A bit of clarification to DE as to why certain Arcanes are highly used while others are low use/never used, and an evaluation of the changes (and why most will continue to not be used)

Warframe13 - A bit of clarification to DE as to why certain Arcanes are highly used while others are low use/never used, and an evaluation of the changes (and why most will continue to not be used)


So I went on a bit of a rant about arcanes somewhere else about arcanes and how the "buffs" that DE is giving to some aren't going to change the meta much if at all, with the exception of the HEAVY nerfs to certain arcanes. There's a reason that there are 3-5 arcanes that are widely used while the rest go from rarely used or never used because they either are so completely terrible that they have no purpose, or that, if you're using arcanes and have done the farm for them, you more than likely will just use the most consistent and potent ones.

An important note is that all of these evaluations are from a post-arcane change/rebalancing perspective based off of what is listed in the workshop post, which I will link to here for reference: https://forums.warframe.com/topic/1171232-2020%E2%80%99s-first-mainline-review-revise-refresh/

First, I'll mention all the strictly bad ones:

  • Proc Resistance Arcanes: These are strictly drop table filler arcanes that you throw on either for extremely specific niche situations or just throw on because you want the extra revives and have nothing better. At least they work 100% of the time now though, which is nice.

  • Agility: Just use consiquence if you want to go fast. If you're already going fast, enemies have reduced accuracy against you so it just makes this unlikely to proc especially after it's already gone off once. Also basically doesn't work on Ivara or Loki. The only case where passive activation is worse than intentional activation on this list.

  • Arachne: You have to go out of your way and stop what you're doing to wall latch for two whole seconds (never mind that sometimes it's hard to even find a wall that will let you latch to it), to get base damage (not a multiplier) for a small amount of time. It DID have a niche back when you could rapidly wall latch to stack the buff, but since that's been removed, it has absolutely zero purpose. Maybe somewhat useful in combination with the Proton set stuff, but that is extremely niche, and those mods also arguably don't provide enough of a benefit for what they ask of you to be worth using.

  • Phantasm: You have to actively Melee Parry, which slows you down inherently, for a minor move speed buff that doesn't even last long enough to take advantage of it. You have to slow down to go fast. And if you're tryna go fast, chances are you have a primary out, not your melee. Aboslutely worthless even with the buffs. Fun for Gauss/Nesha memes though.

  • Charger Arcanes: Low proc chance, is only base damage, and stupidly low duration for the buff. A significantly higher proc chance or significantly higher duration is needed to make this even decent. Also wants you to play your ranged weapon in melee distance to work well which is extremely clunky except in the case of Glaives and Gunblades, which is just worse for Glaives than stacking more statuses for CO even with the CO nerf, and even then that's pretty much only useful in endurance settings. Also gunblades (specifically Redeemer Prime) already do so much damage that there's no reason to use Blade Charger with it. The thing can 1-tap pretty much all enemies in non-endurance settings, and if I'm looking for more damage on my primaries, a riven is generally more than enough and doesn't take an arcane slot that can be used for something more useful, consistent, and less clunky. THAT BEING SAID, I think they are a cool idea and very unique for arcanes, but need a bit of a different implementation. Also, the indication of activation for these particular arcanes need to be more apparent, otherwise you're constantly flicking your eyes to the top right of the screen to see if you got the buff or not.

  • Eruption: You knock down enemies on energy pickup, which is actually generally the opposite of what you want to do. Most people actually hate knocking down enemies because it just makes them harder to hit. Not to mention we can carry weapons that deliver more consistent and better CC. Buffing it to 100% chance doesn't make it not a knockdown, and doesn't make it any more useful.

  • Aegis: So, this arcane WAS good, but got kicked into he depths of the void with the nerf it got. That being said, with the upcoming shield changes, it very well may have been overpowered if it stayed in its prior state. But even then, the nerf could have been handled so much better to give this arcane actual use. Instead, they dropped the entire hammer on it. Shield recharge rate is a bad stat to begin with, and it only triggers on shield being damaged, meaning that for this to have ANY uptime whatsoever, it has to proc when you have shields, then you have to use some of the proc duration getting into cover, then more proc duration for your shields to actually begin to recharge, so by the time this effect has come into play you've already used up a good chunk of its uptime.

  • Bodyguard: A worse Pack Leader in an arcane… Honestly repair kit is a better way to keep your sentinel healing somewhat without being forced to also micromanage your sentinels (or i guess Moa's) HP and switch into melee mode whenever it's low. And if you're using any other companion, just use Pack Leader. One hit of any melee will more than likely just top off your pet instantly.

  • Survival: Why would I use an arcane slot to sometimes last longer when I go down instead of just using an arcane that will prevent me from potentially going down like Guardian?

