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New Player Experience: Boss Level Scaling Is Just Plain Broken


marelooke
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Hello Tenno,

 

Preamble (feel free to skip):

I've been playing Warframe for nearly a year now and since I enjoy helping new players I figured it was time I had a look at the "new new player experience" of the game. To this end I created a new account so I could experience the glory of starting with a blank slate all over again. I remember a nice Tenno doing similar when I started playing and he even created a nice tutorial giving new players goals to aim for until they had enough knowledge to be able to stand on their own legs[1], which, back then, to me was extremely helpful. I might try to update his guide at some point if he doesn't get around to doing so himself (no promises though).

 

Now, while going through the tutorial and early game zones there were a bunch of things I noticed and I'll be posting about some of the more major issues in individual topics insofar I feel they require their own topic since the huge topics sometimes started by new(er) players tend to usually die a quick death due to covering way too much ground in one post.

 

The actual problem (TL;DR at the bottom):

Some time ago DE implemented level scaling for (some?) bosses. I'm not sure if it was mentioned in the patchnotes, but I do remember topics about Hyena suddenly being rather OP.

 

So with my newbie character I went to kill Vor after having successfully faced him during the tutorial. Our group consisting of mostly rank0-1 players and *one* rank16 with an Ember Prime (you see where this is going, don't you?) waltzed into Vor's hideout feeling all badass in our rank7-ish frames with ditto weaponry.

 

So we started to fight Vor, and I noticed he seemed rather a lot tougher than during the tutorial (I never looked at his level though, unfortunately). My first thought was that tutorial Vor was a nerfed version to make him easier on totally inexperienced players so they wouldn't get stuck in the tutorial. Either way it took us ages to get him to "bubble" for the first time. Odd. So when he did start hiding in his bubble we suddenly were facing lvl43(!) Heavy Gunners (and ditto support). Suffice to say our group was wiped out in a matter of seconds.

 

But dude, you say, there was this Mastery Rank16 Ember Prime, surely (s)he must have been able to pretty much *solo* the entire kaboodle? Maybe so, maybe not, we'll never know because awesome MR16 Ember Prime was AFK at the spawn point (unfortunately I forgot to take screenshots or write down names, so alas, can't report the player).

 

I'm not sure if that player was just being a jerk and abusing the broken boss scaling to try and chase away new players (because having to fail a mission this way is *not* fun and I'm pretty sure the other players in that group didn't understand WTF had just happened. I couldn't tell them either because I don't speak Russian, alas)

 

Anyway, I figured, that might've just been an isolated incident with a troll being trolly, so I queued for Vor again. This time I got a full group of "active" people (no-AFK-ers). Alas, two of them were rather high mastery rank (6 and 9 or so, don't remember for sure). So when Vor did his bubble thingy we had a load of lvl35-ish Grineer spawn. Bye bye to the two Rank0 people in the group. On top of that the two higher mastery people were nice enough to not resurrect us so we lost a revive there as well (but at least they managed to kill Vor I guess). Pretty sure that wasn't very motivating to the other newbie.

 

TL;DR: the boss scaling just kills the fun in boss fights for new players, getting splattered across the floor by lvl30-45 enemies as Rank0-1 is *not* fun and certainly isn't a good way to keep players playing. If DE cannot guarantee groups of players of similar power for a boss fight then they should just scrap the scaling mechanic entirely. Bosses going *splat* in seconds due to one imba geared player is way preferable over entire groups going splat due to one person with a stupid high conclave rating compared to the rest of the group. I'm pretty sure that shenanigans like this are losing us (the Warframe community) players, which I think is a real shame.

 

 

[1] https://forums.warframe.com/index.php?/topic/80851-updated-98guide-getting-started/

Edited by marelooke
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Hmm, as for me, I will take the initiative to inform fellow players that the boss scales to my gear and become insanely hard. I will ask them to take cover while I kill him. I revive downed players to the best of my ability. I do agree that this boss scaling is broken.

Bringing 3 other newbies to the mission, I encountered a level 50 Vor that instantly instagibbed my entire team. Saving them, I was put into a tight spot as well.

