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Prime Defense (Defense Rework Concept)


LeopoldObelix

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I will be discussing this topic at length, after a short anecdote. To view the proposed changes, skip to the bold section below.

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I have played Warframe since the end of 2013, with only minor breaks of several weeks to a few months of content draught. As a long time player of Warframe, I have found myself drawn to certain mission types over others, particularly in the case of which missions are worth my time. While some games over the years have been fun or interesting, there is one game mode that has such little content that I fear it is easily the most tedious and boring mission in the game to date. The premise of this discussion is fairly simple, what Warframe currently has for the Defense game mode currently does function, but is massively lacking in terms of what could be considered a proper mission

 

    Defense mode for myself and my clan mates was always a source of groans and pained noises back in 2015 as we realized a new prime was coming, and the best way to get it would be to grind Defense missions. The reason why was simple enough. Defense missions were so easy, you could complete them by standing at the objective and pressing buttons. With Warframe abilities and gear it was as easy as: Press 1 button to see an entire room of enemies dissolved from toxins, burned to cinders, or reduced to atoms 5 waves in a row until you receive a bad-to-mediocre reward. Today as I write this, Defense has not changed much in that regard.

   

    I understand that difficulty is a discussion in and of itself, but while a great deal of work goes into the terrain and the tile design, it usually appears there are no major interactables or interesting items added into the Defense game mode. One important rule that Warframe has learned over the years is not only how to evolve and take risks, but that it must. This is true for most of the game at large, always growing larger with every update, but not for some old game modes. Defense itself has been built on ~17 different tiles, (https://warframe.fandom.com/wiki/Defense) but of those, only ~5 have any major gameplay or notable stage events or alterations. G. Sealab (moving defense points), G. Kuva Fortress (traps), Corpus Planetoid (Ambulas/ Corpus dropships) Lua (falling defense point), and Orokin Void missions (lasers) and a few exceptions such as Elevators and a slight movement of the point, the remaining 12 can be boiled down to, “Basic enemies run at the point non-stop.” It may as well be Survival.

 

    While the more recent game modes have been making improvements to the run and gun formula of Warframe, the previous missions are still as basic as can be. The aforementioned defense missions all have something interesting to them, which makes them unique and memorable. And as a player, the only one that stands out as particularly fun to me was the Orokin Void tile. The one and only reason why that is: Instakill-lasers. It is essentially the only terrain tool in favor of the Tenno. And it's fun. Kuva tileset has traps against the player, Sealab has moving points, which is more of a burden than a boon to Tenno preparing to dig in and endure the new wave, and the Lua defense really doesn’t add much more than a change of scenery and enemy pathing. This brings me back to the point of lasers, how one simple button made the Void missions fun.

 

Regardless of usage, giving the player a toy to work with drastically increases their interest. Ramparts can be used, and moa can be called from lockers, but those are not the kind of thing most players feel are worth pursuing. They are not the best to interact with, even though we can. Having terrain or items in favor of the defender not only makes a more interesting map to play on, but it also leans into the long term difficulty and replayability of the map as well.

 

Defense is already the longest gamemode, often the most tedious, and is one of the worst missions for rewarding a Copper or Silver mod for some of the most effort of the mission types. Rather than attempt to “fix” it by making it faster, I believe the mode would rather embrace the long form of the mission (But please kick the rewards up a notch too!)

 

It is for these reasons and more that I would propose the following ideas for consideration and utilization as the Warframe community sees fit:

 

True Tower Defense, AKA Prime Defense.

 

(“Prime” is included for flare and does not indicate a change to only the Orokin Void tile set)

 

Major suggested additions:

1:  Turrets or Towers on and around the defense point.

2: More player-activated traps and triggers and Mission Roles.

3: Implementing special waves/ demolysts in standard Defense to increase variety.

4: More rewards and faster, more fluid waves.

5: All these suggestions are based on current game mechanics.


 

  1. Give Players powerful mounted guns and terrain tools unique to tiles

    

    This proposition is as ambitious as it is intensive. I believe that there could be much more added to make the current game mode far more interesting, difficult, and fun. The current defense point has more than enough defense for even moderately defensive Warframes to keep the point from taking too much damage, and I would like to work off of this idea. 

From here, the design of the map can change drastically, or stay much the same (Though specialized traps and weapons would be really cool, and change is always encouraged!).

 

While this can be exchanged for just about any weapon and Warframe, the concept remains the same. A single turret point where a player can use a relatively strong weapon to tackle the brunt of waves. Having a player directly defending the point and monitoring health would also encourage more cooperation, should that Defender be overwhelmed. A player will be able to share that information far easier than the UI will. 

   

  • The Main Gun

    Imagine a primary “defense turret” placed as either the defense point itself, or above it. This turret could be manned by a player who can climb in akin to the Ramparts. If certain enemies were resistant to normal weapon fire, or the guns were amped to the damage numbers of Necramech weapons then this would likely be a fun role for players to have. Scaling with enemies is always important, but small modifiers could easily let the bulk of enemy forces be decimated through heavy firepower of the main turret. Unable to aim the turret at it’s own base, this method would be useless for removing enemies at the bottom, requiring additional assistance outside of the cannon. This proposition excels at adding optional tools for the player to use while leaving the basics of Warframe alive within it. A good build on most Warframes can completely remove the reliance of weapons, but what if it was made necessary? Such as the mounted guns could be the only way to damage specialized Sentient shielding, or take out heavy units faster than most weaponry with % based damage. Suddenly, a small addition of a single turret can get a lot of use. The most basic concept of this can be explained with most arch-guns and a good tank. Take, for instance, Atlas and the Kuva Ayanga.

