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Warfame's Obvious Core Gameplay Problem, and a Simple Solution


L4D3M
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This is a huge problem. You go in expecting an exciting shooter that keeps you on your toes and checking all the angles, and come out realizing that enemies can't hit you with anything except weird telegraphed small-time gimmicks, and with your sense of accomplishment exceptionally diminished.

I don't think enough people know how much of a problem this really is.

Going off from what I can remember from last playing over half a year ago. I play on PC. The amount of variety in a game will never overcome the power of having to move, plan, and react smartly in that game's environment. Variety can only enhance it by opening up different options per place and time. If it doesn't matter where you are at what time, or how quickly you're aiming, then what's the point?

We have a problem: enemies don't have guns. Melee Grineer can hook and reel people in better than the rest can shoot. The aim graphs require enemies to finess into a very specific distance before their shots even matter, rather than the quantity of enemies on screen having any effect. You'll always have the drop on common enemies because you're always way more accurate. There's no thinking involved, thus, no engagement. They're an annoying chore rather than a shifting challenge or enjoyable threat. A lot of the maps tiles have almost no cover or verticality with which to re-think your approach countless times with, which could have provided a lot of replayability.

This is a game advertised as part shooter, but enemies wield fake guns, and resort to using cartoony AoEs and other very telegraphed gimmicks 90% of the time. Where is the excitement? The disappointment comes when enemies have guns but can almost never hit anything with them. There is a bar set (shooter), and a clear letdown is shown during gameplay (enemies with guns can barely ever hit you). Is there a disconnect between what new and long-time players experience?

I'm not suggesting completely removing the enemy aimgraphs, but since there appears to be a severe lack of cover, it might be a great idea to, while at the same time bringing back the amount of cover and verticality that levels had years ago. At least heavily dampen the effect of aimgraphs to where they almost don't matter? What about some alternatives?

Give each tile / room a rating for how much cover it has, and how many challenges are in it. Balance this out by reducing enemy accuracy when there is almost no cover, or too many other challenges / actual effective enemy types. Open field? Move almost anywhere to avoid enemy fire, as long as you're shooting back.

At random times, slowly ramp up enemy accuracy, and the difficulty based on how many aggroed enemies don't have a piece of cover in the line of sight between them and their targeted player.

Going the way things are, enemies might as well have bolt action rifles vs your military grade assault rifles, and you might even have to lower the damage they do just to give a clear indicator of difficulty through how much of your health goes down, rather than it spiking too much. That, or it's the lack of cover speaking.

You don't need too much variety as long as the core content is challenging. If you don't want to get shot down, learn to move along the room, cover, and platforms in creative ways. If you can do it in any way you want, then there's no point to the gameplay because you aren't learning anything. If you can't gain an advantage through higher skill, learning a room on the fly, thinking on your toes, then the whole game is just a grind.

You might even want to balance the rest of this game around this concept. The most dynamic part of gameplay (the moving, positioning, aiming, shooting, and sometimes swordplay) comes first, while your more powerful abilities could become less often useful, and rather more situational.

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vor 24 Minuten schrieb L4D3M:

You go in expecting an exciting shooter that keeps you on your toes and checking all the angles

Do you though? The game isnt named Gears of Warframe yet and I hope it never will. This all sounds like you want to make everyone care about each fodder enemy. I'm not here for that, i'm here for fast movement and good abilities/weapons that clear the house. I definitely dont want this game to become a boring cover shooter.

vor 26 Minuten schrieb L4D3M:

If you can't gain an advantage through higher skill, learning a room on the fly, thinking on your toes, then the whole game is just a grind.

Skill is in the movement system. The faster you go the sooner you will be done with some grinds.

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you do realize you are basically saying you want tank frames to become even more meta? because as it is right now, there are a ton of frames I do not enjoy playing because that single nullifier shot is the end of my spray of bullets and magic.

 

If anything, we should have the leveling system stop scaling enemy health/armor at say... lvl 60-80. Then up accuracy and perhaps some basic AI upgrades. However the latter requires resources most potato pcs do not have and DE probably rather put programmers on fixing railjack and improving other systems/parts of this game.

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A simple solution is to rebalance entire game back into something it hasn't been a for a very long time. Something that, Grendel missions reminded me, is a notable downgrade of the whole experience. Simple solution. EZ.

The real problem with WF is that it's EXTREMELY similar to traditional Diabloids in a certain way. Just like the Diabloids, it's a numbers game. Theorycrafting heaven. Either you have the numbers to effectively deal with enemies and survive, or you don't and don't. There is no fix to this problem. At least neither DE nor any Diabloid developers to the day managed to provide one. And a lot of people will argue it's not a problem to begin with.

