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Steel Path should truly offer Rewards for Challenges (besides Steel Essence)


Grav_Starstrider
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With the drastic increase of Health, Armor, and Shields applied to enemies on the Steel Path, along with the base Level increase, flat +100% resource drop chance and mod drop chance boosts makes Steel Path have the same problem as the regular Star Chart.

Tenno have no (explicit reward-incentive) reasons to play level 45 (or 145 on Steel Path) missions. Instead Tenno will go to the level 30 (or 135) missions that can be completed more easily, with more enemies more easily killed, for the same (or more, due to higher killcounts resulting in more) rewards, or quicker-completed missions giving end-of-mission-rewards faster. And when Steel Path missions only offer doubled drop chances, despite enemies being more than twice as tanky, the issue becomes even more apparent. People don't go to Steel Path to farm End-of-Mission rewards, or Mission-Objective-Rewards (like the rounds/rotations of Interception/Disruption/Defense/Survival). They go there almost exclusively to farm Steel Essence.

I propose we solve this issue, at least for Steel Path, by making end of mission and in-mission rewards universally doubled by default (so that it's always worth playing the Steel Path version of a mission, as long as you can complete the missions/waves in less than twice the time, or despite twice the difficulty in timer-based missions), making the enemy resource and mod drop chance boosters scale additionally per level and affect a chance of additional Steel Essence drops from Acolytes (so that endurance runs and high-level Steel Path missions have more explicit rewards for the risk other than just bragging rights), and increasing enemy difficulty just a bit more per level. Additionally, increase affinity gain per levels beyond the Starchart-levels more significantly, as higher-level and more-difficult-to-kill enemies should be more worth your time to kill, rather than less.

This way, Steel Path is innately a more attractive option to those that can complete the missions in a timely/efficient manner, and has more explicitly scaling rewards AND difficulty, giving players incentive to try and seek challenge for efficiency, rather than ease for efficiency. People would go to Steel Path for Steel Essence, yes, but with enough resources/credits/mod/endo/mission-rewards, players would go there just to more-efficiently farm specific things, and could earn Steel Essence slightly more incidentally/passively. 

Ironically, fixing/updating Steel Path to be more challenging-but-equally-or-moreso-rewarding would also improve the New Player Experience, preventing reducing the high-octane "GOGOGOGO-GOOOOO" efficiency-grind mindset from commonly infecting early Starchart nodes and overly aggressively carrying in new player's nodes, which is robbing them of their ability to engage with the game. An endgame-modded Saryn/Mesa/Equinox/Ember loadout can turn an MR0-4 Excalibur's Earth missions into walking simulators.

I'd love to be (and see other players) more explicitly rewarded for accessing more severely challenging content, rather than consistently being rewarded more for seeking the least challenging content that rewards them what they want. Let the earliest missions in Steel Path be about the same relative difficulty as they are currently, so that players already struggling to farm Steel Essence don't see increased difficulty, but let the highest-leveled missions give something wild like 4x their current difficulty, but for 8x or 16x the loot! Let the absolute highest-level missions in the game be nearly unapproachable, with rewards to match, descending from there to difficult missions that are rewarding, to the easiest missions being less rewarding. As it should be, imo.

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12 minutes ago, Grav_Starstrider said:

I propose we solve this issue, at least for Steel Path, by making end of mission and in-mission rewards universally doubled by default (so that it's always worth playing the Steel Path version of a mission, as long as you can complete the missions/waves in less than twice the time, or despite twice the difficulty in timer-based missions), making the enemy resource and mod drop chance boosters scale additionally per level and affect a chance of additional Steel Essence drops from Acolytes (so that endurance runs and high-level Steel Path missions have more explicit rewards for the risk other than just bragging rights), and increasing enemy difficulty just a bit more per level. Additionally, increase affinity gain per levels beyond the Starchart-levels more significantly, as higher-level and more-difficult-to-kill enemies should be more worth your time to kill, rather than less.

Isn't this already the case? Apart from the affinity at least you already get double resources and doubled mod drop chances. Acolytes are on a timer, so a longer mission naturally gets you more of them already, which means more steel essence. When it comes to affinity, do you really want to bring unleveled gear into it for leveling? If its an "endgame" mode then everyone should have their best gear rather than unleveled stuff, right?

The reason why people go for the lowbie missions is because they are fast, not because they are rewarding. Well apart from excavation or relic missions or just straight up trying to flex on the newbs.