Additional items may include similar traps and lasers to the Orokin rooms we have known on prior sets, including any variation of the insta-kill lasers around the point. While this method in the past has resulted in 0 experience given for the kills, it could easily be added into the Railjack Intrinsic/Plexus system for points while manning weapons.

 

  1. Interactables and Roles

 

  • Special Traps

These traps would encourage, rather than force, players away from the primary defense point in order to take up strategic or advantageous positions in the field, such as a choke point, or a trap that crowd controls very well. Even a secondary defense objective like an additional cryopod, an operative or drone who is in the wave temporarily to seek resources, or important artifacts that will give extra rewards if kept alive. A few basic ideas below:

 

-Grineer Traps) Grineer could have rudimentary traps using Fire, Blast, Slash with bundles of single use explosives set up in certain areas, allowing them to cave in sections of the map, like destroying smaller corridors in the rocky asteroids, collapsing tunnels on Mars, flooding sections on Uranus, mechanical hazards on Ceres, a chance at executioners on Sedna, or the ability to gain Kuva through actions on the Kuva Fortress.

 

-Corpus Traps) The Corpus would have much more tech set up, magnetic, electric, cold, and radiation damage with turret traps, single-door locks, the portable Warframe nullifier beam used Valkyr Prime, general proxy traps, EMP bursts, cryotic containers to leak onto enemies, collapsing the ice on Europa, experimental sentient weapons on Jupiter, electrical hazards and mechanical faults to be exploited on and off ships, with additional railjack objectives on enemy ship tiles.

 

-Infested Traps) Infested may be a bit more organically based, Gas, Toxin, Corrosive, Viral damage bursting from pockets of explosive growths and cysts akin to Deimos, Latchers and trappers that can temporarily ensnare a Warframe in a web of Infestation, Dormant/inactive Juggernauts that can be triggered, Sound-activated infested traps, Toxin clouds left over where marked enemies die, crawling Wall enemies that act as mines.

 

-Energy Supply)

A Defense mission itself is boring mainly due to the lack of work to be done. Other than kill, there is little other purpose or reason to worry. If players had machines, or utilities at their disposal that required energy, it could involve players more actively while combining an already existent game mechanic with Defense. Marked enemies could drop EnergyCells, like they do in Excavation, which are then used to power the Energy Supply for the Defending Tenno. This energy supply could be used for either item listed above. 

The energy supply could have four slots, allowing four cells to be inserted, with each one supplying a charge to the new energy system. Using a cell could be as simple as using a burst AOE that the main gun has to help knock away nearby enemies, or activate a trap like lasers or status traps. The machine can simply despawn the cell after use, and trigger the round to spawn another marked enemy after a short time. Using energy cells in this manner opens up many balanced opportunities and ways to explore these varied areas and Defense nodes that we have had over the years in a new and interesting way.

Alternatively, the Energy Supply could produce effects for the team, such as sending out Enemy/Loot Radar information when powered, or give the party a constant amount of Energy generation as Energy Siphon does. The sky's the limit when it comes to the options already present in-game.

 

-Roles)

As introduced through Railjack, different roles are something that Warframe has been trying out, and I feel they may work nicely in Defense. Take, for instance, those insta-kill lasers found in the Orokin Void Defense Tile. Buttons to activate traps or items that can work in favor of the Tenno, rather than against them, could be set up through the map to be “manned” or utilized by players at doorways and choke points. Tenno could then take up certain roles, such as Defender, Support, etc.

 

-Defender could work closest to the defense point, fixing the primary gun through a repair minigame, running to protect certain areas, and generally sticking close to objectives and supporting where they can. I think something akin to a slower Demolyst threat could be used for additional pressure on players. It may not necessarily kill in one explosion, but dealing immense, unblockable damage would suddenly make the players panic and need to reconsider or approach their defense differently.  

-Support could attempt to run energy and repair items where necessary. Warframe healers would be good for players, but a support would be able to assist regardless if they could heal players.

 

  1. Specialized Waves!

We have specialized waves in Disruption, but not Defense? The Orokin sentries of the towers are supposed to be intelligent, right? Enemies should adapt, rather than continuously dump elevator after elevator of grunts at a problem and hope it works. Why not simply have a setting that each round says: “Damage type __X__ Detected!”  And suddenly enemies receive a bonus damage resistance to that type for the round. Or similar to Disruption, simply giving specialized waves of enemies or additional modifiers even on just the fifth wave. Something, anything, to break up the monotony of Defense that isn’t waiting for the point to move from one side of the map to another. Players need to interact, players want to play a game, not wait for one.

 

  1. Increase rewards and mission speed

As talked about in the introduction to this proposition, Defense takes the most time, and often rewards the worst items. Players should feel that they can earn additional rewards if they try in a mission, Defense does not do that. It CAN, quite easily, with the addition of new tasks and situations. Be it keeping multiple points alive, protecting temporary allies, making sure a Demolyst is destroyed before it reaches the point, or quickly leaving to tackle an additional objective, the game mode itself NEEDS to reward more. Plain and simple. 

 

  1. Prime Defense is DOABLE!

It is very important to me that any idea I present is not far-fetched enough to never see the light of day. While I will not pretend to know how difficult coding is or what all making a game such as Warframe entails, I do know that using the mechanics and materials currently available to the community will increase its chances to see the light of day. Prime Defense is far from a pipe-dream. With a small, dedicated push something like this could not only save Defense missions at large, but also set into work a proper overhaul of the old game modes that helps polish a game that continues to shine brighter and brighter. 

If you have reached this point I commend you, and thank you for your time. As always, I happily encourage feedback to any and everything I have talked about above.  

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