Jump to content
Whispers in the Walls: Share Bug Reports and Feedback Here! ×

Difficulty, Balance Of Power Vs Skill, Powercreep And More


eStecko
 Share

Recommended Posts

News

TBA - player-side difficulty

29/8/2013 - Merged with Power/Progression topic

14/8/2013 - added update 9.5 thoughts and news on armor 2.0

7/8/2013 - massive expansion of the entire topic

 

 

FireFox uses mixed content blocker in recent update and for some dumb reason it blocks youtube on this forum aswell. You can disable mixed contect blocker by clicking on the shield left of the url adress, when its blocking something.

Or as RustGear found out, you can disable this feature...

1. type in address bar about:config
2. find security.mixed_content.block_active_content
3. toggle it false


Introduction

Alright, you might've seen me around posting few words about those topics, so let's try go in depth with this in constructive and civilized manner. Why do i even...? Even if the game has many problems, as you might've noticed after playing it for some time, i like this game quite a lot and would not like to see it go away to a wrong direction it took on some design ideas.



Disclaimer - Beta is Beta & Feedback

First thing first, the game is in beta, nowhere close to finished product and is a subject to change. Because other companies use beta like a glorified demo version for marketing reasons or due to metacritic stuff, it does not mean that beta has different meaning now. Neither its an excuse for the developer (*sigh* WarZ) and i can happily say, that DE is doing well in this regard. Just it seems like people forget it sometimes and instead of making a constructive criticism, they go on subjective tour of things they personaly dont like, yet those things are perfectly fine. Also there is a problem as we, the players, demand to play games earlier and earlier in it's development stages, developers will get feedback that is already on their to do lists, so let's try to avoid that. So once again, beta is beta.

Second thing. Contructive criticism is important to be presented in civilized manner. Developers can get clouded judgement and opinion over their own project very easily, as that project took their time and time is our life. Thats why developers are worst judges of their own work. This applies to me aswell, as i've put a lot effort into this topic and trash talking of my "spiritual/knowledge baby" is something i would not take lightly. This also means that iam not correct 100%, neither is DE in Warframe and thats when others have to step in with objective feedback.

Thirdly. Extra Credits is an awesome show and it can get the point across very well. BUT! I've seen topics around the forum, that used them without a context of the topic that followed after it. As i said in the responses below... Correlation does not mean causation. Or that two variables does not imply that one causes the other.


* topics are hidden into spoilers, to avoid feeling of wall of text - its not as long as it looks and to give you some more organization in it


Difficulty, Bulletsponges, Telegraph, Dodge

Let's start with how it actualy works right now. This part is actualy short, because our enemies damage and effective health (hp * %armor + shield) scale with their level. And that's it Formulas Here. Also this is a part in which iam disapointed. Apart from enemy types that are introduced over the time, with exception of Infested that lack in this matter, we got no things like new enemy ability, AI patterns or differences in enemy behavior in dependance on their type (for instance, Grineer Elite Lancers shoud use group tactics against us, as opposed to basic Lancers which shoud stay as grunts or breaking down the flow of combat with mini-bosses with certain tactics to beating them), etc, etc... As a result, we are getting bullet-sponges on higher levels, that are not fun to fight against. Rushing is more common mindset there due to this and it is also a reason why armor ignore weapons are in "god tier", as some enemies with high armor, will take low or close to no damage with classic bullet type weapons.

If you would ask why we have this difficulty, then reason is quite simple. It's way easier to play with the numbers (formulas are pretty much the same thing), then creating new abilities or AI behavior, which requires a lot more time, resources and actual knowledge of scripting and sometimes even animations and visuals. But what i can safely say is, it adds a lot more fun into gameplay and actual knowledge depth into game mechanics, then numerical race for best mods/weapons and forced difficulty via level scaling we have right now.

Then there is a problem of difficult is not punishing. Yes, player shoud be punished for making mistakes, but that's as far it shoud go. Gameplay shoud not be frustrating because game designers created artificial difficulty spikes inside of game mechanics. Biggest example in this point is taking away player's control over their character for longer period of time inside a gameplay session. In Warframe, getting knockdown for 5 seconds by Grineer Scorpion is plain and simple not fun. God help you, if you get chained by more of them. Partialy this would be ok, if the stun would be shorter, like 1 second or 2 at max. Obviously we got "kinda" counters to this in form of mods, but that's not a real counter. Real counter would be a telegraph time for the enemy, animation where Scorpion would start spinning the whip before throwing it, instead of her running into random range and then poping the whip in your general direction. For other crowd controls its a same story and i feel like DODGE needs a bigger role in game mechanics then it currently has. Meybe give it only few uses or make it take lot of your stamina and give player immunity to CC and damage while performing the dodge, yet the limitation would avoid it from getting abused and stamina mods would get more meaningfull.

There is also a topic of Nightmare, but we will get there later. I feel like the numbers have higher priority...




