A Suggestion to Improve the Fluidity of “Selection Wheel”-Type Abilities

Warframe2 - A Suggestion to Improve the Fluidity of "Selection Wheel"-Type Abilities

1186676 a suggestion to improve the fluidity of selection wheel type abilities - A Suggestion to Improve the Fluidity of "Selection Wheel"-Type Abilities

also posted on the forums)

Playing a ton of Titania Prime since her release and thinking about current – Ivara, Vauban, Khora (a special case which I touch upon in a note below) Wisp, Titania, Grendel, – and future Warframes *wink wink nudge nudge* that utilize the selection wheel ability mechanic, I can't help but feel frustrated at how clunky it is. Reading people's thoughts on reddit and the forums, as well as speaking to my clanmates about it led me to believe that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Let's examine the pros and cons of the current system and why I believe it needs to be changed:


  • Using the same ability multiple times is a breeze, even more so with the invert tap/hold option enabled.

Be it spamming Ivara's Sleep Arrows or placing four of Vauban's Flechette Orbs besides a Vortex, just select the desired ability and press the key repeatedly and with great fury.

And that's pretty much it for pros.

Pro/Con depending on who you ask:

  • Buffs tied to this mechanic have their durations displayed below their respective icons within the selection wheel, which may be undesirable if you prefer to have all of your buffs displayed in the buff tray besides the minimap in the top right-hand corner.


  • It's much harder to develop muscle memory for the desired abilties, due to their "distances" on the rotation wheel being inconsistent between one another.

Example 1: you're Titania, and your Dust and Full Moon buffs are running out (just pretend Full Moon does something actually useful and you want it to be up at all times, unlike in actual live-build Warframe, which is a whole another issue). It just so happens that your selection wheel is in "Entangle" position. You will have to shift the wheel twice to cast Dust, and then once more to cast Full Moon.

Example 2: you're Titania, and your Dust and Full Moon buffs are running out (see note above). It just so happens that your selection wheel is in "Full Moon" position. You will have to cast Full Moon, then shift the wheel 4 times to cast Dust.

What this illustrates is that you 1) must keep in mind which position the selection wheel is in currently or move your eyes away from the action and to the right hand side of the screen to find out; 2) have to train muscle memory for every single possible combination of initial position -> final position.

This imprecision also means that you may "miss" the desired ability, causing you to waste even more time and mental effort to get it back.

Speaking of wasting time…

  • It's very time-consuming, primarily due to the necessity of there being an action tied to holding the ability button.

Default setting has invert tap/hold disabled, so switching the position is tied to tapping while casting is tied to holding. With the setting enabled, those inputs swap places as expected. However, regardless of the setting, holding a button takes time – a precious moment that can be the difference between life and death, objective protected or destroyed, stealth affinity multiplier active or gone, – and that is in addition to the basic required waste of time that I described in the previous point.

With that said, there is a solution to those issues…

Here is a (admittedly, poor-quality) UI mockup of a reworked system for "selection wheel"-type/"sub-ability"-containing abilities, based on Tribute.


Instead of there being a selection wheel, pressing the abilitiy button overlays the sub-abilities in the abilities tray for a short duration, during which pressing keys 1-4 casts the sub-ability instead of the ability that regularly occupies the slot. If the timer runs out, your regular ability kit is brought back – energy is consumed only on successful cast. There is no delay between activating the ability selection and then casting the desired ability: e.g. as a Titania, you can quickly press 2 -> 1 to cast Thorns, provided you have a target in your crosshairs, or as Wisp, you can quickly place all of your Motes with a key sequence of 1 -> 1 -> 1 -> 2 -> 1 -> 3 (which means, with any luck, we may get an actual augment instead of a "places all Motes simultaneously" bandaid that is often proposed).

In basic terms, the reworked system flips the pros and cons of the current one and provides a minor extra pro:


  • Consistent muscle memory can be developed easilly, with "distances" between abilities removed.

All abilities are in fixed positions and require singular, unqiue, easy-to-remember (and thus easy-to-incorporate into muscle memory) key sequences to be deployed.

  • Minimal waste of time or mental effort, in fact very comparable to regular abilties.

This is primarily due to a combition of significantly lower likelyhood of "missing" the ability and "holding the key" as a concept being gone.

  • This mechanic can be used artistically. Imagine pressing the ability key initially puts the Warframe into a "readying" animation, and then casting a sub-ability plays the "unleash" animation.

Example 1: as Wisp, press 1. Wisp conjures and reaches her hands into a portal above. Now press 1, 2 or 3 to select your desired Mote, and Wisp continues the animation by pulling it out.

Example 2: as Titania, press 2. She crosses her arms, preparing magic murder pixie energy. Now aim at an enemy and press 1, 2, 3 or 4 to make Titania unleash the magic murder pixie energy and spawn a Tribute buff.

These initial "readying" animations either have to be very short or skippable by casting the ability so they don't disrupt the flow of gameplay.

Pretty neat idea, huh? A minor pro that may provide extra flavor to Warframes.

Pro/Con depending on who you ask:

  • Buffs tied to this mechanic have their durations alongside other buffs in the buff tray in the top right-hand corner besides the minimap, which may be undesirable if you prefer those buffs to be easily distinguishable.


  • Using a singular ability repeatedly requires twice as many inputs, due to every sub-ability being two key presses away.

I think this con is greatly outweighed by the pros of the reworked system. You will have to train yourself to press a key sequence instead of a single key, which in the reworked system is a much easier process as I've laid out above.

Note on Khora: Khora is unique in that her current selection does not only have an active component, but also a passive one. The suggestions below are also true in case of a potential Chroma rework where he will have the ability to swap between elements during gameplay.

There are ways to integrate it into the reworked system:

  1. Don't change anything about her 3. This is the one case where I think the current system works really well and makes perfect sense.

  2. Rework her 3 to be a sub-ability containing ability. Move the Venari mode indicator besides Venari's unique UI, and make casting a attack/protect/heal change her current mode.

Source: Original link

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