Warframe

Idea: “Tenno Radio” – How to vastly improve game progression and game experience by changing in-game voice messages [long post -> TL;DR at the bottom]

Warframe3 - Idea: “Tenno Radio” – How to vastly improve game progression and game experience by changing in-game voice messages [long post -> TL;DR at the bottom]
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Dear fellow Tenno and (maybe) developers,

Since the Operators emerged from their slumber, we players experience a lot more radio chatter. And while I think this is a great feature, I also think that there are a lot of missed opportunities and also some (major) annoyances.

I haven't found anything recent on this topic here in the forums. Therefor I would like to propose, in detail (and hopefully an entertaining manner; scroll down for tl;dr), an idea that I have thought about a lot and which I discussed with different people. In this Thread I’d like to hear the opinion of other players and maybe the developers as well. Maybe there is something to be worked out or that can be improved on.

About half a year ago, I already posted this on the official warframe forums, but the thread didn’t get the traction I hoped for. So, I decided to post an updated version here on reddit, to see if anybody sees problems and opportunities with that or if it’s just me.(The original thread as well as a few comments and ideas from others players can be found HERE)


MY VIEW ON THE SITUATION

The game has so much great voice acting and interesting characters. For example, Vay Hek might be my number one, over the top insane villain of all time. He is hilarious and has some really great and funny lines! Up there with him, Tyl Regor, who makes such a great counterpart with his own kind of insane. Pure – voice acting – gold! Most of the other characters and the ideas behind them are great too (gladiator reality show hosts and space televangelists for example), but just don’t have the same impact on me, personally.

However, our interactions with all those characters seem extremely one-sided to me. Usually, they always exclusively talk down to us/our Tenno and (especially with high level gear) we swiftly kick their butts in return. And then… well, that’s pretty much it. There is no real dynamic to it.

An exception to that, of course, are the cinematic quest, where we have some dialogue options. To me though, the options to pick from don’t always represent what is then actually said (or the tune and emotion that goes with it does not match what I’d have expected) clearly enough, but at least there is some sort of interaction.

Besides all of that there is the soliloquizing and monologuing. During missions, my Operator is always talking to herself about the most obvious things and, while doing so, seems to always come to the same silly if not cringeworthy conclusions.


A – THE PROBLEMS

1 – NPCs (character and/or story development)

(a) As mentioned before, the cinematic quests allow us interactions with some amazing characters. Sadly though, those Characters we interact with usually get killed of directly (Elder Queen, Ballas) or there is little to no change in the interactions between us and them (Teshin, Lotus), at least not until some next quest comes along. One could argue, that any of them could literally be replaced by a glitching computer simulation with no negative effect for the Tenno whatsoever.Beside the (cinematic main) quests, there are figures like Alad V, of whom there are three different versions roaming the universe simultaneously. His former self still runs the Zanuka project, his infested mutalist form still wreaks havoc every other day (sortie missions) and his cured version crosses our path every now and then, when the story demands it.

(b) And then there are the Syndicate leaders. Some of them (are, sooner or later, bound to) hate us enough to send assassination squads or a box of balls after us. Still they all want something from us or even outright rely on us (Kayla deThaym, Bek and his Ambulas, The Silver Grove). Seems strange. Ergo Glast for example even tells me that “the probability of us working together has converged on never”… at least unless he needs a skilled mercenary, I guess.

(c) One thing is, that this hinders me from experiencing a lasting sense of accomplishment. My actions don’t seem to have consequences after all. Therefore, it feels unrewarding and static to me.Another thing is, that I can never really take the NPCs seriously. If those characters don’t stick to their principles it just takes the “life” out of them, at which point they simply come across as “plot device guy #27”, “placeholder #42” or “exposition dude #3”. They degrade from characters to cardboard cutouts. And it’s hard to get involved with or invested in cardboard cutouts.