Danger of Powercreep, Abandonment of Content, End-Game

Aka when less is more. As we touched problem of the numerical difficulty, the way we counter it right now, is a to get better gear and mods... and more mods. Our gear has another numerical modifiers like 400% shield capacity and tons of %damage mods. By my personal view and in combination with numerical difficulty, this is too much. It feels like a gear check in MMORPG's and we could hit a point (or we already did) when we will look for people only with "potatoe and max forma'd gear" for more numericaly difficult content. That content could be expanded in a lazy way, for instance creating T4 and T5 Void key, with enemies of higher and higher levels. This is where the powercreep will become a problem. As progression is currently pretty much only in numbers and side-grade is no longer a thing. In this path, we will get content that is harder and harder, to a point, when people will get bored of getting new and better stuff and... just leave the game. This also includes many people, that will go for the best weapons, you might have seen those topics around and it is a bad thing, as those people will most likely ignore many other weapons. The fact is, that we already see this in power spike of newly released warframes.

Once again, Extra Credits did a great video about this i mentioned previously in some topic.



I think you get the point by now anyway. The solution to this we can find in game like Dark Souls or newly released (into open beta) Firefall. You can beat anything in those games with starting gear if you are skilled enough. You are not capped by gear, although you can go after that path to get better gear anyway, but not with ridiculous modifiers like +500% damage. Guild Wars 2 walks a similiar path, where you get better gear over time and the best gear is relatively easy to get after few hours of play and its end game lies in legendary and cosmetic gear that looks cool.

I don't say, that this shoud happen in Warframe in 100%, but more cosmetics and legendary items, that are hard to get, is something for end-game content and it works very well. But Warframe is game about progression... i highly recommend reading highlighted responses below if you want to go more in-depth.




Bridge Between Skill and Power

The balance of warframes and weapons is another matter and we got tons of topics around the forums already. What i mean is a balance of skill / power. And to break the wall of text a bit, let's post another EC video to make a bit of difference, which sums up pretty much all i wanted to say here. It had few points that are taken from PvP based games, but we can reflect on those points anyway. Once again i will recommend highlight responses below.



If we would reflect this onto our gear power level vs skill, there is a HUGE overpowerment in the power part. Highly skilled players have no other path, then to follow everyone else in the gear treadmill. We can imagine this as a bridge of (hard) content with power and skill on the sides. This bridge, in ideal case, shoud be working both ways, but currently its only a highway for power. I dont say that skill, if we speak of mechanical skill aka hand-eye coordination or knowledge of game mechancis, is same for everyone and makes no difference, i did not said that.




Nightmare Mode, Player-Side Set Difficulty

So we got tons of topics about Nightmare and it's recent update. BUT, keep in mind that this was added, because we, the community, asked for it. We wanted a "hardcore mode" and we got it. It has few issues, like some modifiers shoud exclude others, like no shield and vampire shoud not be turn on at a same time, and some modifiers shoud be turn off in some gametypes, like no map in extermination mission this was actualy changed in a recent patch and all i can say, that all problems are gone. On a personal level, i would like the no minimap to come back in some form, meybe as one of the choices i will talk below.

The real problem here, as i believe and as i think, people wrongly put to a bad Nightmare mode design, is the actual numerical difficulty and crawling signs of powercreep we disscussed above. As plain simply said, Nightmare modifiers are fine as they are, but if enemies on Venus (level 8-10) get bumped into levels 30-40, this creates a problem especialy for new players and kicks in exponentialy with modifiers and enemy scaling we mentioned before. This is even bigger problem for higher level Nightmare levels as enemies have even higher stats. Although we could go in circles now and on a tour back into Difficulty part.

Another problem of Nightmare is reward. Some players find enjoyement in hard content and that is perfectly fine. But for players that go for loot? They will do easiest Nightmare missions and wont bother doing them ever again. This is a reason i believe the Nightmare shoud be optionaly turned on/off and all modifiers shoud be available on user side with ruleset we mentioned before. The reward instead of few specific mods, would be something like +5% drop amount of mods, credits, resources for every modifier enabled. The difficulty would be player-set to our own liking and it would still scale exponentioanly, especialy when DE will add more modifiers into a game.

I've seen this idea in a game Bastion, where player would play 2-3 hours of the game, to get the feel of the game controls and its mechanics, before finding a shrine, in which he could increase the difficulty in ways like, enemies drop grenades upon their death, enemies attack faster or you cannot use health potions. You got bonus in form of increased % currency drop as you selected your own difficulty level. But i feel like Warframe could do this aswell. Creating a huge list of those modifiers for us to select from. And the funny thing is, that the actual difficulty would scale up way, way faster with more modifiers you would have enabled. Trust me. Try playing Bastion without and with all shrines enabled. The difficulty will remain fair, but it is a challenge.

We could talk about many types of people that have different goals in the game and look for different things and dificulties in it. But as i said already. If player has a way to choose his own difficulty, this will eliminate many problems. Well this image is quite good example...
240efd390588f72dadebd273af5e7690.png




Armor and it's Influence on Health... Numbers... Because Math is Fun, Sometimes...

Link to original topic.

Armor is quite a big problem...

Because numbers... only to show how much health, armor, shields -> effective health Grineer Elite Lancer gets per 5 levels... used with formulas datamined from the game by pwnatron (stats/formulas armor).

Grineer Elite Lancers start from level 20, thats why there is nothing for them below level 20.

