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Dev Workshop: Warframes Revisited


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Hail Tenno!

With big plans for 2018, it seemed like an appropriate time to revisit a core element of Warframe - the Warframes themselves! We spent most of January reading your feedback and analyzing gameplay stats, and as February kicks off we have some plans to share!

Each Warframe’s stats and ability kits combine into a unique entity that offers different strengths and weaknesses. With 34 Warframes to choose from (and the 35th on the way), a Tenno may find there is no challenge they cannot overcome by making good use of the swiss army knife that their Arsenal offers. Some well-rounded frames do multiple things well, while others greatly excel in specific circumstances.

When reviewing the Arsenal over time, our developers often find themselves asking: 'is this fun?’. That's the most important question to us, from the perspective of both the active player and their three squadmates. We understand the importance of power fantasy, but overbearing abilities can make squadmates feel ineffective by seriously disrupting intended gameplay flow. Conversely, when a Warframe doesn’t do enough, players may simply choose a “better” frame, sacrificing personalization and diversity for efficiency. Neither of these situations are ideal, so let’s shake things up!

Everything you're about to read is subject to change. In response to statistics and player feedback, we are planning the following adjustments to Warframe abilities and Augments (appearing in alphabetical order!):
 

ASH

Bladestorm - Upon activating Bladestorm, Ash’s clones will do the stabbing, leaving the player free to act. Ash can choose to join in the execution by using Teleport on a marked enemy.
 

As one of three “stealth” frames that offer invisibility, Ash serves as a more offensive alternative to Ivara and Loki. In practice, his Bladestorm ultimate falls short of those expectations - although the ability is sufficiently lethal, players would be locked into cutscenes as Ash and his clones finished the job on marked targets.

With the above changes, the Ash player can continue moving and shooting after activating Bladestorm, while his clones do the dirty work! Plus, as an added feature, if a player wants to take advantage of the invincibility offered by the cutscenes (or just thinks they look cool), they can use Teleport on a marked target after activating Bladestorm to join in on the stabbing fun.

 

ATLAS

Rubble (new mechanic) - Comes from killing petrified enemies. Atlas collects rubble to restore his health, or temporarily increase armor if already at max health.

Landslide - Does bonus damage on petrified enemies. Killing petrified enemies with Landslide generates bonus rubble. We have also increased the contact radius at max rank from 1.5m to 2m.

Petrify - Can use Petrify on Tectonics’ bulwarks to increase rolling velocity and damage. Can also be cast on Rumblers to heal them. Able to cast any ability while Petrify is active - use Landslide to move between enemies or erect rumblers and bulwarks, without Petrify ever turning off! Petrifying speed is also more effective at longer ranges now.

Rumblers - While casting, creates an AoE around Atlas that will petrify any enemy that comes close. Rumblers create rubble when they expire, based on how much health they had.
 

Released in late 2015, Atlas fills the role of a beefy brawler Warframe. While his first ability Landslide really packs a punch, the rest of his kit falls short in comparison to other frames. We saw this reflected in Atlas’ usage stats, where he was the generally the least-used frame that didn’t have a Prime variant.

 

Similar to other recent reworks, we aim to give Atlas more synergy between the abilities at his disposal. Petrify is now a versatile ability that does not limit the casting of other abilities, and can be used to buff bulwarks and heal Rumblers. Introducing the Rubble mechanic improves Atlas’ survivability, while rewarding players for taking advantage of the frame’s synergies. The instant AoE Petrify upon casting his Rumblers ultimate also helps protect players during the cast animation.

 

BANSHEE

Resonating Quake (augment) - Upon cast, places a Quake that does not require channeling to maintain, meaning Banshee can move freely. Has a short duration, and does not move with the player. Has double the range of a regular Soundquake, but does more damage near the center.
 

