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Balance 2.0 - The Cost Of Power


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Nothing is Overpowered.

Before discussing balance, we the community and DE need to remove the term 'overpowered' (OP) from our vocabulary.

There is no such thing as overpowered. Many things in Warframe however, have their power unchecked. That means there are not enough challenges or tradeoffs to mitigate the raw power of an item - thus it is overly effective compared to its peers.

Would a Soma be OP if it cost you 5 life every time you fired it? Would it be OP if you had to be Mastery rank 30, and spend 1M Oxium to obtain it? Arguably not.

We need to stop thinking about balance in terms of solely DPS/TTK, and instead start a conversation about what balance could be. Balance could be about giving you more viable choices, making each choice meaningful, and making Warframe a more engaging game.

Why Balance?

Without balance, each player is funneled into the same few pieces of ‘best’ equipment as everyone else. Yes, Warframe is a co-op/team game, and much like any other team sport, players want to excel. No one, even on a team, likes to be in last place. Designing 100 weapons but making 10 significantly more effective than the rest in every situation is false choice.

“Use these 10 weapons or be less effective than your team” is not a reasonable choice to offer players.

This is a waste of development resources and a squandered opportunity for player engagement. It makes gaining mastery a chore instead of an opportunity to explore. It is a constant source of disappointment for new players;

In short, the only valid argument against balance is "It will be boring if everything is the same".

Agreed, which is why my proposal is based on the principle that equivalent items should have different power, offset by challenge, specificity or ease-of-use. My proposal will address balance by increasing diversity instead of shrinking it - those who fear “sameness” have nothing to worry about.


Balancing weapons requires easier ways to make weapons different & more build options besides DPS & more reasons to use new weapons. Essentially, I propose we kill Warframe's 3 most vexing birds with one stone.

Now that we're all up to speed, lets get started.


Balance 2.0 - The Cost of Power

Section 1 - What is Balance and Why is it Failing

"Balanced weapon: A weapon that is arguably as Combat Effective as others which are as difficult to obtain."

This definition highlights the four key challenges Warframe has with balance.

1) Balance isn't just about DPS!

DPS is notably absent from this definition! Combat Effectiveness is the ability for a weapon to perform its role in battle. If the Boltor Prime had a range of 5M, its high DPS would be irrelevant - it would be far less Combat Effective. This point is key for weapon diversity; weapons do not have to have the same DPS to be balanced against eachother.

2) Weapons Need other Traits to make tradeoffs possible

Most weapons in Warframe don't truly have any Combat Effectiveness traits besides how quickly they kill. Thus killing ability(DPS/TTK) becomes the game’s primary balance factor. Not only does this spur monotony, it also makes balance impossible unless all weapons kill equally well - a similarly bland fate. This proposal is about creating a systematic way to define and manipulate Combat Effectiveness, outside of changing DPS.

3) Balance is Subjective, but needs structure

You'll note that I used the words “arguably as effective” - that's because balance is and will always be subjective. Is the Soma more or less combat effective than the Penta? High DPS versus medium-high AoE DPS? You can fairly argue either side; that's a good indication of balance. Even better would be a less subjective system to quantify the pros and cons of each weapon.

4) Tiers are critical for balance (and enjoying the game at large)

What do you balance a weapon against? How strong should a character be at each stage of the game? Without a standard of tiering, it's impossible for DE to design appropriately challenging content for the various stages in a player's life-cycle.  Access to Unchecked weapons trivializes content, and makes obtaining less effective weapons boring, and that's bad for both players and DE. Thus, balance should occur by Tier, reflecting a weapon's accessibility.

Now that we've identified what balance is, we can address its key problems.

  •     No clear and followed weapon Tiers
  •     No enough ways to manipulate Combat Effectiveness without changing DPS
  •     No standardized system to quantify Combat Effectiveness


Section 2 - The Proposal to Fix Balance

A - Defining Weapon Tiers - "Judged by a Jury of it's Peers"

Part of my evolving definition of balance is that weapons are balanced in groups, against others ‘as difficult to obtain’. Why?

Primarily, it’s critical that at any given stage in a player’s lifecycle, the developer can engage him in appropriately challenging content. If DE doesn’t know whether you have access to a 1K DPS rifle, or a 10K DPS rifle, it’s not possible to balance content for your character.

Secondarily, it’s important to ensure that at any stage in a player’s lifecycle, they are surrounded with numerous equally viable options, instead of one clear choice and a number of also-rans. Spending time (and plat) to purchase downgrades (early in a player’s life-cycle) enforces the feel of a “mastery treadmil”, and reduces enjoyment.

