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Feedback on Zephyr Changes from a Hardcore Zephyr Player (Tornado)


AliceCorsaire

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Okay, so, I really like Zephyr, and I feel like these changes had the right idea. However, I feel that the Tornado change specifically does not fix the fundamental problem with Tornado.

I don't use Air Burst at all, so I can't definitively say how good the scaling change was for it, but I imagine it is a decently effective change. Tornado is my focus here.

The ability to tap Tornado to make stationary tornadoes was a step in the right direction. However, the problem still remains that the tornadoes spawn completely at random. 
(Within the spawn radius of where you're looking.)
So, I propose one of two changes that will help Tornado become as effective as it should be.

1.) Make the stationary tornadoes able to be repositioned at the same speed, or faster than the mobile tornadoes.
The biggest issue I ran into with the stationary tornadoes is them all spawning in the same general area in a cluster.
(I have 235% range on my Tornado build, so that isn't the problem. They would all just spawn on the same group of enemies.)
So, in a way to amend this, I think that you should still be able to reposition them at a faster speed than repositioning the roaming tornadoes. The reason I say it should be faster than them is because you want to be able to move a tornado to a more ideal place with as much remaining time on the ability as possible. The repositioning on roaming tornadoes is less a repositioning and more of you nudging it in the right direction so you can go off and do something else while it takes care of the guys over-yonder-way. With the faster repositioning on the stationary tornadoes, you can grab a tornado, scooch it on over to the door on the left side of the room, and now that door is blocked off for the duration of the ability.
This makes Tornado an extremely good low-damage CC ability, as it seems it was meant to be in the first place, so I feel that this is the single most realistic change for Tornado...

2.) Make Tornado cast one giant, stationary or very slow moving, tornado instead of the four large ones we have now.
... This, however, is the change that I would like to see the most for Tornado. The obvious thing is the ability being called "Tornado" and not "Tornadoes", but that's just a nitpick.
I feel that having a single giant, very slow moving tornado with more range and much more damage is the best direction for Tornado to be taken. With this giant tornado, Tornado would become an ability in the same vain as Khora's Strangledome, where you could build it for big damage and have it wipe crowds with either low duration or low range, or you could build it for big range and have it be an extremely good area-lockdown ability.
Incidentally, I also believe that this makes Tornado a much more versatile ability in how you can build it. Which, as someone who has four separate, completely different builds for her, Zephyr excels at versatility in the first place, so it would make sense for her ultimate ability to be as versatile as she is.

Max duration build to have passive CC roaming around the map...
Max range build to preoccupy a big group of enemies while you rez someone, or to prevent them from attacking a defense target...
Max strength build to eviscerate groups of enemies while it roams around... (Sounds like it could be OP, but look at Saryn and Mesa.)
Then you have to consider all of the combinations of each of these setups to tailor Tornado to fit whatever situation.

Finally, for those who like the current four tornadoes, that's simple. Just make Funnel Clouds into what Tornado is right now.
Funnel Clouds is basically a worthless augment right now anyway. It's only good for amping the damage of your Amprex, Ignis, whathaveyou, and that's not what a 4th ability should be for. Funnel Clouds becoming what Tornado is right now would give more of a reason for people to use it outside of "haha ignis go brrrrrr", because there are definitely benefits of having four smaller, weaker tornadoes, instead of having one giant, stronger tornado.
And on the flip side, there are definitely benefits to having one giant, stronger tornado, instead of four smaller, weaker tornadoes.

So, TL;DR. I feel that the most realistic change for Tornado is to make it so the stationary tornadoes can be repositioned faster, or as fast as the roaming tornadoes.
I feel that the best change for Tornado would be to make it into one giant, strong tornado, and turn Funnel Clouds into the four smaller Tornadoes.


I absolutely love Zephyr, and it kills me that she just isn't as good as other Warframes. So, please, consider these changes.
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(art by Kitsune-Genetica)
 

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While I'm pretty happy with how Tornado is now, whether to having a place for it in regular gameplay or simply due to using the old one so much, the rework felt as a new pair of sneakers, I'd probably get AliceCorsaire's suggested variant as an augment. It would work fine, similar to what Atlas has with rumbelrs.