Banshee’s abilities fill both offense and support roles, offering damage boosting, crowd control, and area of effect capabilities. But for many, her gameplay has become centralized around an augment for her ultimate, Resonating Quake. Since sound waves can hit through walls, the humongous area of effect can prevent enemies from getting anywhere near the objective, while the casting player is left with nothing to do but wait. From our own public play experiences, Resonating Quake is what we as creators of Warframe find to be the most unfun ability- “I want to enjoy this horde shooter, but where are the hordes?”

Instead of creating a less effective version of the same augment, Resonating Quake will now offer an alternative playstyle, providing a stationary Quake that does not restrict player movement. The augment will still lock down a very wide area, but with a short duration and less damage on the outskirts of the Quake, it should be less effective at killing enemies your squadmates cannot yet see. Effective usage will now require frequent casting and strategic placement, encouraging a more active playstyle.

 

CHROMA

Spectral Scream - Removed walk speed and jump restrictions You can now freely move while this is active! Damage output is now also affected by the Vex Armor's Fury bonus!
 

Vex Armor - Fixed a longstanding issue with number calculation being multiplicative. Boosts now apply before upgrades instead of after, making the ability consistent with all other damage boosting abilities. Overshields are now considered for Vex Armor. Chroma's Vex Armor remains one of the top performing damage-multipliers in the game - and it's now an aura! Instead of just being focused on Chroma, it can now benefit allies in range.


The only change that comes with a full history lesson!

Fixed an issue where Chroma would deal no damage with Vex Armor active. While this may sound like a simple fix, if you're a Chroma user please read on!
Solving Vex Armor actually takes as back to Chroma's beginning. On original power creation, we used some less-than-ideal calculation methods to create Scorn and Fury's effects. If you are an avid Chroma user, you probably know the power maximizing this ability brings. At some point in Chroma's future we will need to revisit and use ideal methods for his Abilities; we will inform you well in advance when Chroma is under review.”

 

Chroma is a complex frame that players usually acquire further on in their Tenno journey. As referenced above, much of that complexity stems from some questionable back-end calculations, which caused Vex Armor to calculate damage boosts AFTER upgrades instead of before. Although the UI may indicate that damage/armor is buffed by a few hundred percent, the actual buff amounts would be much higher. Furthermore, compound elements would effectively be multiplied twice for Fury’s damage boosting, leading to some ludicrous results.

Back in April 2017, extreme damage boosting was not really a problem, so we left the ability as is. However, the Plains of Eidolon update marked a shift in community mindset by introducing Teralysts - featuring multiple large health pools on each weakpoint, damage boosting abilities became an important part of efficient hunting teams. While other damage boosting options require more team coordination, a single self-damaging Chroma could bypass the weakpoint damaging portion of the fight in an instant. At its simplest, we do not want our Eidolons one-shotted.

Chroma’s usage was already somewhat narrow, so we want him to remain a competitive option for Teralyst damage boosting, while also improving other parts of his kit. Although the magnitude of his boost will be lowered, it will still be one of the strongest boosting abilities in the game, and both damage/armor increases will now apply to all teammates in a nearby radius. Furthermore, Spectral Scream without movement restrictions allows players to be the aimgliding, fire-breathing dragon they’ve always dreamed of! We will continue to observe how these changes affect Chroma (and the Teralyst hunting squads) in the coming weeks, and consider further tweaks if needed.

 

EMBER

World On Fire - 5 seconds after casting, a percentage will begin counting up on the ability icon. As this percentage scales from 0% to 100% over 10 seconds, the ability’s energy cost and damage dealt both grow to double, while the ability radius shrinks to half.
 

Ember is the original damage caster frame, offering low survivability in exchange for high offense. Her ultimate, World on Fire, is unmatched in terms of widespread lethality - while many Warframes specialize in certain mission types, Ember’s specialty is “anything under level 30”. By simply bullet jumping through levels with World on Fire active, enemies become a non-factor, making Ember a ubiquitous pick across most of the Star Chart. Like a mobile Resonating Quake, this monopoly on kills can leave squadmates struggling to keep up, in an attempt to see the enemy before they melt. These changes increase lethality at higher levels, while addressing the ability’s huge range.

