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Melee: Present and Future goals!

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Actually, another thing that might work, and would sort of tie into the "spend the multiplier on the heavy" system they toyed with, is to make the combo counter scale up RIDICULOUSLY quickly, but also make it drop off almost immediately, and then make the light melee system work more like the above (based on positioning) where combo ender attacks tend to move the enemy away from the player and they have an extremely short window to try to chain the next combo in. The trick here would be to make it so that you didn't get inherent damage multipliers or procs or "special properties" on the final hit in the string, and you just let the entire multiplier work into that.

So imagine that the combo multiplier increased by a full digit with every hit (a 13 hit combo = a 13x multiplier) but if you went longer than 0.3 seconds without dealing damage to an enemy via melee, the combo counter reset. Also imagine that every combo ender did something to knock the enemy away, so that just mashing E would guarantee a maximum of like, 7 hits damage.

Now, we take the heavy attack and apply the multiplier not only to the damage dealt, but also the size of the (radial AoE) hitbox it generates. So you can hit E for a 7 hit and then immediately drop the heavy for a quick 7x damage burst, or you can chain two more combos into the enemy with a gap closer and a juggle and put together a 35x multiplier, THEN drop the heavy for a room-clearing supernuke combo finisher. High risk high reward because if you miss your frame link and whiff the gap closer, you just wasted your heavy, but if you get good at the combo system then it only takes one Nox and about 25 seconds of involved juggling to massacre every enemy within 100 meters of where you're standing.

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41 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

Warframe is not a fighting game though, it's a PVE action game. We have one melee button, having it churn out just 3-4 three-hitters is the quickest gateway to stale movesets.

Just for comparison, the DMC games have probably the least-involved combo sequences of any action game anyone has ever liked, and you still end up with stuff like this as canned combo strings:

Which you can tell is in no small part what the litmus test for Warframe's developers was (what with the pause-input stuff).

Also, I'd like to point out that putting stattributes on combos (lifesteal as an inherent combo property?) really defeats the whole point of a combo system in the first place, which is that attacks have certain influence on your position and the enemy's position and how you combine them is based on managing that. Does the attack knock the enemy down? Away? Upward? Does it move you forward, or backward, or into the air? Will it turn the enemy around, or put you behind them? Will it daze the enemy and/or leave them vulnerable for a period of time? And, of course, does it hit the enemy in front, or all enemies around you? Will it affect enemies behind you? Above you? Etc.

As it stands in Warframe, melee combos can barely even be counted on to lock enemies down for the duration of the combo; if you're going to focus on making melee viable, it should probably start there, so at least it can be a way of interrupting enemy behaviors. I think Melee 3.0, whatever it is, should start with a serious look at how to make melee fun on its own, by examining other action games, and then trying to figure out how to make that gameplay RELEVANT to the overall gameplay of Warframe, rather than trying to find a way to make melee viable first and then reverse-engineering combo system components onto it. If melee's general function in Warframe is going to continue as it is now (a way of attacking enemies alternatively to shooting them) they may as well just remove the combo system entirely and go back to quick-melee/charge-melee and take away melee "equipping" altogether.

I both agree and disagree with a lot of this.

Warframe's biggest mistake for Melee 2.0 after the janky combo inputs was trying to create involved combos at all. If you are continuing a sustained combo against 1 enemy, something is wrong with your build; enemies are supposed to die in 1-2 hits and the available movesets ought to reflect that. You may feel that 3-4 repeating 3-4 hitters make the combat stale, but in all honesty those types of movesets are what Warframe needs most... with a few caveats.

IMO the best approach would be dynamic combo cycles with separate inputs.

  • String of light attacks (E)
  • String of heavy attacks (R)
  • Strings always trigger in sequence, but can be mixed freely (EERE, ERER, RRER, etc.)
  • Holding either key can charge a special attack (e.g., holding the first E might trigger a forward dash, whereas holding the last E might trigger a standing vertical slam).

This control setup would allow players to create their own combat flow using a fairly limited set of simple animations, which would keep the combat feeling fresh and intuitive. In terms of other important details:

  • Combos should be fully movement independent; if you stand still you stand still, if you move forward you move forward, if you sprint forward you sprint forward.
  • Combos should be fully interruptible and cancelable.
  • Stances should all be roughly equivalent performance wise, offering primarily aesthetic differences (e.g., faster stances deal proportionally less damage and vice-versa, to maintain comparable DPS).
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Just now, DiabolusUrsus said:

Warframe's biggest mistake for Melee 2.0 after the janky combo inputs was trying to create involved combos at all. If you are continuing a sustained combo against 1 enemy, something is wrong with your build; enemies are supposed to die in 1-2 hits and the available movesets ought to reflect that.

And what I've said all along is "if you really feel that way, then there is zero reason that you as a player would not just spam the spin attack"

Because if 1-2 hits is what you want, then the best move is the 360 radial hitbox that lets you continue moving at top speed while you use it. Basically, if you embrace that melee should kill as quickly as guns do, Spin2Win is the inevitable, inescapable result of that.

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1 hour ago, RhythmScript said:

And what I've said all along is "if you really feel that way, then there is zero reason that you as a player would not just spam the spin attack"

Because if 1-2 hits is what you want, then the best move is the 360 radial hitbox that lets you continue moving at top speed while you use it. Basically, if you embrace that melee should kill as quickly as guns do, Spin2Win is the inevitable, inescapable result of that.

I very strongly disagree with this sentiment.

Saying that expecting melee to match guns necessarily means a preference for a single spammed attack is like saying that preferring guns necessarily means only wanting to use an Amprex. Spin 2 Win is a direct consequence of the most powerful effective damage boost being tied directly to an easily-spammed attack; take out the spam and everything is fine. Making melee simple and viable does not mean a required reversion to Melee 1.0 where players only spammed 1 charged attack over and over...

As a function of its range, melee should kill individual enemies faster than guns, but guns will hold the advantage in terms of overall kill-rate as a simple function of superior range.

Move Maiming Strike (and equivalent effects) to heavy attacks and cap the attainable melee range to something reasonable, and your problem is solved.

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21 minutes ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

Spin 2 Win is a direct consequence of the most powerful effective damage boost being tied directly to an easily-spammed attack; take out the spam and everything is fine. Making melee simple and viable does not mean a required reversion to Melee 1.0 where players only spammed 1 charged attack over and over...

As a function of its range, melee should kill individual enemies faster than guns, but guns will hold the advantage in terms of overall kill-rate as a simple function of superior range.

But it really does mean that. If melee kills faster than Tigris Prime then there is no reason other than (pretty weak) aesthetics for melee attacks to have any variety besides the simple 1-2 quick melee swings of Warframe-once-upon-a-time. Why waste the effort and development resources on “stances” and whatnot with special animations when all anyone will do is slap the E key while running at full speed? There’s no point in doing anything else. I’m not going to waste time or mental energy thinking about pressing EERE vs RRER or whatever when it will change nothing whatsoever about the net effect. I’ll do whatever combination of keys spits out hitboxes the absolute fastest while running around. There’s no reason to block, to dodge, to anything. Just EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE until everything I can put myself next to is dead. If a player wants to play that way, they should be using a gun, at least aiming takes a modicum of skill.

Melee 2.0 was an attempt to step away from that and toward action games with skill-driven melee; melee 3.0 should continue in this path, not revert back toward what Warframe used to be. Because, spoiler alert, melee 1.0 Warframe was STILL dominated by spin attack spam, and that was before Maiming, before Rivens, and before Scoliac or any other massive range whips existed. It was Dual Zoren spins and Galatine charge attacks; why? Because mobility and easy AoE, which is all you need when your melee weapon oneshots.

That is 100% guaranteed what one-shot-capable melee will yield, because it is the fastest and most efficient way of spitting out one-shot hitboxes. Spin attacks dominated then, spin attacks dominate now, there’s rarely been a time that spin spam wasn’t extremely prominent as a melee playstyle, and the reason is because the melee oneshot meta encourages it heavily.