In WF, weapon power tiers are nearly unrelated to what “life-cycle” stage a player obtains them at. The rank 2 Boltor Prime is far superior to over 100 other guns, including many rank 5 or 6 ones. Quite a shock and disappointment to a 2 week old player to find he’s already obtained arguably the most powerful rifle in the game.

We can understand that DE does not want to mastery lock all weapons as it would put much of the game’s content far out of reach for much of the expanding (read: new) playerbase. However, we must acknowledge that progression is a key engagement driver in both WF (via mods etc) and in RPG style gaming as a whole. Motivation to ‘collect’ is diminished when one already gets the ‘best’ gear at an early stage of play.

How do we reconcile tiers, limiting access to weapons without mastery locking everything? We must expand our definition.

Tier = mastery rank + difficulty of obtaining


  • 0 - starter equipment (not included in balancing, all should be Rank 0, marketplace buyable)
  • 1- Early Game (enemy lv 1-15) equipment - Mastery Rank 0-3
  • 2- Mid Game (lv 16-30) equipment - MR 4-7
  • 3 - End Game (lv 31+) equipment - MR 8+

Being a Prime/Wraith/Vandal, Dual Variant Weapon, or RNG farm drop will add one to a weapon's tier.

This is because these Variant weapons are generally more challenging to obtain than their counterparts. However, we will see that Primes/Wraiths/Vandals and Duals will always come with specific tradeoffs to offset their power.

Thus, a MR0 Prime or Dual weapon would be considered Tier 2, and would be balanced for Combat Effectiveness versus weapons like the Soma and Penta. We will return to the specifics of that balancing later in the document.

Yes, some weapons will need to be moved (rank locked). Most can stay where they are. Overall, I suggest that weapons in a set tier should perform within a 30% (+ or -) from a DPS baseline, which we’ll detail later. Other factors like that increase or reduce their Combat Effectiveness will be used to balance them within that range. Once you leave that 30% range, a weapon’s DPS is likely either too high or low to perform adequately against the appropriate content regardless of any other Combat Effectiveness traits.


B - Weapon Traits - Manipulating Combat Effectiveness without Affecting DPS

Imagine that you are a Warframe weaponsmith, crafting a new pistol.

You have access to the core stats, Damage, RoF, Reload, Mag Size, Crit Rate and Crit Multiplier, which factor together to determine DPS and TTK. You select your values, and your pistol ends up with a DPS of 10K.

Now, you want to create 7 more pistol weapons, in the same Tier. So you make one hit a little harder, but reload a little slower. And another shoot faster with a bigger mag, but have less punch. But at the end of the day, unless you give all of the pistols the same DPS, you're going to end up with ONE pistol being the most Combat Effective, and the others less to varying degrees.

That wasn't a fictional story - DE was that weaponsmith. That most Effective pistol is the Marelok. The less Effective losers are Lex, AkLex, Seer, Vasto, Akvasto, Magnus, Akmagnus. When the only factor in Combat Effectiveness are core stats, every weapon of a similar type is a upgrade or a downgrade of another.

In essence, the weaponsmith didn't have enough tools to make these weapons different - without making them better or worse than eachother.


b1) Where does he get those Wonderful Toys!?!

Put your weaponsmith hat back on and take those 8 pistols back to the drawing board.

What if you had another set of attributes to manipulate that have no effect on DPS, but can make a weapon more or less flexible in combat situations? How about we start with ammo efficiency, effective range, puncture, AoE and projectile speed?

Yes, those properties are already present in Warframe, but tied to other factors (like bolts, or whether something is a launcher or a shotgun) and thus used infrequently. Those properties also tend to be used for diversity/cool-factor, not balance (EG: Penta). We're going to need to get more creative than that - not every weapon can be a boltor.

What if a standardized system existed to give your weaponsmith direct, simple control over those and many other properties, both positive and negative? You'd finally be able to make those 8 pistols "arguably equally combat effective" without having the same DPS.

b2) Weapon Traits System

Traits are inherent attributes which manipulate a weapon's Combat Efficiency without affecting DPS. They are used to add flexibility and ease-of-use OR challenge and tradeoffs to weapons.

A weapon's traits would be listed on the arsenal, codex and marketplace, with a description tool-tip appearing on mouseover.

b3) Weapon Trait List

Each Trait is listed with suggested values, but these can vary on a weapon-by-weapon basis. Some traits will interact with specific weapons in more potent ways, thus the system must be flexible.