World on Fire will continue working similarly to how it does now, but with changing effects over time. The gradually increasing energy cost should encourage most players to toggle the ability when needed, instead of the current “set and forget” approach. Players who can afford to run the ability at max charge may need to get more up close and personal, but the increased damage should help Ember out against higher level enemies.  World on Fire is still very capable of clearing rooms and sweeping hallways, but should now be applied more deliberately!

 

GARA

Mass Vitrify - Wall health scales based on health and shields of the enemies it glasses over.
 

Our latest Warframe Gara is a versatile frame on the cutting glass edge, with a tool for most situations. After recent changes to her Mass Vitrify, the ability is serviceable against most of the star chart, but doesn’t hold up well to higher level content.

While this is tough to showcase in a gif, in practice the wall has gotten stronger because it has covered many enemies in this cast!

 

To help the ability scale better, the health of Mass Vitrify’s wall will increase based on the health and shields of the enemies who are “glassed” by the ability’s cast. This added incentive for letting enemies get close to the objective should add an interesting risk/reward element to Gara’s gameplay.

 

MAG

Polarize - Shards created by Polarize now scale based on power strength, as well as the percentage of damage done to that specific enemy.

Crush - Each stage of crush emits a shield heal from Mag. Restores shields to nearby allies per damage instance, based on the number of enemies affected.
 

Mag has seen many changes over Warframe’s history - her major rework in 2016 reinforced her role as a fragile crowd control caster, widening her usability across all factions. Although she performs well in the right hands, some of the synergies introduced in that rework did not have quite the impact we wanted. Plus as a starter frame, we want new players to feel like choosing Mag is a more viable option.

Increasing the damage of shards created by Polarize should give Mag more kill power. Additional shield restore on Crush also offers a way to passively support your team while clearing crowded rooms!

 

VOLT

Discharge - Removed the damage cap. Increased base damage output from 750 to 1200. Damage and stun duration are halved for enemies further away from Volt (affected by Mods).
 

Removing Discharge’s damage cap has been a common request since Volt’s rework in early 2016. We tried testing this version of the ability internally, and decided it was too much  - stunning all enemies for 20+ seconds, through walls and inside spawn closets, had a seriously disruptive effect on gameplay. However, we understand why this is a common request, and have done our best to make it work.

 

Lightning strikes most fierce at the center. To accompany the damage cap removal, Discharge is now less effective at medium to long range, doing less damage and stunning for less time. The damage reduction is mostly offset by an increased base damage on the ability, but the reduced stun at long range should keep mission flow in check.

 

ZEPHYR

Some of Zephyr's abilities are cheaper to cast while airborne - details in progress.

Tail Wind - Combined into a single ability with Dive Bomb. Can be charge cast on the ground, launching Zephyr into the air where she then hovers. In the air, Tail Wind still flies in whatever direction you’re looking, and Dive Bomb activates if cast while looking straight down.

Air Burst - New ability replacing Dive Bomb. A projectile that causes an AoE burst on contact, ragdolling enemies. Can be fired into Tornadoes to make them bigger.

Tornado - Now spawn where player is aiming and can be steered. The closest tornado will move to your aimpoint, meaning you can move them around. Tornado damage type now determined by largest amount of elemental damage absorbed, instead of last type absorbed. Tornadoes do a better job of keeping enemies captured, and shooting Tornadoes will do damage to enemies trapped inside.
 

Zephyr, the warrior of the skies, has seen little change since being introduced in early 2014. Four years later, her ability kit is showing its age - Parkour 2.0 improved mobility across all Warframes, making her reduced gravity and Tail Wind less useful by comparison. Turbulence is consistently useful, but all other abilities leave something to be desired.

To give Zephyr new wind beneath her wings, her Tail Wind and Dive Bomb will now be the same ability, cast depending on which direction the player is looking. This makes room for her new ability Air Burst, which gives Zephyr new ways to rain death from the skies. We do not have a gif ready for this yet. Combined with Tornado tweaks intended to make the ability more consistent and useful, Zephyr’s more well-rounded kit should help reassert her air superiority.