Effective HP - aka how much damage you have to do with weapons for enemy to die.
AP Effective HP - aka how much damage you have to do with armor piercing weapons for enemy to die.
- To show the difference aka how much overpowered AP weapons get on higher levels and how much mess armor does on higher level.

You will have to do your own elemental damage multipliers, as each of those depend on weapon used, its rank, multishot and affects each enemy, body part and type of protection differently.

*numericals are hidden (because it would be a mess to read), so numbers can differ +-1 due to rounding.

*table and graph differes from enemy to enemy, this one is ONLY made to fit Grineer Elite Lancer

*OBVIOUSLY, THIS IS NOT THE CASE FOR ENEMIES THAT HAVE NO ARMOR!


First... table. As i said, i used formulas datamined from the game. No problem to upload entire excel file.

cqZnFh7.png
*% damage reduction - % of how much armor reduces damage at level


If you are not fan of tables, there is a graph.

zshAPgK.png

The important thing, is the gap between AP and not AP health. As you can see, it goes HELL of a way at higher levels.

Health against weapons that do NOT have AP, scales up rather a lot on higher levels, so if you do not have AP weapon, you will need to pump out 10x bullets at 90-ish level.

Health against weapons that do have AP is close to linear in the graph, but it scales more and more per every level step. This also includes the shields.


I guess you know where next rumbles will go now... Armor i dont like you! Also there is a reason, why weapons without AP get obsolete on higher levels, personaly i call for balance in one of those areas... a) armor numbers and its system b) AP/AP-less weapons re-balance.




Update 9.5, Livestream News and Armor 2.0/Powercreep

Mythoughts on new enemies in Phobos location.

Helios. This is what i've been talking about. New enemy types with interresting abilities - jetpacks - make the combat way more fun and more challenging by increasing Grineer's mobility with danger element of exploding jetpack going wild after unit dies. GOOD JOB DE!

Desert Skale is a great enemy that gives a unique feeling to the area, provides a player with atmosphere, that there is hostile organism, that is dangerous to its settlers on this planet. Although it alone, does not do much in terms of difficulty. Making them smaller (~30%) and spawn in bigger groups as lurkers might be better in this regard.

------------------------

And HUGE NEWS from livestream.

Armor is on a developer table. As DE_Steve said in the livestream, armor is scaling almost explonentionaly and it is a problem, especialy on higher levels, making some weapons obsolete there. Thats why armor and how elemental/AP damage dealth trough it will have get some kind of overhaul. Personaly iam looking forward to this a lot.

------------------------

Armor 2.0 as announced in the community hot topics...
As DE_Rebecca said...

Are we focusing on the right things? Adding weapons isn’t want we want!


This trend is emerging and it’s a problem we need to address, today in the stream we talked about this and a brief summary of Steve’s thoughts on this follow:

Steve - "This is all we've been talking about internally. Initially our pattern was to add locations, enemies, etc. Now that we've fleshed out that we need to speak to the long-term player. The early term players still exist, people still experience the game as noobs. For veteran players worried about our focus. We hear them, we are overhauling the damage system - not from scratch, but making changes to how elemental, physical, and armor piercing damage in game. We have a narrowing build diversity in higher end content. We have all of our level designers right now taking mission types, tearing them apart, putting them back together. It's not fair to say the game play is boring, it's that game play after 500 hours is boring. We will put more effort into diversifying what you can do. Mission types, damage model, dueling, are short answers. But also coming are new locations."


Armor 2.0, system overhauls

Our last Hot Topic had an interesting experience of igniting priority in a system we had not given enough attention to. The Armor system, and by consequence the Damage system, are being reviewed and reworked. What this means is there won’t be one “best” build for high-end content, diversity and options will hopefully be added back once we make changes.

 

---

Merged from Power Gaps / Progression topic - the less constructive part

---

 

Introduction

 

This topic includes my thoughts on power difference between Warframes, mods, progression, new and veteran players. I will be referencing some other issues, like powercreep, but iam not gonna dig deep into them, since i did that already in different topic. This is not a hate post of the game, warframes, mods or progression system, iam gonna try to put my thoughts on this subject in constructive manner. But we will be stepping on a slippery slope or in grey area, therefor our opinions and ideas may differ.

 

Game's and Player's Ideology

Let's start with what DEveleports are (probably) aiming for and how we, the playerbase, perceive the game from other side.

 

Warframe is a sci-fi coop game with focus on fast action, killing loads of enemies, while progressing with levels and gear. It's design is mostly inspired from Eastern cultures, starting from artistic visual design of Warframes to announced honor and patience systems, we've heard in last livestreams. As a free-to-play title, Warframe's future is in releasing new content, but leave this for later.

 

What players see is a fun coop title, with cool stuff like slide-sword-slash that cuts enemy legs off, wallruning, bunkers skills like slash dash, that can clear enemies in line and loads of progression, be it in galaxy map to explore or tons things to craft in the market. Until...

 

Until... they meet players with superior warframe and weapons, that clears in rooms by pressing one button to cast their AoE or one-shots everything in sight, leaving nothing fun for the new player. Or even opposite players, that ignore everything and rush towards the objective, leaving behind them over double of spawned enemies, for the new player to die against or hearing "Target eliminated, good job Tenno." before he even gets out of looting the spawn room.

