Update 15 Malaise and Cure: The "Uncorrupting" Slot as Syndicate Reward
Update 15 has delivered wealth of new content: Archwing, Syndicates, new mods, new mobs...all-in-all, I'd say that it has been a success. I have spent many an hour running Archwing missions, and have yet to even touch upon the new Orokin Sabotage missions, nor have I had time to farm those Vaults for Transient Fortitude. Despite a few bugs, I'd say that the response from the community has been generally enthusiastic. Be that as it may, there are a few things that seem to be on many people's mind: the lack of customization resultant from the loss of two mod slots, and the surprisingly weak rewards offered by the Syndicates, in return for exorbitant sacrifices.
While the granting of all four warframe abilities has been something of a revelation, the loss of those two slots has left many of us in a state of suadade--a sort of discontented nostalgia. Many of my warframes were modded to specialize in one or two abilities at most: my Nekros and his Quick Thinking/Flow/60 yard Desecrate build, for instance, and my Nova with her incredibly long-lasting, 150% slow, somewhat spammable Molecular Prime build. Those have been rendered a memory, in exchange for abilities that, while often useful, don't quite give me the charge I used to feel when I'd watch that wall of energy wash over and freeze almost every enemy in a TIV Defense mission from the artifact outward. I feel even worse for those who'd modded their warframes entirely for melee, forgoing any warframe abilities whatsoever.
There was a moment in Devstream #39 (?) where the developers where asked if they felt that they'd made any mistakes in the past, and what they had learned (to paraphrase). Their answer was that they regretted giving too much too soon--in other words, they probably felt that the mods that were made available were powerful enough that there was little to look forward to. The implication was that it was better to give items and mods that were too weak, because any change would be an improvement over what the player already had--players will almost always be happy to receive that change, as opposed to a nerf. I think that sentiment goes a long way towards explaining a lot of things in Update 15: in particular, the anemic benefits that come with most of the Archwing mods, and the Syndicate mods as well.
Perhaps the Syndicate mods wouldn't seem so bad if the sacrifices made were lessened. It's not as if I am unwilling to sacrifice an Orokin Reactor or Catalyst--it's just that I'm unwilling to sacrifice them for these mods--especially after we've lost two of our slots already. At what point does Pool of Life ever replace a mod in this build better than any other already available? The plain answer is "never."
In the latest Devstream, DE made it pretty clear that much more was coming in the way of Syndicate rewards. They also remarked that they were considering some fixes for the loss of the two mod slots, so I've decided to offer a few ideas of my own. Please feel free to add yours in the comment section below.
Suggestions: (these are either/or, not comprehensive)
- Return the two mod slots. This is the simplest solution, but will likely lead to overpowered warframes.
- Give us one more mod slot. This is better than nothing, and will let the one-power-spamming warframe players such as myself get back to our old builds. This will also make some warframes seriously OP, but less so that option #1.
- Give Syndicate mods their own exclusive slot, in addition to the eight we already have. There is no way that I would give up any of my eight mod slots for any of these current offerings, except in rare circumstances (using Nekros in PvP for instance, or in a highly coordinated team run that has never been necessary). This slot could come along with the final level of Syndicate attainment--the Syndicates working with the Tenno, sharing technology and installing a new slot onto the Warframe as a penultimate gesture of gratitude. The capacity of this slot could increase with greater status among each group, giving us even more reason to stick with one and specialize.
- Improve Syndicate mods. I think this one is coming already, but rather than offering mods that slightly affect warframe abilities that nobody uses, why not offer an ultimate level of Syndicate mod: the Uncorrupted Mod? These mods could feature the benefits offered by the current corrupted mods, with none of the drawback. One of these mods would easily take the place of two corrupted mods, lessen the blow of losing two slots by eliminating the need for juggling downsides with other mods, and get players to seriously vest themselves into the Syndicate's interests.
Any one of these options would be an improvement to the current system. Personally, I like the idea of #3 and #4 together--perhaps adding a slot that "uncorrupts" a corrupted mod, eliminating the downside inherent with each. Perhaps you could even have these "uncorrupted" slots added to weapons...although again, we're probably getting to the point where these overpowered.
As far as how it fits into the storyline--I don't know. I'd imagined that the Tenno would some day have access to Uncorrupted Mods in the endgame by some ghost of long-past Tenno masters. Perhaps that can still happen--those would genuinely be Uncorrupted mods, useable in any slot, while these could be "fixed Corrupted" mods--Corrupted mods that are "fixed" when used in the one Syndicate-earned slot.
Anyway, I'm sure that there are many possible solutions to our current malaise, and I'm sure that the ones that DE are cooking up are even better than anything that I'm imagining.
Here's to hoping that the suadade of today becomes the disdainful nostalgia of tomorrow.