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A Damage Rework


waterboytkd
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I've been kicking these ideas around for a little bit, which stem from both a desire to see the "lesser" damage types brought up to relevance, and a desire to see something done to help various weapons and weapon types that struggle to be relevant in the "endgame meta". And with the devs mentioning in that last dev stream that their tweaking of armor scaling has also prompted them to look at a pass on damage types in general, now seems like an appropriate time to share. 

Mechanics Around Damage

  • Status Effects and Proc Bias: part of this change is that damage types (with the exception of single element types) either have some kind of bonus damage, or a status effect. As such, only those elements with a Status Effect possess a proc bias. The Proc Bias is determined by damage values still, with the physical damage (Slash) still being virtually doubled for determining Bias. 
    • This greatly increases the chances of certain damage types to proc their status effect, most notably Slash, but is party offset by the changes to shields (see below).
  • Armor: these changes are also somewhat reliant on making the scaling of Armor somewhat...sane. IE, armor ratings should never get so high that Corrossive is always better than Puncture or Radiation against their relevant armor types.
  • Shields: In addition to their current function, for any attack dealing damage to shields that procs a status effect, the proc bias of all damage types, with the exception of Cold and Magnetic, is reduced to 0. Also, as long as a player or enemy has shields, they are immune to knockdowns and staggers.
    • NOTE: this represents a massive buff to Hildryn, and would almost certainly necessitate some changes to her.

EDIT: I forgot to mention: you would also remove any penalties on Damage Types. There would only be bonuses that certain damage types gain vs specific flesh/armor/shield types. This is done in the pursuit of simplifying the mechanics, while (hopefully) not truly reducing the ability for customization and diversity.

Physical Damage

  • Impact: Bonus damage vs Shield health (not Proto Shields); no status effect
  • Puncture: Bonus damage vs Ferrite Armor; no status effect
  • Slash: no bonus damage; status effect is current implementation.

Single Element Damage

  • Cold: Bonus damage vs Cloned Flesh*; status effect is current implementation (maybe buff it?)
    • *Some head-canon to explain this: Grineer are not susceptible to toxin like normal humans because they've been genetically altered to better handle Earth's toxic atmosphere. Side effects included a greater susceptibility to the cold (which has helped the Corpus maintain dominance in places like Venus and Europa).
  • Electricity: Bonus damage vs robotics and machinery; status effect is current implementation
  • Heat: Bonus damage vs Infested and Infested Flesh (but not Fossilized flesh); status effect is current implementation
  • Toxin: Bonus damage vs Flesh; status effect is current implementation

Combined Element Damage

  • Blast*: No bonus damage; no status effect; the blast damage dealt by a non-AoE** source is also dealt to all enemies within 5 meters.  
  • Corrosive: No bonus damage; status effect is permanently reduce armor by 25% of maximum, stacks up to 4 times for full 100% reduction.
  • Gas*: No bonus damage; no status effect; the gas damage that would be dealt by a non-AoE** source instead spawns a gas cloud with a 5-meter radius on the target. Enemies within the gas cloud take periodic gas damage (based on the amount of gas damage the attack would have dealt). Multiple clouds can overlap.
  • Magnetic: No bonus damage; status effect immediately strips shield and prevents shield regen for 5 seconds. Proc bias for magnetic is reduced to 0 if the target currently has no shields.
  • Radiation: big damage bonus vs Alloy Armor, Proto Shields, and Fossilized Flesh; no status effect.
  • Viral: No bonus damage; status effect is current implementation.

* Blast and Gas: the idea behind these two were to give players a route towards AoE damage that was independent of specific weapons. Currently, certain weapon types really struggle in the "endgame meta" because they're single target and aren't that ammo efficient (looking at you, Assault Rifles). That's not to say you can't use them, but there's a reason weapons like Ignis Wraith, Catchmoon (at least, formerly), and Kuva Nukor (at least, currently) are so popular--it's because they can clear rooms much faster than even the best Assault Rifles. And, as I'm not a big advocate of nerfing to achieve balance in a PvE game, I thought that two of the three least-used damage types could be altered to achieve something approaching balance. As for why it's not a Status Effect proc: if it were, only ARs with high Status Chance would be "buffed" with this change. With it just being an "always active" aspect of the damage type, it helps all weapons, even Bows and Snipers.

** Non-AoE source: the idea was that neither Explosions, nor projectiles/rounds that have already "Punched Through" a target, nor secondary hits from a beam's chain, would trigger this AoE effect. Another way to word it might be: only the initial hit from any single projectile will trigger the AoE effect.

Edited by waterboytkd
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15 minutes ago, waterboytkd said:

Proc bias for magnetic is reduced to 0 if the target currently has no shields.

This might not be doable depending on if proc is determined on landed hit or on trigger pull. I'm not 100% sure how it works.

As far as Blast and Gas go, something that could simplify things is to increase the AoE on proc by that flat amount in lieu of setting it. That would allow non-AoE weapons to have an AoE function, AoE and AoE-ish weapons don't necessarily lose out, and it avoids the issue of sussing out what is or isn't classified as AoE. After all, it's a bit of a continuum: a beam chaining to two targets isn't the same as a Lenz hitting a group of targets, and Punch Through is its own beast.

I do like the concept behind simplifying more of the damage system, dumping some of the under-performing procs (Impact and Puncture esp.), but I have two major criticisms.

First off, you're still sticking to the same damage system layout - Impact, Slash, Puncture, Corrosive, Viral, etc.. You don't need to do that. Indeed, with some elements carrying only damage bonuses and some of said damage bonuses not having a terribly clear delineation (Compare the ++Shields of Impact to the ++...uh, stuff? of Radiation), I tend to feel like it would be beneficial to wipe the slate clean.

Second, the complete removal of CC is...iffy. I'm all for improving the CC-only status effects so that they've got some added functionality, but removing them wholesale is a strange design choice that I have a hard time getting behind.

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  • making things immune to certain types of effects while having Shields is an interesting prospect. i probably wouldn't go as far as you're going, but being resistant to some CC Effects, i think i'd go with. note i said resistance, not immunity.
  • removing negative Multipliers from Damage Types doesn't sound useful to me. you're aiming to make it not matter what Damage Types you have Equipped essentially, and while you're not reaching that point, you're going in that direction and... well what's the point of having varied Damage Types if it doesn't matter which ones you have. 
    • that'd be similar to Damage v1 then, where your Damage Types didn't matter, all that mattered was how much Armor Piercing Damage you had, with a secondary of how much Physics Impact Damage you had, and then you could increase your Damage a little bit more after that with Electricity Mods. while Fire/Ice were just exclusively for CC.

 

why would you remove Status Effects from Impact and Puncture and leave them without one, while leaving Slash untouched? what sort of biased nonsense is this.

what sort of purpose do you have for changing Blast and Gas to not use Status Chance at all. we have Status Chance for a reason, Damage Types don't apply effects innately. you say doing it for Assault Rifles, but bullet hoses are already Weapons that can apply Status Effects very reliably, because they shoot a lot of projectiles.
you also create a convoluted system and then have to specifically bar some Weapons from using it? that's garbage. leave it as it is so that you don't have to nerf some entire Weapon Archetypes.

buffing Corrosive Status? you're joking, right.
making Magnetic Damage deal infinite Damage to Shields? again, you're joking right.

what exactly does 'no bonus Damage' mean? is this also removing Positive Damage Modifiers as well as negative? what is the point of the entire Damage system if it doesn't matter what Mods you put on and you always do basically the same Damage to everything anyways.

Edited by taiiat
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Personally, I disagree with the central premise of the suggestion for two reasons: It fails to address the core fundamental issues of the Damage/Status system implementation but instead tries to skirt around them and the ways in which it attempts to address them complicates system for little practical benefit. If you want to tackle Damage, I feel you need to tackle the following issues:

  • Too many Damage types. There's no way to give them all unique status effects without significant overlap and redundancy, enemy resistances are all over the place as a result.
  • Per-pellet Status Chance. The current back-calculation for per-pellet Status Chance from the "at least once" Status Chance stat is a radical function which cascades heavily towards 100%, turning shotgun Status chance into "100% or nothing."
  • Status chance magnitude. Status severity/duration of status effects which don't deal damage scales in no way based on the weapon. As such, fast-firing weapons and shotguns are always superior for Status builds.
  • Slash shenanigans. Slash Status DOT bypasses enemy armour and so completely displaces Puncture as the anti-armour physical damage type. It has no business doing that.

