I've made (a frankly less educated) post about this before a while back, and the discussion had me think about it properly before I try to start a second discussion about it. The prefacing point is that not every augment should be baseline, and sometimes it's not the whole augment that should be baseline.
Some augments are very good, and should stay augments. Some augments are bad, but this gets really broad.
Fundamentally, an augment should, well, augment your gameplay. It should add something meaningful that makes you change your gameplay, changes the ability, sometimes with a trade-off.
A good augment is Ironclad Charge. It's a classic, really. Instead of using charge only as mobility and CC, you instead now change your gameplay dynamic: you find clumps of enemies, and charge directly into them to gain massive armor for your Iron Skin. This:
Gives tangible benefit for the mod slot
Changes the gameplay style of Rhino
Has a balanced downside: You're charging into enemies. Potentially with low, or without Iron Skin.
Bonus points for being synergistic in itself.
A bad augment, by design is Iron Shrapnel. It's a "good" augment in that it has a place in Iron Skin builds, but the main idea of function, being the explosive skin damage, isn't the main purpose. It's the ability to de-activate and re-activate Iron Skin. By design, it locks up a QoL change on Iron Skin behind a mod slot. You can argue that this is balanced, but it's still kind of bums. As a concept, the augment has very good potential. It:
Changes your gameplay (in theory) – you run into crowds and use a defensive ability to do potentially very high scaling offensive damage, synergizing with Ironclad Charge.
You have to sacrifice your safety by walking inside the enemies and intentionally destroying your HP buffer.
This explosive damage, given it's scaled correctly, could be very rewarding and fun.
The issue is that, again, that's not what people are using it for (mostly). That's why I'd call it bad.
The point of all this is that I think that there's a lot of augments guilty of this. Some of them are QoL, in part or fully, that shouldn't be locked in a mod slot, when they could make a cooler augment for it. You could take Iron Shrapnel, make the re-activation portion part of Iron Skin, and maybe double or triple the damage value of it. I assure you that some people would use it if they could make a meaningful nuke out of it, obliterating foes in masses with
the pure flexing power of his rippling muscles awesome iron power.
Some augments, like Creeping Terrify, are a good design on paper that should totally just be part of the base kit. You could make a better augment like Contagious Terrify, where an enemy killed under Terrify casts a smaller and shorter Terrify, literally spooky spooks, like Resonating Sonar (which is a well designed augment, by the way).
There are even the exilus-type augments that have been hit or miss. Mesa's Waltz is a good design: You gain a crawl of mobility for an exilus slot. It's not necessary, but it changes the gameplay dynamic, from a cast-uncast bullet jump yeehaw time, to a cast once until out of energy sort of thing and
lamely shoot your normal fingerguns without hip animations.
Then you have something like Hysterical Assault, which is fun but not good enough to warrant the slot, but it's top fun, and should just have been baseline, giving way for a cooler, more useful, paradigm-changing augment.
I'm not going to act like an expert on this, and I can't perfectly classify every single augment, which is why I want to open up the discussion, for my and everyone else's learning and thought. Talk about good augments. Talk about bad augments. Most of all, I just want to know the why. I don't play every Warframe, and I expect most people don't, so it's good to have expert opinions on every specific augment.
Ultimately, every augment is not only fighting the opportunity cost of gameplay change and whatever direct trade-offs it has (such as Partitioned Mallet, or Titanic Rumbler), but also the mod slot it eats up. An augment has to be not only worth its gameplay change, but also its mod slot.
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