I got this from TheGreatZamboni since posted a marvelous idea for Warframe, and I'm very sure you guys would love this.
Either read the forums from here or I'll post the entire copy here.
For the suggestion itself:
For the blog I posted: Poll is finished. The winning side has told me to post the copy on this blog.
So this is the copy of the said thread, made by TheGreatZamboni
The current Mod Card system is not a sustainable one. Meaning, you cannot continually release mods and use them as a crutch for content. The Corrupted Mods were already scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of ideas. But to think you can keep the system interesting with a flawed foundation is foolish. (To better prove this point: Ask yourself what kinds of mods will exist 2 years from now.)
People play to obtain drops. Mods are drops. Now this is a point of contention, but I am willing to bet some people are tired of the game and find themselves only playing to obtain said drops. The problem being the gameplay in and of itself is not satisfying. The drops/rewards are acting as the driving force for player retention, instead of creating experiences that are rewarding and letting the drops compliment those experiences. This is the very idea that lead people to begin rushing en masse. People rush because they do not want to waste the time, energy (in game and out) as well as ammo when they can just reach extraction and receive their reward. Sometimes there is a boss in the way and players will take an extra two seconds to kill said boss, then proceed to rush to the exit. A many of bosses are designed with invincible phases, which only highlight the issue at hand and people become frustrated. The idea is, people go fast because it is a means of coping with the mechanics that cause them to second guess whether they are or not they are having fun. They want the end goal and find nothing in between to be rewarding.
Most ideas that have been added to the game, have been built around the idea of drops or slowing down the players' traversal of a level. Most ideas also feed into the concept of end-rewards rather than compelling experiences. When a player can't be bothered to slow down and enjoy themselves, there is a serious problem. A combination of poor enemy AI, boring levels and lack of proper focus lead to one ultimate truth: Until you create a foundation that is fun, adding to it will only exacerbate the issues and cause your project to cave on itself.
Having 300 Warframes and 1000 weapons cannot make up for bad design. Especially when said Warframes and weapons fall victim to the very problem that faces this game: The Mod Card system. Because the effectiveness of your Warframe and Weapon are not tied to your skill or interaction with said items but to the mods you have equipped, the game becomes one of drops. You play to max Serration, Redirection, Focus, Primed Chamber. These issues now feed into what we now know as Damage 2.0.
Consider the following: 2 players with 100 hours queue up for a mission on Pluto. One spent all their time and resources maxing Redirection while the other spent their time maxing Serration. Both are faced with two very different problems. One can survive, but does no damage. The other can deal massive damage, but cannot survive. Previously Damage 1.0 was built around the assumption that by the time a player reached high-level content, they would have Redirection maxed in addition to packing some serious firepower. Because of the way the Mod Card system worked, designing content past a certain threshold became a guessing game for the reasons I stated. You cannot assume what people have sunk their time into maxing. You cannot assume people have all experienced the same luck with the RNG, affording them the Fusion Cores/Mods that allow them to handle level 100 enemies. This forces people to replay levels to obtain the mods they need to continue. But lo and behold, they do not have enough credits, thus need to replay more levels.
If you are still with me, it should becoming quite clear what the issue is. The fact that player progression is tied to chance and not skill/dedication. When skill becomes exploiting the mechanics of the game to get ahead, it does nothing but showcase bad design. Rushing is essentially an exploit. Using Iron Skin to play survival (before the patch) was an exploit. People sought the best way to get around bad design in order to progress. Damage 2.0 still suffers from similar problems due to mods. Just like in Damage 1.0 we have inflated numbers because the developers are unable to ballpark where players are at in their progression. Not to mention certain weapons have now lost utility and power due to new resistances and variances. Any spec you build means you will be ineffective against at least one enemy type per level. That is not something that is fun. So once again you have people exploiting systems to get around hindrances in design. I am well aware that Damage 2.0 was bound to have bugs, but I did not expect gaping holes. I have a specific build on my Brakk where I can 2-shot the Jackle. That should not happen. But it happened for exactly the reasons I stated above. The Mod Card system makes designing content a guessing game. More simply the system suffers from:
1. Grind 2. Samey builds 3. Randomness
People need to replay missions that are repetitive and un-fun just to get ahead. Once they get the mod they need, there is only one way to effectively build. Things like Serration cause predetermination and remove player choice. No one would ever not have it in their build. This exposes the issues with slot limitation and the problem with mods like Focus sharing the same space with Intruder. Finally it is a guessing game when it comes to designing content. Enemies are designed one way but players, usually ignorant or new ones, are unaware that they may be ill equipped to complete certain missions.