 

When those power differences are forced on top of new or less powerful players, which causes them negative experience, slow or even stops their progress and can kill their ingame avatar, it is in MMO's called griefing. So when i see problems like this, that are mostly common in MMO titles, but are emerging in coop game, i will ask the question then. Is Warframe trying to to be something it's not? A progression gear based MMO?

 

It's not a question to answer right now, but keep it in mind and think about it first. Before someone tries to reflect this on competitive PvP games, let's give CoD4 as an example. Yes, new players there will get destroyed by veteran players. But there are mechanics in place to make new players feel powerful and useful to their team and even to counter the most popular builds and strategies veterans use (this also makes them infamous and calling names, but thats the nature of people over the internet). The grenade launcher or noobtube is a perfect example. It is a toy with high power that gives a new player time and means to learn the game, while having some impact in it, before they discover better ways to play. Or they themselfs get better at the game skill/experience-wise.

 

 

Warframes

Even if this issue is smaller then the one in mods topic and warframes are under re-balance/re-work, it does not mean that the issue is still not here.

 

As you have probably noticed, the power of latest 2 warframes is in some cases worlds apart from older ones. People stirred the forums with loads of hate posts and balance discussions. Mostly player camps divide into players who like them and tho who see those players and dislike them. Let's not go that road, since it leads nowhere, as both sides have a valid points. And i guess, you already know why older warframes on the buff list.

 

As Litlir said in other topic, this is what's bothering me...

 



Have you seen recruiting chat when groups are looking for more people for Tower 3 Defense? Groups look for Vauban and Frost, because, guess what, the squad spends the entirety of the mission inside the Snowglobe and Bastille. I have played t3 Defense missions where I literally stood in the exact same spot (on top of the Cryopod) without moving even once, and moving around wouldn't have made me any more effective at completing the mission.

 

Unfortunately, now I have to take time to make something clear: I understand that Frost and Vauban are not literally necessary to do Tower 3 Defense. However, it is quite clear that the vast majority of groups that do Tower 3 Defense missions want that particular combination. This is not because these groups are noob scrubs that don't know how to play. It is because the balance of the game is such that a static, immobile playstyle -- sitting almost completely still in a Snowglobe + Bastille -- is the most effective, most efficient, least risky, and most rewarding style of play.

 

That fact, combined with the armor and resistance scaling on enemies as their level increases, means that not only is sitting still inside a Snowglobe and Bastille shooting heavy units while a squad member presses 4 to clear all the trash in an instant the only playstyle available late game.

 

Even if not in high end level only games, some warframe abilities outclass others, especialy with new ones this is very particular, like the gap between heaven and hell. Nova's Molecular Prime outclasses every single damage AoE in the game. Frost's Snowglobe is a must in defense against ranged enemies. Vauban's Bastile, the boredom of CC and left mouse button. Nyx's Chaos / Rhino's Stomp are ultimate backup enemy stops.

 

Let the hate aside that your favorite warframe x or y is or is not named here. And tell me, that those 5 warframes with those 5 abilities do not outclass others in category they are in. Out of 14 warframes and 56 abilities, there is 5 and 5, which are the most dominant and generaly considered the best. I would find this a big problem in the game. Since some of the skills make other skills and even warframes absolete -> Nyx, the one ability wonder. Some are highly situational and in some comparison to the "god tier" are outclassed in their role. The only thing left is player's preference for playstyle and liking of their favorite warframe(s). But the issue is still there...

 

 

Progression

Progression is something natural, it's in our blood. As if we, ourselfs, did not want to get better at certain profession or knowledge. It is a road at it's uneasy end, there is a mastery, respect from others, feeling of accomplishment, then money and as time has passed, money became power. But that "path" behind us is something to behold, if we get close or to its end, it wont go away... well until time catches up to us.

 

Now to speak in terms of video games. Lately we can see tons of this. Facebook and browser games with progression in many terms, mostly made into time-sinking money cows with premium content or rush options that are many times shining models of pay-to-win.

 

Then designers took this "normal" thing we've seen mostly in RPG's and put it as "awesome innovation" into multiplayer titles. There progression is two things. Play-to-win if game is not balanced. If that's not the case, then it's just a time gate, that slows you down for no good reason from things you want... but we also want everything and today it is "bad unmodern design" to give players everything from the start. Second thing is money once again. If the time-gate works well, to keep you playing and interested in the game, increasing longevity of the title, so when DLC or expansion will come out, there is exponentionaly higher chance that you will care and buy it. If the DLC expands the progression itself, well good, many players are back in the loop, before we make another one. Activision, EA, Blizzard would be biggest examples of this.

 

For free-to-play titles, this is different. Their only way to survive is to keep the progression slow, so you would buy boosters or entire thing, also to give them time to pump out new expensive or hard to get stuff. To avoid player outrage and not to kill their game, most companies wont go into pay-to-win model, but will keep it in cosmetics and convenience only. And then most of the money goes back into the game. Be it development of new content or direct support of player base like LoL or DotA2 do by creating their own eSport scenes.