Best-case scenario spin attacks in general get nerfed to the extent that it’s faster to just use quick melee, but then the entirety of Warframe melee would just be what we have now with Excal Exalted Blade spam, writ large, and honestly I don’t think that sounds even a little bit better.

Edited by RhythmScript
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3 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

Basically, if you embrace that melee should kill as quickly as guns do, Spin2Win is the inevitable, inescapable result of that.

That slope sure looks slippery to me.

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5 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

If energy becomes even harder to come by, then it needs to come with a SERIOUS reconsideration of energy cost; a lot of abilities honestly need to become free to have any value, and more than a few frames need to have their total numeric energy cost AND the size of their energy pool increased (so the ability still uses 60% of the bar or whatever, but it takes 3x as much energy replenishment to get it back) instead of this static 25/50/75/100-or-channeled thing.

Naturally energy cost would be tweaked and adjusted, that's a given - however, the approach to the issue when talking about dealing with endless enemies cannot be discussed without including the energy economy. I never did agree with this simple multiples of 25 when I first came to this game - the system itself is too rigid and is bound to break sooner or later.

5 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

But none of that solves the real issue that melee 3.0 will face, which is no matter how you balance player against enemy, you still have to balance guns against melee. Enemy level scaling changes and mod reworks and energy economy adjusts won't do anything for that.

Ultimately, this is the problem: if I am standing 1m away from an enemy, I can attack him with a melee combo, or I can shoot him with my shotgunI

There are very many melee players that are simply that - they enjoy melee far more than gunplay. You like to use a shotgun to take down your enemies? Great, but what about people who prefer rifles? Bows? The Blade Alone? The whole point of melee 3.0 is supposed to make the blade equally viable to the gun - the whole premise of the rework is to give players equally viable options on how to deal with the threat they face. Since it has not been shipped and at best we can make nothing but projections, it is best to reserve this line of discussion until the rework arrives.

5 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

If the shotgun takes more than 2-3 pulls MAXIMUM to kill the enemy, then I won't be having fun using it. I'll come online and complain that Warframe gunplay sucks and is full of bullet sponge enemies and unsatisfying tissue paper weapons.

If the melee weapon takes fewer than about 10-12 strikes MINIMUM to kill the enemy, then there's no point in having a combo system at all, because I barely have time to even finish a combo before the enemy is dead. I'll come online and complain that Warframe melee sucks and is just mindless button-mashing.

If the shotgun takes fewer than 2-3 pulls, and the melee weapon takes more than about 10-12 strikes, both systems will be SATISFYING, but I'll only ever use the shotgun, because it's faster and this is the 700th time I've run this mission node and this is the 312,252nd time I've fought this enemy and I just want my friggin' Nitain Extract and I've got Argon Crystals decaying in my oven and I don't particularly feel like spending any amount of time or effort on the fight right now. 

I'm do not mean to be offensive, but your viewpoints here are limited to your experience and personal preferences, which is not what I'm here to discuss and never discuss with other players, anymore than their religion, politics, etc. - there are plenty who would agree and disagree with you about your opinions, so let's move beyond that.

We know warframe is a horde shooter and the idea when fighting multiple opponents is to put them down as quickly as possible - hordes are the chosen system the developers have decided for their game. At lower levels, this is fine, having to do all these combos, but at higher levels, time is compressed and you have less time to put the enemies down before they drop you like a ton of bricks, therefore this necessitates having shorter melee combos to do the damage. The name "ninja" itself necessarily means that your melee combos are very, very quick and effective. As well, you're speaking from the current system as it is when we know M3 is on its way - we don't know what they're going to do with the combo counter or how the stances are going to be reworked - will they put in universal stances where you can end and begin combos as you wish? We know a significant baseline damage boost is on its way. Combos aren't meant to be locked away and ended on a single target, they continue on whatever enemies you have around you, that's the design of the game.

Again, there are far too many unknowns for us to have any significant discussion on the issue of melee, so anything written about that are mere "ifs" - I prefer to speak on what we know and have in our hands as opposed to what we think might be, which could be completely off.

5 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

Where we are now is that Warframe is balanced around satisfying gunplay, and so for viability reasons melee weapons have been ramped up to match that level of damage output. And the reason there's so much frustration around melee 3.0 (and the reason I believe S2W is really prominent and bothers DE so much) is that DE is envisioning melee combat as being something like Bayonetta, where you combo enemies and dodge and parry and stuff, but the playerbase can't figure out why anyone would want or need a 15-hit combo that locks their character in place when they can already kill enemies by the dozens with each quick-melee swing of their sword while running at top speed. And everyone is worried that the "spam E to mass-murder" playstyle will be nerfed, not because they want to cheese, but because if they can't even do THAT, there's literally no reason to use melee unless their ammo pool is depleted, because their guns and/or abilities will do the same job faster every single time.

Where is this frustration coming from? Who's saying this? Can you point me to any posts where there has been a significant amount of negative comments about the rework? Where have you seen this single-target combat system? What are your sources? Again, these are your feelings - there are plenty of people who prefer to melee as opposed to the gun, so that argument is nil. One of the key features of M3 is the removal of locking players into place, another core feature of the rework.

3 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

Because if 1-2 hits is what you want, then the best move is the 360 radial hitbox that lets you continue moving at top speed while you use it. Basically, if you embrace that melee should kill as quickly as guns do, Spin2Win is the inevitable, inescapable result of that.

It seems most of your writings are predicated on the current system remaining as is, though we know that a rework is coming. Are they going to adjust spin attacks? Will they fix the maiming strike that makes S2W so effective? If so, what is the projected impact on the playerbase? Will players branch out into melee more seeing as how you can quickly switch between the gun and blade, as shown in videos If one is equally effective as the other which is in keeping with the premise of the game "warriors of gun and blade". In other threads, the maiming strike glitch was discovered and solutions offered to fix the huge boost that maiming strike offers - will it be implemented? There are far too many unknown variables at this time, therefore this is not a clear path to trod unless we wish to continue with speculation and come up with solutions that may already be integrated into the rework.

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20 minutes ago, Mach25 said:

It seems most of your writings are predicated on the current system remaining as is,

I guess my whole point is, IF melee weapons are going to continue to be balanced in such a way that they primarily one-shot enemies, then “combos” mean nothing, because death comes in one swing. Why dial 4 or 5 if the enemy is dead after the first one? For reasons of basic animation fluidity you’d want to round robin a few swing animations, but “combos” in any significant sense lose all relevance. There’s nothing meaningful to separate one set of melee attacks from another, they don’t have unique properties or functions, they don’t do anythjng different to the corpses that fly away as soon as the hitbox comes out.

WHATEVER rework DE comes up with for melee 3.0, it will stop meaning much of anything after the first swing of your melee weapon, unless melee is nerfed heavily. That’s what I’m saying. You can add an attack button and pour hundreds of unique animations and stances with procs and flourishes and branches and it won’t matter if the swings all cut into empty air once everything in melee reach falls in half after the first press of the E key. So really, why bother? If melee is meant to be a viable SUBSTITUTE for guns, capable of lawnmowering scores of enemies to death, why not just go back to melee 1.0 where you swung your sword in front of you back-and-forth while running and there was no such thing as stances?

melee 3.0, the spin2win addressing, it seemed to me an acknowledgement that despite DE’s efforts to add depth and complexity to melee, it never ACTUALLY stopped being a means of spamming attack while jumping around, and the resolve to take another crack at it. If all anyone wants is for spamming crouched E to give way to spamming uncrouched E, I personally think a “rework” accomplishes less than just removing stance mods entirely. A lot of time and animator energy could be saved by just randomizing the alternated quick melee swing animations (a la Raiden’s endless light combo in MGR) to make melee look flashier and more ninjaesque, and removing any concepts of “combos”, “heavy attacks”, “gap closers”, “blocking”, etc., in their entirety.

