What DE doesn’t seem to get about the “Guns vs Melee” Balance Issue

Warframe13 - What DE doesn't seem to get about the "Guns vs Melee" Balance Issue

In Devstream #152, DE acknowledged the problem of "Guns vs Melee", but they only talked about Damage (which is just a part of the whole issue), and something that I found personally concerning: They listed Melee Attack Speed specifically as a problem, when its not, and in fact is one of the reason some melees are so fun in the first place. Below I'm gonna list some of the components of Warframe (and any Shooter with Melee for that matter), how and why they clash in the current state of Warframe's gameplay and how this is an issue which emerged from the evolution of the game, and not something inherently good/bad about these weapons. But before I wanna clarify I've been playing for over 6 years, I'm MR 30, +5000hs on Steam, so I've pretty much experienced every weapon and gamemode in this game.

  • Dynasty Warframe: Hordes and Cover

  • So in the beginnings, Warframe was a Shooter like any other, couple of shots got you killed, getting in Melee range was a risk and using Cover was THE way of killing enemies and staying alive. A slower, more methodical gameplay. But because the AI has always been pretty much braindead, DE didn't have a way to scale difficulty but to make MORE enemies, with MORE Stats. Fast forward to today and using Cover is a joke, as enemies spawn constantly and from every direction, and for that reason even the act of Aiming puts you in a disadvantage unless you are paying constant attention to the minimap so you don't get flanked. This is what is usually known as "Horde Enemies". And of course, the way players play the game changed to adapt to this playstyle: AoE is king, and survivability depends on using abilities non stop, to either nuke, perma cc or tank, because if you don't you will get overwhelmed and killed. As you might have noticed, this lines up with the most used items, which could be considered "meta": Heavy hitting AoE (Bramma, Nukor, Khora), anything that can Tank and/or Buff Itself (Inaros, Nezha, Rhino) and whatever can Perma CC (Vauban, Nova, Khora). So naturally the game shifted from a "Slow -Clean rooms shooter" to a "Fast -Stay alive hack and slash", meaning the only missions that can be played purely as a shooter are those that don't spawn enemies constantly (Exterminate) or involve long distances between players-enemies (Open Worlds). Sadly there is probably no way to revert the "Dynasty Warframe" enemy Hordes gamestyle the game has now.

  • Enemies killed per Swing/Shot

  • This one is pretty simple: Melee will ALWAYS affect more enemies than (non AOE) guns, which means as long you are using a gun and actually aiming you are losing time, and there are more enemies spawning than being killed, meaning you are getting closer to be overwhelmed and die. And even if the mission doesn't have quick spawns, you are still playing slower by using a gun, and in a looter game, specially with such amount of RNG and mission time adding up to a massive grind, you will ALWAYS want to complete missions as fast as possible.

  • Evolutive Mods: Awful for Build Diversity, Awesome for Gameplay

  • Now this what I think DE should address first, because this is the actual reason Melee dominate the meta, not because they have INHERETLY better stats, but because they have Evolutive Mods (Blood Rush, Condition Overload) which makes them stronger the more you actively use them. And I know what you might be thinking "Just add the corresponding version of each Evolutive mod to Guns" and I ask "What will happen? How will builds look like?" the answer is simple, the same copy+paste build on everything. So no, Evolutive mods shouldn't be added to Guns, but the Evolutive mechanics should be BASELINE in ALL Weapons. This will require some rebalancing across the game, for sure, but making the Weapons get stronger the more you ACTIVELY use them, is fun, rewarding and FAIR. Also the removal of Evolutive Mods would make room to actually diverse builds, because currently if you are not using either Blood Rush or Condition Overload you are doing it wrong. And this has to do with the Melee Attack Speed which Geoff listed as a problem, it is not that Melees have too much Attack Speed, is that players build for it so the Evolutive Mods scale faster.

  • Pick Ups and Vacuum, the never ending battle between DE and the Community

  • Guns use ammo, some have VERY small ammo pools, to get ammo you need to pick up loot, to pick up loot you need to get in melee range. Melees don't use ammo, in melee range you pick up loot instantly, so you get HP/Energy Orbs sooner, which adds to your survivability. So: Melees are inherently more convenient to use because of how Pick-Ups work, even if they were equally strong to Guns.

  • Difficulty: Mechanical Skill vs Superior Stats

  • All of the consecutive changes that led to "Dynasty Warframe", SPECIALLY the lack of ANY AI update whatsoever, made it so the only way DE can ramp up the difficulty is making more enemies, harder to kill, with layers upon layers of Invulnerability Phases or Ability Nullification. Basically in Warframe you don't need to learn attack patterns and aim to weak-spots, you just need to pass the "Stats Check" meaning that Player's Skill and Weapon Mechanics are secondary to Raw Stats, so naturally the meta changed from "Git Gud" to "Git the Items that Make you Gud". The best example I can give is Steel Path, Kuva Fortress Disruption: The Demolisher Units have BOTH Ability Nullification and Stats Layers (and Invulnerability if you count the shield), so it doesn't matter the frame you have, you need the biggest DPS dispenser in your arsenal and you need to find a way to uber your build to not die because otherwise you are not gonna be alive for long enough to even damage the Demolishers, which cant be stopped as they are not affected by abilities.

Well, this took WAY too long and my time ran out, so I couldn't include everything or grammar check the whole post. Please comment down below your thoughts on this matter. Tomorrow I'm gonna edit the post with anything I missed and with any valid additions from comments. Hopefully this gets traction, because we need to Discuss this before DE starts working on changes, so we have better chances of being heard.

Thank you VERY much for reading Tenno, have a nice day and take care. Peace.

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