The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes

Warframe3 - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes


For those of you who’ve heard of me – you know who I am. For those of you who don't know, our bot has been used by several hundred thousand people to find out approximate values for their rivens, useful information on how riven stats affect certain weapons, and what stats to look/roll for on rivens.

Together with my team and a number of volunteers, I’m writing this post to show you how the consequences of the devs not thinking ahead and not respecting player investments have created massive issues for most players and themselves. One such situation is happening right now and is consequently causing issues more severe than we’ve ever seen. The devs have not acknowledged those issues or researched to see how their changes would affect existing systems.

Here are the specific issues we’ll be discussing:

  1. how DE has been mishandling Warframe (poorly released updates since The Old Blood)
  2. how they don’t understand how their actions are affecting the game and rivens,
  3. how they’re out of touch with the playerbase (how they balance riven dispos in relation to player use)
  4. issues with the current damage/status system (how the riven system is affected by it), and
  5. how DE can take actions to help fix Warframe (and what specifically they can/should do).

For those of you who want to go really in-depth, here’s a link to an extended version of the post edit?usp=sharing - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes

Link>; it’s far more detailed with more explanation, specific sources, and relevant mathematics.

I specialize in rivens, so it should not surprise you that I’ll first be discussing the issues with the riven system including: disposition changes, kuva/insane RNG, and other misconducts fewer people know about. However, riven discussion is not the only thing we discuss as these issues are mostly mechanics-related. Rivens are an excellent way to demonstrate and also act as a good litmus test for overall game health.

General Riven Issues

One of the most widely recognized problems people have with rivens is, of course, the RNG. Everyone who plays this game knows the frustration of spending hours on grinding Kuva, an endeavor which tends to be almost always fruitless. You may not know how grim the numbers are unless you take a closer look at them. Based on our calculations, for the vast majority of weapons, around 80-96% edit?usp=sharing - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes

Link> of stat combos on rivens are downright worse than non-riven mods or barely better than their normal mod counterparts. The situation is particularly dire if you want better stat combinations. The seemingly insane prices you can find on trading websites for higher-end rivens are the simplest proof of demand far exceeding supply. There’s a very simple and completely obvious solution which lies in simply increasing the chances for you to get good stats like +Damage, +Multishot on rivens by around 10-20%. That would both greatly decrease the overall RNG and would also decrease all prices for higher end rivens. Here’s some global issues that should also be addressed:
  • DE is well-known for nerfing new and popular weapons’ riven disposition shortly after their release. This inadvertently invalidates players’ investments into their new shiny rivens, and leaves a bad taste in players’ mouths; taking a break from Warframe could literally cost hundreds or thousands of plat if you return to find your riven’s disposition was changed. DE can mitigate this by planning ahead and balancing a new weapon’s riven disposition in relation to how powerful the weapon is and how popular DE perceives it will become; this way, players would be able to first see how much more powerful those new weapons would be with a riven that won’t be immediately nerfed, even if the riven isn’t too powerful.
  • Some rivens received so many nerfs that they are downright not worth slotting over a regular mod (Ignis, Arca Plasmor, and Catchmoon fall into this category). This pretty much means that players who invested Kuva/Plat got screwed by DE’s dispo changes and they might as well have no riven at all, since it’s not optimal to slot anymore.
  • Players have no choice in what type of rivens they receive (unless they spend plat!). This has been an issue since the introduction of rivens and it could have been much more fair if some degree of choice was given to the player (or if some weapons like Cestra were excluded from the common pool).

The Harsh Consequences of Melee 3.0’s Mod Changes

The biggest issue here lies within the Condition Overload change. It used to multiply damage exponentially. Now, it’s an additive base damage boost. The result? It completely replaces any form of +Melee Damage in pretty much any build other than niche Heavy Attack builds. The diminishing returns mean that your Primed Pressure Point and your riven with +Melee Damage are no longer worthy of being in normal builds at all for the majority of weapons. A perfect melee riven no longer has +Melee Damage on it, which is very counter-intuitive, likely goes against the devs’ own views and, most importantly, your +Melee Damage rivens lost anywhere from a third to nearly the entirety of their former value. Also, mods like Killing Blow further decrease the value of +Melee Damage on rivens for specific Heavy Attack builds. Blood Rush changes are also related and there’s a big issue with Maiming Strike and +Slidecrit on rivens, which is discussed in-depth in the extended version of this post. TLDR: For the average player who happens to have a +DMG riven for a melee weapon, that riven just lost at least a third of its usefulness, since Condition Overload gives the same type of +Damage as plain +Damage mods.

