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Barring armor & damage, how would you add difficulty to Warframe?


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Suppose everyone settled on a damage & health/armour/shields solution, no arguments. What other values, factors, modes, AI behaviours, etc. would you add or change to test players? How would you hone player skill? Unless it’s very specific, try to stay away from discussing gear checks.

Just as rough examples:

  • having to hack control panels to keep doors open every few minutes. faster hacking = longer time that doors are open. no ciphers. 
  • no minimap available or no markers in 3D space, but not both. 
  • heavy enemies are immune to knockdown.
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New enemies that justify their increase in difficulty. A Lancer is just a Lancer, the Grineer army are degrading clones, the individuals of the horde should never be a threat on their own. If an enemy is to threaten a Warframe on its own it needs to be unique. Unique model, unique abilities, unique way of taking them down. And their numbers also need to keep them unique, if an enemy is spammed at us in the hundreds it is no longer special.

Nox and Bursa were a great start, but there being only one type of actual "elite" unit hurts how special the unit feels. There needs to be variety in these elites for them to feel right in the combat loop.

 

It sure would be nice if DE had already made a variety of fancy enemies with unique models and abilities. Like, wouldn't it be great if they already had 9 Grineer and 16 Corpus units already created? I mean, they probably would need some additional tweaks before being put into the common spawn, but the majority of the leg work was already done.

HMMMMMMMMMMM

https://warframe.fandom.com/wiki/Arena

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If it were up to me, here's what I would add:

Enemies with weakpoints that you must hit in order to kill them. These don't have to be entirely new enemies, it could be something like a 1% chance on every enemy spawn that they will have a bright orange spot you need to hit, and hitting them anywhere else would yield no damage. 

Enemy attacks causing Impair status - preventing the Warframe from jumping or bullet jumping for a few seconds. 

Ability immune enemy that cast a temporary very wide AOE nullify that prevents all abilities (including operator) for a few seconds. (I know this technically already exists on one of those helmet corpus guys, but the AOE is way too small and they usually die to nuke abilities long before they even get to use it.) 

Enemy AI that doesn't mindlessly walk right into an obvious ability. Seriously why do the Grineer walk right into the perfectly visible Vauban bastille? 

New enemy that fires a slow moving, homing bright green projectile. This projectile doesn't do damage in the usual sense, instead is reduces max hp by 1/3 for 10 seconds. If you get hit by 3 of them you have no hp so you die. Better learn to dodge instead of just facetanking the whole game!

These are a couple ideas just off the top of my head, but I think it's very unlikely that anything like this would be added.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

They just need to introduce enemies with interesting mechanics. Corpus in my opinion is one of the most interesting faction to fight against because they have so many unit variety (minus nullifiers). They literally have a unit (Amalgam Heqet) that can copy your loadout if you don’t take him out or get out his view range, if these units are more common players can be more careful on approaching a horde of them instead of just blendering everything with their kronen primes.

More enemies like the Nox is also a welcoming addition.

Edited by DrivaMain
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Add in some "Challenge" modifiers, something like:

Every Shot Counts: Melee Disabled, Enemies no longer drop Energy Orbs or Ammo. Start with 200% Max Ammo, Full Energy

The Floor is Lava: Take Massive Damage if you touch the ground, Wall Grab has Infinite duration.

Holy Pistol: Secondary Only, Enemies only take damage from Headshots
 

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Adding "impair" effects to players would be horrible. Making the game tedious and annoying doesn´t create a good experience.

 

What would make the game a real challenge? 

The AI needs to be improved a lot. Enemies would move faster, hide behind cover, concentrate their fire and attacks on specific targets.

Enemy weakspots ("headshots") could add to this.

But ffs, stay away from bulletsponges and impair mechanics. I can already feel me biting my keyboard after getting slowed,disabled,drained for the 100th time.

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More units like the Nox/Bursa interspaced throughout the normal chaff. Make those units resistant to CC and also have them be more focused on covering allies with beneficial effects (take less ability damage, cleanse/prevent status effects, create zones that inhibit players like cold fields etc).

You could also make units that are specifically designed for melee duels, they parry and resist gunfire/abilities and players would need to exploit openings or engage in direct melee combat to create those openings. For added flavor you could also have them disarm Tenno of firearms as an option.