 

We believe these changes make our wide Warframe roster more diverse and fun to play. We will be listening to your responses, so please keep feedback respectful and constructive. While not final, these changes will likely go out in a state very close to what is listed above. Once players have had a chance to try the changes themselves, we will consider further actions.


Thanks Tenno!

TL;DR, if you don't want to read all this, we're doing an impromptu livestream at twitch.tv/warframe to walk you through it live! 
Stream over now, thanks to everybody who tuned in! The VOD can be found here, once it's done processing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDzUK17NkVk

 

 

EDIT: I've answered some FAQs in a spoiler tag below - will continue to update as more questions arise!

Spoiler

 

ASH:

Q: Does casting Teleport to join in on Bladestorm cost energy?
A: Nope! It's completely free.

Q: Can Ash's clones still proc Arcane Trickery?
A: Yes they can!

ATLAS:

Q: More info on Atlas' Rubble, please!
A: Sure! When you collect rubble while at full health, you gain 75 armor for a period of time. Multiple pieces of rubble can stack, but each stack has its own duration.

BANSHEE:

Q: Will enemies far away be affected by less stun, or only less damage?
A: Stun is still consistent at any point on the Quake. First hit has changed to a ragdoll as well!

CHROMA:

Q: What is the new formula for damage and armor calculation?
A: Instead of [(Base * Mods) * Vex Armor], it is now [Base * (Vex + Mods)], like all other damage boosting abilities.

Q: Do Chroma's damage buffs stack with other Chromas?
A: Yes, right now they do!

Q: Do allies need to take damage in order to benefit from Vex Armor?
A: Nope! The benefit from Chroma's damage taken is automatically spread to all teammates in range.

EMBER:

Q: Is the charge time affected by power duration mods?
A: No it is not - you will reach max charge after 15 seconds regardless of mods.

MAG:

Q: Will Crush provide overshields?
A: Yes!

Q: Are you increasing Mag's energy pool?
A: Yes! 125 energy on the base Mag, 175 energy on her Prime.

ZEPHYR:

Q: Will shooting into Tornado act like shooting into Hydroid's Undertow currently does?
A: Yes! Currently the difference is Hydroid Undertow does 50% damage divided evenly among all targets inside, whereas Tornado will do 100% of the damage to every target.

Q: How will the Dive Bomb augment work, now that it is part of Tail Wind?
A: The augment will be changed - stay tuned!

 

 

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Thanks :)!

On paper, really digging Ash, Atlas, Banshee, Chroma, Gara, and Zephyr changes.