When it comes to the steel path rewards i think its bad enough that its pretty much the only source of the arcane unlockers (Which more than double the damage of any ranged weapon) and umbra forma. Making the whole thing even harder and more annoying on top of what it already is would just make it even worse. At least i find the enemy damage to be /way/ too high, which just turns the whole gamemode into bore mode due to requiring either massive cheese with the shield gate or a tank frame with a good melee. Pretty much leads to enemies either killing you a /lot/ or they are not even a threat, nothing really in between.

I could see a few nodes being upgraded to be ludicrously hard (Maybe something like steel path eso?) and then lock some cosmetics behind them however. Just to let people that finish those nodes have something to show for it. Just /never/ add anything that increases power behind something like that or people will see it as required, and when they cant do it nothing good happens.

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Steel path should only ever have been the base star chart with higher starting levels. Anything else going on is more than enough. If anything they should remove acolytes from steel path. Put steel essence as an end of mission reward based on total kills with a regular interval of minimum kills required or just have it drop from an eximus every 4 minutes.

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55 minutes ago, Vahenir said:

Isn't this already the case? Apart from the affinity at least you already get double resources and doubled mod drop chances. Acolytes are on a timer, so a longer mission naturally gets you more of them already, which means more steel essence. When it comes to affinity, do you really want to bring unleveled gear into it for leveling? If its an "endgame" mode then everyone should have their best gear rather than unleveled stuff, right?

 

Unlike warframes weapons dont "level up" they just have a mod capacity and most people in steel path can probably fully mod their weapons or close enough that their tools are still fully functional.

I actually use steel path for leveling now since its faster and less aggravating than ESO.

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1 hour ago, Grav_Starstrider said:

I'd love to be (and see other players) more explicitly rewarded for accessing more severely challenging content, rather than consistently being rewarded more for seeking the least challenging content that rewards them what they want. Let the earliest missions in Steel Path be about the same relative difficulty as they are currently, so that players already struggling to farm Steel Essence don't see increased difficulty, but let the highest-leveled missions give something wild like 4x their current difficulty, but for 8x or 16x the loot! Let the absolute highest-level missions in the game be nearly unapproachable, with rewards to match, descending from there to difficult missions that are rewarding, to the easiest missions being less rewarding. As it should be, imo.

I see what youre saying here, it makes sense, but no. Theres a thread that pops up often enough about gaming and difficulty or types of difficulty and the consensus is that people arent playing warframe for a challenge. They are playing warframe to relax, rip n tear, hack n slash, shoot n loot.  Steel path exists for "veterans" so it doesnt take an hour in a survival to start having fun with our toys.

Steel path really should have just been a drop down for starting levels youd like to fight at and then the scaling starts.

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8 minutes ago, Zhoyzu said:

Unlike warframes weapons dont "level up" they just have a mod capacity and most people in steel path can probably fully mod their weapons or close enough that their tools are still fully functional.

Oh i know, not everyone is MR 30 tho. At least i still end up with a mod being dropped when i level stuff most of the time. Especially on the kuva/tenet weapons, since those still lose capacity down to 30/60.

4 minutes ago, Zhoyzu said:

I see what youre saying here, it makes sense, but no. Theres a thread that pops up often enough about gaming and difficulty or types of difficulty and the consensus is that people arent playing warframe for a challenge. They are playing warframe to relax, rip n tear, hack n slash, shoot n loot.  Steel path exists for "veterans" so it doesnt take an hour in a survival to start having fun with our toys.

Steel path really should have just been a drop down for starting levels youd like to fight at and then the scaling starts.

I pretty much agree with this. I would have loved to be able to play the game with around level 70+80 enemies without mad extra scaling. At least i find that level to be around where the damage starts going too extreme from the enemies so it limits options while most weapons are still perfectly effective at that level. The larger spawns of steel path are really nice however, but also having an option for smaller and beefier spawns would be nice. Kinda makes me miss the original railjack grineer. There weren't a lot of them, but they all had a /lot/ of armor and damage back then. Fewer enemies does make it easier to give them threatening stuff that can be played around.

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3 hours ago, Vahenir said:

Isn't this already the case? Apart from the affinity at least you already get double resources and doubled mod drop chances. Acolytes are on a timer, so a longer mission naturally gets you more of them already, which means more steel essence. When it comes to affinity, do you really want to bring unleveled gear into it for leveling? If its an "endgame" mode then everyone should have their best gear rather than unleveled stuff, right?