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1 hour ago, RhythmScript said:

But it really does mean that. If melee kills faster than Tigris Prime then there is no reason other than (pretty weak) aesthetics for melee attacks to have any variety besides the simple 1-2 quick melee swings of Warframe-once-upon-a-time. Why waste the effort and development resources on “stances” and whatnot with special animations when all anyone will do is slap the E key while running at full speed? There’s no point in doing anything else. I’m not going to waste time or mental energy thinking about pressing EERE vs RRER or whatever when it will change nothing whatsoever about the net effect. I’ll do whatever combination of keys spits out hitboxes the absolute fastest while running around. There’s no reason to block, to dodge, to anything. Just EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE until everything I can put myself next to is dead. If a player wants to play that way, they should be using a gun, at least aiming takes a modicum of skill.

This is entirely your personal preference, and with games as an entertainment value artform, there is merit to producing an aesthetically pleasing experience.

Most players were perfectly happy to spam charged attacks in Melee 1.0, and 2.0 started out as nothing more than extra animations for variety! Saying that simple melee attacks may as well be 1-2 animations is like saying the Tigris is indistinguishable from the Corinth.

Just because you can't be bothered to invest mental energy into planning your combos doesn't mean nobody else would be.

1 hour ago, RhythmScript said:

Melee 2.0 was an attempt to step away from that and toward action games with skill-driven melee; melee 3.0 should continue in this path, not revert back toward what Warframe used to be. Because, spoiler alert, melee 1.0 Warframe was STILL dominated by spin attack spam, and that was before Maiming, before Rivens, and before Scoliac or any other massive range whips existed. It was Dual Zoren spins and Galatine charge attacks; why? Because mobility and easy AoE, which is all you need when your melee weapon oneshots.

Are you joking? Zorencopters and equivalent were actually fairly  rare, and the Galatine was far from ubiquitous.

People only spammed charged attacks because they ignored armor, while normal attacks didn't 

Melee 2.0's mistake was that it tried to overcomplicate things when Warframe combat doesn't have the depth to support that type of skill floor. Why are we bothering with specialized combos when enemies die almost instantly?

1 hour ago, RhythmScript said:

That is 100% guaranteed what one-shot-capable melee will yield, because it is the fastest and most efficient way of spitting out one-shot hitboxes. Spin attacks dominated then, spin attacks dominate now, there’s rarely been a time that spin spam wasn’t extremely prominent as a melee playstyle, and the reason is because the melee oneshot meta encourages it heavily.

We already have one-shot melee, and yet melee is actually reasonably diverse already. Sure I'll see Atteraxes and Secura Lectas and whatnot, but I see more people using normal melee than I see using S2W.

So what if people spam an attack? If that's what they wanna do, let them provided it doesn't intrude on other players. Just nerf the range and you're good.

1 hour ago, RhythmScript said:

Best-case scenario spin attacks in general get nerfed to the extent that it’s faster to just use quick melee, but then the entirety of Warframe melee would just be what we have now with Excal Exalted Blade spam, writ large, and honestly I don’t think that sounds even a little bit better.

The problem with Exalted Blade is that it covers all ranges. I don't understand why or HOW you expect melee to be anything more than simply mashing E. The game doesn't have enough mechanical depth to support more.

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2 minutes ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

Melee 2.0's mistake was that it tried to overcomplicate things when Warframe combat doesn't have the depth to support that type of skill floor. Why are we bothering with specialized combos when enemies die almost instantly?

You and I view Warframe’s current melee in the exact same way, I just wish it wasn’t mindless and you seem to enjoy it that way. I don’t think your opinion is wrong or anything, but I think based on what DE has done for melee 2.0 and showed for melee 3.0, that’s not what THEY want for it. They seem to be investing a lot of effort into attempting to make melee interesting and skill-driven on its own, rather than just a flashy-animation vehicle for hitboxes.

My observations are based entirely on the disconnect between this approach and the existing Warframe meta. Either DE needs to accept that what they are envisioning for melee is entirely inconsistent with OHKO combat and get rid of OHKO combat for melee weapons, or they need to abandon “combo based” combat entirely and return to the much, much more simplified version of melee that Warframe had prior to 2.0.

Sadly for me (and for DE) I think the fanbase would prefer the latter, but I think it sells short the real potential of melee combat in Warframe.

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1 minute ago, RhythmScript said:

You and I view Warframe’s current melee in the exact same way, I just wish it wasn’t mindless and you seem to enjoy it that way. I don’t think your opinion is wrong or anything, but I think based on what DE has done for melee 2.0 and showed for melee 3.0, that’s not what THEY want for it. They seem to be investing a lot of effort into attempting to make melee interesting and skill-driven on its own, rather than just a flashy-animation vehicle for hitboxes.

I don't want melee to be mindless but I don't see why it has to be complicated. Warframe is not (and is unlikely to be) a game where things like learning to juggle or stunlock a single enemy would make any sense.

I also don't see how you can say that what has been shown of 3.0 is anything BUT simplified, or how it would qualify as skill-driven. Stances have been shown to have 2 main combos aside from the gap closer, with the only difference being animation speed.

1 minute ago, RhythmScript said:

My observations are based entirely on the disconnect between this approach and the existing Warframe meta. Either DE needs to accept that what they are envisioning for melee is entirely inconsistent with OHKO combat and get rid of OHKO combat for melee weapons, or they need to abandon “combo based” combat entirely and return to the much, much more simplified version of melee that Warframe had prior to 2.0.

Following your logic of "players will only use the most efficient method," then if guns kill faster than melee players will only use guns.

We saw a good deal of that sentiment under 1.0 where that was actually TRUE, yet players STILL used melee because even in its simplistic form it was still entertaining.

There is value to adding what amounts to window dressing to simplistic combat to keep it entertaining, IMO. My proposed system allows players to make it as simple (mash E/spam spin) or complex (manage hitbox strings + special charge attacks) as they prefer, while maintaining baseline efficacy for both. Let players pick how they want to approach it.

1 minute ago, RhythmScript said:

Sadly for me (and for DE) I think the fanbase would prefer the latter, but I think it sells short the real potential of melee combat in Warframe.

Take that further and say it sells short the real potential of combat period. Warframe has a lot of mechanical complexity but very little depth.

If DE wants to add depth they need to do it across the board and at the same time, starting from damage.

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41 minutes ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

I also don't see how you can say that what has been shown of 3.0 is anything BUT simplified, or how it would qualify as skill-driven. Stances have been shown to have 2 main combos aside from the gap closer, with the only difference being animation speed.

They haven’t showed much concrete, but there’s the gap closer, dodge cancels, heavy attacks, “spending” multiplier, the Tenno Trigger, etc. All of them represent a mechanical change from “a melee swing is a gunshot with a swing animation instead of a shoot animation”, or at least an attempt at it. This on the heels of melee 2.0 attempting to add branching dial combos, perfect parries, etc. Basically none of what DE has done with melee since the very beginning has been in service of a dash-and-slash centric playstyle, even though that’s what’s emerged.

If melee is just about window dressing, honestly the best approach would, I believe, to be return to melee 1.0 mechanically and just use randomized or player-selectable (like cosmetics) animation loops with no functional difference and no real “mechanics” beyond that.

I would be sad if this was what happened, though. And as you say, Warframe is NOT (currently) a game where juggling or comboing one/a few enemies is worthwhile or something you’d ever want to do. Which, once again, is my whole point; if DE wants melee combat that works in that way, they’ve got to come up with a reason WHY doing that would be worth the player’s time. To open up scalability by letting combo mult increase gun/ability damage and/or range was one idea; designing enemies that highly resist gunfire and demand melee focus was another. There are plenty of others folks could come up with.