Spoiler

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And while we're at it, Funnel clouds in itself is an augment that definitely needs a revision. At present, it's a collector's item in a sense that there's no actual use for it aside of degreying a Codex entry. The ingame description doesn't help either, claiming that all it does is make the stock ability weaker and visually less intrusive. Prior to the rework, one of my suggestions was to add vacuum to them, although that would functionally conflict with Inaros' sandstorm, so perhaps something entirely different. The opposite, in fact. If the aim was to null the pickup feature, maybe reverse the vortex direction and allow it to scatter enemies as sort of a crowd control method. A less directional and conical airburst. To allow the players to make an absolute mess of a battlefield. That is what great winds do after all.

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23 hours ago, AliceCorsaire said:

I feel that having a single giant, very slow moving tornado with more range and much more damage is the best direction for Tornado to be taken.

As I've needed to point out on many, many Zephyr threads before, there is a very specific limitation on the Evolution Engine that DE doesn't seem to be able to get around; the need for things to be an Object if they are to interact with Damage.

This limits the concept of one big Tornado. If you are to include the most powerful Damage function in it, which is the ability to pass on damage, status and crit to everything caught in it, it would need to function like the current Tornado funnels and physically absorb the damage from your weapons by being an object. This means that, at best, you will have a Snowglobe/Cataclysm effect where you can't shoot through the borders. At worst, any shots you fire inside the funnel would be absorbed.

If you were to remove that function, making it more like Gara's Mass Vitrify or Strangledome, it wouldn't be able to take your damage and pass it on. While this would be an amazing CC cast, denying the entire area within it just like those other casts, it might even be considered too strong and need a functional cap on it like Strangledome or Bastille.

I'm definitely with you on the absolute minimum change needed being that consistency on the cast. Spawning directly on enemies is a hold-over back from the original Tornado when it was a pure CC Chaos cast, where the spawning was literally random and having it spawn directly on enemies was a buff. With the new version, both the moving and the stationary, they need a consistency on where they spawn and their ability to reposition.

If you cast either, having them spawn in a small radius around the point of cast allows us to A) Clear a specific point with them and B) Apply our damage type to the funnels before they move.

Then, with either cast, the aim-to-move function needs to be present, because in either case we need to be able to put these where we want them for effect.

Failing that, a great addition to the frame would be if casting Airburst made the nearest funnel path to that location for additional CC (instead of the functionally-dead 'make a funnel grow taller' interaction). That would give players a reason to actually cast Airburst even though DE can't seem to give it a meaningful result for the cast on its own...

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2 hours ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

As I've needed to point out on many, many Zephyr threads before, there is a very specific limitation on the Evolution Engine that DE doesn't seem to be able to get around; the need for things to be an Object if they are to interact with Damage.

How come they managed to do it with electric shield? Projectiles that passed through it are "buffed" and it's also an object. If they can improvise the electric shield's code it may fix Tornado, Cataclysm, and Snow Globe issues.

Can't they just make it so that any player projectile that touches tornado the tornado "records" the projectile damage value and apply it into the tornado instead of absorbing it?

 

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11 hours ago, Birdframe_Prime said:

As I've needed to point out on many, many Zephyr threads before, there is a very specific limitation on the Evolution Engine that DE doesn't seem to be able to get around; the need for things to be an Object if they are to interact with Damage.

This limits the concept of one big Tornado. If you are to include the most powerful Damage function in it, which is the ability to pass on damage, status and crit to everything caught in it, it would need to function like the current Tornado funnels and physically absorb the damage from your weapons by being an object. This means that, at best, you will have a Snowglobe/Cataclysm effect where you can't shoot through the borders. At worst, any shots you fire inside the funnel would be absorbed.

If you were to remove that function, making it more like Gara's Mass Vitrify or Strangledome, it wouldn't be able to take your damage and pass it on. While this would be an amazing CC cast, denying the entire area within it just like those other casts, it might even be considered too strong and need a functional cap on it like Strangledome or Bastille.