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1 hour ago, Quimoth said:

you do realize you are basically saying you want tank frames to become even more meta? because as it is right now, there are a ton of frames I do not enjoy playing because that single nullifier shot is the end of my spray of bullets and magic.

There can be a workaround thought up for anything. The game already has the visual stimulation (high movement speed, guns, swords, 'magic' (or whatever you want to call the four abilities)).

All there needs to be now is more mental stimulation with the mechanics for them to be meaningful, more fun through learning and accomplishment, and for the features to be aligned with the most fun set of limitations to play around. This is stuff you might not even notice after mastering a game due to some of the actions becoming subconscious, but it gives new players something to do.

37 minutes ago, Serafim_94 said:

A simple solution is to rebalance entire game back into something it hasn't been a for a very long time. Something that, Grendel missions reminded me, is a notable downgrade of the whole experience. Simple solution. EZ.

The real problem with WF is that it's EXTREMELY similar to traditional Diabloids in a certain way. Just like the Diabloids, it's a numbers game. Theorycrafting heaven. Either you have the numbers to effectively deal with enemies and survive, or you don't and don't. There is no fix to this problem. At least neither DE nor any Diabloid developers to the day managed to provide one. And a lot of people will argue it's not a problem to begin with.

Play the numbers game, or play the mechanical gameplay. It's still advertised as a hack and slash shooter though, so that makes some people want to play what it's advertised for: the mechanics.

Why is this important? Anyone who's played a game they love the mechanics of just can't wait to see how the next feature combines with the whole. You can do anything when you're good enough, and you want to see the next thing that could trip you up along the path. If you don't want other players in co-op to ruin this, you can at least solo or find your own group if not mechanically keeping up with or out-playing someone's numbers game. It could actually be a lot of work for devs to put in, but it's highly likely to be worth it.

Edited by L4D3M
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2 hours ago, L4D3M said:

You don't need too much variety as long as the core content is challenging. If you don't want to get shot down, learn to move along the room, cover, and platforms in creative ways. If you can do it in any way you want, then there's no point to the gameplay because you aren't learning anything. If you can't gain an advantage through higher skill, learning a room on the fly, thinking on your toes, then the whole game is just a grind.

You might even want to balance the rest of this game around this concept. The most dynamic part of gameplay (the moving, positioning, aiming, shooting, and sometimes swordplay) comes first, while your more powerful abilities could become less often useful, and rather more situational.

And you have hit the nail on the head: there is zero skill checking in this game, only gear checking (and micro checking, if you consider micro a skill). If you have the right gear (and micro it correctly) you win. If you don't, the bullet sponge enemies will surround and destroy you. Even the brand new Railjack mode is built like this

I don't see DE changing this anytime soon, they have expressed no interest in reworking the gameplay loop, only making new content fancier and more conceptually awesome

Edited by TARINunit9
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While I do agree that enemies aren't as much of a threat as they probably should be I also think you're looking at the game in the wrong way.

I'd say the combat gameplay is more similar to something like Diablo, Borderlands, or even Left 4 Dead. In all of these, and in Warframe, you reach a point where the common enemies are just there to be stepped on while the real threats come from supporting units that make common enemies a threat and the less common elite/heavy enemy types.

Those gimmicks you complain about are the real threat when dealing with enemies. Getting CC'd by a Scorpion, Ancient, Shield Lancer, Heavy unit knockdown, etc leave you open to free hits by every lesser enemy around you. While the effects from things like Infested Ancients, some Eximus types, or Nullifier units also make lesser enemies more powerful and/or can heavily debilitate your performance if ignored.

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4 минуты назад, L4D3M сказал:

There can be a workaround thought up for anything. The game already has the visual stimulation (high movement speed, guns, swords, 'magic' (or whatever you want to call the four abilities)).

All there needs to be now is more mental stimulation for the mechanics to be meaningful, more fun through learning and accomplishment, and for the features to be aligned with the most fun set of limitations to play around. This is stuff you might not even notice after mastering a game due to some of the actions becoming subconscious, but it gives new players something to do.

Play the numbers game, or play the mechanical gameplay. It's still advertised as a hack and slash shooter though, so that makes some people want to play what it's advertised for: the mechanics.

Why is this important? Anyone who's played a game they love the mechanics of just can't wait to see how the next feature combines with the whole. You can do anything when you're good enough, and you want to see the next thing that could trip you up along the path. If you don't want other players in co-op to ruin this, you can at least solo or find your own group if not mechanically keeping up with or out-playing their numbers game. It could actually be a lot of work, but it's highly likely to be worth it.

