Warframe

Status 4.0: Making Status Effectiveness Scale with Damage

Warframe13 - Status 4.0: Making Status Effectiveness Scale with Damage
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Disclaimer: This topic is very dry. Nothing flashy, mostly math and game logic. If you are not up for that then… try? Please? I understand that math and game logic aren’t topics a lot of people enjoy thinking about, but if you ever want something like status to change fundamentally (which I strongly believe it should, and I hope to convince you here to think the same) you gotta wade through this stuff.

If you aren’t up for wading through the dryness, here’s the TL;DR.

TL;DR: Make every status effect scale linearly with the total amount of elemental/physical damage inflicted.

The title also sums the premise up nicely. If you are curious how I went about designing a system that works with that premise (and attempt to fill all the holes it creates), a few thousand words await you.

For the most part when I suggest a change or new mechanic it is italicized. Skimming the post for just the section names and italicized sentences should give you a good idea to what is going on.

Please, if there is a part of this proposal you take issue with, do not instantly dismiss the entire proposal. I am only one person, there are definitely issues here. Try and see what my intent is, assume that I am not an idiot, and help me understand where I am mistaken.


In the beginning, there was DoSP

In order to reduce the word count, I made up an acronym for the core concept of this proposal.

DoSP: “Damage of Status Proc” When an attack procs a status effect, the DoSP is the amount of damage of the element that had its status inflicted. This number is NOT affected by health type damage resistances or armor damage reduction.

  • Example: If a weapon deals 500 Heat and 800 Viral damage then RNG procs the Heat status effect, the “damage of the status proc” is 500.

“Total DoSP” is the amount of DoSP that an enemy is currently under the effects of. If a status effect has a duration of 6 seconds, after the 6 seconds the Total DoSP will reduce by the DoSP of the given status effect.

  • Example: You inflict an initial 500 DoSP attack then a 300 DoSP attack 4 seconds later. For the first four seconds the total DoSP is 500, for the next two seconds the total DoSP is 800, the next four seconds have a total DoSP of 300, and after that the total DoSP is 0.

Status effects are inflicted BEFORE normal damage is inflicted. If a bullet strips armor, the damage of the bullet will consider the armor after being stripped.

Status Proc vs Status Effect: For the purposes of this post a status proc is only defining the action of a status being inflicted. Basically, it is just a yes/no or black/white descriptor. Status effects on the other hand take into account what the status proc did to an enemy, status effects work in shades of grey

All of the effects of status procs can be generalized into two categories, damage and debuff.


Damage Status Procs

These are simple and generally already work with a “have damage matter” system. If a status proc does damage, that damage should be based on the amount damage of the respective damage type the attack had.

  • Example: A weapon that deals 500 DoSP will have its damage effect be entirely based on that DoSP. What a novel concept… (no, this isn’t how it currently works)

Damage over time is based on the total DoSP. Multiple status procs of a single type will not create new instances of damage; they will only increase the damage of following instances. This is the exact same result of having multiple instances of status effects but with less UI clutter and a clearer communication of how much DoT you are doing.


Debuff Status Procs

Works by having the effectiveness of a status proc be based on a ratio of the total DoSP to the health (not EHP) of an enemy. This sounds a bit complicated on paper, but in practice I believe it is far more logical than the current status system.

  • Example: Let’s start with an enemy with 1000 Health. If you inflict a cold status effect with a DoSP of 100 then the enemy would be slowed by 10% ( 100/1000 = .1 ). But if you inflicted a cold status with a DoSP of 500 then the enemy would be slowed by 50% ( 500/1000 = .5 ). And if you inflict both status effects in sequence (A 100 and 500 DoSP) then the enemy would be slowed by 60%.

Damage status procs already work this way. If the goal is to kill an enemy the effectiveness of a damage dealing status proc is a ratio of the damage of the status effect relative to the health of an enemy. A status proc that deals 10 damage per second on an enemy with 100 health is far more potent at achieving the goal when compared to a 1000 health enemy. Damage status procs are already a function of DoSP and health, it only makes sense for debuff status procs to work the same way.

The effect being relative to the enemy’s health follows a similar logic. If an enemy has ten times the health of another enemy, you expect the healthier enemy to be more resistant to status.

Back to the math, two more acronyms I made up.

SEF: “Status Effect Factor” = (DoSP) / (Health) This is the ratio that determines how powerful a debuff status effect is.

WHS: “Whole Health Status” The effect of a status proc if total DoSP is equal to the health of an enemy.