 

 

Mods Progression

After warframe section and their inbalance, mods are another and i feel like bigger factor in power gap. Defensive mods in general - shields, health - are fine in my opinion. But when weapon mods determine if damage done weapon is 100 or 2000 (Snipetron with potatoe), i think, this is way too much. It is 20 time, if not more ingame, higher then base value. Compared to defense mods, that increase shields/health from ~400 to ~800 (~2 times, if we will count Guardian from sentinel, then ~4 times for shields) or ability mods that boost damage by 30% or range by 45% is quite laughable comparison. Counter argument would be that most abilities are medium damage AoE with big range, but we would be on our way to part about warframes.

 

Then we can add, that getting mods and upgrading them is painfully slow, random and expensive... there goes another time/gear gate for new players. I doubt everyone has tens or hundreds hours to get to be competitive with veteran players in mediun-high level content. I can only imagine how many players left after realising this, after few hours of samie gameplay in starting areas, that reminded them of grinding in MMO's. And fo free-to-play title, player means potentional customer. Losing those is never a good thing.

 

 

Solutions

This is hugely issue of scaling, balance, matchmaking and player's mentality.

 

Balance is already in works for warframes, armor and melee weapons, so firstly let's see what comes out of it. I hope there will be something done with dominance of skills that can turn 50 mobs into 0 or make them useless in general for nearly a minute(s) with a single button press.

 

Enemy scaling is always something that can be polished more in some respect. Gating of content and therefor splitting of playerbase is never a good thing. Same goes for tiers of content. Very good solution i've seen is to down-level the player in lower level areas. Players gear would matter, but not by making 20 higher damage, then is enemy health and enemies would be able to down the player. Would people complain? Yes. Is it good? Yes. People make sense none.

 

Matchmaking with player-side set filters would do the trick, also with some hosting options. For instance filter for mastery rank 4+ only groups, beginner and teacher mode with honor rank system, etc. In my case if end up on group of ranks 1, 1, 2 (Venus Jackal... yeah), i will let them push on, help them if need be, but i will spend more time looting every room and secret, then killing stuff, since i can 2 shot Jackal anyway. Even if i have the ability to press 4 and clear entire room. But some people are not like me in this regard and will spoil the new player's fun.

 

Changing players? Better try not doing that in obvious way. People dont like changes and will go Hodor on anything, that suggests one.


So... if you got down here, well, good job (Hancock). Leave a comment about what you think, other solutions to problems or where you believe the core problems are on this matter.


Highlight Responses
Great answers on this topic, very well written and constructive, meybe even more then mine and i can recommend those.

(or page 3 - by user Litlir) - https://forums.warframe.com/index.php?/topic/87889-the-difficulty-balance-and-when-less-is-more/?p=992610

(or page 3 - by user 11.11.11) - https://forums.warframe.com/index.php?/topic/87889-the-difficulty-balance-and-when-less-is-more/?p=993237


My Other Long Topics

TBA - some topics that we're WiP turned into complaints with no goal or solutions in mind... currently working on a chapter of player-side set difficulty.

WiP - Passive Consumeable Trait Market

Edited by eStecko
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't read all topic, but I agree.

 

I would have a question then. If you won't read it, how can you agree with something you dont know its talking about? Meybe iam saying that, the game is too hard and mercury levels shoud be everywhere. :P

Edited by eStecko
Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 from me too. I agree with the OP about dangers of powercreep, and how even I am starting to feel I have become a victim of it because I am missing some of those "übermods" which I can't acquire due to flaky RNG and high difficulty on those missions. I also agree with the improvement suggestions, very constructive and they sound like they would add longevity to the game.

Edited by SoanoS
Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 from me too. I agree with the OP about dangers of powercreep, and how even I am starting to feel I have become a victim of it because I am missing some of those "übermods" which I can't acquire due to flaky RNG and high difficulty on those missions. I also agree with the improvement suggestions, very constructive and they sound like they would add longevity to the game.

 

RNG... dont give me ideas about long rambles like this, but thanks. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shameless doublepost.

 

Because Extra Credits is just awesome, let's put some more of their vids here. And its something different from reading another wall of text.

 

 

Rewards and Feeling of The Game

 

 

 

Difficult Does Not Mean Punishing

 

 

 

Easy Games and Depth

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh my.. How to state how much I agree with this, because I agree with the OP. 

 

And I have to laugh at how true they were about Warframe in that Difficulty Does Not Mean Punishing video. 

 

I've seen topics around here that we're posting this video aswell, yet we're totaly out of context in what they we're talking about, so watch out for that. Correlation does not mean causation.

Edited by eStecko
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Victris_Ares

I agree with the stuff being said here, and I can definitely relate with some of the balancing issues Warframe has presented. Let me tell a little clan based story that happened to me experimenting with gameplay.