The Codex highlights these issues as it acts as a short term solution for the lack of compelling gameplay. It artificially creates stealth-play and is really only a means to identify drops. The system was created as a direct response to the community clamoring for a release of the drop tables. While it is a beautiful and functional piece, what it served to do was keep the focus on drops and not the gameplay. While I feel the Codex can and will play a large part in the game's overall experience, the amount of work put into it is overshadowed by the focus on the drops.
What I am proposing is a complete scrapping of the Mod Card system. In it's place, specific systems for the 3 most important aspects of the game: Warframes, Gunplay and Melee. If you create a solid foundation in these 3 systems, you can design enemies and content around them, everything else will fall into place.
First we need to start with a method of measuring player progression. Currently the Mastery Rank system is largely useless. Tying it to trading was an interesting idea, but not enough to make it as important as it should be. Mastery Rank needs to be a method of gauging player skill and progression. The tests associated with Mastery Rank are superficial as they highlight mastery of mechanics that every player should have a firm understanding of. Things that should be thought in a tutorial. While I like them as a concept, increasing in rank should feel more rewarding and be coupled with a better sense of accomplishment.
Upon ranking up, the player is awarded access to new planets and guns. This creates a means in which you can judge where a player is at given their current place in the game. Players of X Mastery Rank will gain access to Jupiter and so on. Meaning that there is now a bar set that needs to be reached in order to progress, which in turn allows the developers to design content for players of that Mastery Rank.
Here is where a large point of contention rears its ugly head. Replacing the Mod Card system, is a skill tree. Albeit a skill tree that actually works and is well designed. Without going into detail about what the specifics of what each tree entails, here is my method of fixing what we currently have.
Each Warframe has its own skill tree. This would include our now standard A/B/C loadouts which would afford players to further customize and create builds for specific situations. The skill tree would be separated into 3 parts.
The key is creating a means in which the player can utilize mods like Intruder, without having them share the same space as Redirection or Focus. When your Warframe increases in level, they receive a flat increase to things like shields, energy and health. But unlike now, the increases would be a bit more significant. Along with receiving a boots to stats upon leveling, players receive points to spend in their skill tree. Each branch of the tree pulls from its own pool of points. So for each level you are given 1 point to spend per tree. Because you are pulling points from different pools, it eliminates one of the largest downsides of the current system. Mods like Intruder having to share the same space as mods like Focus or Redirection.
Below the branches are the roots. These root are base stat increases. They are unlocked upon reaching the required Mastery Rank. The higher your Mastery Rank, the more powerful your Warframe becomes. These roots will contain increases in things like power range, shield and stamina totals. These create an innate boots to your Warframe making choices made above more potent, as well as rewarding the player for increasing their Mastery Rank.
The real key comes from what is inside the branches of the tree. Because each tree is pulling from its own point pool, the player is awarded more freedom. Recently Ember’s Overheat was nerfed. The reason being, Scott told us she was not a tank. I’m sorry, but who are you to tell us how or how not to play your game? Especially when choice was supposed to be a centric theme around the game. Choosing the Warframe you like best and building them the way you want. With my skill tree, I put that choice back in the hands of the player. By creating parameters around which the players can alter their powers to their liking, you can assure that no matter what, they will be effective in combat. It also creates real purposeful choice.
Right now someone could join a mission with the following build:
This really is nothing more than a joke. Giving players the ability to gimp their effectiveness via poor design choices is just stupid. What this showcases is too much choice, for the wrong reasons. Just because someone can, doesn’t mean they should. What my skill tree does is eliminates bad choices, so what it comes down to is preference. People like to play Ember. She was previously seen as a viable tank. Sure people can still spec all shields, health and armor; but the fun was the balance between high damage and defense via her powers. As I stated above, give that choice back to the players.