I’d prefer that DE explore these avenues and give us a reason to actually use a well-crafted melee system other than “it looks different from shooting, even though it basically works the same as any shotgun” but it’s true it would involve a pretty radical reimagining of melee’s role in WF.

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The central issue of melee in Warframe could very much be solved by taking heavy inspiration from Dynasty Warriors and, oddly enough, Diablo 3. In the former, you have a standard of attack chains that constantly have collateral, but keep one particular spot repeatedly hit. This handles both the large groups and the single hardy targets that both Warframe and Dynasty Warriors have. It's a good baseline for Quick Melee, while the more complex, but more widely applicable due to mobility and burst damage, combos could be confined to Stances. Do not force us to use iffy flashy combos, make sure the basic sweeping stuff is there at all times so melee stays functional. Essentially, make all quick melee like Tempo Royal, constantly moving with every attack while striking multiple enemies. Only, you know, balanced so that Stances, with gap-closers and heavy attacks, have at least a chance to be worth using.

Diablo 3, primarily among stuff like the Thorns Crusader, has you utilizing different things based on the target and situation. When I hammer at a single target with my Thorns Crusader or am tanking constant damage, I'm spamming Shield Bash to deal burst damage, knock away other enemies and heal, all at the same time. It's also the gap closer. Really dense, but it costs Wrath (which is how it heals, because there's a Life Per Wrath Spent statistic), so I can't continuously hammer the enemy. I'm also required to use my basic, resource-granting, attack on occasion to keep a cascading buff active, and there's a mobility cooldown that's simultanously a major damage source drawing from the Thorns value, which is damage dealt to attackers. The last ability I use as a Thorns Crusader is a pure damage ability on a large cooldown, with huge AoE potential.

While the exact mechanics behind my Diablo 3 character aren't applicable to Warframe, the concepts hold strong value. A melee character in Diablo 3 has the exact same problems as a melee playstyle in Warframe. Both need to keep on targets regardless of how fast they kill. However, there's a finite mobility limit in both games that acts as a limit to kill rate, no matter how much damage you deal. The difference is that, for Warframe, melee characters currently have no advantageous movement worth using. Tempo Royale is slower than normal movement options, and is considered quite possibly the best stance in the game because it's at least keeping up with normal walking while covering yourself in a web of 360 hitboxes. By confining the advantageous gap-closing options to a form of resource expenditure, as well as tying heavy damage and healing to such expenditure, it becomes much more balancable than infinitely spammable effects.

Let us be able to trivially clear out chaff we're in melee range of, we have Bombards and Bursa to offer hardened foes to style upon. Make the challenge getting to, and staying in, range of something at all times by making it so that the gap closing requires a sort of aiming and enough combo meter, thus promoting the interweaving of more conventional mobility to conserve combo meter so that gap-closers can be conserved for enemies requiring more than a single swift strike. This also necessitates that forward-moving air attacks deal less damage than the gap-closing attacks, otherwise why would you spend combo meter on a gap-closer when you can just Bullet Jump and get the same, or better, effect? Of course, the expense of combo meter means it'd be a Heavy Attack, so those benefits, including healing, apply. Come to think of it, couldn't the radial full-surrounding Slide Attack become a Heavy Attack, while the standard one is a rising strike? It'd certainly solve spin-to-win...

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Metal Gear Rising (despite being a pretty simplistic melee combat game once you remove blade mode shenanigans, and in the grand scheme of things fairly easy) would be a good template for Warframe melee in terms of what inputs actually DO.

Raiden has 2 melee attacks; light and heavy. Light attacks can be spammed endlessly; Raiden can stand perfectly stationary while using them and the game will conjure up a cycle of dozens of equally-timed angular cross cuts without moving Raiden an inch, with no end to the damage output and no inconsistency. This same attack can be used while sprinting at full speed for rapid cross-cuts that cover a large hitbox about 180° across in front of Raiden. Raiden can (actually, automatically does) deflect bullets with 100% damage reduction while running full speed, as long as he is not currently attacking. He can also do a spinning slide cut from a sprint, at the cost of losing a bit of momentum.

All of Raiden’s “special combos” involve the use of the heavy attack button, save ONE (which is accessed by pausing briefly at any point during the endless light loop, then resuming it), and most of them are 3-4 button presses, with none exceeding 5. LHL, HHH, HHLH, HHHL, etc. Each of these locks Raiden’s movement and has unique properties on him and the enemy he is attacking. Attacks are guaranteed to interrupt any enemy animation instantly, except in extremely specific situations, which are well-telegraphed.

Defense against melee strikes is either with a simple dodge (with wide i-frames) or a well-timed parry (which opens up a devastating finisher counterattack).

Raiden can spend energy to be put into a warframeesque OHKO spam mode where just smacking light attack will dissolve everything even remotely near him into bloody chunks instantaneously; in order to refill it, he has to execute a successful series of less-deadly combos against an enemy (and then do the little Zandatsu aiming minigame, but whatever).

If DE are going to look to other action games for melee combat mechanics, they could do worse than to emulate another popular game about a futuristic cyborg space ninja with pseudo-stealth mechanics, on-screen-face mid mission briefs, one melee weapon at a time, and free-aimed rocket launchers. As action games go it’s extremely simple, it doesn’t demand a great deal of skill or attention to master its combo mechanics (and actually rewards light attack mashing pretty consistently due to the endless combo designed to remain visually interesting) but permits heavy threats to be juggled and rewards player accuracy and economy with better end-mission rewards.

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12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

They haven’t showed much concrete, but there’s the gap closer, dodge cancels,

Gap closers and dodge cancels are pretty basic fare, even for games like Dynasty Warriors, so I don't really consider those indicative of complexity or skill-based play by themselves.

Warframe would need proper telegraphs and correctly timed hitboxes (for example, a Butcher's or Charger's attack actually connects before the the swing animation plays correctly. You can see this phenomenon even more clearly on Ancient Disruptors, when the magnetic proc triggers before the tentacle expands fully).

12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

heavy attacks, “spending” multiplier, the Tenno Trigger, etc. All of them represent a mechanical change from “a melee swing is a gunshot with a swing animation instead of a shoot animation”, or at least an attempt at it.

What? A melee swing and gunshot are always going to be the same thing presented differently.

A gunshot is a damage event. A melee attack is a damage event. The game is going to handle them the same way, with the only difference being damage dealt, range, hitbox, etc.

The only meaningful differentiation comes down to what is ultimately window dressing; animations, models, textures, audio, etc.

12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

This on the heels of melee 2.0 attempting to add branching dial combos,

Which DE has already acknowledged were a mistake, and 3.0 is clearly a backpedaling of that decision.

12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

perfect parries, etc.

What? Parries are completely random chance under 2.0, and I have seen zero indication that they are changing that for 3.0.

Heck, it's unclear if parries will even still be a thing (seeing as how channeling is getting scrapped). They said the standard block will have the default channeling properties, but that might only include the bullet negation + reflection.

12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

Basically none of what DE has done with melee since the very beginning has been in service of a dash-and-slash centric playstyle, even though that’s what’s emerged.

Yeah, except as they said themselves: they messed up by trying to go the DMC route.

I don't see how 3.0 is anything but an attempt to better fit a dash-and-slash playstyle. Aside from the standardized combo inputs, everything appears to be aimed at removing limits to player mobility (i.e., the aforementioned gap closers and dodge cancels, as well as full air combos and bullet-jump attacks).

12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

If melee is just about window dressing, honestly the best approach would, I believe, to be return to melee 1.0 mechanically and just use randomized or player-selectable (like cosmetics) animation loops with no functional difference and no real “mechanics” beyond that.

Why are you so fixated on this extreme? Melee feels good when the player is in control. You might feel that having different combos is pointless if all the strikes are undifferentiated in terms of damage delivery, but I would appreciate them for the variety.