2 – Tenno/Operators

(a) The things my operator talks about often make me wonder and question her state of mind. A few examples:

– “Attack us and we will counter!”, she said, while mounting a preemptive assault on an enemy base.- “Grineer have no honor!”, she said, while sneaking up on the 1743rd Trooper in her invisible warframe to slit his throat, not giving him any chance of a fair fight.- “Corpus never fight for themselves.”, she said, while controlling her warframe, some high-tech combat drone, from the safety of her little hidden space station, barely endangering her real body.- “I Remember these monsters from long ago.”, she said during the mission. On the very next mission she mentions: “Disgusting monstrosities, I think they absorb their victims!”, leaving any listener to wonder, whether she knows those creatures or not.- “If we can avoid detection, this might be easier.”, she said, while activating the alarms, because she needs to get detected as she’s supposed to act as a decoy for another operative.- “Transference still holding.” – Well, obviously! And who is she talking to anyway?!

To me, those messages often seem silly, childish, maybe even inappropriate or at least out of place in some way. And while yes, they are children in a way, they also stopped aging (therefore most likely being actually much older, despite 1000 years of cryostasis) and had to face several ordeals, including warrior training and conditioning, ending up in them even developing and/or adapting corresponding warrior paths and philosophies (Vazarin, Zenurik, etc.). What we got at the moment leaves me more with the impression of an angry, angsty teen talking to herself while I would be expecting more of a seasoned warrior analyzing the situation or at least a somewhat troubled but still mature mind. However, that might just be me, my expectations and my personal taste. Sadly though, there is no way to customize it to my liking.

(b) But maybe the main problem with this doesn’t really lie in the statements (alone) but in their repetitiveness. There are only a few voice lines which are thrown at the player again and again and again… and again.

– “So the Corpus are just a cult…”… worshipping money, yeah, I know.- “Couldn’t they clone…”… something a little less ugly, I know. Good joke… haha.- “My Warframe is strong!”… I KNOW. I know. That kind of is the idea behind it.

And that goes not only for the Operator but for the Lotus and other characters as well.

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

– “It’s taking longer than I calculated!”Seriously?! Again?! Why?! You only had ONE job! WE’RE UNDER FIRE HERE, DAMMIT!- “That device is insufficient. You are directed to secure and employ additional eidolon lures.”Shut up, Onkko! SHUT! UP! I got more than enough charged lures with me, so SHUT THE F*** UP! (Seriously, need to make him shut up about that or I’ll go insane someday)

(c) I think what makes all those repetitive monologues especially so annoying, is that they most often serve no purpose.In some cases, they only give us some information we already have. When you finally unlock operator mode through the Second Dream quest, you already fought an abundance of all the three major enemy factions. You know that the corpus use robotics and are into money, you know that the grineer are cloned warmongers and you know, that the infested absorb all the biomass they can get.In the other instances, the information given to you just doesn’t tie in to what is actually happening. Like hacking taking longer than calculated or not having enough lures as mentioned above, as well as that and that transference is still holding.To be fair, most of the dialogues were most likely just designed to add some fluff and feeling and maybe to sort of reinforce and double down on the lore. And it worked. I was so happy and exited when my operator came onto the screen for the first time to deliver a line. But still it got repetitive really fast and my excitement vanished.


B – POSSIBLE APPROACHE: “TENNO RADIO”

(a) Disclaimer: I’ve no experience with programming. So, some of the ideas I came up with might not be feasible. Maybe they would take up too much disc space, if implemented, or loading times would double. Or maybe there just isn’t enough money to pay for that. Still I think, from what I see in other games, that it should be possible.Also, not all changes and suggestions should be expected to be rolled out in a single giant overhaul update but could be tackled as some sort of long term project with slight improvements to certain aspects over time.

(b) The basic idea is quite simple: Lift “radio silence”!

Let all the characters talk with each other! Replace monologuing and soliloquizing with short dialogues!Although a funny thought, I can’t quite imagine Tyl Regor constantly broadcasting on all frequencies that he wants to dissect some Tenno, just in case some of them might be listening. Therefor I assume, that he (as well as all the others) already knows we are coming. Then there is not much reason for our Operators to completely stay silent. At least as long as we can trust Lotus/Ordis/our selfs/someone to somewhat reliably encode and mask our signals to avoid (further) detection.