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I was worried that would happen, your post just confirmed it.^^'

 

Scaling in Warframe is broken, bonkers, crazy kookoo. This is just another example, and the worst part is, it  now affects NEW players, not just "vets" in endless missions. It's one thing to face very high level enemies with a team full of vets with high-end gear, it's another to do it when you're a fresh player with starter gear.^^'

 

This has to be addressed SOON, or like you said, a lot of new players are going to be scared off and think "This game sucks! It's broken!", without even actually reaching the "broken" part...^^'

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Your mistake. Go solo or only with other true new player under 500 conclave. Even with lvl5 po-op weapons,  potatoed frame with no forma can achieve 1 000 conclave with other "new players" getting lvl 50 vor. Maxed mods make conclave go nuts on frame.

 

You can't go bossing with new players and have good time with po-op weapons if your frame got all the nice stuff.

+ remove your sentinel also when playing bosses with new players, that thing eats conclave.

 

conclave rating does not take into account offensive side and defensive side only total.

Easiest way if rhino, put only iron skin into rhino.

go to market and get one mk-1 weapon + don't put more mods than 1 serration/hornet strike.

melee: whip it hard

other frames: put vigor and one spell you feel urge to use

 

if you got extra time, check how much rating other new player has and try to have same around.

 

New players kinda drown in vets 1600+ gear, maybe allow conclave limit when making node, so new players play with new players and if vet want to play they need to lower gear. This filter is optional of course.

Other thing would be enough if vets would not troll new players and make them think they are stuck in that planet forever.

Edited by Agullimux
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Your mistake. Go solo or only with other true new player under 500 conclave. Even with lvl5 po-op weapons,  potatoed frame with no forma can achieve 1 000 conclave with other "new players" getting lvl 50 vor.

 

Did you even read the stuff you wrote? We're talking about *newbies* here.

 

Newbies will:

 1) not usually consider soloing something labeled a *boss* (the fact that I did when I was a newbie and had to scrounge for ammo during the Vor fight notwithstanding, he definitely is easier than back then when he's scaled to your actual level, that said, without knowing the fight's mechanics I'm pretty sure the average newbie would still get wasted a few times)

 2) not usually consider soloing stuff in a co-op game (and rightly so)

 3) not have potatoes on anything, which makes sense as no sane person is going to spend money on a game they don't yet know they'll enjoy in the long run

 4) not have access to even 10% of the mods any experienced player has (most importantly, no stance mods, and no aura mods)

 

And if you really think you can get a CR of 1000 with a lvl5 Volt/Excalibur/Mag with potatoes and no forma (and no aura mods) you are out of your mind.

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Vor is the only boss (with hyena pack) that have some  crazy scaling BS that needs to change, the other bosses are wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy easier, even with a rank 16 2000 conclave awsomeness

Edited by thegamer118
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If you have gear sufficient enough to make Vor lvl 50, you are (OR SHOULD BE) experienced and geared more than enough to solo him.

 

And if that's the case, why are you making newbies confused to death? If this game is labeled as "co-op" it doesn't mean IT HAS TO BE CO-OP ONLY.

 

The fact is that even one imba geared person in a Vor (and apparently also Hyena) group results in the boss level going through the roof, ruining the entire fight for the low level players unfortunate enough to end up in that game. You might not see the problem with this, but I sure as hell hope DE does because the other newbies certainly did.

 

You also missed that the "imba" geared player in my first Vor fight was just stood AFK at the mission start, resulting in three MR0-1 players having to fight a (I'm guessing) lvl40 Vor with 45 Heavy Gunner support, so you only need 1 player with awesome gear to ruin the day for the rest of the team. Sounds pretty damn broken to me.

 

And sorry, but if the solution to a problem in a co-op game is to "solo it" then there is a fundamental problem that should be fixed.

 

As for me being able to handle a high level Vor, of course I can do so on my normal account (MR16), but we are talking about a *new* account (MR1 atm) made to experience what new players have to go through nowadays. Maybe you should also try it, it's enlightening and makes you appreciate all the neat stuff you have all the more (and take it for granted far less).

 

I also think it allows for more accurate descriptions of early game problems since we, as veterans, understand the game's mechanics better than newbies and as such might be better able to convey to DE where the problem lies. Not to mention that many newbies that encounter some of this stuff are likely to just quit and move on to other games instead of writing down a detailed account of the problems they are running into.

Edited by marelooke
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Did you even read the stuff you wrote? We're talking about *newbies* here.