  • Example: Back to the cold status, how that original equation worked is that the WHS was equal to an enemy being slowed by 100%. If, for example, the WHS was only 80%, that would mean that if the 1000 health enemy was inflicted with 500 DoSP it would now only be slowed by 40%.

Multiply the SEF by the WHS to find the effect of a status proc.

The reason SEF exists instead of status effects being based on damage in a vacuum is to make sure that status effects are a consistent experience across the entire game. You don’t want status effects to be completely useless for new players and you don’t want high level weapons to trivialize enemies with “OP” status effects. If an enemy has ten times the health of another enemy, you would expect them to be more resilient to status effects.

To me this just makes a lot more sense. If you use a weapon that hits really hard and inflict a status effect, you would think that the status effect would be more potent than what an SMG would inflict in a single attack. This also naturally makes for a balanced stacking system. A high RoF weapon and low RoF weapon with identical status chances will have the same status “effectiveness” over a period of time. This system automatically balances itself.

Keep in mind that you can deal the full WHS amount of DoSP to an enemy without killing them. This is due to DoSP being unaffected by Armor and/or Shields. The WHS also acts as a cap on the effect of a status proc.


Elemental Status Effects

These are general suggestions, please for the love of god don’t think that this section is the main point of this topic. These are mostly here to give an idea of how the status effects can be converted to the above systems. Again, the purpose of the rework is to propose all status effects to scale with damage, the following are just examples as to how that could be done. If you think some of these suggestions are good, cool. If you think they suck I’d love to hear why it sucks but please don’t use them as proof that the core concept is flawed.

  • Heat: Deal 100% of the total DoSP as Heat damage every .5 seconds for 6 seconds. Reduce an enemy’s armor value by 50% of the total DoSP for 6 seconds. Caps at 50% of armor.
  • Electricity: A WHS of 100% of damage done to the enemy is chained to enemies in a 8-meter radius as Electricity damage for 6 seconds.
  • Cold: Slows the target with a WHS of 100% (fully frozen) for 6 seconds. A WHS of 5 Icicles appear on the target (when the SEF=20% one Icicle will appear, at 40% a second will appear, and etcetera). When an Icicle is hit it deals the total Cold DoSP to the enemy as Finisher damage and destroys the icicle.
  • Toxin: Deal 100% of the total DoSP as Toxin damage every .33 seconds for 6 seconds.
  • Blast: Enemies in an 8-meter radius have a chance to be inflicted with a Cold or Heat proc relative to the amount of elemental damage of each status type. For example, if the Blast damage is 60% Heat and 90% Cold then there will be a 60% chance that enemies are inflicted with Cold and a 40% chance to be inflicted with Heat. The DoSP of the heat/cold procs is based on the DoSP of each respective damage type.
  • Radiation: Creates a radiation field with a WHS range of 15-meters around enemy that deals 50% of the total DoSP every .5 seconds for 6 seconds. Damage from the AoE has a 50% Status Chance. Enemies in range of the field will target the nearest entity.
  • Gas: Creates a gas cloud with a WHS range of 15-meters around enemy that deals 100% of the total DoSP every .5 seconds for 6 seconds.
  • Magnetic: Pulls enemies in a 8-meter radius towards the target by a WHS of 25m/s for 6 seconds.
  • Viral: Amplify damage done to health with a WHS of 500% for 6 seconds.
  • Corrosive: Reduce an enemy’s armor value by 100% of the total DoSP for 6 seconds. Caps at stripping 80% of armor.

One more time for the people in the back, these suggestions are not the point of this thread. They are only meant to be examples as to who DoSP can be implemented. A bad suggestion for a specific damage type is not necessarily a sign that the core proposal of this thread is flawed.


Physical Status Mechanics

Physical status is in a weird place due to it being an intrinsic part of weapons that can only be enhanced, not created (outside forced proc mechanics). Of all the things in this proposal this is probably the section I have the most doubt about, but I think that combined with everything else this is the best way to go about it.

Physical status effects are independent of elemental status effects.

  • Example: A weapon with a 50% status chance has physical and elemental damage. Every hit now has a 50% chance to proc an elemental status effect and a 50% chance to proc a physical status effect.

Physical status now follows the same DoSP rules as elemental status effects.

This does a few things. First, it makes the base physical status spread of weapons matter again. The status effect of a damage type is just as if not more important than enemy vulnerabilities/resistances to damage types. In addition, it balances the playing field between pure elemental weapons and weapons with physical damage. With emphasis on DoSP pure elemental weapons will gain a great advantage over physical weapons in inflicting status. Elemental weapons being unique is great, but they should not be the general superior status weapon.

