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Sahysa

RailJack: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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I delayed trying to post this to give DE time to fix what was basically an alpha release.  At least I don’t fear crashing out of missions with no way to rejoin the squad now.

This was over a week of here and there writing, and while I’m no longer livid enough to rewrite some of this if I had to do it over: It remains needed to be said, especially in lieu of the lich release.  I hope it doesn’t get lost in the dumpster of Holiday break feedback/mail.  

 

TL;DR

It's fun, foundational, the avionics system is good, and the damage system is good but the enemies we are fighting ruin it.

Archwing meshes poorly, resulting it only one kit being viable, again because of what we are fighting.  The forge is awkward and the economy is already shot. MK I and MK II gear are a waste of space.

Avionics capacity rolling between 10 and 100 is no fun and doesn’t register as a choice.

Managing wreckage capacity with no tools or UI is no fun.

There is way too much RNG.  Both in acquisition of avionics and equipment stat rolls.

The release was rushed, AGAIN.

 

Lets exposition dump:

The good:

 

 The avionics system is a deep and refreshing take on the mod system we currently have.  This a way to do variable stats correctly. Fixed values and meaningful trade offs so the better one isn’t always better.  I can’t ask anything more of it. More of this please. Sometimes the UI confusing and occasionally bugged stats. The only real problem is avionics capacity, specifically how it’s “earned.”  

 

It’s fun.  At least it is when its not crashing, deleting rewards, not sharing XP, or hitching.  Other then that its fun, until Skirmish gets boring. As contrived as the skybox replacement system is, its working.  I wish enemies were actually bouncing off my windscreen rather than being repelled by the invisible avatar of the ship.  Looking forward to ramming speed, assuming it even does damage when I get it. You guys should honestly consider pipelining in some event missions to help with these… learches of a release schedule.  

 

Damage 3.0 

 Congratulations!  A damage system has been implemented that has finally gotten me to build status.  It only took enemies with the armor value of gods, but it's something. I’m sure it will fall into the same ruts we have in damage 2.0, if it hasn’t already.  I’m not sure if this belongs in the good category now.

 

Foundational

Gameplay wise, this is probably the only real update to the dynamic level gameplay in Warframe since Sanctuary Onslaught, if you can count that.  Technically, a lot of work went into streaming and large tiles (open world) but the gameplay in the procedural levels never really took advantage of it. It will still require creativity on par with Gas City and Second Dream to get full use of this.  It’s just a mini-archwing-map with smaller maps loaded elsewhere. I have noticed the base interiors are all very similar so there is room for improvement. I wonder how big DE can make these zones. I for one want to see 8 players on screen again. Having the ground team be 1 person is so boring.   Make it happen.  

 

Repair Drone:

I thought it was fine, provided that the effort skipped was closer to the cost.  I actually was playing up until the 21rd thinking that scraping repaired components didn’t refund resources because no resources went into them, destroying the plat for rushing a speculatively rolled part.  I was using that as a reason NOT to use repair drones. (Scraping built refunds resources not half a repair drone.) Imagine my surprise when I found out exactly how bad they were as far as the platinum value curve.  Merry Christmas I guess. So much for DE’s conservative economy. Since repair drones are only as good as the things they repair, I still think they are fine compared to the rest of the equipment experience.

 

The Bad:

Archwing

I like Archwing.  It just has not been playable.  I miss old Grineer interception.  I miss Archwing defense. I miss having more than 4 missions.  But seriously: if Railjack included an attempt to make specifically Archwing popular/fun again, it was borderline unsuccessful.  The weapons shoot particles at the speed of vomit. The enemies swat them from the sky like the naked Manned Maneuvering Units they are!  The enemies are so fast, blinking can barely keep them in effective weapons range. At first I thought this was 100% intentional as a way to encourage the use of the Railjack, which is underpowered and time consuming to sustain at the beginning of progression.  I’m now of the opinion that it simply wasn’t playtested enough. Archwing is about smashing through enemies with space swords and flying through levels at speeds that are uncontrollable for all but the most skilled tenno. None of that flies or even works in Railjack.  The new non-Newtonian inertia-less flight does not respect the old feel and you spend most of your time blinking to a POI or target anyway. Not a priority though and we can probably let it be cause there are larger problems to deal with. The range of the Winged series of avionics needs to be increased so they are attractive.

