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The Game is a Veteran's Wasteland right now. Difficulty Slider when?

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Let me start by saying this. We veteran players have a lot highly tuned-out builds, right? You know that feeling right after you tweak a build to be even better at higher levels and you just want some actual content to use it in? (e.g. content that is not the Simulacrum)

I just had that moment with a couple of builds today. I must have run up to around 20 tests in the simulacrum, and it went really well. But after that I wanted to test them in a real mission. Here's the process that my mind went through as soon as I hopped onto my navigation panel.

ESO? No, none of these builds would work in ESO because that requires way to much AoE DPS. Arbitration? No, those drones would just make these builds meaningless. Sorties? No, these first 2 missions aren't even a high enough level to really get a feel for it. And the 3rd mission is an Excavation, and that's no good for these builds. And after that Sorties would go on cooldown for the day anyways. Kuva Flood? Oh wait, I already did it so I'm locked out until this arbitrary cooldown ends. And it's not like I need Kuva anyways.

I'm illustrating a problem that probably needs no introduction for a lot of people on these forums. The builds that are actually interesting for Veteran players to design don't really have a home. Because the so called "Elite Content" that exists in this game is hyper-specific, isolated, and typically on a cooldown. Meanwhile, the rest of the game has no available difficulty adjustments.

How many of you have played a game that had something like this in it? Easy. Medium. Hard.

Warframe doesn't really have this, and it's really beginning to show. DE made a statement on the 1st Devstream of the year saying that they were thinking about implementing a Difficulty Slider into the game. With this slider you could essentially scale up the level of a mission, while also scaling up the level of rewards. This was a really good idea. However, we haven't heard anything else about this for months. 

I'm basically making this post to encourage further discussion about this Difficulty Slider, and their general "Difficulty Rework" that they promised this year. I understand that they are probably still very busy working on Railjack, as usual. But some word about the Difficulty Rework would be appreciated. And the fact that they have neglected to talk about it in favor of previewing some very Disappointing Warframes like Hildryn and Wisp has made for some pretty dull Devstreams. I think that the Difficulty Rework has more relevance and importance to Veteran players than perhaps any of the possibly forgettable content that is released this year.

The big core issues of the game should be addressed (And you would think should also be a priority). There are some other big areas of Quality Improvement like Armor Scaling, Melee Balance, Overall Game Rewards, and reworks of abysmal Warframes (Vauban, Wukong, Ember) that I would hope to see addressed this year. And those are just some Quality issues that I can think of off the top of my head.

If there are any other glaring QoL issues that you can think of please let me know. I would like to know if anyone else has any big issues in mind that I am just not currently thinking about right now.

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Posted (edited)

There doesn't need to be a difficulty slider. DE has been trying to keep everything in the star chart as much as possible.

What needs to happen is nerfs to bring players themselves in line with the star chart. At the very least, they need to introduce "down-scaling" other games like Guild Wars 2, Path of Exile (recently introduced, but only for parties with teammates who are weaker and in act content), and Destiny 2 do. If a player enters a mission that is well below them in difficulty, their damage gets lowered dramatically so you don't obliterate everything.

Edited by Pizzarugi
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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

"down-scaling"

Path of Exile (recently introduced)

If a player enters a mission that is well below them in difficulty, their damage gets lowered dramatically so you don't obliterate everything.

As if I needed even more reasons to never install PoE again.

Needless to say I strongly disapprove of the idea of putting something like that into WF.

Edited by SordidDreams
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TL;DR: Please give us an update on the difficulty slider idea.

 

I agree. And I agree, it's the year of quality again. That was gold!

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1 minute ago, SordidDreams said:

As if I needed even more reasons to never install PoE again.

Needless to say I strongly disapprove of the idea of putting something like that into WF.

I clarified in an edit. The down-scaling only happens in PoE if you team up with someone who is lower leveled than you and they're in a lower-leveled zone. This only applies to act content and not maps. Absolutely nothing changes if you go to act content solo, you'll still be vastly overleveled.

