In light of the recent forum post regarding upcoming Arbitrations changes, there are three main points that DE brought up that I would like to tackle. I am of the personal opinion that they have completely missed the point and these changes are a net negative for the game mode as a whole.
Point #1 – The Addition of Revives
Revives will change virtually nothing about the game mode. Think about when you die in Arbitrations and your death will generally fall into one of two categories:
- You made a mistake. Maybe you let a defensive ability lapse, maybe you touched a Nullifier bubble, maybe you ran into a pack of ten Disruptors and didn't have the energy to take care of them. Whatever happened, you screwed up and died instantly before you could act.
- The mission scaled beyond the point where your build could handle it.
Adding revives only negates the first instance. If the mission is scaling beyond a person's capacity, then reviving them will mean they'll just die again in the next few minutes because they simply cannot contribute anymore. And in a lot of cases, it won't even negate the first instance because their death means the mission has begun to spiral out of control. When someone dies late into an Arbitration, that is the sign to begin considering extraction, and that will not change at all with revives.
This is without going into the pick-ups you have to use to revive. You cannot drop them and they place a debuff on you when you carry them. In reality, what is most likely to happen is you accidentally pick some up over the course of the mission, handicapping yourself for no benefit whatsoever. If nobody dies and you simply decide to extract after 30+ minutes of smooth sailing, then you've been carrying around these things that nerf you and that you can't get rid of for literally no reason.
If you're going to force players to carry a pick-up to be able to revive someone, then it should be a canister/datamass object that you can drop if you don't need it. Sure that means people will stockpile them all in one area, but you could just make them time out after a duration. It's not ideal, but it's better than being debuffed for the foreseeable future on the slim chance someone dies.
Point #2 – The Increased Scaling
In order to offset the alleged "benefit" of being able to revive allies, the rate at which enemies scale has been increased. What this means is it will be more difficult to do longer Arbitrations than before, as enemies will ramp up beyond your control faster.
The flaw with this change lies in the notion that being able to revive allies will give the players a notable increase in power. As previously discussed above, the addition of revives does not give players much power, and in fact the current implementation may inadvertently decrease player power if they're carrying around a bunch of unwanted revive pickups. Players who were good at Arbitrations before are simply being punished for having the audacity to do Arbitrations.
It's sort of like trying to make ESO harder by increasing the drain rate even though players already have difficulty keeping up with the drain beyond wave 8. Yeah, it's technically harder in that you can't get as many rewards, but the gameplay is exactly the same. It just forces your limit as a squad to be lower overall so you can't do runs for as long. And this is done amidst common complaints that Arbitrations are not worth the effort to do, seemingly deaf to them.
Point #3 – Archgun Rivens as a Reward
I struggle to see the point of Archgun rivens. We are already in a position where players are hard-pressed to find room to hold more rivens because the cap apparently cannot be increased. Then they choose to implement rivens for arguably the most useless weapon type in the game, possibly even worse than Sentinel weapons. Because at least Sentinel weapons can be active at all times as a passive increase to damage.
Archguns are currently worse than common meta weapons even when you don't have rivens for them and Archwing missions are deserted. As a result, Archguns effectively have two uses: The Wolf and Profit Taker. The Wolf is a temporary event boss and Archguns are really only useful as a backup if he invades while you're leveling gear, so you're likely not going to go out of your way to get a riven for it. Profit Taker is already at the point where a Corvas can oneshot its legs, rendering a riven completely useless, and those who would be serious-enough to get a good riven for Profit Taker will already have minmaxed a Corvas to do that.
I suppose it makes them better for general use, but they're already on a big cooldown for no benefit and you're hampered by ammunition. Moreover, a lot of players don't even have access to Archguns because they have yet to reach Old Mate with Solaris United. I don't think I've ever seen anyone use an Archgun outside of Archwing missions or Profit Taker except for when they're trying to level one.
So Arbitrations are undeniably harder and the only potential increase in reward we have is a riven that, at best, will make a subset of a subset of players do more damage than they were but less damage than someone who doesn't use Archguns. Great.
Perhaps this will change with Railjack and the meta of Archguns will suddenly become much more important, but for now, I am unimpressed. I see no point to relinquish a precious riven slot for an Archgun riven of all things.
So what's the actual problem with Arbitrations?
It takes too damn long to get rewards. That's the long and short of it. People only do Excavation Arbitrations because they're the only ones you can speed up by being skilled and the only ones that will get you rewards at a satisfying pace.
Take Survival for instance. It takes 30 minutes to reach C rotation in a Survival Arbitration. At 40 minutes, you've gotten 2 C rewards, equivalent to the same game mode outside of Arbitration. You have to stick around for a full 50 minutes before the reward structure of Survival Arbitrations outpaces that of normal Survival modes. Admittedly Endo and sculptures are more useful than a lot of rewards, but it still reflects poorly on Arbitrations as a whole.
It gets even worse when you consider the poor average times of other modes that aren't Excavation. Defense can be even longer than 10 minutes per rotation if you get uncooperative enemies. Interception takes somewhere in the realm of 7-8 minutes if everything goes smoothly. Defection is unpredictable but it's also a game mode so few people enjoy that I don't see anyone doing it. Infested Salvage is the only other mode that rewards at a reasonable pace, but Salvage Arbitrations are so rare that it's incredibly difficult to play the mode when it's available.
ABCC… is a good start but they honestly should just ramp up faster in difficulty and take 5 minutes per rotation like normal missions. At the end of the day, DE hasn't succeeded in making Arbitrations challenging, only tedious.
The changes DE has proposed for Arbitrations reek of disrespecting your time.
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