This is Nekros, manipulator of souls. Nekros possesses the battlefield, Tenno. Death is his playground. Death's new master.
With the introduction of Sevagoth I am extremely excited to see such an interesting and well themed Warframe. Sevagoth is evidently the 'reaper' character and with their manipulation of souls, darkness and the ability to transform into a shadow creature that focuses on melee combat. It's a good fit and a welcome addition to the Warframe roster however something this immediately made me worried for was our resident Necromancer, Nekros, and how their kit and theming fits in the Warframe universe alongside general gameplay that I think requires better focus and attention in order to better differentiate them from Sevagoth as a Necromancer rather than a Reaper.
I speak about this as a Nekros 'main' with over 1700 hours in game and Nekros being my most played Warframe by a large margin. I am a huge fan of Necromancy in games and minion gameplay especially so I write this with as much love for the character and the mechanics he uses as possible and hopefully this information will reach the developers in some way to help things get better for Nekros.
Necromancer vs Reaper
Nekros is, at his very core, a Necromancer and as such focuses upon terror abilities, corpse manipulation and raising the dead. His main kit works rather well in this sense as it covers all aspects of these however the main issue comes from minion gameplay as it's very clear to anyone who has played Nekros for any length of time that Shadows of the Dead is not a good minion ability for actually doing work and becomes more of a CC and damage prevention ability that you must refresh every so often. In that sense it might as well just be reskinned 90% damage shield ability that also distracts nearby enemies which leaves the only gameplay option for Nekros to be a weapon platform that uses minions as a way to mitigate damage. It's very clear that the developers don't like frames that play themselves by allowing AI controlled characters to do all the fighting for them (such as in the case with Protea and her short duration turrets) however by doing this with Nekros it essentially forces him to become the 'Reaper' warframe of using dark magic and melee/gunplay to kill enemies which directly conflicts with what Sevagoth plans to be. With this I suggest a few things.
1. Turn Shadows of the Dead into a toggle ability
Shadows of the Dead already works as the 'minion' ability to Nekros but the problem with this relies upon the fact that you will not be able to have it up a lot of the time due to the constant need to refresh it and dump large amounts of energy into ever 4 press. I suggest instead then that Shadows have their health decay removed and instead have it drain energy over time with Nekros. This works well with his current gameplay style as using desecrate you can get extra energy orbs to sustain the drain and his tendency to spawn health orbs actively works with equilibrium to allow Nekros to generate so much energy as long as he keeps killing enemies he ends up having so much energy but nothing to really spend it on aside from refreshing the SOTD timer. This would make his gameplay feel smoother rather than stopping every 20 seconds to root yourself to the ground and recast and place more emphasis on Nekros working alongside his minions rather than just having them around, helping his Necromancer theming. I would also suggest that a hold/press interaction should work with SOTD so that holding turns the ability on/off and tapping should activate the short animation teleporting your minions to you. If the developers are to take any of these points into consideration then please just let it be this one.
2. Shadows need better scaling
At the current moment Shadows are essentially meatbags with no way to properly deal damage to the enemy. This plagues all minions in the game (aside from Wukong's Celestial Twin) due to the fact that the minions summoned use the enemy stats rather than anything that influences our own. Due to the fact that enemy damage output is far lower than us but their health values are much higher it just leads to Shadows plinking away at the enemy but never actually killing much aside from the occasional trash mob. My suggestion here would to either have some kind of better scaling rather than the pitiful damage increase percentage system using power strength that we have currently in a way similar to how they handled Vauban's Minelayer ability or have your weapon mods have an influence on Shadow's damage output. This would again focus Nekros on being a Necromancer minion master rather than a Reaper character and would also allow Nekros to focus on supporting his summons. For those that take issue with the idea of the shadows 'playing the game' for the Nekros player I would instead say that Celestial Twin exists and I think is an excellent example of how a minion should work in Warframe and as such I think having the Necromancer character have good or at least competent summons would make more sense
3. Soul Punch needs a complete rework/needs to be a new ability
Soul punch is easily the weakest ability to Nekros and is considered by many to be one of the worst abilities in the game. At the current moment it essentially acts as a single target CC with the small benefit of tagging them for reanimation after death. However the main things that acts against this is that firstly the duration for the tag is extremely short and needs to be either a longer or permanent 'debuff' that will allow Nekros players to actually focus down targets they want to reanimate rather than scramble to kill the enemy they just tagged and secondly the CC element to it, just like original Wukong's Iron Jab, is too slow in the current fast pace that Warframe plays at with it focusing on just a single enemy. I would propose the ability is changed to have a toggle function and also remove the CC element. Tap would act as a marker similar to how Celestial Twin can be directed to attack a specific enemy while hold would tag the enemy with it's current debuff for reanimation but with a much longer duration and a slow effect. This would encourage minion control gameplay, would emphasise Nekros as a master of his summons, allows you to pick and choose which enemies you want to reanimate and I think that on the tap target's death that the Shadows would be healed which along with my previous suggestion of making SOTD a toggle would help Nekros players to care about and utilise their minions on a permanent basis rather than just aiming to re-activate the ability every 30 seconds so that their 90% dr shield doesn't go down.
The Farming Frame
We all know what Nekros is mainly used for in Warframe and that's farming resources. So much so that Nekros has come to be known by many as the 'farmer' frame and essentially acts as a Desecrate.exe bot and not much else. While I think desecrate is absolutely fine and should stay as it is I would point to other frames such as Hydroid and Khora who also have farming abilities but their kit and theming are entirely unique outside of their farming roles. With this in mind the previous ability change suggestions I think would help bring his Necromancer theme into the limelight with the Desecrate farming ability still being present and thus making him useful even outside of his minion control gameplay.