When we finally got the tier based system for dojo building, one of the first things we built was the dueling arena which was probably the biggest hype of the place. My Warlord and I were the first to test it and needless to say I got my butt handed to me. He had health and shield mods pretty much maxed out on a max level Frost Prime where I had a max level Excalibur with a slightly upgraded shield and health. Before you chew me out on why the heck I didn't max out my mods and face him was simple: I have a mediocre operating system making playing Warframe online with friends aggravating even on the lowest possible settings you can have on the game, so I was a solo player that was part of a clan. I didn't really need maxed out health and sheilds etc. to get what I needed or wanted in the game, so my time and resources were focused on "trying" to be stealthy rather than trollolololing (tanking) my way through the game. It's how I challenged myself, but also how I deluded myself into thinking that I was a pretty decent player.
So after my beating I got a large wake-up call. It was later decided that the only way to gain rank in the clan was to beat a higher ranking player. Being a higher ranked clan member, how do I make it challenging for fellow lower ranked clan members to face me while not getting stomped on by their constant farming and upgrading mods? The answer was to remove the mods from the equation all together. No mods or powers on Warframes, no mods on weapons, melee only (and no sentinels). It was a simple test that I believed required skill rather than tanking everything I could throw at you. However, even that was difficult to overcome when people kept jump attack spamming with heavy weapons, but I knew that banning that would throw the less mature and more experienced players into in uproar.
Now after watching and reading these posts, I realize what developers are going through to try to make everything balanced and not everything in Warframe is even, but these videos by EC are a great way to learn how to equalize everything.

That's my story, doubt it really helped either way but I just felt like sharing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both videos did a great job explaining the point they were trying to get across. While I don't agree with everything, I'd still like to share my thoughts.

Difficulty:

The current level of difficulty that U9 brought all across the board by scaling level:health was absolutely perfect. That is not the issue however. The issue is the lack of understanding of Artificial Intelligence in general. It's an extremely complex thing to code. To achieve the 'optimum' level of difficulty necessary to eliminate artificial difficulty altogether, you would need thousands upon thousands of lines of code to accommodate for every possible gun and ability in this game. It's just not feasible. It's why I made a thread that suggested something much more practical, for an acceptable compromise. Focus every last bit of the team's Artificial Intelligence knowledge into the bosses.

However, the fundamental problem with new abilities or behaviors is that they are still scripted. Once you learn all the coded behaviors, then all the difficulty is gone. The perfect level of difficulty requires in dynamic AI behavior that learns how the player was able to kill it and adapts, to make that method harder, but not impossible to execute multiple times. AT that point, you would need skill to make that method work again. Unfortunately, such a feat is quite impossible. Code is static. It cannot learn. It cannot think on it's own. It does exactly what we tell it to do, never breaking from its behavior.

Powercreep:

Sadly, I have to slightly disagree with powercreep being a bad thing. I realize that the video says a little powercreep is good, but to be brutally honest, powercreep if done right, in tiny(or -maybe- larger amounts), works.

Regarding your example of Dark Souls, honestly, the way you're describing how the game works, I wouldn't want to touch it. Main issue being, if all you need is the starting gear and a lot of skill to beat any boss, any casuals you hoped would pick up the game will get scared away. The -reason- why more and more powerful gear is -essential- is because as you're progressing through a game, the bosses should get harder, and the gear should power-up in some way to stay on par with the increase in boss difficulty, to not only reflect how much you've grown, but also to show just how far you've progressed on your journey. The you in the beginning was a weak fragile little scrap of metal. Now he's a mature, sophisticated adult who has more experience in the world. He can take on tougher threats, and the things that used to beat him up silly? Their not an issue anymore, which should reflect properly.

If I can beat the last boss of a game without having to get stronger, or acquire new more powerful/useful abilities and gear, then what was the point of spending x hours of grinding through the game to get better gear if I don't have to use it? What was the point of all the hard work it took me to get that gear in the first place? I'd rather watch a movie-version of the game because I don't have to do anything, I can just enjoy the ride from the protagonist's view, watch his struggles and how he over comes them, because at least he's gaining something new throughout the journey. Or better yet, just write out a story and I'll read that.

The main issue in scaling is that developers are placing more emphasis on power rather than ability and skill, which gives 'powercreep', as the video defines it, a bad name. The cause of this emphasis is as the video states, time. Unfortunately, time is money.

Gear should enhance you, but it can only do that by powering you up in some way. You should be required to grow up before you take on the final boss encounter, because what's the point of having such a grand boss if some shrimp was capable of taking it down? If that shrimp was capable of taking such a powerful boss down, that means it was hiding its true power. When it unleashes it real power, you need gear of equivalent strength and durability to take it on.

Balance:

Refer to the last 2 paragraphs of powercreep

Nightmare Mode:

I agree with the toggle on/off switch. It's something I already suggested and gave my thoughts on in one of many threads here on the forums. I disagree with the unfair conditions. If there was a toggle switch, then people would stop complaining about the conditions because there should be an options sub-window that allows us to choose what specific conditions we want to place upon ourselves. The more conditions we place, the harder it is, but the better the chances of getting good rewards.

Edited by Ruzu
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both videos did a great job explaining the point they were trying to get across. While I don't agree with everything, I'd still like to share my thoughts.

