example of a step in the right direction on this front. As it is right now the underwater portions are just kind of cool to look at, but the novelty wears off after the first few times and then it just becomes tedious. A slight increase in second-stage boost speed would be nice too.

Main Game Integration

Speaking of the levels on Uranus, it's been said elsewhere that we'd like to see archwing segments mixed in with non-archwing segments in missions. As it stands, most of the archwing content exists on an island and there's no real reason to do it. Basically none of the mods you pick up in archwing missions do anything for you outside of archwing content, and very few archwing mods are available outside of archwing content. The new gravimag system to use archguns in regular missions is a step in the right direction. Integrating archwing into main-game content does of course raise the question of power-scaling, which has already been addressed in the devstreams. On that front at least, it's enough for now for me to know that's being thought about. Hopefully some rebalancing will come from that. Again I know Railjack is coming, and hopefully that's going to take steps towards the kind of integration I'm talking about.

Enemies and Difficulty

There's only one endless archwing mission (the Interception at Caelus, Uranus). The rest don't get above the mid-30s for enemy level. Enemies are tough enough to frustrate players new to archwing, especially when they come in from a well-modded warframe and weapons to start with nothing for their archwings/archweapons, but once a player gets a leveled/potatoed archwing and weapons these enemies are no longer a concern. Some higher-level archwing content would be welcome to make the modding matter more than just slapping in base damage + an elemental combo and blowing through everything.

This one's kind of minor and mostly cosmetic, but when I started doing archwing and saw enemies called 'FRIGATE' and 'CARRIER' and 'CORVETTE' I was expecting warships, but instead I got...larger ospreys. Could we rename those enemies to be different types of ospreys? In general, in archwing mode I thought I'd be fighting things more like Grineer Ogmas and Corpus Goxes. Yknow, actual spaceships. I'd like to see more of those kinds of enemies.

Variety

Level-wise, currently I think there are only really two archwing tilesets? Three if you count Jordas Golem. For non-archwing every planet looks different. A bit more variety in tilesets (which means more archwing missions) would help keep the grind entertaining.

Mission-wise, I don't think there's a need for new modes right now, instead I think it'd be great to see some variety within the existing types (Sabotage/Rush/Pursuit) based on faction/planet/tileset, much like Sabotage/Spy/Rescue missions on the non-archwing side. As I type this I'm getting a vision of a Sabotage mission involving destroying gun emplacements on different sections of a warship to aid a boarding party or a fight against a friendly warship. Toss in integration with non-archwing segments and you've got all kinds of possibilities!

Anyway, it's getting late and I'm getting tired. If I had anymore points to make I can't think of them right now. But I think any or all of these things would be definite progress towards turning archwing from a weakness into a strength! What do you all think?

Edited by TheErrant
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am very pleased to know, not being the only one with similar thoughts.

Archwing is one the modes I actually enjoy.
But there's so many things, which make it remain in the shadows.
The only endless archwing mission, is even a pretty annoying one (Interception... *shudders*).
Not if you have the tools, but it's still... it could use a better mission type. (And is indeed hard for players who don't have the mods)

As for example, an escort mission.
Where enemies scale, per civilian ship, that you are guiding through grineer airspace (just to give an example)
Stopping enemy waves that want to reach a destination, which would be their target for destruction or other plans they have.
Any mode basically, that brings in enemies, in a nice pacing, so leveling for archwing does not become a chore.

Which perfectly segways me, to the next issue.
As I usually pick Salacia - Neptune, to level my wings and weapons after a forma.
But when you are having an affinity booster, and only 1 level is being added, you know something is off.
And the answer to that is pretty simple; Too many lone rangers.

You probably have met these players allready.
They activate the sattelite, then rush forward into enemy lines. (Pretty rude if you ask me.)
This results in the people who stay behind; that effectively guard the sattelite; are robbed of potential experience.
And it's quite the poison, to see almost every run, turn out that way.
Very rarely do I get a team, that actually stays within everyone's affinity radius.

