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Bored? Blame The Npcs


blackhalo321
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So...

I'll just start off by saying Warframe does have a fantastic style and base to combat, one that I love... BUT the game is so repetitive, it is god awfully repetitive. Grinding the same enemies over and over again in this game is just a bad game. That may sound silly (what doesn't get repetitive), but the thing is, with warframe, you fight near every fight exactly the same... think about it. See dudes trickling in, shoot them as the walk towards you, see a bunch of dudes, pop a power. Little if any dynamic gameplay, little if any dynamic teamwork.

The devs have been busy, adding in more events, more tweaks to missions, more enemies you 'counter' exactly the same, more gear to grind for. They have been trying to keep combat interesting by having the game trickle in more enemies with more stats, more knockdowns, more venom or fire aoes, more undodgeable attacks, more energy drains... but none of that is what the game needs...

If missions and combat get intelligently revamped to actually play more dynamicly, I mean with this kick-@$$ theme and such consistent updates, this game could hang in there with some of the best F2Ps ever released.

The best way to start that seems to be by changes to the NPCs.

(I put the more long-winded, sidenote stuff in spoilers)

-------WHAT'S NEEDED-------

From what I seen there are two ways to go about fixing the game, (1)make NPCs dynamic to fight (2)make allies dynamic to work with. PvE games (and the best PvP games) don't just plop down 4 solo-heroes in the same instance to grind the same feeling fight again and again... they give them enemies that require interesting techniques and clutch plays to kill. Focusing on teamwork is the quickest way to get to that, if how the fight goes depends on teamwork, fights play out allot differently with differently specced/skilled allies and different compositions of enemies to break down.

 

I have nothing against solo'ing down enemies, I'm just saying, focusing more on Tenno working together will makes this game and it's tons of grinding feel far less repetitive.

Reworking frame-based abilities could possibly help a little, right now there already is teamwork in them (crowd control, walls, exc.) but using them to help allies isn't really even needed until endgame...

Anyways if enemies are working together and supporting each other (in well done ways) teams of Tenno won't be a bunch of people doing their own thing killing everyone in sight, it'd push them towards sticking together and picking apart a larger group of enemies.

Teamwork.

 

-----IGNORE BALANCE-------

People always seem to bring up balance between warframes, but short of extreme balance issues, it's pretty much the most meaningless thing in a new F2P PvE game.  The game is new, what needs to be worked out is the core of the combat/mission system.  That's the thing that won't be changing in a year, there is always time for rebalancing S#&$. 

To boot it's a PvE game... like if an ally is doing really well.. oh darn, the mission is now a lil easier...

-------FIXES-------

There are many ways to do it, if anyone's got a better idea, share away, but the best I can see is....

(1) enemies typically move in groups instead of constant trickles or 2-3 man pockets. It's more realistic and fighting groups of enemies, with large changes to what enemies do, will be FAR more entertaining and open up allot more teamwork between allies and enemies.

(2) With enemies coming in groups, weapons and enemies should more push towards roles. When you use a sniper rifle it shouldn't end up playing like a low rate of fire assault rifle. There should be different playstyles for different weapon types.  One way to start that, off the top of my head, maybe a defensive enemy can place an alpha wall and snipers can pierce them allowing a sit and pick playstyle, while assault rifles and the likes have to be more mobile and swerve around the walls.

(3) Make a chance of fighting a group with some thought out setup.  Like if the DE devs sat down and worked out a number of groups of enemies that pushed for interesting teamwork and options when killing then put them in an RNG table, maybe different sorts for different mission types.  They can even start creating enemies around what makes these groups more entertaining/dynamic to fight.  This is what would nail in teamwork, it'd push for multiple Teno to distract, suppress and pick apart groups of enemies.

Warframe has action packed combat it just needs enemies that can show that off and keep missions interesting.

That means the best thing enemies in Warframe can cause is a changing 'how do I deal with this guy' with acrobatics and allies and other enemies factoring into it all...

Example enemies:

A rez enemy

Typically spawns in the elite units of enemies.

The guy has no weapon, maybe a small PBaoe CC and a small frost globe or something of the likes that blocks aoes but not sniper rifles. The NPC can walk up to an enemy and revive them for 15~ seconds with some stat boosts (most notably up to 2~ times the health and some more dmg). Something like that would completely switch up how you are fighting enemies. It's best to avoid killing enemies near the rez NPC, is he worth rushing to melee down? can you actually safely reach him (units come in formations sometimes)? should you just grind down the guys near him then flee?

A more turrety enemy

Sort of common.

He hunkers down and starts volleying out shots, a fair deal of armor in the front but certain kinds of weapons (slower moving projectile or ones that make a ground based pulsing aoe or one with pinpoint accuracy) are effective against them anyways, that or you can kite around its back (slow turning) and then beat it up (a use for acrobatics, the big part is that it gives a few weapons a reason to be used besides raw dps so the game can focus on making diverse weaponry not just power creep)

tweaking shield offsprey

they only spawn with elite units but making them give a medium bonus to all resists besides slash/pierce/impact (you'll end up blowing twice~, at least until higher ranked missions, the aoes to actually grind down the group of guys, that or you can kill the offsprey) the offsprey can move more spastically if a Tenno gets close to benefit more long range sniping of it (giving a solid use for a weapon like... the sniper rifle... I'm not playing favorites, just the weapon is USELESS right now).

