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Weapon / Mod Revamp, Rebalance, Rework: How I would handle redundancy and mandatory / meta mods


NovusKnight

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As someone who has been playing since 2015, I am not without my gripes towards WF. Great game. I still play. but, there's several things wrong about it - as with all games, really - that could be improved.

While I won't pretend I have the answers to every problem, I still would like to share my personal ideas on how I'd remake the balancing system of the game.

I did say remake, instead of rework, for a reason. Honestly, I know this likely would never happen, the changes are too sweeping for it to go on. But hey, I still enjoy the mental exercise of thinking of ways to improve stuff.

Anyway.

How would I balance the weaponry in the game?

I'd start by radically changing what weapon actually do. Specifically, HOW they go about to do what they do, and their role.

As an example, look at Dual Swords. there's dozens of them. Does any of them FEEL different? with the exception of exclusive status or exclusive crit, you will almost always be modding them with the exact same mods, to make a murderous crit status hybrid build. There's no real role in them, neither has much of an identity in the game - they functionally act as just reskins with higher or lower stats. your gameplay as a MR3 with a dual skana won't be different from your gameplay as a MR30 with a 69 forma twin krohkur. You'll be doing the same combos and shredding foes with either crits, or slashes, or both. It'll likely not even be slower or faster, since at low levels stuff will still die in 1-3 hits even to barely modded low-MR blades.

That's the reason I thought about this rework. There's almost no variety in guns, outside of gimmicks or numerical changes, because they all use the same mods, have the exact same power scaling method and the only things that DO stand out are outliers.

So how would I fix it:

1 - Serration, Split Chamber, Hornet Strike, and similar universal mods are gone.

instead, your weapons gain base damage based on their level, reaching +100% at level 30. Applying forma adds a +25% upon reaching level 30 again, capped at 3 forma.

this incentivizes using forma, and frees up a slot.

Split Chamber is "gone". as in, not ALL weapons can use it. before you go ballistic at me, hear me out - I HAVE a reason for this, and a way to counterbalance its loss. Split Chamber becomes instead available only for some options.

2 - ALL weapons have a more defined role, and not all are simply stepping stones to later content. this is done by giving each weapon a PASSIVE - similar to how specific guns gain special features if wielded by specific warframes. As a result, your ability to diversify your builds vastly increases, as each weapon has something unique and desirable about it. Maybe one of your sword weapons gains 15% bonus attack speed per combo stack; maybe some guns actually ignore armor entirely, or do percentual damage, or, like some existing options, force procs regardless of status. I will give some examples further ahead.

3 - Weapons still have the regular firerate, crit, etc mods. HOWEVER, specific guns get alternatives to these more generic mods - not unlike augments, though these are meant to replace generic crit / crit damage / status mods, instead of adding up to them.

these alternatives boast noticeably stronger stats, but require specific strategies to use. For instance, perhaps one of your snipers has a variation of argon scope that  has no duration - it replaces your crit mod, but adds a flat 200% crit on headshots. like a built-in Harrow buff, if you CAN aim. Or, perhaps your Supra gets a mod where your firerate is increased by 2% for every hit, and each stack lasts 30 seconds - you might not have anemic agility in your gun and start off with lower firerate tha you normaly could have, but your gun would instead spool up not unlike melee weapons gain combo, and you'd later on have much higher firerate than with other options. Imagine a Lanka that gained +100% multiplicative damage per each enemy punched through with a dedicated augment - or a Vulkar that has its final shot NEVER be spent until you miss a bullet, letting you skewer an enemy with bodyshots making use of its good firerate - replacing the need for things like harkonar scope or ammo/reload mods.

 

A system like this would make every weapon unique in its own right, but also customizable, though not in a way that made it equal to others, or directly comparable. Afterall, you would no longer compare DPS and QOL exclusively. You *could* have to account for...

-changes in movement speed

-punchthrough variations

-on-hit effects secondary to your typical status build

-on-kill effects

-special attributes like additive multishot following specific requirements, or enemies exploding on headshot, or conditional instakill options, or extra loot

and that, on top of potential synergy with warframes.

 

 

Here's a few examples of well known or not-so-well-known guns, and how more UNIQUE they would be in this new system. these scenarios combine their stats with new innate features AND new augments, and mostly refers to a more optimized set-up that likely would require some forma.

 

-LANKA: infinite enemy punchthrough. Zooming increases crit chance, guaranteeing 100% crit at max zoom. each enemy pierced causes the shot to gain +100% damage (multiplicative, not additive) and +30% max health damage, ignoring DR or shields. UNCAPPED; this makes it almost guaranteed to kill the fourth enemy in a line, and 100% kills anyone beyond it. killing more than 3 enemies in 1 shot increases charge rate by 75% for 10 seconds.

Lanka suddenly becomes a corridor powerhouse with synergies to some frames, offering a playstyle that does not require headshots, but rather good positioning and timing. it can 1HK at any level assuming you play your cards right (bosses excluded from the % damage, of course). you can simply NOT include these special mods, and keep using it as a normal eidolon hunter if you MUST.

-TENORA: no multishot. headshots build a rapidly decaying critical damage bonus that caps at 200% after 10 shots; decays to 0% if no headshots occur in 3 seconds. This bonus remains applicable to the alt-fire snipe. killing an enemy with alt-fire with your bonus full fully refills your magazine, allowing you to continue firing without pause or reload.