You will notice there are more positive traits than negative traits;  there are more gameplay options to improve a weapon’s utility than reduce it - this is a good thing.

Positive Traits: Adds to a weapon’s combat efficiency, balancing them against weapons with higher DPS

  •     Handmade: above average Status chance(set manually)
  •     Balanced: switching to this weapon (takes 50% of normal time / is instant)
  •     Precise: shots to weakspots deal (1.5x/2x) damage
  •     Cruel: shots to weakspots have 50/100% bonus status chance
  •     Ruinous: status effects are increased in size, potency (not damage) and duration by (50%/100%)
  •     Culling: deals additional (50/100%) damage to downed enemies, or enemies from behind.
  •     Tactical: movement speed while zoomed is increased to (75/100%) of normal movement speed
  •     Featherweight: no reduction in movement speed while firing unzoomed
  •     Silenced: firing makes no sound
  •     Piercing: weapon comes with innate punch through of (.3m/.6m)
  •     Staggering: will always stagger target on a weakspot hit
  •     Insidious: will always Proc status on a weakspot hit
  •     Spiraled: deals 25% to 50% bonus damage at range, starting 20M away
  •     Snubbed: deals 25% to 50% bonus damage up close, ending 10M away
  •     Ablating: Any body part hit more than once becomes a visible weak spot. Damage is increased 25% per successive shot to a max of +200%. Multishots do not create ablated areas.
  •     Disruptive: hitting a target’s weapon have a chance to disarm equal to % of life lost
  •     Pillaging: enemies killed by this weapon have a bonus chance to drop air, energy or life orbs. This is a bonus drop and does not affect their normal drop rates.
  •     Debilitating: hits to weakspots prevent enemies from using powers for (5s/10s)
  •     Efficient: ammo pickups provide (25/50/100%) more ammo
  •     Stocked: ammo cap is increased by (25/50/100%)
  •     Shredding: deals (20/30/40%) of shot damage in a (1M/2M) AoE around point of impact. AoE does not affect any target hit by initial shot.
  •     Overkill: if a round deals more damage than needed to kill a target, it punches through and deals ‘remaining’ damage to anything else it hits. Punch-through mods supercede this effect.
  •     Uninhibited: shots to weak points always punch-through, dealing 2x damage to anything else hit

Negative Traits: reduces weapon's overall combat efficiency, balancing them against weapons with lower DPS

  •     Austere: lower than average Status chance (set manually)
  •     Unwieldy: switching to this weapon takes (50/100% more time)
  •     Imprecise: shots to weakspots deal (half bonus damage/no bonus damage)
  •     Blindfire: no reticule when aiming
  •     Iron-sighted: larger 'cross hair' reticule with no discrete point of fire
  •     Inefficient: ammo pickups provide (75/50/25%) of normal ammo
  •     Compressed: ammo cap is reduced to (75/50/25%)
  •     Dampened: status effects are reduced in size, potency and duration to (50/25%)
  •     Weighted: rounds are affected by gravity
  •     Kickback: cannot move while zoomed
  •     Sawed-off: deals up to 50% less damage to far targets, starting 15M away
  •     Inert: deals up to 50% less damage to close targets, ending 15M away
  •     Rigid: cannot be reloaded mid clip
  •     Hair-trigger: chance to fire multiple rounds (at regular speed) with a one trigger pull

Dual Weapon Traits: These traits apply to all dual variants of weapons to add challenge-of-use, because they are direct upgrades. All dual variants would have a Dual trait.

  •     Akimbo: Both weapons fire to the left or right of reticule respectively
  •     Hipshooter: Only fires dual when not zoomed in, fires a single weapon when zoomed (with appropriate reduction in RoF, mag)
  •     Twin-Sight : Only fires dual weapon when zoomed, fires a single when not zoomed in (with appropriate reduction in RoF, mag)
  •     Chained: Fires from each weapon in sequence, at the standard fire rate with a single trigger pull.

Weapon Lineage Traits: These traits apply to all Prime/Vandal/Wraith variants to add challenge-of-use, because they are direct upgrades. All Lineage weapons would have a Lineage trait*.

  •     Imperious Core(Prime) : if the weapon automatically reloads bc the clip empties, double ammo is consumed and reload speed takes 50% longer.
  •     Rampage Core(Wraith): reloading when ammo remains in clip takes 50% longer and wastes the remaining ammo.
  •     Skirmish Core(Vandal): weapon overheats if fired at max rate for more than (X% depending on clip size) of clip, ejecting the remaining clip and reloading at 50% speed.

