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VenomousValentine

Another post about enemies.

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So this is going to be a kind of incohesive rant compared to a lot of my forum posts, but please bear with me.

As I've previously stated in another post https://forums.warframe.com/topic/1163540-enemy-overhaul-community-brainstorm/

Enemies are not in a good spot. As it stands you more or less fight the same enemies at level 10 as you fight at level 40, level 60, 80, 200, 800, 9999 it's the SAME just with different stats.
That's why scaling difficulty in this game sucks and "DE approved content" only goes up to 120. Because it's impossible to balance a system like that.
Instead of making enemies stattier at higher levels, make higher levels spawn better enemies.

Let me hit you with something. I remember when fortuna first came out, I camped outside the temple of profit and just started killing because I was in love with the new enemies and how they had some challenge to them, and by the time they got to level 60 I realized "Wow, these level 60s put up more of an engaging fight than level 300s of normal content" and I remember hoping DE would continue this trend for the baseline enemies in normal content.

Then a week later or so I was hit by a patchnote that said they nerfed fortuna enemies, and while I understand it, it made me so sad.

Like I get it, new players go there and do stuff. It would be unfair for a new player to boot up the game, get through mercury, and then get to venus, crammed in a burlap sack and have their genitals mashed. I get it. But I think for people who have played the game long enough to be worth their salt, you know completed the star chart and main story line, etc, enemy design should moreso resemble what it did on release day fortuna enemies.

And then to go further beyond have even more insane enemies. Like liches, liches are thought provoking enemies that take some skill to fight at higher levels. Don't get slammed by the tainted ground, Don't shoot their decoy or they'll teleport behind you and stick their finger in your ass. If I go to a survival or defense and enemies get to level 80 or so, every few waves enemies like liches and comparable difficulty should spawn with the regular hordes, like a fleshpound among clots in killing floor. I'm not saying rework every enemy in the game (aside from removing hitscan pls), I'm just saying sprinkle in some of that spice so I can't mentally check out and blaze my way through three hours of a defense without thinking, responding, or adapting.

 

I would much rather see things like this put in the game every so often, a new enemy, or new spicy mechanics for the core gameplay loop, than a new warframe or weapon every month.

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18 hours ago, VenomousValentine said:

liches are thought provoking enemies that take some skill to fight at higher levels.

They do? And here I've been fighting my Lich by face-tanking his damage and mag-dumping into his head with my Imperator Vandal...

The issue with enemies in Warframe isn't complexity. It's the game's general state of balance where all systems operate on stats well outside their intended ranges and players have access to all sorts of broken outliers which entirely prevent any sort of sane encounter design.

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15 minutes ago, Steel_Rook said:

They do? And here I've been fighting my Lich by face-tanking his damage and mag-dumping into his head with my Imperator Vandal...

The issue with enemies in Warframe isn't complexity. It's the game's general state of balance where all systems operate on stats well outside their intended ranges and players have access to all sorts of broken outliers which entirely prevent any sort of sane encounter design.

No, I definitely think it's both

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3 hours ago, VenomousValentine said:

No, I definitely think it's both

No amount of complexity is going to matter as long as I can face-tank as much damage as the enemy can push out and have weapons capable of chipping them to nothing fairly quickly. That right there will not just counter all of the enemy complexity you could offer but typically do so in a way which leaves me unaware that such complexity even exists.

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1 minute ago, Steel_Rook said:

No amount of complexity is going to matter as long as I can face-tank as much damage as the enemy can push out and have weapons capable of chipping them to nothing fairly quickly. That right there will not just counter all of the enemy complexity you could offer but typically do so in a way which leaves me unaware that such complexity even exists.

Complexity would help with that... Did you read the post I made about new ideas for enemies?