The entire point of a melee attack is to kill whatever enemy is in front of you. 1.0 accomplished that goal just fine, but it got repetitive and boring. I think a single randomly repeating combo string would fall into that same pitfall.

2.0 tried to fix that problem, but the rigid combo structure and limited movement prevented the combos from working well. Only simple spammable combos are particularly useful, with a few notable exceptions (forced Slash procs, finisher triggers, etc.).

Thus, I believe that 3.0 should give players direct control over combo structures with completely unrestricted movement and simple-but-entertaining attacks. I dunno about you, but I would find the ability to briefly charge a heavy attack (R) and bisect a Lancer vertically to be rather satisfying compared to simply tapping E and watching it fall over/fall to pieces based entirely on RNG. They both accomplish the same goal - Lancer is dead - but the entertainment value changes greatly.

12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

I would be sad if this was what happened, though.

To be clear, me too. I would very much like for Warframe to develop mechanical depth to its combat - both melee AND gunplay.

However, melee 3.0 is supposed to be reconciling melee with the way the game currently works. I think that is very important, and that trying to force it in the opposite direction on principle will only exacerbate the spin 2 win problem (although perhaps in a different form), where players resort to whatever is most efficient because the rest of it carries no noteworthy advantage.

12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

And as you say, Warframe is NOT (currently) a game where juggling or comboing one/a few enemies is worthwhile or something you’d ever want to do. Which, once again, is my whole point; if DE wants melee combat that works in that way, they’ve got to come up with a reason WHY doing that would be worth the player’s time.

And at this point they've decided that it won't be worth the players time, hence melee 3.0 moving away from that paradigm.

12 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

To open up scalability by letting combo mult increase gun/ability damage and/or range was one idea; designing enemies that highly resist gunfire and demand melee focus was another. There are plenty of others folks could come up with.

I’d prefer that DE explore these avenues and give us a reason to actually use a well-crafted melee system other than “it looks different from shooting, even though it basically works the same as any shotgun” but it’s true it would involve a pretty radical reimagining of melee’s role in WF.

I also support this, moving forward. Just not right now, and not for melee specifically.

This needs to be done for Warframe as a whole, all at once or otherwise in quick succession.

IMO instead of forcing players to use melee vs. guns for specific enemies, it would be better to design multiple strategies depending on what they choose to use.

Let's use a boss as an example. The gunplay approach might involve targeting a series of weak-points in sequence, whereas the melee approach might involve countering an attack at the right moment to stun the boss and open it up for a combo. This could change based on boss, too.

For a melee boss, gunplay might require using environmental hazards to stun or disarm it, whereas melee players might be allowed to approach it more directly.

This can be applied all the way down to the champion-type enemies I suggested earlier, such that melee and gunplay are equally viable yet lend themselves to entirely different playstyles. In other words, I think it would be better to lay out a set of options instead of forcing the player to switch under arbitrary conditions, with the "reason" for using guns versus melee coming down to preference.

Some might only use guns. Some might only use melee. Most will use a mix of both. Personally, I don't see any problem with that at all.

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1 hour ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

You might feel that having different combos is pointless if all the strikes are undifferentiated in terms of damage delivery, but I would appreciate them for the variety.

 

Right, but then you could just cycle animations randomly and it would be greater variation for less effort. Having “combos” implies that different attacks do different things; it’d be like giving every gun in Warframe a secondary fire, but having the secondary fire work the exact same way as the primary fire, and saying that because the particle effects are different it’s “variety”.

It isn’t, not really.

Guns have a lot of attention paid to them in Warframe, and in a way that ISN’T purely window dressing. Their ability to stagger/interrupt enemies is different, they have different reload times and ammo pools to manage, they have different kinds of fire modes with all sorts of entertaining gimmicks. Think about how absolutely, mind-numbingly, painfully tedious Warframe would be if every single weapon just did a single fixed-distance line trace and dealt damage at the end, and the only thing that separated one gun from another was the sound effects and muzzle flashes and reload/firing anims.

1 hour ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

A gunshot is a damage event. A melee attack is a damage event

This is really, really wrong. A gunshot is, typically, a damage event, and an ammo event; it causes damage to be dealt to the enemy and depletes ammo. A melee attack is an enemy behavior event; it deals damage, but it also interrupts the enemy, moves the enemy, moves the player. When a bullet strikes an enemy in almost any game, unless something specific to the shot (explosion or some other forced knockback) occurs, it’s normal for an enemy to carry on with what they’re doing. A melee attack, in essentially any game that ever implemented them well, causes the enemy to DO something, and causes the player to as well. This is the basis of combo systems.

If melee is reduced to splashing out damage and there’s no diversity of movement or reaction, it really just becomes an infinite ammo shotgun that the player can spam. Making the arcs of the sword swings look different doesn’t add meaningful uniqueness, any more than adding new skins add new guns. It’s differences in FUNCTIONALITY that make different forms of attack fun to use, and if you reduce all of the functionality to one simple effect that takes little skill or involvement, a dozen buttons and a dozen animations won’t remove that redundancy or instant staleness.

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16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

Right, but then you could just cycle animations randomly and it would be greater variation for less effort. Having “combos” implies that different attacks do different things; it’d be like giving every gun in Warframe a secondary fire, but having the secondary fire work the exact same way as the primary fire, and saying that because the particle effects are different it’s “variety”.

It isn’t, not really.

Except you're ignoring the fact that the player having direct control over their actions is what creates the variety; you're acting like an alternate fire that cycles randomly is the same thing as having an alternate fire just because both happen to deal damage. It's not the same at all.

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

Guns have a lot of attention paid to them in Warframe, and in a way that ISN’T purely window dressing. Their ability to stagger/interrupt enemies is different, 

And the same holds true for melee, no? A hammer slam does a better job of knocking down enemies than a dagger slam, the same way shotguns stagger better than assault rifles in most cases.

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

they have different reload times and ammo pools to manage,

And melee weapons have different attack speeds and attack ranges.

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

they have different kinds of fire modes with all sorts of entertaining gimmicks.

And I would support adding alternate effects to melee weapons (e.g., Heat Sword igniting on charged attacks and Jat Kittag regaining its jet propulsion) but I don't see why that would necessarily be incompatible with simplified combos.

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

Think about how absolutely, mind-numbingly, painfully tedious Warframe would be if every single weapon just did a single fixed-distance line trace and dealt damage at the end, and the only thing that separated one gun from another was the sound effects and muzzle flashes and reload/firing anims.

You're oversimplifying. All I'm saying is that combos should stay away from multiple "forced" attacks from singular inputs which lock the player in place or cover a fixed distance.

The rapid stabs in Tranquil Cleave's Breathless Lunge string is a good example of something that really doesn't fit. The scythe throw from Reaping Spiral is another good example.

It's fine to vary the effects of individual attacks, but the inputs and execution should be kept simple and fairly modular to prevent over-commitment to killing a single enemy.

Your example of using primary vs. alternate fire is already covered by splitting melee into light (less damage/stagger but faster with better combo gains) and heavy (more stopping power) attacks.

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

This is really, really wrong.

You're forcing this into a matter of semantics:

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

A gunshot is, typically, a damage event, and an ammo event; it causes damage to be dealt to the enemy and depletes ammo.

The ammunition is arbitrary; do Arch-weapons not count as guns because they have infinite ammo? How is that different from melee using stamina or channeled attacks consuming energy? If guns had infinite ammo amd bottomless magazines, would they stop being guns?

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

A melee attack is an enemy behavior event; it deals damage, but it also interrupts the enemy,

And guns can't trigger impact or blast procs?

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

moves the enemy, moves the player.

Yet they don't suffer from recoil. This does nothing to change the fact that gunshots and melee attacks both serve the same empirical purpose of dealing damage.

The Sonicor moves enemies better than most melee weapons; does that mean it's closer to being a sword?

