Excavation is the worst game mode past level 50

Warframe14 - Excavation is the worst game mode past level 50

Preface: I am not talking about Arbitrations, which I have not unlocked

If you have nothing to say but "git gud," your best possible contribution is silence

Rewards do not scale within the game, only by the level of the world/map. This is true of every game mode, but in excavation it is especially punishing. The player endures 100 seconds minimum of keeping themselves and the excavator alive, and receives 100 cryotic. The amount of cryotic does not scale as the round goes on, nor do the other rewards. At higher levels, there is functionally no reason to stay any longer than is absolutely required for the completion of the mission or sortie, or to complete the full AABC reward cycle if you're a masochist or desperate for loot that can be gotten in other ways.

Excavators, which do not scale to anything, have set health and shields: 2500 health, 500 shields. Enemy damage output scales with their level. A bottom tier Lancer or Crewman at level 80 destroys an excavator from across the map, by looking at it. Once you get into sortie level ranges of 60 – 100, this is intolerable and tedious. Frost's globe dissipates in moments under sustained fire from these levels, enemies caught in Gara's vitrify destroy it before they're even frozen in the glass (with the physical wall often being broken in just a few hits from the nearest bombard anyways), and her splinter storm's damage reduction is effectively meaningless at such high levels for something with so little health. Trinity's link is useless and blessing can't heal objectives, Nezha's damage reduction is ineffective, Oberon's healing isn't enough, Nova is too weak in terms of damage reduction to survive on her own, let alone defend the excavator (molecular prime only slows them, they can still shoot just fine). At these levels with obvious exceptions, you're spending as much time keeping yourself alive if you solo, as you spend defending the excavator, unless you have a full squad with at least one healing frame.

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The player is forced, by sheer poor scaling, to take the most boring option: Limbo, or Octavia, or if they don't prefer solo play and can rely on their squad, Rhino, Inaros, or perhaps Nyx. Short of having god tier equipment, or a full squad running corrosive projection, the player is robbed of any choice when it comes to the game mode.


There's nothing wrong with any of those frames, though I personally find some of them boring. The problem that I'm criticizing (not only with excavation, but with a lot of high level content) is that at a certain threshold, the player is channeled towards specific gameplay styles, and punished for others, and gameplay itself becomes very tedious. Each frame generally has a specific task it's good at, but some are rendered useless compared to others past a certain threshold. Harrow might be your favorite frame, but he's probably not the best choice to bring along for that level 100 assassination unless you're really, really good at Harrow, or you have the right gear to otherwise trivialize the fight. That's not because Harrow is bad, but because the way the game's scaling works makes him irrelevant compared to others for the same task.

Three potential solutions I can name:

  1. Simply add scaling to the excavators. I understand that if they scaled like other objectives, there would be no reason to actually play the game, and instead just run around to each objective and watch them complete themselves. But there's little excuse for a level one objective to be the target of level 100 enemies. And those few lucky excavators to survive the ordeal ought to drop a bit more than 100 cryotic (which you can get with no effort on Kiliken), an ammo mutation that you already have 15 of, and an Axi relic you can get from three other, less tedious game modes.

  2. Make one specific enemy, possibly the power carriers themselves, specifically target the excavators, while other enemies largely ignore it, or shoot at it if there is no player around to defend it.

  3. Add buffs or healing pickups particular to the excavators as random drops or as something carried by the power carriers.

Read:  New or Returning Player? Welcome (Back) to WARFRAME!

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