*Each trait corresponds to the way the maker would use the weapon

Orokin, Prime = maker assumed tactical reloads
Grineer, Wraith = maker  assumed firing until clip is emptied
Corpus, Vandal = maker assumed cautious bursts

Inherent Traits: Some weapons have inherent traits based on their design, such as the AoE of a Penta(big positive), limited range of the Synapse (negative) or the corpse-fling + gravity of a bolt(neutral). I’m not going to list these traits because they are weapon specific, but they will be counted as positive, negative or neutral traits when balancing weapons.


b4) Traits in Action

Now, let’s see what adding a few Traits can do to balance our example Pistols:

How about we offset the raw power of the Marelok by making it more challenging to use? Let’s apply the 'Iron Sights' trait, which removes its accurate reticule and replaces it with a less precise crosshair. We can also add the 'Inefficient' and ‘Compressed’ traits reducing ammo pickup value to 25% and reducing its ammo cap by half. Now, we've made the gun into the unwieldy but lethal hot-lead-spitting beast that it’s power and model suggest.

The significantly weaker Magnus can gain additional Combat Effectiveness by adding a 'Precision' trait, which allows the finely constructed Tenno sidearm to deal 2x bonus damage to weakspots. Let's also give it a 'Tactical' trait, so you can move at full speed while zoomed. Now Magnus is perfect for cunning hit-and-move play, and can damage like the big boys when used with skill.

Will that make the Magnus balanced against the Marelok? I think we can make the argument that it will. And that is enough; we know balance is subjective. Our goal is solely to make weapons into viable choices when compared with their peers.

Note, not only did we make both weapons more balanced, we also made them more unique. Even if you grow out of the Magnus’ Tier, its unique playstyle can give you a reason to keep enjoying it - it’s no longer simply another pistol’s weaker version. Diversity is critical for balance - we’ll explore why in the next section.


C - Status and the Rise of Build Diversity

Diversity’s goal is allowing weapons to be different, without being strictly better or worse. When all weapons only focus is dealing damage, build diversity is severely limited. While Status builds exist in WF, they are hampered by the fact that every damage type on a weapon has an (equal?) chance of proccing.

For an average weapon build with 2 dual elements, this means that the chance of getting your desired ‘utility’ effect in a given situation is actually only 20% of your status chance! That’s certainly not enough to make Status an appealing trade off for higher DPS. No wonder we see so few Tysis and Grakatas around!

To remedy this issue, lets make Status worth build towards by giving players the option to set their weapons to a Single Proc mode. How?

Single Proc Mode: If the first mod slot in your weapon is occupied by a damage type mod, the weapon will ONLY proc that damage type (or dual type if the first 2 slots combine to form dual).

*To offset the massive utility boost offered by Single Proc mode, your weapon will proc 50% less. If you want to proc randomly as weapons do now, simply put a non-damage type mod in the first slot (ex: serration).

Single Proc Mode makes Status a true balance factor, especially with the 50% penalty. High DPS low status weapons like the Soma or Penta will never benefit from Single Proc mode, allowing that drawback to become a real offset for damage.


Section 3 - Balance Within Sight

Now we have Tiers to balance weapons within, Traits (besides DPS) to manipulate Combat Effectiveness and Status as an alternative build pathway, further reducing the singular value of DPS. The next step is creating a systematic framework to balance within.

A - Putting it all Together

To balance, we will allocate weapons by Tier, then give them positive or negative traits to offset their difference in DPS from the tier’s baseline. In short, we’ll give weaker weapons added perks and make and stronger weapons more challenging to use.

Each 10% a weapon is away from its Tier’s baseline DPS, it will gain a balancing trait that will appropriately offset its weakness or strength. A weapons inherent positive/negative traits such as AoE or travel time will be taken into consideration.

If a weapon is too far outside of it’s Tiers DPS range, it should be moved to another tier and gain an appropriate mastery rank. Ranges will help the developers to know how powerful players will be at a point in their lifecycle, allowing them to build more appropriately challenging content.

Here is an example, using existing weapon DPS numbers with my demonstration-only Tier DPS ranges. DE would make its own DPS baselines/ranges, and decide which weapons would fall into which tiers.

On the left, you will see weapons and their actual DPS, along with the rating of any Inherent traits (positive or negative).  On the right, you will see the rating of Traits that we would add to offset their DPS distance from baseline and Inherent Traits.  Essentially, we are balancing an equation.