The Teleportation Bug
One of the biggest problems I face as someone who plays Nekros on a constant basis is that SOTD has a major bug which causes it to at times be a detriment to him. This bug is that sometimes due to what I believe is level geometry or some other random factor when you recast SOTD while you still have a number of shadows out some will not teleport with you and will remain stuck in whatever previous location they were at. This can be as small impact as just 6 of your 7 shadows coming with you to the next objective or can be as crippling as only 1 of them teleporting to you and considering that a lot of the survival power of Nekros is having his shadows provide damage reduction and act as distractions to the enemies this can swiftly lead to your death if you're in a combat situation. At times even recasting the ability multiple times refuses to teleport minions to you and as such you instead have to wait for your old shadows to die and create new ones so that you can actually have them do their job rather than remain engaged in combat at a previous location. This is especially crippling in game modes that require you to be on the move from one location to another such as Exterminate and Mobile Defense missions. As such especially if my previous ability changes were to be implemented this bug would absolutely have to be fixed as the increased emphasis of Nekros being a minion-focused Warframe would lead him to be crippled at various points if he cannot teleport shadows to him.
The Build Problem
Nekros builds are very tight for space due to requiring various mods that are needed for several parts of his kit to function correctly. The image above is my current build which will be fairly similar to most other Nekros builds due to the fact that he absolutely needs several of these mods. I will explain my choices and why I think they are important and what could be changed in order to encourage build diversity.
1. Despoil and Shield of Shadows
If you are a Nekros player then you absolutely know the importance of despoil and the amount of energy it saves when using Desecrate. It's almost mandatory in all aspects of Nekros in order to keep the ability running as there are far more ways of restoring health quickly than gathering energy in a short period of time to manage the upkeep. Shield of Shadows on the other hand is also mandatory for any Nekros build that isn't just a Desecrate farming build as the Damage Resistance it offers is far too enticing to pass up and is one of the only ways that minions from SOTD are useful to Nekros in his current form. I actually like that it is a mod however as it provides something unique and different to the ability so I would keep it as it is. However I would suggest that despoil is made the base ability of desecrate so health is normally used rather than energy as almost nobody I know runs without despoil due to how easy it is to maintain by constantly draining health which also fits the 'blood magic' theming of the ability well. I would instead offer a new ability mod which would increase the chance of an additional item being desecrated from the current 54% to 100% as this would provide a mod slot for dedicated Nekros farming builds and help encourage build diversity as Nekros could have a farming set up or a combat focused role.
2. Power Strength
I have a high power strength and 2 mods dedicated to it simply due to the fact that Shield of Shadows requires that amount in order to reach 90% DR. I feel as though the strength requirement for this is a bit too high and discourages me from building range into Nekros as I simply do not have the space when I need these dedicated power strength mods in order to encourage survival. I would instead propose that in order to reach 90% DR that Nekros would require 150% Power Strength as this means he would require 2 mods, Shield of Shadows and at least 1 Power Strength mod, to get a 90% DR shield which a lot of other Warframes get built into their kit.
3. Survival Mods
Some people claim I have too many survival mods and that this is what is preventing me from building in other ways however to that I would say attempt to use only Health Conversion or Adaptation as Nekros and try to get the first few kills to build up SOTD. You will swiftly find that Nekros is absolutely paper thin and as a Necromancer character while that does make sense as we have established before his minions aren't able to take enough fire off of him or deal enough damage to eliminate threats. As such Nekros essentially has to be built as a Tank in order to survive and deal with the enemies himself which for a Necromancer character is completely against his theming. I think that with my previous ability change suggestions that this could help with survivability and help encourage putting more range for desecrate or even efficiency to help with the energy drain of the SOTD toggle.
4. Natural Talent
Simply this mod is here to allow me to keep up with the pace that modern Warframe is at. Nekros stopping every 25 seconds or so to recast his slow animation or even just to quickly top off his shadows at more frequent intervals leads to a very stop and start style of gameplay which just doesn't mesh well with how the game plays currently and can lead to being killed very easily while I am casting. With the suggestion of making SOTD a toggle this would help with the issue I believe and would mean I'd only end up using Natural Talent for the initial cast which is largely a preference thing.
All of this comes together to create a lack of build space for Nekros and as such a lack of build diversity but with the suggestions I have made I believe this would alleviate the problem and help more interesting and diverse Nekros builds for different game modes or situations.
As I mentioned at the start of this I really am excited for Sevagoth and what they will being to Warframe. However I feel as though the themes of Nekros and Sevagoth are just too similar at the moment. I play Nekros with a very 'grim reaper' style with jumping into combat, using scythe heavy attacks and using Shadows of the Dead to create a shield that defends me while I actively deal with the enemies. From what we have seen thus far Sevagoth looks to do this type of thing also but with far more emphasis on darkness, life steal and of course their shadow form. Nekros is the Necromancer warframe, not the Reaper warframe and with this new entry into the roster essentially replacing the theme of Nekros and just making him a farming frame I feel it's important to emphasise his minion gameplay more and help lessen his 'start, cast, stop, refresh every 25 seconds' gameplay style. I hope you all agree with me and I hope the developers at least catch wind of these ideas to implement them in the game when update 30 arrives in March. Let the Necromancer be a Necromancer, not just a Death Knight, that's Revenant's schtick.
tl;dr Nekros needs to be more like a Necromancer, make his minions matter more, fix teleport bug, encourage build diversity, make Shadows of the Dead into a toggle ability rather than it being on a timer
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