 

Game design had amnesia

The solution to the above is to play Trinity and Equinox and Revinent in space, at the same time: Play Amesha.  King of JV, this archwing has the perfect skillset to deal with the situation: Self sustaining energy, invulnerability charges, anti projectile bubbles, and a slow field so powerful, it's laughable.  I originally didn’t want to spend time on this but since the real threat of impending changes cast from the dev stream, I will offer these suggestions.

Amesha is necessary to effectively participate in combat outside of the Railjack because it has the following tools.  Only address/nerf one at a time, please.

Practically invulnerable:  The only way to change this is to add threats that burn off charges (beams?) or rework the ability to not be full and complete damage ignore.  Damage avoidance in the Archwing gamemode is also in need of attention.

AOE slow:  Archguns have little effective range against fighter enemies in railjack requiring the player to close with an extremely fast enemy in order to inflict damage.  The enemies probably don’t need to slow down across the board but the Archguns could stand to be easier to hit with. At the same time, making fighters ignore the aura might as well disable it in RailJack missions.  Now that we are over the hump with RJ weapons, this only affects people who enjoy “being outside.” Give them something else to play with if this is removed.

Energy: Amesha can generate energy with Vengeful Rush and is therefore the only archwing with a sustainable playstyle notwithstanding its other advantages.  I would not add energy to enemies as it aesthetically looks silly to have blue balls in space. I would add an Avionic to top off all archwing energy. Make sure it hits wings that are “stowed” or lingers long enough for the person triggering the ability to benefit should they go outside.  There could also be avionics or interactables that provide energy within “the belt”, within the ship, or near the ship.

 

Middle tier gear exists.  

Before the end of mission reward changes (which don’t include asterite?), I couldn’t afford equipment for the Proxima I was in.  It was also unnecessary to invest in it. Before, the MKIII sigma research finished in our dojo, I ran an anomaly with my RJ with just upgraded guns I got the first mission in the Veil and base level models.  Only “breached” once. All you need is a pilot and someone to kill crew ships and the RailJack is fine. Had the release been paced so we couldn’t grind to the Veil on the first day, non endgame parts had tiny price tags, or MK III parts had a MK II as a crafting requirement, then this would not be an issue.  But with resource income being quadrupled in recent hotfixes, not only has the cost to build these become more trivial, but the reason to build them has also sorta fallen by the wayside. Now all I do is accuse them of taking up my precious slots because they don’t auto melt for the crime of being low tier while I unwittingly pick them up while grinding avionics I don’t have.

 

The Forge

The UI should come up before the animation.  I hate waiting on it and moving between consoles.  The forge could stand to have all 4 consoles available from one UI.  Maybe lock it behind an intrinsic. If resources weren’t a joke now (end of mission reward buffs), I’d also ask for increased forge capacity.  

 

Avionics

The system is great but the active abilities are too hard to get and too hit and miss in terms of power for something you have to craft energy for.  The drop rates still need to have a once over because some are set to very rare on NPCs that spawn very rarely. They are then further diluted by house.  These things are so rare, they make vaulted parts before prime vault seem common.

 

The Ugly:

Reactors

Avionics capacity, like mod capacity, is a preeminent statistic that drastically affects the RailJack can do.  It is too important and should not ultimately come down to luck or be traded for energy capacity.  All of the other randomized Statistics in Railjack are nice to have but ultimately unnecessary. +50 avionics capacity is barely enough for a partial build with with abilities.  I’m not opposed to having limits in the system so captains have to choose between avionics to make it fit, but I am opposed to the avionics capacity being RNG dependent variable with something as innocuous as flux capacity.   I only just my first Vidar III reactor today after nearly 2 weeks of grinding. Because it happens to be over +70, I don’t see myself taking another brand, especially Zetki.  

 

Avionics Capacity should be on a separate component.  This component should be upgradable to the maximum value possible without relying on mission drops or RNG.  See Elite Dangerous Engineering system or let us mix and match specific rolls on separate gear. “It drops or it doesn’t” is boring and discouraging.  I have Drac I can’t spend. Maybe use that.