Explanations present where needed.

1- Early Game (enemy lv 1-15) - Mastery 0-3

    -DPS baseline 7K | DPS Range 5K - 9K

    Boltor 6.9K        (+ -)bolts are a neutral trait; travel time & corpse knocback
    Braton 5.1K        (+ +) will be given two pos Traits to offset 20% low DPS
    Vasto 10K        (- - -) will be given three neg Traits to offset 30% high DPS
    Tetra 7.1K(-)        (+)already has neg trait, travel time, gets 1 pos to offfset
    Gorgon 8.1K         (-)...


2- Mid Game (lv 16-30) - Mastery 4-7

    -DPS Baseline 11K | DPS Range 8K - 14K

        Grakata 9.3K      (+ +)
        Grinlok 7K        (+ + +)
        Synapse 11K      (-)    (+)already has a neg trait, range, gets positive to offset
        Soma    13K       (- -)   
        Penta 11K(+ +)    (- -) already has a 2 positive traits, big AoE, needs 2 negatives to offset

3 - Late Game (lv 31+) - Mastery 8+

    -DPS Baseline: 15K | DPS Range 10K -19K

        Latron Prime 14K  
        Phage 20K(-.)    (-.) already has 1.5 neg traits, needs 1.5 more
        Boltor Prm 16K(- +)    (-) bolt is neutral trait, has pros and cons, needs 1 negative : Gets its inherent Prime negative trait and one other.
        Supra 11K (-)        (+,+, +) already has neg trait, travel time

Now that we’ve created some EXAMPLE Tiers, let's modify a couple of actual weapons in the same tier to see how this system would work. First; determine distance from baseline DPS. Second, select Traits which match a weapon’s playstyle and consider how much they would modify a weapon’s Effectiveness.

Grinlok: 7K DPS vs 11K DPS baseline in T2. 35% too low

Lets give it 3.5 traits that fit the concept of the Grinlok, and would complement its playstyle.

  • Precise: shots to weakspots deal (1.5x) bonus damage...(we'll count this as 1.5 traits, because it will be so effective with this weapon’s playstyle)
  • Spiraled bore: deals up to 50% bonus damage at range, starting 20M away
  • Handmade: slightly above average Status chance(it already has this, base 20% status)

So now, we have a 7K DPS Grinlok which can absolutely decimate enemies on weakspot hits and deals extra damage at range. The Grinlok can now be arguably equally Combat Effective as a Soma, in a specific combat situation. We not only balanced it, we made it unique compared to other battle rifles like the Latron.

Soma: 14K DPS vs 11K DPS baseline in T2. 15% too high

Let's add 1.5 logical balancing negative traits.

  • Austere - lowered status chance to 2% (already has a low 5%, but lets take it down farther bc of the high fire rate, we’ll count this as a .5 of a Trait).
  • Blindfire: no reticule when aiming (can still use iron sights)

The Soma is still a hyper powerful crit king. However, its high RoF won't be used as a proc crutch for its low status anymore. More importantly, that magazine sticking out of the top is obviously not a sniper scope. This stops Soma from being used as a faux-sniper rifle without reducing the accuracy stat, thus it can still deal massive damage at range once spooled, or with a skilled owner, instead of competing with single killshot snipers and battle rifles

B - The Rewards of Discipline

Once balance has been established, one issue will still linger - why would we ever use a lower Tier weapon when a higher Tier weapon is available?

This isn’t much of an issue in the typical progression based game. Level 50 Wizards don’t stomp around with level 5 goblins in an RPG, the rewards aren’t worth it. A level 50 Knight wouldn’t pull out a level 5 Claymore lest it ding harmlessly off a level 50 Lich's armor...thus the game wouldn’t expect him to.

However, in Warframe, weapons ARE content. We have more weapons than enemies, bosses, characters or levels. They serve as a primary revenue stream, power our key progression mechanic and act as new ‘experiences’ for players. But why would one ever want to “power down”?

Because now that there are clear tiers, the Discipline of using appropriately tiered weapons can be rewarded. Using a weapon in an enemy Tier Higher than it is designed for grants bonus affinity to any kills/assists made with that weapon.

  • T1 weapon in T1 content = 0% bonus affinity
  • T1 weapon in T2 content = 15% bonus affinity
  • T1 weapon in T3 content = 30% bonus affinity

This accomplishes two goals: 1) acknowledge and reward players for ‘self-handicapping’, providing a subtle bonus to those who don’t wish to overpower content. 2) provide an assisted ‘mastery treadmill’ to the process of high rank players needing to level up low tier weapons.