  • Temprance: If you're using a frame that can't survive standing still in enemies for more than a couple seconds, just use spoiler mode. It's 100% damage reduction because you can't get hit, and doesn't take up an arcane slot.

Now for the Bad but have a niche even if that niche isn't very useful:

  • Trickery: Extremely low proc chance to go invis on finisher and generally only useful on frames that are already invis most of the time, as you're rarely going to get a finisher or even go for finishers on a frame that's NOT invisible most of the time or has crazy survivability already (such as Inaros). It completely fails at its intended goal of giving frames with no natural invis that have low survivability more survivability in terms of invis as you have to get a good amount of finishers to get it to even proc, which puts you in the open.

  • Ultimatum: Only useful for Rhino memes since, once again its on finisher, but it's armor this time instead, which you'll struggle to keep up on any frame except Ash or Inaros, but Inaros has better arcanes to run and doesn't get much out of more additive armor since he already can stack so much of. That, and Covert Lethality got nerfed, so if you're spending time doing finishers, you're spending a lot of your time on Inaros that you could be just shooting stuff. Not to mention that Tanker is better for Rhino. This is why people run Guardian on everything, because the other armor arcanes suck or force you to go way out of your way to benefit from them. Not to mention, if you're doing finishers on things, you probably aren't in a position that you need the armor, whereas guardian procs when you actually need the armor. And I guess it's somewhat useful on Ash if you nuked your duration for your build and are just using Teleport and Bladestorm without invis, but that's basically it.

  • Tempo: is only useful if you really want to give up a slot for… a faster firing Kohm sometimes I guess. Just mod for fire rate, you'll get more damage more consistently. Also it's strictly worse than Acceleration, but that's probably fine considering it's a Terralyst common drop.

  • Pulse: it's getting a big buff, but that still won't change the fact that it's basically only useful on Nekros since that's the only time health orbs will be dropping frequently enough to get any real use out of it (and i think it heals your shadows but i'm uncertain about that). Just use Magus healing arcanes, or Magus Repair if you want to heal allies. They're more consistent and don't take a warframe arcane slot.

Decent but are fairly niche:

  • Consiquence: Easy to get, makes you very fast. You do have to headshot to proc it which slows you down, but it's a guarenteed proc and actually lasts long enough to take advantage of the buff that it gives, partially because of the large speed increase it gives. Also extremely useful on Ivara. This is probably going to take the place of some other arcanes on a lot of builds when the others get nerfed. Fun fact: Limbo can consistently activate this just by "clapping" his 4 on enemies because for some reason it counts as a headshot (please don't remove this from the ability).

  • Tanker: Okay, probably controvertial to not put this in the "Good" category, but lets be real, nobody is using this on anything but Rhino. Sure, it's amazing for Rhino specifically, but it's ONLY useful on Rhino. Maybe if the armor buff had a significantly higher duration it'd be more usefull on frames that aren't Rhino. That being said, it's still clunkier to keep up than Guardian which means more people will default to Guardian regardless as Guardian is a passive buff.

  • Precision and Rage: both are decent but generally not worth a slot because it's base damage, and Survivability and Energy economy are more valuable than moar damaj, not to mention that they don't work great for AoE weapons (which is what a lot of people are using). Also they force you to stick to a single weapon, which while not as bad as the Charger arcanes forcing you to swap to get use of of them, is still not great.

  • Awakening: Strictly worse than Precision unless you for some reason can't hit headshots or are using a strat that can't hit headshots consistently (only thing that comes to mind is bubble mag). That said, it's more common, so it's probably fine.

  • Acceleration and Velocity: also fine, but they also suffer from the issue as Precision and Rage in that Survivability and Energy is generally better than having more fire rate except in the case of Mesa.

The good ones:

  • Guardian: Everyone's favorite "there's nothing better to put here so lets drop this on for more survivability" arcane. This is something that helped out squishier frames (that are stll having survivability issues even with it) and was relatively accessible. You didn't have to grind Eidolons super hard and get some simple, passively activating survivability.

Now, with the nerf to it, you DO have to grind Eidolons super hard to get that survivability (21 total arcanes), AND at a lower proc rate. This feels like a rather short-sighted nerf as squishier frames were already needing more survivability and this just makes it even harder for them to survive the current content. Lets just hope it's rather cheap to obtain from the upcoming event, because the nerf it got was pretty unwarrented and needs to be even easier to access to be slightly justified.

  • Grace: Debated putting this in the "decent but niche" category since it can only be used on high HP frames to really good effect, but even then it's still pretty decent. Obviously Inaros and Grendel love this arcane, but Chroma, Wukong, and some others can get some use out of it too. Even with the nerf it will probably still be good, probably the most balanced nerf out of the arcanes that did get nerfed.

