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A grab bag of Railjack suggestions

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I've spoken about Railjack a lot over the last year or so. Most of what I'll say here, I've said before so I'll try to be concise... As concise as possible, anyway.


Bringing the Star Chart to Railjack: The Dev team talked about integrating Star Chart missions into Railjack. Good, and most of the tech is there already. This requires a few steps:

1. Implement ground missions in pieces as Railjack Points of Interest, with each PoI containing a single ground objective, or else empty space with additional loot. As an example, a Spy mission would take place across 3 separate ships, with a Vault in each ship. A Mobile Defence mission could take place between three separate asteroids. A mission like Sabotage (with only a single objective) could contain 1 ship with the objective and 2 ships with additional loot like Hidden Caches. This allows a team to either focus their efforts on objectives in sequence or take a risk in splitting up to do multiple objectives at once across all missions.

2. Give players the ability to "hide" the Railjack in such a way that they can leave it behind for long stretches of time without it being destroyed. This is necessary to allow a team to fully infiltrate an indoor space without having to worry about losing the ship. This could be done by adding hiding spots (like a nebula) where the ship can be stowed, giving the Railjack a free "invisible, but can't move or do anything" ability with a 10-second interruptible charge-up or even giving us an ability to send away and recall the railjack at will. If we want a mix between Railjack and Ground missions, we need to be able to actually do ground missions without a failure state happening to the ship.

3. Implement Railjack in "atmospheric" locations. Some Warframe tilesets take place on ships or asteroids. Some take place on a planet's surface. The latter is still doable without requiring massive Free Roam maps to accommodate it. Implement a "high altitude" layer to all existing planetary tilesets. This would take the form of combat in the skies above the planet, with the ground below being represented by a simple flat "Google Maps" view of the surface, or just clouds on gas giants (like Jupiter and Saturn). Restrict the Railjack from going too high up into space or too low down to the surface. Instead of physical locations we can enter, implement "ground" segments as a holographic waypoint. Players would need to board their Archwings, fly to the waypoints and interact with them. Then, use a canned animation which shows the player flying straight down, into a black-screen transition, then landing into a ground tileset. Similarly, leaving the ground tileset would constitute the player walking to a transition room, interacting with a waypoint pointing up, then going through a canned animation of Archwinging straight up into a black-screen transition back into the high-altitude "space" fight.

4. Implement some kind of "Alarm" state into Railjack which is carried over into Points of Interest. If players want to stealth "ground" missions, they need to ensure they've disabled the alarm in the Railjack layer and/or hidden from pursuit. If the Railjack is spotted and reinforcements called in, this would sound the alarm in all Points of Interest, such that it can't be disabled until the Railjack has eluded pursuit.


The Railjack as a mobile base: Give the Railjack full Orbiter functionality, and an ability to actually make use of it. As above, this would come in several steps:

1. Implement a stage "in-between" Railjack missions. Currently, the only way to end a Railjack mission is to start a new one, which immediately transitions the ship to a new combat space. Change the way the Nav console works. Instead of picking a new destination in-mission, simply allow the Nav console to "Leave mission area." This would put the Railjack in the Void Tunnel normally used to travel to a new mission and keep it there until further notice. While in the Void Tunnel, players would be put in a non-combat state and allowed to interact with the Arsenal and other on-board machines.

2. Move the Arsenal to the large multi-deck amidship area. Additionally, include a Forge, a Mod Station, an Incubator, a Void Relic station, a Market console, a Codex console, a Syndicate console and an Operator chair. There's plenty of room in the main hold for all of this. The Operator chair can go in the back with the Reliquary Drive, as that's the Void energy focus of the ship. A Helminth cyst can be placed on the opposite side, in the little crawlspace. While the Railjack is in the Void Tunnel, allow the player to access all of these things. Let players forge gear, upgrade items, manage mods and Void relics and all the other things they'd normally do in their Orbiter. Let players play the game almost entirely from their Railjack if they want to.