But WF doesn't work as mechanical shooter. I've been playing it for what, 5 years now, and it never did. People back in the day told me it worked that way in times of closed/open beta transition.

All the "oh just make the enemies smarter" is complete garbage. Same goes for accuracy and cover. There's no point in cover if you can one-shot or, in older times, disable entire map with a press of a button. Sure, in recent years damage crept in. Before it was map-wide CC. What will more accurate enemies do against those? And what's the point of mechanical skill if you can do that? Ever noticed playing Diablo or POE that good build completely bypassess all the boss mechanics, and turns them into beating pinatas to kill in 5 seconds?

That change alone warrants such a massive wave of not just nerfs, but complete reworks, that it will turn the whole game upside down. But then there will be more. What do you do with enemies then? Go fight a bursa - one of more dinamic enemies - in Grendel mission. It's cancer. It's an enemy entirely not designed to be fought without mods, and while there is need of mechanical involvment, none of it is even remotely fun. You jump around like an ape waiting for the bursa to die. Then nullifier comes along.

Reeled in all of the special units? Now it's scaling! Because once enemies start one-shotting you - which is relatively soon for a lot of frames, mind you - what good is mechanical skill? You will die anyway. There won't be time to react.

See? There is no "ez" fix. You are asking them to rework amost entire game - gear, enemies, systems -  into something it isn't. The only thing this monumental effort will realistically achieve is killing Warframe off, because people playing it now didn't sign up to play some other game.

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I mean. I only have 700hrs but this game gets pretty hard if you have the time and patience to stay in an arbitration for a couple hours......

 

The game is very easy I found out, yes. But you can also decide to make it hard if you want. I'll go from hitting for like 100k down to 500 lol. The armor gets outta control at some point then that's where the strategy comes in.

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3 hours ago, L4D3M said:

You go in expecting an exciting shooter

I didn't expect Warframe to be a shooter, even when I tried it years ago, the tutorial even introduces you to a melee weapon early on, has melee only missions and Warframe doesn't have a setup where melee is only used when an enemy reaches you, or you run out of ammo like shooters typically do; it's an entirely different way to play the game. I actually don't use guns other than instances where I am forced to. Not even using a railjack is much of a shooter unless you exclusively use an archwing, and even then, 90% of that is just using abilities to not die and slow everything.

I'm not really sure when Warframe was really advertised as an actual shooter either. I've seen trailers they released that don't show a whole lot of shooting, other than the enemy. It's typically a mixture of using a ranged weapon, a melee weapon, movement, and abilities. There's even that one with excal just running around using melee.

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Sounds like you want Warframe to be like another game? Warframe has a unique flow of gameplay and fluidity, which has been heavily modified and erased over the past year or so and a lot of players quit and stopped playing as a result. 

If such changes are implemented, more players will flee the game. 

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Core gameplay problems imo: animations (make movement and gameplay lackluster to me), enemy AI (AI is dumb, moves like its dumb, shoots like its dumb, and for higher levels, are bullet sponges and still dumb), and melee gameplay.

What would make the game better for me:

1) Improved movement animations - basically, more natural movement animations for Warframes, Operators, and AI. Makes the movement feel better and makes gameplay, particularly melee gameplay, flow better. As well, more of a focus on agility rather than simply speed would be great - more lateral movement (i.e. dashing instead of rolling when using melee weapons, and being able to roll and dash to the sides and backwards even when sprinting). Different enemy types moving at different speeds and holding weapons differently would also help make the game a little bit more immersive imo, mainly any heavy enemy moving slower than light enemies, gunners holding guns at their hip instead of at their shoulder, having more enemies using secondaries, having more diversity in the weapons enemies use (there are a lot of Grineer and Corpus weapons that enemies don't use - randomize their weapons).

2) Improved AI - AI needs to be aggressive, as well as being agile. They shouldn't just aimlessly run around, but should aggressively move from cover to cover, and should throw more grenades. It would also be cool if different enemy types had different abilities or tools they could use, like snipers having a power-up shot or butchers having a heavy attack or troopers having flash grenades. In Invasion missions and other missions where you're assisted by AI, they shouldn't follow you but should freely seek out enemies. If you've ever played Battlefront 2's Instant Action or COOP modes, you'll know what I mean. I want that kind of aggressive gameplay from AI. I also want some more minibosses to show up during regular gameplay

3) I find melee gameplay unsatisfying because melee gameplay is just hack and slash. I kinda like Battlefront 2's melee gameplay where you can block at the cost of speed (you walk while blocking), yet enemies can break your block and you can break there's. And this applies to enemy AI behavior. I want melee vs melee gameplay to feel almost like a duel. Instead of merely being designed around using guns or other abilities to break prosecutor blocks, I'd like heavy attacks to do that. As well, it'd be cool to have some melee minibosses where we could have that kind of gameplay.