If enemies take more than twice as long to kill, then a doubled drop chance doesn't make up the difference. And yeah, Acolytes are on timers, but where's the Steel-Essence or other-drops or mission-reward incentives to doing a Level 145ish Steel Path Survival nodes, instead of doing the easier Level 115ish Steel Path Survival nodes? This is honestly something I would want DE to lowkey apply to the normal Starchart as well, give people a reason to choose the hardest missions that drop what they want, rather than the easiest ones.
And the types of players playing Steel Path are already likely to be the ones Forma-ing Necramechs, Kuva weapons, and Tenet weapons, so I feel like there's justification to making the affinity gain higher, but I can see your point as well. Others can weigh in and decide whether they'd like Steel Path to be worth using for leveling quickly, or if they'd hate other pubs joining with under-leveled equipment.
To be honest, I've always kinda hated how Sorties wouldn't accept a rank 29 Warframe. I feel like it wouldn't be un-called-for to split the difference between our opinions, and make Steel Path require that you use at least 2 rank-25+ things and/or exclude players with more than 2 below-15-ranked things, so that it's only better for ranking 1 or 2 things at a time or so.

3 hours ago, Vahenir said:

The reason why people go for the lowbie missions is because they are fast, not because they are rewarding. Well apart from excavation or relic missions or just straight up trying to flex on the newbs.

And the fast options are the rewarding options, when the mission rewards themselves are what you're going for. Hence why I feel like we should make Steel Path more innately rewarding to run than normal missions on the Starchart, with the doubled mission-reward. And why I want it balanced so that higher-leveled missions are more rewarding to run than lower-ranked ones, so that skill/speed in harder missions is rewarded, rather than sheer speed in the lowest-leveled mission possible.

3 hours ago, Vahenir said:

Making the whole thing even harder and more annoying on top of what it already is would just make it even worse.

I was suggesting that SP Earth be no harder than it already is, but perhaps we could even just make Earth a Steel Path starter zone, where it doesn't have as much of the health/shield/armor bonuses (and less of the loot bonus as well, for balance)? I agree that Steel Path and Acolytes at that level can be prohibitively difficult for some people to engage with, so I wouldn't mind a smoother transition from late-Starchart/Arbitrations to the Earth nodes of the Steel Path. I agree that cosmetics could be good things to lock behind later levels of Steel Path, so that progress has unique rewards to work towards.... Maybe Ephemera or full-body-effect Sigils (like Static or Bloodshed sigils) for the Bosses of later planets, as a reward for besting difficult turbo-charged bosses? Maybe the Void's Vor could drop the Corrupted visual effect (toned down, or intensifying/weakening in a cycle. Maybe Ambulas could drop an Ambulas moa-companion-skin). 

2 hours ago, Zhoyzu said:

I see what youre saying here, it makes sense, but no. Theres a thread that pops up often enough about gaming and difficulty or types of difficulty and the consensus is that people arent playing warframe for a challenge. They are playing warframe to relax, rip n tear, hack n slash, shoot n loot.  Steel path exists for "veterans" so it doesnt take an hour in a survival to start having fun with our toys.

Steel path really should have just been a drop down for starting levels youd like to fight at and then the scaling starts.

Even if some veterans do it purely for fun and challenge without the reward, why not also reward them for engaging with the challenging content, though? This is merely an escalation/extension of the already-present drop chance boosters in place, just actually having additional scaling in place as you go higher up the Steel Path ladder.

2 hours ago, Vahenir said:

I pretty much agree with this. I would have loved to be able to play the game with around level 70+80 enemies without mad extra scaling. At least i find that level to be around where the damage starts going too extreme from the enemies so it limits options while most weapons are still perfectly effective at that level. The larger spawns of steel path are really nice however, but also having an option for smaller and beefier spawns would be nice. Kinda makes me miss the original railjack grineer. There weren't a lot of them, but they all had a /lot/ of armor and damage back then. Fewer enemies does make it easier to give them threatening stuff that can be played around.

As I mentioned already, maybe instead Earth could truly be the stepping stone from Arbitrations (60-80) to Steel Path? Maybe by being levels 80-100. And/or it could ease into the reward structure as well, with the lowest leveled missions only having a small amount of the boosted loot and EHP, until the very last/most-advanced nodes where it has the Steel Path standard of +150% health/armor/shields? Could be the "Steel Threshold" 😛

Just thoughts, per usual.

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