Me personally, I prefer the Railjack damage system and feel the rest of the game can benefit from learning from it. Fewer damage types make for less concern about status effect redundancy. As far as I can tell, all damage types deal the same damage to all health types. No distinction between "physical" and "elemental" damage. It still fails to address the issue of Status, but it's a step in the right direction, at least.

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16 hours ago, Tyreaus said:

First off, you're still sticking to the same damage system layout - Impact, Slash, Puncture, Corrosive, Viral, etc.. You don't need to do that. Indeed, with some elements carrying only damage bonuses and some of said damage bonuses not having a terribly clear delineation (Compare the ++Shields of Impact to the ++...uh, stuff? of Radiation), I tend to feel like it would be beneficial to wipe the slate clean.

Second, the complete removal of CC is...iffy. I'm all for improving the CC-only status effects so that they've got some added functionality, but removing them wholesale is a strange design choice that I have a hard time getting behind.

These are also my concerns with the OP's proposal. I think one of the core problems with the current damage system is that it's overloaded with damage and status types, to a degree where many, if not most have become redundant or undesirable. I also question the value of a proc-based status system in the game's current state, where status chance on most weapons has degenerated to an extent where status weapons now need to be modded to 100% status chance, because anything below that is considered unreliable. While being able to spam certain CC types with absolute reliability does have its problems, I also agree that the purpose of status, if it is to exist, should be to provide us with utility, and not more damage, which is more the job of crit (which I don't think should exist either tbh).

Really, if we are to have a proper damage rework, I'd also be fully on board with a blank slate approach, or at least one that questions all of the damage system we currently have and is prepared to abandon the cruft if it doesn't benefit our gameplay, as opposed to an approach that seeks to retroactively justify what we currently have, all because it's what exists at the moment. Really, given the way we actually play the game, and given how little diversity we've gotten out of Damage 2.0 and its associated modding, I think we could probably get the same benefit, if not more, from a hyper-streamlined system:

  • No damage types whatsoever; damage is damage.
  • No random crits; instead critical hits are triggered by specific, "skilful" actions, e.g. headshots, hitting unalerted enemies, maybe hitting control-impaired or blinded enemies, as well as whichever modifiers applied by certain abilities and weapons.
  • No random status; abilities and weapons now instead apply their own damage, CC, or utility effects based on defined triggers, e.g. hitting an enemy, maybe hitting an enemy continuously for a sustained amount of time (e.g. with the Glaxion, to freeze enemies solid), etc.
  • (Possibly) No armor or shields; all units instead just have a health bar, and Tenno regenerate health after not taking damage for a period of time, as with shields currently. This avoids the problem of quadratic exponential health scaling through armor, and the associated redundancy of shields in the face of our healing (also removes the gear-checking element that comes from giving enemies regenerating health bars through shields).
  • Remove associated damage mods, plus multishot mods, and remove or nerf base damage mods, so that weapons modding should focus on utility and skill-based rewards over stacking layers of generic, multiplicative damage increases.
  • Redistribute enemy density and health in order to favor the usage of different weapons, so that tailoring our arsenal for specific enemies or factions should be based on intuitive choices, rather than current damage table comparisons. For example:
    • Infested have high numbers, but low health per unit. This would favor AoE and rapid-fire weaponry.
    • Corpus have low numbers, but high health (and individual power) per unit. This would favor weapons with high damage per shot.
    • Grineer are made up of squads of cannon fodder units, which are about as powerful as Infested, plus one squad leader, which is about as powerful as a Corpus. This would favor versatile weapons.

So with a heavy amount of adjustments, we'd have a simplified system that newcomers would understand much more easily, and that would be less liable to abuse or hyper-tailored metas (no more Corrosive damage everywhere just to deal with armor, for example), but that could potentially give equal or more choice in our builds and playstyles relative to what we have now. In particular, basing crit off of specific actions rather than random chance could allow for a greater differentiation of certain playstyles (e.g. stealth or sniper combat, which could use crit to differentiate itself from the regular guns-blazing approach), and preventing all weapons from accessing the same pool of damage and status should allow individual weapons to stand out more for their own unique combination of damage and utility: for example, the difference between the Ignis and Glaxion would be one of fire vs. ice, and thus presumably additional damage over time versus crowd control, rather than one of whichever of the two weapons can apply more or less the same kind of damage with bigger numbers, more punch-through, and more reliable crit/status.

Edited by Teridax68
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27 minutes ago, Teridax68 said:
  • No damage types whatsoever; damage is damage.
  • No random crits; instead critical hits are triggered by specific, "skilful" actions, e.g. headshots, hitting unalerted enemies, maybe hitting control-impaired or blinded enemies, as well as whichever modifiers applied by certain abilities and weapons.
  • No random status; abilities and weapons now instead apply their own damage, CC, or utility effects based on defined triggers, e.g. hitting an enemy, maybe hitting an enemy continuously for a sustained amount of time (e.g. with the Glaxion, to freeze enemies solid), etc.

I know you had more to say, but that's a pretty good summary of what I personally want out of Warframe's damage system, or something close to it. Remove the false choices, remove the unnecessary randomness of procs, reduce the unnecessary complexity and push weapon performance more towards how and how well a player uses it in moment-to-moment gameplay, and less towards just buffing its stats. I'm very much in favour of guaranteed criticals but only against weakpoints, though I'm fine with a "critical damage" stats sticking around. "Crit weapons" would then have low base damage but high crit damage, making it more important to be precise with them. I'm also very much in favour of guaranteed status but of variable magnitude. All weapons would always proc status on every shot, but only those with high status magnitude would be able to stack it high enough quickly enough to be really useful. I'm definitely in favour of either abolishing damage types or at least abolishing strengths and vulnerabilities. Let players choose their damage (if they choose at all) based on what utility status effect they prefer, not on what's mathematically guaranteed to do the most damage on average to the largest subset of enemies of a given faction.

I know Warframe has pretensions of RPG, but it is first and foremost an action game. I'm of the opinion that it needs only as much complexity as is needed to meaningfully modify the gameplay experience and the skillset needed to engage in it. More complexity for that just serves to create optimisation problems, the solutions to which most players will just pull off of Google without ever caring to understand why those solutions are optimal. That, in a nutshell, is the weakness of the current damage system - it exists almost entirely on the back-end. Its effect on moment-to-moment gameplay is nearly indistinguishable beyond "this build is powerful / this build is weak." Trying to salvage that system is - to me at least - a non-starter because its papering over systemic, fundamental flaws spawned from design decisions not really rooted in very strong design goals.

While I might not necessarily want to scrap the entire damage system and start from scrap, I definitely want to scrap large chunks of it and rethink some fairly fundamental concepts of how it's supposed to work and how much complexity it really needs to have.

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1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

I know Warframe has pretensions of RPG, but it is first and foremost an action game. I'm of the opinion that it needs only as much complexity as is needed to meaningfully modify the gameplay experience and the skillset needed to engage in it. More complexity for that just serves to create optimisation problems, the solutions to which most players will just pull off of Google without ever caring to understand why those solutions are optimal. That, in a nutshell, is the weakness of the current damage system - it exists almost entirely on the back-end. Its effect on moment-to-moment gameplay is nearly indistinguishable beyond "this build is powerful / this build is weak." Trying to salvage that system is - to me at least - a non-starter because its papering over systemic, fundamental flaws spawned from design decisions not really rooted in very strong design goals.