I'm definitely with you on the absolute minimum change needed being that consistency on the cast. Spawning directly on enemies is a hold-over back from the original Tornado when it was a pure CC Chaos cast, where the spawning was literally random and having it spawn directly on enemies was a buff. With the new version, both the moving and the stationary, they need a consistency on where they spawn and their ability to reposition.

If you cast either, having them spawn in a small radius around the point of cast allows us to A) Clear a specific point with them and B) Apply our damage type to the funnels before they move.

Then, with either cast, the aim-to-move function needs to be present, because in either case we need to be able to put these where we want them for effect.

Failing that, a great addition to the frame would be if casting Airburst made the nearest funnel path to that location for additional CC (instead of the functionally-dead 'make a funnel grow taller' interaction). That would give players a reason to actually cast Airburst even though DE can't seem to give it a meaningful result for the cast on its own...

Would like to point out, as I seem to have neglected to note this in the OP, I never mentioned the damage conversion via shooting/attacking the tornadoes for a reason.
I dislike that function because it's effectively not even the ability dealing the damage, it's just your weapon. So, in my personal ideal change for Zephyr, you wouldn't be able to shoot the tornado anymore, you can shoot through it, and it does enough raw damage that it can do its own work. That way her fukken ultimate ability isn't just a catalyst to make basic weaponry hit multiple people.

I neglected to mention this part in the OP, and that's my bad.

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10 hours ago, DrivaMain said:

How come they managed to do it with electric shield? Projectiles that passed through it are "buffed" and it's also an object.

Because the shield isn't buffed by shooting it, and the shield isn't an object for the player, it's a line-of-sight check.

You are buffing the shot you fire as a simple factor of 'is this in the line-of-sight, if so, buff the damage', meanwhile the shield itself has zero stats changed by being shot. In Tornado, the funnel itself is the thing dealing the damage, not the bullet, it has to be 'shot' then calculate how much damage it 'received' then deal that damage out to everything it's currently in contact with.

Two completely different things. Do you see? ^^

55 minutes ago, AliceCorsaire said:

I dislike that function because it's effectively not even the ability dealing the damage, it's just your weapon. So, in my personal ideal change for Zephyr, you wouldn't be able to shoot the tornado anymore, you can shoot through it, and it does enough raw damage that it can do its own work. That way her fukken ultimate ability isn't just a catalyst to make basic weaponry hit multiple people.

I can see your point of view, but that's where you'd get Tornado seriously, and I mean seriously, nerfed.

There is no ability in the game that 'does enough damage'. Not once you get to any kind of meaningful level, like past 80 where Liches, Sorties, and heck-forbid the Steel Path with bonus defenses all start to get interesting. We even get higher levels than that in ESO and Arbitrations.

The most powerful damage-dealing abilities in this game all rely on damage from scaling, and there are only three forms of mechanical ability scaling in the game that DE allow (key point, ability scaling is not just damage buffing, like Rhino, Chroma and Mirage, that's just pushing the damage cap further);

  1. Over time/increment boosters, like Equinox, Protea and Saryn, where hitting more and more enemies counts up the damage incrementally, or Gara where the amount of times you cast her ability without losing the timer scales it up, or Mesa where time and energy drain ramps the damage, this also applies to the Melee system, and is capped because of how strong that system is.
  2. Direct-damage-multiplicative scaling where dealing damage with a weapon (yours or an enemy's) is required like Mag and Octavia.
  3. Enemy Level scaling, which is considered so strong that DE have heavily limited every single version of it in the game. Vauban's Flechette orb and Photon Strike are good examples, because the damage does not scale up enough in either to actually quickly kill any enemy that has a Shield or Armour once you hit the base damage caps. You need to combine it with things like Bastille's armour strip or Xaku's Gaze to make it actually kill.

So I'm really worried when you say make it deal 'enough raw damage'. Because that doesn't exist in Warframe anymore. It used to. DE killed it.

Given those three types, what, to you, would be the best way to make it actually deal enough damage?

Let's project that thought a little, one giant Tornado funnel, large enough to make a difference on the map that isn't possible with just four stationary funnels in a pattern. That first part is important, because if you spawned four funnels, 10m apart, in a square, that would create a 20x20m area of denial that enemies cannot walk into, right? Base suction range of funnels is 5m, so 10m apart means their areas just touch, and the total radius is a slightly wonky square, with round corners, of 20x20m.