Conclusion - Now is the Time for Balance

Warframe is excelling; and has earned its success. However, with that growth, it has exited its infancy and can no longer rely on immaturity as an explanation for inconsistent balance and hastily thrown together progression. The game has too much potential to squander, and the developers realize this.

Thus, the seeds of balance and build diversity have been planted. Recent weapons such as Phage, Stug, Castanas eschew ease-of-use for massive power potential. We’ve seen status+element mods released, creating the first viable DPS tradeoff in WF. But these advances don’t stand alone - they exist within an ecosystem already running rampant with Unchecked power in the form of Brakks, Somas and +400% damage.

That ecosystem must be tamed. Power must be earned, tamed and harnessed - then brought to bear.

A system for retroactive balance, for retroactive build viability, for retroactive weapon diversity is the only way forward. This proposal can achieve those ends without the punitive DPS reductions or bland uniformity resulting from pure numerical balance.

Creating a modular system for making weapons different yet viable will be a tremendous step forward for a game centered around item acquisition. Unique combinations of Traits also prevents otherwise similar weapons from being direct upgrades, even between Tiers.

Balance 2.0 creates even more reasons to collect, improve and experience weapons, no matter where they lay across the Tier spectrum. And that collection, improvement and experience is what Warframe is about - so let’s make it as full of promise and opportunity as possible.

Thank you for your time,

Phil K. (notionphil)


(still adding signatories...)

Edited by notionphil
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Very interesting, I'm particularly for balancing the weapons around tiers, DE said that was their intention but it seems like they actually forgot to do it halfway through and just left the market, Void, and Clan dojo a mess of really good weapons that require minimal effort to get and a handful of high MR weapons that simply aren't worth their high requirements compared to the aforementioned "easy mode" weapons.


I also like the idea of having unique traits, both positive and negative, to help add some variance to weapons within a similar tier/DPS range; part of me is a bit concerned that, like status chance and most basic utilities, players will treat them as irrelevant compared to raw DPS, but it is at least a good jumping off point for when adding more value to status effect and the like is established. Also I see you managed to squeeze in your idea for single-proc mode XD.


Now there's just the issue of player progression itself being entirely dependent on RNG. I say Mod System 3.0 will be the real game changer that adds an actual sense of player progression, but smaller details such as your proposed Tier System and weapons having subtle traits that make them different would at least be a good starting point for establishing the general range that weapons have needed for a while now.

Edited by Paradoxbomb
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Bottom line is the Team Fortress 2 model for balance in a game with so many weapons. I mean, people seem to have this weird negative knee-jerk reaction when I bring this up but it is a valid point. That game is remarkably balanced. The classes are very specialized and have only a few hard counters (designed that way, i.e. Sniper v Spy), and their weapons (yes, even the unlockables) are balanced in the sense that the classes are almost incomparable. You can't say that the Heavy is undoubtedly the "best class" because he has a minigun and hypothetically can lay down the DPS like a madman (or Pyro with his flamethrower for that matter). You can't say the Engineer is the best class because he doesn't even need to be around to kill enemies. There are huge strengths and weaknesses of the weapons and classes together.


I liked the OP's hypothetical about the Soma costing life to use, but it's powerful. It would prompt new weapon/frame builds and playstyles. Certain Frames could be better with certain weapons. We see that the Frames are displayed with their "characteristic" weapons in their character portraits and in the Codex, so why not let them benefit from that? Weapons need to be more specialized in this game imo. As of now it's all DPS, so bust out your Soma, Synapse or Amprex, maybe your Penta, and go to town. You want to use your Hek? TOO BAD. It'll be fun for anywhere from 4-6 shots depending on mods and then reload. In that time, the DPS of other weapons has overshadowed you. This is NOT balance; it's funneling player choice because the only logical reason you would use, say, the Sicarus versus the Prime or, say, OTHER weapons is because as the current game stands, you're not choosing the optimum option.


We have so many freaking weapons in the game. Why do I feel like we have far less options?

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I'll admit I didn't get past Section 2 (I should be working!) but so far I like what I've read.

An idea for Akimbo weapon traits: the guns lose right click aiming and get -> right click fires right gun / left click fires left gun.

Edited by The_Doc
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I'll admit I didn't get past Section 2 (I should be working!) but so far I like what I've read.