I completely agree with this, and part of what irks me isn't simply that Warframe tries to be a RPG -- which I think would be fine -- but that it tries to emulate pen-and-paper RPGs, or at least really old-school video games, with its RNG-based crit and status procs. It's a basic failure to acknowledge that those systems only existed to simulate special actions in an abstract manner, in games that could not otherwise let us just do the thing directly. By contrast, in the modern era of games, or at least with games capable of simulating complex combat in real-time such as Warframe, one doesn't need to abstract the action of hitting someone past their defenses, or shooting them in the head, because one can literally do just that. We don't need to simulate that kind of gameplay, because that gameplay can already be done in the game, and it's that kind of pointless abstraction that makes combat less deep than it could be. Beyond that, I also completely agree with you that the vast breadth of complexity we were given with damage and status types boils down to an optimization problem, one that isn't even especially interesting to solve given that there is only really one condition to optimize around, namely dealing with armored enemies.

Really, I think Warframe does have the potential to be a RPG, or at least have a solid customization system, but its approach to customization ought to reflect its nature as a fast-paced action game, as you said as well. There's a mode of display for certain kinds of code and document editing called WYSIWIG, a.k.a. "What you see is what you get", where input translates as directly as possible to output in terms of intuitive presentation: I think that kind of principle should apply to damage in Warframe, and probably just Warframe modding in general: I may not speak for everyone, but I don't particularly care about increasing my critical strike chance, or altering the damage type on my low-status weapon to corrosive or radiation or the like, but I'd very much care for a mod that'd make me throw spent weapon clips as grenades, or one that lets me suspend enemies on a ground slam (i.e. Exodia Epidemic). Warframe I think is at its least interesting when we're made to do damage calculations just to optimize our DPS against a certain type of unit, with zero associated change to our gameplay, but I do think it has the potential to become incredibly interesting if its builds were about integrating new mechanics and altering existing ones to fit a particular playstyle. On the subject of damage itself, I don't think it's particularly fun to one-shot one kind of enemy, then scratch one's head as the same weapon one's using deals much less damage, sometimes none at all, to the next, or otherwise have this massive discrepancy in power just because of semi-hidden damage modifier tables, different health/armor/shield types, etc., that don't actually bring real flavor or depth. It's one of the ways combat feels much less consistent than it ought to be in Warframe, and if the developers really want to approach a AAA combat experience, a more streamlined damage system would likely help them get there.

Edited by Teridax68
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1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

I know Warframe has pretensions of RPG, but it is first and foremost an action game. I'm of the opinion that it needs only as much complexity as is needed to meaningfully modify the gameplay experience and the skillset needed to engage in it. More complexity for that just serves to create optimisation problems, the solutions to which most players will just pull off of Google without ever caring to understand why those solutions are optimal. That, in a nutshell, is the weakness of the current damage system - it exists almost entirely on the back-end. Its effect on moment-to-moment gameplay is nearly indistinguishable beyond "this build is powerful / this build is weak." Trying to salvage that system is - to me at least - a non-starter because its papering over systemic, fundamental flaws spawned from design decisions not really rooted in very strong design goals.

I really do want to highlight this part off the bat because there has been renowned talk of Warframe being too easy or lacking difficulty in spite of numbers games like Railjack and the like. I've mentioned elsewhere that a lot of the difficulty of Warframe is in the modding screen, but a lot of the gameplay is in the mission. Even for players who don't Google everything, once one understands the general principles of how to mod weapons, that's about it: game mastered. But you can do that before even setting foot in a mission. There is a kind of difficulty there (if one doesn't look up the proverbial walkthrough), but it's the sort of difficulty a player is bound to forget once the mission start timer clicks down.

I tend to feel that part of the problem is the modding system and upgrade systems are trying to share the same space. If the upgrade system were more of a tree where one could pick particular buffs at each level and the modding system altered how the weapon handled or performed (e.g. damage element converters), it'd have more gameplay-altering complexity just by default. Right now, we don't care for things like reload speeds or recoil reductions because damage options are more valuable.

I also want to go through Teridax's proposal super quickly, because I've thought of similar:

2 hours ago, Teridax68 said:

No random crits; instead critical hits are triggered by specific, "skilful" actions, e.g. headshots, hitting unalerted enemies, maybe hitting control-impaired or blinded enemies, as well as whichever modifiers applied by certain abilities and weapons.

One translation option is for crit chance to be "% true damage", which converts a percentage of base damage into true damage on crit. Crit damage would be the same multiplier. Keeps the same stats that way and provides an on-demand way to address shields or armour (with skill requirements).

2 hours ago, Teridax68 said:

(Possibly) No armor or shields; all units instead just have a health bar, and Tenno regenerate health after not taking damage for a period of time, as with shields currently. This avoids the problem of quadratic exponential health scaling through armor, and the associated redundancy of shields in the face of our healing (also removes the gear-checking element that comes from giving enemies regenerating health bars through shields).

Conclave (hurk) has a principle that the best way to kill enemies is to switch weapons around to take out their shields and then their health. Armour, of course, should have some kind of touch-up (I've said before: make it its own health class like overshields for health), but I feel like dumping health classes outright ruins potential in-game complexity. Even if it's something as simple as armour being more vulnerable to stronger, single shots and shields being taken down by rapid fire.

Of course, I mention Conclave (hurk) also to imply that element damage modifiers should be much more simplified: efficacy against shields, efficacy against armour, efficacy against health, and that's it. Some elements may be effective against only one, some may be effective against multiple but not to the same degree...but always keeping within those three.

There's a way to go even further with this concept and say that whatever damage type the weapon has the most of is the entire weapon's health-shield-armour (HSA) modifier. So if a weapon has mostly Puncture (or, in a world where this can be set with a mod independent of damage distribution - see above with my thoughts on the modding / upgrade systems) and Puncture has +100% to armour, the weapon has a flat +100% modifier against armour. Other elements would then affect proc distributions instead.

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4 minutes ago, Vharu said:

No problem has been referenced here to warrant such changes - it's like you have a solution that has yet to find a problem, let alone a demand/interest for changing so much.

For one example:

27 minutes ago, Tyreaus said:

there has been renowned talk of Warframe being too easy or lacking difficulty in spite of numbers games like Railjack and the like.

I think the reason it isn't being stated is because most people know the general, nebulous problem that takes a thousand different forms. "It's too easy", "there's too much grind", "press-4-to-win", so on and so forth. I mean, think about it: is "too much grind" really about people having to play the game? Is it not more accurate to say that it's the quality of the game and what they're doing?

(Ironically, kind of also touching upon the whole Forma thing - and maybe that needs to be part of the discussion, too. Dismissing something just because people might not like it without understanding the core reasons why would just be a waste. People in general don't like change, of course any proposition is going to be disliked.)

As far as smaller changes go, reasoning doesn't always translate 1:1. If the reason is something large, like to make active gameplay more engaging, tweaking Corrosive (and a variety of other smaller changes like it) won't accomplish that. It may need a bigger solution. Granted, a bigger solution that's better fleshed out with things like transition plans and the like, but a bigger solution nevertheless.

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2 hours ago, Tyreaus said:

I really do want to highlight this part off the bat because there has been renowned talk of Warframe being too easy or lacking difficulty in spite of numbers games like Railjack and the like. I've mentioned elsewhere that a lot of the difficulty of Warframe is in the modding screen, but a lot of the gameplay is in the mission. Even for players who don't Google everything, once one understands the general principles of how to mod weapons, that's about it: game mastered. But you can do that before even setting foot in a mission. There is a kind of difficulty there (if one doesn't look up the proverbial walkthrough), but it's the sort of difficulty a player is bound to forget once the mission start timer clicks down.

You have a point. There's a certain amount of abstraction and conceptualisation necessary to wrap one's head around Warframe's build system - I won't deny that. The problem is that doing so reveals it to be ostensibly a hollow lie. What at first appears to be a multitude of opportunities is revealed to be a few "obvious" right choices and a whole bunch of sucker traps that next to nobody really has a reason to use. And - like you said - once you've figured out how the system works... That's it. You know how the system works, you can apply this knowledge to every weapon and every Warframe, most of the time barely modified if modified at all. I don't know - maybe there's some "deeper secret" I've still yet to internalise, but I'm using builds easily capable of handling content as high level as the game expects me to run regularly, and I've seen no sign of such.