Edited by blackhalo321
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I'd agree on the AI being pretty bad. They should make it less of a storm of inbred morons and more of a moderate group of skilled soldiers. Except maybe Survival, because that's all it's about. Warframe has a lot of content that can't really be made use of unless the AI gets a rework or PvP is enabled on a larger scale. The block on this, however, is that AI is a pain to code. So if they did rework the scripts, it could be awhile before we see a change. I'm all for AI 2.0, but will it ever actually happen?

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When in mortal danger,

when beset by doubt,

run in little circles,

wave your hands and shout.

 

That said, better enemy formations is the way to go for increasing difficulty. HP and dmg scaling is a lazy way that is much to widespread in games today.

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I'd agree on the AI being pretty bad. They should make it less of a storm of inbred morons and more of a moderate group of skilled soldiers. Except maybe Survival, because that's all it's about. Warframe has a lot of content that can't really be made use of unless the AI gets a rework or PvP is enabled on a larger scale. The block on this, however, is that AI is a pain to code. So if they did rework the scripts, it could be awhile before we see a change. I'm all for AI 2.0, but will it ever actually happen?

 

If you're not clever about it.

I put in examples that actually fight mindless aoe-spamming.

If you aoe grind a bunch of guys next to the rez enemy... he'll pop everyone back up with stat/health buffs for 15~ seconds.

If you grind a group buffed by an offsprey... he'll mitigate half~ the dmg.

 

These actual 'how to do it' suggestions are only things of a dozen minutes of thought though, so don't expect 'patch it in tomorrow' quality.. but there are ways to get around completely rescripting AI (I code a bit in my down-time, so I know how much of a $#*(@ AI is).

Edited by blackhalo321
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All in all, I can't see anything helping the game as much as a better design to the NPCs.

This is a bit long-winded but I'm talking down my reasoning from start to finish. 

 

---------------------------Start--------------------------------

Right now everything scales through health and dmg, harder missions are just ones with more enemies that deal more dmg and take more to kill...

 

The easiest way for MMOs to rehash repetitive content is to focus on teamwork, that's why WoW and whatnot stick to the trinity, it instantly makes repetitive content at least decently entertaining.  I hate the trinity and don't want it to touch this game, but the concept behind it is still worth noting.  Forcing 4 people to not just be in the same instance, but actively and continually work together makes repetitive content far more entertaining.  Fights play out differently if you have differently specced team-mates making the same content more interesting, having effective ways to help or support allies (not just grind monsters) pretty much always ends up making a game far more entertaining...

 

ATM that seems to be the biggest roadblock between this game being downright addicting and it being a cool casual game to hop on to from time to time.  There are two ways to go about changing that (at least from what I see)...

 

tweak abilities since Support/team-based abilities are in a kinda bad spot atm.  This is very tough to pull off and I'm honestly not sure exactly how to go about it.  But just to explain what I'm thinking a bit more... frost globe, even though it was a lil OP, it was actually a somewhat well designed skill, at least in high ranked content, it completely switched up how the game plays forcing people to stick together more and play around this bubble.  That's good, not fantastic, but it was a good way to make things more interesting.  Stuff like maybe adding more targeted aoe stat boosts or dmg mitigations or heals, or more aoe fields that give a buff, more projectile walls, maybe smoke grenades or mines as a possible secondary weapon.  Those things could possibly do some good.

 

-----------------------------Finish-------------------------------------

tweak enemies since they are all mindless dps spams.  If enemies worked more as a team, it'd force the Tenno to actually have to do the same to break down their formations or groups of guys.  Stuff like giving the occasional chance at a unit of enemies.  Maybe an enemy that projects a frost globe or volt wall maybe make the shield offsprey more rare but give large elemental resists (so you can't just aoe grind those guys) maybe make sniper rifles pierce through all sorts of alpha based walls so you can use it to break down enemy formations for allies... that'd be the start of team-based weaponry which would add sooooo much to the game.  Each match could play out vastly differently if that became more of a thing (instead of just 'which weapon/skill aoe grinds everyone around me better').  Fixing the enemies has the added perc of not needing to make everything scale so hard, like end-game won't just be 'the dudes with a dozen times the health and dmg' it would be the enemies that consistently come in organized groups and formations (unless infected, then zerg away my pestilent friends) it'd let aoes not have to scale so hard, it'd let dmg numbers not have to grow so rediculously which would be a great thing IMO.  It'd let early missions not be run by one guy who is 2~ ranks higher and so one shotting every mob... it'd let grinding for mats be a bit less of a 'watch that solo-hero go'.

 

Anyways, yeah, I really like this game, it's sooo close to having what it needs to be popular and addicting... but needs a bit of switch up to actually get there.

 

It's already here. It got slipped in the back door.