An idea for Akimbo weapon traits: the guns lose right click aiming and get -> right click fires right gun / left click fires left gun.


I love that idea for a Trait! Will add.

Edited by notionphil
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S#&$. That was far too short. I need MORE


An excellent analysis of weaponry, an incredibly intuitive as well as plausible solution, and a result that I would dearly love to see. I would sign this petition if I could.


I particularly love the idea of balancing weapons using traits. Having so many positive traits and some negative ones in the pool, the possibility for weapon combinations is massive: nigh infinite, for a game. The best part is, you can eventually find weapons with specific positive traits and negative traits that cater to your play style.




I really do hope this gets considered as part of future development. Clear cut tiering system, innovated and inspired diversity of weapons, and rewarding players with variety, rather than punishing them with monotony, as you play through weapons. I really do love the idea.


But most of all, I love that Prime, Wraith and Vandal weapons are now more skill-oriented, rather than simply being another spam-machine which basically does the same thing as it does before. I also love that Dual weapons now have the variety that real life shooters do, with their pros and cons to match.


A +1 to this.


We need it.


DE, I will buy you bags of coffee if you decide to implement it. I swear by my Warframe account and all that is in it. 

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+1, a very interesting and thought-provoking read. Plus I can get behind most of these ideas (especially like the weapon Traits ideas, would certainly achieve it's goal of differentiating weapons more.)


One question I have though is how would this new system affect the base damage mods (Serration and Hornet Strike)? I only ask because I do not see mention of them, though I may have missed it due to my poor sight.

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Your whole post relies on the premise that the only relevant balancing factor in warframe entails anything else than TTK. It does not. There are other factors that define a piece of gear, but none of them are anywhere near as important as the damage output. For other apsects to start mattering, game mechanics have to allow for that, which means more complex gameplay, and that's something DE REALLY doesn't like working on. The core concept of the game has shifted from a year ago. The fastest and most efficient way to progress is to kill as many enemies as possible at any given time. The best way to do that is to apply as much damage as possible, which has to be of the right type. Done. The only other aspect that matters in balance is speed, because that enables palyers to move from one objective to the next more efficient. Speed balance however is beyond broken in this game with things like the Vanguard helmet around and coptering having been made even worse with the last update.


So, I'm sorry, but for most weapons to become viable and find niches the basic gameplay has to grow a lot, and for that to happen you'd have to nerf every weapon's ability to excel at killing every enemy equally fast, and that would result in "why nerf Penta, Soma, etc" whinefests all over the place. Just look at how they "nerfed" Nova, which isn't  doing anything to do anything to make her less annoying to play alongside. And don't even start about Rhino.


I commend your idealism and effort, but it's not gonna change a thing, unfortunately.

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Your whole post relies on the premise that the only relevant balancing factor in warframe entails anything else than TTK. It does not. There are other factors that define a piece of gear, but none of them are anywhere near as important as the damage output.




For other apsects to start mattering, game mechanics have to allow for that, which means more complex gameplay, and that's something DE REALLY doesn't like working on. The core concept of the game has shifted from a year ago. The fastest and most efficient way to progress is to kill as many enemies as possible at any given time.


That's because right now....any weapon'sTTK can be applied equally well in nearly every situation with our current weapon system, regardless of skill. (Range, ammo and self damage are the only real exceptions, and they are used pretty arbitrarily with regards to balance).


I don't ignore that fact - I suggest changing it.


Take a look through the Traits section. TTK and (time to engage and kill) can be affected situationally without simply changing overall DPS.




Tactical: movement speed while zoomed is increased to (75/100%) of normal movement speed

   -allows for faster run and gun play, and target engagement - reduce target acquisition time for decent mag size/zoom guns like lex/magnus


Precise: shots to weakspots deal (1.5x/2x) damage

   -weapon now becomes a monster in the hands of a precise player, even if its TTK would be otherwise lower




Kickback: cannot move while zoomed

   -can increase risk/time of pulling off accurate shots with powerful weapons like explosives


Imprecise: shots to weakspots deal (half bonus damage/no bonus damage)

   -speaks for itself


Result, TTK can be made to vary wildly from situation to situation, and desired skill/challenge level, as opposed to right now where TTK is pretty constant from gun to gun.

Edited by notionphil
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Looks great Phil!
I hope this gets all the attention it deserves. 
((Sorry I never got around to signing your rough draft. Life happens, kind of got lost in the shuffle.))