And if we don't have down-scaling, then nerfs need to happen. Players are way beyond anything the game has to offer right now.

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7 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

There doesn't need to be a difficulty slider. DE has been trying to keep everything in the star chart as much as possible.

What needs to happen is nerfs to bring players themselves in line with the star chart. At the very least, they need to introduce "down-scaling" other games like Guild Wars 2, Path of Exile (recently introduced, but only for parties with teammates who are weaker), and Destiny 2 do. If a player enters a mission that is well below them in difficulty, their damage gets lowered dramatically so you don't obliterate everything.

PoE added down scaling? Now I have a good reason to not go back to that game.

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15 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

And if we don't have down-scaling, then nerfs need to happen. Players are way beyond anything the game has to offer right now.

Nobody likes nerfs. What needs to happen is the introduction of new and tougher enemies. This isn't rocket science, games have figured that out decades ago. Even in the '90s you had expansion packs for games that introduced powerful new gear and suitably more powerful enemies to use it on. Hell, even one of the first games DE worked on, Unreal, had one of those. I'm hoping the new amalgam enemies might be a good challenge, but it wouldn't surprise me if this was just one of the many lessons DE seems to have forgotten.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, SordidDreams said:

Nobody likes nerfs. What needs to happen is the introduction of new and tougher enemies. This isn't rocket science, games have figured that out decades ago. Even in the '90s you had expansion packs for games that introduced powerful new gear and suitably more powerful enemies to use it on. Hell, even one of the first games DE worked on, Unreal, had one of those. I'm hoping the new amalgam enemies might be a good challenge, but it wouldn't surprise me if this was just one of the many lessons DE seems to have forgotten.

Incorrect. Introducing tougher enemies is only going to add a speed bump to the most OP weapons and frames, but render okay and sub-par weapons non-viable, forcing players to narrow their builds and playstyles to a handful that is good enough to tackle the game at a reasonable pace.

Buff the non-viable weapons and frames? Yeah, no, I'm not keen on justifying the existence of powercreep. I'd rather see it halted or outright reversed.

Edited by Pizzarugi
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I agree with OP, we really need difficulty tiers in Warframe. I found myself in your same position countless times in the past. 

Personally, I'm happy with how Arbitrations currently work, I don't mind the drones and I've been having a lot of fun with them ever since they introduced normal level scaling to the enemies. But you're kind of stuck with the game mode RNG throws at you for an entire hour. Sometimes I just don't feel like running a defection mission. 

I'd love to be able to run fissures at a really high level, sometimes I wait for an endless fissure like survival to pop up so I can do an endurance run, but that's more RNG, it rarely happens when I have the available time for that kind of run. 

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What we need is a rebalance of enemy armor/damage and player frames/weapons and yes, that's going to mean nerfs for us but overall the game will feel less "steamrollish".

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

Incorrect. Introducing tougher enemies is only going to add a speed bump to the most OP weapons and frames, but render okay and sub-par weapons non-viable, forcing players to narrow their builds and playstyles to a handful that is good enough to tackle the game at a reasonable pace.

Buff the non-viable weapons and frames? Yeah, no, I'm not keen on justifying the existence of powercreep. I'd rather see it halted or outright reversed. 

Short-sighted. Power creep is necessary and good. Would anyone be excited for updates if all the new gear was guaranteed to be worse than what we already have? Power creep is to video games what inflation is to economies, it keeps people on the treadmill by giving the illusion that they're making progress. Without it, things would grind to a halt instantly.

Edited by SordidDreams
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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, SordidDreams said:

Short-sighted. Power creep is necessary and good. Would anyone be excited for updates if all the new gear was guaranteed to be worse than what we already have? Power creep is to video games what inflation is to economies, it keeps people on the treadmill by giving the illusion that they're making progress. Without it, things would grind to a halt instantly.