  • Ash
    • Bladestorm Teleport opt-in +1 for interactivity.
    • Teleport FREE to cast to opt-in to Bladestorm (livestream confirmation) +1!!
    • Bladestorm marks/ticks energy cost reduced +1!! (from Warframes Revisited, part 2)
  • Atlas
    • Rubble passive +1 for survivability.
      • Rubble buff uniform decay and timer pause on pickup +1! (part 2)
    • Landslide buffs +1 for unexpected surprise.
    • Petrify "exalted" mode with synergies +1 for multi-purpose functions, but -1 for slowing Atlas down still.
      • Tectonics Bulwark -1 for dependent synergy for faster boulder roll and damage, rather than an innate change.
      • Faster petrification at longer ranges +1.
    • Petrify rework as camera flash with instant stoning +1, any type or level of enemy instant petrify +1!! (part 2)
    • Rumblers cast-petrify for instant CC +1, scaling Rubble amount +1.
  • Banshee
    • Resonating Quake becoming a deployable for brief widescale CC and higher close range damage (alternative playstyle) +1, helps keep Banshee on her toes and moving about, as well as get close to the action.
  • Chroma
    • Spectral Scream mobility restriction removed +1, synergy with Vex Armor Fury +1.
      • No mention of Ability Range calculation being changed, and weapons appear to go away still during breath attack -1.
      • Can cast other abilities during channeling +1! (part 2)
    • Vex Armor fix will impact Chroma's damage output, will have to test to see the difference.
      • Overshield benefit +1.
      • Now an aura affecting allies as well +1, 10 m at rank 3 in dev-build seems a bit small if allies have to stay in range (livestream confirmation).
        • Aura range increased to 18 meters +1! (part 2)
      • Vex Armor recastable to refresh duration AND keep earned buffs +1! (part 2)
  • Gara
    • Tying wall bonus durability to shields and health (possibly armor too, noted in livestream) of the # of enemies glassed helps this ability scale very far into endgame, while keeping the possibility for enemies to retaliate by breaking through +1.
    • Health gained by the wall is shown on UI +1! (part 2)
  • Zephyr
    • Tail Wind/Dive Bomb combination +1, charge cast addition & ability to hover in midair +1, directional ability execution +1.
      • Halved cost if cast in midair +1, Tail Wind doing more damage +1! (part 2)
      • Divebomb Vortex now Tail Wind augment for damage increase per enemy hit, resets on landing +1! (part 2)
      • Smarter Dive Bombing angle detection (doesn't have to be looking straight down) +1! (part 2)
    • Air Burst concept sound for directed CC over targeted area +1, possible synergy with Tornado to push enemies into their pull range +1, Tornado size increase on contact +1.
    • Tornado spawn at crosshair for precision +1, guided Tornadoes +1, Elemental damage type based on highest damage output +1, holding enemies captive consistency +1, 100% (livestream confirmation) damage distribution to all enemies trapped +1.
      • Holding aim increases steering control for Tornadoes +1! (part 2)

Ember, Mag and Volt's though will have to see how effective they are. The premises are sound, execution awaiting test phase. I will say though the damage emphasis on Ember and Volt's changes are welcome as long as they stay relevant in high level play.

Mag's additional support capability via Crush shield restore might overlap with Polarize, but the numbers will determine its usefulness; I hope that Overshields can be created to further add more support and IT DOES give Overshields (livestream confirmation), perfect! Energy pool increase (again, livestream) is what we've been asking for, thanks!

Shards are an underutilized mechanic that came with Mag's rework, largely because they lay on the ground where the enemy dropped them; if Pull/Greedy Pull and Mag's passive Vacuum could collect them toward Mag, then I can see this mechanic being more relevant to her gameplay as a viable damage increase.

Edited by PsiWarp
added part 2 stuff
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Whoa...
They weren't kidding.

Gotta start reading...

Overall, this is a step in the right direction. I like Chroma's changes (not sure how the calculation changes will affect him, but I like the aura Vex Armor idea), I'm a bit indifferent about Ember's changes (She's still basically the same, and it feels more like a straight nerf to her overall usefulness even if her damage is getting buffed. She's too squish and has to rely on her damage potential at range because enemies any closer will most likely one-shot her), I like Atlas's changes, I feel like Gara's Mass Vitrify buff is a great addition. Also, I'm glad to see Banshee's augment not being made useless, but rather a portable Soundquake. That's a nice change, imo.

Also nice to see Volt and Mag getting a bit of a buff, without Volt being thrown a bit too far in that regard.

And Zephyr, it was more of a tweak rather than rework. I think that she deserves a bit more.
All in all, this is a great step. A bit 'rocky' but, I think that only good can come from this in the end.

Without being able to test any of these, I can't say for sure whether they are good changes or not, but on paper, these seem to be mostly great changes. I'm looking forward to these changes coming to the public build for us to provide feedback on.
Thanks for the work on these frames!

Edited by AEP8FlyBoy
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Thanks! Time to read! 

My opinions on the purposed changes,

Ash

  • The Bladestorm rework is absolutely an amazing change for Ash. I’m glad you’re able to OPT into the Bladestorm animation with teleport, definitely a win win situation for players that may or may not like the animation since it is optional to OPT in or not.