I don’t want to see everything fixed exclusively through trading.  I want a reasonable expectation of kitting out my ship. Everything in railjack drops too rarely to provide that expectation and there are no loot frames to mitigate it, not that (good) reactors drop from mobs anyway, which is why I argue avionics capacity should be standardized. 

 

Wreckage capacity limit of 30 reached.

 So DE releases a loot system, which is unnecessarily random, not mitigated by pacing limits, and not well compressed enough so that it requires a maximum inventory and there is no UI for it. There is no way to increase it or manage it from the RailJack or Orbiter.  The loot has secondary “arcane” like affects that I may want to collect play with later and DE is telling me I have to carefully manage my inventory less my precious new roles get automatically melted? This is not ok! My idea to resolve this is simply not include randomized statistics requiring limited inventory in the first release of a new system. Do it as a follow up.  That way there is time to get the stat ranges right, the acquisition balance right, any secondary systems such as rerolling implemented, and finish basic UI. We need distilling systems so we can keep the effects without the (storage) expensive gear if it's going to be an RNG crapshoot.

 

RNGesus

The dev stream touched on how the game is trying to balance achievable and completion with renewable reasons to play.  Railjack is a step too far and a pace out of tune. It's both too easy and too hard to get stuff. It's like we are done with curves and slopes and fully embracing logarithms.  Curves that never reach their final value. It is cruel, it is stupid, and it diminishes what made Warframe so special in the free to play space. Yes, Warframe used to have randomized stats everywhere, but that is not the version that saw us into Sorites and up until Kuva Liches.  Warframe is different from the other looter shooters and I like it for that achievability. Fortuna is great, even the parts I don’t like because I know where the finish lines are. It just needs the next content drop.  

I believe immutable random statistics on gear are a no win scenario.  If you need/want good stats, you hate the RNG. If you have them, you’re overpowered and the game is too easy.  Implement these sorts of things sparingly and with appropriate limits and infrastructure. Pay attention to the mitigating factors other games use to control variable quality drops:  Transmutators, currencies, clamping and yes, trading. Don’t expect players to be excited about or forgive a progression system that isn’t complete.  

 

Bug frame

There appears to have been no effort or mitigation for dealing with crashes, stuck conditions, or soft locks in railjack missions on release.  If the host crashes, they don’t get loot. If the last npc bugs, The mission is uncompletable and no one gets loot. Loot we were all worried about to build overpriced equipment.  Simply ensuring a player can reconnect to a mission in progress without losing progress should be an available and trusted tool before a build goes public. /Unstuck needs to be rewritten because it needs to correct corrupted avatar states that occur in Railjack, not just a basic teleport.  We needed a command to reload the entire client session without quitting the game because of how broken Railjack can get. Allowing the ship to jump out of the mission and cash out without completing it would have gone an awful long way toward preventing pain of the game crashing or the character state glitching out.  If DE is worried about abusive behavior enabled by such flexibility, then maybe they should not be releasing alpha content that would not pass muster at Cloud Imperium Games. I know not to take the game seriously during release week but I’m disadvantaged when loot bugs benefit early adopters, so I feel pressured to put up with it. Consider soft launches or a test environment if we are just alpha testing the console version.  Incentivize test servers with a care package on live.  

 

At least it’s mostly stable over the holiday and I can get out of most script related cinematic script bugs by using tenno and various recall abilities, but wow, when are we going to rearchitect the P2P so that the “host” is just a separate process on one player’s system (or all of them for conflict resolution) and everyone is a client.  DE pays interest on that technical debt every time I see a host vs client bug!

 

I harbor a profound personal disappointment at the constant downward spiral of the quality and experience of the game.  Especially on releases. I wish I knew who to blame for pushing these logarithmic reward curves and release deadlines so I didn’t have to blame the hard-working developers at Digital Extremes trying to just keep it from crashing. DE’s own marketing works against them when they do this.  The game is too visible and too old to just ignore release quality. It has been for a while. Cut some stuff before its forced out unfinished; pipeline better; do something! I’d feel completely different about this if Liches were not in the game making a mockery of it and themselves.  

 

____________________________

There you have it: My overbaked opinion on RailJack.  The good had caveats and the bad inevitably contained venting.  I would be satisfied if the only updates we got in 2020 were fleshing out the systems we got in 2019 because they are not done, but we’ll see if the investors and metrics will go for that.  I’m burnt out. Let me know if you think I’m off base anywhere in the replies and have a Happy New Year.