How would new things be worse if the best things were nerfed to be similar? You nerf the top end stuff and put things in place to ensure that future content stays at a similar level at all times.

Edited by Pizzarugi
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2 minutes ago, SordidDreams said:

Would anyone be excited for updates if all the new gear was guaranteed to be worse than what we already have?

Strawman / slippery slope. Existing and future gear would logically be balanced off a baseline.

5 minutes ago, SordidDreams said:

Power creep is to video games what inflation is to economies, it keeps people on the treadmill by giving the illusion that they're making progress.

 For me, that would be enough reason to ditch it. I play to have fun, not to grind for the sake of grinding.

6 minutes ago, SordidDreams said:

Without it, things would grind to a halt instantly.

Black and white thinking / slippery slope fallacy. You know this...how exactly?

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36 minutes ago, SordidDreams said:

Nobody likes nerfs.

Too bad.

Game health is vastly more important than a handful of people whining that their cookie cutter build only overkills any enemy they encounter by 325%, not the 5000% it does now.

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I've said it before, I'll say it again, and probably will continue to say it for a while.

Enemies need counters to our powers, built into themselves. Not the binary system of immense power/entirely useless right now, but instead interactions with enemies that implement scenarios that reduce the power - enemies that can directly resist certain powers, or even protect others, alongside enemies more vulnerable to 'weaker' powers like 1's or 2's.

Stuff like Moa's and their corpses grounding Volt's discharge, taking massive damage but protecting Organic foes in a radius, or Sayrns spores spreading less well and doing less damage to robotic targets.

Things are only OP if they're powerful in every situation. Instead of just turning down the power, add more situations. It makes the game better, not just harder.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

How would new things be worse if the best things were nerfed to be similar? You nerf the top end stuff and put things in place to ensure that future content stays at a similar level at all times.

Similar? In which direction? Because if it's all in the down direction, then it's all worse. If some things are allowed to be similar but slightly better, well, congratulations, you have power creep back.

30 minutes ago, MirageKnight said:

For me, that would be enough reason to ditch it. I play to have fun, not to grind for the sake of grinding.

Then you might be playing the wrong game, friend.

28 minutes ago, peterc3 said:

Too bad.

Game health is vastly more important than a handful of people whining that their cookie cutter build only overkills any enemy they encounter by 325%, not the 5000% it does now.

Yes, I agree that game health is definitely far more important than a handful of people whining.

Edited by SordidDreams

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2 hours ago, Pizzarugi said:

The down-scaling only happens in PoE if you team up with someone who is lower leveled than you and they're in a lower-leveled zone. This only applies to act content and not maps. Absolutely nothing changes if you go to act content solo, you'll still be vastly overleveled.

And if we don't have down-scaling, then nerfs need to happen. Players are way beyond anything the game has to offer right now.

The problem is how to downscale in Warframe, if it were ever added. You can't just take a system from another game and toss it in here when our mods make our weapons hundreds to thousands of times stronger than they were without them.

Would you reduce mod levels? Add a flat damage penalty? Cut all stats by a percentage?
How would you decide how to lower the power of the strong player when MR doesn't determine the level of your mods or overall strength of the player's frame? How would you do this when the level indicator doesn't translate to direct numerical power of the enemies within the mission?

I reiterate: You cannot take systems from another game without having a serious think about how it would translate and what you would do to properly adapt it.

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4 hours ago, Pizzarugi said:

The down-scaling only happens in PoE if you team up with someone who is lower leveled than you and they're in a lower-leveled zone.

So a "do not play with new players" feature.  Fantastic.

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2 minutes ago, (PS4)BenHeisennberg said:

So a "do not play with new players" feature.  Fantastic.

Or a "play with your friends and help them through act content" feature. 😛

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Pizzarugi said:

There doesn't need to be a difficulty slider. DE has been trying to keep everything in the star chart as much as possible.