This is where the Power tree gets its chance to shine. Ember is a caster. With Overheat she becomes tanky, while still dealing damage. What if players could sacrifice the damage of Fireball or Fireblast, for increased damage reduction or duration on Overheat? Player could customize their powers to their liking. Tweak each powers' functionality to fit their play-style. Some Warframes will always better at certain roles, but due to the nature of the Power tree you can blur those lines. Allow players to sacrifice the power of Tesla Grenades, for an increase to the number of enemies that Bastille can trap and vice versa.
These are functions the current Mod Card system does not allow for, outside of flat increases to things like duration or power. The key lies in making something like Super Jump a viable choice rather than Slash Dash or Radial Javelin. You can make that work, but this thread is not about the specifics but rather the potential.
Potential. There is potential for mods like Maglev or Intruder. But as I stated above, they get cast aside for better mods. While the Power and Systems trees create a standard progression of powers with trade offs; the Utility trees does the opposite. Instead of having to plug points into a skill or modification to get higher up the tree, you can pick any Utility power at anytime. There is no progression to the tree aside from putting multiple points into the same power to increase its effectiveness. If you want Maglev, you got it. If you want a bunch of energy, you got it.
The ways these trees work in conjunction with the A/B/C loadouts, there is no min-maxing. Because increasing things like power damage or duration on a larger scale is tied to Mastery Precepts, players are free to experiment. It should also be noted that Warframes receive their powers without having to spend a single point on it. You can go about this several ways, but I feel that you should give the player their first two abilities at level 1, then the next two at level 10. No one should ever have to forfeit one of their Warframe's powers just to min-max a build.
What this does is everything the Mod Card system does and more. It creates true, viable creativity and a means to measure progression. A player with a level 30 Excalibur and a Mastery rank of 6 will have a measurable set of stats. The skill tree allows fluctuation of those stats, but never in a negative way due to the Precepts. Players of a specific Mastery Rank will always have the similar stats. Meaning you can design challenging enemies and scenarios around player Mastery Rank.
But how do players increase their Mastery Rank? They can complete systems, participate in Alerts, level Warframes and guns. But wait, with mods gone; how do guns work? Better than ever.
Currently with Damage 2.0 and the Mod Card system, things are pretty ornery. No one would ever build a gun without Serration, Hornet Strike or Point Blank. So why are they even in the game? You are creating an unnecessary hurdle for people. The amount of effort it takes to max these mods is ridiculous even for the most dedicated players. What does leaving it in the game currently do? Serration, Hornet Strike and Point Blank need to disappear alongside with the Mod Card system.
In its place: Attachments. Again moving away from the idea of playing the game to obtain drops, specific mods and sinking credits into those mods; you can refocus the game on the mechanics and away from the meta game. If every weapon has clearly laid out stats that increase with use, along with craftable attachments that take up a predetermined number of slots, you return the idea of player choice to your game. As of right now, with mods such as Serration, you are already telling the player how to play the game; instead of creating a means in which they can create their own play styles. By implementing an attachment system that is inherently limited, you create a more strategic system of play.
This feeds right into the idea of Damage 2.0 and in fact works better in conjunction with Damage 2.0 than the Mod Card system ever could. Because Warframe has several weapon types; pistols, shotguns, launchers, rifles, bows and sniper rifles, certain mods created and still create problems. Previously if you equipped Shred or Metal Auger on the Ogris, it cause the payload to fly through walls and floors only to detonate off screen. Sharing mods for Rifles and Launchers is just a bad idea. While you could create separate yet equivalent mods across types, that doesn’t accent the different styles of play each type could bring to the game.
While the mechanics of certain mods remain, they appear as attachments relegated to certain slots as to avoid things like Rainbow builds. As well as to create strategy when choosing certain attachment combinations. Different weapon types will have different attachments.
The attachments will fall into the following categories:
The attachment system creates an asymmetrical way the guns can be customized, which better play into the new Damage 2.0 model. It places more emphasis on what you choose for any given scenario, while still maintaining the power of the gun.
Mods should not make the gun. The gun should should already be a lethal entity. Because of Serration and the power of the mods currently, it gives an excuse to release less than potent firearms. If the guns themselves were already built to be powerful and enhanced through leveling as well as attachments that complimented specific play styles, it would be better. Cutting fat from the drop tables even further and empowering people to use guns they like, rather that what is the best; the heart of this concept.