Alternatively, don’t do any of this. Have DoSP for physical status effects be based on total physical damage as it is now.


Physical Status Effects

  • Slash: Deal 40% of the total DoSP per second for 6 seconds (bypasses armor).
  • Impact: Reduce enemy damage by a WHS of 80% and reduce enemy accuracy by a WHS of 70% for 6 seconds. When the SEF > 15% subsequent hits will stagger.
  • Puncture: Subsequent shots have a chance to be calculated as “weak point” (2x damage bonus, provides the bonus 2x crit multiplier, bypass shield gating) with a WHS of 150% (A total DoSP above 100% adds a chance to increases the damage bonus to 3x) for 6 seconds.

Forced Status Procs with a Damage Component

If a status proc is forced due to something like Hunter Munitions or a melee stance combo the DoSP will be the base damage of the weapon or the DoSP of the respective damage type, whichever is greater.


Forced Status without a Damage Component

Some forced status effects are done without a damage component. Piercing Roar for example inflicts a Puncture proc without dealing any significant damage. In the case of mechanics that are designed to inflict a status effect without dealing damage their values will be balanced as SEF (Status Effect Factor).

  • Example: Piercing Roar inflicts a Puncture proc with a SEF of 50%. This means that any enemy affected by Piercing Roar, regardless of health, will take a puncture effect equal to 50% of Puncture’s WHS (Whole Health Status).

The ability to have forced status effects tied to mechanics that do not deal damage is a valuable tool for DE to have when designing abilities. This type of mechanic could also allow for certain abilities to scale into late game without having to have their damage scale (Frost’s Ice Wave, for example).


UI Representation of Total DoSP

With the current stacking mechanic, we now have a small number that is next to ever status an enemy is inflicted with below their health bar. This transparency in how affected an enemy is by status is a great tool for players, however the above rework would not be able to be represented by a number.

Instead of a number, have the status icon bordered by a circle. A full circle is representative of WHS (the cap for all debuff status effects). Damage status effects already have their potency represented in the UI through the damage numbers that pop up on enemies.


Ease of Modification

If DE were to wish make enemies that are resilient to status effects (like bosses, Liches, etcetera) having all status effects be based on status damage would make it far easier to make blanket changes and effect all status effects proportionally. One way would be to simply give enemies “DoSP Resistance”. This would mean that the initial DoSP dealt to an enemy would be reduced, decreasing the rate by which status effects are inflicted.

  • Example: A “DoSP Resistance” of 30% would mean a 100 DoSP Heat proc would only add 70 heat damage to an enemy’s total DoSP.

If DE is more worried about the debuff aspects to status procs, then they could cap WHS to whatever percent they feel adequate.

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  • Example: Capping WHS at 80% would mean that a viral status would only be able to slow an enemy by up to 400%.

But not only can DE use this to make enemies more resistant, they could use it to make enemies more susceptible to status effects. Imagine if a fire Eximus took double cold DoSP. The ease of modifying the effectiveness of status effects when they are based on DoSP opens the door for new enemy types, new strategies, and new loadout types.

With the latest change to how Liches are affected by status, we got another case of arbitrary numbers having arbitrary consequences. Flat capping the amount of status effects an enemy can be inflicted by only serves to hamstring certain status effects and add another layer of complexity to an already unpredictable system.


Status and Shields

Shield gates did not make shields better, they made things with shields better. Enemies having large shields or even Warframes having large shields was not buffed by adding a shield gate. Grendel makes as much if not more use out of a Shield Gate then a Warframe like Frost.

Shields have an innate 50% DoSP Resistance.

As discussed in the prior section, DoSP gives more tools in DE’s toolbox to tune how everything works together. Enemy shields having innate DoSP resistance would make min/maxing for Corpus fundamentally different than min/maxing for Grineer. And because DoSP is a continuous system, status effects can cleanly carry over to an enemy’s health (and new status effects will add full DoSP) once their shields break.

This change would not benefit Warframes as much as enemies, but it would give shields a bit more of a purpose on Warframes then they currently do.


Disconnecting Status and Critical Hits

*Breaths in*

Have DoSP ignore critical multipliers.

*Breaths out* If this were to be done, many of the proposed numbers for status effects above may need to be adjusted. For me to assemble this concept and present it, I thought it was best to keep it in the scope of the present. It is difficult enough to throw out rough numbers without testing, such a massive change as disconnecting status from crit would make it neigh impossible.