Similar to the Nox you could also have enemies that need precise fire to open to greater damage or heavy enemies that can output solid damage but can have their ammo detonated with precise shots to deal with them.

The issue with enemies is that there's very little variety under most circumstances, most enemies are just grunts with bigger HP pools and different weapons, if you make a bigger distinction between light (weak but plentiful) heavy (Gunners/Techs etc) and elite (Nox/Bursas) you could have more focus that is needed from the player.

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Enemies with counter-critical auras, enemies who have a set health pool that reduce all incoming damage to 1 (favors rate of fire over big damage/crit builds), Hyper-gravity zones when enemies set off alarms (prevents parkour, forces a standard walk), anti-tenno-traps that CC your tenno until you disrupt it with your operator or a teammate destroys the source, Tactical squads designed to actually fight tenno (better AI, general Ability immunity/reduced effectiveness with acess to better gear like directional shields).

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Posted (edited)

Scaling enemy complexity and noteworthiness with rarity. Noxes, Hyekka Masters, etc. are unique and decently rare, but follow the same blind pathing as every regular mook and don't have an attack set that much more advanced than those regular mooks. Their behaviours make them blend in, as if they're designed to be a regular type of enemy, rather than stick out as a noteworthy, primary target.

(Also making those mooks work around those high-priority targets. That'd help keep them from blending in so much.)

Also, threats against objectives. You're going to be hard-pressed to implement decent against-the-player kind of difficulty when the core of the game is being a manic, immortal powerhouse. Can't exactly have the player feel both immortal and vulnerable at the same time, not without some weird dissonance. But that rule doesn't apply to the objective. Just because you're Superman doesn't guarantee you'll save Lois Lane.

Edited by Tyreaus
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The honest answer is smarter enemies. Which would sort of require Warframe to have intelligent enemies able to behave somewhat realistically in the first place, but uh...

During Proxy Rebellion events, Hyenas show up as regular enemies, and they're a nice addition because they behave different from all the other enemies. Just the fact that they'll jump and stick to walls and move erratically means you have to change things up and not just fire the same two neurons you've stuck to for the past five thousand hours. The key is that these enemies aren't just bigger numbers - they're something different from what you normally run into.

I don't want modifiers like Sorties or Nightmare missions, and I don't want enemies that can only be damaged by shooting specific weakpoints. We have enough of the former, and I just flat don't like the latter, and would just be another entry in DE's fraught relationship with enemy invulnerability. Something like the Nox is about as far as I'm willing to go - it's easier if you crack the helmet, but you don't HAVE to, and if you've got a big enough stick you can just mulch them along with everything else. Or something like big mini-boss-style enemies that have multiple destructible parts you can blow off to hamstring them and reward fast and accurate players.

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37 minutes ago, AegisSiege said:

Every Shot Counts: Melee Disabled, Enemies no longer drop Energy Orbs or Ammo. Start with 200% Max Ammo, Full Energy

Zenurik and ammo pads
 

37 minutes ago, AegisSiege said:

The Floor is Lava: Take Massive Damage if you touch the ground, Wall Grab has Infinite duration.

this sounds fun TBH....i cant recall the last time i EVER did a wall grab on purpose (apart from the rare riven challenge)

 

38 minutes ago, AegisSiege said:

Holy Pistol: Secondary Only, Enemies only take damage from Headshots

hmmm, Harrow/Gara with her 4, it is XD

25 minutes ago, Aldain said:

Similar to the Nox you could also have enemies that need precise fire to open to greater damage or heavy enemies that can output solid damage but can have their ammo detonated with precise shots to deal with them.

not in a horde game modes....i recall that was one of the things DE tried with the aura units a few months ago and players HATED it.

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Posted (edited)

Status effects! Currently, slowdown, knockdown, and radiation are all super annoying because they are actually effective. The enemies dont often inflict status on us, that would be a different difficulty from just raw damage. Gas and electricity, I dont think Ive ever seen those status effects on my Warframe?

Edited by (XB1)CaligulaTwily
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Posted (edited)

your three examples is a mixture of Enemies ignoring Game Mechanics because reasons, or adding 'features' that exist just to annoy the Player and nothing else.

 

 

as i've pointed to on numerous, numerous, numerous, numerous occasions - Enemies that are more than 'dude with a Gun'. destructible Armor pieces, breakable Weapons/Abilities, and death to the 'Trash Enemy', just to name a few things.
instead of Spawning 30-40 useless Enemies, Spawn 20 moderately relevant ones paired with ~5 significant ones.
so many other games can make great middlegrounds where Enemies can do interesting things that challenge the Player, even while letting Players be very powerful.