While these should be visual attachments, that is indeed a lot of work. Just implementing the system and adding the visual attachments later would suffice. Because attachments are crafted, it allows for more items to be added to ClanTech and the store. Encounter bosses or Alerts could drop blueprints for attachments. There would need to be a balance, as to avoid polluting the RNG again.
It should be noted that the inclusion of scopes and the way it affects rifles visually is a point of contention. I am of the camp that should a scope be seen on the top of the gun, it doesn’t mean you have to use it in the gameplay. Just have bullet spread decrease when holding down RMB with a scope attached. As for Sniper rifles and Bows, that is a different story. Scope overlays have now been added. Things like Bows could also use sights visually in the gameplay; but this is all conjecture having little weight on the ideas proposed and should not take away from the message.
With mods completely gone from Warframes and guns; where does that leave melee? Once again, better off. Replacing mods and the entire melee system is the Fight Lab.
Right now melee is completely unviable, nor does it compliment gunplay or power use. It is a very basic and unrewarding single button action. There are members of the community that want Warframe to have a fighting system as deep and robust as Devil May Cry or other games of the like. While I personally like those games, the concept is lost on most as the nuances and complexity are way above the skill ceiling for Warframe. But that does not mean we cannot have high fidelity, combo based combat. Enter the Fight Lab.
The Tenno are masters of gun and blade. What does that mean to be a master of blade? Maxing Pressure Point and pressing E? Once again there is little to no choice in the way players build or use their melee weapons. So what needs to change how we use our weapons. Tenno are warriors. Not all warriors use the same fighting techniques. At the root of the Fight Lab are stances.
Stances affect the way Tenno use their melee weapon. Furious single target strikes. Large sweeping swings. Refined movements and blade control. Stances are the foundation of my proposed melee system. Tempest, a high damage single target stance. Made for dispatching heavily fortified enemies quickly. Boundless, a multitarget stance. Made for crowd control and room clearing. Duelist, a utility based stance. Made for preservation of the practitioner as well as exposing weaknesses in enemies.
Each stance serves a purpose and heavily affects the way you handle your melee weapon. This allows for weapons that are normally reserved for single targets with our current system, to become more versatile. Weapons like the Skana or Obex can strike multiple targets when in the Boundless stance. Because these single target weapons may possess larger innate Impact, Puncture or Slash damage; selecting them is again viable. Leveling weapons will of course increase your Mastery Rank but also unlock features of each stance.
The stances are also broken up into trees. Again using the Precept/Root system to unlock passive abilities as you progress in Mastery Rank. These passive abilities compliment the stance and increase overall effectiveness with weapons. Leveling a weapon using a specific stance unlocks a combo for said stance. This is what you see above the precepts. For example:
You select the Tempest Stance and equip a Skana. Because you are a certain Mastery Rank, your unranked Skana has certain bonuses that will make leveling it easier, because of the innate bonuses awarded through precepts. Because your Skana is unranked, you only have one Combo to customize. A combo consists of strikes. There are 4 types of strikes: Damage, Health, Energy and Chain.
Damage strikes, are attacks that do more damage. Health strikes reward the player for completing a combo with refunded health. The same applies to Energy strikes. Chain strikes are low damage, high fidelity maneuvers that lengthen a combo chain. By default, all combos are 4 strikes in length. Placing a chain in the middle or the end of a combo with increase the end result. If your combo ends on a damage strike, you do more damage. If you end on a health strike, you receive more health and so on.
Strikes are unlocked as you level a weapon in a specific stance. Each stance has its own set of strikes for a specific weapon. While this may seem like a lot of work, it is more plausible than you might think. Weapons like the Hate or Reaper prime already share animations. To make a set of animations for their Tempest and Duelist stances is really only to make 2 new sets. So 3 sets of single attack animations for every weapon.