The worst part of it, though, is that whether you made the right choice or the wrong choice in your builds ultimately doesn't change HOW you play the game. A bad build is simply less powerful by virtue of having less of the required numbers, but it plays the exact same way as a good build. Part of it is because, as you said, combat is won or lost in the mod screen, with actual in-mission performance barely a formality. If you clear the gear check, you will win unless you fall asleep at the keyboard (and sometimes even then). If you don't clear the gear check, you're very probably going to fail, or at the very least have an absolutely miserable time of it.

Part of it, though, is because Warframe's core gameplay loop is itself highly reductive. Whether you're using Rivens or Arcanes, a crit build or a status build, what determines success or failure all too often boils down to EHP vs. DPS. Because DE for whatever reason refuse to design actual complex missions which can't be speed-run in 90 seconds, all that really matters is how fast you kill and whether you can kill faster than you recover health back. This is what turns missions into formalities - because they're all themselves optimisation challenges where the implicit goal is to reduce player interaction to the bare minimum.

I don't know if an alternative is even possible for Warframe at this point. However, I still feel that we can at least shed the veneer of complexity and maybe save the occasional newbie from beating their head against a difficulty spike for 100 hours until they figure out all the sucker traps they've fallen into. If we're not going to have a ton of choice, can we at least stop pretending that we do?

 

1 hour ago, Vharu said:

You want to limit crit chance to weak spots and headshots? that idea is not going to fly at all. You have Sacrificial umbra mods, rivens, zaws, kitguns, arcanes and heavily invested builds that completely depend on they way CC works. Changing it is just going to piss off a majority of your player base - me included. It also craps on the melee update we just had that specifically boosted CC among other things, and there is no "skill" in getting a headshot with a melee, that is pretty much chance based. 

Any major change is going to piss people off regardless of its validity. I'm not advocating for ignoring player feedback, but there are times when you're left without a lot of choice. I don't believe that leaving Warframe in its current state is a viable option long-run. Games like this survive on the churn of their player base - some people leave, others join to take their place, others still return from long breaks. To leave a game locked in time the last time it was really popular is to let it stagnate and burn out its populace. As unpleasant as change is, I feel it's straight-up necessary in order to keep a game with a long tail like this going. More than that, a resistance to making fundamental changes for fear of upsetting people hamstrings its development significantly and stifles innovation. Thus far, DE have struck me as a studio who's willing to roll the dice again and again, investing in innovation and renovation and reinventing their own game every so often.

I personally feel that the game's damage system and ESPECIALLY a lot of what you listed constitutes a millstone around Warframe's neck, and a major hurdle in decent encounter design. Warframe as it sits right now has such a massive, absurd power gap between weak and strong builds that it's straight-up impossible to create decent boss fights. The Wolf of Saturn Six and to a lesser extent "all of Railjack" is an objective lesson of that. I'm of the opinion that the playerbase as a whole is due for a large-scale nerf, at least to absurd damage stacking but hopefully also to the various exploitative "super" damage types like Corrosive, Slash, True, etc. No, I don't expect anyone - including myself - to like the results as they happen because we're going to be losing a lot of power. If that means we lose easy access to *200 damage, multiplicative damage buff stacking and absurdly overpowered weapons, then that's a sacrifice I feel is worth making.

Proper balance occasionally requires us to accept changes we don't like, simply put.

 

3 hours ago, Teridax68 said:

Warframe I think is at its least interesting when we're made to do damage calculations just to optimize our DPS against a certain type of unit, with zero associated change to our gameplay, but I do think it has the potential to become incredibly interesting if its builds were about integrating new mechanics and altering existing ones to fit a particular playstyle.

Agreed. The majority of what determines a weapon's "viability" is its DPS. Whether you're slotting damage, multishot, critical hit, critical damage, whether you're picking Corrosive over Radiation, the only thing which changes in practice is how much damage that weapon is able to push out in your hands against the enemy you've elected to fight. HOW you fight that enemy remains unchanged. We have dozens of different buff vectors, but they all seem to boil down to trading damage, and I agree - that's a really boring way to design weapons. Personally, I believe that fewer but more distinct, meaningful choices always trump a larger number of redundant or even pointless choices ever can. Far too many RPGs make the mistake of needlessly overcomplicating their build systems, seemingly to obfuscate the fact that they are, in fact, just about ankle deep. "Optimise for these stats, ignore these stats, you win."

To be perfectly honest, I'd rather have a system where weapons have only two slots, each of which takes a Warframe-style Exilus mod, with a choice of say 5-6 per weapon. "This weapon causes an electric explosion on a reload from empty." "This weapon's projectiles can bounce up to three times." "This weapon's projectiles can over-penetrate enemies," etc. I don't like pointing to Destiny 2, but I still look at something like the Ace of Spades and wish Warframe had weapons half this creative... Which is odd, considering how dirt simple that weapon's design actually is. Reload following a kill grants 6 massively overpowered shots from a magazine of 13, headshot kills ensure fast reloads. That right there adds quite a bit of complexity in actually USING the weapon, more so than just its raw stats.

Now, Warframe DOES have somewhat complex weapons, don't get me wrong. The Arca Scisco is a good example - a weapon which boosts its own stats the more shots you land. Hell, even something as simple as the Tenora has some degree of complexity. The weapon's rate of fire ramps up during long bursts and the weapon's accuracy improves drastically. That right there heavily affects how one is inclined to use it. Honestly, TF2 had the right idea WAAAY back in the day, offering radically different versions of the same item which were (at least in theory) equal in raw performance but got there in very different ways. I can't really offer examples since I haven't played that game for a decade, but I'm sure more recent players can cite many.

My point is that no matter how complex you make your game's RPG system, if all it ever affects is how much DPS you do and how much EHP you have, then it's always going to be boring, uninspired and likely needelssly overcomplicated. Complexity is not in and of itself a positive quality in a video game. Unless complexity allows players to in some way fundamentally alter their gameplay experience, then I'd argue that simplicity is the right way to go.

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1 hour ago, Vharu said:

So your one and first example is actually an interpretation of something that does not actually suggest (even remotely) the kind of changes you are offering here?

The example I posited talks about difficulty and the suggestion you mentioned (about weakpoint-only crits) puts greater onus on player capability. I.e., "if you want damage, hit headshots". There is an iota of difficulty and engagement in that.

1 hour ago, Vharu said:

It's a grinding game, I mean if people don't want to grind then maybe they should play CS:GO or something else. Grinding is a core part of Warframe, and people that say "I don't like grinding" - well, maybe this ain't for them. 

This is true. So the question then becomes: why are complaints about the grind so prevalent despite players knowing what they're getting into? I don't buy that it's as simple as "I don't like grinding" - not every grind aspect gets talked about. People discuss murmur farms but not Argon Crystal runs.

1 hour ago, Vharu said:

Aside from that, if the complaint is "it's too easy" (which is actually something I've addressed on my own threads aswel) then that doesn't warrant balancing so much as it does scaling.

As I said: discussions about difficulty arise in spite of Railjack. People talk about difficulty despite endless runs being a thing.

I feel it pertinent to point out that the problem as I see it is more nebulous and general than what you're targeting, which I meant to list as instances not summations. If I were to try to summarize it better, I would say it's a matter of engagement. Games don't have to be difficult to be engaging (see Kirby). Grinds don't have to spur frustration. People often talk about difficulty not because the game levels don't go high enough but because the difficulty the game provides isn't engaging. Let's be real: you can pick a high-level mission and take survival mods and the like out of a build to get a very similar result as a super high level mission. But that seldom scratches the proverbial itch.

1 hour ago, Vharu said:

There are many ways to address challenge and difficulty, but what you are putting forth does not clearly define if the outcome of it will make things harder or easier - but it certainly will disrupt everyones builds and strategies on how they approach game situations. I have a very tight-nit synergy build with my Saryn and Cyath Zaw for heavy attack - I used 6 formas including an umbra forma, thats just on the warframe. I also build the Zaw specifically for Saryn as a heavy attack build to compensate for Energy/Health while working with her Augment mod for Contagion cloud - this covers Corrosive, Toxin, and Viral damages while regaining health and energy - all of which effected my decision to use the Umbra forma and keeping her efficiency down at 45% but still self-sustainable. Corrosive on its own is not going to kill anything, and neither is Viral as both these damage types only half the current health and armor pool, but coupled with the Toxin it makes it viable. Not to mention Slash procs doing true damage strait on health - all of this effects heavy attack kills, which is procing energy regain and overall makes the whole build extremely useful for ESO. 