Your big funnel would, therefore, have to have at least a 10m radius of effect to make it affect 20m to compete. That's a large area on the map, and would equal the starting range of quite a few other abilities. Bastille has that base range, and Strangledome only beats it because it has a grab range on top of the base range. 

  1. Using over-time or incremental boosting. The more enemies that Tornado affects, the more damage it deals. What would be necessary to make that work? Removing the timer is a good first start just like Equinox or Saryn. What balance would be necessary for a non-duration based CC ability that affects as large of a base area as Bastille? Would it be energy drain? Would it be something that disables another function on Zephyr? Would it need to be a charge-and-release style like Equinox where it ticks once per enemy and you have to manually release Tornado before it will actually deal more than that one instance of damage? That's where I say that Tornado would get seriously nerfed; dealing enough raw damage would be only possible once per use of the ability.
  2. Direct damage multiplicative; this is the kind you don't want, despite it being one of the highest concentrated damage functions in the game and Zephyr currently using it could (if the ability was consistent) allow fairly mediocre weapons to actually deal decent damage in an AoE...
  3. Using enemy level scaling means that the damage, on its own, would be limited. As we've seen with literally every other damage ability that has scaling against enemy level, such as Flechette Orb or Grasp of Lohk, you need a combo with it to remove enemy defences otherwise you stand there watching it tick on for minimal damage. While this would be semi-useful against enemies like the Infested, until a Healer walked in, because they largely don't have armour scaling and so on, this would be pitiful on its own against the Corpus, Grineer and Corrupted.

I'll be honest, though, number 3 does have a lot of possibility.

What this would need is something else in Zephyr's kit that reduced enemy defences. Something like... I don't know, Airburst having (instead of the damage scaling based on enemies hit, which is pathetic at all levels above 20), it has a direct damage hit that removes an amount of total defences per hit, or it marks them for a damage multiplier for damage we deal.

Ideally, that latter one with the damage multiplier, would be something flat, similar to Nezha's Chakram, which is proven to be an amazing ability when built for. In that respect, you could have something that actually buffs team damage too, because you could use the ability against enemies on its own and everyone would deal more damage. Or you could use it against enemies caught in Tornado, and that multiplier (if you put some Strength on it) is enough to adjust the Enemy Scaling Multiplier on Tornado to deal enough damage so that it does actually start killing enemies.

That has some good possibilities there. The limitation stops being 'Zephyr can't kill enemies because she has no damage' and starts being 'Zephyr has no damage unless you combine her abilities' and then relies on you casting 4, and using a slow projectile ability with an AoE to hit and mark enemies that are caught in the 4 before it will actually kill them. Otherwise Tornado remains just an AoE CC denial ability.

So...

Okay, there's some ways that a single, large Tornado could work and give you what you want using the functions in the game that DE currently uses to manage scaling damage.

Let's flip this on its head.

Why is this better than putting the same kind of functions on Zephyr, like the damage multiplier mark on Airburst, and instead just making the 'stationary' version of Tornado (as is) spawn in that square I mentioned earlier?

I mean... you could even have the damage distribution function stay, to a lesser degree, so that the damage is scaled up based on enemy level, scaled up based on a buffed 2, and you get your AoE denial ability that you can cast around, say, a Cryo-pod or Mobile Defense Terminal.

You could then adapt the ability to be more flexible using the aim-to-steer function she already has. Taking the square of four funnels, and sending one or two of them off to a choke point and keeping two nearer the point so that you don't get melee enemies charging you.

I kind of think that this is why Tornado has been so crapped on by DE all along; if it was consistent, and you could put it where you wanted it, it would be as strong as, if not stronger than, the other area denial CC type abilities. Because unlike those other abilities, Zephyr would have four points of defense that would deal damage, you could use your weapons to greater effect, and at any point you could recast to reset the ability to where you actually wanted it in an emergency.

When it comes down to it, I genuinely think that adapting the ability we have right now, and buffing her other abilities to make her incredibly consistent and versatile, would create the stronger frame overall, because DE wouldn't need to change very much in order to do it.

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