Birds-eye View on Inaros
Inaros is a unique Warframe due to being tanky by default, meaning his tankiness comes from the sheer base value of his Health attribute, and thus isn't broken by ability-nullifying effects. This is the primary reason he is so popular — playing him does not take active input from the player, nor is the player punished for not using Inaros's abilities. It's an absolutely valid playstyle. There is no problem with him being the "braindead" option or with his uniquely high base Health stat. Nobody wants that to be gone with the hypothetical rework. The problem lies solely within trying to play Inaros actively — his kit is just not well-designed.
Why is his kit not well-designed? In my opinion, a good Warframe ability kit has 4 characteristics, in decreasing order of importance:
Abilities are functionally distinct. All 4 abilities should have singularly unique effects or very little overlap in functionality, or stacking/synergizing in case their effects do overlap. This ensures every ability has a unique usage scenario and there will never be a situation where one ability is straight up better than the other.
Abilities are effective at any enemy level you could encounter in general gameplay. Damage abilities should come with scaling mechanics, and buffs should provide a tangible benefit even in high-level gameplay. I cannot see enemy level being a valid reason you shouldn't be able to bring a gameplay mode-appropriate Warframe you enjoy into a mission, especially when several Warframe abilities exist with effective scaling mechanics already.
Abilities encourage active gameplay. It doesn't mean that Warframes can't have a set-and-forget type ability, but it does mean that — ideally — a Warframe mustn't entirely depend on that ability.
Abilities are thematically consistent. For flavour reasons, mostly. It's a bit jarring when a frame is thematically a jumbled mess.
Inaros's critical problem is that his abilities overlap heavily in functionality, which means there's always a "best" ability to use in the overwhelming majority of cases — this ability happens to be Dessication.
Why is that a problem? One very important reason: there are Warframes that can match and, in fact, often exceed what Inaros is capable of in terms of durability/tankiness without much trouble while also having a functional ability kit for you to play around with. Gauss, Baruuk, Hildryn, Garuda, Harrow, Nezha — the list goes on — all meet that criterion. Meanwhile, Inaros only has the option of being a "braindead tank".
Problems with Inaros's Abilities and Fixing Them, In-Depth
His passive ability is comprised of two parts:
20% of total health restored on Finisher kill. This, along with his massive base Health pool, is a major contributor to his survivability.
As a last resort, a unique bleedout state, where he can revive himself by siphoning health from nearby enemies.
The first part should not be touched at all. The second one, while good in theory, becomes completely ineffective at high levels due to lack of scaling damage. So a simple solution to fix it is to add a scaling mechanic. This could be in the form of Vauban's/Grendel's enemy level multiplier, or adding a direct percentage damage to the enemy's total health pool.
t's cheap, spammable, has a negligible cast time and affects a great area. The true power of this abilitiy lies in opening enemies to finishers, which, more often than not, results in an instant kill and always in 20% of your total health restored. Herein lies the problem: it is the most effective and efficient ability in all usage cases in Inaros's kit. It heals a percentage instead of a flat value, so it will always heal more. Its effective damage dealt via finishers scales well into high level content — other abilities' flat damage values drop off. Its short cast time and big AoE makes it his best CC option. The natural conclusion is that, with the exception of the self-buff aspect of Scarab Swarm, there is never a reason to use any ability besides Dessication.
This problem should not be addressed by changing this ability, but rather by bringing the others up to par by diversifying their functionality.
For the amount of input you're required to make to use it you're rewarded with pitiful non-scaling damage and healing and single-target CC. It has one unique aspect — devouring enemies spawns an allied Spectre. The Spectres, however, are not useful for anything, suffering from Warframe's poor AI and lack of meaningful damage. Allies being able to devour enemies might as well just not exist.
Damage and healing need to scale in some manner. The healing could figuratively copy-paste the code from Garuda's Blood Altar, i.e. a percentage of enemy's health per second, while the damage could ramp up rapidly with continuous devouring. Reminder — this ability affects only one target at a time, and if Dessication can be used to one-shot multiple enemies per cast, I believe it's fair Devour were allowed to at least come close to that. In fact, Devour should become the superior self-healing option for Inaros due to the time investment it requires. Dessication will still be useful for finisher-related shennaningans.
With the amount of power in players' hands already, nobody is going to be using the Spectres for damage, which means they need to be given a purpose besides damage that is good enough to counter the amount of effort it takes to spawn them. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what it could be — maybe give them much weaker versions of Inaros's abilities with a cooldown? There's lots of possibilities.
You spend 75 energy initially, then 10 per second to lose access to your weapons, become painfully slow, vulnerable and unable to use other abilities, all to perform the most hated form of CC — ragolling enemies away. Ragdolling enemies away only makes them harder to kill for no good reason. The many downsides vs. virtually no upside lead me to believe this ability requires the most radical change.
Sandstorm becomes a deployable area-of-effect with a set duration. Enemies within it are slowed down, their accuracy is dramatically reduced and there's a chance they will receive a Corrosive status effect every second. Sandstorm becomes an offensive Snow Globe, giving Inaros a secondary long-lasting stationary CC option with the added slowing and armor-stripping effects to differentiate it from Dessication. Like similar deployable abilities, it could be limited to a few instances so you can't just litter the battlefield with Sandstorms.
The offensive aspect of Scarab Swarm shares all the grievances of Devour and Sandstorm, i.e. Dessication being the superior option. In addition, the healing provided by this ability is ineffective due to its reliance on enemies being alive, which in Warframe is not a very sizeable chunk of time, and the amount healed relying on damage dealt to enemy by the ability. However, Scarab Swarm is the only ability in Inaros's kit that can heal his allies besides him (Devour doesn't count — try to convince your friends to drop everything they're doing just to eat enemies… I'll wait), giving it a unique hypothetical use case, so we only have to worry about remedying the effectiveness of the ability. Two things instantly spring into mind that can help with that:
Allow the Scarab Swarm clouds to persist for their remaining duration after the enemy's death. All of its effects will likewise persist — healing allies and infecting living whose lifespan is no longer an issue;
Change the healing to a static amount. I don't think a percentage heal is necessary in this case — you can stack healing from several Scarab Swarms at once, which should be even easier with the above change.
Why stop there? We can add some synergies with the rest of his kit! Just throwing out ideas:
Dessication refreshes the duration of Scarab Swarm clouds;
Scarab Swarms additionaly spreads Devour to nearby enemies and infects Sand Shadows, who in turn spread it themselves;
Double the damage and healing if affecting an enemy within a Sandstorm.
Asking for an Inaros rework is not an attack on Inaros mains' identity, neither is it asking to take away anything that makes him unique. It is asking to add an alternative, more engaging/active playstyle to a frame with an interesting theme, a playstyle which is simply not realistic with the tools currently at his disposal. And generally, I don't believe there is an excuse to not give a Warframe 4 distinctly functional, fun and effective abilities besides lack of imagination.
If you enjoy Inaros as he is, you will only enjoy a reworked Inaros more at best — at worst, literally nothing will change for you.
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