Indestructible deployable volt shields you have to navigate around do deal with enemies behind it.
Snipers that do true damage through armor, walls (like frost and gara), barriers (like nezha and rhino) and at high enough level WILL one shot you if you don't respond by dodging when they lock on to you. (like those big tank things from breath of the wild)

That kind of thing. Enemies with complexity on par with warframes, made to deal with our strengths so we have to THINK when we fight.

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1 minute ago, VenomousValentine said:

Indestructible deployable volt shields you have to navigate around do deal with enemies behind it.
Snipers that do true damage through armor, walls (like frost and gara), barriers (like nezha and rhino) and at high enough level WILL one shot you if you don't respond by dodging when they lock on to you. (like those big tank things from breath of the wild)

OK, fair point - I did ignore that bit and I really should have addressed it. I personally consider this sort of design - the sort which fully sidesteps entire systems - to actually be worse than the dullness of DPS trades. What you're suggesting here is more in the same vein as Nullifiers, and I encourage you to look through to forums for how well those are received. And mind you - Nullifiers are actually pretty fair in design. What you're describing comes across as a lot cheaper than even that. Simply put, disabling people's abilities does in theory add difficulty and could be argued to add complexity. It's also one of the most aggravating ways to do game design in that it ignores time people have spent upgrading their characters and kit.

Design like this is also a really bad look. DE have been slagged in the past for only ever being able to design bosses with invulnerability states, implicitly because their own damage system makes it impossible to balance a boss purely by toughness or other mechanics. It's a tacit admission that balance sucks when mechanics have to step around it all but entirely. What you're going to end up with such design is the Wolf of Saturn Six - an enemy I still hold one of the clearest examples where shoddy balance prevented DE from constructing anything more than a shoddy boss.

Warframe has a wide set of combat mechanics at least initially designed to support varied, exciting combat and room for min/maxing. Feeling compelled to move combat out of those mechanics is a sign that they have failed and need to be changed, improved or straight-up redesigned. Simply adding new enemies which ignore damage, ignore armour, ignore shields, ignore crowd control, ignore movement abilities, ignore <insert core game mechanic> might give the appearance of working, but it's a temporary fix until people find ways to trivialise those too.

I'm not saying your ideas have no merit. I'm saying that underlying combat system restricts you to designing enemies people are going to dislike fighting without really adding much in the way of challenge.

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8 minutes ago, Steel_Rook said:

OK, fair point - I did ignore that bit and I really should have addressed it. I personally consider this sort of design - the sort which fully sidesteps entire systems - to actually be worse than the dullness of DPS trades. What you're suggesting here is more in the same vein as Nullifiers, and I encourage you to look through to forums for how well those are received. And mind you - Nullifiers are actually pretty fair in design. What you're describing comes across as a lot cheaper than even that. Simply put, disabling people's abilities does in theory add difficulty and could be argued to add complexity. It's also one of the most aggravating ways to do game design in that it ignores time people have spent upgrading their characters and kit.

Design like this is also a really bad look. DE have been slagged in the past for only ever being able to design bosses with invulnerability states, implicitly because their own damage system makes it impossible to balance a boss purely by toughness or other mechanics. It's a tacit admission that balance sucks when mechanics have to step around it all but entirely. What you're going to end up with such design is the Wolf of Saturn Six - an enemy I still hold one of the clearest examples where shoddy balance prevented DE from constructing anything more than a shoddy boss.

Warframe has a wide set of combat mechanics at least initially designed to support varied, exciting combat and room for min/maxing. Feeling compelled to move combat out of those mechanics is a sign that they have failed and need to be changed, improved or straight-up redesigned. Simply adding new enemies which ignore damage, ignore armour, ignore shields, ignore crowd control, ignore movement abilities, ignore <insert core game mechanic> might give the appearance of working, but it's a temporary fix until people find ways to trivialise those too.

I'm not saying your ideas have no merit. I'm saying that underlying combat system restricts you to designing enemies people are going to dislike fighting without really adding much in the way of challenge.