3. Change how the Nav Console works. If the mission is not yet complete, only the Host (the Railjack owner) can interact with it to choose "Abandon mission." This will start a 5-second timer, after which everyone will be recalled back to the Railjack and the mission ends in failure. The Railjack will be put in the Void Tunnel. If the mission has been completed, any player on the team can interact with it and choose "Leave mission area." This prompts all players to return to Railjack. As long as 2 players (or fewer, depending on team size) are on board, start a 60-second countdown. When the countdown expires, recall everyone to the ship and put the ship in the Void Tunnel. When in the Void Tunnel, all players can interact with the Nav Console and propose a new mission. This mission will not immediately start, but rather prompt a standard mission vote - same as in the Orbiter.

4. Allow players to visit non-combat and Free Roam maps from the Railjack. These visits would work identically as they do now, except that players would arrive via Archwing rather than Landing Craft (or else just appear with no transition animation).


Maps and teleportation: The lack of a map and the limited options for teleportation could use a lot of expansion. I recommend the following:

1. Implement an "Interactive Area Map" in space during Railjack content. This Area Map would cover both interior and exterior locations and be accessed by holding the Map key (same as in Free Roam). The Interactive Area Map would allow players to switch between exterior space and the interior space they are already inside, as well as place waypoints via right-click. The Interactive Area Map would also contain all controls currently housed within the Tactical Menu, thereby deprecating it entirely. The Area Map would also allow the player to teleport between locations both inside the Railjack and outside of it, under specific circumstances.

2. Change Omnitool teleportation mechanics. The legacy system of selecting the Omnitool to instantly recall back to the Railjack can stay, but an additional more directed system should also exist. Players should be able to select locations on the Interactive Tactical Map and teleport to them. Selecting the Railjack from the space view on the map would act like Recall does now. Selecting locations within the Railjack would work the same, but place the player to that specific location. Selecting another viable location on the map outside the Railjack while inside it (more on that below) will teleport the player to it.

3. When a player teleports back to the Railjack, leave a "Void Anchor" where they teleported from. This would take the form of a small glowing globe (or some such). Crucially, this would create a new waypoint on the Interactive Area Map. The player can then click on that Void Anchor and teleport back to it. This would serve as a de-facto "town portal," allowing players to return to the Railjack temporarily, then pick up where they left off without creating an unnecessarily long trip.


The Forge and the Omnitool: The forge and its resource ecosystem are more trouble than they're worth. I recommend the following changes:

1. Get rid of the idea of using progression/upgrade resources as an in-mission consumable. It was not a good idea and it didn't work out. Instead, introduce a new in-mission-only resources. Call it "Omnigel." Omnigel would be a one-size-fits-all crafting resources from which everything else on the Railjack can be crafted - Revolite, energy and ammunition. Omnigel would drop from slain enemies (both enemy craft and infantry) and immediately go to the Forge when picked up. The Railjack would always start with 300 Revolite (+bonuses from Intrinsics), which would refill in the Void Tunnel.

2. Get rid of the Refine button entirely. It's more trouble than it's worth. If the Railjack's Omnigel capacity caps out, players will simply be unable to pick up more Omnigel, leaving the pick-ups behind. All Omnigel would be lost at the end of a mission (as it would be replenished in the Void Tunnel), so this mechanic is unnecessary.

3. Implement a "Forge Console" in the Forge room. From this console, Forge orders can be issued and they'll be assigned to the first available Forge. Show a simplified display of each Forge status in the Forge Console UI with a "Time Remaining" stat. There's no sense in requiring players to manually walk up to each console and go through an over-long animation just to see if they can craft anything.

4. Implement an Intrinsic ability (or Command crew ability) which allows a player to access the Forge Console remotely.


Railjack movement: Simplify Railjack movement by reducing its number of "speeds:"

1. Get rid of the current stable flight speed. It's not necessary. Upgrade standard stable flight speed to current Boost speed. Upgrade standard Boost speed to current Drift speed, but limit it to only the forward direction.

2. Implement Railjack Blink. Tapping the dodge button would cause the Railjack to Blink in the current direction of motion, covering 500 meters with a 2-second cooldown and breaking missile lock.