I even wanted to see if some of them would get the picture, and followed 3 maddening Fluctus spammers on their rampage.
Otherwise, no experience.
And off course, as I've witnessed plenty of times;
The sattelite is unguarded, and almost gets destroyed.

Had I not pointed it out to them, I guess the blood-red haze in their eyes, still would have prevented them from noticing a thing.
So you'd think, they get the picture, after it survives with 400 hp left...
Nope...
Next satellite; more extreme "experience for us only"-action!

So my point being.
Archwing missions could use an affinity range boost.
Maybe 3x or even 5x that of normal missions.
After all, archwings can easily travel quite the distance away from one another, in no time.
So an increased affinity range would be more friendly towards players doing their actual task; defending the satellite.
Every now and then, you meet Rambo.
But the others don't have to suffer for it.

The idea of a mix between archwing and ground-based is also something I have been thinking of.
Imagine being in open space, and having the ability to land on meteorites.
Many things could then be done there, like hacking a station or inflitrating a base.

If you have ever played the original Prey (Year 2006 - not the black monster/gloo-breaking-the-levels-gun one), it showscases ingenious level design.
Landing a hijacked ship on a small meteor, that has it's own little gravity system.
We'd be able to land, and then walk 360 degrees over it's surface.
Engaging an archwing whenever we want, at which point gravity no longer has it's effect.
Smoothening the gameplay, without having to converge on a 'liftoff' area.

It may be big dreams, and a lot of work.
But it would blow so much more life, into archwing missions.

Further thoughts:

As I was doing some more archwing missions, it hit me;
Reviving fallen allies, can be such a pain sometimes.
You try to revive them, but zoom past, way too fast.
Then there follows a struggle to gently approach them.
But not too slow, nor too fast, or you'll miss that teammate again.
And while this is going on, the possibility is high, that you're being shot at, at the same time.

Now with an Amesha, that is easily solved.
But people flying an Itzal or other wing, have more tendencies to be sitting ducks.

So, how could we improve on this?

Well, I allways see my sentinel name, but it is just a phantom.
Helios, who cannot scan, because he's not there. But his name is... as if almost to say... 'equipped'?
Getting to Astral Autopsy in a moment...

So maybe, there could be archwing-type sentinels instead (or have existing ones be usable).
These take over duties like, a larger vacuum (Itzal is THE archwing of choice, for mod/resource (i.e.: gryptographic alu)- grinding in space combat)
So other wings, can enjoy a wider pickup radius too, without having to hug the walls.

Another precept then would be, to abort all other actions the sentinel has, to revive a fallen teammate.
This process does not consume your sentinel (unlike sacrifice, because this is an ally being revived).
But instead takes longer than a regular revive, and ignores all it's other abilities (item vacuum, shield restore, scans etc...)
As this sentinel is now 'occuppied'.
It helps you focus on combat, and buys some time, to help your own sentinel, to revive an ally faster.

Anyway, it's just a thought.

So that leaves me to why I mentioned, a sentinel doing scans earlier.
We have Astral Autopsy, right?
Yes, and it would be nice, if it finally worked again.

Because after having felled dozens of shield-hellion dargyn eximi, my codex still has them at 2/3 scans.
The only way I got the other 2, was by sheer luck;
Spotting one in the corner of your eye, leaving all satellites unprotected (interception - go ahead and capture those points, grineer!),
Because you are forced to arm your scanner, and try to get a snapshot of that buzzing bugger ('hold still for a moment... Gah! Nooo! Stop moving!').
If they don't disappear behind an asteroid, or a Dreg comes licking your face, that is.

So a space-sentinel-helios hybrid, with many handy precepts, would be a nice addition.
These would then be welcome, in higher scaling missions.

Post-update:

As I was reading through everything again, it may be an easier solution, than first imagined.

Gravimag...
But then a different item, working the other way around;
Giving a reactored sentinel, through installment of a segment, the ability to aid in space combat.

Edited by Guest
Typos, allways dem typos >.< + Edit + more thoughts (preventing 2 posts)
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