What needs to happen is nerfs to bring players themselves in line with the star chart. At the very least, they need to introduce "down-scaling" other games like Guild Wars 2, Path of Exile (recently introduced, but only for parties with teammates who are weaker and in act content), and Destiny 2 do. If a player enters a mission that is well below them in difficulty, their damage gets lowered dramatically so you don't obliterate everything.

The only thing nerfs do is make people find a new meta to exploit. What we need is a rework of enemy armor. Also that scaling system you're thinking of sounds like it is going to #*!% over my builds. HARD NO. 👎

Edited by moostar95
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@Pizzarugi @Chaemyerelis

So essentially we're back to the classic argument of whether to progress the Content to the Power Level that the game has evolved to, or implement some sort of widespread Nerf mechanic. Then, there is also the outside argument that we should just go around Nerfing every Warframe/Weapon/Item until none of them are too powerful for the Starchart anymore. You know, essentially most of Warframe.

Before we even dive into which of these solutions is "better", can we at least ask ourselves what sounds more realistic?

 

Now, let's talk about some of the obstacles to a complete Warframe Rebalancing to fit in DE's current Starchart Power Level.

#1. I'm just going to quote this guy

2 hours ago, Chipputer said:

The problem is how to downscale in Warframe,

Would you reduce mod levels? Add a flat damage penalty? Cut all stats by a percentage?
How would you decide how to lower the power of the strong player when MR doesn't determine the level of your mods or overall strength of the player's frame? How would you do this when the level indicator doesn't translate to direct numerical power of the enemies within the mission.

#2. The Fan backlash would be immense. The kind of backlash that could cause a lot of people to give up on Warframe entirely.

#3. This Nerf mentality is more of the notion of a Vocal Minority than the actual feelings of the player base overall. This may surprise you, but most players don't want a widespread Nerf to Warframe.

#4. Even if such a thing was introduced, the likelihood of the game actually playing competitively at Starchart levels is quite poor. The game has not been designed to be played at those levels for quite some time. To regulate it back to that would be a painful process that would probably not work anyway.

#5. It goes against the Identity of what Warframe is as a game. Warframe for a long time has been about going onward and upward. It's a Power Fantasy that has thrived on the Godlike Power of its characters and the Build Creativity to see how far it can all go. The problem that we are encountering is that the availability of content to take it further just doesn't exist in game.

#6. It would take far too much of DE's time and resources to actually figure out how to Rebalance the game without breaking it. We can barely get them to give us much simpler solutions already.

#7. It's just not going to happen. The element of risk is so high that I would put the chance at near 0% that DE is going to implement a widespread Nerf mechanic in 2019. I doubt they are even keen on the idea of widespread Nerfs to begin with.

 

Meanwhile, this Difficulty Slider is something that could actually happen. They have already talked about it. There is even precedent for Level Sliders in Warframe (e.g. The Simulacrum). It's simple to see how implementing that would be easier than a Game Rebalancing. And overall, it's a simple solution that could make a lot of people very happy. I would just like to see some sort of update on this issue.

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47 minutes ago, moostar95 said:

The only thing nerfs do is make people find a new meta to exploit. What we need is a rework of enemy armor. Also that scaling system you're thinking of sounds like it is going to #*!% over my builds. HARD NO. 👎

You and I have already had this discussion, and like before, I still disagree.

On 2019-05-06 at 10:52 AM, Pizzarugi said:

How would fixing enemy scaling, especially on a star chart where it matters very little which is where DE is trying to keep everyone at, stop players from abusing press-4-to-win powers? Most players always go for whatever's efficient, and frames like Saryn are the absolute best at it. By addressing enemy scaling, you only further increase the efficiency of the broken frames. 😛

Just replace the topic of "press-4-to-win mechanics being abused" with "veterans have all this power, but nothing is challenging".