Nullifiers were a vital addition to the game done poorly. And they were poorly received because of their poor implementation, but they were NECESSARY, especially for their time in the era of nuke frames like world on fire ember, old resonating quake banshee, auto aim 360 mesa, etc to keep you from obliterating everything with 0 effort.

The time of nukers that scale to late game are more or less over with the exception of saryn. 

A better implementation would be an enemy that makes an aura instead of a bubble that makes nearby enemies immune.

I don't know what it is with people conflating bad implementation with bad concepts.

 

Upgrading your frame and weapon should be valuable, but it also shouldnt make the game autoplay. At least not in higher levels.

Again like I said in my post, the things I'm recommending should only show up at level 40 and higher which is past anything in the basic star chart, but no matter how good of gear you have, a game should still challenge you. At the end of the day, the main thing between you and your rewards should be skill, not other rewards you've gotten in the past.

Edited by VenomousValentine

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On 2020-02-14 at 10:36 AM, VenomousValentine said:

So this is going to be a kind of incohesive rant compared to a lot of my forum posts, but please bear with me.

As I've previously stated in another post https://forums.warframe.com/topic/1163540-enemy-overhaul-community-brainstorm/

Enemies are not in a good spot. As it stands you more or less fight the same enemies at level 10 as you fight at level 40, level 60, 80, 200, 800, 9999 it's the SAME just with different stats.
That's why scaling difficulty in this game sucks and "DE approved content" only goes up to 120. Because it's impossible to balance a system like that.
Instead of making enemies stattier at higher levels, make higher levels spawn better enemies.

Let me hit you with something. I remember when fortuna first came out, I camped outside the temple of profit and just started killing because I was in love with the new enemies and how they had some challenge to them, and by the time they got to level 60 I realized "Wow, these level 60s put up more of an engaging fight than level 300s of normal content" and I remember hoping DE would continue this trend for the baseline enemies in normal content.

Then a week later or so I was hit by a patchnote that said they nerfed fortuna enemies, and while I understand it, it made me so sad.

Like I get it, new players go there and do stuff. It would be unfair for a new player to boot up the game, get through mercury, and then get to venus, crammed in a burlap sack and have their genitals mashed. I get it. But I think for people who have played the game long enough to be worth their salt, you know completed the star chart and main story line, etc, enemy design should moreso resemble what it did on release day fortuna enemies.

And then to go further beyond have even more insane enemies. Like liches, liches are thought provoking enemies that take some skill to fight at higher levels. Don't get slammed by the tainted ground, Don't shoot their decoy or they'll teleport behind you and stick their finger in your ass. If I go to a survival or defense and enemies get to level 80 or so, every few waves enemies like liches and comparable difficulty should spawn with the regular hordes, like a fleshpound among clots in killing floor. I'm not saying rework every enemy in the game (aside from removing hitscan pls), I'm just saying sprinkle in some of that spice so I can't mentally check out and blaze my way through three hours of a defense without thinking, responding, or adapting.

 

I would much rather see things like this put in the game every so often, a new enemy, or new spicy mechanics for the core gameplay loop, than a new warframe or weapon every month.

Great analysis. DE should have buffed enemies to “balance” the game. Instead, DE mostly nerfs our weapons and the fluidity of the compact to make warframes and their weapons weak. 

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19 hours ago, VenomousValentine said:

Nullifiers were a vital addition to the game done poorly. And they were poorly received because of their poor implementation, but they were NECESSARY, especially for their time in the era of nuke frames like world on fire ember, old resonating quake banshee, auto aim 360 mesa, etc to keep you from obliterating everything with 0 effort.