Imagine how I feel when someone goes - lets change how Viral, Gas Clouds, Toxin and Corrosive works - after making a selective zaw for crit chance because bleed procs are forced on heavy attack, after burning 12+ forma and an umbra forma. I only want to know one thing at that point - is such changes going to improve my killing efficiency or reduce it, because if its the forma (excuse the pun) and not the latter, then I don't want to know about it - make those changes before I spend a butt load of my time finding something that works well. Or if such gross changes are to happen - I want to be compensated and some, otherwise im out - im not going to customize and min/max things with my time and effort just do it all again - that aint my idea of progress. 

And that is just one build, and one weapon. I don't much like min/maxing for the sake of min/maxing - I do it for the result, and it aint cheap to do on both time and resources (even though time is a resource itself). 

That these are wholly valid concerns is why I talk about it needing to be fleshed out further. The ideas spoken about up to that point are far from complete.

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1 hour ago, Steel_Rook said:

I don't know if an alternative is even possible for Warframe at this point.

I want to isolate this part because I'd say: yes.

Spy missions, especially Sortie ones, continue to be difficult in pub matches - for whatever reason. Yet I see people running non-stealth Warframes complete them without issue. On the other hand sits Disruption modes that quite a few people like in principle. The former is difficulty outside DPS / EHP, and the latter interest seems to come from how Conduit buffs can alter gameplay. Not in major ways, but they do alter it, and people seem to fancy that.

Neither of those are probably the solution by themselves. They do point toward a way to provoke engagement and difficulty without necessarily bigger numbers, more damage, or flat gear checks. And I tend to believe a lot of it comes down to missions not leaning on their unique qualities enough, like how Disruption and Spy missions do.

Pardon the aside that starts getting into mission designs rather than damage systems...

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17 minutes ago, Vharu said:

This is a bit of a 'spin-doctor' pitch - limiting critical hits to headshots and weak points, then calling it a boon for improving player capability.

I did not say that. Onus =/= boon.

18 minutes ago, Vharu said:

-Melee attacks (I don't think melee headshots are within the scope of player capability)
-Expose Weakpoints (good for maybe banshi players, but rarely are weak spots exposed - and they are not consistently placed). Why do weakspots change from one enemy to another of the exact same type and level? - shoulder injury perhaps. Again, if you don't know where the weak spots are (which you won't unless exposing them with mod/skills, then aiming at them is redundant and therefor not really skill based).
-Long range snipers and short range shotguns, or an amprex, or opticor vandal or lenz... ya see the problems here? Blast radius, fine point aiming at longer range, spread, and chained fired that has no aim to it - Again I don't think such cases depend much on player capability as opposed to luck. 

As I said, this requires further fleshing out. Were I designing it, I would have melee heavy attacks count as "critical hits", weakpoints counting for critical spots (they are highlighted, are they not?), and would probably balance AoE weapons that can't utilize crits reliably (though not granting them the same level of power as precision weapons capable of landing more consistent critical hits).

24 minutes ago, Vharu said:

We go other issues too... latency. You wanna try hit a headshot with a rubico on a teleporting target due to 200-300 ping? - again, doesn't really lend itself to player capability. Making these changes I think would bring with it more negative than positive, and could potentially upset meta choices for weapons as players compensate one way or another. I can see people getting frustrated over not hitting a crit that their skill capability did indeed place the shot on the head - this comes down to 'hit registration' on 'hit boxes' - and that is effected strongly by latency. I am all too aware of these issues and complaints coming from 10 years playing Counterstrike - where precision aiming and damage variation is central to it's gameplay. You only aim at the head in CS, and a 20 year old game (collective series) still has issues with hit registration, and thats with dedicated servers on low latency - hell, you see hit registration problems on LAN with no latency aswel. It is a very difficult thing to polish right. 

The overarching point of that proposal is to better reward precision. That doesn't necessarily mean requiring it. If people have latency issues, in the same vein as if people have issues aiming, they should be able to bring along an assortment of other weapons. Those weapons may not have the same damage output (since they're not utilizing critical hits), but they'd be serviceable.

28 minutes ago, Vharu said:

I'm going to blame the younger generation and their conditioned need for instant gratification. Speculation, that's all we can answer this question with... but I wouldn't be surprised to see that older players don't mind the grind as much as teenagers do. Trying to find the right balance is about finding that mid-point where people on both ends of the spectrum are in discontent lol... funny but true. Also why I don't think it should get balanced, just pick a side and atleast one group will be happy. But incase DE is reading, they should consider what group has more money to spend on supporting their game - just facts.

Unless we have solid metrics, bringing in generational issues is just going to create spite, not solutions.

32 minutes ago, Vharu said:

yeah someone else made a similar point the other day - only less articulate because maybe they wanted more people to understand them over trying to impress.

Apologies for having a taste for English, I guess.

32 minutes ago, Vharu said:

As I said to them, the game doesn't have an incentive to do this kind of behavior - why handicap myself? I mean ya got nightmare missions that induce a handicap and reward that with exclusive mods, you have vault runs which certainly handicap you via dragon keys... again, exclusive rewards for it. I think DE has already implemented this kinda of challenge style - and lets be real, who the hell is doing nightmare missions anymore? and if players were not paying plat for vault mods then who would be running those aswel? Those mods are going for like 10p now, it's kinda made vault runs no longer viable until those mod prices go back up to 25-30p. But thats the whole point, the incentive is the reward... not the challenge itself. 

In my opinion, aside from exclusive reward based incentives, the only other incentive to invite challenge is some kind of comparative edge over others, and acknowledged/recognition. I mean you see this with leaderboards and people wanting to get their name on it - there is no reward in that besides acknowledgement/recognition. 

What I'm getting at is less about rewards and more about the path to said rewards. That's ultimately the entire "gameplay" part about Warframe.

36 minutes ago, Vharu said:

You mention engagement, well thats kind of another word for participation... keeping attention... retaining player activity - all the same. The difference is, what drives these things are incentives. As I mentioned, farming plat is an incentive for doing vault runs, recognition is an incentive for climbing leaderboards, unlocking new story lore and content is an incentive to progress through the quests and star chart - you always have to have some kind of 'bait' to lure. 

Engagement isn't only participation, at least in the way I intend. Engagement is more the difference between parkouring around a map landing headshots on enemies versus standing in the middle and pressing a button for fifteen minutes. Or sitting at the edge of your seat with an action movie versus just sitting there chugging a Coke and watching flashy lights. Again: about the path, not the goal.

40 minutes ago, Vharu said:

You could compartmentalize this one thread into about 20 threads, and in doing so you would yield much more accurate feedback on each suggestion. It's a bit of a snowball and I think that's just gonna overwhelm others and their willingness to address it all at once. 

That's true, which is why we're trying to focus on just the damage system aspect. The problem is that even with that one (admittedly sizable) piece, you've come in asking about how that affects an assortment of other things, such as how people are going to be compensated. Which, of course, that's a valid concern - but it demonstrates that it doesn't come apart very well. These proposals tie in with these other proposals and the proposal over there in the corner....

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3 hours ago, Vharu said:

Many games have huge power gaps between new and old players - WoW, GW2, even skill based games like CSGO where everything is equal (besides players skill). The common thread attributed to these gaps is a players invested time and experience - that makes such a gap an earned reward, it is progress of one player over another. Someone who plays 10 hours a day has no responsibility over another player who only invests 1 hour - so the question is, why should a power gap be reduced at all? Why should players who invest more time more often be limited so that players who spend less time less often can be on an equal level? That is effectively creating a disincentive to play.