 

Fight a Tenno Spectre in the contested rails sometime holy COW are those things intelligent.

 

I had a 3 minute battle with one and it had the high ground. Friggin INTENSE. Dont need a '2.0' if the spectres are anything to go by for future AI upgrades to mobs. This game is gonna get a hell of a lot more fun.

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It's already here. It got slipped in the back door.

 

Fight a Tenno Spectre in the contested rails sometime holy COW are those things intelligent.

 

I had a 3 minute battle with one and it had the high ground. Friggin INTENSE. Dont need a '2.0' if the spectres are anything to go by for future AI upgrades to mobs. This game is gonna get a hell of a lot more fun.

 

There are better ways than just upping the AI's smarts.

With what skills NPCs have atm, it'd take tons and tons of work to make the fights really constantly different enough that it was worthwhile.

I really think the easiest way(and best way imo) to make the AI more interesting to fight is by making different NPCs fit more notable team-related roles.

Edited by blackhalo321
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Some of the stuff you explain is in the game with the leader units that some people actually find annoying.

 

Draining all energy sucks.

Large 'have to melee through' frost globes hiding groups of enemies with knockdowns or insane dps are obnoxious.

Scanner jammers tucked away in corners are obnoxious.

 

What I'm talking about is more... counterable? people get annoyed when an NPC abilities is a hard counter to a type of play (no more ranged attacks (frost globe), no more energy, no more melee (infested)), so I was looking for more interesting ways to tweak what NPCs can do.

Like if a non-dmging rez based NPC had a personal sized frost globe around it and the frost globes can be shot through by sniper rifles,  The rez-NPC can bring a nearby enemy back up for a short time (15s) with twice the health and a dmg buff.  That and as with the Offsprey-resist-buff, at least until higher tiered missions, it's not a 'holy F*** these guys have so much mitigation I can not do anything to them' more of a... if you want to aoe grind this group of enemies, you're going to have to burn a few more spells or aoes than normal, that or you can (or an ally can) poke off the offsprey.

 

Nothing annoying, at least that's the hope.

Edited by blackhalo321
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I created a new thread about something close enough in the feeback section, but no one answered me.

 

https://forums.warframe.com/index.php?/topic/220777-eindes-ai-feedback-and-ideas/

 

Yeah you seem to be aiming for more minor tweaks to AI, ones to accommodate stealth making more sense, that's cool stuff, I just think their are bigger fish to fry.

Fixing up NPCs can achieve sooo much more.

Edited by blackhalo321
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While i agree that the enemies and AI could use way more depth, we pretty much have to wait for DE to finish thier current work and then perhaps we will see somekind of Ai 2.0 or Enemies 2.0.

Who knows whats comming in Update 14, i do agree with you but for now it's all just waiting and perhaps drinking some tea.

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While i agree that the enemies and AI could use way more depth, we pretty much have to wait for DE to finish thier current work and then perhaps we will see somekind of Ai 2.0 or Enemies 2.0.

Who knows whats comming in Update 14, i do agree with you but for now it's all just waiting and perhaps drinking some tea.

 

I was thinking the same thing, anything like this is going to be awhiles away at best

Edited by blackhalo321
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While i agree that the enemies and AI could use way more depth, we pretty much have to wait for DE to finish thier current work and then perhaps we will see somekind of Ai 2.0 or Enemies 2.0.

Who knows whats comming in Update 14, i do agree with you but for now it's all just waiting and perhaps drinking some tea.

 

But I mean, the sooner anything like this is considered by DE, the better. 

The only way I can think of to get that ball rolling is to get people to start talking about it.

 

Perfecting balance is nice (all the trinity/ash talk), working on new tilesets is nifty... but none of those will make the game great, those are things of fine tuning an already solid system and Warframe can use a few fixes before it reaches that.

Edited by blackhalo321
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The easiest way to do that seems to be by getting enemies to work more as a team.

 

Why? So ults can obliterate them in nicely formatted rows?

 

Nice overall sentiment, honestly. However as long as every player can disable/kill every enemy in the game with the exception of Stalker and Prosecutor with a single click.

 

It's impossible to fix anything relating to challenge or play experience as long as that's the case. We wouldn't even notice the difference.

Edited by notionphil
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You know what... You're mostly right, but this won't fix anything. What you need is Warframe's illusion not to be broken every turn. ONE of the things that breaks the illusion of this game is enemy behavior because instead of hardened enemy you see a bunch of robots chasing you, but i'll argue that this game have MUCH MORE Immersion breaking items, such as Interface, contrived maps and overall lack of Lore. Warframe is supposed to give you that illusion of being a super-cool ninja, but that won't happen while you're patiently waiting for an arbitrary weapon to come out of the sky while you're looking for what DE decided the drop tables would be this update...

 

"Because it's cool" does not create an illusion... You need extensive work to create a believable illusion of an actual deep game. This means that you can't just over-look details such as two windows facing each other and both looking at an empty sky. Another thing that completely kills illusion is contrived arbitrary decisions such as "Vay Hek drops the Hydroid Blueprints because he was the boss we worked on and Hydroid is the U13 Frame."

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