 

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9 minutes ago, Sahysa said:

I delayed trying to post this to give DE time to fix what was basically an alpha release.

You expected them to work on vacation?

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hace 15 minutos, Sahysa dijo:

I harbor a profound personal disappointment at the constant downward spiral of the quality and experience of the game. 

Same here.

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57 minutes ago, peterc3 said:

You expected them to work on vacation?

No.  They gave themselves 6 days and a devstream to react to the issues and its the current state I intend to give feedback on so it may improve in 2020.

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1 hour ago, Awazx said:

Same here.

As someone with a lot of experience in Elite Dangerous, seeing what they have developed over their span with that game as far as ship and space combat, I am 100% how much DE has put out in this last update. It may not be the power level players want out of their ship and are used to with their warframes, but it is an impressive, smooth update as it is.

Edited by Blaeringr

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Adding on to the archwing bit specifically: Archwings are Orokin tech designed specifically for Warframes. They should be hitting speeds that would liquefy normal pilots, not struggle to chase down a single fighter. Their size should be small enough that most mounted weapons (fighter or point-defense) should have extreme difficulty hitting them, and in the instance they do get hit, they should be durable enough to handle a few shots. On top of that Archguns are practically as big as actual mounted weapons, yet they deal much less damage and have a lower bullet velocity. I understand a degree of inaccuracy (because no gravity), but most guns spray wherever they darn well want. Basically Archwings should be these hyperlethal units who's only true drawback should be no normal person could ever pilot one.

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3 hours ago, Awazx said:

Same here.

What they have put out is still impressive and fun to play through.

It's just disappointing that they rushed it out without polishing it up first because they were that attracted to the idea of the game awards. If they cared so much about the game awards, shouldn't they have tried to get this update done and released sooner in the year? Lessons learned, hopefully...

46 minutes ago, (XB1)alchemPyro said:

Adding on to the archwing bit specifically: Archwings are Orokin tech designed specifically for Warframes. They should be hitting speeds that would liquefy normal pilots, not struggle to chase down a single fighter. Their size should be small enough that most mounted weapons (fighter or point-defense) should have extreme difficulty hitting them, and in the instance they do get hit, they should be durable enough to handle a few shots. On top of that Archguns are practically as big as actual mounted weapons, yet they deal much less damage and have a lower bullet velocity. I understand a degree of inaccuracy (because no gravity), but most guns spray wherever they darn well want. Basically Archwings should be these hyperlethal units who's only true drawback should be no normal person could ever pilot one.

Agree with most of this. Archwing needs some love to work in Railjack effectively. Of course, OTOH, we have people claiming that Railjacks are weaker than Archwings for this content...

3 hours ago, Gnohme said:

Bring back experimental flight plz. Archwing feels so... jerky. 

I very much loved using experimental flight, but I don't want it back and do prefer this version. The only thing I really want changed is to let us actually have a full 6 degrees of freedom... I should be able to spin upwards and pull a full 360 instead of being stuck to a "horizon" that doesn't exist. The "jerky" feeling you get is simply because, thanks to the advancements of Orokin tech, we're allowed full mobility and instant movement without having to worry about momentum. I. Hated. Archwing. Momentum. It's why I used experimental mode, and I don't want momentum back. Maybe they just need to add in animations to make it look like our wings are flaring to a stop.

Note: hold down Shift and move backwards or sideways. It works.

Edited by DrakeWurrum
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I have been enjoying the new content despite the awkward cell bugs. I echo the frustration with the RNG on some of the drops. It really hampers my desire to spend any of my resources, even on a decent rolled ship part. Also, what's even more frustrating is that a Mark III part can roll lower than the highest Mark II part. There's no sense of progressing. Tweaking the numbers is hard, and maybe the dev team will consider re-visiting that along with archwing (getting out of the boat and being insta-killed or Odonata scramble not working against *projectiles* makes things frustrating). Looking forward to what comes next.

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1 hour ago, Fyrjefe said:

what's even more frustrating is that a Mark III part can roll lower than the highest Mark II part

Yes, but even when that happens, it's still higher base numbers.

It's still weird, I'll agree, but in no way is a MK2 ever better than a MK3.

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