You seem to have veered off into politics and philosophy, but that wasn't my point. I wasn't referring to new players vs. veterans, but rather veterans vs. veterans. The power difference between top-end builds and even average builds is massive. And yes, that's a bad thing because it becomes impossible to create a gameplay experience that's going to be both entertaining and even doable for everyone. Sure, you always have the option of designing for the highest-power builds only and progressively power-creeping your game into nonsense, but that's not a good way to go about it. This is what led us to Warframe's current state of absurdity, near as I can tell. Said highest-level builds represent a fairly small subset of the population, and this is consistent with Live Services overall. While "hardcore" players are typically some of the loudest voices, they are nevertheless an outlier and DE know this. Their Metrics would have made this abundantly clear. That's why they've been so adamant about rebalancing content to be "new player friendly," at least in part.

By contrast, having a relatively small power gap between the strongest and weakest builds ensures that the gameplay experience can be tailored to all players, at least roughly. Where this isn't enough, custom difficulty settings can make up the difference. For this to work, however, the margins need to be small and the power gap narrow. If you want a more physical metaphor, imagine the range where the game is "properly balanced" as a band and the full scope of build power as a land that this band is within. The larger the line, the less of it the band covers and thus the more people get left out in the cold. And this is on both ends, incidentally - both "too hard" AND "too easy."

And to actually address your philosophical point - game balance isn't a matter of equality. It's a matter of placing player "power" (for lack of a better term) in a place where it covers the most people at the same time and simultaneously where systems work the most efficiently. Allowing a strata of players to amass enough wealth and power to break the game causes far more problems than the power trip of said players feeling "superior" is worth. Not only does it create strife between players in the here-and-now, it has a knock-on effect on content development later down the line, typically locking down plenty of otherwise potentially profitable avenues. DE are especially guilty of this, because they seem exceedingly gunshy of receiving negative press and so reluctant to apply a heavy hand where it's needed.

I'll give you a practical example - player damage, specifically damage buff stacking. Because damage buffs come in about half a dozen separate categories, all of which are multiplicative with each other, player damage can easily exceed *100 or even *200 of its base value. This necessitates that enemies become tougher to prevent them from being meaningless, and the path DE have chosen right now is to boost enemy EHP through scaling armour. What this leads to is level 100 Grineer enemies sporting over 95% damage resistance, which is a ludicrous amount that's GOING to cause issues. EHP is a rational function of damage resistance. As resistance approaches 100%, the return for each percentage point cascades towards infinity. An enemy who resists 95% of damage requires 20 times the damage to break even, and this rapidly increases the closer we get to 100% as I said. The result of this is that DE are approaching the point where VERY minor changes in armour can produce WILD swings in EHP and apparent weapon power. Moreover, anything which can bypass, ignore or reduce armour suddenly gains a tremendous advantage and major incentive. The game stops being about choice and variety and turns into "what can best defeat armour." And that's just one example.

Proper game balance doesn't exist for the sake of the playerbase. Sure, it's beneficial for the playerbase as it's associated with greater choice and more variety. Rather, balance exists to ensure that game developers have access to the full toolkit afforded by their own game and have the ability to create a wide variety of content employing a wide variety of mechanics. Power creep, a wide power gap between players, game systems working with numbers outside their ideal ranges and the presence of multiple edge-case exceptions make development harder, the resultant content worse and simply adds to the pile of "things to fix later down the line."

If you want a singular definition of Warframe's central design and balance issues, it's that the game's core systems are built on shoddy math, heavily cascading formulae and stats approaching the extreme ends of their ranges. These aren't the kinds of issues which can be fixed with a few minor tweaks here and there. They can be papered over for another year or two, sure, but they're going to keep cropping up, each time worse than the last. Addressing these issues is going to require system-wide changes to core mechanics and yes - that will upset a lot of people and toss the state of the game around. I happen to feel that this risk and this cost is worth it. And as I said before, I think DE themselves are starting to realise this, and starting to actually plan for the future this time around.

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14 minutes ago, Vharu said:

most cases nope. I know one of banshis skills highlights em, certainly some other skills im sure... probably a mod too but not certain. By default, without something additive, ya don't see weak spots. 

Besides more obvious weakpoints (heads, back of Bursas) and highlights (with abilities that generate them), I'm not sure which weakpoints there are that'd cause a visibility problem.

15 minutes ago, Vharu said:

Well my aim is tip-top, but if this change happens - you can tell everyone it was your idea XD - also... think about those xbox/ps/switch controllers 😉 How good is your aim with a joystick?

The thing is, this isn't exclusive to this proposal. Console players already lose out on headshot damage multipliers. I can rattle off suggestions like aim assist or modified hitboxes, but really, any fix should be considered whether or not this proposal gets even considered.

Moreover, if it was me working with my idea, I'd be leveraging the crap out of weapon swapping. Make it so that a primary weapon can be modded to totally demolish shields while a secondary can take out health. Similar sort of effect (I'd hope), doesn't require aim (console friendly), but still requires a little more from the player.

18 minutes ago, Vharu said:

because I wanted to send the message that I'm smart, educated etc.

This is, literally, just how I think and write. I appreciate the feedback, though, but there's no ego or ulterior motive.

20 minutes ago, Vharu said:

That changes a little when you repeat the same journey over and over and over... then you're thinking about the reward more.

Though true, compare something like Destiny raids that require a deal more focus (even when the goal is still the reward) versus standing in Hydron and nuking the map for 10-15 minutes. Yes, after a while, you're thinking about the reward more than you would the first time around. But in one case, the gameplay is still the big thing. In the other, it's...just kind of route button pressing.

30 minutes ago, Vharu said:

...the game kind of accommodates engagement, if you choose to engage more with it. 

As you said, it can't be controlled 100%, only influenced. You can't make someone go to the edge of their seats on a John Wick film. At the same token, there's a difference between accommodating engagement and encouraging it.

Just for example: bonus affinity for style kills. Conclave does it. Just like that, it isn't just allowing for style kills, but encourages it.

43 minutes ago, Vharu said:

Tell me the whole point of this rework because thats not exactly clear yet.

To keep things narrow-scoped as possible:

"To make player performance more active."

I.e., more how the player does in the mission, less what they throw into a weapon.

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16 hours ago, Tyreaus said:

Conclave (hurk) has a principle that the best way to kill enemies is to switch weapons around to take out their shields and then their health. Armour, of course, should have some kind of touch-up (I've said before: make it its own health class like overshields for health), but I feel like dumping health classes outright ruins potential in-game complexity. Even if it's something as simple as armour being more vulnerable to stronger, single shots and shields being taken down by rapid fire.

I'm personally not a big fan of complexity on its own: I think it's a cost, rather than a benefit, and one that's only worth paying if it brings about a sufficient amount of meaningful choice. In the case of different health types, I don't think that's really the case, because we can't change our weapons mid-mission: thus, the question of whether we have the right weapons/build to deal with enemies in the mission tends to be a binary yes/no question answered before it even begins. Historically, shields and armor either cause players to build around them all the time, such as now with armor or when bringing anti-shield and anti-health weaponry in Conclave (hurk), or never at all. Thus, while I do think every weapon should get a chance to shine, I think that would be more likely to happen through mechanical and stat differences on enemies, rather than entire systems of different health bars.

14 hours ago, Steel_Rook said:

Agreed. The majority of what determines a weapon's "viability" is its DPS. Whether you're slotting damage, multishot, critical hit, critical damage, whether you're picking Corrosive over Radiation, the only thing which changes in practice is how much damage that weapon is able to push out in your hands against the enemy you've elected to fight. HOW you fight that enemy remains unchanged. We have dozens of different buff vectors, but they all seem to boil down to trading damage, and I agree - that's a really boring way to design weapons. Personally, I believe that fewer but more distinct, meaningful choices always trump a larger number of redundant or even pointless choices ever can. Far too many RPGs make the mistake of needlessly overcomplicating their build systems, seemingly to obfuscate the fact that they are, in fact, just about ankle deep. "Optimise for these stats, ignore these stats, you win."

