This is going to be a long post.
Like everyone else, I also want to see Warframe to take 2020, and rework and adjust older parts of the game. There's plenty of stuff that Warframe does really well, and a lot of it has to do with the way rewards are structured, because that gameplay loop feels good. As examples: the relic system is great, the syndicate system is great, rewards from invasions are good, disruption missions are good, and even rescue missions are good.
To me, it boils down to this: am I getting something valuable for doing this mission and how much control do I have over that? With relics, I can literally influence the percentages of the rewards in relics and the longer you stay in a mission, the more added bonuses you get. The syndicates reward your time and effort really well (plenty of objects you can get to sell for plat, or that link into other great loops, like relic packs). Invasions can be a bit of a slog, but it's also the best way to get 3 Detonite Injectors or Fieldron (along with some weapon parts and blue prints). Disruption missions are fun, and maybe the best way to grind out relics since you can always be on rotation C.
So why are rescue missions on this list?
If I do a rescue mission, I'll always get a specter blueprint at the end of it. If I do a high level one, the floor for the quality of the specter is higher, and playing with some skill can get me the best specter blue print. Sure, the combat differences between a Vapor and a Comsic blue print aren't huge, but the reward is perfect. I can use a specter in many different missions, and it always feels like a worthwhile resource sink to me. In my mind, doing a rescue mission always has value to it because the missions specific reward that it gives is always useful to have.
This line of thinking even applies to Excavation missions (cryotic), Arbitrations (Ayatans, Arcanes), Sorties (Rivens, Boosters), and Nightwave (Nitan, Potatoes). Sure, all those mission types and systems can still use improvement, but the potential to get some kind of "evergreen" reward out of them is there. They also have a tendency to have rewards that's useful to other parts of Warframe.
So, let's now look at this in the reverse; what are missions (or things or systems) that don't feel like they're rewarding to complete or use, due to their rewards (we'll go over possible rewards at the end)?
- Mobile Defense. We're forced to do 3 points, so we should be getting 3 rewards. Disruption is a better mobile defense in every sense. If there were specific rewards to mobile defense (like intel), then it would feel better to do them in the first place.
- Exterminate Missions. They're shallow. It would be great if there were optional objectives that we could complete to get additional rewards (like how some exterminates have caches; give us other things to do like hack/steal some data, or break something).
- Captures. People run these because they're the fastest mission type (so they're great for relic farming, or cracking relics). But we're capturing someone for interrogation; why aren't we getting some kind of intel specific reward?
- Hijack. Hijacks are cool missions, but there's literally no reason to play them again once you've cleared their node. We're stealing a Fomorian Core or a Corpus Rover, so why aren't we getting rewards related to that?
- Infested Salvage. I also think this is a cool mission, but, once you get Nidus, there's no reason to play it (especially since you've got to deal with that armor degradation). We're "salvaging" stuff, right? Wouldn't it be nice to get stuff that's useful past Nidus parts?
- Ropalolyst. This fight was neat, but there's only the one to fight (vs the 3 on the plains). Why didn't we get bigger ones, or one to fight in our archwings? Once you get Wisp and the Amalgam mods, there's no reason to do this mission again.
- K-Drives. They're a fun novelty, but there's no real incentive to use one over an archwing. What if you could use Warframe powers on a K-Drive? They already don't "dispell" them like archwing.
- The Cyst. These are everywhere, but you only ever need it for getting a Charger. There could have been more plans for them, but right now they don't have any use other than that one companion. It would be great if they could be put towards something useful like potatoes or forma.
- Orokin Ciphers. This is one of my biggest pet peevs. I love doing Vaults, and I like that I always get a Cipher from them, but they don't have any purpose in the game at all.
- Conclave. This doesn't have any outlets for players who want the rewards, but don't want PVP. There's also no way to start to enjoy Concalve with out Conclave rewards (stances, mods). This makes it an unfun grind.
There's probably more missions, items, and systems we can list, but we'll just stop here for now.
So what could good rewards be that help connect all the content islands and make old missions feel rewarding?
- Requiem Mods. Part of what makes Kuva Liches a frustrating experience for a lot of people is needing the 8 different Requiem mods, which only come from T5 relics. If you could get these from other missions that would make a big difference; even Defiled Requiem Mods would be great rewards to get. These would be great "intel" rewards to get from things like Mobile Defense, or Captures.
- Ducats. These would be a great rewards to put in some of the other content islands of the game. For example, if I'm running T5 relics to get Requiem Mods or Kuva, I'm probably using up reactant that I can't use for Ducats now. So instead of an Amber Star as a possible reward for cracking open the relic, Ducats would be much better. These in general, would make great rewards from missions from the Void or Derelict.
- Railjack Parts. These should be rewards for missions that aren't railjack related. We're stealing Fomorian Cores, so why not make a drop table give us a guaranteed part of some kind? We'll get some kind of reactor, or some kind of engine. We should be able to get other wreckage (guns, shields) from a mission like Infested Salvage.
- Archwing Mods. There's a good amount now, and some are pretty rare drops or only come from particular bounties or event missions. If we want more people to have good archwing builds for Railjack, then there has to be more options to get them (from non-archwing missions). This already happens to some extent, but why not give some as rewards from missions like Corpus Hijack or normal starchart missions like Capture or Exterminate?
- Riven Slivers. These are mainly found in T5 relics, and some railjack missions, but there's no reason why they couldn't come from every other mission too (especially since you can only redeem them for one riven once per week).
- Debt Bonds. We should be able to get these from Corpus missions. That would be a big help to people trying to get standing with Fortuna when Ticker isn't selling them, or RNG on bounties isn't being kind.
- Various Weapon Parts and Blueprints. These are already in invasion's drop tables, but there's tons of these weapons. If you aren't actively looking for all the pieces of a single weapon, you might be missing it for a long time. Why not let them be rewards for some faction specific missions? Maybe the Sheeve parts can be farmed doing Grineer Mobile Defenses.
- Orokin Ciphers should have a purpose. These could be made into keys that let us get into deep space derelicts in Railjack. Maybe they could be used to access special rooms in the void for a nice Ducat cache.
- Conclave needs a solo access point. Let Teshin give us a weekly task. It could be like Nightwave tasks, or how Simaris' daily task works. He could make us do Mastery Rank tests over again for standing (they're unique and challenging, and we only ever do them once).
- Augment Slot Adapters. Exilus adapters are nice rewards to get, and the ones for weapons are nice too. People have been wanting augment slots for years now, and these could be great rewards.
- Ways to Re-roll random stats. It looks like DE wants to stick with random stats moving forward with things. Rivens are somewhat tolerable because we can re-roll them, and Kuva is finally at a place in the game where it isn't terrible to acquire. Let us re-roll the Kuva Lich weapon damage bonus, and let us re-roll the RNG on Railjack parts. Kuva weapons could at least use Kuva, and maybe Railjack parts could use reactant (since it's kind of "space stuff").
- Rush Repair Drones. It's fine if these are Railjack rewards, but I'd also like to passively get them by doing other missions too.
- Murmurs. Thralls should always show up to some extent when I'm on the Lich's planet, even if I'm not doing a dedicated Lich Mission (then they won't feel so disconnected).
TLDR; Connecting the content islands and making stale parts of Warframe exciting can be done at the same time by spreading out the types of rewards we get from missions to loop into other content loops instead of just their own. Yes, more rewards like large credit caches (10k+), Forma Blueprints, Ayatan Sculptures, and Lenses are also fine to put in more places, but things will feel more connected and more worth doing if I can always count on a particular reward dropping by performing skillfully like Specter Blue Prints do for rescue missions.
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