Atlas

  • Love how we’re able to walk while using petrify, definitely looks more smooth already, hopefully the gameplay feels even smoother while using petrify. The only real grip I have with petrify is how slow you walk while using it. The ability should work like how Spectral Scream is going to be. I really do like the rubble function, hopefully it will make Atlas way more survivable during missions.

Banshee

  • During the gameplay that we were shown, the Resonating Quake changes look positivity good. The augment mod offers an entire different play style from the current way Banshee works which is incredible.

Chroma

  • The ability to run around while having Spectral Scream active is a massive buff towards the ability alone. We all knew the the Vex Armor nerf was going to eventually happen, we just never knew when. I’m mad and happy about the Vex Armor Change, I’m happy for them fixing the broken ability, but I’m also mad at the fact that they’re fixing it after so many months being in the game. However, the ability for an entire squad to get the buff from Vex Armor is a plus.

Ember

  • Ember’s World on Fire is receiving a deserved nerf and a buff all at the same time, which I’m certainly glad about. You are still able to kill all the enemies far away from you, but the range will shrink every few seconds, which is good since being able to kill enemies across the map was broken. However, the buff aspect of WoF is that the damage will be doubled while you have the ability active, so that’s a big bonus for Ember.

Gara

  • I’m extremly glad that Mass Vitrify is getting a massive buff like the way it used to be, but even better. I do love how the health of the glass wall will scale from how many enemies are caught in it. That will make Mass Vitrify higher level territory again, which I’m pretty happy about.

Mag

  • From all the changes and tweaks that has happened to Mag, these two changes to both Poloraize and Crush are really good QoL buffs.

Volt

  • Volt finally receiving a Quality of Life buff that should have really happened a long time ago. I am really cheerful with this one though, mainly because Volt is pretty good right now, be will be even better. The no damage cap on overcharge is a amazing buff to the ability and Volt overall. He will finally be able to kill enemies with his 4th ability.

Zephyr 

  • I don’t know how I feel about this rework, I like the changes and then I don’t. I’m glad that Divebomb and Tail Wind got merged into one ability, which makes sense since they both worked the same. The new ability, Air Burst, sounds pretty interesting and fun. The only thing I do not like about Zephyr is her current 4th ability. I feel like the ability should be taken out of her kit, and her new 4th ability should make her be able to fly like a bird, like Titania, but with actual wings, that will make her more bird like.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with most of the purposed changes. There’s things here and there that need a bit more changing, other than that, I’m pretty happy.

Edited by xXDeadsinxX
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So I gotta ask do we still need to consume the whole 75 energy if we want to join in on bladestorm? It appears the change is more for utility than anything else but still it would be nice to know if overall the energy cost was also increased in a way to just do what we can right now with BS.

(Or maybe an additional tap lf the 4 once the ability is cast)

————

Oh and for Volt the change is just fantastic but I gotta ask since you’re going for damage is Shock going to be touched? Since it already has neglible stun with only the damage being worse.

Edited by RahuHordika
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How will Landslide augment be played in case of petrifying? As a different petrify? As a new augment? Synergy revolving around slowing down already slow frame is not what I expected...

Also, can you please stop with "nerf this nerf that", and start focusing on ridiculous armor/etc scaling on 100+ lvls?

Next thing, energy consumption. You are forcing us more and more to move into uncomfortable zone with energy gains, and using "the one and only" mod setup. Which, tbh, is ain't fair. 

PS. took you long enough to consider damage scaling based on enemies... Now, wouldn't it be better to just implement it WF wide, and this way reduce scaling of damage/hp/energy costs? It's better to work on %% than solid numbers.

Edited by Xyhon
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Just now, RahuHordika said:

So I gotta ask do we still need to consume the whole 75 energy if we want to join in on bladestorm? It appears the change is more for utility than anything else but still it would be nice to know if overall the energy cost was also increased in a way.

Teleport only costs 25 energy and can be lowered further if you're in smoke screen or if you have the efficiency mods.

Besides that I still feel like it should cost nothing if you teleport to join in

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