The Status Changes in Warframe: Revised

One of the main reasons I created this post is the changes to the status effect system. It started off with the Impact stacking rework blunder that was thankfully
mpHaED4 - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes

prevented by the community, but what wasn’t fixed created an even deeper issue.

Currently, build diversity also suffers because the majority of elements are completely outclassed by Viral. Gas is pretty much obsolete, Magnetic is still relatively worthless, Radiation is broken at higher enemy levels, Blast still doesn’t have a clear desirable benefit over other elements, and Corrosive is better than Viral on only a few weapons, and usually only against enemies with Ferrite armor specifically. This is very unhealthy for the game and pretty much invalidates your base Heat Lich weapons you got for Gas builds, creating an even larger gap between the levels at which you one shot enemies and the levels at which they two-shot you.

The majority of weapons are so strong that any future enemies would be forced to have invulnerability phases and other hated mechanics to present any challenge. Viral should eventually be fixed, but the devs' choice to let it sit on the backburner creates a lot of issues in all systems; this is unhealthy for the community who will buy and invest into rivens and forma for the current meta, which will eventually lose their value. It will also be detrimental if you’ve sold or are about to sell your riven that could become useful in the future meta. The impact of +Status Chance no longer being a good stat for shotguns can’t be underestimated either, as previously you’d want it for the majority of shotguns, yet now you no longer need it even nearly as much. A lot of weapons have become viable now without any rivens, but that should be done through balancing weapons themselves, not making one with completely overpowered stats and nerfing armor scaling at higher levels. While Viral will eventually be fixed, without balancing weapons properly it will once again become very clear how a lot of weapons are lagging behind a few overpowered ones (e.g. Lenz vs. Kuva Bramma).

DE’s Failed Development Plan

In case you think everything is going to DE’s development plan and just requires some tweaks to make it work perfectly, here’re some more examples on how it’s clearly against their plans. You could also see it as them not being able to predict how their changes will affect the game. Steve said that the majority of shotguns will see the changes as a buff E3cnuoS krY?t=3920 - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes

Link>, while it’s actually a nerf to most status shotguns. It’s not an S curve
Link>, but a different figure view?usp=sharing - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes
Figure 1, we go into more detail about this matter in the extended version>. The reason why a lot of them still work is because of how watered down many of the enemies are now on the higher end, but many shotguns have less than 10% status chance per pellet. For damage over time builds through status chance, this is horrible since pellet count doesn’t help here. Many higher base critical chance shotguns like Corinth (Prime) and Vaykor Hek do manage to shine nowadays, but that comes at the cost of weapons like Tigris Prime and Sobek becoming rather weak. The enemy scaling changes were also not very clear.

Riven disposition changes and their balancing tools historically failed to properly balance a lot of weapons. Previously, you wanted +Heat on Kuva weapons used with Gas, but now you want +Cold or +Toxin on them. When Viral gets fixed, the meta will change yet again, thus forcing you to refarm your liches for your favourite weapons for the third time, if you had patience to refarm them after the status changes.

The devs’ riven API

One could say there’s a clear lack of communication between what the players want and what the devs do. Player feedback aside, to communicate with the devs about my own tools I’ve been going through their support. The two types of replies I got were extremely vague that hardly clarified anything, and if it was an actual reply, that only came after months of waiting. Most of my questions were simply about their rules or if I could add a certain feature to the bot or not. Seeing how difficult it is to get any answers and how the devs have been mishandling game balance and rivens in particular, I applied for fansite partnership with DE to establish a line of communication (they've made it clear you can apply to partner a big community server inwY59s - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes


The devs’ first reply OAmUxD2 - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes

Link 1> came as a huge shock for me. For those of you unaware, the riven API they’ve introduced 1077490 riven trading toolbuilders phase 1 - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status ChangesRiven API Dev-post>, not a toolbuilder by the way, is completely useless. The devs’ data show minimum, maximum, and average prices, but those aren’t even nearly enough to judge the actual price. The maximum price could skyrocket during some weeks, for some weeks there’s too few trades going on, and most importantly, their data doesn’t differentiate rivens by their stats’ qualities even if that wouldn’t be too difficult to implement (and I’m saying this as a programmer). There are also times when people exchange their rivens for fun or testing purposes, which still affect the API’s data.

Most of the issues with their API could be fixed by programming their algorithms to divide trades by preferred stats. For example, in their API data for each weapon, there’d be prices and estimations for both lower, medium, higher, and highest quality rivens. It’s not all that hard to do: it could be done by cooperating with knowledgeable people, using machine learning, or implementing some basic algorithms well known by data scientists and programmers.