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Not that this secrecy would really be necessary, ‘cause let’s be honest. If the enemy forces want to find the Tenno, the usually don’t have to carefully home in on our radio signals. In most cases, they can simply follow the sound of gunfire, explosions and dying screams as well as seizure inducing flashes of light in wide varieties of colors. But maybe some more messages occur, if any alarms are triggered.

1 – NPCs

1.1 – Story progression and character development

(a) When a player accomplishes something or progresses in the story by completing quests, the universe should acknowledge it consistently. In the case of Alad V, someone else can take over the Zanuka project when he becomes Mutalist Alad V and the Infested can generate another boss monster, when he gets cured. Those new NPCs mustn’t have a role as big as the one they are build to fill in for, but they might provide the players with a sense of progress and accomplishment. This can be furthered by them talking about how the player beat the boss or the quest and what changed because of that. When players with different progress play in the same team, each one of them can be shown the face and and played the voice according to their individual progress, since everyone already gets different announcements anyway, as far as I know.

(b) And if you really liked to pummel Alad V and his Zanuka into the ground again and again or if you just want to here his voice lines again after some time for nostalgic reasons, there could just be an option in the settings where you can toggle recognition of story progress and the use of corresponding enemy models on or off.

1.2 – Keep adding more and changing out voice lines

(a) To be fair, does that already, as far as I can tell. Every now and then there is a new comment or a new joke in a situation, that I never heard before. At least I had such moments with Ordis and Vay Hek from time to time. For me personally, it would be nice to get this more often, though. How nice it would be, if Lotus’ calculations were correct from time to time or if there at least were different reasons, why it would her take longer. I dare to dream, that every now and then, she would even find a way to finish faster (with the next node taking appropriately longer, of course).

(b) Just to help with eliminating some of the constant repetitions, some lines might just be switched out from time to time with a hotfix. Other games have map rotations and such. Why not let Warframe have some voice line rotations? That way, the need for constantly adding more lines wouldn’t be quite so pressing and go further down as time progresses, it might be easier on the disc space and the feeling of getting to here the same quotes day in day out would lessen.

Of course, making changes on only one side doesn’t create dialogue. This leads us right back to the…

2 – Tenno/Operators

2.1 – Responses

(a) It would be so nice if the operators and the NPCs would respond to one another. Just imagine your operator hurling back a witty line or an insult when Hek and Regor speak about how they’re going to kill them or politely declining Alad V’s offer to be part of a new Zanuka. It could also go the other way around. Enemy forces might respond to statements or observations by the operator (although I guess our space children are smart enough to not broadcast everything the say like they’re on space twitter). Also, there could be short confirmations to orders given by the Lotus or other allies. The operators might even speak up first by sending a request for new orders or intel.

(b) I need to mention here, that seems to have implemented something like that some time ago, although I can’t exactly tell, when it happened. Now, my operator sometimes hurls some insults around during boss levels. It’s a pity though, that it seems to be always the same six voice lines, like “Keep talking, we’re still trying to figure out how dumb you are”. Again, this gets repetitive quite fast and yet again (at least to me) worsened by the childish tone and the phrase feeling somewhat out of context in many fights. While I might consider it a good slur against Vay Hek, I would not call Tyl “Genius Mad Scientist” Regor dumb. In fact, I’d really like my Tenno not to be the dumb one but instead to be smart enough and being able to make correct assessments of enemy strengths and weaknesses, reacting accordingly.

2.2 – Separate operator voices from phrasing

(a) I chose Raven as the voice for my operator. It simply fits her best, as far as I’m concerned. Sadly, this choice seems to not only dictates how she sounds but also what she says and how she intonates it. This limits me somewhat in customizing the character. I think it would be great (although that would surely mean a LOT of work for the voice actors) if I had different options for voice and phrasing and maybe (maybe!) even intonation.