I think you might have gotten the wrong impression from my post. I actually LIKE Nullifiers specifically for their current implementation. They have a field which protects not just against abilities but against gunfire, as well. It's designed such that the field is susceptible to rapid-firing weapons but the drone projecting it is susceptible to slow-firing weapons. In either case, the Nullifier bubble is very vulnerable to gunfire from a distance. And if all else fails, the player always has the option to dive into the field physically and attack the Nullifier directly, at the cost of some debuffs. Very few Warframes actually lose anything significant in those few seconds it takes to melee a Nullifier to death, and I'd argue the ones who DO instantly lose their buffs ought to be changed. I'm personally of the opinion that the way Atlas and Nidus treat Nullifiers is the best approach. Both of them lose buffs rapidly over time by standing inside a Nullifier bubble, but don't lose those buffs instantly. I'd argue that the likes of Inaros' Scarab Armour, Rhino/Nezha's Iron Skin/Halo, Frost's Bubble, etc. ought to slowly take damage over time rather than just vanishing instantly.

What I'm getting at is that Nillifiers aren't the sort of "completely immune shield" that you proposed earlier. They're highly vulnerable to a wide variety of tools and I can make a solid argument for why they shouldn't quite as dangerous as they are to Warframe abilities, either. And even THAT players have met with hostility, and continue to make threads ranting about for reasons I genuinely don't understand. I had someone angrily tell me that high-level Nullifiers were "impossible" to kill if they spawned in large numbers because that person was taking an Arca Plasmor and I forget what else similar weapon, refusing to accept that my back-up Imperator Vandal could ever deal with bubbles. You're not going to get far with more ability nullification, especially if you make it content-wide.

And to address the core of your argument here - the issue you're highlighting is absolutely real. Any time I get a Saryn Pubbie on my team, I know I'm basically not going to be playing the game for the rest of the mission because said Saryn will be playing it for me. However, the issue there isn't with not enough enemies being immune to bad design. It's with DE's lack of design foresight. Nuke frames themselves are the issue. I'll go one better and put my own head on the chopping block - Tank frames are also the issue. There's nothing in this game that can really hurt my Inaros that's not also going to insta-kill just about everyone else and make the game unplayable. There's nothing that can reliably kill a 100K Iron Skin Rhino reliably that's not going to exclude everyone else. Armour-ignoring enemies won't even work on him, because Rhino's Iron Skin isn't even armour - it's just extra untyped health.

Creating special-case exceptions in an attempt to directly target balance outliers is not a good way to balance a game. Correcting the outliers themselves is how you get robust, extensible systems. Right now, Warframe's damage and mitigation systems are working with such large numbers that the numbers themselves cease to matter and only cheesy ability nullification mechanics can even work. I'm still of the opinion that fixing the stats and fixing the systems is the proper long-term solution over trying to work around them. There's only so much you can build on a foundation of rot.

 

19 hours ago, VenomousValentine said:

Again like I said in my post, the things I'm recommending should only show up at level 40 and higher which is past anything in the basic star chart, but no matter how good of gear you have, a game should still challenge you. At the end of the day, the main thing between you and your rewards should be skill, not other rewards you've gotten in the past.

I don't necessarily disagree (though level 40 isn't exactly high as of The Old Blood), but I also don't agree that ability nullification is a good way of accomplishing that. A system which allows players to attain stats so high that core mechanics breaks down, but said stats don't matter in a majority of fights because other special-case mechanics exist to paper over the poor balance is not "challenge." It's frustration at best. Again - giving players powerful abilities and high stats then not letting players use those is simply going to turn off a large portion of the playerbase. You have to remember that most people are loss averse. They might put up with weakness when they've never had tools to solve it. If you give them tools but then take them back away, that's when people start really complaining and pushing back.

And yes, I realise that the effective nerfs I'm proposing here do feel similar to that, but at least that's a one-time thing. I feel that Warframe is due for an across-the-board nerf to both enemy EHP through scaling and player DPS through multiplicative buff stacking which is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. However, it has the potential to result in a system where players actually get to use all of the abilities and stats that they already have without constantly running into invulnerable enemies, status-immune enemies, ability-nullifying enemies, gimmick bosses and so on. My general rule of thumb in game design is to never emulate through special-case exceptions something which should be handled by core gameplay mechanics.

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