Agreed completely, Warframe is one of those cases where too much choice kills choice -- our elemental mods, for example, are the main reasons why our weapons are often so homogeneous, because our ability to give any weapon almost any damage type we want means weapons can no longer differentiate themselves through the unique damage or utility they bring, given that any other weapon can output the same. It's why despite having a vast range of items and its own customization system, the game has far less depth of customization than a game as old as TF2, even though the latter lacks modding entirely. I also very much agree with the notion that our modding should focus on clearly recognizable mechanics rather than numbers optimization, and condensing our options down to impactful, easily recognizable choices would allow us to do much more with even a smaller mod pool.

10 hours ago, Vharu said:

Just the damage system aspect... hmm, yeah thats still a massive undertaking. Like I suggested, try to even suggest a change in corrosive damage as a separate thread and see how that goes. As for me, compensation is the least of my concerns... and I'm not sure how you value it anyway. The main problem I have with such an overhaul of the damage system is relearning and redoing something that nets no new result. Ok, so end results is numbers get moved around - but as I said, does it make things harder or easier? Is it a damage system nerf or buff? 

Imagine is melee 3.0 did less damage... players generally don't take kindly to huge changes that result in less performance - all while scrubbing their previous time and investments null and void. 

Ok so you have said more engagement is one goal of this overhaul... and that result is debatable. I mean what else? Tell me the whole point of this rework because thats not exactly clear yet. Yes you want said changes, what is the goal that all these changes are attempting to achieve? Keep it simple and short if possible. 

I'm detecting a few problems here:

  1. The questions are massively oversimplified, don't adequately frame the topic at hand, and come across as a bit loaded. It makes no real sense to ask whether a rework to the game's entire damage system is a net nerf or buff, for example, because that begs the question of what it's being nerfed or buffed against, to say nothing of the many moving parts being changed in the process.
  2. There's this confusion between raw power and player accomplishment, a mistake that's all too common on these forums, but no less wrong and harmful to discussion. Players do accumulate significantly more power as they play, for sure, but that is ultimately only a small part of our total playtime, as our massive leaps in power come almost purely from obtaining and ranking up a small subset of mandatory mods, plus weapons beyond the starting tier. Calling any fix to the game's broken balance a scrub to our progress -- progress that, by the way, makes the game significantly easier and less challenging by dint of making us strictly more powerful at all times -- effectively means it's impossible to balance the game or make it any more challenging, as any means of achieving that would involve attacking our Pride and AccomplishmentTM, which by the way has already happened several times with all of the indirect nerfs to our ability use via various enemy types (e.g. units immune to abilities, Nullifiers, Energy drain auras, etc.).
  3. There's a bit of sealioning going on with the repeated requests for the point of a damage rework, accompanied by the dismissal of valid answers given. It's a bit disingenuous to question the objectives of a damage rework when they're generally well-understood among those participating in this conversation, and doing so makes you come across as less inclined to actually listen to the proposals being made, and more to find excuses to reject them.
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On 2020-02-13 at 6:57 AM, Steel_Rook said:

Me personally, I prefer the Railjack damage system and feel the rest of the game can benefit from learning from it. Fewer damage types make for less concern about status effect redundancy. As far as I can tell, all damage types deal the same damage to all health types. No distinction between "physical" and "elemental" damage. It still fails to address the issue of Status, but it's a step in the right direction, at least.

Damage in Railjack works exactly the same as it does everywhere else in the game, just some Status Effects are changed/removed. but Damage is all literally identical to what you've been using for years.

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25 minutes ago, taiiat said:

Damage in Railjack works exactly the same as it does everywhere else in the game, just some Status Effects are changed/removed. but Damage is all literally identical to what you've been using for years.

Admittedly I don't have precise info on this, because the Wiki seems to list Railjack damage types with their status effects only and not with any weaknesses or strengths. I'm aware that Railjack damage types map to some existing damage types such as when using Archwings, but the Wiki doesn't seem to specify which is which and I was under the impression that this didn't carry said weaknesses and strengths with it. Do you have a source for that? I ask not for proof, but rather for information, because it would be nice to have a central place where I can check for information on that.

 

10 hours ago, Tyreaus said:

Though true, compare something like Destiny raids that require a deal more focus (even when the goal is still the reward) versus standing in Hydron and nuking the map for 10-15 minutes. Yes, after a while, you're thinking about the reward more than you would the first time around. But in one case, the gameplay is still the big thing. In the other, it's...just kind of route button pressing.

DE seem to have taken the position that intrinsic rewards alone are not viable - that players wouldn't play their game if the game didn't exploit psychological conditioning to trick us into playing it long after we're burned out. Ignoring how depressingly dystopian this view is, they seem to have used it as an excuse to not even bother to try creating compelling gameplay any more. I mean, if all we ever care about the rewards, then what reason do DE have to ever give us anything more complex than bare-bones mechanics thrown over a bog standard Skinner box? That's what Kuva Liches and Empyrean are, essentially. And sure, DE have the, uh... "excuse?" of having rushed those broken, unfinished and missing features so that's why they're hollow shells filled with Pavlovian conditioning and they'll be fixed in post. Even assuming I was somehow willing to accept that, this seems to be their goal moving forward. All the talk of "sustainable rewards" certainly makes it seem so. All the backlash said sustainable rewards have received, however, seems to have tempered that a bit.

All of that is to say that a game still needs compelling content that we actively want to play at least SOMEWHERE along time line. When a game is reduced to just its progression and monetisation system, burnout comes quickly and runs a serious risk of becoming permanent. Unless there's something people actually genuinely enjoy doing in a video game, then developers aren't doing their jobs, and that's not impossible. One of my favourite examples is Payday 2. That game managed to avoid the "content island" problem altogether, so all of its heists ended up in the same pool of "stuff to play." Eventually, developer Overkill managed to release a large enough number of heists that it exceeded a certain critical mass. That critical mass, incidentally, is the point past which there's always something you "haven't done in a while," something which feels fresh even though it's not technically new.

I realise this is going off-topic, but Warframe's single largest problem is the content island. For whatever reason, DE want us to play the new content and ONLY the new content when it releases, gating all new rewards solely behind the new content and making legacy content pointless moving forward. I can log into Payday 2 with the desire to earn more XP and money, look at Crime.net and pick literally any heist. All of them will give me progress. I log into Warframe with the desire to earn a new weapon and find that the only source for it is Railjack. I look down the list of new weapons to maybe pick a different one, but they're ALL gated behind Railjack. Gee, thanks. The Lich system is probably the closest I've had to having genuine fun in Warframe in quite a while, for the simple reason that I can use all of the Legacy content within it.

Players only care about the rewards when content fails to offer a compelling reason to care about it.

 

1 hour ago, Teridax68 said:

I'm personally not a big fan of complexity on its own: I think it's a cost, rather than a benefit, and one that's only worth paying if it brings about a sufficient amount of meaningful choice. In the case of different health types, I don't think that's really the case, because we can't change our weapons mid-mission: thus, the question of whether we have the right weapons/build to deal with enemies in the mission tends to be a binary yes/no question answered before it even begins.

That's a pretty good way of putting it, actually, and one I'm definitely stealing for future use. Complexity is not a benefit of RPG mechanics, but rather their cost. As such, it needs to be budgeted and used sparingly, introduced only where it makes an actual difference and not simply for the sake of saddling players with research and busywork. Counter-intuitively, increasing the complexity of the back-end actually reduces the number of viable choices available to players, it reduces the control developers have on the system and ultimately simplifies build decisions into decision-less optimisation problems with discrete solutions. Ultimately, you want players to make informed choices based on their preferences and playstyle, rather than simply pull ready-made optimal solutions off of Google or YouTube.

This is why I personally prefer RPG systems which offer very few but very high-impact choices which fundamentally alter gameplay as a result. To be clear, simple stat boosts very much CAN fit into this description, but they would have to be highly discrete and relatively very large in order to stay consistent. After all, stats define gameplay, so tweaking stats can redefine it. Space Marine had a Plasma Cannon which normally overheated after just two shots. A perk occupying one of the only two slots players had access to could significantly improve this to the point where the weapon could fire at least five shots before one had to worry about overheating. Considering that the cooldown speed remained static, this fundamentally changed the Plasma Cannon from something the player had to carefully ward to something the player could generally spam with just a bit of caution.