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

Whena bullet strikes an enemy in almost any game, unless something specific to the shot (explosion or some other forced knockback) occurs, it’s normal for an enemy to carry on with what they’re doing. A melee attack, in essentially any game that ever implemented them well, causes the enemy to DO something, and causes the player to as well. This is the basis of combo systems.

What?

When I shotgun a Cleaner in the face in The Division, he staggers. When I shoot an opponent with Cervantes' pistol sword in Soulcalibur, they fall over. When I slash a large hollow with my Uchigatana in Dark Souls, it is perfectly capable of ignoring any applicable hit-stun based on how much poise it has.

The result of the attack is, again, completely arbitrary and can be changed at-will to create a specific gameplay function.

16 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

If melee is reduced to splashing out damage and there’s no diversity of movement or reaction, it really just becomes an infinite ammo shotgun that the player can spam. Making the arcs of the sword swings look different doesn’t add meaningful uniqueness, any more than adding new skins add new guns. It’s differences in FUNCTIONALITY that make different forms of attack fun to use, and if you reduce all of the functionality to one simple effect that takes little skill or involvement, a dozen buttons and a dozen animations won’t remove that redundancy or instant staleness.

Ah. I think you're misunderstanding my intent.

I'm saying that combos should be kept to a simple modular implementation that is tuned to Warframe's existing combat dynamic. It's fine to add different effects to different attacks (e.g., I would expect a lunging thrust to do something different than a sweeping slash) but there is currently very little value in expecting players to apply multiple hits from the same string to 1 enemy for maximum efficacy.

Instead of fixating on the conventional meaning of "combo," try to step back and realize that player combos would consist of a mix of light/heavy/charged/slide/slam attacks rather than there being a dedicated pre-defined combo.

As long as the different types of attacks fill different functions (rather than different individual light attacks) the combo system should work just fine. It would be more of a "create your own combo" rather than what we currently have where players must use attacks in a rigid order as defined by sequential inputs.

For example, Decisive Judgment's Consent Decree triggers a finisher if you happen to land directly on an enemy. Instead of requiring players to use only one specific memorized input, there would be multiple possible paths to that attack as long as they know when in the string to hold down E (e.g., on the fourth hit).

Would that really be so bad?

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DE remember long ago you buffed melee so players would want to use it. I love melee, the way it is. Never used the spin through walls BS more than once just to see how ridiculous it was. I hope I can keep on loving melee when your done reworking it.

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4 hours ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

As long as the different types of attacks fill different functions (rather than different individual light attacks) the combo system should work just fine. It would be more of a "create your own combo" rather than what we currently have where players must use attacks in a rigid order as defined by sequential inputs.

For example, Decisive Judgment's Consent Decree triggers a finisher if you happen to land directly on an enemy. Instead of requiring players to use only one specific memorized input, there would be multiple possible paths to that attack as long as they know when in the string to hold down E (e.g., on the fourth hit).

That's basically how Bayonetta's combat system works (there are like 4 wicked weaves and a thousand strings to reach them), and I would have no problem with that, but now I think we're cycling past the main issue, which once again is "if the unique and relevant part of the combo is five hits in, and every enemy dies in one hit, what was the point of the first four hits?" So again we're back to "how do you make a combo system satisfying and fun in a meta where OHKO defines viability?"

Whatever specific form the combo system takes, as soon as it becomes a vehicle for dedicating time to more than one or two attacks against any given target or group of targets, it's already outlived its usefulness in a meta where after the second hit, you need to be bullet jumping/sprinting/sliding toward the next group of enemies. That either has to change, or any notion of a combo system is pretty pointless.

You seem to make the case for doing the DMC thing and having almost all attacks be callable on command with no "combo strings" to memorize whatsoever but, again, that's basically what melee 1.0 was. A couple basic slashes, a slide attack, an air attack, a slam, and a charge attack; add the block-attack from melee 3.0 and that gives you 6 different types of attack you could use with no combos whatsoever, and it's basically what we have now. 

Even if you double the number of attacks on-call with a heavy attack button, and somehow give every unique attack a specific role (gap close, radial attack, simple fast damage, hard knockback/ragdoll, knock skyward, radial stun/stagger, on and on and on... hey, Aztez pulled it off) you're not going to have "create your own combo" because there's not really anything meaningful about choosing a sequence of attacks. In fighting games, and DMC and its ilk, the whole "combo creation" meta is built around understanding the way attacks affect the position and behavior of you and your opponent and figuring out how to combine those together. But no matter how you achieve those results in Warframe (being dial-a-combo like we have now, or some version of command attack lists without specific dials like you propose) it doesn't matter if the first attack kills the enemy.

There is no frame-link where you knock the enemy back, cancel into a roll, and charge up a heavy attack to smack him just as his ragdolled body lands at your feet, because he's already dead. There is no interrupting the final launch-back attack of your combo with a gap closer to keep pressure on the enemy before he gets out of stunlock and retaliates, because he's already dead. There's no rising launcher to trigger an air juggle before knocking the enemy into the ground, because he's already dead. You only need the attack to put out the hitbox so that the kill registers, and then you need to be on your way.

Embracing the 'reality' of that as part of Warframe melee means embracing that melee combat will never have any real complexity or variety at all, because no matter what you SAY the various attacks do to the enemy, the end result is that they kill them straight away. If they don't, then melee isn't viable, because your gun and your 4 will kill them straight away, and if they don't, I promise there's a Saryn nearby happy to take care of that for you. That's the point I've been making for a dozen posts now. There can be no semblance of a "combo" system when it never takes a combination of multiple moves to achieve the desired result. Either a way has to be found to make a combination of multiple moves necessary/useful, or melee just remains the infinite ammo shotgun it already basically is, no matter how many animation sets get glued to it. We can go 'round and 'round about the niceties of the various approaches to accessing this structure of moves, but if every one of those moves has the "unique" property of "immediately kill what I am standing next to" it amounts to very little in practice.

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23 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

That's basically how Bayonetta's combat system works

...

You seem to make the case for doing the DMC thing and having almost all attacks be callable on command with no "combo strings" to memorize whatsoever but, again, that's basically what melee 1.0 was.

The solution is pretty simple: add champion-miniboss enemies that would engender that type of counterplay. I'm perfectly on-board with something like that as a next-step, because players can have the best of both worlds in terms of OHKO hordes and more engaging combat.

The first step (3.0) would be making a flexible combo system full of simple-but-pleasing attacks, which can be expanded upon when the rest of combat catches up.

23 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

A couple basic slashes, a slide attack, an air attack, a slam, and a charge attack; add the block-attack from melee 3.0 and that gives you 6 different types of attack you could use with no combos whatsoever, and it's basically what we have now. 

Even if you double the number of attacks on-call with a heavy attack button, and somehow give every unique attack a specific role (gap close, radial attack, simple fast damage, hard knockback/ragdoll, knock skyward, radial stun/stagger, on and on and on... hey, Aztez pulled it off) you're not going to have "create your own combo" because there's not really anything meaningful about choosing a sequence of attacks.

There is if instead of using 1-2 charged attacks total you use a different one for each hit in the light/heavy string.

So if you hold E on the first swing it will do something entirely different from holding E on the 2nd/3rd/4th swing, and the same for heavy attacks.

23 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

In fighting games, and DMC and its ilk, the whole "combo creation" meta is built around understanding the way attacks affect the position and behavior of you and your opponent and figuring out how to combine those together. But no matter how you achieve those results in Warframe (being dial-a-combo like we have now, or some version of command attack lists without specific dials like you propose) it doesn't matter if the first attack kills the enemy.

Fighting games are a different beast altogether as they are PVP-oriented, but DMC actually "cheats" to an extent by limiting which attacks can actually KILL an enemy.