Terrain that matches the Game Mechanics. numerous, numerous, numerous times i've said that Destiny and Warframe have the opposite Terrain that fits them, quite ironically. Warframe has complex super precise Player Movement with lots of flexible tools, yet mostly presents box hallways to just walk A to B through. Destiny is a traditional First Person Shooter plus Jetpacks, and yet has Floating Islands, multiple Gravity fields, transporting through time and space, infinite Voids of magical energy.... you name it.
these games are literally backwards.

 

Gameplay that focuses on fun to play first, stuff to grind second. where you do more than click on dudes while waiting for a Timer(s), but rather have to do things with good timing or in the right order, while fighting off interstellar scale Armies.

 

in fact fairly recently someone brought up Killing Floor as a positive example, and i felt compelled to go over in moderate detail why Killing Floor works and what the traits that are in play in that sort of game are, and to show that there are a lot of layers involved with making Enemies interesting.

On 2020-06-28 at 7:31 PM, taiiat said:

Killing Floor achieves greatness for sure, but Enemies aren't just Trash or not Trash!
the 3 types of Clots are indeed Trash, though even those aren't Trash if a Rioter buffs them. Gorefasts may be half Trash, but Gorefiends definitely are not.
Stalkers are Trash Healthwise but they do a good job of suicidally blocking attacks unexpectedly, or just having pretty nuts DPS.
Crawlers especially 'Trash' in Health but being shorter than everything else and otherwise just really annoying is their role after all, just a harassing distraction. Elite especially.
Husks are pretty dangerous in their own right, Healthwise they are neither Trash nor Miniboss but they have enough to be significant and also attacks to be significant.
and then Quarterpounds were a nice mixup from just having one or two Fleshpounds.
Bloats and Sirens firmly as not Trash (Bloats in particular even having Miniboss levels of Health), but are Support units.
EDARs being interestingly half Trash half danger, with their grave weaknesses but also potentially a lot of Damage or unique CC (Bombers being quite dangerous if you can't dodge, Blasters usually just suppression but if you get face blasted still huts a lot)
Scrakes and Fleshpounds being self explanatory.

but the reasons why it works so well, is partly because of Enemies being Trash AND not Trash (all of them being this way), but also because Enemies are also useful to the Player, the Player being able to use the tools the Enemies have against them if they're clever.
i.e. Killing Floor is not just Trash with a few Heavies mixed in, every Enemy has the capability to be a significant threat, but almost every single Enemy also has the capability to be dispatched fairly quickly too.
not to mention that Difficulty Tiers add a few new Abilities and new Enemy variants, even.
that's what makes Killing Floor work.

and yes, Warframe doesn't.... have that other than Eximus units. and even with Eximus and other types of Auras buffing stuff, a Trash Enemy, is still always a Trash Enemy. and by far most of the Enemies, still are those Trash Enemies. and they never stop being so.

but i have also used The Division as a very positive example in the past as well, due to destructible Armor and breakable Weapons/Abilities being used fairly prolifically in that franchise to very nice effect. offering Players more strategies to dealing with Enemies than just holding down the attack button for longer.

with both of these titles also having an important feature that dramatically increases strategic options further - that being that for the most part everybody follows the same rules. which specifically lets the Player use Weapons/Abilities of Enemies against them. often being Friendly Fire, but not necessarily only that.

Edited by taiiat
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24 minutes ago, IamLoco said:

The AI needs to be improved a lot. Enemies would move faster, hide behind cover, concentrate their fire and attacks on specific targets.

And what difference does it make when they're nuked and killed from 50 meters away ignoring any wall or cover?

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Ok, here is an idea, introduce Arbitration Drones to Steel Path, you already had to have them unlocked and played them once to unlock Steel Path in the first place. The general idea is not my own but @Synpai's, it was coined on one of his streams and I dont know if any topics cover it on the forums, so I cover it here.

BUT:

Rework Arbitration Drones, delete existing ones, introduce lets say 4 types of them:

Ability protection drone - makes itself and every affected enemy 90% resistant to all Ability based Tenno effects, that includes exalted damage, but also statuses like priming by MPrime. The drone itself doesnt protect against anything else.