(b) While customizing the operator I can already choose some posture (went with the Madurai crossed-arms-pose). I’d love a similar option for the phrasing. For example, you might still have the choice between Raven, Falcon, Owl and Heron for the voice. In addition, you then choose between the phrasing styles or speech patterns which reflect the different schools (Madurai, Zenurik etc.), which will determine the words the Operator chooses (or better the set of voice lines the game will draw from). Madurai characters might be aggressive and rude while Zenurik characters articulate in a more diplomatic and refined manner.

(c) Intonation options might be something like “soft spoken” or “loud”, so that within the Madurai lines might still be able to make a distinction between soft spoken threats from a very confident and honorbound warrior on the one hand or insults screamed at the enemy’s face in defiance from a tantrum throwing teen with WMD-like superpowers on the other.

2.3 – Squad chatter (the actual Tenno Radio)

(a) I always wondered, why the Operators don’t talk to each other but exclusively to them self during missions. Why don’t they communicate to coordinate their attacks and efforts? I’d like to give some examples, in which I’ll try to factor in the beforementioned ideas.

Role call:

At the beginning of a mission, the squad members could call in with a set of call signs. I’m thinking of something like “Red 2, standing by” or “Lion 3, ready for action”. The chosen call signs might depend on the squad leader (player 1/host) and his chosen phrasing, while the response from each Operator is depending on their phrasing. It could also incorporate which frame is being used Role call might end with something like “Ghost squad ready, awaiting orders” or “Epsilon squad sucessfully deployed, moving out”.

(b) Orders and information:

Regarding a group of Tenno as a military unit, squad leaders might issue “commands” to, give advice to or demand a call in from other members in certain situations, like when one player strays far from the rest of the team, the squad is separated by a lockdown or a member gets downed. Other Operators could then react to those statements. This would not only breath some life into situations but could also be used as a short reminder. I, for example, sometimes tend to wander a bit off during survival missions, suddenly finding myself far away from the rest of the group. How exactly these are offered and get responded to might depend on the chosen schools and the mission type. A Vazarin might call a “stray Tenno” back to the objective while an Unairu might want a scouting report.Maybe these orders could even depend on Equipment. A Squad leader could command someone with an Opticor to get it ready, when the squad is nearing a boss or juggernaut.Other situations could also be commented by the squad leader or team mates. For example, when someone is getting downed, hacking a console to end lockdown or maybe even leaving the mission or getting disconnected from the host for some reason. This might really help with awareness during some intense moments or may assist players who cannot or don’t want to join voice chats for any reason.

(c) Idle chatter:

Until now, the Operators are mostly just narrating some of the things happening around them during missions. While they can still do that (perhaps a bit smarter, though) others might comment on that, again, depending on the school chosen for the speech pattern. Maybe a Zenurik expresses some curiosity towards certain things and a Naramon replies that he shouldn’t let himself get distracted from the battle.Maybe some schools work better together than others (perhaps in some “rock-paper-scissor-lizard-spock” kind of way). That way, there would be a lot of possibilities for friendly or silly humor or even some mean but funny comments. Still, that should be handled with care, since humor is a quite subjective thing.

(d) Show casing:

… and while all that chatter is going on, we get the benefit of being able to show each other the designs we chose for our operators. Since every time our Operator or someone else in the squad engages in dialogue, we get to see the carefully chosen customization options other players went with in all their (sometimes eye cancer inducing) glory. In most situations, there isn’t that much time to get a good look at the designs, players went with for their Operator, especially when ghosting around, teleporting all the time or fighting a giant sentient monster. I think it might be nice to get a chance at a better look every once in a while.


TL;DR

While a lot of the voice acting in Warframe is really great, radio chatter from NPCs and operators gets repetitive and boring or even annoying over time. Some ideas to spice things up are:

– More voice lines for operators and NPCs

– NPCs and operators reacting to changes in game progression

– NPCs and operators reacting to actual situations in missions

– Regularly changing out voice lines to prevent repetitiveness

– Individual dialogue between operators and NPCs during missions

– Dialogue between operators during missions

– More customization options for operator voices and speech patterns

Source: Original link


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