Crew and Command: This wasn't talked about during the Dev Stream, but I believe it should happen. Here's a simplified version of what I've proposed before:

1. Allow the player to recruit physical in-Railjack NPC teams who could automate some ship functions and take commands. I propose the following teams: Helm, Gunners, Engineers, Security, Medical. Helm would pilot the ship. Gunners would man the side guns (and potentially the Forward Artillery). Engineers would man the Forge, offering bonuses and remote access. Security would fight boarders to the best of their ability.

2. All crew are physical NPCs inside the ship. They can be hurt by damage to the ship or by boarders, and even permanently knocked out. If knocked out, they'll be revived at the end of the mission, in the Void Tunnel. Security can shield other crew and Medical can revive downed crew, if they get to them in time.

3. All crew can be given instructions. Helm can be told to avoid enemy ships, pursue enemy ships or follow a waypoint (placed via the Interactive Area Map). Gunners can be told to fire at will or hold fire. Engineers can be told what to craft. Security and Medical can be told to aggressively tackle their duties despite enemy fire or avoid confrontation and way for the player to intervene. With a high enough Intrinsic, the player could also be able to temporarily take over for a given crew member, with a time limit and a cooldown.


Please, fix the worn-down Railjack interior: It's been a year. We're overdue for a "wear and tear" slider for the Railjack interior the same as exists for the exterior :)

Edited by Steel_Rook
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After yesterday's Dev Stream, I have another suggestion:


Warframe, Operator, Necramech: Right now, Warframe gives us access to no fewer than three separate, independently-controlled characters with their own kits and skillsets, yet not much is done with this system. With just minor changes, we could use those assets to our advantage in order to be in multiple places at once. I propose the following:

1. Allow us to toggle between Warframe and Necramech directly at any range. Tapping the Transference key would pop the operator as it works currently. Holding the Transference key would swap us between them directly without involving the Operator at all. This would work regardless of how far the Warframe and Necramech are from each other. This would allow the player to switch between their Warframe being on one ship and their Necramech being on another.

2. Allow us to recall our Warframe to our Necramech. If a player is in their Warframe and activates their Call Necramech Gear Item, their Necramech is teleported to their side. I propose we allow the reverse, as well. If a player is in their Necramech and activates their Call Necramech ability (maybe rename it to Necramech Link), their Warframe is instead teleported to their side.

3. Allow us to fire an unmanned Necramech out of the Archwing Slingshot. The Necramech could only be launched if a target (like a Crew Ship) is locked. It'll fly in a ballistic trajectory, using its onboard boosters to steer itself. It'll then burst through the hull of the target and be deployed there. The player would then be able to control the Necramech while their Warframe remains on the Railjack. The player can then switch between the Necramech on the enemy ship and the Warframe on the Railjack at will, ostensibly being in two places at once.

4. Allow Necramechs to interact with and hack consoles. Allow Necramechs to carry objects (like a Datamass). Give them all the basic mechanics necessary to accomplish standard ground-mission objectives. This way, they can be used as remote drones fired out of the ship to accomplish simple tasks without removing the player's Warframe from the Railjack. This should provide ample incentive for players to use them without needing to restrict the player from using their Warframe.

5. As a tentative last point - allow our Operators to Transfer into our Warframe and Necramech directly, interchangeably and without recalling them to the Operator's location. Optionally, of course. Tapping the Transference key as an Operator will work similar to how it does now - it will teleport the last "Shell" the Operator was controlling. If the player was controlling a Warframe, jumped out as the Operator, ran across the map and hit Transference, this would simply pull the Warframe to them and Transfer into it. If the player was controlling a Necramech, the Necramech would be pulled to them, instead. Holding the Transference key would Transfer the Operator to the last Shell the player controlled without moving it - be it Warframe or Necramech. To transfer between Shells, the player would need to aim their Operator at a different shell before hitting Transference. If the other Shell is on a different map (different ship, say), the player would need to first Transfer into their currently active Shell and then transfer between them.