Ranged protection drone - existing one, but only against regular gunfire and with same rules as above, only 90% protection on itself and protected targets. 

Melee Protection - same, but against all melee instead of gunfire. 

General protection - 80% protection against damage of all types and Warframe abilities, its hovether very fragile when it comes to Void damage or Magnetic damage type specificly, against those types, protection is ignored, and with Void damage, there is a enemy level scaling bonus for Void damage to make the drone killable with amp in reasonable time in a range level of 60-160.

Drones protection effect only affects itself and other enemies, but not other drones.

And yes, drones outside arbies should still drop Vitus Essence.

Edited by Xardis
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Step one - address the power/availability problem. Having extremely powerful abilities which can deal or enable massive damage to everything on screen is great. Having weak utility powers which are almost always available is great. Having extremely powerful abilities which can deal or enable massive damage to everything on screen which are almost always available is a problem.

If we consider video games as coming down to a series of 'what do I do now?' choices, and challenge as being a factor of how many choices there are by each choice's effectiveness vs their ease of execution vs their resource expenditure, then screen nukes or arena-wide stunlocks are generally speaking going to top out effectiveness. In order to balance other gameplay so that there are meaningful choices, most games will either greatly increase their difficulty of execution (meaning it becomes more likely to fail) or their resource expenditure. This produces an interesting choice of 'do I use this powerful ability now, or do I save it for later' - or some other variation, such as Devil May Cry, which has a end-of-mission ranking as the ultimate goal, and using items reduces that chance - it expends the resource of style points you're collecting through the mission.

Warframe, in theory, works on resource expenditure. In practice however, the resources for 'run fast', 'use awful grappling hook' and 'deal high damage to one target' are the exact same resources as 'Release uncapped damage', 'become completely invisible' and 'disable all enemies AI in a 20 meter radius', and thus the availability of those powers is the same. Addressing that imbalance and having our top-tier screen nukes become rare abilities that can't be used all the time whilst the weaker abilities can be used whenever would be an important first step, because it would not only allow weaker powers to flourish again as the bread and butter of some Warframe's kits, but it'd also open up moments of vulnerability that enemies can use to actually do something to players, and thus allow DE to make AI and enemies that can exploit those moments.

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Enemies which adapt to the situation. 

Is there an aoe frame? Bring the sniper with his magnetic bullets.

Is there a CC frame? Bring the nullifers.

Tank? Bring the heaviest machine gun they have.

Invisiblel? Bring an enemy who can see invisble players. (Like the orange spiders in orb vallis)

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More specific mobs that counter what we have access to aswell as buffing surrounding enemies, preferably these mobs would be weakpoint based.

Auras that reduce crit chance/damage/status etc. Auras that make enemies full on immune to certain damage types and statuses while being able to inflict them on us instead. It would simply be eximus units souped up and made harder to kill with weakpoints. Lets say a viral eximus, it provides a massive aura which gives the buff to his allies, this makes them immune to viral and gives them viral damage to their attacks. This would for instance make them immune to miasma, while they'd still be vulnerable to corrosive, a mob killed by spores would no longer spread it since miasma has no effect, unless you take out the eximus that provides the buff, which would need you to actually aim.

In addition to this, units similar to the arbi drones could be added that nullify different things, aswell as units similar to demolishers that cast nullification from time to time while also being durable.

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Posted (edited)

Enemies with higher mobility.

Mini bosses during missions, that require fighting mechanics more complex that simply shooting them in the face until they fall.

Puzzles that punish you if you fail them.

ACTUAL TEAMWORK REQUIRED TO PROGRESS. This one is something Warframe desperately needs. There is a lot of gameplay mechanics around teamwork that could be added relatively easy that could add a lot of complexity to fights.

Edited by General-Pacman
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I could say doing it EDF style (throw hordes at the player with both melee and ranged attacks, if they can't melee, they use  the ranged attack and have some enemies actually be a threat) but then I remember that this is Warframe and I can press a button on a CC frame and lock down the whole map.

The whole discussion about difficulty can't happen unless DE sits down and rebalances EVERYTHING from the ground up. Want enemies with more mobility/speed? Hold on let me press 4 as Nova. Done, that enemy is now less than a trash mob. This happens to any sort of enemy DE adds, unless it has a gimmick that nullifies abilities.

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