Using the combos is still all governed by E (default). It becomes a series of timed presses, something I model below. [Pending Image]
You are still able to just mash the E key if you like. Infact, it makes doing so better for those who do not want to put the time into making and learning combos as they can just stack basic damage strikes. Illustrated in my Fight Lab model, there are two sub-classes of strikes. Single attacks and charge attack. This system is an extension of the one already being worked on by DE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT_UdhuVILM&feature=player_detailpage#t=1638 What this entire system does is make melee not only useful, but fun. That is the point of all of these systems. Because mods are at the center of the game, it creates more problems that will compile as time passes. Even cooperation, the basis on which this game was made suffers because of mods. The amount of drops you receive is dependent on the number of people in your Cell, you will always want people to play with. But that is about where the cooperation ends really. Yes you can revive or protect people with certain powers. But it ultimately becomes a game of farming and not of cooperation. Because the number of enemies that spawn is directly tied to how efficiently you farm, that inherently promotes playing with others for the wrong reasons. Punishing people for wanting to play on their own and forcing people to coexist in the same space with no real means of interaction with one another is not fun. There is a reason for people farming certain levels. That is because the endurance based game modes are actually more fun. But they also spawn the most enemies, therefore the most drops. If all these systems were implemented, it would acts as a jumping off point. You can create scenarios that promote player cooperation outside of just how efficiently you farm. Because players are no longer playing missions to obtain Mods, they will be focused on trying out new builds and stances, until the content catches up to the core game. If you have a solid foundation, you can build levels, enemies and modes of play that compliment as well as expand upon something that is already inherently engaging and fun. Let's recap. With the new skill tree you remove mods from the drops tables. It refocuses the game around how you use your Warframe based on your preferred style of play. All aspects of the Utility tree are available from the get go, because variances on how you play should not be relegated to railroad design. Things like the Power and System tree are still progressive trees. But due to precepts and independent pools of points for each tree, players will still be encouraged to create expressive builds and never feel slighted due to the RNG gods or min-max builds. It also makes leveling new Warframes faster and more fun, due to the precept points. It restores meaning and function to Mastery Rank. Because precepts are tied to Mastery Rank, it now becomes feasible to construct content for just about any player, at any level. You have a measurable means of identifying player vitals and progress. With the new attachment system, it removes railroading or false customization, just like with Warframes themselves. Because leveling your gun affords it base stat increases, by the time it is level 30 it is already a formidable means of killing the enemy. The attachments keep damage types in place and better work around the new Damage 2.0 model. Because certain modifications are unique to certain slots, it forces the player to make strategic decisions in how they customize their gun. It rids the system of useless mods like Serration, which should never have existed in the first place as it plays against the whole idea of the game. This new system also means you can continue using your prefered weapons, while accentuating its positives and hiding its weaknesses. Someone who likes the Lex won’t feel stupid for not using the Brakk. Because each weapons’ own innate traits are more prominent, it creates niche purposes for certain weapons while keeping them all in a stone-throws distance of effectiveness. The guns themselves are what provide choice and customization, not the attachments/modifications. It also removes mods from the drop tables, refocusing the game on the gameplay. Attachments can be added to the store or ClanTech and do not necessarily have to be representative in the gameplay. This in turn makes actual resources more valuable.
Finally the Fight Lab. A simplistic yet extremely effective way to make melee viable. Allowing players to further customize their experience and refocusing the game on the gameplay. Players will play levels not to get drops, but to test out new combos or try out new stance/weapon combinations. It rewards players for playing because of the precepts in the combo tree as well as the interaction with the system. It is merely a skin/purpose for the melee system they showcased here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT_UdhuVILM&feature=player_detailpage#t=1638
Everything I listed here is a foundation. It creates systems that are centered on gameplay rather than drops. These systems do not need constant additions like the Mod Card system. The entities that these systems support are the means of delivering content. Making using that new Warframe mean more. Letting you try out a new gun regardless of what mods you have. This also allows for more focus on creating exciting game experiences rather than creating rewards to keep people interested. Again, ask yourself what kind of mods we will have 2 years from now. This emphasizes the point of my systems. Create core mechanics that do not need to be updated every month to keep players interested. The focus then can be taken away from randomness, away from grind and be placed on making new enemies, levels and game modes that are fun. This is what my post is about, making the game fun.
I am continually updating this. I am clarifying concepts and ideas, as well as fixing grammatical and spelling errors. Please let me know what you think. Refrain from saying “It’s too much work”. I know that a lot of this would be months of work, but it doesn’t all have to come out at the same time. If they all finally did make it into the game, it would be all the better for it. More images and better formatting are coming as well. Here are some more threads for your consideration and comment:
Regarding Gear Menus https://forums.warframe.com/index.php?/topic/131759-the-gear-menu/
This is the end of his thread.
So, what do you think?