  • Victory: So, this one is actually pretty decent despite being lower HP%/s than Grace. But I think that a better buff to it would have been, instead of doing a % based heal, it did a flat HP/s heal, that way it would have its own niche compared to being used mostly on the same frames that can utilize grace.

  • Fury and Strike: So some people might be wondering why I didn't put this with the other similar arcanes for Primary and Secondary weapons. Here's my reasoning for it: First off, the activation conditions for these two are so stupid simple to meet that they might as well be passive. Secondly, if you're using a melee, you're very likely to be using the melee for quite a while to build combo or otherwise. Third, the fact that there are very real melee centric builds and frames, while there aren't any primary centric frames (Chroma and Mirage are general weapons specialists), and only one secondary centric frame that also can't score headshots with the ability you'd want Precision active for except on accident. Aditionnally, exalted melee frames seem to get a bit more out of base damage than other frames since it's a multiplier on power strength rather than just the weapons base numbers.

  • Avenger: Was good before, and will continue to be good. Reason that I'm also putting this in the good category compared to the other DPS arcanes is that it is unique in function and has a passive activation condition. Sometimes you get ADDITIVE crit when you take damage. The only other source of additive crit currently is Adarza buff and Harrow, so not only is it hard to come by, unlike base damage, but is very useful on weapons that want to crit more or want to crit more consistently. Also it doesnt force you to stick to one weapon type, but applies to everything you're using. With the nerfs that other arcanes got, I legitimately was surprised that this one didn't get hit, but very happy that it didn't as it is very unique in function comparatively.

The Uncertain ones:

  • Energize: It's hard to say what's going to happen to Energize from the way it's worded, but the main fear is that it will no longer work with channeled abilities. I'm a bit on the fence as to how I feel about it if that's the case, as Energize was fairly build enabling for certain frames that struggle with energy economy. Frames like Grendel and Revenant will feel the worst from this change. I don't think it's a dead arcane, but I would absolutely say that if it does get nerfed in such a way, it's not going to be worth grinding to max it aside from the occasional free nightwave drop of it. One of those "it's nice if you have it but don't worry about working for it if you don't" kinda deals.

  • Barrier: So this one had some niche usefulness before, and with the shield changes, it might be more useful, though part of why it was good before was because Aegis could keep your shields up and allow this to also proc. Not sure about where this one will sit after the changes, but i'd lean towards "decent but niche." 6% is a pretty low proc chance for the amount of shields we tend to have with the exception of certain frames.

Only one I haven't mentioned that i can think of is Pistoleer, which I'm honestly not sure how useful or not it is, but it's very fun, so that's a thumbs up from me. Not being able to reactivate it during the duration makes sense, but kinda kills it for super low ammo pool secondaries.

So, going over this list (I think I covered all of them?), for the most part, the changes only reduced the number of Good arcanes that people were already using, rather than actually buffing the others to be worth considering over them. Also, personally, I think that "nerfing the top end" to bring up the other arcanes in terms of relative power is somewhat missing the point of some of them. Energize, Aegis, Grace, these are all RARE drops from Eidolons that you need MANY drops to get the full benefits out of, they SHOULD be powerful. Some of the rarer arcanes actually DID need a bit if a bump in power, but they didn't get one that atually makes a meaningful difference partially because of their function just not being useful by comparison. They need a change in function more than anything to actually be brought up in terms of power, not just some numbers tweaks. The arcanes with the most usful fuctions will remain the best ones unless the less useful ones got some absurd numbers buffs or a meaningful change in how they proc or their effect.

I won't say that Grace, Energize, and Aegis didn't deserve some nerfs, but that won't change the fact that other arcanes won't realistically be brought up enough in power to compete with them.

And then there's the case of Operator Magus arcanes a lot of which have such worthless effects that they aren't even worth mentioning (fall damage reduction when Void Mode exists LMAO). So everyone only really uses the WF healing ones and sometimes Lockdown, and maybe Anomaly if you're feeling spicy. Even people doing Eidolon hunts have moved away from using the EHP arcanes for operators in favor of them since the only times you'd need the extra EHP is if you've somehow messed up badly, and Lockdown is very useful on Vomalysts. That coupled with Transferrence static not really mattering means most people dont care about Operator EHP bc you have almost no consequences for dying as Operator.

TL:DR – I understand the reason for the arcane changes and some of the nerfs, but the changes fail to accomplish what DE said they set out to do with the changes. They wanted to clamp the power differential down, but have only succeeded in reducing the number of powerful or even just useful arcanes without fixing some core issues of the worse or bad ones. To truly clamp down on the power differental, there need to be reworks in the functionality of less useful arcanes so they have a more potent function and/or easier or more consistent activation.

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