Well, most weapons in Warframe deal between 50-100 times their base damage. There's no such damage buff that players can stack on top of this in order to fundamentally change how the weapon "plays" without pushing its damage into pointless insanity and so snapping what semblance of balance we still have. The game's system of damage buffs is operating well outside of reasonable capacity, thus DE have no real room to add meaningful gameplay to damage any more. This is one example where I feel major across-the-board changes to both player DPS and enemy EHP are necessary, because saner numbers for both could potentially offer build choices which offer meaningful gameplay alterations.

I'll give you an example I particularly like. City of Heroes had an ability called Build Up. It offered a 100% damage buff for 10 seconds on a 60 second cooldown. Basically what this did was allow players to do a REALLY nasty alpha strike on a particularly powerful enemy, at the cost of having to budget when to actually use it and when to save it. For that to work, however, a 100% damage bonus has to mean something, not be lost in a sea of 200%*300%*600%*... And remember - City of Heroes was an early 2000s tab target MMO with VERY rudimentary actual gameplay. Warframe is an actual action game with manual aiming and terrain navigation. Challenge ought to come from moment-to-moment gameplay, not whether we cleared the gear check in the Arsenal.

Long story short, I agree. Complexity is a cost that needs to be properly budgeted in order to ensure an RPG system which serves to modify gameplay rather than just modifying stats.

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3 hours ago, Teridax68 said:

In the case of different health types, I don't think that's really the case, because we can't change our weapons mid-mission: thus, the question of whether we have the right weapons/build to deal with enemies in the mission tends to be a binary yes/no question answered before it even begins

That being why I suggest to tool it down to just shields, health, and armour: in that system, you're able to bring a weapon to take care of each (but probably also have elements that take care of all three just fine). For example, if Blast is neutral (and there's a mod you can slot to make the weapon "Blast-like" for the purposes of health classes), you can slap that on a rifle and tada~. The back-end complexity becomes just the player choosing whether they want to go the weapon-swap route or not, which is little different from picking a mission or a weapon in general.

EDIT: Also important to consider is that some people do like build...er, building. Some people like playing with the numbers. That doesn't necessarily justify the current kind of back-end complexity we have (which is so complex that half of it ends up not mattering - if you go for Slash procs, the damage modifiers on Slash damage don't matter), but does make a bit more acceptable, I think. It's just a matter of making that complexity not determine how the mission goes / weapon performs etc., but still make some kind of difference.

Edited by Tyreaus
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1 hour ago, Tyreaus said:

That being why I suggest to tool it down to just shields, health, and armour: in that system, you're able to bring a weapon to take care of each (but probably also have elements that take care of all three just fine). For example, if Blast is neutral (and there's a mod you can slot to make the weapon "Blast-like" for the purposes of health classes), you can slap that on a rifle and tada~. The back-end complexity becomes just the player choosing whether they want to go the weapon-swap route or not, which is little different from picking a mission or a weapon in general.

That is fair enough, but I think the question here is why even have that much: if the intent is to make the player switch weapons, one way to do that could simply to have a natural diversity of enemies and environments, such that there would always be situations where one weapon would be better than the other. If there were a combination of tighter and more open environments, tougher and weaker enemies, crowds and lone targets, and so on, one may not even need more than a single health type for the player to be incentivized to use more than just one weapon.

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8 hours ago, Teridax68 said:

That is fair enough, but I think the question here is why even have that much: if the intent is to make the player switch weapons, one way to do that could simply to have a natural diversity of enemies and environments, such that there would always be situations where one weapon would be better than the other. If there were a combination of tighter and more open environments, tougher and weaker enemies, crowds and lone targets, and so on, one may not even need more than a single health type for the player to be incentivized to use more than just one weapon.

I feel like this already kind-of-sort-of exists in principle, but in terms of weapons and Warframe abilities, the latter tending to be better at groups than the former. It's not used as well as it maybe could be (it's an effective principle IMO), but if that is how it tends to go, then binary divides like strong, single enemies versus weak, group enemies don't have the same guarantee in encouraging weapon diversity. Warframe abilities take care of groups, a weapon takes care of single targets, and the other weapon, uh...kind of just sits there, the same way it does now.

EDIT: Also, because it's binary when we have 3 weapons, there's a chance something gets left out of the loop.

Edited by Tyreaus
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13 hours ago, Steel_Rook said:

Admittedly I don't have precise info on this, because the Wiki seems to list Railjack damage types with their status effects only and not with any weaknesses or strengths. I'm aware that Railjack damage types map to some existing damage types such as when using Archwings, but the Wiki doesn't seem to specify which is which and I was under the impression that this didn't carry said weaknesses and strengths with it. Do you have a source for that? I ask not for proof, but rather for information, because it would be nice to have a central place where I can check for information on that.

i don't know if we have it written down on any Articles(though it'd be somewhere in the mess of Discord history) but for the Wiki we 'had to' test Damage in Railjack both for us to know what to do when actually playing and for information gathering. gotta 'test everything' so we know what to write, heh.
comparing Damage Types and seeing the sort of Damage deltas that you'd expect based on Health Types. Radiation Damage uber alles in Railjack, with Ice as a little bit for Damage and also for the Status Effect.

 

other fun facts: ground Enemies in Railjack have special DR in addition to Armor and also are resistant to Finishers
i do have 'written' data for that since that was much more complicated testing than just changing Damage Types and comparing Damage Numbers like space Railjack was:

Spoiler

normal Enemy:
iZygL2u.png

Railjack Enemy:
9YZJTTd.png

 

 

here's some other random Messages if that's useful to you:
5bitLXa.png

 

Edited by taiiat
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8 hours ago, taiiat said:

i don't know if we have it written down on any Articles(though it'd be somewhere in the mess of Discord history) but for the Wiki we 'had to' test Damage in Railjack both for us to know what to do when actually playing and for information gathering. gotta 'test everything' so we know what to write, heh.

Roger. So it's not that Railjack damage types don't deal different damage to different health types, but rather that they do and we just don't know the exact ratios and mechanics yet? OK, then I've been working with incomplete information without realising it. Thank you for setting me straight.

With that said, though... Now I'm kind of disappointed. DE talked about field-testing a new Damage system with Railjack, so I expected it would be something fairly radical. If all they did was merge a few damage types while changing nothing actually fundamental, then... Was it really worth the excursion?

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14 hours ago, Tyreaus said:

I feel like this already kind-of-sort-of exists in principle, but in terms of weapons and Warframe abilities, the latter tending to be better at groups than the former. It's not used as well as it maybe could be (it's an effective principle IMO), but if that is how it tends to go, then binary divides like strong, single enemies versus weak, group enemies don't have the same guarantee in encouraging weapon diversity. Warframe abilities take care of groups, a weapon takes care of single targets, and the other weapon, uh...kind of just sits there, the same way it does now.

EDIT: Also, because it's binary when we have 3 weapons, there's a chance something gets left out of the loop.

I think that points to a handful more problems:

  • We arguably have too many weapons at once if one gets consistently left out.
  • Warframe's current gameplay is severely slanted towards horde mode fighting, to the exclusion of all other possible forms of combat, which is also why so many weapon types are currently left out (and a whole lot of warframe abilities, too).

This goes back to the discussion touching upon more than just the damage system, but really, right now there's a clear, rather strict metagame where the only truly "meta" warframe abilities are massive AoE nukes, personal durability steroids, and the occasional personal weapons steroid as well, which is why certain warframes have fallen out of favor, and why entire weapon classes aren't really worth picking outside of extremely niche situations. There are a lot of different factors that play into this, notably enemy scaling, our own warframes' scaling, the way enemies deny our ability usage in certain environments, and so on, but really, by itself, there is no innate reason why weapon viability should only be restricted to a certain types. In an environment where certain warframes had good AoE capabilities, others were good against single targets, and others still had great CC or utility, and these were all equally viable in an environment where enemies as a whole were equally vulnerable to those different things, we'd likely have a reason to use more than one weapon at a time (and if that's not the case... why do we even have more than one weapon?).

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