Difficulty:

The current level of difficulty that U9 brought all across the board by scaling level:health was absolutely perfect. That is not the issue however. The issue is the lack of understanding of Artificial Intelligence in general. It's an extremely complex thing to code. To achieve the 'optimum' level of difficulty necessary to eliminate artificial difficulty altogether, you would need thousands upon thousands of lines of code to accommodate for every possible gun and ability in this game. It's just not feasible. It's why I made a thread that suggested something much more practical, for an acceptable compromise. Focus every last bit of the team's Artificial Intelligence knowledge into the bosses.

However, the fundamental problem with new abilities or behaviors is that they are still scripted. Once you learn all the coded behaviors, then all the difficulty is gone. The perfect level of difficulty requires in dynamic AI behavior that learns how the player was able to kill it and adapts, to make that method harder, but not impossible to execute multiple times. AT that point, you would need skill to make that method work again. Unfortunately, such a feat is quite impossible. Code is static. It cannot learn. It cannot think on it's own. It does exactly what we tell it to do, never breaking from its behavior.

Powercreep:

Sadly, I have to slightly disagree with powercreep being a bad thing. I realize that the video says a little powercreep is good, but to be brutally honest, powercreep if done right, in tiny(or -maybe- larger amounts), works.

Regarding your example of Dark Souls, honestly, the way you're describing how the game works, I wouldn't want to touch it. Main issue being, if all you need is the starting gear and a lot of skill to beat any boss, any casuals you hoped would pick up the game will get scared away. The -reason- why more and more powerful gear is -essential- is because as you're progressing through a game, the bosses should get harder, and the gear should power-up in some way to stay on par with the increase in boss difficulty, to not only reflect how much you've grown, but also to show just how far you've progressed on your journey. The you in the beginning was a weak fragile little scrap of metal. Now he's a mature, sophisticated adult who has more experience in the world. He can take on tougher threats, and the things that used to beat him up silly? Their not an issue anymore, which should reflect properly.

If I can beat the last boss of a game without having to get stronger, or acquire new more powerful/useful abilities and gear, then what was the point of spending x hours of grinding through the game to get better gear if I don't have to use it? What was the point of all the hard work it took me to get that gear in the first place? I'd rather watch a movie-version of the game because I don't have to do anything, I can just enjoy the ride from the protagonist's view, watch his struggles and how he over comes them, because at least he's gaining something new throughout the journey. Or better yet, just write out a story and I'll read that.

The main issue in scaling is that developers are placing more emphasis on power rather than ability and skill, which gives 'powercreep', as the video defines it, a bad name. The cause of this emphasis is as the video states, time. Unfortunately, time is money.

Gear should enhance you, but it can only do that by powering you up in some way. You should be required to grow up before you take on the final boss encounter, because what's the point of having such a grand boss if some shrimp was capable of taking it down? If that shrimp was capable of taking such a powerful boss down, that means it was hiding its true power. When it unleashes it real power, you need gear of equivalent strength and durability to take it on.

Balance:

Refer to the last 2 paragraphs of powercreep

Nightmare Mode:

I agree with the toggle on/off switch. It's something I already suggested and gave my thoughts on in one of many threads here on the forums. I disagree with the unfair conditions. If there was a toggle switch, then people would stop complaining about the conditions because there should be an options sub-window that allows us to choose what specific conditions we want to place upon ourselves. The more conditions we place, the harder it is, but the better the chances of getting good rewards.

 

I see. Well thanks for opinion from the other side.

 

I think we have different points of views here. Numerical difficulty makes sense with progression rate, but as i said, its shoud not be the only thing in the game and i feel that progression curves of our gear and enemies is not the same. Also there will be (or already is) a problem, when we get better gear, enemies will scale up, so there will be no difference at all. We will be more powerfull, but enemies aswell. At that point, whats the point? Our better stuff will be noticable only if we stuck on some point of enemy level. In my eyes this curve goes up too soon and with much more numbers then it shoud. Trying to embrace something from RPG gerne, or MMORPG, where many developers release content that is way powerfull then previous one, making the old content absolete is not a good way to go and iam afraid. We already can see it with older Warframes, being outperformed by new ones (on another hand old warframes are under rework, kinda). I've been playing World of Warcraft for 4 years, since its release until 2nd expansion, Wrath of the Lich King and this thing killed the game for me and many of people i know.

 

The bosses are already in a rework plan (disclaimer - feedback on dev's to do list), although it would be nice to see something like mini-bosses in the maps (harder then heavy units) that would require teamwork or deeper understanding of game mechanics to beat them. Dark Souls comparison was, not perfect for Warframe, as Warframe does not have open(-ish) world. There we're bosses you could avoid, but you could killed all of them if you we're good enough and getting best gear, was possible only if you we're able to kill them. But the point i wanted to show was, if mods would not go with %. What if they would got with flat increase with dependance on each weapon. For instance serration would give +2 damage to Braton and +5 damage to Snipetron. You could even eliminate levels of enemies entirely if those increases would not go from 200 base damage to 8k crit (Lanka) and increase difficulty by other ways, more enemy types, abilities or create new factions, that would be hard to beat, yet exist only in end-gae instances. But this might be a my personal wish.