 

Newbies will:

 1) not usually consider soloing something labeled a *boss* (the fact that I did when I was a newbie and had to scrounge for ammo during the Vor fight notwithstanding, he definitely is easier than back then when he's scaled to your actual level, that said, without knowing the fight's mechanics I'm pretty sure the average newbie would still get wasted a few times)

 2) not usually consider soloing stuff in a co-op game (and rightly so)

 3) not have potatoes on anything, which makes sense as no sane person is going to spend money on a game they don't yet know they'll enjoy in the long run

 4) not have access to even 10% of the mods any experienced player has (most importantly, no stance mods, and no aura mods)

 

And if you really think you can get a CR of 1000 with a lvl5 Volt/Excalibur/Mag with potatoes and no forma (and no aura mods) you are out of your mind.

lvl30 frame, newbie weapons..... or do you sell and make new frame every time you play with newbs? Yes i read, you made new account. Problem is that you did not play/ team up with newbies. And I told what was important to not ruin newbs run. And i told you to solo, he is easier with low conclave.

1. bosses are easiest to solo 2. he is possible, yeah that ammo amount kinda breaks him, newbies need to level a bit serration to complete him or shoot more head.

3. potatoes not needed

4. people like give free auras sometimes, clanmate / guy who recommended game?

I did not talk about low level frame. i talked about playing with low level gear / rating

 

Even with lvl5 po-op weapons,  potatoed frame with no forma can achieve 1 000 conclave

I meant weapons being only lvl5. Even if that is bad english. Your common sense that seems to be super power these days, should tell that veterans don't make new frames just to play with newbie players.

 

it is still your mistake playing wit afk mr16 ember  and second round with mr 6-9 peple

No reason to get mad at me. Game has no problem with level scaling.

Edited by Agullimux
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lvl30 frame, newbie weapons..... or do you sell and make new frame every time you play with newbs? Yes i read, you made new account. Problem is that you did not play/ team up with newbies. And I told what was important to not ruin newbs run. And i told you to solo, he is easier with low conclave.

1. bosses are easiest to solo 2. he is possible, yeah that ammo amount kinda breaks him, newbies need to level a bit serration to complete him or shoot more head.

3. potatoes not needed

4. people like give free auras sometimes, clanmate / guy who recommended game?

 i did not talk about low level frame. i talked about playing with low levels

 

I am only using the matchmaking system, so the fact that I was not teaming up with a group entirely consisting of newbies was not my choice.

 

I am not using recruiting chat and my newbie account is not in a clan (and likely won't ever be in a clan). I am, basically pretending to be a lone newbie without other friends in the game. Of course I cannot unlearn stuff I already know, nor am I trying to (eg. I'm not pretending I don't know the elemental combinations or that I don't know how to copter or wallrun or any of that stuff).

 

Also now that I know this I will avoid doing Vor/Hyena via the matchmaking system with my normal account since I've seen how much it ruins the experience for newbies (at least until this gets fixed).

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I am only using the matchmaking system, so the fact that I was not teaming up with a group entirely consisting of newbies was not my choice.

 

I am not using recruiting chat and my newbie account is not in a clan (and likely won't ever be in a clan). I am, basically pretending to be a lone newbie without other friends in the game. Of course I cannot unlearn stuff I already know, nor am I trying to (eg. I'm not pretending I don't know the elemental combinations or that I don't know how to copter or wallrun or any of that stuff).

 

Also now that I know this I will avoid doing Vor/Hyena via the matchmaking system with my normal account since I've seen how much it ruins the experience for newbies (at least until this gets fixed).

See, Vor is not broken. Matchmaking only needs conclave filter or "play with accounts not older than 3 weeks?" for new players. Maybe damaged aura mod for new players? Out of topic. Why veteran like you grind vor/hyena?

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See, Vor is not broken. Matchmaking only needs conclave filter or "play with accounts not older than 3 weeks?" for new players. Maybe damaged aura mod for new players? Out of topic. Why veteran like you grind vor/hyena?

 

I like helping new players, however the game has changed so much since I started playing that whatever I remember from back when I started is hardly relevant anymore (for example, the Lato has been turned into a nice presse-papier from the pretty neat sidearm it used to be). So I figured the best way to close that gap was to relive the new player experience by making a new account.

 

I don't think many people do this (some do, obviously, as evidenced by the tutorial I linked form my OP), but I believe this gives a rather unique view on the New Player Experience due to us veterans already understanding the mechanics and as such seeing much clearer where the problems new players are having lie (either because we experience them, like this specific issue, or because we see other players struggle with them). The new players themselves might not understand what it is exactly they have trouble with or they might just give up and quit the game entirely instead of reporting the trouble they have.