Your whole post relies on the premise that the only relevant balancing factor in warframe entails anything else than TTK. It does not. 

Although gameplay does have to grow as well. Most guns are still too similar to each other to actually allow evolved gameplay change which weapons we use for different scenarios. 

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I think the defining part of this post, regardless of TTK and DPS, as stated by notion, is the fact that you now have a niche where your play style is actually complemented by your weapon, or vice versa.


No longer is it four people who carry only Somas for maximum damage; No longer is it four people carrying four Mareloks; You would be wrecked at long range, engage the full brunt of the enemy at short range, and then get flanked, as opposed to: A team of four, carrying a mix of long range, medium range and close range weapons, considering mobility, status effects to debilitate key targets and a high dps unit to take out VIPs or enemy tanks. Supporting fire from long range, attacking as many enemies as possible before a hit-squad closes in to mop up the weakened enemies.


These sound like real-life tactics.


That's because they are. No team goes in everyone wielding shotguns, what would probably be the highest close-range burst DPS in real life, considering that the AA12 is a fully automatic monster. Some carry Assault Rifles and Submachine guns, for medium range and indoor combat, respectively. In places where you know you'll need to cover large distances, snipers are present.


Like materials, a beautiful blend of soft and hard, pliable and rigid, a mastercraft implement is made. 


Same goes with chocolate, really: Bittersweet symphonies of balance and yet, variety. 


Swords are made the same way. Cars are made the same way. Tires are made the same way.


Yin and Yang. 


Right now, we're basically just a pot of Yin called DPS/TTK/OPOPOPOPOPOP. Getting pretty tired of this gruel sh*t.

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I see you still have hope. Something that I've already lost. Nevertheless a good read. +1


My 2 credits:


It is imperative that DEvs start balancing as soon as possible. They need to actually set the tiers. Set the baselines. Assign all the weapons those tiers. Then write a detailed (as detailed as OP) post in Dev Workshop explaining their tiering decision, expected powerlevels and other factors that matter to balance. They don't even need to actually start balancing those weapons immediately. But this would accomplish one important thing for the BETA:


It would give us grounds for valid feedback. We would know if the weapon is underperforming or overperforming for it's intended tier because we would KNOW that intended tier.


It needs to be done NOW. This week or next week. Not later. Because now we have 150~ish guns. Imagine if DEvs realized that they need balancing when there will be 300 weapons in the game...


If I won't forget (and I probably will in few hours) I'll bump this topic once a day or two when it goes to second page of this subthread until we get a Yellow to respond and either confirm my suspicions that DEvs don't care about the balance at this point (and therefore are digging themselves into a deeper hole) or acknowledge that the game needs balance and actually start doing the balancing

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well, you've got my support. earlier in the post i had a few things in mind to mention, but by the end, you'd already addressed them.


as always, this isn't the entire story, Aurora mentioned a couple other important issues that need to be improved to go hand in hand with this. but once done, there will... actually be a game, so to say. as Warframe is certainly something enjoyable to play, but... still lacks a considerable amount of substance i suppose.



all players get bored without substance. a player giving up on Warframe and saying it's garbage and leaving, is more likely a player that is too enthusiastic about playing Warframe, and completely burns himself out while not really accomplishing anything.


you don't want that player to be playing all day, every day - you want the player to enjoy his time spent, so he will want to come back.

getting maximum playtime is nowhere near as good as getting maximum addiction. you want to make a player decide for themselves how much they want to play - not demand it. sure, many will follow along, but it's only a matter of time before they give up. 


so, take heed, Digital Extremes. eventually the ancient players will get bored of rewriting these things over and over. and then you're on your own. which we know doesn't go that great, you guys are not really experienced in this field, and presumably is why you wanted to have hundreds of thousands of minds thinking together.

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To bad not a single idea will ever see the light of day.


Where would you get that dreadful idea?


Warframe has far to go in many areas, but it is gradually improving. Look at just the past few months.


New enemies being created. Entire modes of combat (melee) being brought to parity. Frame invuln or weakness/in-flexibilities being addressed. Weapons being consistently released into appropriate mastery tiers. New enemies which are nearly impervious to Ult spam. The first evidence of player created content (rails and spectres) showing their head in game. Quests on the horizon (Proxy Wars). Incentives for using max level gear (Focus).


Every single item has been touched on by players (including myself...on all of the above) in the Forums. DE probably won't copy my post and paste it into their game treatment, but they will read it, and review the discussion. And hopefully, they'll find something of merit.

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