Those are really my main core gameplay problems. I think that if you improve the AI by changing their behavior, you can create difficulty without having bullet sponges.

 

On the flip side, when it comes to how much damage we take, it's hard to really balance that with the limitations of current gameplay. If enemies can really hurt you at low to medium levels, then they feel too powerful. If they barely scratch you, then they're too weak. And you have to balance how much damage they do depending on how many enemies there are. It's difficult to really balance that. I say that because the game is designed around us moving fast and steamrolling through enemies. And with enemies having a lot of AOE, it's hard to just pause behind an object because it doesn't do much to help you. If you're out in the open, then you've gotta rest on how strong your Warframe is, what they're abilities are and if they're powerful/good CC. I think the solution to that isn't to just have bullet sponge enemies who deal high damage at higher levels. It's to have hard-hitting weapons, both our weapons and enemy weapons, without having high-health enemies. And if enemies have high health, then their damage output should be balanced accordingly, especially if these enemies aren'tdesigned around four players taking them down (and they really aren't designed that way, except for bosses). I think a lot focus is given towards only balancing enemies based on OP warframes. They should also be balanced based on their health and damage. That, in combination with improvements to the AI, would help make the gameplay better, imo.

3 hours ago, Quimoth said:

you do realize you are basically saying you want tank frames to become even more meta? because as it is right now, there are a ton of frames I do not enjoy playing because that single nullifier shot is the end of my spray of bullets and magic.

 

If anything, we should have the leveling system stop scaling enemy health/armor at say... lvl 60-80. Then up accuracy and perhaps some basic AI upgrades. However the latter requires resources most potato pcs do not have and DE probably rather put programmers on fixing railjack and improving other systems/parts of this game.

The key to improving enemies and upping difficulty isn't in boosting their health or even necessarily their damage. It's in improving their accuracy and doing basic AI upgrades like having them move faster, more aggressively, utilize rolling, and using more tools, like different types of grenades, different types of attacks, different buffs to enemy allies, more minibosses, etc. I'd say it's the same thing with our gameplay. Give the player more tools to use, and you can make the gameplay more interesting.

Edited by TheGildedOni
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5 hours ago, L4D3M said:

This is a huge problem. You go in expecting an exciting shooter that keeps you on your toes and checking all the angles, and come out realizing that enemies can't hit you with anything except weird telegraphed small-time gimmicks, and with your sense of accomplishment exceptionally diminished.

I don't think enough people know how much of a problem this really is.

Going off from what I can remember from last playing over half a year ago. I play on PC. The amount of variety in a game will never overcome the power of having to move, plan, and react smartly in that game's environment. Variety can only enhance it by opening up different options per place and time. If it doesn't matter where you are at what time, or how quickly you're aiming, then what's the point?

We have a problem: enemies don't have guns. Melee Grineer can hook and reel people in better than the rest can shoot. The aim graphs require enemies to finess into a very specific distance before their shots even matter, rather than the quantity of enemies on screen having any effect. You'll always have the drop on common enemies because you're always way more accurate. There's no thinking involved, thus, no engagement. They're an annoying chore rather than a shifting challenge or enjoyable threat. A lot of the maps tiles have almost no cover or verticality with which to re-think your approach countless times with, which could have provided a lot of replayability.

This is a game advertised as part shooter, but enemies wield fake guns, and resort to using cartoony AoEs and other very telegraphed gimmicks 90% of the time. Where is the excitement? The disappointment comes when enemies have guns but can almost never hit anything with them. There is a bar set (shooter), and a clear letdown is shown during gameplay (enemies with guns can barely ever hit you). Is there a disconnect between what new and long-time players experience?

I'm not suggesting completely removing the enemy aimgraphs, but since there appears to be a severe lack of cover, it might be a great idea to, while at the same time bringing back the amount of cover and verticality that levels had years ago. At least heavily dampen the effect of aimgraphs to where they almost don't matter? What about some alternatives?

Give each tile / room a rating for how much cover it has, and how many challenges are in it. Balance this out by reducing enemy accuracy when there is almost no cover, or too many other challenges / actual effective enemy types. Open field? Move almost anywhere to avoid enemy fire, as long as you're shooting back.