 

As such I believe this information is potentially very useful to DE and could help them increase new player retention.

 

As for Vor not being broken, I respectfully disagree, I don't think that a large gap between the best geared and the worst geared player in a group should result in a totally imbalanced game where enemies are the median of the two extremes, meaning that enemies are way too hard for those on the low end and snoozeworthily easy for the upper end, which is what seems to be happening with those two bosses.

 

The matchmaking system already favours grouping players of similar MR, that's about as good as it's going to get, I think. I'm also not sure why bosses ought to scale, instead I'd prefer if they fixed the progression through the planets and made it so that each boss is an appropriate challenge at the respective point in time that people are supposed to reach them. I'd much prefer it if they added a separate game mode (similar to Nightmare mode, but always available for boss nodes) where bosses are scaled to the players or where they are set at the maximum "reasonable" level in the game (that is, the highest level mobs that DE thinks you should reasonably be able to fight), of course this would require appropriate rewards (it wouldn't do if they'd just drop the same stuff as their "normal" versions)

 

Those are just a few ideas, there might be many other viable ways to solve this issue. With this post I just wanted to point out that this level scaling as currently implemented really is a big issue for new players and that *something* needs to be done about it.

Edited by marelooke
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+1 

 

I can't help but feel that the boss scaling was implemented without enough testing and planning. Of course, I'm skeptical about the entirety of conclave rating system to begin with but that's a post for another thread.

 

At least for beginner planets like Mercury and Venus, there should be some kind of automatic match-up that groups players with similar conclave ratings or mastery rank...which is what I thought DE would have devised first and foremost when the idea of boss scaling was introduced, but I was expecting too much logic I guess. 

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Its not problem with boss scaling, its problem with scaling overall.

 

Scaling works by basically doubling npc stats every few lvls, its automatic process without rebalancing boss or at least taking a look at it.

Also i dont agree on lvl 80 bosses being impossible, sure their dmg is too high, but their hp is what i would expect from a boss, lower their dmg, remove invulnerability phases and they become pretty good.

 

Also conclave is mechanic so flawed that it shouldnt be used for anything and especially pvp or pve, its less accurate than gearscore on wow during wotlk expansion and if someone played then knows how bad gearscore was.

Edited by Davoodoo
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Yeah, they should probably look at this.  

Being new often results in two possibilities:  You die horribly to the scaled up enemies/boss.  The high level people rofl-stomp the boss so quickly that you're not even really playing the game.

 

You don't have a choice in this either if you want to play with people and haven't already acquired some group of friends (which you'd presumably acquire from playing, right?).  Your options on planets are solo/private/public.  You can cross out the first two, since the game isn't balanced for solo play.  And for new players, you're unlikely to have some existing friendlist, and you won't know much about recruiting through chat either (and even if you did... not a lot of people will be reading chat and hoping for a chance to take down Vor, a Venus sabotage, or Jackal).

 

Even if we talk about some new player theoretically vigilantly dropping from games when they see high level players, you're asking someone to stare at a loading screen all the time basically, because queueing in public matches will frequently drop you into games in progress rather than seeing a screen with four players with time to review their stats at leisure.  This ties in to the somewhat separate problem of being dropped into matches that are just ending with no point of reference (right before the end of the fifth wave of defense and being asked if you want to stay without knowing anything about the other players, for example).

Edited by (PS4)Zeylon
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This topic came up again here (I posted about some recent experiences I had starting a new account):

https://forums.warframe.com/index.php?/topic/310674-hr-players-ruining-time-fun-and-efforts-of-newbies/page-2

 

And apparently I was the last poster over here.

The gist is basically that the way scaling works allows higher players to ruin the experience for lower level players by generating bosses that are powerful to the point the newer players can't fight them.  Arguably, when the boss-scaling is more minor, you wind up with the situation where a higher player just flies through the level, stomps the boss, and flies to the exit.  

 

In the first scenario, you get stomped newbies that have no realistic chance of damaging 40+ bosses with their Mk-1 Bratons, etc.  In the latter, they may still get the mission rewards, but they're deprived of playing by the power differential (the higher player is so much more powerful, they can kill the boss before they get off a shot).

 

In either case, you can say the problem is indicative of a match-making issue (I don't think matchmaking exists) or a scaling issue (scaling to the highest person is enough to make a single outlier joining a Vor group on Mercury a death sentence for the newbies).

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