In response to Fadeinlight's "Update 15: Malaise and Cure".
"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. "
The Syndicate mods are rather unimpressive. But this is nothing new. I want you to look through all of your mods and see the numerous mods you will never use. How many of you use Diamond Skin? Maglev? Intruder? Provoked? Reflex Guard? Warm Coat? These will be on no-one's build suggestion list. They are extremely niche at best and necessitate the removal of one of the handful of mods used all the time.
Adding more mods to the small handful that's actually used isn't the answer to the problem. The problem is that DE has made no real attempt to balance the usefulness of the mods at all, resulting in four mods most warframes will always use (Redirection, Flow, Streamline, Intesify) and then maybe four others used left often (Vitality, Vigor, Marathon, Continuity). Not counting the corrupted mods.
This is the problem I have with DE. They've dug themselves into a pit by doing just what they said-- Giving players too much too fast. What pisses me off is that their attempt to fix this is by throwing more insignificant stuff into the pool as if that will change it. The problem is that there is a pool of worthless content. Crappy weapons nobody uses and similar mods filling up most of it. Adding to that pile is NOT the answer. Go back and actually change stuff to make it worth using, instead of hoping you can add more shiny stuff to please the players like they're a bunch of toddlers.
Their most recent large updates really bother me with this. U14 had The Liset-- A giant update that took a lot of time to do... But was almost entirely cosmetic. It was, in essence, a big User Interface update. It gave you a ship to wander around it, added some fancy new animations to accessing menus, made each menu its own little station... But ultimately did nearly nothing to the core gameplay of the game. That is, playing missions and fighting. Sure, the update added some other nice things, which although I was not the biggest fan of, were most certainly content updates (Mirage and two weapons) but the meat, the bread-and-butter, the thing they had a whole week-long teaser for, was a giant UI update. Yawn.
Kubrow, however poorly implemented (the expensive upkeep and having to rely on the RNG for eggs bothered a lot of people on the forums, among other things), were a solid idea as to how to improve the game. It added something new that you could spend a lot of time on (actual play time, not just waiting) once it hatched and matured, and most importantly affected the main gameplay. By growing and ranking a Kubrow, you got something that you could use through the entire game.
Then U15 happens. I come back after a month or two of not playing, hoping the disgruntled mood I found myself in with the development would just go away after I calmed down. I see even more UI improvement (not a bad thing, on its own) and a big new update with a new game mode... And very little rebalancing. The Archwing stuff is cool (though navigating is frustrating, and I find it difficult to tell where enemies are) but irrelevant to most of the gameplay.
It's one level on each planet, from what I can tell, but the rewards and experience you get are either nothing you can't get at least as easily elsewhere, or it's rewards exclusively useful for more Archwing stuff. Some of the stats of my Warframe matter (I only ever use my Frost when I do Archwing) but I'm not using powers, so caster frames are mostly worthless. I don't use any of my normal equipment, so my weapons and mods are all useless too. The game mode is decently fun, but... Why should I work to essentially build a new character from scratch when I have the rest of the solar system, void keys, derelict keys, and even conclave to do that are all related to the effort I've put in to tune and rank my frames and weapons?
My point is, DE keeps adding irrelevant things to the game. If the game has a problem, which it does, you do not solve the problem by trying to bury it in a pile of drivel. New mods no one will use, more weapons added to the pile that aren't better than the Soma or whatever crazy strong weapons are considered top-tier, more game modes that add nothing to the parts of the game people spend hours and hours on...
I may not sound like it, but I really like Warframe. Why else would I spend time writing all this if I didn't care? I'm majorly invested in this game. I've spent hours playing it, and try to follow every patch and update and hotfix as it comes out. The reason why I'm so bothered by all of this is because it seems like a terrible path that could spell doom for the game, and I don't want to see that. I don't want it to get so extreme as to be that each new update seems bland and uninteresting because it continues to introduce things that are so minor as to be never used. But! I certainly do not want to see the opposite happen, where each new update trumps the last, making older content become more and more obsolete until it feels like it's questionable to put much effort into something, lest it be replaced by something better in every way in a few weeks.
It's not an easy problem to solve, and every game made these days struggles with trying to balance updates while adding more content. I just know that what DE is doing right now, is not the answer. They are trying to recover from giving too much too soon by giving too little too late. In my mind, the answer requires, yes, going back and changing some established content. It may mean nerfs! The community has to accept that. But it also may mean buffs to some of the otherwise ignored content.
I'm no game designer. I'm just speaking from what I've experienced from games I've played and what I know of the history of the videogame industry. However, if I were to make a suggestion, a way to make some of the "less impressive" content relevant would be this: For mods, give frames another layer of mods. Maybe three or four slots, not too many, that can only be filled with "minor" mods. These would be things like Maglev or Insulation or Undying Will. Very niche things that will not have a major impact on gameplay. Could there be powerful implications on some frames? Perhaps, but they'd require specific builds and would likely only effective against a single aspect of the game. For weapons, they really need to do a whole rebalance. They seem to be working towards this... Taking many less impressive weapons and boosting their power. This is fine, as long as they 1) reach a stopping point and don't just buff everything to infinity, and 2) also make sure the enemies stay challenging after making every weapon more powerful. If the end result is just making every weapon blow enemies aside like paper dolls, that's no good. But it'd be better than it is now, where there's a minority of the weapons used regularly to do that, while the blueprints for the rest sit around catching dust in the Market.