Sunday, April 21, 2013

Changes to Defense rewards in Warframe

I remember back in Warframe's closed beta, long before defense-style missions were added, that someone posted a thread in the forum suggesting that the game become more like Left4Dead by adding a "horde mode" where players would mindlessly kill wave after unending wave of mobs, as is a current trendy fashion (soon to be dead) flavor-of-the-month playstyle gamemode popular with younger players. Prior to this suggestion Warframe only had 1 single tileset and only a few different mission types, and obviously more content was being added at a good rate, and everyone knew that included different types of mission objectives.

The suggestion to add Horde Mode to Warframe was met with enthusiasm with the vocal forum-posters with only a few people disliking the idea and voicing concerns about future issues rising with these endless defense style games - myself included. What we're seeing now is the repercussions starting to play out, as more new players come into the game and consider Warframe a horde mode endless defense game at its core, with a few filler mission tossed in to farm mats to get better gear so they can last longer in the endless defense waves.

The shame is that it's not what Warframe is supposed to be - although of course its DE's game and they can make it to be whatever they want it to be. But this is a case where the players seem to be making the game what THEY want it to be: an endless defense game. That's all they play it for, they don't even enjoy or have fun with the normal missions, they only complete them because they must be unlocked along the chain to get to the next endless defense. What we are seeing now with all the complaints and threats to quit the game because "now the game is ruined" by the changes made to endless defense is saddening to see happen, but it is one of the effects of adding this game mode to Warframe.

In my opinion the strength and greatness of WF does not lie in the defense missions (in fact it cheapens the experience imo) but rather in the dynamic level design and enemy ai (in non defense missions) that makes is almost seem as if your doing combat against other human players instead of artificial intelligence. It's an easy and simple thing to just throw endless wave after endless wave of enemy mobs who run straight at the player, but the beauty and elegance of Warframe deserves much better than this cheap and lazy style of endless defense objective. There are so many other ways this game could go than to just become another horde game flash in the pan. It's okay to have the occasional defense mode level, they're enjoyable and mix things up a bit, but we're in danger of it becoming how WF is defined, and all the problems that go along with that definition.