For example, in DMC 4 I can string an endless loop of a basic Rebellion combo with a Million Stab input into Swordmaster Danse Macabre and back on the SAME enemy and it will NEVER die until I land the final hit in either string. The game gets away with this because

a) most people wouldn't purposefully avoid finishing a specific "combo," and

b) the game is less about finishing your enemies off and more about beating up on them while looking cool.

That doesn't really apply to Warframe, which places more emphasis on killing large numbers of enemies instead.

23 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

There is no frame-link where you knock the enemy back, cancel into a roll, and charge up a heavy attack to smack him just as his ragdolled body lands at your feet, because he's already dead. There is no interrupting the final launch-back attack of your combo with a gap closer to keep pressure on the enemy before he gets out of stunlock and retaliates, because he's already dead. There's no rising launcher to trigger an air juggle before knocking the enemy into the ground, because he's already dead. You only need the attack to put out the hitbox so that the kill registers, and then you need to be on your way.

And the biggest difference here is that in games with that type of combo system there is almost NEVER a group of enemies sitting back and blasting you with automatic weapons.

In DMC, as long as you're combo-locking your target you're fairly safe. Any ranged attacks (like an Assault's thorn cannon) are highly telegraphed, short in duration, and have travel time.

In fighting games, you usually have only 1 opponent.

Combos NEED to be short in utilitarian because taking too long in one place usually means you're dead (unless you're running stuff way below your level).

23 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

Embracing the 'reality' of that as part of Warframe melee means embracing that melee combat will never have any real complexity or variety at all, because no matter what you SAY the various attacks do to the enemy, the end result is that they kill them straight away. If they don't, then melee isn't viable, because your gun and your 4 will kill them straight away, and if they don't, I promise there's a Saryn nearby happy to take care of that for you. That's the point I've been making for a dozen posts now. There can be no semblance of a "combo" system when it never takes a combination of multiple moves to achieve the desired result.

Well, I guess the difference there is that I've got a more flexible definition of what can qualify as a combo system.

I understand the gist of what you would want out of one, but it really doesn't fit what Warframe currently is.

For that reason I believe 3.0 should focus purely on simplification and aesthetic variety, with a "combat 2.0" further down the line to support additional combat depth where a full-on combo system would be appropriate.

23 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

Either a way has to be found to make a combination of multiple moves necessary/useful, or melee just remains the infinite ammo shotgun it already basically is, no matter how many animation sets get glued to it. We can go 'round and 'round about the niceties of the various approaches to accessing this structure of moves, but if every one of those moves has the "unique" property of "immediately kill what I am standing next to" it amounts to very little in practice.

Again, I think you are unfairly dismissing the merit of entertainment value. Obviously, the idea of special enemiesor bosses is that they WOULDN'T die in one hit, making them combo-compatible. At the same time, their smaller numbers combined with the blanket nerfing of trash enemies like Lancers would make combos actually combat-viable rather than effective suicide.

You can say that melee is just an infinite ammo shotgun, but to me it is aesthetically distinct if not functionally so. There is value in that IMO.

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1 hour ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

For example, in DMC 4 I can string an endless loop of a basic Rebellion combo with a Million Stab input into Swordmaster Danse Macabre and back on the SAME enemy and it will NEVER die until I land the final hit in either string

Wait, really? I can't believe I never knew this about DMC4. Are you sure? I know it puts mults on the finishers but that doesn't sound right to me. Huh.

1 hour ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

in games with that type of combo system there is almost NEVER a group of enemies sitting back and blasting you with automatic weapons.

True. Metal Gear Rising again provides a useful frame of reference here (because they do) but even then, it's not balanced in a way where gunfire is more threatening than enemy melee strikes. Mostly a way to compel you to engage in the Ninja Run. Warframe might be able to get closer to this with 100% guaranteed damage reduction of gunfire while blocking, which would actually be pretty cool.

1 hour ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

if you hold E on the first swing it will do something entirely different from holding E on the 2nd/3rd/4th swing

No, I hear you, but my point is, why would you ever reach the 4th swing? This is the real disconnect for me. You're talking about it doing something "entirely different" if you get 4 swings into a combo that only needs to be one or two swings long. That's the issue.

1 hour ago, DiabolusUrsus said:

a "combat 2.0" further down the line to support additional combat depth where a full-on combo system would be appropriate.

It's already been, what, 4 years since melee 2.0? By the time melee 4.0 comes around the game will already be done. Frankly it's incredible that melee is getting a 3.0 rework at all; it really does feel like a now-or-never moment for melee's role in Warframe here.

As a final thought, here's what a horde-massacring action game with a technical, in-depth combo system can look like:

Look at that and tell me that something comparable couldn't be made to work for Warframe if only we were willing to abandon melee's current role and fully embrace it as a "knockback-generating method of crowd control" as an alternative to raw DPS output.

EDIT: and before the inevitable musou/Dynasty Warriors comparisons come out, watch until the boss/high level enemy encounter at the end. Note how the same type of attacks that are used for horde control can also be chained together in unique and interesting ways to add depth and complexity to encounters with an enemy that can survive more than a three-hit combo. Note also how none of the gameplay is reduced to mashing a single attack key while flitting between enemies.

I'm not saying this could be transposed 1:1 to Warframe but it's food for thought about how an encounter with 15 lancers and a Nox might play out in practice with a well-constructed melee combat system that gave zero consideration to the existing role of melee in Warframe.

Edited by RhythmScript

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52 minutes ago, RhythmScript said:

Wait, really? I can't believe I never knew this about DMC4. Are you sure? I know it puts mults on the finishers but that doesn't sound right to me. Huh.

Really-really.

Use the pause combo which chains into million stab, then input Danse Macabre before the final knockback thrust. Chain back into the Rebellion combo before the Million Stab portion of Danse Macabre finishes, and you have yourself an infinite combo.

It will bring the enemy down to like 1 HP, but you need a different type of hit to actually kill it (like the final thrust or a launcher).

Quote

True. Metal Gear Rising again provides a useful frame of reference here (because they do) but even then, it's not balanced in a way where gunfire is more threatening than enemy melee strikes. Mostly a way to compel you to engage in the Ninja Run. Warframe might be able to get closer to this with 100% guaranteed damage reduction of gunfire while blocking, which would actually be pretty cool.

This would definitely be doable, and I'd go as far as to say preferable. At least blocking will get 100% damage reduction and is planned to add to the combo counter; that's a start.

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No, I hear you, but my point is, why would you ever reach the 4th swing? This is the real disconnect for me. You're talking about it doing something "entirely different" if you get 4 swings into a combo that only needs to be one or two swings long. That's the issue.

Ah, okay. Because there's more than 1 enemy on the field. I see the combos as more flexible (i.e., more of a delay before they reset) so that players can move between members of a group more efficiently to cut them down.

This might vary between weapon types (e.g., a Galatine will cut down more enemies per swing than a Ceramic Dagger) but the combos themselves would be less about chopping up 1 enemy and more about adjusting to enemy positions.

E.g., a forward-dashing attack might be used for enemies standing roughly in a line and a radial slash might be useful after bullet jumping into the center of a group.

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It's already been, what, 4 years since melee 2.0? By the time melee 4.0 comes around the game will already be done. Frankly it's incredible that melee is getting a 3.0 rework at all; it really does feel like a now-or-never moment for melee's role in Warframe here.

That's fair enough, but it's also precisely why I would prefer laying the simple groundwork (combo inputs + individual attacks) which can easily be transferred to the new combat balance.

If the player can control each and every swing, they can easily use it to combo enemies which survive multiple hits simply by adding the appropriate hitstuns and tweaking swing delays.

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As a final thought, here's what a horde-massacring action game with a technical, in-depth combo system can look like:

Look at that and tell me that something comparable couldn't be made to work for Warframe if only we were willing to abandon melee's current role and fully embrace it as a "knockback-generating method of crowd control" as an alternative to raw DPS output.