The purpose for this change is to bring down the power of “crit-status hybrid” builds to be more like raw crit and raw status builds. Especially given making all status scale with damage, the power of critical hits would become even more impactful for “status” weapons.

The intention of this rework is to distill the number of variables that effect status to two, status chance and damage. As long as critical hits effect status effectiveness then pure status weapons will remain at a significant disadvantage.


Status Intensity: Status’s version of Critical Damage

Part of the power behind critical mechanics in Warframe is due to it scaling multiplicatively off two stats, critical chance and critical damage. The result of combining these two things is greater than the sum of their parts, leading to the power spike we all know and love with critical weapons.

With status effects being a function of damage, status chance has a lot of similarities with critical chance. And with DoSP being a consistent multiplier for the effectiveness of a status proc, the stage is set for status to get its own version of critical damage that effects all status effects consistently.

Status Intensity: A new weapon stat that exists as a multiplier of DoSP.

  • Example: A weapon with 100 and a Status intensity of 1.5x. When the cold status effect is proced the DoSP is 150.

As for balancing this new stat, I would keep the values a bit lower than what Critical Damage can reach. The average base status power for weapons should only be 1. I would not want to see modding Status Intensity be as mandatory for a status weapon as building Critical Damage is for a crit weapon.


Damage Resistances and DoSP

If DoSP and damage are both affected by damage resistances it would lead to enemy resistances/vulnerabilities having a multiplicative effect on each other in the case of damage status procs. There are a few remedies for this, but to be honest I am torn on the right direction.

Option 1: The damage of damage status procs is unaffected by resistances.

This is the quick fix to keep the system working as is. There would only be one instance where enemy resistances are applied to a damage calculation.

Option 2: DoSP ignores enemy resistances.

The damaging effects of status effects (when applicable) are still affected by damage resistances. This would mean damage status procs would have a reduced effectiveness as the damage of the status procs align with the elemental damage, just not with any weird stacking. However, debuff status effects would not be influenced at all by resistances. For example, a Cold status would have the same effectiveness versus a Lancer as a Crewman while a Heat status effect would deal more damage to the Lancer than the Crewman. Big downside here is obviously the inconsistency.

Option 3: Damage resistances effect DoSP but not damage.

The downside to this is that it makes choosing your elements for non-status weapons irrelevant. The benefit of this system could be interesting though, it could open the field to bring different damage types and/or status effects to different factions. You could build Magnetic against Grineer and not get a massive hit to DPS. Your status effects would be incumbered, but they would still be present. It may not even be a bad thing if crit weapons ignored enemy resistances, crit weapons fill the role of an easy, general use weapon. Status weapons would require more min/maxing but if built correctly could exploit enemy weaknesses. Sometimes having a casual option is beneficial.

Option 4: Remove resistances.

Have damage just be damage, the only thing damage types contribute is different status effects. On the surface this is a massive simplification, but it could potentially make for more variation in build crafting if you do not have to worry about being forced into cookie-cutter damage matchups.

This is enough to be its own separate topic and discussion, so I’ll leave it there.


Status 5.0: Death to Status Chance, long live Status Power

As the title of this section insinuates, this is a separate suggestion. Consider this a mental exercise.

Every hit deals a status effect. Rename the Status Chance stat to Status Power. Status Power is a multiplier on DoSP.

  • Example: A weapon has 1000 Heat damage and 500 Corrosive damage. The weapon had a Status Chance of 50%, now it has a Status Power of 50%. Every shot from the weapon will deal a heat status proc with a DoSP of 500 and a Corrosive status proc with a DoSP of 250.

In some respects, this is just deleting Status Chance, only leaving the new mechanic of Status Intensity. Status Intensity and Status Power as essentially the same thing, however in the case of this side-proposal they have been merged.

The beauty of making status based on damage is that this rework of the rework would not actually take a lot to do. Status Chance and “Status Power” are basically the exact same thing. On average a weapon using Status Power and one using Status Chance will inflict the exact same DoSP over time. It uses all the same principles but entirely removes RNG from status effects.


Conclusions

I do not think it can be overstated how powerful it would be if status chance were a direct correlation to how good a weapon is at inflicting status effects. A good status weapon will have a high status chance, a bad status weapon will have a low status chance, and this goes for all status types. When DE balances a weapon they do not have to worry about extraneous variables like base fire rate and damage types when balancing the status effectiveness of said weapon. All they must worry about is adjusting a single number.