Fixing enemy scaling isn't going to fix the issue of veterans not having anything to do. In fact, it would further compound the issue as enemies will undoubtedly be made easier and thus more boring.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, (PS4)Jedi_Arts_ said:

Meanwhile, this Difficulty Slider is something that could actually happen. They have already talked about it. There is even precedent for Level Sliders in Warframe (e.g. The Simulacrum). It's simple to see how implementing that would be easier than a Game Rebalancing. And overall, it's a simple solution that could make a lot of people very happy. I would just like to see some sort of update on this issue.

A similar argument I've heard before from a different subject.

If you implement a difficulty slider, very few people are going to use it. Why make the game harder on yourself when you're just going to get the same rewards? It's clear that people here seem to care more about efficiency than difficulty, and it's not efficient to make enemies harder to kill, whether by nerfs to player power or buffs to enemies. Unless rewards scale up relative to difficulty, which I doubt it will, nobody except a few masochists and the rare "play what I like for fun" people will actually touch it.

People are addicted to this "GOTTA GO FAST!" and "GIVE IT TO ME NAO!" mindset, and if DE continues to cater to this, sooner or later they're going to implement features that will further screw up game balance to the point only a handful of frames and weapons are endgame viable or noteworthy while the rest is garbage and pure mastery fodder.

Edited by Pizzarugi
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19 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

Fixing enemy scaling isn't going to fix the issue of veterans not having anything to do. In fact, it would further compound the issue as enemies will undoubtedly be made easier and thus more boring.

Steve has literally stated that not only is he looking at enemy scaling but he also wants to change how mods interact because certain things should have never been allowed. DE isn't so incompetent as to nerf every enemy in the game and not touch players.

15 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

If you implement a difficulty slider, very few people are going to use it

Based on what data?

15 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

It's clear that people here seem to care more about efficiency than difficulty

>seem
Ah yes. An assumption that you're basing your entire argument on.

18 minutes ago, Pizzarugi said:

People are addicted to this "GOTTA GO FAST!" and "GIVE IT TO ME NAO!" mindset, and if DE continues to cater to this, sooner or later they're going to implement features that will further screw up game balance to the point only a handful of frames and weapons are endgame viable or noteworthy while the rest is garbage and pure mastery fodder.

Followed by further enforcement of your assumption and doomsaying.

It's inevitable that late-game features are going to be used much less than other features. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be implemented for those who desire it.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Chipputer said:

Steve has literally stated that not only is he looking at enemy scaling but he also wants to change how mods interact because certain things should have never been allowed. DE isn't so incompetent as to nerf every enemy in the game and not touch players.

I don't follow devstreams, I know very little about what plans DE has beyond what I hear on the forums. Now I'm curious as to what he plans on looking at in regards to mod interaction.

32 minutes ago, Chipputer said:

Based on what data?

 

32 minutes ago, Chipputer said:

>seem
Ah yes. An assumption that you're basing your entire argument on.

 

32 minutes ago, Chipputer said:

Followed by further enforcement of your assumption and doomsaying.

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Source: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kjME1XFrC0JDqT4XE1kn5uiYENtCFDmy4w6X5AUhnLE/edit#gid=0

This was revealed on an older devstream which I learned much later on the forums. Obviously this was made before Mesa Prime and Equinox prime, so that should help date this.

4 out of the 6 top frames among MR25 players all have 1 thing in common: Maximum efficiency, namely pressing 4 to delete everything in front of or around you from 50 meters away. The other 2 are Rhino Prime and Loki Prime. You only need to camp around Fortuna's elevator or Cetus's door or visit high population relays to get an idea on the average frame being used, and there's a frightening number of players who run these top 6 frames over the others. You only need to play with them in missions to get an idea as to why. Players value efficiency, and given how grossly overpowered they are now, people will flock towards whatever will let them grind content faster. Ergo, "GOTTA GO FAST!" and "GIVE IT TO ME NAO!" mindset.

With all that in mind, I doubt many people are willingly going to kill their efficiency to complete missions quickly by making enemies harder without some sort of incentive. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

Edited by Pizzarugi
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