EDIT: and before the inevitable musou/Dynasty Warriors comparisons come out, watch until the boss/high level enemy encounter at the end. Note how the same type of attacks that are used for horde control can also be chained together in unique and interesting ways to add depth and complexity to encounters with an enemy that can survive more than a three-hit combo. Note also how none of the gameplay is reduced to mashing a single attack key while flitting between enemies.

Based on the ASSUMED inputs, that's actually comparable to what I am envisioning for my proposed system (in terms of mobility).

However, question:

How much fun do you think it would be to use a gun while even one of your teammates is busy doing that to the Grineer?

I think that allowing for melee CC options is acceptable the same way that allowing for gun CC options is acceptable (e.g., Tether Grenades or Corinth's air-burst). However, I think Warframes slightly less cartoonish implementation is preferable when it comes to team-play.

(I realize mass CC is a thing, but it tends to more often be stuns than ragdolls, with actual ragdolls seen as fairly undesirable a la Sandstorm. I also believe that Warframe needs to scale back its CC if it hopes to have any combat depth at all.)

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I'm not saying this could be transposed 1:1 to Warframe but it's food for thought about how an encounter with 15 lancers and a Nox might play out in practice with a well-constructed melee combat system that gave zero consideration to the existing role of melee in Warframe.

For sure, and I agree.

My main priority is making individual attacks fairly modular (e.g., used to cut down 1 enemy OR strung together to multihit anything capable of surviving). Combine this with Warframe's existing mobility, and I think taking on crowds could be superbly fluid and dynamic.

Even then, multi-hits could actually be combined into singular simultaneous or near-simultaneous attacks at reduced individual damage (e.g., a fast triple-slash occupying the same space of time as say, an un-charged heavy swing). (That was actually something I had in mind for daggers.)

So while I say "simple," that doesn't mean it needs to be BORING.

While I think we are largely in agreement on the pacing and manifestation of combos, I don't think I can agree with the sort of 'sweeping leaves on the sidewalk' CC you used as an example. We've already seen a preview of that with Spin 2 Win, though with death instead of ragdoll.

Even so, adding appropriate hit-stuns and knockback/launches to anything that has enough health to survive the initial hit should be fine, and give you the depth you're looking for without trampling the utilitarian OHKOing the community is used to. 10/10, would chain Tyl Regor every day just for fun.

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Well, if you imagine Sengoku Basara as what it might look like with maxed Primed Reach at any rate; yeah it could be frustrating for your Hek-wielding teammates, but so is 4spam if you’re not outfitted for it. That’s kind of the point; melee NEEDS to be able to carry that kind of weight for it to be useful among players who are running ultra-minmaxed builds against endgame content. That doesn’t mean that in “normal” play it would look like that, but it should be able to reliably lift and carry 5-6 clustered enemies in normal play if you know what you’re doing with relative ease. I think the most important thing, though, is that for all its CC worth, it doesn’t kill as fast as your gun would. If you can get 5 enemies in range, and if your aim is worth half a crap, a Penta would end the mess faster. But if melee is designed around positioning, you can use it skillfully to move enemies INTO clusters to maximize combo effectiveness or prep your DPS spray, sort of like Vauban’s 4 but harder to pull off.

If melee is designed to work potentially like Sengoku Basara (when modded out for it), then it has the same viability as 4spam, or Atomos, or whatever else, and then the relative incidence of that sort of Big Dumb AoE play can be looked at separately for balance reasons, rather than attempting to fix melee in isolation while leaving everything else broken

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A lot of the issues with melee (and a multitude of the game's combat issues) would be solved if the enemy scaling was fixed.

Grunt units should still be fodder even at high levels. The main focus on enemies should be the stronger units, eximus and, say, bombard type units. Instead of grunt units that can kill you in half a second at high levels and endless hordes of eximus, we should have fodder units that surround the stronger ones and make the stronger ones focused on being tougher to handle depending on the number of players.

I personally like the "make your own combo" type of melee combat, where you use a combination of light, heavy, aerial, sliding, etc. attacks to situationally bring down enemies. I think a mix of the current preset combos and other ideas on this page for using your own inputs would work best. If enemies were fixed then we could use our own combination of attacks to cleave through hordes of fodder quickly and then use the expanding combos from stances to give us different effects for those harder "mini-boss" enemies that require more effort.

Since the game does promote a 1-hit melee style, using the very short one or two custom attack inputs would keep things simple and efficient for clearing the fodder enemies. For combos, use basic light attacks to clear fodder and then use an expanding combo of different inputs (L-L-H) to hit the stronger enemies that won't die in 1-hit. Ex. (Using only melee) A small horde of grunt units surrounding a gunner: You could use a slide attack to get into the horde, then quickly kill the 1-hit fodder with light attacks. When you only have the heavy unit left instead use a combo (L-L-H) to hit the enemy quickly twice then knock them back with a heavy.

 

This would, for the most part, require an overhaul of how enemies in the game work. I think using a combination of player input attacks and being able to continue those into a combo would work best for the game, given there is a separation of 1-hit fodder units and heavy/"mini-boss" units.

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11 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

Well, if you imagine Sengoku Basara as what it might look like with maxed Primed Reach at any rate; yeah it could be frustrating for your Hek-wielding teammates, but so is 4spam if you’re not outfitted for it.

The existence of a pre-existing problem, rather than justifying the implementation of a new similar problem, suggestd to me that the first problem should be fixed and the new one avoided altogether.

I support a horde pace overall, but I do think Warframe needs to tone it down or otherwise adjust enemies such that 1 player can't unilaterally decide to carry a full team all by themselves.

11 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

That’s kind of the point; melee NEEDS to be able to carry that kind of weight for it to be useful among players who are running ultra-minmaxed builds against endgame content. That doesn’t mean that in “normal” play it would look like that, but it should be able to reliably lift and carry 5-6 clustered enemies in normal play if you know what you’re doing with relative ease. I think the most important thing, though, is that for all its CC worth, it doesn’t kill as fast as your gun would. If you can get 5 enemies in range, and if your aim is worth half a crap, a Penta would end the mess faster.

But then, by your own logic, wouldn't players just use guns?

I think I would prefer emphasizing a "melee deals more burst damage, but less sustained damage" as a function of its range and "guns deal less burst damage but more sustained damage."

Obviously, there can be some functional overlap that allows for preference (e.g., Penta offering better-than-average burst damage and Atterax offering better-than-average sustained damage), but overall I think that is a reasonable trade.

I think that melee WOULD be able to keep up with maxed builds better if granted comparable mobility to Sengoku Basara, especialpy combined with measured nerfs to the meta aimed at cutting out the cheese.

11 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

But if melee is designed around positioning, you can use it skillfully to move enemies INTO clusters to maximize combo effectiveness or prep your DPS spray, sort of like Vauban’s 4 but harder to pull off.

This sounds great in concept, right up until a teammate lobs a Tonkor grenade straight into the pile of leaves you just collected for a ludicrous multikill.

Sure, this is a co-op game and the benefit is mutual, but having carefully manufactured combo opportunities scrapped by a teammate would be rather frustrating.

11 hours ago, RhythmScript said:

If melee is designed to work potentially like Sengoku Basara (when modded out for it), then it has the same viability as 4spam, or Atomos, or whatever else, and then the relative incidence of that sort of Big Dumb AoE play can be looked at separately for balance reasons, rather than attempting to fix melee in isolation while leaving everything else broken

That's fair, but I would much rather DE simply not leave everything else broken. Removing cheese and toning down DPS would be absolutely necessary for achieving the level of depth we discussed earlier, because enemies actually have to survive long enough to act interesting in order to actually be interesting.

I think I have a pretty clear idea of what you have in mind at this point, and as an isolated chunk of the game it sounds reasonable, but I would really need to see it in action (as in, in Warframe) to resolve the remaining misgivings I outlined above.

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