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 Dev Workshop: Warframes Revisited

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wth
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PostSubject: Dev Workshop: Warframes Revisited   Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:14 pm

Hail Tenno!

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

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

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

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


ASH

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


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

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



ATLAS

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

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

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

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


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

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



BANSHEE

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


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

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



CHROMA

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

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


The only change that comes with a full history lesson!

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



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

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

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



EMBER

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


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

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



GARA

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


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

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

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



MAG

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

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


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

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



VOLT

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


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

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



ZEPHYR

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

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

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

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


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

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




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


Thanks Tenno!

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


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