The long and short of the above suggestion is this: Allow us to place our Warframe on one ship, our Necramech on another ship and seamlessly switch between crontrolling them in order to both have forces on the ground and forces in the air without having to necessarily travel between them every time. That more than anything else is a massive advantage Necramechs have which people would want to play with.

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On 2021-02-24 at 5:55 PM, Steel_Rook said:

Railjack movement: Simplify Railjack movement by reducing its number of "speeds:"

1. Get rid of the current stable flight speed. It's not necessary. Upgrade standard stable flight speed to current Boost speed. Upgrade standard Boost speed to current Drift speed, but limit it to only the forward direction.

2. Implement Railjack Blink. Tapping the dodge button would cause the Railjack to Blink in the current direction of motion, covering 500 meters with a 2-second cooldown and breaking missile lock.

I like the general direction with the suggestions but this... this ain't it. Railjack is designed from the ground up to be a co-op experience, as it stands the Railjack is already so fast that Gunners can't track anything and Engineers don't have anything to repair. Making the Railjack even faster is completely giving up on the Railjack as a co-op experience and having it only be a bus for everyone not in the pilot seat. The Railjack shouldn't be a giant Archwing, it should be a pirate ship.

In my opinion the Railjack needs to be much (much) slower while in combat. That way everyone has the opportunity to play their role and the Pilot isn't doing a one-man play. Slower movement means...

  • Gunners can track targets.
  • Archwings can keep up.
  • The Railjack is inevitably getting hit, meaning Engineers are repairing.
  • Combat encounters would be closer range, allowing you to see the enemy you are fighting.

If the Railjack were to be made faster the whole concept of roles should just be dropped. At that point DE should just give up on co-op entirely and give everyone their own Railjack to pilot.

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3 hours ago, DrBorris said:

If the Railjack were to be made faster the whole concept of roles should just be dropped. At that point DE should just give up on co-op entirely and give everyone their own Railjack to pilot.

Fair enough. I propose a couple of points to consider, however.

I was careful not to propose actual speed increases for Railjack. Both Boost and Drift are already available to Railjack pilots, and on the same Stamina bar as well. I merely propose dropping the standard Fly speed altogether, reducing the speeds just the higher two and restricting the highest speed into just forward movement, which should limit (though not remove) its utility in combat. You'll be able to Drift forward or Boost in all directions. I understand Blink might be a concern, but that too can be limited to a forward movement only. I mostly proposed it because the current Railjack Dodge is so short-ranged as to be entirely meaningless, and it's difficult to add meaning to it without giving it substantial range. It makes more sense, therefore, to go with a Blink than a whole-ship slide as the speeds involved would start to become unbelievable and disorientating.

On the notion of making the Railjack slower in order to foster co-op play - I don't think it's going to have the effect you want it to have. It's the "make Superman look bad so you can make Batman look good dilemma." Making the Railjack slower merely reduces the impact and importance of the Helm console. This is especially true if you make the Railjack "much slower" as proposed. Movement becomes increasingly irrelevant, to the point where the Pilot may as well be another Side Gun with a limited arc of fire. The Railjack takes more damage, yes, but the damage system no longer requires a dedicated engineer. Forges themselves appear to be changing in scope with Railjack 3.0 or whatever they're calling it. The Side Guns have long since been considered pointless not for their inability to hit things, but simply because players are far more useful doing quite literally anything else - including jumping out in their archwings.

DE tried to implement Guns of Icarus into Warframe with the initial Railjack template. The 2019 TennoCon trailer had even more complexity, with the crew needing to "pack" resources in the hold and manage power between engines, shields and guns. That simply didn't work out in the long term because the playerbase rejected it. Little by little, DE has moved the teamwork aspect of Railjack outside the ship itself. Rather than having four people who run around the ship plugging holes and fighting boarders, one or two people can run the ship almost entirely with the rest of the team boarding enemy aircraft, assaulting enemy bases or doing something else similar. The introduction of Necramechs to Railjack has the potential to do even more still. I don't think onboard minigames are going to represent Railjack teamplay moving forward.

Making the Railjack less lumbering simply helps with collecting resources and breaking containers - an otherwise slow and tedious task.

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