The reason for removing base damage from the elemental status calculations is to increase the value of modding for elementals. As it stands it is generally the most effective to simply maximize damage output while making sure the element types are correct. By having elemental status effects be only affected by the damage of an element, that means that the elemental mods will add far more value to your build than they currently do. Hopefully to the extent that equipping another elemental mod may have a chance at replacing some “mandatory mods” in niche situations.

If you are concerned with hos this 1:1 stacks up against current status calculations, this is a nerf to any status effect that has less than +100% elemental damage from mods, a buff to everything above +100% elemental damage, and a considerable buff to a weapon with innate elemental damage (for the status effects that use that innate element).

Finally, the changes to critical interactions would work in tandem with everything else to make modding for status a viable alternative, not just addition to, modding for crit. Without the changes to how status effectiveness is calculated making raw status weapons compete with hybrid builds is nearly impossible.

The secret power to this rework comes with the potential of status chance and critical chance being interchangeably powerful. If two weapons, one with a 40% status chance and one with a 40% critical chance, were both roughly the same power level the challenge of balancing weapons would be made astronomically easier. Just imagine what it would do for the modular weapon meta.


Preliminary Q and A

“This is too complicated”

The math that makes something work is not indicative of how complicated a system is to work with. At its core, the way all this works is “if bullet do big damage, bullet do big status” and “If bullet do a lot of little damage, bullet stack little status into big status”. Where the current system is based on an arbitrary stacking mechanic that would require specific knowledge of how everything stacks, the proposal above makes everything simple in concept. Explaining to a player “If it does a lot of damage, it will do a lot of status” is inherently a lot simpler than “Some statuses do damage, some increase effectiveness with more hits. Sometimes the stacking of hits isn’t proportional and there are spikes. Oh, and there are caps on the amount of stacking sometimes, but not always. Those caps also sometimes change depending on the enemy.” I would argue that the proposal above is the most logical and expected way for the system to work for a new player. It doesn’t matter that the equations are complicated, all you need to know to start building for status is that the amount of elemental damage you do makes status better and that status chance makes it happen more often.

“Why doesn’t status duration scale with status effect factor (SEF)”

If status duration scaled with SEF then inflicting a status effect would make subsequent status effects last longer which would make subsequent status effects last longer which would… I think you get the idea. This would mean that the effect of a status proc would be tied to two factors, the DoSP of the new status proc and the total DoSP. When you add multiple scaling factors to anything it is important to make sure that they do not compound with each other.

“You just said compounding factors were bad, why did you suggest status effects that have both range and damage scale?”

Maybe a little bit of hypocrisy, but I think this is a different case. For one these effects still scale with total DoSP, independent of status per second. There also are not any weird companioning effects like there could be if duration scaled with SEF. However, by having two effects that enhance each other it does mean that status effectiveness will not scale linearly with DoSP. Personally, I think that having a few status effects scale better with DoSP than others isn’t all bad if it is kept in check, it adds another layer to modding. In addition to picking status effects for their effects, you may want different effects based on how good of a status weapon you are using. Toxin is a status effect with a consistent value, so it will still have good value on low status weapons. Whereas Gas’s dual scaling means that you don’t get its full value when used on said lower status weapon, with a high status weapon you have the opposite case. Maybe this isn’t the play and the range of a status effect should be unaffected by DoSP, I’d like to hear what yall think.

“Why you nerf crit weapons?”

For status weapons to compete with critical weapons, and for each of those weapons to not be overshadowed by hybrids, multiplicatively stacking multipliers need to go away. This is not intended to be a “nerf” to crit weapons, the larger intention of this change is to allow for buffing status weapons (through buffing status effects) without inadvertently making crit/status hybrids even more powerful.

“You did not explain why the current system is bad”

This is true, my hope was that by reading this proposal the reasons why status stacking is bad would shine through. I could have ranted for a few hundred to thousand words about why status stacking is bad, but I feel like it is easier to explain/understand why status stacking is bad by showing the alternative. Unless status is balanced raw status weapons will NEVER be able to compete with crit consistently. Having to account for fire rate when balancing status is a massive hurdle to DE’s design space.

“That was a lot of words, how long have you been at this?”

In one form or another, since 2017. It has seen a lot of iteration, a couple ground-up rewrites, and many hours being stared at. I need a life. The latest status revision gave me a kick to finish this up… then I sat on it for six months… then Scott talking about more status changes got me to finally post it.

“This was a waste of time; DE would never do this”

Probably, but it was fun to put together and I can hope.

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