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Player Interactivity And Boss Design, Or Why Player Actions Should Matter.


TemetNosce
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I've been thinking about making this thread since the redesign of Krill, recently however someone pointed out to me that Lephantis has a lowered damage per second cap. Which is what caused me to do this now. Or rather I suppose, that he possesses a damage per second cap.

 

Fundamentally what I'd like to discuss here is the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of results. At present, Warframe possesses a significant amount of the latter, as opposed to the former. This is best seen in designs such as Kril, where due to his health gating mechanics, there is an absolute cap on how good you are permitted to do. Similiarly speaking, with the changes to Lephantis, whether you bring a five forma'd Flux rifle, or just slap mods on whatever you feel like, the damage cap will stop there from being a substantial difference. In essense, your own actions are mostly irrelevant, provided you meet a certain minimum threshold, the results are going to be the same.

 

Personally however, I have to argue that the design philosophy that leads to these changes is not going to result in increased fun for most people. It kills any sense of accomplishment, when at the end of the day patience is the only 'skill' required to succeed. Further than that however, it creates a situation where the game is merely a treadmill, as your own actions are in effect mostly irrelevant. Why try harder, if doing so will leave you in the same place you were originally in?

 

Worse, these changes are not limited just to the bosses. Look at the new way survival is implemented compared with the original event. Scaling, particularly in the void, is near non existent. Enemy cap is down. In effect, there's simply nothing to aim for past the reward itself.

 

Simply put, I'm of the opinion that the direction the game is headed in here should be re-evaluated. Equality of opportunity will still provide the chance for everyone to acquire the same results, but those results will be due solely to their own actions. It provides an incentive to continually do better, to invest time and effort to play not merely well enough, but as well as you can. And honestly, I think that incentive is a large part of what's missing from end game.

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I agree that there should be consequences to your actions so you don't feel so irrelevant. I do feel like I am on a treadmill, in a sense, that is nicely put. Do you have any ideas that you think would add depth, and/or cause/effect type dynamics? 

 

In the immediate sense, I think that stripping out health gating and damage caps, while re-implementing full scaling would be a good first step. However, that's more in the nature of erasing mistakes than taking steps towards a more coherent game. In the longer term, what I'd view as the real fixes are more involved unfortunately, perhaps the most important of which is AI, although there are a good few things that could be done.

 

Artificial Intelligence : At present, the AI in Warframe is in many ways terrible. It approaches far closer than it needs to before attacking, it fails to make proper use of terrain, it doesn't prioritize well. Honestly, a good portion of the reason the game is so easy has nothing to do with relative statistics, but simply with behavior. Programming the AI to take advantage of their own capabilities would go a long way towards making the game more interactive.

 

Enemy Variance : Another factor that's an issue here is the similarity among factions. Grineer are a particularly egregious example of this, in that they frequently have minimal differences past their offense. Having multiples possible areas of threat to choose between can make a battle much more interesting, particularly if this includes defensive options. If some enemies weren't vulnerable to abilities for example. Admittedly part of this may come in damage 2.0 (hopefully), but this is a long road.

 

Rewarding Competence : So the game gets harder, but to encourage playing it you need to justify the difficulty. Its been discussed so many times, but Defense and Survival need to have one of the multitude of suggestions regarding increasing rewards implemented. It matters less which one is chosen than that one is. Past that, this is also where it should be noted that things like damage caps and health gating should be removed. The possibility to finish something faster is a potential reward, since it means you can get more in less time. Past that, put as simply as possible, the harder the game gets, the larger the reward should get.

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