 

AI is truely not easy to script and you are right, that when you learn its behavior, it becomes much easier, but that we can say about everything... everything is easier when you understand it. Although some AI types like Fear, Crysis did offer challenging AI types aswell as fun to play against. But what i safely can say (again), is that its way more fun then increasing enemy stats by 50-100% over the system, to use enemies as test dummies for our overgrowing weapons.

 

As we touched on powercreep with warframes, weapons are close to it aswell. I mean, we have many types of weapons (nothing wrong with that), which in many cases do the same thing and we can easily find "the best" weapon (which as a result leads to ignoring those "lesser" ones), oposed to have weapons at ~same awesome level, serving as side-grades to our playstyle and cosmetic customization. I my eyes, we need different stuff. Not another sword, not another pistol, not double barrel shotgun, that has 15 rounds and is pretty much a Latron. Something mechanicaly different. Paris and glaive we're awesome introduction into this unique weapon types and i guess you've got the idea by now. I know that its a lot more work to create such unique weapons, but the playerbase will like it more, then another "samie" weapon.

 

Currently Warframe has only progression treadmill of getting better gear, to kill higher level enemies. And i do not want to see level expansion to rank 40 or 50, with level increase of enemies in system to 100, with T4 and T5 voids with enemies 100-150 and 150-200 or all mods getting +2/+5 more ranks, because it would be dead boring and might lead to rapid quitting of players. It's not a way to go. It's surely easy to do, but it's lazy and not fun. It's a gate with checklist for you gear numbers, that can increase forever. Progression in multiplayer games makes sense as for games longevity. But you shoud not build entire game around it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the game needs scaling in every form. Something which DE seems to be allergenic. Its a catch 22 in its pure form. They want to make a progression based game but dont want to put in the work to code a progression based game. I dont expect this problem to be fixed until beyond its release on ps4/xbox.

 

Power Creep happens in progression based games. And it is a good thing. Otherwise we would all be using bratons. It is not feasable for such a small team to release unique weapons with any consistancy (spelling). So we have better "samies". It works in MMO's and it works here. The problem really lies in how these upgraded samies are gotten and how many exist. They are still releasing tier 0 weapons for plat/BP. While the few weapons suited for high end content remain in a dojo. With the general player base ageing this is going to become a problem for DE as far as its income is concerned.

And its a problem for the players as they have to join a clan they may not want to for access.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remembered posting up question(s) for a livestream prior to the U8 release. Unlucky me, my question did not get picked.

One of my question was touching about the use of Forma. I foresee balance issues when forma was introduced.

 

For discussion sake, lets put it that there are 2 types of gamers: casuals and hardcores.

Now let me ask you, as a casual gamer, would forma be a high priorty for you? or you just wanna play the game, have fun with your friends?

Now as a hardcore gamer, would forma be a high priority for you? cause you've unlocked all the maps, got all frames, got all weapons and is just bored with the game?

 

Well guess what? hardcore being true to their nature formaed their frames, melee weapons, side arms and primary weapons. not once but multiple times. So whats next for them? somewhere along the way, we heard cries in the forum saying that this game was "too easy" and "we need harder bossese" and "we need more content".

 

Not long after that..Tada! DE introduce U9 with all sort of features and one update that caught my attention: "aggresive AI" mode.

Aggresive? All i see is higher level mobs, that comes in hordes, deals more damage and spawns around you. Aggresive?

Bosses now become a huge bullet Sponge..aggresive you say?

 

Then you have people with mix feedback saying yeah the game is challenging now and we like it ....wait. what about the new gamers and the casuals? Have you seen what they gone through?

Ok. i cant speak for them but i have a friend who came into warframe midway of U8 and then into U9. no forma no cataylts no nothing. all the begineers mods and early weapons. He said 1 word to me about U9: tough.

 

How can U9 be tough when people in the forum are saying cool! Yeah! nice! Challenging! Somewhere wasnt right. where did it all go wrong....somewhere. but where? Perhaps DE did not take into consideration of the game balancing issues when they first introduce FORMA ?And then, to satisfy the cries of "game is too easy" they take the easy way out. buff everything ? and now, as what OP has pointed out, Warframe is heading in that direction? Maybe?

 

Snip:

 

Power Creep happens in progression based games. And it is a good thing. Otherwise we would all be using bratons.

 

Do people still use braton? Cause most of the games that i play, what i see is forma'd orgis, forma arcid, forma hek, forma dread, forma prime weapons, forma frames, everything forma-ed! Uh..That just sounded so wrong..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brilliant post.  Well written.

 

I must climb to endgame to see most of what you're referencing, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where things are headed.

 

This game is excellent, and thankfully still in beta so tweaking is always happening.  It does seem like DE fell into a few pitfalls that the community is unhappy about (reliance on RNG, artificial difficulty to create content, etc).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone just like using those video now, stop it geez. i've seen a couple thread using them already, now this is the third time D:

 

1. https://forums.warframe.com/index.php?/topic/88684-the-needed-overhaul-that-will-never-happen/

 

2. https://forums.warframe.com/index.php?/topic/87055-nightmare-mode-is-punishing-not-difficult/

 

As i said this previously...

 

I've seen topics around here that we're posting this video aswell, yet we're totaly out of context in what they we're talking about, so watch out for that. Correlation does not mean causation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...