I tried to explain that to the devs in a follow up message. Here’s a part of it on why their API is wrong
Link 2> CzaoTvI - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes

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4). The reply I received: 7GXWbFi - The Crippling Issues with the Riven System, Melee 3.0, and Status Changes
Link 3>.

Officially, prevention of manipulating and scamming is the reason for this API’s existence Riven API Dev-post>. But I’ve heard numerous reports from my own users that the devs’ data was used for scamming people in specific trading platforms, such as one of the French facebook groups for trading. I have no solid proof of said manipulation personally, but if you have seen solid proof of that, don’t hesitate to share your experience in comments below. Market manipulation is also brought up in the last post about riven dispositions April 2020 Dispo Changes> and the devs’ measures are completely ineffective compared to simply cooperating with even just one of the big toolmakers.

Now here’s one final fact to top it off: according to this page Github Data>, their API has been down for over two months. It seems that the devs updated the data recently, but there was a very long period of time when it wasn’t updated at all. I leave you to make your own judgement on why that would happen and if they should have said something about it in case they’ve cared. To be honest though, their data is so nonreflective of the current prices and can be so easily deceptive, that I strongly recommend to never use it unless they improve it.

I also want to point out how the creation of API was announced right after the drama with Semlar, when the devs listened to a manipulator themselves and brought down Semlar’s trade chat scanner. Not only was the API used to divert your attention from their clear failure, but it was also largely useless. Semlar simply remade his tool later and used a different technology for it.

Solutions to Make Warframe Healthy Again

It wouldn’t be a complete post without a few suggestions on how to fix this whole mess, and our suggestions below would help fix the recent lack of trust and communication between the devs and the players:

  1. Partner up with toolmakers.
  2. It goes without question that all parties could benefit greatly from such cooperation. From us not relying solely on our own sources to judge rivens to them using our data for their own judgement.
  3. Create more design documents and listen to feedback. Some of you might remember the dev’s proposal for Physical Damage 2.0 Damage 2.0 Dev-post> and how players reacted to such an obviously wrong change and saved us from a balance disaster.
  4. Look for the talents in your own community. It goes without question that among dozens of millions of players there are those with even bigger passion and understanding than that of the devs. They could be reached, hand-picked individually, or perhaps even found through contests such as one for suggesting how to balance some part of the game.
  5. Global balancing goals must be clear and available in public. The goals for any major reworks must also be clear, public and consistent with your previous updates.
  6. Acknowledge and fix immediate issues before they become critical. The status changes are horrible for the game’s health and if the devs don’t want to deny more players’ investments than they already have, Viral has to stop being the only good combined elemental, which calls for a buff to pretty much all other elemental damage types. The changes to Condition Overload, Blood Rush, and Weeping Wounds must be reverted back to being separate multipliers with adjusted stat values, and base critical chance and status mods should also be reverted in tandem.

Moving Forward

That's it. Dear fellow player, if you made this far, this final paragraph is a message directly to YOU. If you're still playing this game, never hesitate to talk about the bugs… or any other gripes you have about the game, really. Talk about balance and game-related issues to in-game friends, in Region Chat, on Reddit, and on the Forums. If an issue in the game is to be fixed, the people who can fix it must first know about the issue. Let’s all keep a close watch over the devs and keep them from ignoring huge underlying issues. As a player, don’t say that your voice isn’t enough to make a difference, because in more than zero cases the devs actually did something based on a single player’s feedback (Universal Medallions and Conclave). However, this will only work if everyone speaks their minds.

Dear DE, I decided to write this post because of how unhealthy Warframe and the community has become because of your recent changes to core game mechanics. A lot of people came together to make this post believing that you care and that you would listen, since we recognize how different you are from many other video game developers. I don’t believe there’s specific people who should “take blame,” but rather, I’d say it’s your policies and general approach at balancing the game that should be changed. I have also written this out of desperation; a lot of previously passionate people have left or are leaving the game because they don’t believe you can or will fix these issues properly. Please, prove them wrong, and give them a reason to come back.

Anyways, I'll be replying to any and all sensible questions about Warframe, my bot, server, or whatever for the next hour or so down below together with u/CHEMistry_Inc and u/Jigoogly before heading off to sleep.

Feel free to ask me anything and if you're late to the party, I can reply tomorrow on my server F.R.E.S. Discord Server> at a temporary channel called #answers. After I wake up, I'll reply to both interesting questions and criticism. Special shoutout to members of my team and numerous volunteers for helping putting this post together, you know who you are.

You'll probably be hearing from me in the future.

Stay safe,


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