Tenora no longer competes with other machineguns. it is now a dedicated headshot minigun that is subpar if you can't reliably keep hitting bad guys in the head. if you can, however, you get well above 10x crit multiplier and no downtime. This will absolutely shred any enemy on the receiving end, but you MUST aim with a modicum of care, since 3 seconds can go by rather fast and you actally get a rather short room for error given hte delayed charge shot in the alt-fire. time everything perfectly AND aim properly? reap the rewards. boom, Tenora is now different, doing something no other machinegun really can.

-AKZANI: no multishot. every hit gives you 1% movement speed and 1% evasion chance; this caps at 30%, and vanishes upon reloading. Once this reaches the max level, you begin to gain 3% multishot per hit, up to +99%. By now, you likely only have half your magazine left. once you reach +99% multishot, you begin to gain firerate - 3% per hit, doubling your DPS in 33 hits, or 16-ish shots (multishot.). after this, your gun begins to gain +0.5% max health damage per hit, capping at 5%. All bonuses are lost upon reloading.

Akzani is no longer a MR fodder unremarkable dual pistol competing in a saturated category. it now rewards NOT reloading, and opens up interesting modding set-ups. You may for instance increase its magazine size to potentially have guaranteed % damage after some dakka, melting anything in literaly no time. Now, consider that some mods can refill a holstered magazine. Consider that Energy Munitions exists. Imagine this in the hands of frames like Octavia, which can give it multishot, or Harrow, who can give it incredible firerate. Not a useless gun anymore, is it?... yet... some options simply offer a lot better performance more consistently, and it'd require a more conscious playstyle.

 

 

Let me know your thoughts. This is going nowhere, we all know it, but it's still - I think - fuel for an interesting discussion.

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So, to summarize, the OP is suggesting:

  1. Removing our weapons' layer of generic, mandatory damage mods, and instead making weapons gain damage from ranking up and Forma, up to a cap.
  2. Giving each weapon a unique mechanic to differentiate it from the others.
  3. Giving weapons augment-style mods that act as alternatives to popular mods, with unique gameplay.

I personally agree with most of this, though not all of it. I think our current raw damage and multishot mods add absolutely nothing to gameplay, and limit our customization by taking up mod slots and capacity, so I'd be glad to do away with them entirely. I am completely in favor of differentiating weapons, even if it's with something as simple as a gimmick for each weapon to make it play even slightly differently from the rest. I also support more tailored customization, and so would welcome more augment-style mods that genuinely add gameplay, which unique mechanics would facilitate as they'd provide something those mods could develop on. In very broad terms, I fully agree with the OP that weapon customization in Warframe is currently severely limited due to samey weapons a heavy reliance on mandatory mods: most weapons have essentially just one build, maybe two or three in rare circumstances, give or take a utility mod, and given the dozens of mods at our disposal, that is simply not enough.

My main point of disagreement with the rework lies with the suggested compensation for our damage mods: I don't really see the point to making a weapon's damage increase with rank, and I think bringing Forma into the mix may not be a great idea, as it would double down on the pressure to put Forma into a weapon in order to make it usable, and thus make trying out new weapons even less appealing. Really, if we just scrubbed off our mandatory damage mods without adding any more damage in compensation, the only thing that would affect is enemy EHP scaling, and that could be toned down to adjust to what would be much mellower damage increases on our part. 

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I do think that weapons should generally be more useful at baseline and scale less with mods. The fact that you can't enjoy something like the Akvasto(I like to aim) because they are literally pea-shooters is a net negative for the game, imo.   

Another thing about WF is what's the difference between one-handed swords and machetes(both literally and figuratively)? Different weapons aren't that different in the end. 

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honestly at this point whatever would replace mandatory mods, even if it wasn't outright terrible, would still likely do more damage than it repairs. but I do have questions:

would it not just be possible to passively grant all weapons their Base Damage mods, and then if Multishot needs to be addressed, make it actually cost the extra shot?

would some weapons actually deal more DPS without multishot due to how they work? if so, then players would have a reason to build for something other than multishot.

and wouldn't the "mandatory" mods just go from being the current damage + Multishot to whatever the most powerful elemental damage types are? (something which may or may not change with damage type reworks?)

maybe it really is complicated, and that's why DE won't look at it, or certainly don't want to.. who knows.

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I don't think any of this would do what you want it to besides maybe having more weapon passives. But even then weapon choice already boils down to personal preference for 99% of the game.

Removing mandatory mods does nothing whatsoever. No matter what other mods or systems get added in their wake all we'll see if people slotting in the next best mods which will really just be more 70/90% elemental mods. So long as we have choice there will be an objectively best option.

Weapon specific mods need to be better than an existing counterpart in order to be considered in the first place. Even with conditional effects if it isn't so hampered by said condition that it's unusable you just end up with them always being the best (thus "mandatory") mods to slot. Which works with augments as they're rare and are mostly relegated to weaker weapons but to make them commonplace would introduce more issues with little gain. And all of is can be replaced with more passives anyways.

And while more weapons passives would at least help weapons stand out from each other their performance still comes down to their raw stats. All while none of it really matters as our gear is strong enough for us to take almost anything into any content as is.

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