At random times, slowly ramp up enemy accuracy, and the difficulty based on how many aggroed enemies don't have a piece of cover in the line of sight between them and their targeted player.

Going the way things are, enemies might as well have bolt action rifles vs your military grade assault rifles, and you might even have to lower the damage they do just to give a clear indicator of difficulty through how much of your health goes down, rather than it spiking too much. That, or it's the lack of cover speaking.

You don't need too much variety as long as the core content is challenging. If you don't want to get shot down, learn to move along the room, cover, and platforms in creative ways. If you can do it in any way you want, then there's no point to the gameplay because you aren't learning anything. If you can't gain an advantage through higher skill, learning a room on the fly, thinking on your toes, then the whole game is just a grind.

You might even want to balance the rest of this game around this concept. The most dynamic part of gameplay (the moving, positioning, aiming, shooting, and sometimes swordplay) comes first, while your more powerful abilities could become less often useful, and rather more situational.

WF is built for the casual gamer and I like it this way even though i can handle tougher enemies I’d rather not most the time I’d much rather chill and talk with friends while we make waste to 1000s of enemies 

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My simple suggestion(won't call it a solution)?

Make enemies tankier, but increase weakpoint multiplier. If you want to shoot an enemy into the obvious 3-inch thick armor chest piece, go for it. But you could kill them much faster by aiming at a less armored point or the head. Reward skill in aiming and/or positioning. But still leave the option open for people who a) have overpowered/leveled guns for that area or b) people who can't aim.

Now I'm not saying make them tanky to the point of absurdity, if anything, it's more increase damage dealt to weak/not armored points so it's more rewarding to aim. The AI in Warframe is actually fairly competent, but you can't do much with brains if they have been evicted from the head by whatever numerous ways Tenno have at their disposal. I'm not saying we should be nerfed although I'm on that side of the fence. I'm just saying there is not much more you can do to improve enemy behavior in current Warframe. So maybe improve the individual units kits, models and how they interact to damage.

Edited by Goodwill
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9 hours ago, Serafim_94 said:

A simple solution is to rebalance entire game back into something it hasn't been a for a very long time. Something that, Grendel missions reminded me, is a notable downgrade of the whole experience. Simple solution. EZ.

The real problem with WF is that it's EXTREMELY similar to traditional Diabloids in a certain way. Just like the Diabloids, it's a numbers game. Theorycrafting heaven. Either you have the numbers to effectively deal with enemies and survive, or you don't and don't. There is no fix to this problem. At least neither DE nor any Diabloid developers to the day managed to provide one. And a lot of people will argue it's not a problem to begin with.

This is really the core of it. There's so little space between something (either ourselves or an enemy) being completely invulnerable and being one hit killable that there really isn't any space to design interesting gameplay mechanics. This has been an issue with warframe for so long though that it probably isn't something that can be fixed at this point.

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24 minutes ago, Forblaze said:

This is really the core of it. There's so little space between something (either ourselves or an enemy) being completely invulnerable and being one hit killable that there really isn't any space to design interesting gameplay mechanics. This has been an issue with warframe for so long though that it probably isn't something that can be fixed at this point.

It can be fixed, but it basically requires crunching all the numbers down.  Max rank serration nerfed to +22% damage crunch for example.  

At current, DE is struggling with presenting a game where enemies aren't instantly vaporized the moment they spawn but without touching ability spam which has notably left frames reliant on it in Tenno lockers in favor of things that rely on just being tough and increasing weapon damage output to win.  This process would be MUCH easier (and so many requests for "better AI" made possible) if all powers were reigned in to NOT horrifically break their base stats and to respect LoS so that an enemy taking cover actually mattered, warframe durability was more normalized and made less extreme (health/armor frames >X\infty shield frames,)  and enemy stats didn't escalate on an exponential curve such that the difference in 20 levels is effectively a target 3+ times what it's smaller cousin was.  The difference between level 60 and level 70 elite lancers is (from anecdotal experience) nearly double the rounds from my Kuva Karak.  It's kind of absurd.

A bulk of Warframes difficulty problems can be laid squarely at the feet of the math involved with every aspect of its game play.  Until DE actually decides to dedicate to touching nearly every number in their spread sheets, or gets REALLY clever with somehow normalizing the exponential scaling curve such that things feel more normalized and gradual, and balanced, we're always going to be struggling with the false "challenge" of shooting power immune bullet sponges that one shot all but the tankiest of frames. 

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